Episode 28 – Tiernan looks into the failures of G4s, more Brexit nonsense and an interview with writer and campaigner Tansy Hoskins (@tansyhoskins) about the political side of the fashion industry.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast episode 28! I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week, unlike Mother Theresa, I have not been recognised as a saint by the Catholic church despite once burping, farting and sneezing all at the same time, and once seeing a fat squirrel eat a Cornetto ice cream like a human would. I mean, if that’s not enough for sainthood, what’s a guy gotta do? Be Catholic in the first place? Oh. Oh well, I’ll skip it then.
Parliament restarts this week, but sadly not in the way where you press the off switch for 5 seconds because it’s all broken and you need to start again. More in the way that MPs are returning from their holidays, all refreshed from seeing what things other countries do things badly, with brand new ideas of how to implement that in the UK. There’s two weeks of discussing various bills in the Commons and Lords before all the party conferences start. You know, the Conservative one where they all cheer about how much money they’re making themselves before they probably take a ton of expensive drugs and swap keys. The Labour one where they’ll be holding workshops on the best ways to score own goals, with a dancefloor open 24/7 for fights to happen on. And the Lib Dem one, where it’ll probably just be 8 of them in a Scout Club shed arguing about who’s turn it is to buy the rich teas.
The Green Party’s annual conference has already taken place and the new joint leadership was announced of John Bartley, the party’s work and pensions secretary and former leader Caroline Lucas. Which proves they really do like to recycle everything.
Part of the big news this past weekend was that Keith Vaz, now former chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, a parliamentary group probing vice and drugs, was found to be very much probing vice and investigating drugs thanks to an undercover video. The video showed him hiring male escorts and telling them ‘let’s get this party started’, presumably not speaking about an exciting new way to reboot Labour. Oddly Vaz’s way of hiding his identity from the escorts was to say his name was Jim and he was a washing machine salesman. Not a great choice of job considering his lack of being able to spin this story about his dirty laundry, and how clearly he’s already been hung out to dry.
And the Labour leadership contest continues to bore the shit out of everyone. Jeremy Corbyn will be holding a press conference with UB40 because he obviously wants to target middle of the road, 40 somethings who probably wear shorts regardless of weather, and people who program the playlists for students union 80’s nights. Meanwhile Owen Smith has decided to carefully apologise for a tweet he sent that suggested Nicola Sturgeon shut her gob, by saying ‘It was just banter.’ Great excuse mate. Sexisms obviously fine if it’s just classic bantz between you and your 42 thousand folllowers. I assume it’s just weeks before he does a press conference wearing boot polish on his face and doing concerning accents and backs up it by shouting ‘just joshing mate’ at the end.
Anyway, thanks again for downloading, listening and maybe even subscribing to this podcast if you’re a total champion of the people, or more likely, like me, have far too much time on your hands. As always if you fancy giving the show a review on iTunes please, please do and also, here’s a new plea for you, if you fancy telling someone you know and like about this podcast and persuading them to listen to it, that’d be great. Or someone you don’t like but you want to punish them by making them waste phone space by downloading a PPB episode anyway, that’ll do. I really have no idea if you just click ‘mark as played’ on these or not, so ultimately it just looks like the show is more popular and I’m happy to live with that delusion. Also, as banged on about last week, my new stand-up comedy special ‘The World’s Full Of Idiots, Let’s Live In Space’ is now available for download or stream at my website www.tiernandouieb.co.uk for about £3 – the website has decided they only do things in dollars now as if mocking Brexit – and it’s over an hour of jokes about space, politics and one particularly awful pun. And if that hasn’t sold it you, nothing will.
On today’s show I have a chat with author of ‘Stitched Up!’ and campaigner Tansy Hoskins about the politics of the fashion industry, I’ll be looking at how G4S sound like a romantic carving in a tree but are actually just shits and there’s also, you know, other stuff.
JUNIOR DOCTORS STRIKES
Junior Doctors have called off another strike next week against the imposed new contract, because the Greater Medical Council has stated that this strike will cause patients to suffer, though I suppose at least this would have only been 5 days of that, whereas the new contract might cause patients to suffer for years. The junior doctors haven’t yet suspended further walkouts mainly because Heath Secretary and flattened emu Jeremy Hunt is still being a bellend. Theresa May has urged doctors to ‘stop playing politics’ because you know, it’s not a very fun game to play if the other team are actually trying to win too. Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt compared himself to Nye Bevan, which is a bizarre comparison unless Hunt means he’s the Bizarro negative world reverse version who will take a world with an NHS and successfully destroy it. Once again the problem is that talks to need to restart between the British Medical Association who are professional doctors and Jeremy Hunt. And how are you meant to heal wounds when one side of the table seems to assume prodding them constantly with a pointed stick will help?
CULTURAL PROPERTY BILL / FINANCE BILL
A few bills are being discussed in Parliament this week. The Investigative Powers Bill, you know, Theresa May’s terrifying baby that wants it to be easier to access your iPhone, is now in it’s penultimate stages. It’s likely the House Of Commons will pass the vote because none of them understand how the internet works. There is the Finance Bill, the remains of sacked, lifeless automaton George Osborne’s reign as chancellor. This looks like it’ll be pushed through quite easily resulting in a sugar tax that will mostly punish everyone by making us see Jamie Oliver jump up and down like a twat more often, fuel duty to continue to be frozen because if we’re going to drive forward into irreversible climate change we may as well do it cheaply and capital gains tax cuts, because there’s no better way to help a housing crisis than to make sure it’s more affordable for landlords to buy even more of the properties there aren’t enough of.
Lastly there is the ‘protect cultural property in times of war’ bill, which is the UK’s chance to sign up to an international bill from 1954 that gives armed forces a duty to not attack cultural property. Part of the bill makes it an offence to deal with cultural property that has been illegally exported from occupied territory and suddenly you see why, despite it being created in 1954 Britain has held off signing it till now. Yes, we do rather like the British museum don’t we? Anyway, it’ll probably get signed now and should war break out, we can all hide in the House of Commons feeling both safe but sad it won’t be a target in some ways.
RIGHT WING PEOPLE SEX LIVES
According to a YouGov survey across Europe very right wing people are more likely to be satisfied with their sex lives. I guess this is because they are constantly fucking things over without giving those affected anything they want, and I reckon they particularly enjoy being on top. In Britain, the survey showed that very right wing people were happier than left wing people too, though that wasn’t the case across Europe, probably because across the continent they don’t always let them win like we do here. Also, never forget, ignorance is bliss. So if you’d like to be happier and feel more satisfied in your love life, maybe the trick is to go all right wing and adopt a free market philosophy to sex. By that, I mean pay for it.
INTERVIEW PART 1
As someone who regularly wishes they’d set up a service to send you the same pair of jeans every 12 months, just with an extra inch on the waist, fashion isn’t something I think about often. And aside from the anti-fur trade movement protesting against the strange desire of rich people to adorn their bodies with the carcasses of small mammals like a walking taxidermist, I’ve naively never thought of the fashion industry as one rife with politics. But it turns out when David Bowie sang ‘It’s big and it’s bland full of tension and fear’ he was right, with exploitation of workers all over the shop. Or to be more precise the sweatshop. What with there being many a fashion week about to kick off, I thought what better way to ensure any coverage you see will be viewed through the filter of politically aware angst, than to chat this week to Tansy Hoskins. Tansy is a journalist, activist and author of ‘Stitched Up! The Anti-Capitalist Book Of Fashion’ and regularly writes pieces on the dark side of being chic, and I don’t just mean that because Dark Chocolate brown is in this season. I don’t know what that means, I just googled it. And now I’m hungry.
Anyway, I met up with Tansy in a noisy theatre café so as per every week….
There is some noise of people pretending to be cultured, drinking the sort of coffees that have silly names and every now and then the announcement for the show starting comes on. But I think that just adds drama to our chat. Ha! Geddit! In all honesty, it’s not that bad, I just like my new jingle.
So, here’s Tansy….
We’ll be back with Tansy in a minute, but first…..
G4S, a company who’s initials I assume stand for ‘grasping’ and ‘straws’, are back in the political periphery again. Firstly they were going to provide security for the Labour conference, but the party voted to boycott them earlier in the year, then as Labour approached them again recently G4S turned them down. I mean, to be fair, the only security threat to Labour at the moment will come from people who already have tickets and will be speaking at the conference anyway. The press made out that this was an embarrassment to the Labour party but actually boycotting them in the first place was a very smart move as G4S’s record is more tarnished than a Vampire Weekend vinyl in a warehouse flat in Shoreditch.
I mean, there is an entire Wikipedia page just for ‘Controversies surrounding G4S’ which is the sort of thing that makes a security company sound as safe to use as a scheme to transfer money abroad by attaching it to a cod & chucking it in the Atlantic. This list of controversies ranges from the ridiculous, such as in 2011 when G4S staff attached an electronic tagging device to a one-legged criminal’s false leg, allowing him to literally hop free. Then there are the more serious ones of staff at a children’s detention centre being on drugs or acting inappropriately to young people, there’s their involvement with Israeli prisons on the West Bank, the time they had to pay back £109 million to the government after being found to have overcharged for tagging devices, many for people who weren’t even being monitored. They used immigrant detainees for cheap labour, paying some of them as little as £1 an hour, there have been several accusations of use of unreasonable and unacceptable force ranging from the G4S staff at the Border agency tipping up a pregnant woman’s chair while holding her feet, chaining a 79 year old to a G4S custody officer for 8 days while in hospital after suffering a heart attack, and causing the death of Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga after restraining him on a flight from Heathrow. Oh and let’s not forget the massive £284m contract they had to provide security for the London Olympic games, only for it to turn out that they had nowhere near enough staff and over 3500 army troops had to step in to help. Though judging by the other controversies, it was probably a whole lot safer for everyone at the Olympics that a ton of G4S staff didn’t turn up at all.
So you’re probably thinking, really not only Labour were right to decline the service of G4S, but really, everyone else should to. Which is why it might surprise you, though it’s probably unlikely considering the way politics has been since 2010, that the government are giving the running of it’s discrimination helpline to them. Yep. Though I suppose in some ways it takes one to know one and who better to run a helpline to support those facing discrimination or human rights abuses, than a company that has human rights track record that looks like the song listing for Bashar Al-Assad’s greatest hits.
The helpline was originally run by an independent group call the Equality and Human Rights Commision, but in 2011 a government review found it wasn’t working, so it was handed to an outsourcer called Sitel and several charities. A report by the House Of Lords found that service was also ineffective so the idea was to give it back to the EHRC and publicly fund it but instead Nicky ‘always looks like a pet who’s lost it’s owner’ Morgan offered the contract out to tender and guess who got it? Yep, Ghastly 4 Services.
So why oh why oh why do G4S keep getting rewarded for their failure? Well the one thing they can do is charge much cheaper rates than would be possible if done by local councils or government funding. G4S is losing up to £45m on it’s contract for housing asylum seekers, and the company boasted that saved the police force £6m by taking over it’s call centre in Lincolnshire. Presumably because based on their record if you call 999 in Lincolnshire now, it’ll just go through to a ringing phone in a yard with a dog barking at it. But G4S can do this as any loss they make can be offset against profits from the rest of their worldwide business, with them scamming huge tax breaks from the countries they operate in. In 2012 they had over £300m of government contracts in the UK but paid no corporation tax due to carrying over losses from it’s previous year. Not illegal, but yeah, pretty fishy indeed. The G4S Board consists of high up people in companies like BAE systems, BT, British American Tobacco, Deloitte and the current chairman was a former advisor to albino baboon Boris Johnson. I would say you could imagine them like the evil heads of SPECTRE, doing what they like while other suffer but the difference being that fictional baddies have decent security henchmen.
So yeah, not hugely surprising they’re being given another massive contract paid for from taxpayers money. SumOfUs.org currently have a petition to reverse the decision to hand over the discrimination helpline to this bunch which you can find at their website. Do go and sign if you can. If it isn’t successful, well, I guess we can only hope that for the sake of the protection of human rights, none of their staff ever turn up.
INTERVIEW PART 2
Huge thanks to Tansy for meeting and chatting with me. You can check out Tansy’s website at tansyhoskins.org, or on Twitter @tansyhoskins. Her book was released is called ‘Stitched Up! The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion’ and is available at all good retailers and probably less good ones like Amazon too.
Next week I’ll be speaking to environmentalist Mark Avery about his campaign to ban driven grouse shooting. As always if you have a subject you’d like me to ask someone about or someone you’d like me to talk to in particular, please let me know via the ParPolBro facebook group, Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well the hot topic of Brexit is back in Parliament again, and what we can safely say after a whole afternoon of wheeling out charlatan after charlatan from the Leave team, is that we still are no clearer on how, or when, Brexit will occur. All we know is, as both Theresa May and the DExEU keep saying ‘Brexit means Brexit’. Though I was certain it meant ‘British Exit’ but apparently not. I guess the portmanteau that means that is ‘Britxit’, and ultimately we can assume that whatever Brexit means, it just means itself, like a political rhetoric prime number.
It seems more and more that the Department for Exit from the EU are just hoping that one night they’ll go to bed and the next day we’ll wake up and have Brexited all over the floor without any effort. David Davis, the Secretary Of State For Exiting the European Union and a man who acts and looks like someone is constantly firing a hairdryer in the face of a sad sheep, suggested in the House Of Commons that he maintains the delusion that Britain can stop free movement and retain free trade and basically get what we want from the deal as though we’re a tantrumy spoilt kid who’s parents have given up, rather than a country the rest of the world is increasingly unimpressed with. Davis also stated, as May did last week, that there would be no second referendum, because let’s face it, why give people the chance to be stupid twice? And that there would be no veto for Scotland, allowing it to stay in the EU while the rest of the UK left. But other than that, and Davis reiterating that inside his head people’s issues about immigration weren’t xenophobic, you know, it’s just that people are scared of foreigners, we really didn’t learn anything.
Over in China at the G20 Theresa May made a statement that she would be rejecting using a points based immigration system, presumably because in the UK our tradition is that points mean prizes and that could get expensive. Actually she probably really rejected it because she’d much rather have a big van with a billboard at arrivals telling people to fuck right back off instead. May also warned that Britain had some difficult times ahead and I guess she would know as she’ll probably be responsible for most of them. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was disappointed in May’s statement but let’s face it, no one gives a shit and most people can’t wait for him to die.
Nicola Sturgeon has called for a coalition of MPs across the UK who agree to support staying the single market as that may stave off another Scottish Independence vote. Though personally I think there’s nothing that’ll incite an indy vote 2 like seeing how frustrating it is to try and get anything done with politicians from England and Wales
And first in this week’s countries that think we’re a bunch of chumps is Russia. Putin’s deputy prime minister has said that Europe is weaker because of the Brexit vote and that even Russia would’ve like Europe to be strong. Presumably because it’s a far more fun challenge for Putin to crush something that actually fights back rather than lies down and points to where you should put your boot. And second is Japan who presented a 15 page report at the G20 summit, already more than anyone at the DExEU has typed up, asking that the UK stay in the single market. The report states that Japanese banks will leave London if not, as will Japanese pharmaceutical companies. Having been to Japan, I can’t believe they have so many companies here in the first place. I can only assume it’s so they can write home with things like ‘today the train was delayed by 33 minutes’ and their relatives can take it and make it into a hit Japanese comedy show.
More Brexit fallout next week where I’ll probably be saying ‘yes, still no idea about anything’ and somewhere like Mongolia or Guam will have sent us a 10,000 word essay of words about why British people are the stupidest.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
This week I asked you what human car crash and perpetual dignity blackhole Keith Vaz should do now he’s had to step down as Chair of the Home Office affairs committee after his own home affairs interfered with his office. That doesn’t quite work, but you know what I mean. Anyway, you gave some corkers:
@christine200 Sep 4
@ParPolBro well he seems to have lots of fun as a washing machine salesman maybe that could really work for him.
@RadioSkewen Sep 4
@ParPolBro instead of selling washing machines perhaps he could run a laundrette as he seems to have a fair bit of dirty laundry
John Rain /react-text Confessions of a Washing Machine repairman
@Altook Sep 4
@ParPolBro popper lobbyist
@CorporateGorila Sep 4
@ParPolBro Vazjazzling. They sequin here, they sequin there, Vazjazzles’ll sequin anywhere. Down there.
@johnbeck_ Sep 4
@ParPolBro maybe some advertising “Hi I’m Keith Vaz, & I recommend Daz”
Paul Jenkins /react-text react-text: 147 /react-text You know when Jif inexplicably became Cif?
Keith can lead a new rebrand and take over the doorstep challenge.
Matt Kinson /react-text react-text: 191 /react-text He could work on a machine to compute all possible dick jokes that could ever be told, inventing the Vaz Difference Engine to accomplish it
@Nuncio2 Sep 4
@ParPolBro Well before he was MP he was a solicitor. So soliciting maybe.
22 hours ago
@ParPolBro Guest host #HIGNFY?
22 hours ago
@ParPolBro @TiernanDouieb go on Strictly, because he’d just hate all that attention
22 hours ago
@ParPolBro Editor of Viz?
21 hours ago
@ParPolBro promoting Vazeline.
21 hours ago
@ParPolBro Vaz Top Tips – Save ££s on expensive lawyers & career suicide by not inviting rentboys with poppers to your flat in the 1st place
Philip Alexander /react-text react-text: 69 /react-text I just like the sound of Keith Vaz does free jazz.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. As always a huge thanks to Mark Struthers for his sound sound work. Do check out his Radio Stockton Heath podcast on podbean. Also please review this show on iTunes, grab my new comedy special from my website – it’s only £3, draw a picture of a magical horse and do spit in the wind, if you angle it right, it’s fun. See you next week.
This week’s episode was brought to you by the letters and numbers G4S which is why several Tiernan Douiebs were harmed during the making of this episode. And one didn’t even turn up.