Episode 17 – Tiernan talks to Areeq Chowdhury (@AreeqChowdhury) at Web Roots Democracy (@WebRootsUK) about online voting. Also With Or Without EU sadly returns, anti-corruption, Labour troubles and why can’t MPs stop mentioning Hitler?
INTRO SKETCH –
Hello and welcome to ‘I’m an MP and I mustn’t say Hitler’. Tonight we’re joined by Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, David Cameron and Nigel Farage. Round 1, to you Boris:
What is the square root of 678?’
‘I’m afraid not. Over to you Ken. What country’s capital city is Bogota? ‘
‘Hitler Hitler Hitler’
‘No sorry Ken. Next one’s for you Dave.’
Please stop it Boris and Ken. Your round is up. Dave, a marmoset is from which mammalian family?
Incorrect. And last question to your Nigel Farage, what is the name of the infamous World War 2 German dictator?’
‘the EU is the new communism.’
‘Well that’s actually a surprise. Once again not only have you all lost but so have the public. Tune in next time to I’m an MP and I mustn’t say…
‘Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler’.
Hello and welcome to Partly Political Hitler, sorry Broadcast episode 17! I’m Hitler, argh, sorry I’m Tiernan Douieb and on this week’s show there is an interview with Hitler, some stuff about Hitler and Hitler Hitler Hitler. Oh god, I’m so sorry. I’m just practising incase I ever decide to get into parliament. What I meant to say was on this week’s show there is an interview with Areeq Chowdary about why oh why we don’t yet have online voting, there is the dreaded return of With Or Without EU and I’ll be looking at why Labour are such a mess. Yes, this is a 5 hour podcast. Ha! Joke. It’s only 4 hours.
Thanks as always for tuning in, especially to all the new listeners thanks to a nice endorsement from Frankie Boyle. If you are new to this show then welcome then don’t forget to let me know your thoughts on it all via our Twitter and Facebook both @parpolbro, by reviewing it on iTunes and our completely unused email address email@example.com that seems to sit empty apart from Tumblr telling me about all the things I don’t have time to look at. Not that we haven’t had emails to the show of course, it’s just that you clever people send them direct to my email address via my website which I would have thought would be harder to find on account of my millions of vowels.
One such email I received this week was from Matthew Barrowcliffe. Hello Matthew! I am waving but it’s pointless as this is audio only and the people across the road look really unnerved. Anyway, Matthew’s email is very nice but says that he listens to the show in an urban area and with the volume up quite loud to be able to hear it despite road traffic. This does mean though that he’s hugely deafened by and this is how he’s brilliantly written it, the bla-bla-bla-bla-bla-bla blah-blah-bla bit. Yes that is how it sounds. And I will be honest Matthew, I was purposefully putting that bit up loud in an attempt to slowly deafen all listeners before June so that you wouldn’t have to hear anymore EU campaign bollocks. But despite my attempts to save the people, I will instead save your ears and this week, hopefully the bla-bla-bla-bla-bla-bla blah-blah-bla bit should be a shade lower. I mean, it’s only taken me 17 episodes to work out how sound levels work.
Also you’ll note I no longer have a croaky voice, after I beat it into submission by talking until it lost interest and went away. Again, I’m learning a lot from these EU campaigns.
Now here’s a few:
The BBC Charter renewal was unveiled last week and like Saturday Kitchen when James Martin left, is nowhere as bad as everyone thought it’d be. On the other hand, much like the new series of Top Gear, everyone is wondering why it had to happen in the first place and why isn’t there anything in it to stop Chris Evans from ever having to be seen or heard by anyone ever again? The few notable bits in the charter are that the licence fee will continue for 11 years, all employees earning over £450k a year will be named, even if they had names already and the BBC trust will be replaced with a panel partly appointed by the government, which means it definitely won’t have anything to do with trust anymore. The BBC will now also be required to give greater focus to promoting diversity which is a very good thing and long overdue. Although judging by the diversity in Parliament I worry John Whittingdale’s charter just suggests the BBC have shows featuring old white men in a variety of suits called the Great British Bore Off.
Natalie Bennett says she’ll be stepping down as Green Party leader, or as they say in the Green party, she’ll be make like a tree and leaf. No, I’m not sorry. During her 4 years as leader, Bennett saw membership of the party increase dramatically, the party increased it’s MEPs and she managed to do one of the worst interviews ever heard that she blamed on having a cold, even though you’d think having a head full of green stuff should’ve actually helped her. There are no clues who’s up for leader next. Recent mayoral candidate Sian Berry who has the perfect surname for the Greens says she won’t be standing. Maybe they’ll get Caroline Lucas back so that they can recycle an old one?
Wales is in political limbo, which is sort of like normal limbo only no one’s having fun and the bar starts pretty low. Both Former First Minister Carwyn Jones and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood got 29 votes each from the Welsh Assembly to become First Minister. Labour members backed Carwyn, meanwhile Leanne received backing from the Conservatives and UKIP, despite Plaid Cymru previously saying a Tory/UKIP deal was out of the question. It’s almost like principles come second place to power or something. It’d be an odd combination for Wales, who’ve previously only had right wingers on their rugby team. The Conservatives now say they’ll abstain from a second vote, allowing Carwyn to win and the Assembly has till June 2nd to decide before they have to have another election. Meanwhile who knows what the UKIP assembly members will do as they’re run by Neil Hamilton, a man so awful he puts other MPs off being disgraced as it’d mean they’d have something in common with him. Other UKIPpers don’t think Hamilton will unite the party, which is probably because he’s only ever good at uniting money with his pocket, and farce with everything he does.
ANTI CORRUPTION –
On May 12th David Cameron hosted an anti-corruption summit. Yes I really said that. Yes it really happened. Yes it would be like Azealia Banks hosting a forum on building bridges and making friends. Just a couple of days before Cameron was caught by a camera microphone saying to the Queen that ‘Nigeria and Afghanistan would be attending and are fantastically corrupt.’ The Queen was visibly shocked by this, realising she no longer owned either of those countries. Not only is ‘fantastically corrupt’ the sort of language only a supervillian would use, along with ‘deliciously evil’ and ‘curiously minty’, but also Nigeria’s civil society groups have asked ol’Dave only a few weeks ago to do something about all the dirty money from Nigeria that gets laundered in the UK. They complained that many UK authorities turn a blind eye to money hidden in the property market, car dealerships, private schools and all the sorts of places that use the clever tactic of disguising money with yet more money. Meanwhile Afghanistan welcomed Cameron’s comments saying that the country used to have high corruption but is acting against it, and that really, it’d help a lot if the West didn’t help keep the narcotic industry alive. Narcotics that I guess are probably mostly getting consumed in the property market, car dealerships and private schools using some of the laundered Nigerian money to funnel it through their noses.
The last time there was an anti-corruption summit, three years ago a the 2013 G8, three global policy proposals were made, none of which have been fully delivered by anyone. They were to make country by country reporting public, automatic exchange of financial information and globally available public registers of beneficial ownership. This time round, well, still not much progress, except in the area of public registers. Five countries signed up to transparency of beneficial ownership of companies, trusts and foundations in the UK and it’s dependant territories and those countries are: France, Kenya, Netherlands and yeah, you guessed it, Afghanistan and Nigeria. You know who completely failed to meet any of the standards set by the UK? Yep, that’s right. The UK. Well done us. It’s like setting an example of how to drive safely by ploughing your car directly into a tree. So as the Electoral commission take the Conservative Party to the high court for possibly breaching electoral spending conditions, you have to wonder if Cameron meant ‘fantastically corrupt’ as a compliment, hoping that one day, under him, he’d help the UK get to the same standards. All I can say is, good luck Azalea.
INTERVIEW PART 1
The turnouts for the UK elections last week ranged from 20% under 50%, with Scotland getting slightly higher. The news suggested that this was a good result which made me really feel that if that was true, I should have got a better degree at university. It seems to be a consistent problem with UK elections that the majority of people can’t be bothered to vote, even though the results directly affect their lives. Part of this may well be to do with having a phobia of tiny pencils, but it could also be due to the inconvenience of it all. A few of my Twitter followers told me their polling station didn’t have disabled access, and voters in Barnet were turned away due to missing names on their voter lists. Then there’s also the hours and locations and you start to wonder why we can’t vote online in today’s day and age. You can do everything else online from paying your taxes to checking how depressing your bank balance is now you’ve paid your taxes, to booking a doctors appointment because of how sick you feel from checking your bank balance. So why can’t you just open up your phone, pop a smiley face by your favourite candidate and a smiling poo by the one you dislike and cast a vote that way? I mean when the robots take over it’ll be the only way to vote anyway, so why not get a headstart on the T-1000’s?
This week I spoke to Areeq Chowdhury from Web Roots Democracy, a campaign for online voting and tackling growing political apathy. We had a lovely chat and definitely swayed me to give online voting my, er, vote.
We’ll return to Areeq in a minute but first, and yes I’m so sorry about this, it’s
WITHOUT OR WITHOUT EU
Yes, it’s back. No, no one’s sent me a better jingle for it. No, I’m also still not sorry. Both EU referendum campaigns have stepped up the pace now that the local elections are over and the bullshit floodgates have opened, suffocating any other political news. Some of my favourite worst things have been Gordon Brown saying that leaving the EU wouldn’t be very British. It’s a weak soundbite but I suppose he’s right. The British thing would be to stay with it and suffer even if you hate it, spending your days telling everyone how unhappy you are.
Iain Duncan Smith said that the EU is a force for social injustice. Yes, that Iain Duncan Smith. That Iain Duncan Smith who championed non-paying workfare who now says if we left the EU workers wages would go up. Yes, he actually said that along with how it’s harm people who are worse off, all as part of a speech to make pots and kettles resign everywhere.
The International Monetary Fund said a Brexit would be ‘bad to very, very bad’, a situation so dire it sounds like the UK will lose descriptive terms and detail if we go. David Cameron said that a Brexit could endanger peace, seemingly forgetting entirely about NATO and the UN, though I suppose the crowing about winning that we’ll hear from the leave camp for years to come will definitely infringe on attempts at peace and quiet the rest of the country tries to have.
Micheal Gove said he now wants the UK to leave the Single Market if we Brexit because if, as the IMF says it could be bad, why not try your best to reach for ‘very very bad’. I think, as with all of his jobs, Gove visualises himself wearing his justice wig with his back to the channel, pushing away the last boat in the country, screaming ‘You did this to yourself! You are now all children of Gove!’
Several of the stupid papers said the EU is now aiming to ban British kettles, toasters and hairdryers after the referendum, because nothing motivates people like the prospect of wet hair and no breakfast. This is all, as you’d expect, nonsense and actually all part of the European Commision ecodesign scheme which just aims to make products more environmentally friendly. There’s 29 products but of those when it comes to kettles they are reviewing them to make them more durable and with hairdryers its to make sure the wattage used is equal to the performance. So they could have high wattage, if they dry your hair quicker because of it. Essentially the Mail and Express just seem to be scared that the EU will stop them wasting hot air with no results, which I suppose, could put them out of business.
Boris Johnson compared the EU to Hitler, because that’s part of the clause for being an ex-Mayor of London apparently. As soon as Sadiq retires he’ll Hitler all over the shop I guess. And let’s face it, Boris’s comparison of the EU to Hitler really works doesn’t it? Because Hitler was all for a united trade union of countries who provided free movement to all people and was created to stop war between member states. Yep. Totes classic Hitler. And I tried to sit through Brexit The Movie which actually exists, but within 30 seconds they feature both James Delingpole and Melanie Phillips and you realise it’s an hour of all the people you hate from Question Time which no one has ever asked for and none of them blow up or get maimed so it’s pointless viewing. At one point someone actually says ‘I wouldn’t profess to understand the detail of how it all works. And I think some of that is deliberate.’ There is a fisherman who says the EU has ruined the fishing industry seemingly ignoring that before EU policies fish stocks were in severe decline and nothing would ruin the fishing industry more than, you know, a total lack of fish. As a movie it scores very highly on imaginative fictional content, but doesn’t have any black or minority ethnic characters, it doesn’t pass the Bechedal test, and the only thing I can say it has going for it is that there’s more dinosaurs throughout than any one of the Jurasic Park films.
So I thought I’d end this week’s With Or Without EU with a teeny bit of facts from a Full Fact piece I read earlier this week. Again, do check out FullFact.org it really is great for you know, actual information. So with Iain Duncan Smith saying staying the EU is damaging to workers and Cameron and Corbyn saying leaving would be damaging, what is actually correct? Well, as with everything it’s not clear cut, but firstly in terms of Worker’s Rights, the EU does give us a few of those. Under EU working policies are things like the Working Time Directive guaranteeing the right to time off and limited working hours. There’s also employment rights for parental leave, equal opportunities for men and women, and protection of employment upon transfer of business. There were various UK policies in place already and things like the minimum wage are UK law, not EU law. But you do have to wonder if a gvmnt that is currently forcing through the Trade Union Bill, brought in workfare and unpaid apprenticeships, wanted to change Sunday trading hours, thinks Junior Doctors can work insanely long hours with no consequence and wants people to work until they’re 70 would bring in their own policies to cover the missing EU ones if we left.
Similarly the Bremain campaign has said a lot of jobs will be lost if we leave the EU, but the Centre for Economic and Business Research says about 3.1m jobs are linked to exports with the EU. So that’s not membership, just exports. There’s no way of knowing if any of these would be automatically lost if we had a Brexit vote. At the same time they do all depend on exporting things to countries in the EU so that could all become more tricky. So, once again, no easy answer. On the plus side, if we do leave and 3m people do lose their jobs, they won’t need to worry about the government getting rid of all annual leave. Every cloud eh? Every cloud.
Now back to Areeq:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Many thanks to Areeq for chatting with me. You can find Web Roots Democracy at WebRootsDemocracy.org and if you click on their ‘Get Involved’ section you’ll find a link to the e-petition for online voting. They are also on Twitter @webrootsuk and Areeq has his own account @areeqchowdhury so go follow and do all those things.
The name Labour seems nowadays apply more to how much hard work it is for anyone in the party to agree on anything. A week doesn’t go by without someone from Labour attacking someone else from Labour as though they’re going into battle blindfolded and a Tory MP spins them around at the last minute. If Labour are still a party, it’s one where half of them won’t invite the others because they think they’ll ruin it, and the other side have their own gathering in a treehouse with a big sign on the door saying ‘No Corbyn’s allowed’. Those in the party who dislike Corbyn took the recent election results to mean that he’d failed, even when the party did better than it was predicted too.
Wes Streeting, who is the Labour Party barnacle, in that no one wants him there, he’s irritating everyone by being attached but won’t leave of his own accord, he blamed the Havering and Redbridge London Assembly loss on Labour’s anti-semitism row. Though in Havering in Redbridge UKIP support rose highly, and I don’t think those previously Labour voters thought ‘I’m sick of this anti-semitism, I’ll go to UKIP’ unless they were looking for a party who’s better at being racist all rounders? Chris Leslie said on the BBC that Labour need to move more centre to appeal to voters which isn’t at all what they did in 2015 is it Chris? And that turned out well eh? And since he’s become Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been making lots of public statements along the lines of ‘we can’t ignore what voters want’, which is one of those ridiculously obvious statements that carries the same sort of weight as when Bitty McLean sang ‘when it’s raining it’s raining.’
But then at the same time, those on the Corbyn’s side have always got an excuse for when the party isn’t doing well. MP Diane Abbot who’s main skill appears to be the power to sound patronising even when making absolutely no sense, said that the results show Corbyn to being on the way to a 2020 victory at the general election. But they don’t. And really after a few months where the Conservatives managed to piss off doctors and teachers, their Secretary of Work And Pensions resigns over proposed welfare cuts he probably would’ve inflicted himself months later, the Panama Papers, the budget, tons of U-turns and all the infighting over the EU referendum, you’d sort of think Labour could’ve cleaned up quicker than Harvey Keitel using Cillit Bang. And subscribing to this ‘new politics’ is great, except when it means that you look confused during Prime Minister’s Questions instead of slamming Cameron for being a racist pillock and watching as his face looks like it might erupt like an upset balloon.
And yes I think those from within Labour shouldn’t be trying to tear it apart but then everytime there are rumours about Corbyn clamping down on disloyalty I remember that he voted against the party from the backbenches many times.
It has only been 8 months since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader and in terms of politics and it being still 4 years to the next general election its not that long. It’s also worth remembering that the thing is for Labour to step it up a level they need to work out, as a party, what they want. Do they want to, as it’s been suggested this week, chase the voters who have gone to UKIP? Chase the swing voters? Prove you support the working class, or the middle class or the upper class? There’s a lot to say that chasing non-voters won’t make a difference sadly. A report commissioned by the Trade Union Congress after the 2015 elections suggested most non-voters had the same views as voters, so the outcome wouldn’t have changed much, though I’d have probably had to stay up a lot later watching the vote count and would’ve drunk a lot more whisky so that hangover with the results would’ve been even worse.
What the entire party need to do is be willing to get along, listen to all sides of their spectrum of views from Blairite right to Corbyn left and create a manifesto that fits everyone. I mean, there’s no one that the party membership will vote in as leader instead and so if they are a democratic party as they say they are, they’ll have to support whoever is leader. Or, the other option is that they should just split into several smaller parties. You could have old Labour, New Labour, Red Labour, Blue Labour. You know, like a depressing Dr Seuss book, where Horton can only hear himself. That’d halve their vote in 2020 and then ‘haha;’ Corbyn’s detractors will say ‘we told you he wasn’t electable and now after we told everyone he wasn’t for ages then he wasn’t’. Meanwhile his supporters will say ‘actually we did ok and we just hung on and we’ll win in 2025 because I’m sure something will come up by itself.’ And we the people shall sigh as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is found having sex with a pig covered in tons of tax avoided money but he distracts everyone by slipping on a banana skin.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Quick one this week: The Eurovision Song Contest took place last weekend and it is, as everyone always says, secretly a political event. In fact the winning Ukrainian entry sang a song about 1944 and her grandfather being killed by Stalin, as a criticism of Putin. Nothing smarter than speaking out against the Russian leader in a TV show so camp in it’s content, that he’d definitely never watch. And then of course the contest’s new voting system confused everyone making everyone suggest proportional representation would be better, and the British entry had lyrics saying ‘We’re In This Together’ and predictably the rest of Europe hated it. So I asked you lot what Eurovision songs would best represent the Bremain and Brexit campaigns and a few of you replied with these gems:
@ParPolBro Love Shine A Light into Farage’s head so we can have definitive proof it’s empty and Why Do I Always Get It Wrong? for Boris.
@ParPolBro “the grey people” cos I’m bored fucking shitless of all of this.
@ParPolBro Not sure about Brexit as a whole but ‘Oh ah, Just a Little Git’ for Gove.
And now a super super quick:
PARTLY BIG SOCIETY
There’s a nice petition on 38 degrees, which yeah, means it may amount to nothing other than you get emails about every single petition ever every 5 minutes. But it’s a good cause. Created by Chris Peach, it’s a campaign to install proper lighting on all major paths in Glasgow’s Queen’s Park. If you’ve ever been there it’s a great and lovely park in the day but at night time – as I once discovered when thinking I could short cut to a gig and instead got chased by an angry drug addict – it’s not too safe. Yes the energy I had onstage that gig will never be matched. The petition only needs 500 signatures more to reach it’s target, and it’s got some good backing from local councillors already so head to the 38 degrees website and search for Light Up Queen’s Park and sign!
That’s all for this week. Thanks to @Budgie on twitter for one gag . Do follow him and bug him to write more stuff. As always, drop me a line too via @parpolbro on Twitter, parpolbro on Facebook or well, whichever email you like.
But it’d really cheer up the empty inbox if you sent them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Though I can’t tell you what to do. I’m not your dad. At least, not officially anyway. Also please, please keep the iTunes reviews coming in. I honestly don’t care what they say anymore, as long as you stick a 5 star rating on them. Yes I’m that shallow.
This week’s show was brought to you by the number Hitler and the letters Hitler and Hitler.