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Hello. This is a Partly Political Broadcast from the Halfway In EU Campaign. Do you realise that according to experts if we leave the EU then:
But according to other experts, if we remain then:
So, we here at the Halfway In campaign think we should add an extra option to the voting paper to allow us to stay just halfway in. Not be part of the EU, or leave the EU, but instead both and neither of those so we skip the E and make it all about U. We like to think of it as the Grand Ol’ Duke Of York option where we all just stay halfway up and instead of trying to please everyone, we ultimately equally disappoint everyone but avoid all of the:
So Vote HalfWay In because frankly, we’re so bored of Bremain and Brexit, we wished they’d both just Bruck Right Off.
INTRO – DONE
INTERVIEW WITH ADAM PART 1
As England is filled with, er, Eng and Ireland has much er, Ire, maybe, well Scotland is indeed the home of Scots. Since the vote for Scottish devolution in 1998 and the more recent Independence referendum in 2014, Scotland has become very much a solo player when it comes to the UK political scene with many Scottish people voting for more localised politicians from the SNP rather than the Westminster lot who are at least a 6 hour train ride away with no plugs and very temperamental WIFI. But while the Scottish National Party still have a lot of support, it has waned slightly in the recent elections, and issues with educational inequality and a recent vote for Scottish Labour’s policy of ban on fracking, are things set to change?
This week I spoke to co-Editor of independent global media platform Open Democracy Adam Ramsay who tried to break down what’s happening in Scotland right now. A few heads ups, Adam is a Green campaigners and was and still is pro-independence for Scotland so, as I know from some of the Scottish listeners to this podcast, some of his opinions may be the opposite to a few of you, but he’s incredibly knowledgable on Scottish politics and as you know I prefer to let my interviewees talk rather than interrogate them Paxman style. What I’m more concerned about is that Adam sounds English not Scottish, and I’m sure to any Scottish listeners that’s like me asking a fish for information on the Sahara, but Adam is Scottish and Edinburgh based, so he’s totes legit for this chat.
Despite me knowing an ok amount about Scottish Parliament, I had a complete mind blank when interviewing Adam and managed to forget if it was a Parliament or an Assembly and generally was all a bit stupidly muddled. It was bank holiday Monday, cut a guy some slack.
So after all that probably unnecessary build up, here’s Adam:
And we’ll be back with Adam in a minute but first:
WITH OR WITHOUT EU
Right let’s rattle through this week’s chapter of the EU Ref Shit Show Extravaganza where topping the list of ridiculous claims was from the UK’s only known sufferer of oral flatulence and melted blowfish impersonator Nigel Farage. Now I know that after a history of wildly inaccurate and offensive comments such as migrants all having HIV or how millions of Bulgarians would swarm to the UK at the beginning of last year, you’ll be shocked that someone as restrained as Farage has said something else completely horrific. This time Nige said saying that staying in the EU would increase the risk of sex attacks by migrants. Now I’m not sure if his German wife has promised some sort of very up front campaign of her own, but if not, I can’t imagine that all the EU migrants that have been living in the UK for years will suddenly rise up post a referendum vote screaming ‘they aren’t leaving, now is the time’.
Many on the Vote Leave campaign have said the comments are outrageous and even Michael Gove said he wouldn’t make comments like that. Instead Gove has chosen to pretend he is anti-elitsism and pro workers despite years of him not voting against a bankers bonus cap, helping private businessmen like Theodore Agnew receive knighthoods because they donated to the Conservative Party, or wanting to spend £60m of taxpayers money on a yacht for the Queen, an unelected ruler of Britain. Gove has also repeatedly said that if we didn’t give money to the EU we could give an extra £100bn a year to the NHS. The key word in that statement is ‘could’ because aside from it being a ludicrous claim as there’s no guarantee where the money not spent on the EU would go or if it’d need to be used for other trade negotiations anyway, there’s also the fact that if Gove was in charge it probably wouldn’t go anywhere near the NHS, considering he once said it is no longer relevant in the 21st century. Which is an odd comment to come from someone who always looks like he’s really really ill.
Meanwhile the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stood up for the Remain campaign saying that a points based immigration system would lead to a race to the bottom which sounds like a post watershed game show. And Former Prime Minister and talking cardboard John Major said that the Leave campaign is depressing which is quite a statement coming from him. Major also said that the NHS would be about as safe as a pet hamster in the presence of a hungry python if Boris Johnson and Michael Gove ended up in charge of it. While I don’t disagree, under Cameron and Jeremy Hunt it’s very much like someone’s put sauce on that hamster and given the python a knife and fork. Which yes, would be useless to a snake, but I bet Jeremy Hunt wouldn’t figure that out.
So aside from all of that, this week I thought I’d quickly talk about TTIP or as you might call it T-TIP, T-TI-P, T-T –IP or The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership for long. TTIP is a proposed trade agreement between the US and the EU with the aim of, as they say in gargle business speak, promote trade and economic growth, but what they actually mean is ruin things to the extent that Starbucks can build a shop in your bathroom and if you complain that you need that space in order to take a shit, they’ll sue you for loss of profits. The TTIP is a very controversial deal as it could lead to changes in food safety legislation so that grub contains more genetically modified ingredients, to the further loosening of banking regulations, which considering how the City of London already operates I think means bank regulations will popped in a duffel bag and driven to the woods to be released into the wild. Jobs could also be at threat if it passes as US labour standards are much lower than the EU’s, and trade union rights are much lower. Perhaps most worryingly of all is part of the TTIP that includes signing up to the ISDS or Invester State Dispute Settlements which would allow companies to sue the government if they implement policies that could lose them profit. This would mean reversing the privatisation of public institutes would be very difficult, or companies could sue if the minimum wage was increased as it’d harm their profits and health policies that advice against certain products would probably be avoided despite their benefit. Mars Inc could sue because the Sugar Tax makes it less affordable for people to have a Mars a day. Or Tesco could sue because the Child Working Laws mean that every little can’t help all the time.
Now part of the left wing leave EU argument is that by leaving we won’t be subjected to TTIP or CETA the Canadian equivalent as it’s a deal with the EU, but David Cameron is the one who was most keen to sign up and has said that he still thinks it’d be good for the UK so we’d probably sign up anyway. But before you start growing your own crops and preparing for a life of Wallmart, protestors against TTIP have managed to get the government to confirm they will back a bill to protect the NHS from it. But there are still a lot of critics in Parliament who don’t the deal pushed through at all while ISDS is still part of it. So hopefully we won’t find ourselves in a few years time with the government scrapping the last vestiges of the Arts Council budget because it demeans the idea of Subway’s Sandwich Artists.
INTERVIEW WITH ADAM PART 2
Thanks to Adam for chatting with me. He can be found on Twitter @AdamRamsay and Open Democracy is opendemocracy.net or @opendemocracy. Adam’s also part of Bright Green @brightgrn which is independent analysis of the Green movement. Check that out too.
There will be no guest next week, so you’ll be stuck with my stupid voice for the whole podcast, but I’m currently lining up people for the following ones. As always if you have someone you’d like me to try and interview or a subject you’d like me to try and interview someone on, let me know @parpolbro, on FB at parpolbro or at email@example.com
Despite what the leave campaign would have you think, people from other countries aren’t taking your jobs. No, instead it’s robots you have to worry about. Being built over here, speaking all of the possible languages they’ve been programmed with, not paying taxes but calculating them for everyone else instead and yeah, taking your jobs. Already in many supermarkets the irritating self service till that gets all confused by how many items you have has replaced the dead eyed member of staff who gets all confused how many items you have. Same in banks and various retail shops, meaning the humans are reduced to merely standing by these machines helping idiots to use them. In reality the Matrix would have had to keep several humans alive just to say to the other humans, ‘no plug that in there to be assimilated. Shall do it for you?’ Middle skill jobs in the EU fell by 10% between 1993 and 2010 because of machines taking them instead.
One of the ways to fight the possibility of robot overlords, aside from a laser sword, and bravado, could be a universal basic wage. Labour are considering backing the idea as an alternative to a means tested benefit system. The Universal Basic Wage or UBI would be a weekly minimum wage given to every adult and child regardless of their circumstance. This idea has just been rejected in Switzerland after an overwhelming majority of 77% of the population voted against it, possibly because it’d really hit the euthanasia clinic industry if people were happier. The arguments for it by the Swiss left were that those doing work such as being unpaid carers, would be able to sustain themselves with a UBI and it’d pull people out of poverty while helping others with the high costs of living in Switzerland on an endless diet of chocolate and cheese. Probably. But the right wing parties said that it’d increase immigration because they haven’t yet heard about the robots. As for the UK, some economists say a UBI would be unaffordable to implement quickly, while others say that it’d be an immediate saving instead of welfare and would cut child poverty by 45% alone. Personally it’d mean I get paid for doing this podcast, so hurry up Labour yeah before this show hosts itself. And if it ran on Windows most weeks it wouldn’t even know how to start.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
This week with Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis backing staying in and a man who’s barely conquered breathing without thinking about it Joey Essex backing Brexit, I asked you, the people who you thought the worst people to back either campaign would be and why?
@ParPolBro For fuck’s sake, don’t ask Ken L who he thinks would be either helpful or harmful. You just know who he’d say…
@ParPolBro seems that that may be a game they’re already playing.
@ParPolBro Julius Caesar would be bad one for remain. It’d be difficult to believe he didn’t just want us under the oppressive Roman empire.
@ParPolBro The Governator for Leave. He’s said it enough times. You know he’ll be back
@ParPolBro Alan Partridge
@ParPolBro Hard to think of anyone worse than the triumvirate of twattery that is Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith TBH.
@ParPolBro Hard to beat reality. – John McCirick
That’s all for this week’s show. As I said earlier, next week’s will be an EU special. No interviewee, just me, trying to make sense of all of the nonsense before the vote. So if you have questions or specific things you’d like to know or you know, just would like any actual information about it all, let me know and I’ll try and answer them as best as I can. Otherwise, please do tell others about this podcast if you enjoy it, if you don’t enjoy it, why not hold a pointless referendum with your own brain weighing up the options over the next few months as to whether you should continue to listen or not?
And yes, I say this every week, but please please review us on iTunes. Please. I mean, if you don’t:
This week’s show was brought to you by numbers that are based on four people that were at home during the day, bothered to answer their home phone and are probably racist.