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INTRO LINE –
It’s been 7 years in the making. Some said it wouldn’t happen in their lifetime. Coming soon: The Chilcott Report. 150 witnesses, 130 sessions, and 150,000 documents now compiled into 2.6 million words in the most boring read you’ll have despite using terms like ‘Weapons Of Mass Destruction’. Is Tony Blair guilty of a war crimes? Or were those Iraqi children & British troops asking for it? Only one way to find out, read The Chilcott Report, available in 1 boring to read segment. July 6th.
Order now for special edition containing pull out make your own WMDs that won’t be found with any purchase, special photos of the original statement made by George W Bush, written in his own crayons, limited edition Tony Blair ‘middle east peace envoy gloves with permanently extended middle finger, and 1 million miniature protestors models that you can ignore in your very own home.
Hello and welcome to another episode of Partly Political Broadcast. I’m Tiernan Douieb and despite it looking pretty hairy at points, I managed to keep my seat last week. And I should say that despite predictions my seat is in pretty much the same position that it was last week despite me needing to move it for comfort.
Well, what a week it’s been eh? Hot weather, a new Radiohead album and Leicester winning the Premier League. Unfortunately there were also several elections and as this podcast has built a tradition over 15 episodes to only mention fun things in life when they’re being destroyed by politicians, today’s show is all about the results. Well not all. I also have an interview with Joint Executive Director of Hacked Off Evan Harris, and I’ll also be looking at if a party does enough u-turns, is it actually just constantly revolving backwards? Oh and this show contains one Game Of Thrones spoiler, so if you’re not up to Season 6 episode 3, well, I don’t care. That’s your fault for not watching telly quick enough.
Thanks for the extra reviews on the iTunes page. It really does help bring more listeners to the show and is very helpful on feedback. For example now I know the show has one listener in Thailand who’d like to hear more Scottish politics, I will endeavour to do more of that. This show has a teeny bit of what goes on beyond the wall, and at some point I’ve got an interviewee lined up who can chat a little bit more in depth about Holyrood as the only real knowledge I know about that place is that nearby is a great baked tattie shop where they do potatoes roughly as big as my face. Working out the logistics of trying to eat one is never not fun. I mean, what if it eats me first and takes over from my actual head and then I have to walk around like Mr Potato Head having to constantly remove me own features? So much to think about.
So, yes please keep reviewing this show. And sharing it online, and maybe just whispering it quietly at people as they walk past you: ‘partly political broadcast’. They’ll probably be quite freaked out and let’s be honest, are unlikely to check out the show, but over time we’ll have created the world’s biggest game of Chinese Whispers and eventually someone will walk past me and shout ‘Peanut Particle Broadsheets’ and I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something in life.
Right, now on with all of this sort of thing:
U-Turns! No You-Turns! U-Turns eh? You can’t go anywhere for all these U-turns the government are making. Literally. That’s the point of a u-turn. The Conservatives have now added their proposed plan to turn all schools into academies to their long list of policies they’ve u-turned on since last May. So that’s u-turning on taking in 3000 child refugees which they also did last week, tax credit cuts, extended Sunday trading hours, highspeed broadband for every home, disability benefit cuts, well sort of, stopping in work benefits for EU migrants, running parts of the Saudi Arabian prison system, withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights, and futher police cuts. If you add to this all the u-turns they made since 2010 then there’s also…..deep breath……u-turns on rape defendants anonymity, selling off the forests, no school milk for under 5s, scrapping Bookstart, immigration target policy, circus animal ban, scrapping relief on video games tax, granny tax, pasty tax, caravan tax, school sports cuts, forces cuts, NHS competition regulations and minimum alcohol pricing. Oh and now Jeremy Hunt is actually having talks with the BMA hopefully there’ll be one on his stupid stupid proposed contract soon too.
Now look, I’m not saying u-turns are a bad thing. In fact, often they’re great. This u-turn on turning all schools into academies has made many teachers and parents very happy. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan who always looks like a cartoon dog who’s name has been called over a tannoy but she thinks its an invisible voice, said they’d no longer be bringing in legislation to force blanket conversion. Which is good because I like my blanket how it is. It’s very warm. The government’s legislation still includes controversial plans to remove rights of parents to be represented on school governer boards. And schools in certain Ofsted catergories are still forced to undergo academisation. But overall this step back for Morgan is one step towards saving the education system from being dismantled.
However this many u-turns do mean that the government are just churning out policies without much thought as to how it will be perceived or challenged and the time and effort taken on policies that are then rejected is time and effort not spent on things like prison reform or steps for better mental health care provision. And you sort of wonder what kind of government we have when they’re u-turning so often they’re essentially running around in circles. What will their 2020 manifesto be? Conservatives: Turning our back on your and our own policies?
INTERVIEW PART 1 –
Do you remember, way back when in 2012, that classic series called the Leveson enquiry? That really fun reality TV show where they got together a bunch of MPs, celebs, journalists and newspaper moguls all to sit & a room for months and raise awareness about memory loss? Do you recall? As they mostly didn’t. Then, do you remember, after we all got bored watching James Murdoch dodge more bullets than the characters in the Matrix, Lord Justice Leveson published a 2000 page report that found press behaviour ‘outrageous’ but still obviously liked it enough to use Sun headline terms to describe it. He also recommended the government implement an independent press watchdog, which would be underpinned by legislation. Remember? Then as a result, Prime Minister David Cameron, the man who wanted to go ahead with the enquiry with the first place in 2011, decided he didn’t want a press law at all. Possibly because the report was 2000 pages long and let’s be honest, we all struggle with a long read nowadays eh?
Well that’s not entirely true. A Royal Charter, rather than an act of Parliament was put into place that allowed press self regulation and since then all the press have totally abided which is why we have a bias free balanced media in the UK. AMIRIGHT? No sorry. What I mean is, several empires like Rupert Murdoch’s or Trinity Mirror have resisted doing this and in the last few weeks with reports about the Evening Standard’s clear support of Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral campaign whilst pretending to be non-partisan, it’s clear futher action is still needed.
So this week, well actually two weeks ago, I spoke to Dr Evan Harris who is the Joint Executive Director of Hacked Off, a campaign for a free and accountable press. Evan very kindly explained what it’s all about, why they kicked up a fuss about the recent John Whittingdale non story story and generally made me realise that I really didn’t understand the Leveson enquiry at all. This interview contains lots of me being wrong. Have a listen:
INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll get back to Evan Harris in just a minute. But first:
Last week thousands of people across the UK put small crosses in little boxes. Yes, I have no idea why so many hamsters died on Thursday either. Perhaps was out of sheer boredom at the election. Because let’s face it, as results rolled in we heard that they were disastrous for Labour, or amazing for Labour, or zombie results which were neither but somehow worse for Labour than any other result despite the fact that getting votes from the mindless hordes is what they’ll need to do to win in 2020. The Conservatives who lost more seats than Labour in England, did well in Scotland, meaning that there are now more Tories than pandas past the wall. Either a sign of changing times for the Scots or a clever incentive to encourage Tian Tian and Yang Guang to get breeding asap. And for some odd reason people remembered who the Liberal Democrats were and obviously found it comforting to vote for a party who are no longer selling off British assets and destroying the NHS, nor are they tearing themselves apart with infighting. Though that is probably because there’s only 8 of them left and most of them look like they’d struggle to roll their sleeves up before even getting to fisticuffs, and let’s face it Tim Farron looks like he’s going to cry all the time anyway, so it’s not much of challenge.
There were of course bazillions of things being voted for last week so here’s a bit of a guide to what went what way and who what were why. Except for the Police Commissioner polls because let’s face it, no one gives a shit. The public could have voted for a hobby horse, a deaf penguin and lemon that someone drew a face on to be in charge of various police forces and I doubt anyone would notice. Except for Police Commissioner Face on A Lemon who’d be really bitter about it. No I’m not sorry. Ok so here we go:
London has a new mayor in the shape of Sadiq Khan. I mean it is Sadiq Khan, it’s not just a cut out of his shape, although let’s face it, that’d probably still do more for the capital than previous mayor Boris Johnson. Boris’s greatest achievements were really only getting stuck on a zipwire, rugby tackling a child, building a cable car over the only bit of London people hate looking at the from ground level and closing 10 fire stations, making over 50 firefighters lose their jobs. He did that because ‘there’s a lot less fire now than there was in the 90’s.’ You can’t do supply and demand on fire you bellend! It’s not a fashion trend! It’s fire! And such a short sighted decision from someone with such dry straw like hair.
Anyway, now we have Sadiq, the first ever Muslim mayor of a major Western city, which has already caused racists everywhere to claim they’ll never set foot in London again. And that means that Sadiq has already solved London’s overcrowding problem brilliantly. Similarly, if as these racists suggest on social media, London will fall now that Sadiq is mayor, then I expect that’ll be a swift way to ensure housing prices drop, so again, well done Khan. So it was a successful Labour win, especially as London has had a Conservative mayor for the last 8 years. Many said it was a rejection by multi-cultural London of Zac Goldsmith’s disgusting racist campaign stating that Khan had extremist connections and shared a platform with terrorists, seemingly misunderstanding what Sadiq’s job as a human rights lawyer was. I do think when Conservatives hear ‘human rights’ their brain immediately struggles, thinking ‘human rights? What next? Where will it end? Animal rights? Special rights for children?’ It would be lovely to think that this is London all clubbing together to fight Islamaphobia, but actually if you look at the votes, there’s a bit more to it than individual campaigns. Goldsmith got 994,614 votes from people who think they’re too posh for Britain First, and that’s 238,000 less than the Conservatives got for the whole of London. They received 34.9% of the overall London vote which proves, sadly, that they’re still pretty popular. Sadiq received 1,310,143 votes, which is about 234,000 less than the overall Labour London vote. Labour got 43.7% of the vote. So in line with their party performance, both did about the same as its each other, which means really and perhaps depressingly it’s more a case of the Tories never really doing well in cities compared to Labour. Y’know rather than everyone in the capital jumping on some sort of moral high ground, that in London, let’s be honest, would probably cost too much to rent for us to spend any time on. Obviously Boris was the exception to that rule, but he had floppy hair didn’t he and floppy hair is funny. God I hate people.
This was repeated in all the mayoral elections in England, with a Labour Mayor winning in Liverpool and Salford which in part, is probably down to cities having more obvious housing and living costs issues, than out in the sticks where the rich people can have those sorts of things cleared off the land by their butlers with guns. I mean I think that’s what happens, and it’s why I dress up as a hedgerow when leaving London so that I don’t stand out. Though Labour also won the mayorship in Bristol with their candidate Marvin Rees. It was previously held by an independent candidate George Ferguson. So if nothing else Labour are definitely doing well against individuals called George, which I suppose could be helpful if Osborne becomes Tory leader for 2020.
As for the rest of England. Well in 2015 the Conservatives had 35% share of the vote and Labour had 29% and this time round the Conservatives had 30% of the vote and Labour had 31%. Which all sounds like Labour are doing better than the Conservatives until you look at the 2012 election where Labour had 38% of the vote and the Conservatives had 31%. Or if you look at 1979 when Conservatives had roughly 52% of the vote share and Labour had roughly 35% or if you look back to 1900 when the Labour party didn’t exist so had 0% of the vote, but the Conservatives had 49% of the vote under Lord Salisbury so maybe Cameron needs to grow an awesome beard or something. Labour did fine making some good gains like Bristol, but losing others like Dudley. Conservatives lost a fair few seats and overall control of some councils but these local elections were in several quite strong Labour seats anyway. Ultimately the Lib Dems did a total Jon Snow and leapt from death straight to 39 seats we can only assume by magic. Or maybe someone found them under a rock which meant they got some sunlight and water and multiplied while we weren’t looking. Who knows?
Also sadly UKIP gained 26 council seats, though on the plus side, they probably won’t turn up, or will be fired within weeks after doing something ridiculous, so there’s always hope.
Labour lost overall control on the Welsh Assembly by just two seats after Plaid Cymru’s leader Leanne Wood snaffled Rhondda Valley from them probably by acting all nice and looking like the sort of person who’d do a damn good cake stall at a school fair. I’d vote for that. UKIP also gained seats in Wales including wins from Mark Reckless who’s a proper victim of nominative determinism and constantly looks like he’s doing a difficult shit. He also doesn’t think his Irish wife is an EU migrant because he doesn’t understand anything. Another UKIP candidate that gained a seat on the Assembly was fucking disgraced former MP Neil Hamilton because people clearly can’t use the internet in the Mid and West region. Hamilton is currently bidding to lead UKIP in the Assembly, presumably so the others will have to give him brown envelopes if they want to have any questions asked.
And Labour’s losses? Well they’re partly down to the rise of UKIP possibly because Syrian refugee families have been resettled to places like Caerphilly, but it’s also possibly because as I said in ep15, people feel like Labour have let them down on issues like the NHS. Which is partly due to the Conservatives cutting the Welsh Assembly’s budget. So Corbyn should probably resign right?
Last but most certainly not least, Scotland who have, since the Independence referendum in 2014, developed their very own special brand of ‘fuck you Westminster’ politics. The SNP were just short of a majority, with the Conservatives coming second and Labour dropping all the way down to third. What does this mean? Well, it means Labour are still being punished for allying with the Conservatives to keep Scotland in Britain, despite after keeping the union, not giving Scotland the powers they were promised. The referendum was very much ‘hey please stay at the party’ then once they did, Scotland had to entertain itself with a lighter and flat lemonade while everyone else had sex upstairs. Kezia Dugdale has only been leader since last August and hasn’t yet persuaded voters that she isn’t another Jim Murphy, a man that was so unconvincing as a politican he couldn’t even win a vote of no confidence. Scotland is now split between left centre cultural nationalism which is the SNP, or Conservative unionism. Labour being sandwiched somewhere in the middle of both of those, was very much fucked on both sides. Which could be very enjoyable if Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie wasn’t watching from the sides, constantly trying to have a go too.
Labour’s losses meant the Conservatives gained as unionist voters went for the candidates most likely to beat the SNP. Especially as Ruth Davidson has a personality and is one of the few Conservative politicians who seems to be able to drink a pint without looking at it in fear as though drinking it might give them emotions.
The SNP not having a majority is interesting too though as it means they’ll probably try to stay left of the Conservatives, making them more central. And I suppose it may then leave a gap for Labour to come back as left or centre left party. It also means that without a majority, another independence referendum is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Which is a shame as I’d really hoped it’d be called ‘Indy Ref: Temple Of Doom’, or I suppose, chronologically ‘The Last Crusade’ which is probably quite a confusing title for such an event.
So yeah overall Scotland’s results were pretty clear and will probably have an impact on the general election in 2020 unless something drastically changes. Otherwise I mean really, you can take what you want from the rest of last week’s results. In fact, go on. You decide. Have some fun with it. ‘Ooh this means the Conservatives may have to sit upside down in parliament unless they eat more fish and this means Labour will only win a raffle if John McDonnell doesn’t sing. Etc etc. Trust me, whatever you do it’ll be more interesting than most pundits have been churning out.
Oh and in the Police and Crime Commisioner elections…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…oh sorry. I seem to have dozed off.
Now back to Evan:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Many thanks to Evan for speaking to me and making things im-press-ively clear. See what I did there? Yes I know I need pun regulation. You can find him on Twitter at @drevanharris and Hacked Off are to be found @hackinginquiry or on their website hackinginquiry.org, which is full of further information about it all, as well as containing a link to the Leveson Royal Charter Declaration if you’d like to sign it.
Next week I’ll be speaking to Areeq Chowdury from Web Roots Democracy about voter apathy and why we don’t yet have online voting. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask him in particular, well, er tough, as by the time you hear this, I’ll have already interviewed him. But you know, feel free to send them anyway and I’ll abruptly respond telling you how pointless it was.
The question of the week returns! So this week I asked you lot via the tweeting hole and the book of faces, what you think Zac Goldsmith should do career-wise now? Obviously he still has his MP seat for Richmond Park and North Kingston but after his mayoral campaign has been slurred by, well everyone except his mum who said he was the least racist person she knew, suggesting she knows some real hardcore racists. So Zac will probably be relegated to the back benches for the rest of eternity. Leaving him a ton of free time to do any of these lovely jobs you’ve all suggested. I won’t lie. I don’t think you lot like him very much.
@duke_aardvark says ‘given the tone of his campaign – press officer for Britain First?’ The problem with that is that Zac didn’t want to appear racist, but did. I worry if he did PR for Britain First he’d somehow manage to make them sound quite nice totally by accident.
@1Rafz Dog whistler for pampered pooches in Hampstead?
@captains_tunes diversity officer for the greater London area?
‘@matthewGpearce should dedicate the rest of his political life to championing ethnic minorities and religious tolerance.’ What do until 2020 then? I can’t see his political life lasting much longer.
@bobbobdj ‘on screen pilot assistant for the Soyuz Rocket.’ Considering how far backwards his campaign managed to send politics, I’m not sure he’d be much help furthering the progress of humanity.
@VizzeeRascal ‘sit quietly in a corner and think about what he did wrong?’
@matthosscomedy ‘follow another Goldsmith – he should start a pod called ConConPod – Conservative’s Conservative Podcast where he interviews twats.’
@princessofVP ‘start a jewellers’.
@hazygray ‘take his 300m inheritance, buy a remote island and disappear.
@lovegraphs ‘Bollywood film critic.’ As you probably know Zac said he was a Bollywood fan then couldn’t name what his favourite film or actor were.
@boredstoopid ‘a barman’
@stuprivett ‘Ask Ken Livingstone to go on TV and defend him.’ What a terrible death wish that’d be. It’s like getting Cameron to say he has full confidence in you. Ken would probably try his best before somehow comparing Zac to Hitler and ruining it for everyone.
@theplaguedoc ‘milk round?’ Considering Zac’s previous relationship shenanigans I’m not sure he should.
@louisdstrong ‘Panto.’ Lynton Crosby’s behind you!
@nigel_mutt ‘Run Down Regent St naked with Katie Hopkins shoved up his arse while reciting The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.’
@scottmckeating ‘he should live in a pit of excrement brewed from cats fed only on sour milk. He can be the boss of the pit.’ Well someone has to be.
@umacf24 ‘Perhaps he could set up a little ecology magazine. As a hobby.’
@FreddyTheLanky ‘villian in a 90’s movie’.
@gavincurnow ‘Cabbie’. He’s definitely got the right opinions.
@samphillips13 sent me a link to an advert for a paintball bullet tester at £40k a year to get shot at. Zac doesn’t need the money. He could volunteer for the community.
And my favourite this week.
@matofkilburnia says ‘He should fuck off’
That’s all for this week’s show. Next week I have a horrible feeling ‘With Or Without EU’ will be back, I’m sorry to everyone for that. If you fancy sending a better jingle for it before then, please email one over to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’ll probably be a weekly feature till the referendum so it’d be nice if someone who can actually sing/play accordion sent something rather than us having to hear my wailing every single week. I mean, as if all the boring campaign rhetoric wasn’t bad enough eh?
As always, if you’re a listener then please do tell others about this show, and give us a nice review on iTunes if you can, follow us on Twitter @parpolbro or on Facebook at parpolbro too. If you’re not a listener then perhaps send me a psychic signal explaining exactly how you knew I’d said this on the show. Or perhaps you have Synesthesia and just smell this show each week. In which case, please let me know what it smells like. I’m guessing by recent politics, probably a good percentage whiffs of bullshit.
This week’s show was brought to you by pretty much the same numbers as last week but you might wish to say it’s a lot less or a lot more depending on your agenda.