Episode 37 – No US election stuff this week till after its all done, so this week Tiernan chats to Prison Law solicitor Emma McClure (@EmmEmmEmma) about the current UK prison crisis. Also a look at Orgreave and are high court judges really enemies of the people? Oh and Michael Heseltine is after your dog.
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Hello and welcome to episode 37 of the Partly Political Broadcast. My name’s Enemy of the People, Tiernan Douieb, and I’ve been wearing a poppy all weekend because, well, I love heroin. Yum yum, tasty heroin.
And this week as I said last week there will be no US election stuff at all, because by the time you hear this, things will be either be shit for people in Iran or for people everywhere. So I’ll dwell on those results next week. So the issue is, what else is there to talk about? Oh. Oh yeah.
BREXIT FALL OUT
For a moment this week it felt like British democracy had delivered the goods but then it turned out that the idiots who were waiting for this urgent delivery didn’t hear the bell going at the door because they were too busy punching themselves in the face to stop the shouting in their head. High Court judges ruled that Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU. That’s great because it means that an unelected Prime Minister can’t make major country changing decisions without referring to elected MPs, as per the actual fucking law. The government can’t use executive powers to override legislation, only legislation as decided by Parliament can override legislation which was the case put forward by Gina Miller, the lead claimant in the case. However it turns out that all those who campaigned for a more sovereign parliament and greater British democracy without tampering from the EU, are now super angry that the parliament they elected will be making decisions by itself. Yes it seems no one had a clue what a more sovereign country actually meant and they were probably all just hoping that our pound coins would soon be made of gold so they’d at least dent when they plummeted. You’d think the judges had ruled that a stupidity epidemic should be triggered instead. The Daily Mail, the newspaper now with such echoes of fascism that it makes the Necronomicon look like a cheery children’s book, declared that the three High Court judges who upheld British law to allow for British sovereignty, are now ‘Enemies of the People’ because they are blocking Brexit which they aren’t. I’m guessing that if judges and British law is now an enemy of the people, it can only be time before The Daily Mail campaigns for the release of all imprisoned criminals in the UK, who are clearly martyrs of sovereignty having been so mistreated by these people enemies. Maybe some of them only murdered so there’s more room for other’s voices to be heard?
So let’s be very clear. The court haven’t blocked Brexit. They haven’t ignored the will of the people as the referendum wasn’t legally binding. The law has always stated that the government shouldn’t be able to overturn laws or take away rights without agreement from Parliament. Executive action which is what the government would be doing if they triggered Article 50 without asking nicely, is bound by the constitution and cannot change domestic law and guess what, invoking Article 50 would change domestic law because it will change fucking well everything, soooo because the Referendum Act doesn’t expressly say that the government could’ve made the decision without parliament which it could’ve done if David Cameron has bothered to change it, then Article 50 can only be triggered by asking Parliament and Parliament, as we all know unless you’re an idiot, has been elected by people to respect and invoke the will of the people. Got it? Good.
Except lots of people just don’t. And it’s not just the Daily Mail aka the serialised version of Mein Kampf that’s deliberately misleading the public. Several Conservative MPs have also stated that the judges are blocking the will of the people, including the man who appears to be the physical manifestation of troll comments, David Davies – no not that one, the other even worse one – and Andrew Murrison MP for South West Wiltshire and whatever imaginary land lives in the depths of his damaged mind. And of course goiter with a face Nigel Farage now says, after 20 years of arguing for Parliamentary sovereignty, that he doesn’t believe in Parliamentary sovereignty but instead sovereignty of the people, which is a just sounds like he’s still so bitter that the British public much prefer to not elect him to anything. Unless of course he means sovereignty of the people as in popular sovereignty which is where people elect the parliament WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT WE’VE GOT. Proving yet again Farage is 99% racist mouth and 1% a face that looks like someone filled the carcass of a frog with dung balls. Nige has warned that this decision will lead to disturbance in the streets, which I hope is just sensible people loudly telling him to fuck off whenever he walks around outside. But actually it does seem that he meant it’ll be his disturbance as the man who failed to get enough votes to become an MP, is now insistent that he will lead a march of 100,000 people to the Supreme Court on the day they rule on the Brexit decision. Yes, 100,000 people march, aka Stop The Law aka March Of The Dinosaurs aka Walk Of Lame aka The Wanker Trail aka the Million Twat march because yes, if he can muster up that many people who aren’t too old to march and survive the cold, then they will all be worth 10 twats each. Meanwhile other UKIPker Suzanne Evans is demanding a democratic control over judges. Someone should really tell her about that Parliament that exists. If all these politicians don’t really understand how sovereign British law works and don’t like it, maybe we should have some sort of referendum about giving some responsibility to EU parliament instead?
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss took a while to make a comment on the decision or the cowardly attacks on the legal system, which was probably because she was either too busy hoarding British cheeses or making prisons more unpleasant. It definitely wasn’t because she was taking more time to really come up with something good to say, because she didn’t. Instead she backed how important it is that the UK judiciary is independent, great, but Truss didn’t condemn the attacks and said the government would be seeking to overturn the decision in the Supreme Court. Hilariously if the Supreme Court also rules that the government must seek parliamentary approval the government either have to accept or, hahahaha, take it to the European Court, because while the UK steel industry is collapsing our irony production is in fine form. Prime Minister Theresa May is clearly not a fan of anyone voting on anything, being completely unelected, insisting she won’t let Parliament have a say and will trigger Article 50 by Spring next year and also insisting there won’t be an early election.
But many on all sides of the Commons aren’t happy with this and Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham has quit being a Tory after ‘irreconilable differences’ despite voting leave. This proves the long suspected scientific theory that once a Conservative discovers morals, they instantly cease to be a Conservative. Phillips says the label of being a Conservative no longer fits him as they’ve lurched too far to the right, and there will now be a by-election in his constituency which UKIP vulture Suzanne Evans says she’ll be running for. Because yes, 2016 could actually get worse. Meanwhile Labour has seized this opportunity to prove that are definitely government material, in that that they are also in complete disarray. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wants more transparency on the government’s plans for Brexit negotiation, despite his reluctance to answer any questions about an early general election to an ITV news reporter, instead saying he was being harassed. We now have leaders of both parties who seem to think they’re being attacked if asked any questions. God forbid they do Mastermind or they’d end up calling the police and suing for GBH after 30 seconds.
Over the weekend Labour have said they won’t block Article 50, then will block it, and now won’t block it again. But some MPs still say they will block it as their constituents voted to remain. Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has now backed Corbyn’s comments saying that they just want more info on plans and won’t frustrate the Brexit process, because let’s face it, it’s already so pent up, anymore pointless dry humping could cause a mess.
What’s likely is that parliament will vote to trigger article 50 but the more resistance there is, the more transparent the government will have to be on its plans. Or you know, the angry people will riot and overthrow and kill all the politicians and judges. Like the French Revolution and suddenly we’ll be more European than ever because life’s a bitch.
Oh and in mini Brexit news Walkers Crisps and Birds Eye are among many brands who say prices will increase due to Brexit, so if nothing else Brexit may have the upside of reducing British obesity issues. But only because everyone will be starving to death. On Theresa May’s visit to India these past few days she was slammed by various business leaders including the CEO of Cobra Beer for her attitudes towards foreign students in the UK and not just because that will decrease the amount of people that buy his beer with a curry takeaway on a Friday night before heading to the union and puking during ABBA. And while May has said she won’t make the visa system for Indian nationals coming to Britain more liberal, officials have told her she’s going to need a ton of workers post Brexit from somewhere. Lastly, arse shaped beanbag and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson mentioned in Germany this week that the UK should be more like them, making me yet again worry that there are several Boris Johnsons each one completely unaware of what the others have said or done, and last week at the Spectator awards he said the government would make Brexit a ‘titanic success.’ Well I hope he’s the guy from the film who fell off the sinking ship into the propeller blade underneath.
Right, phew. Now that’s over with, well for this week, thanks tons for listening to this week’s show podchamps new and old! As always, I’m very glad you’re here, spelled both here and hear because word play gags don’t work in audio, especially if they’re shit ones like that, and I won’t torture you this week with a new terrible ‘please review my show’ jingle because last week’s meant there are two spanking new reviews on the iTunes page. So thanks tons to those of you who did that. And let it be known, that jingle is saved and will be played again should those reviews dry up. Also, if you’re one of the 12 people who listen to this via podbean or the 1 person who listens to this on Stitcher, firstly, well done for going against the grain. You’re probably one of those cool people who only likes music no one else does, but when people listen to it they go ‘ooh that’s good’ and you probably smoke roll up vapes somehow. Secondly, if you fancy reviewing on your platforms too, so other sunglass wearing, against the grain listeners get on the bandwagon of Partly Political, then please do. Thanks also to Steph Baross who has added to the Patreon donators this week. I’ve written the script for the video, things will appear there very soon! So if you wish to contribute to this weekly noise, then please head to patreon.com/parpolbro and drop me a few dollars or two, which, depending on the election, may well be worth even less than the pound by the time you hear this. Terrible for America, great for my pocket. Win! Lastly, if you, like me, were genuinely angry about the escalation of the tabloid press’s fascistic tones over the last few weeks, nay, months, nay years, then check out @stopfundinghate on Twitter or facebook who are pressuring companies not to advertise with the Express, Mail or The Sun, which would hit them hard. I have also heard that it’s worth complaining to the Independent Press Standards Organisation but it’s chair is Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail and allegedly drinker of kitten blood, so it feels a bit like report him to himself and unless he has a golem-esque personality, which could be evident from the cruelty and want for wealth at the expense of others, I can’t see Dacre punishing himself for it.
Right on this episode I’ll be looking at the horrific battle of Orgreave and why the government won’t reopen investigations into it and I’ll be talking to Emma McClure who is a solicitor specialising in prison and public law, and she spoke to me about the current prison crisis. So yes, all cheery stuff, and next week we’ll be full on US election outcome unless Trump wins and everything ever is banned. But first:
MICHAEL HESLTINE STRANGLED HIS MUM’S DOG, MICHAEL HESLTINE SMOTHERED HIS MOTHER’S HOUND, MICHAEL HESLETINE SQUEEZED THATCHER’S GROWLER, MICHEAL HESLETINE CHOKED JOHN MAJOR’S WOOFER, IF YOU HAVE A DOG, YOU HAD BETTER WATCH OUT, MICHAEL HESLETINE WILL FIND IT AND KILL IT, MICHAEL HESLETINE IS AFTER YOUR DOG. MICHEAL HESLETINE MICHEAL HESLETINE MICHEAL HESLETINE
INTERVIEW PART 1
Prisons. Those lovely things you shine light through to make rainbows. Oh sorry, I mean prisons, the place where, if you were to believe TV and film are not only places criminals get sent as punishment for crimes but also where certain inmates have tattoos of the entire system on their body to help them escape, is a creative hub for prisoners like Crazy Eyes to write popular erotic sci-fi and where Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery have to break into to get shit done. However the reality is that due to underfunding and overcrowding UK prisons are currently more like something Charles Dickins would struggle to depict, with incidents of self harm and drug abuse soaring and the chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke saying that standards have fallen to unacceptable levels. Just yesterday, at the time of recording this, there was a mass 200 prisoner riot at Her Majesty’s Prison Bedford with police and special guards being called in to deal with the chaos. 50-60 prisoners have been removed which does make you wonder where you go if you’ve casued trouble in prison? I’m guessing for a continental breakfast with Nigel Farage because I honestly can’t think of anything worse. This is despite reports in May saying prisoners mentioned it was easier to get drugs than clothes or bed sheets and 72 recommendations being given for improvement, with only 12 being met. And again, while recording this, two prisoners have managed to escape from Pentonville prison using, no not a tattoo of a map, I’ve already said that’s nonsense, but instead diamond tipped cutting equipment. Which yes, is almost even more implausible than the tattoo. But jesus, when that sort of stuff is so easily available, just how difficult is it to get bed sheets? Justice Secretary Liz Truss has said that she will increase prison staffing but it doesn’t look like it’ll be anywhere near enough, and generally MPs really don’t seem to have a clue what to do about it all, especially as helping prisoners isn’t a vote winning issue. Conservative MP and prisons minister Sam Gyimah at Justice Questions last week seemed more concerned about drones that may smuggle drugs and weapons into prisons than care of the people in it, suggesting that eagles should be used to pluck drones out of the sky. Yes, in Sam Gyimah’s head the prison system would be all dandy if civil servants used falconry. It’s often said that Conservatives are out of touch, and yet there’s Sam, all up to date with his episodes of Game Of Thrones.
So this week I spoke to Emma Mcclure. Emma is a solicitor for prison and public law and has a lot of experience working with prisoners and the prison system. She is also involved with the campaign work of the Young Legal Aid Lawyers and I met her a few weeks ago at the QED skeptics conference in Manchester and chatting then, discovered she very much knows her stuff. I spoke to Emma before Liz Truss’s announcement on staffing increases so Emma emailed me a paragraph which I’ll read at the end of the second section of our chat.
We’ll be back with Emma in a minute, but first:
The Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that there will be no inquiry into the Battle Of Orgreave, an event that is not only known as the most violent day in the year long miner’s strike of 1984-5 but also a possible catalyst for the Hillsborough tragedy as many of the same South Yorkshire police were involved in both. Now if you, like me, were just a wee lad at the age of 4, or perhaps even a mere thought in your parents eyes, or occupying a former life as a woodlouse or octopus, then you like me, may not remember Orgreave. Even though celaphod’s have amazing memories but I’m sure they were too busy being creepy in the sea. So a small recap. By the 18th of June 1984, the miners had been on strike to prevent further colliery closures and protect their jobs, while Theresa May OSX 1, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to negotiate with them at all, because she fed off hate. On this particular day, The National Union Of Mineworkers gathered 5000 picketeers from all over the country with the aim of blocking lorries driven by strike breaking scabs from collecting coke from the mill at Scunthorpe. As in coke the fuel, not the drink or the drug that either of which would’ve made the situation worse. The miners aimed just to use their numbers and mass to block the lorries and nothing more, but 6000 police officers with riot gear and 42 mounted police officers, and many police dogs, turned up, and that isn’t the sort of gear you bring if you’re just engaging in social fun bantz. Unless you’re a really extreme battle re-enactment group.
The police surrounded the protestors and Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Clement ordered a mounted charge against them, attacking the miners and injuring many. Then followed a pause where many of the picketers left, the coke plants closed and the lorries stopped but the police stayed and waited until they massively outnumbered those who were left even though they posed no threat, and reports say many were playing football or even sunbathing. Despite this, there was another mounted charge chasing picketers into the streets of Orgreave village and again, many were injured. Following what QC Michael Mansfield called the most violent clash in British industrial history, 95 picketers were charged with riot or, for a few, violent disorder, but all of the trials fell apart when evidence from the South Yorkshire police was considered unreliable on account of quite a lot of their statements having the same wording as each other which either means it was a frame-up or at some point in the late 70’s the South Yorkshire police were assimilated by the Borg. The police agreed to pay out just under half a million in compensation and £100,000 in legal fees in an out of court settlement to 39 of the miners who’d been injured but not a single officer was disciplined for misconduct.
So sure, I’ve got some bias as to me that sounds a lot like a big old stitch up where the police was used a state tool to carry out legalised violence. The miners that there were there say the police brought the fight, and while there is evidence the miners threw stones at the police, it’s widely regarded that the cops used disproportionate force. You only have to look at some of the photos and footage to be able to see that yourself. Human rights group Liberty still refer to it as ‘There was a riot, but it was a police riot.’ The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign that was set up after the incident and fights for pretty much what it says on the tin, they have been campaigning for an inquiry into it for ages, but in 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said they wouldn’t investigate it because you know, too much time had passed. That’s one of the stock excuses you used if you can’t be arsed or don’t want to do something. They may as well have said ‘oh but it’s so far away’ or ‘yeah but it’s cold outside and I already have my pyjamas on’. This was despite new evidence emerging in 2012 that the police had co-ordinated their arrest statements and that South Yorkshire Police had referred themselves for the inquiry in the first place. If police operated in the same way with criminals who hand themselves in, we’d be in trouble. ‘Hi I’m here because I killed a ton of people and here’s the evidence.’ ‘Oh thanks but we won’t bother as too much time has now passed.’
Since then through the success of the Hillsborough inquiry in bringing justice to the families of the victims of that tragedy, more evidence of corruption in the South Yorkshire Police came to light, and several, now retired police have given very damning accounts of officers who seemed to be relishing the chance for a fight, attacking people when they were already down, and further accounts of signing statements that had been pre-prepared by officers who weren’t involved. So, when you hear all that, surely an inquiry is a no-brainer, it’d take all of 10 minutes and then justice could be had for the campaigners and their families. But instead Amber Rudd has said there is no sufficient basis for an inquiry, as there were no deaths or wrongful convictions, because according to the Conservative Party, unless someone dies there’s no need to say sorry. And even then, it’s only if anyone else saw it happen. Rudd also said that policing had changed in the 30 years since so there would be no lessons to learn so therefore, no benefit to the public, even though sometimes finding out that even our politicians can say sorry is a pretty big benefit. Rudd criticised Labour’s Andy Burnham, for trying to politicise her decision when he said the lack of inquiry was just a ‘naked political act.’ But it clearly is, because if it turns out it was a mass police cover up, then that’s another dent in the ever so shiny grave of the Godmother of neoliberalism, Maggie Thatcher. In fact a former minister in Thatcher’s cabinet said that they were afraid an enquiry into Orgreave would be seen as a ‘stick with which to beat the Thatcher government with.’ And considering how callous a statement that is with what happened at Orgreave, Amber Rudd’s decision is a definite injustice.
INTERVIEW PART 2
Thanks to Emma for chatting with me. We spoke over a week and a half ago, which was before the Bedford Prison riots and before Liz Truss announced she’d be increasing staff in prisons. I asked Emma about the latter and if she could send over a statement for me to read and she sent this:
‘The devil will be in the detail. Whilst a significant increase in staff should be welcomed the number promised (around 2500 in total) is not anywhere near the over 7000 that would bring numbers to pre 2010 levels. There is also no detail on re-numeration for these new officers. There is currently a massive issue with staff retention due to low pay, inadequate training and lack of managerial support- also things that happened under Chris Grayling.
Most crucially a recruitment drive will not fix the current crisis for sometime. Record levels of assaults and deaths are happening now, everyday. Something needs to be done urgently to lower the prison population.
The proposal to have ‘no-fly’ zones does not strike me as helpful given that it is already illegal to convey items into prison this way.
As we discussed I am not a fan of the idea of just moving responsibility to prison governors- I fear this ignores cause and effect, simply transferring the responsibility for the government’s own budget cuts and subsequent deaths on to the governors to deal with is simply scapegoating in disguise.
Tough talk and ‘cracking down’ on things doesn’t solve problems with prisons.’
So thanks tons to Emma for that update and as we can see with Truss not even being able to condemn attacks on justice doing its job with Article 50, she obviously doesn’t really have a clue how then penal system should run either. Perhaps to truly emulate justice, she’s blind to all of it. Anyway, Emma can be found on Twitter @emmemmemma and it’s also worth following Alex Cavendish @prisonuk for info and thoughts on it all from a former prisoner and author too. Emma mentioned the Howard League for Penal reform and prisoners advice service are currently crowd funding for a challenge to the legal aid cuts for prison aid. So if you’d like to help contribute towards justice like an armchair superhero then please head to www.crowdjustice.org/case/prisoners. Do help if you can.
As always if you have anyone you’d like me to interview or any subjects you’d like me to find someone to interview about, please let me know. You can drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, parpolbro fb group, firstname.lastname@example.org or if you’re Sam Gyimah you can send an eagle to the usual address.
This week being concerned about asking what animals you thought other MPs might have strangled in regards to Michael Hesletine, or jinxing the US election by asking for your favourite type of apocalypse, the question of the week was all about tsars. No, not the popular Asian illness making everyone look like doctors in airports. Tsars as in the title used for Slavic monarchs and rulers, and now thanks to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Amy Lame who has been appointed London’s Night Tsar. Which is a tricky role to fulfil as due to light pollution you really can’t see many tsars at night in the big city. So, yes probably a bit of a shit question, but I asked you what other tsars should be appointed across the UK.
Jacob Johannsen /react-text react-text: 44 /react-text Manchestsar: Sir Alex Ferguson.
James Cook /react-text react-text: 84 /react-text I’d like this guy to be the Drug Tsar – Eli Good
15 hours ago
@ParPolBro Person in charge of tea exports after Brexit – Char Tsar
24 hours ago
@TiernanDouieb @ParPolBro *something about Tsar Tsar Gabor* Needs work.
15 hours ago
@ParPolBro ‘Standing on the street corner shouting shit through a megaphone Tsar’ It’ll either be Galloway or Chumbawumba
23 hours ago
@ParPolBro I’d appoint one for road surface quality – a Tar Tsar
20 hours ago
@ParPolBro I think commerce needs one: the Biz Tsar
13 hours ago
@ParPolBro twinkle twinkle little tsar – Perhaps Kylie?
Philip Alexander /react-text react-text: 86 /react-text Liam Gallagher: Rock n Roll Tsar
14 hours ago
@ParPolBro what about Stuart Rose as the Remain Tsar?
13 hours ago
@ParPolBro Lee Marvin – wandering csar
@ParPolBro Boris Johnson- tsar with the fringe on the top
14 hours ago
@ParPolBro well obviously Sunderland needs a car tsar. And the drinking licensing needs a bar tsar. To keep child benefit down, a ma tsar, Marks and Spencer could hire a Bra Tsar, and the music industry needs Har Mar Super Tsar. #bitniche
Well if this plan works we’ll all be seeing tsars soon. Yes, that’s the same joke for the millionth time, but there are a lot of tsars out there. I’m still not sorry.
And that is the end of this week’s show. Next week, as I said before, will be on the aftermath of the US shitstorm, though I may through out a teeny mini-episode if it’s necessary before then. As always if you want to get in touch drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, parpolbro group on Facebook and Partlypolitcalbroadcast@gmail.com and please do give us a nice review on iTunes and drop me a quid at patreon.com/parpolbro too and I’ll be back in your ears next week homeslice!
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