Episode 41 – Tiernan interviews Chair of BMA’s Medical Student Conference Emma Runswick (@ERunswickBMA) about the underfunding of the NHS, plus a look at some global politics and we all laugh at Zac Goldsmith.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast Episode 41! I’m Tiernan Douieb and I don’t know about you but I love this magical time of year where if you listen, listen, there it is, the cry of hundreds of idiots complaining that due to political correctness that they can’t say Christmas anymore even though they just said it, immediately proving their point wrong. Nothing makes me happier than the sound of hundreds of British nationalists complaining that multiculturalism has stopped them celebrating the birth of a Jewish preacher in the Middle East.
Well I thought nothing made me happier than that but it turns out it makes me extremely pleased to seeing that Zac Goldsmith, who looks like a cross between El Dorado the soap opera and a hush puppy is having a worse 2016 than most other people. Yes, as a protest against the government’s plans to allow a third runway at Heathrow, Goldsmith stood down as a Tory MP, triggering a bi-election, so he could stand as an independent MP and it seemed local voters were thought his move was so brave, they honoured it by seizing the chance to vote for someone else. Yes, it seems there is no better way to protest against a third runway at Heathrow than by making sure your by-election plans also never take off. It’s almost as if everyone remembers Goldsmith running a hugely racist campaign to be mayor of London a few months back, or how his pro-Brexit views mean he didn’t represent the mostly pro-remain views of his constituents, or how it’s impossible to have sympathy about making a racist unemployed when they come from a family of billionaires and married into another family of billionaires. Goldsmith was the political version of that village idiot no one liked who thinks they can fight the monster that’s terrorising everyone, and then when they die trying, everyone cheers and ‘now we can get a a monster hunter in instead’. Albeit a realty boring one. Goldsmith lost his majority of 23,000 votes by two thousand votes to a Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney. Yes it seems the party so centre and nothingy that a canary couldn’t smell them, are now back from the dead like the world’s most tedious zombies. Not so much searching for brains, just attention and a disenfranchised voting public that have realised a zero is greater than a lolloping fop who thinks you can pick which protest songs you play on a dog whistle.
Other things that have greatly cheered me up this past week include Lord Freud, minister in the Department of Work and Pensions and villain from a Dickensian story, has finally realised he’s not fit for work. Maybe he resigned due to a sudden realisation that years of inflicting the bedroom tax aka the overcrowding rat experiment but for people, was a truly cruel policy, or perhaps he just resigned because he wanted to spend more time exploring all the rooms in his eight bedroom country mansion or £1.9m London home. I guess if you are that much of a shit you need that many rooms to do evil maniacal laughing in right? I also enjoyed former Conservative MP and constantly scared pet Nick Morgan criticising Theresa May’s £995 leather trousers. While I think it’s archaic to comment on our female Prime Minister’s attire in the way no one ever would have done with a male Prime Minister, it’s not a great idea to flaunt trousers that are more than some people’s monthly salaries then pretend you’re in touch with the people. It also says you will take bull from people who charge enough for it. And it’s even stranger to spend £1000 on a hide when she’s always told people if they don’t have one of those they have nothing to fear. What’s she so afraid of? And lastly I was very pleased that Austria opted against voting for the far right neo Nazi Norbert Hofer as President and instead went for former Green head Alexander Van Der Bellen. I don’t mean he had a green head. Though that’d really be a rejection of Hofer’s party. No I mean Van Der Bellen is an independent environmentalist, so Austria voted for air and rain, rather than Aryan. For less fumes rather than ein fuhrer and instead of nationalism, they want zero-emissions. You get what I mean. But more on all of that later.
Thank you for listening to what is now the 41st week of Partly Political Broadcast this year. How on earth have I done that? There’s been barely anything to talk about right? Well guys, I couldn’t have done it without you. Well, I could’ve done, but it’d be really pointless. Though when’s that ever stopped anyone from putting things online before? You’re welcome the internet. PPB is now on 50 iTunes reviews which is amazing, so thank you to all of you who’ve done that, it’s much appreciated. However there is still room for more reviews. I mean, I assume I don’t know how Apple works. Why not try and give this show so many reviews it crashes iTunes? You could just type ‘this is for all the low wage Chinese workers’ and then when it all collapses and you can’t hear this show anymore we can all ruminate on the best ways to protest while still keeping privileged things we like. Anyway, so please review the show and thanks tons to Mad Cyclist who pledged on the Patreon this week. If you want to sponsor this show too, you can do so at patreon.com/parpolbro. I’ll be popping up the first bonus thing on there later this week. Also I asked on the Facebook group about what you’d like the last show of this year to be. There’s going to be tons of round ups so I was thinking of doing one on the few good things. Or I could just sum up the year by screaming into a bin for 45 minutes. What would you prefer to listen to? Let me know. And here’s how I found out most PPB listeners are big screamcore fans and I have to spend January voiceless. Also as you’ve probably noticed, I didn’t do anything on the US and Trump last week and I haven’t this week either because as I’ve said before, there are so many good US podcasts about it all, I wonder if it’s necessary. So I’ll do an update next week but if you’re desperate weekly ParPolBro Trump chat, let me know . Oh and there was going to be a question of the week this week about what you thought Zac Goldsmith should do as a career next, but I realised I asked that very question to you back in May. Hahahahah he’s had such a shit year! Hahahahah oh wait, so have all of us. Oh. Still though, hahahahahaha Zac Goldsmith, with your face like a posh Gumby. Hahahhahaaha
On this week’s show I’m talking to Emma Runswick who is both a medical student and the chair of the British Medical Association’s Medical Student Conference. She talked to me all about how underfunded the NHS is. It wasn’t a great skype line I’m afraid so brace yourself for that. Then once your trousers are secure, get your ears prepared for it too. Also I’ll be looking at some of the worldly political happenings over the last week and of course, there’s bloody well some of this too:
This week Brexit visits the Supreme Court, which isn’t, as I thought, somewhere where Diana Ross judges people’s harmonies. No, instead it’s where the government have appealed the High Court’s ruling that parliament must have a say on triggering everyone’s second least favourite article after anything by Toby Young, that’s right, Article 50. Government lawyer James Eadie is spending the next four days making the case to 11 supreme court justices, enough for an incredible football team if only because they’re so used to delivering penalties. Now I’m not going to pretend to understand all the legal terms that have been used in day one, but it seems to be that Eadie has been trying to argue that certain phrasing in the European Communities Act 1972 suggests that either parliament doesn’t need a say or that parliament has chosen what to have a say on, and at this stage it sounds like more straws have been clutched than an excitable kid with a mega sized thick milkshake. What is worth looking at is that the Supreme Court may need to know what the government is actually planning with Brexit in order to make a decision on the triggering of Article 50, and it’s also worth noting that all of the justices have had death threats against them making you wonder if the BBC should do a six part prime time series explaining what sovereignty actually is. According to some newspapers – yeah, guess which ones – the judges have connections with Europe, so can’t be trusted. What does that even mean? One of them likes croissants and the other’s cousin did the drums for Final Countdown? It’s still very bizarre that the government are pretending that British law is frustrating the will of the people. I didn’t know that many British people were desperate to break the law, unless it’s speeding through an average speed camera route on an empty motorway at night because let’s face it, that’s just bullshit. Equally worth noting is that Justice Secretary Liz Truss is nowhere to be seen through any of it. If, as Former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said ‘Justice is truth in action’ maybe Liz just thinks she doesn’t have to drop any realism bombs if she’s completely inactive. I’ll do a more in depth look on the hearing next week.
Outside of the court Brexit Secretary and tired cloud David Davies made the sort of suggestion that makes you realise most conspiracy theories about government plots have to be bollocks because evidence shows it’s a surprise most of them aren’t just constantly walking into glass walls thinking there’s nothing there. Davies idea was that we could leave the single market, then Britain could pay into the EU budget for access to the single market. Yeah, nice one mate, you know what we could have done to get the same result but much much cheaper? That’s right, stay in the EU. How about you remove yourself from parliament but then pay money into it to be part of it but with much less of a say? However him saying that did cause a surge in the pound so maybe if he suggests soon that we could get rid of free movement but pay some money to keep free movement we could all be back on track and vow as a nation not to talk about the last year. David Davis own adviser Raoul Ruperal is pro-Brexit but has said that Brexit will be a dead weight on the British economy. I’m sure that despite that sort of advice, Davis will aim rather than to avoid to sinking ship, just to stay on board and salute as it goes down.
Meanwhile Labour leader and Bernard Cribbins double Jeremy Corbyn says that Labour will not vote against triggering Article 50 but will aim to amend any bill in order to save single market access and worker’s rights. But he’s also refused to back the idea that parliament should have a say on triggering article 50 in the first place, meaning that Jeremy Corbyn is I think the answer to an underwhelming riddle. ‘I am not for brexit, but I am, I wish to control article 50 but not to stop it, I wish to stay in the single market but also not, who am I?’
INTERVIEW PART 1
What do you do when the National Health Service is sick? Well it seems that according to the government, you treat it like that obscure relative who’d be too much time and money to look after so best for them if they just let it die. Health Secretary and shaved sloth Jeremy Hunt has criticised the head of NHS providers for calling for more money, saying it’s misjudged because I’m sure in Hunt’s head the NHS deal with all the cuts they keep getting by asking nurses to put a suture stitch over them and boom, fixed. But while the government have promised an increase in NHS funding of £10bn to 2020, fact checkers have proved that if you take inflation into account, spending will only increase by £4.5bn. So if it is a cash injection, they’ve very much administered an underdose. Hunt was quoted as saying that the NHS makes us proud to be British, and I guess yes, there really is nothing more British than somehow having smug pride in something failing because we forgot to look after it.
So this week I spoke to Emma Runswick. Emma is a medical student in Salford and chair of the British Medical Association’s Medical Student Conference, though she did tell me to say that she spoke to me in a personal capacity and also that she’s a Labour member, which you’ll probably be able to guess as, you know, she cares about the NHS. I saw Emma speak on a panel at the QED conference back in October about post-truth politics and she was so very knowledgeable about the current state of our health service I wanted to get her on the show for ages. But, before the interview I’m afraid this jingle needs to make a return:
Ok, pathetic excuses this week. The skype line was rubbish and very quiet, there’s quite a lot of noise in the background and I’m still rubbish at technology. The ever wonderful Mark Struthers has been a gem in enhancing what he can but if you’re listening to this on transport Emma may sound very quiet. However what she says is very worth hearing. I started by asking Emma about her training as I have no idea about how you learn to do a real important job like being a doctor or a nurse and then we get into the politics stuff:
And we’ll be back with Emma in a minute, but first, a new section because politics have been happening in places other than the UK this week! I know! So introducing:
With big political events happening in Austria, Italy and New Zealand this week, I thought it’d be handy to have a super quick guide as to what any of them are all about because while we in the UK expect everyone to know all our business and dance to our often awful tunes, other countries selfishly keep getting ignored by UK media and won’t speak in English all the time so how the hell are we meant to know about any of it? Well fear not, because I will be your Marco Pohno, your Ferdinand Armagellan and your Christopher Columbarse as I explain how things are rubbish in other countries as well:
First up, as mentioned before, is Austria, or as I like to call it, a great Germany tribute act with extra mountains. Alexander Van Der Bellen is now Austria’s new President which is, all in all, a largely ceremonial role, operating under instruction from the Chancellor and parliament even though formally they do have the power to dissolve the National Council at will, which is their house of commons, Which mainly makes me wonder, how big is the glass of water he’d need for that? So while the President isn’t hugely important for the politics of the country, the fact that the candidates from the main parties the Social Democrats and the Austrian People’s Party, leaving just the far right Freedom Party and independent but also sort of green candidate Van Der Bellen, says a lot about how the public might vote in the 2018 election. As I’ve said on a previous podcast during the first round of the Presidential elections. Norbert Hofer from the Freedom Party is basically a neo-Nazi with a new coat of paint and yes everyone in the world has made the joke that Austria is now the country that fights fascism which is soooo funny. But also, sadly, not entirely true. While Alexander Van Der Bellen won with 53% of the votes, the fact that Hofer got 46.7% isn’t really a great sign for the Western world’s lurch to the far right. In fact, it’s probably a small swastika shaped sign and the lurch very much looks one that might happen on the Starship Enterprise in a way that makes you worry about what the crew about going to encounter.
Not only is Hofer anti-immigrant but also anti-EU. One of the Freedom party members on Vienna City council, Anton Mahdalik is quoted as saying that Nigel Farage’s appearance on Fox News saying Hofer would hold an EU referendum in Austria if he won, actually hindered their campaign. Austria is very pro-EU and Mahdalik has asked that Farage doesn’t interfere in Austria’s internal affairs. Hilarious! Farage is appearing more and more like a school bully trying his best to join a biker gang or crime syndicate and being repeatedly told to fuck off. In a pattern repeated all over the globe, Hofer’s votes came mostly from rural Austrian voters, while Van Der Bellen came from city dwellers. This year has really made me rethink wanting to protect the countryside. Hopefully Hofer’s knock back will last and any work Van Der Bellen does leads those who voted against him to become fans, otherwise if the Orwellesque named Freedom Party gain strength, Austria face a very scary vote in 2018.
Over to Italy! Swoosh! Imagine a little plane going around a map with a little red line behind it, then imagine all the people online saying those are chem trails and the arguments that follow. Anyway, Italy has just had a major referendum on the political future of it’s country, voting no to a whole bunch of constitutional reforms and causing the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to resign. Now before you try and play that fun game of working out where this all fits in with current political trends, here’s a wee bit of background. Firstly Matteo Renzi is part of the Democratic Party and is an unelected leader, after his party overwhelmingly backed a reform proposal Renzi had made, causing previous Prime Minister Enrico Letta to resign. Italy has been in constant economic stagnation, just like my savings account, since the 2008 global crash and Renzi came into office with lots of ideas of how to tackle that including selling off tons of luxury state cars on eBay, forcing chief executives of state owned companies to resign and replacing them, mostly with female business leaders and announced a program to kick start infrastructure in Italy which made the European Commision forecast that their economy would start to grow by next spring. However, he’s also pushed through some very controversial education reforms that were opposed by students and teachers alike and the referendum this week was on a constitutional reform that would have reduced the size of the Italian senate from 315 members, to just 100. Renzi’s plan was that this would streamline the government but opposing voices said it’d give him, as Prime Minister, too much power. In the same way if I chopped off my arms and stomach I’d streamline myself, but ultimately it’d be pretty dangerous. This reform was never very popular and 59.11% voters voted against it and Matteo Renzi immediately announced his resignation.
Rather than a vote against the establishment, it was actually mostly young people voting to keep the establishment exactly how it is. However what this does all mean is that public money might now have to be used to bail out banks of €5bn of debt as Renzi’s promised economic plans and potential investors are now scuppered, and it also means an early election. While the Democratic party is still very popular, right wing parties have seized on the referendum result saying it’s a liberation day from the government and fake news has been spreading across the country, much like in the US. The upcoming election is likely to be between the Democratic Party, the far right and centre right block party Northern League and the M5S or Five Star movement which is lead by a comedian called Beppe Grillo who could potentially be the second populist clown elected into leadership of a country in 12 months. So who knows what will happen now, but I guess Italians love a pizza the action! I’m so sorry. So so sorry.
And lastly the Prime Minister of New Zealand has resigned which I think means it’s one of the other four citizens goes. Ha! I joke. John Key announced his resignation after eight years in office, mainly it seems after pressure from his wife to spend more time with his family. Isn’t it incredible that while Key resigns to spend more time with his family, in the USA, Donald Trump has taken up office in order to stay at home more and spend more time with his? Key’s leadership resulted in New Zealand having one the fastest economic growths in the developing world though that has partly come as a result of New Zealanders working harder and longer hours and increasingly rising property costs causing a dangerous housing crisis. So if John was the Key to New Zealand’s growth, let’s hope the next prime minister has the secret to making it work for everyone. Again, I’m so sorry.
All I’m saying is with two Prime Minister’s resigning this week, one unelected, let’s hope Theresa May is as onboard with global political trends as she is fashion ones. Eh? Fingers crossed.
More global news soon!
Now back to Emma:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Many thanks to Emma for speaking with me. You can find Emma on twitter @ERunswichBMA, the BMA are on Twitter @theBMA which makes sense, as are Keep Our NHS Public who can be found at, that’s right, @keepnhspublic or their website keepourNHSpublic.com. The other website Emma recommended was healthcampaignstogether.com so check them out too. I think I’ve got all guests sorted between now and Christmas hopefully but if you have anyone else you think I should interview or a subject you’d like me to talk to someone about, please do drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, parpolbro on Facebook, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or perhaps scrawl it on your forehead in marker pen then try and run past someone reporting on the news. Chances are, I might see it.
And that is all for this week’s show. Thanks again for listening, or at least pretending to, and if you do enjoy the show, don’t forgot to recommend it to other people, maybe play it to them or perhaps, if you work in retail, just substitute it for all the shitty Christmas music you have to play on repeat every day for a month. Trust me, your colleagues and customers will be so pleased to not have to hear Wizard talking about how they wished it was Christmas everyday despite not understanding the devastating economic consequences of that, that they will listen to pretty much anything. Don’t forgot to give us a review on iTunes, give me all your money via patreon.com/parpolbro and cheer yourself up regularly by thinking about Zac Goldsmith’s sad sad face like someone stretched a carp and gave it hair.
This week’s show was brought to you by the number 46.7% which isn’t as low as we’d like it to be and the number £10bn that when you really look at it, is actually £4.5bn like the world’s worst illusion.