Episode 25 – The podcast is back. Just without an interview and half the length. This week Tiernan talks Turkey. Also US elections and things you may have missed. Normal service will resume next week.
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Who are the people in your cabinet? In your cabinet?
What’s that? Oh hello Boris. Nice to meet you. Now let me guess what you do in the cabinet.
Ok, so you’re carelessly xenophobic, hugely incompetent,
Ok and you’re terrible at handling delicate situations. Hmm. Well I guess you’ll have been given something where you can’t do any damage then right?
Foreign secretary? Oh. Oh dear.
Welcome to this week’s slightly late and half full Partly Political Broadcast, I’m Tiernan Douieb and I’m now a married man meaning that were I to die suddenly, my beautiful wife would gain this podcast and have to spend a silly amount of time each week shouting at the news. This is the life she’s signed up for. Though she would also gain my Pokemon Go profile and I’ve just gained a Snorlax so it’s not all bad. That’s love that is. Anyway while I’ve been away it seems that like me as a teenager it seems you can’t leave politics alone for a week without it ruining a party, letting everyone down and accidentally setting fire to the curtains.
Prime Minister Theresa May has assembled a new cabinet like how you might assemble an Ikea cabinet if all you had were an axe, and a hatred for Swedish flat-pack furniture. There seem to have been more coups than a Pigeon Race, with Turkey now in a state where to ‘protect democracy’ they’ve hidden it away somewhere really safe where it can’t be found, given it a new identity and had totalitarianism make a public appearance saying they don’t know where it is and it’ll only come back if everyone behaves. Horrifically there have been so many terror attacks and shootings around the world that breaking news should be renamed ‘daily bulletins’, the UK still hasn’t Brexited and no one knows when it will, while we continue to becoming a nation so divided with a rise in hate crimes so severe millions of people are openly telling Pokemon Go. In amongst all this Labour is doing very well at taking on itself in the sort of boring Civil War where it’d now be nice if somehow both sides could lose and someone else invade and take over entirely. Oh and in the US, it’s now official that the Presidential race is between someone who’ll likely start a war with Iran before she’s even moved her linen into the White House, or someone who’ll likely start a war on everyone because the man in the mirror gave him a dirty look and he wasn’t going to stand for it.
So yes, lots to catch up on. Firstly though, thank you for the lovely lovely reviews on iTunes, they really made my day and its so nice to know you lot out there actually like this show. I was particularly pleased with one by ‘sogmac’ who wrote ‘Don’t worry about the rubbish jingles – after a few weeks even these become enjoyable.’ Thanks sogmac.
If you haven’t yet reviewed the show and have 2 mins spare, please do head to iTunes and give us a word or two, or even just a star rating if your life is too busy for vocabulary use. Thanks also to anyone who came to the ‘Night To Restore Sanity’ at Conway Hall last week. It was a brilliant night with a great audience and I think it equally cheered up people and raised some good cash for Help Refugees. I have got an audio file of the evening so I’m just waiting for an ok from all the acts and I’ll hopefully release some sort of truncated version of it at a small fee for any of you who couldn’t get there, with again, all proceeds raising even more money for Help Refugees until we can help all of them and fix the world. Yeah? Easy.
On this week’s show there is no interview as I just haven’t had time with wedding, charity gigs and festivals. Also over the next few weeks as Parliament enters recess and the least silly silly season begins, the release dates for the podcast may become slightly more erratic until September. But that’s ok, because judging by the last few months I’m sure nothing will happen over the silly season anyway, right? Right? But yeah, please bear with me and I promise I’ll churn these out as and when I can. Churn. Like audio butter.
So where to begin? Well here are some things you might’ve missed:
Nothing makes you feel safe at night like knowing we have a new Prime Minister who’s said she’s willing to push the button to unleash a nuclear missile killing hundreds of thousands of people. As May said, what’s the point in having a nuclear deterrent if you aren’t willing to use it because there’s nothing like putting others off firing warheads at you like waving yours around willy nilly shouting ‘we’ve got the big guns so come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.’ Costing at least £31bn to renew with costs of £250bn to keep it going till 2060, Trident will be a brilliant deterrent against the UK’s current biggest enemy, ISIS, who aren’t based in any particular area and do individual attacks within countries they oppose so I’m sure by nuking the site of a terrorist attack in Germany, France or our own soil it’ll really put them off I’m sure. Some critics say Trident is out dated but an updated version would cost even more and wouldn’t be operational till 2035 so you’ve have to keep Trident till then like an old dying PC that still has the ability to delete all your files. The other option would be to scale back or scrap our nuclear program entirely and join countries such as South Africa, Argentina or Ukraine who have given up their nuclear program entirely.
The UK has actually signed the Treaty On The Non-Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons, but only under the first pillar of non proliferation, meaning we can have them but we won’t encourage other countries. Which sounds hugely patronising. ‘No I don’t think you should have the possibility of killing thousands of people. What do you mean we have it though? Yeah but we’re responsible and need them incase you piss us off.’
355 MPs voted in favour of Trident, including 140 Labour MPs, who we’ve all realised over the last 9 months, love to blow things up unnecessarily. Several Labour MPs including Tom Watson said it was ridiculous for Corbyn to vote against Trident as not renewing it would cost many union members working in the defence industry their jobs. You know, in the way a huge nuclear fall out that destroys a large chunk of the country wouldn’t. Labour leadership campaigner Owen Smith said we needed Trident because Donald Trump could end up with his finger on the US nuclear button. Owen is going to be hugely shocked when he finds out the UK needs US authorisation to use Trident in the first place. Imagine that scenario. Trump sends a nuke to the UK, we have to sheepishly call him, surrounded by fire and death and ask if we can fire one back, to ‘deter’. Great stuff. I am, as you can probably tell, hugely against Trident, having visited Hiroshima and seen the horrors that nuclear attacks can cause. I also think it’s a lot of money that could be used for useful infrastructure instead. But the one that that has turned me round is that we now have Boris Johnson as foreign secretary so it’s entirely possible we’ll have several more major enemies by the end of the year. Maybe that was Theresa May’s thinking in giving him the job? There’s every chance Boris will rugby tackle the child of a head of state and next thing you know, we’re all playing a live action version of Akira. So maybe we need a nuclear deterrent now more than ever.
Suzanne Evans, the UKIP spokesperson who always speaks as though she’s on QVC selling a special limited edition xenophobia set, has decided she won’t be standing for leader of the party. This isn’t just because she’d probably struggle to lead a donkey with a carrot, but because she says, of it’s increasingly hard right image. You know, the sort of hard right image it’s gained after Evans did things like blame the housing crisis on immigrants even though she owns three homes herself, or that UKIP didn’t get enough support in London due to there being too many educated people. Instead Evans is backing someone called Lisa Duffy who up until Evans mentioned her, was completely unknown. Still, I suppose if you are going to lead a party in obscurity, it’s helpful if you know what it’s like going into the job. Duffy is a mother of six, which if anything, means she’s part of the reason the UK is overcrowded. She also used to work as a store manager for TK Maxx so she could be perfect for UKIP leader being used to having things in no discernable order, regularly having to retract and make excuses for offensive slogans and constantly inventing figures to make promises seem too good to be true.
Remember Universal Credit? The most awful thing with Universal in it’s name coming just before Universal Soldier 2: Day Of Reckoning, Universal a 1990’s Australian boy band who sang a song called ‘Rock Me Good’ including lyrics such as:
Don’t be shy girl, come closer
Gonna make it with you
When the warm breeze is blowing
Pour sweet wine onto you
Yes, Universal Credit is worse than that. Prime Minister Theresa May has pushed back the roll out of Universal Credit to 2022. The whole scheme was meant to be fully implemented by next year, and cost around £2.2bn, but is now going to be 5 years overdue with an estimated cost of £15.8bn instead. It was originally proposed by Iain Duncan Smith who’s only good idea he’s ever had was resigning payments into one because that way the Department of Work and Pensions can just be incompetent about one thing. Since it’s unveiling it’s been dogged by online issues, payment problems and several studies saying it will actually make a lot of people more worse off. The new work and pensions secretary Damien Green has insisted they’ve only pushed it back this time to avoid slip ups and make sure it’s delivered properly, but it’s more likely that May has realized Universal Credit is a time bomb and she’d much prefer it go off later in her governance or even someone else’s when it’s more likely to affect people on welfare like she intends it to, rather than her cabinet. Though who knows, by 2022, we’ll probably all have been nuked anyway.
ELECTORAL REFORM VOTE
MPs rejected a bill to change Britain’s voting system to a type of proportional representation as, you know, that’d just give the public more power and say and who wants that eh? They’ve had a referendum, what more do they want? Actual democracy? What next? The moon? Caroline Lucas from the Green Party put forward the motion to have an Additional Member System for voting, which would mean parties would get seats depening on the overall share of the vote. The current first past the post means the House Of Commons really doesn’t represent the votes that were cast as it’s just focused on the most votes in a constituency, meaning in some areas it’s completely pointless voting as they are safe seats. In some ways, this is great as it meant despite UKIP getting 3.9m votes they only have one MP. But then it isn’t great for that happening to any party you might actually like. And really above all, democracy would be nice. In 2015 Labour gained 1.5% more of the popular vote than in 2010 but lost 26 seats, while the Conservatives only gained 0.8% of the vote but gained 23 seats. So clearly, it’s a bit of a mess and with the Conservatives boundary changes no doubt being pushed through my Theresa May before the next election it’d be nice if every vote counted. Sadly, despite support from the Green Party, Lib Dems, SNP, UKIP and Labour it was voted down at 81 votes to 74, and judging by the AV vote in 2011 where all the money backed the ‘No to AV’ campaigns meaning it was an easy win, it’s unlikely we’ll see PR anytime soon. Well we will, just the other sort of PR. No, not public relations. Oh this is confusing.
2. Who are the people in your cabinet? In your cabinet?
Oh hello Jeremy. What do you do in the cabinet?
You’re awful at health want to privitise the health service don’t care about doctors think and have been the worst health secretary ever known? Well I guess you’ll be doing something else then….
Oh. Oh dear.
Turkey is a country that unfortunately appears to be pretty stuffed, despite it only being July. The gateway from the Middle East to Europe and back again was the subject of a failed coup last week. Just under 9000 members of the Turkish army took part in a failed attempt to overthrow the government. And while you might think it’s a good thing the coup failed, as those sorts of military interventions never end well, instead it means the country is under the even tighter rule of President Erdogan, a man who regularly straddles the line between total dick and totalitarian dictator on a daily basis. Leader of the Justice and Development party or AKP, a name that I don’t think can be said without sarcasm and since becoming Turkish Prime Minister in 2003, he’s been accused of corruption, electoral fraud, demeaning the constitution and violating human rights which is the sort of CV that even Andrea Leadsom wouldn’t want. In 2014 he became Turkish president, a role that is meant to be largely ceremonial, but Erdogan has pushed for executive presidency, announced that he wouldn’t assume presidential neutrality and is suspected of forcing the last prime minister to resign because he wouldn’t go along with Erdogan’s plans.
One of the most incredible stories was during the 2014 local elections where there were high levels of documented fraud including theft and burning of ballots all in favour of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party or AKP. Convenient electrical blackouts kept happening in Ankara during vote counting, disrupting the process and the energy minister was ridiculed for saying they were due to a cat getting into the power distribution unit. Which I think is not a bad excuse. I mean, cats always look like they’re plotting things, and they can see in the dark, so why not send one troop in to black out an entire city in order to quietly take over at night? Yeah totes plausible. Or paws able. Eh? Eh? No I’m not sorry.
The opposition group the Republican People’s Party have alleged that over 1863 journalists have lost their jobs due to their anti-government views and AKP have had tighter and tighter controls over the media since 2013 when mainstream channels didn’t broadcast any footage of the mass anti-government protests. CNN International showed coverage of it while at the same time CNN Turk showed a program about penguins because I guess that’s a far more black and white situation. Internet controls were brought in allowing the government to block websites without a court order and Twitter and Youtube were banned in 2014 after a dodgy recording of Erdogan and his son discussing nullifying all the families cash reserves due to the corruption scandal made its way online. I mean, he could’ve just clicked the thumbs down on it instead and written a racist comment like everyone else. You do wonder if maybe he actually blocked youtube so people wouldn’t find out where the AKP get all their inspiration for their cat and penguin excuses the rest of the year round? If the next suspicious crisis is blamed on a monkey riding a pig you’ll know that’s the case.
Just this year Erdogan forced arrests on academics who signed a petition against Turkey’s crackdown on ethnic Kurdish towns and wanting an end to violence. The President decided that these peacekeepers were ‘the darkest of people’ and pushing ‘terrorist propaganda’ because, as well know, wanting peace is totes classic terrorist moves. Many were arrested in dawn raids, several others lost their jobs. And in March 2016 a former Miss Turkey model was sentenced to a year in prison because she shared a poem insulting Erdogan on her Instagram feed.
But Erdogan still has a lot of support, mainly among conservative Muslim citizens who feel that he is undoing the damage that was done by Ataturk in the 1920’s and 30’s. And by damage, they mean secularism, civil rights for women, free education and lower taxes on the poor. You know, all those terrible things right? I mean, who’d want that? And internationally Turkey is the barrier between Syria and Europe, and a leading NATO member, so right now, Erdogan holds a fair amount of weight with other political leaders.
And some of that is why the coup, despite it being nearly 9000 miltary staff, 35 planes, 37 helicopters, 74 tanks and in some sort of slur to the navy, just 3 ships, failed. The military needed public support or more military backing, neither of which happened. Part of the army announced using the state broadcaster that it had seized power to protect democracy and announced a nationwide curfew, but Erdogan, who was on holiday at the time, appeared on the news, via a Facetime Skype call telling his supporters to take to the streets and protest, leading to violent clashes across Istanbul. He followed this up with a series of tweets and a nationwide text. Again, only ridiculous Erdogan, a man who has banned most social media sites, could then use Facetime & Twitter to save his own government. It’d have been like Mary Whitehouse’s will only being accessible on a porn site. It’s still not clear who was responsible for the coup, but the government has blamed a Muslim cleric called Fethullah Gulen, who is exiled in the US. Gulen promotes a tolerant Islam and up until the AKP closed down a number of private schools run by Gulen’s Hizmet movement, he was assisting the AKP in undermining the Turkish secular state and asking his followers to infiltrate mainstream structures. But Gulen and the AKP fell out when it appeared the government simply used him for their own motives and the two fought in a power struggle for the state.
However this coup doesn’t seem like the Gulen movements work as using violence isn’t their usual bag. They usually go for nicer more gentler tactics, you know, things like wire-tapping, false evidence and smear campaigns. The coup plotters also called themselves the ‘Peace At Home Council’ which comes from Ataturk’s famous saying ‘Peace At Home, Peace In The World’ which is often how I feel when I’ve closed all the windows and have Netflix on. Gulenists are opposed to Ataturk’s policies so again, it doesn’t sound like them. Unless it’s a very obvious reference on purpose and is actually them. Who needs the internet when you have plot twists like that?
265 people died and 1440 were wounded in the clashes on the night of the coup and since then 2700 judges have been dismissed, 3000 soldiers have been arrested and nearly 16000 overall have been detained. Amnesty International has said they’ve received credible evidence that those detainees have been subject to beatings and torture. The Turkish government announced a state of emergency which allowes them to bypass parliament or restrict and suspend rights and freedoms of citizens. This was apparently all to ‘protect democracy’, because Erdogan seems to assume the only way to protect it is to hide it away somewhere were no one can use it and ruin it.
So for now, it all seems like Turkey is under the grip of an even more powerful government as a result of the failed coup and a scarily power hungry Erdogan and this will not only affect the citizens of Turkey but also many Syrian refugees trying to flee their country too. International intervention may be needed. Either that or fingers crossed those cats get the blackouts started again and take over soon.
Across the other, slightly larger pond, the US presidential election race has finally begun. What do you mean? Didn’t it start about 4 years ago, you’re all thinking? Well yes, sort of, but the last year of ill thought through sound bites and pompous nationalistic fanfares have all just been to elect the presidential candidates for each party. And now they’re officially chosen the big race can get underway. Hilary Clinton has now been named as the official Democratic Candidate for the US presidency, a triumph for feminism although in typical patriarchal US fashion her husband did have to go first. Then for the Republican side they have hairy melanoma Donald Trump, who in the last week has managed to prove that he doesn’t really have policies, more occasional ideas with no means to carry them out. So far he’s stated that it wasn’t ok that Clinton voted for the Iraq War, but when questioned about his running mate Pence voting for it, that was fine. That global warming doesn’t exist, but it is threatening one of his golf courses so money should be spent on a sea wall to protect it. And that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with something that he hasn’t specified and isn’t sure what it is. He is America’s Baldrick, only it seems many are sadly keen to make him Queenie.
At a news conference in Florida Trump asked that Russia hack Hilary Clinton’s emails that she lost or deleted and leak them to the press. Which I guess is so that Trump can see what policies are actually like.
The problem is that Clinton is very much establishment, and regardless of the State reopening it’s investigation into her use of personal email to do state business, or the IRS’s current investigation into the Clinton Foundation’s tax exemption, she may not be what a lot of disillusioned America want anyway. Former leadership challenger and Simon and Garfunkel’s music personified Bernie Sanders made a speech at the Democratic conference where he told supporters to vote for Hilary instead of Trump and many booed, saying that her acceptance of corporate money is exactly what they want to rally against. Some even said they’d prefer to vote for Trump which is a curious option. Like being concerned that King Kong is damaging the city so protesting to get Godzilla in instead. But this is the situation America is in right now. Either vote for the same, albeit a historical moment in having a first female president, but politically probably a continuation of ignoring low income workers, playing to businesses and probably an unnecessary war with Iran. Or vote for a complete idiot who probably often walks into glass walls thinking they’re open, won’t have a clue what to do and will likely have an unnecessary war with everyone, except Russia. It is a vote between having shit cake or having shit poured all over your house and everyone you love drowning in it.
There’ll be some more in-depth looks at the US election in the coming weeks as it gets ever nearer.
2. Who are the people in your cabinet? In your cabinet?
Hello Karen Bradley! What do you do in the cabinet?
You’ve got no experience of culture and are entirely business focused? You’ve worked as a tax manager and have a degree in maths? Maybe some sort of job in the Treasury then? Or Business Secretary?
Culture Secretary? Oh. Oh dear. What about you Liam Fox?
You’re a disgrace? Well I assume you’ve not got any job then.
International Trade Secretary? Is this a fucking joke?
Theresa May has spent the first few weeks of her Prime Minister role travelling around Europe asking other heads of state not to hate her as it was all balloon face’s fault, and so it currently looks like we still won’t be actually Brexiting anytime soon. It seems this is one of those break ups where despite it definitely being over, we’re still sleeping on the sofa in the flatshare until we can find something else, no matter how inconvenient it might be. Merkal has backed not triggering Article 50 just yet, which would give the UK two years to get its shit together and pack it’s bags, saying that the UK should ‘take a moment first and identify it’s interests.’ It’s not entirely clear how long that moment will be, especially as yet, the government’s interests really aren’t very obvious. May and the new Chancellor Phillip Hammond wants to make sure that close ties with the EU are kept, but newly appointed International Trade Secretary and fucking disgrace Liam Fox wants us to focus on deals with non-EU countries first. This is causing issues amongst the cabinet with the Brexiteers, or as I like to call them destructive careless wankers, Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox all have prime Brexit roles and are concerned that May and Hammond are going for a Brexit lite affair. Which is just like a Brexit only less damaging to the UK’s health. But May is PM so she’ll dictate which way it goes and with visits to Ireland, Poland and Slovakia this week, in the words of Moloko, but she may make this moment last. May is like the teacher who tells her pupils if they finish their work they can play outside, but keeps giving them work and locks the doors and burns everything outside just to make sure they can’t.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Sorry it was a bit late and sorry also for lack of interview or structure or well, anything. These summer months are crazy work wise and so these will be fired out as and when I can but there may be the odd gap here and there till September. If you’re around in London over the next few weeks come along to the Phoenix Fringe which is an independent comedy fringe I co-run at the Phoenix in Oxford Circus. We run it as a sort of anti-Edinburgh fringe with any acts who aren’t going trying new stuff and new ideas. This year we have acts like Sara Pascoe, Hal Cruttenden, Josie Long and me. Especially come and see me. I’m on August 8th, on the same night as Josie and the brilliant Kerry Godlimann, and you can get a ticket to see all of us for £20 so do that. Check out the website at phoenixfringe.co.uk.
Please keep your itunes reviews coming, also any other thoughts, feelings or general sensations to @parpolbro on Twitter or facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for listening and this will hopefully be back next week possibly even with an interviewee. Oooooooo.
This week’s episode was brought to you by various letters of complaint and the number to call if any issues mentioned affected you.
2. Who are the people in your cabinet? In your cabinet?
Hello Andrea Leadsom. What do you do in the cabinet? Please say it’s something you have relevant experience for and won’t make a shambles of?
Blur blurb lurb lurblru r
You’re Secretary Of State For Enviornment, Food and Rural Affairs? But aren’t you pro-fracking and still not 100% sure climate change is real?
But you’re definitely qualified because your CV says you have super high scores on Farmville? Oh Andrea. Oh dear.