Episode 42 – Tiernan interviews Carl Gardner (@carlgardner) about the government’s Supreme Court Brexit appeal, and there’s a look at Trump’s relationship with Russia and ‘Gina.
Deerest listeners, and yes I spelled that deer because it’s nearly Christmas. This isn’t an advertisement because I still haven’t worked out how to get anyone to give me money for this show, however what it is, is an offer for you, because you’re the best. All of you. Except you. Ok, you as well but just this once. So as of last week my last stand-up special was added to the new comedy streaming service NextUp, which is an excellent Netflix style sight but just for well filmed stand-up comedy shows. They’ve already got shows on there from such excellent acts as Colin Hoult, Tony Law, Grainne Maguire, Marcel Lucont, Richard Herring, Lou Sanders and tons more and they keep adding and growing their library of mirth all the time. Not only that but they’re an ethical, comedy loving bunch and split all profits equally with the performers which is very nice and mostly unheard of in my shitty industry. Currently it’s the stupidly low price of £3.50 a month to get your comedy fill, which is already hella cheap but for all you pod listeners, if you sign up to nextupcomedy.com and use the code PARPOLBRO then you get an extra 25% off the first three months, after your one month free that you get anyway. So that’s £2.62 a month which is even sillier and the only way you could get lower than that is to get surreal with some sort of offer where the site melts your computer then it grows legs, lays an egg and runs off. So head to nextupcomedy.com before Jan 1st, enter PARPOLBRO as your code when you sign up, then be prepared for any shit 2017 throws at us by having enough comedy backed up to survive. Thanky you.
Hello and welcome to Partly Political Broadcast episode 42. I’m Tiernan Douieb and I’ll come clean. Since I started this podcast, it too has been overrun and controlled by state owned Russian hackers which has completely ruined the validity of the content of the show. Sorry, I mean controlled by the terrible state of rushed hack jokes. Which have also completely ruined the validity of the content. If anything, if this show had been secretly run by the Russians the gag content would be higher on account of their being several smaller jokes of decreasing size inside each normal sized joke, and I’d feel comforted knowing that my listenership would increase due to all the Soviet state surveillance operatives tuning in.
Yes it seems Vladimir Putin and Russia may have had a hand in dictating the US Presidential Election meaning that the next President is the real life version of how Pixar might animate the wind. It’s almost like everyone assumed the Cold War died in Season 4 but then in Season 10 it turned out it had been in disguise as one of the main characters all along and it’s revenge reveal is when everyone says the show really jumped the shark. Of course President Elect Donald Trump says the US intelligence reports on Russia intervening are ‘ridiculous’ which is rich coming from a man who stated this weekend that when he’s president he won’t need daily intelligence briefings as he’s smart enough. Which all poses the question, if a fool presumes something to be ridiculous, is the ridiculousness cancelled out and therefore it’s something to be taken seriously? Or because someone whose regular commentary encapsulates what it means to be ridiculous so perfectly, it means Trump can spot what’s actually ridiculous quicker than anyone else? Hmmm. Time Magazine named Donald Trump their person of the year last week causing much online outrage, even though the magazine states it’s based on whoever has had most global influence, for better or worse. And it is for worse, as Trump complained that the award should be called ‘Man Of The Year’, presumably because he’s further proving that he’s a massive sexist, or because wants everyone to understand that he’s a man, despite looking more like a scrawled face drawn on a broken leather armchair. Personally I think it makes sense that Trump was named Time person of the year. He’s got a big round face, two little hands and is easily wound up. More on US goings on later in the show.
Meanwhile in the UK, our Prime Minster Theresa May is now suggesting we have a red, white and blue Brexit, possibly representing the welts, scarring and bruising the country will have when it’s all done. Or perhaps it’s simply dressed like Where’s Wally which explains why no plans for Brexit have been found yet. Meanwhile foreign secretary Boris Johnson accused Saudi Arabia of fighting a proxy war in Yemen, which it is and twisting Islam which sounds like an amazing dance we should all try. He then had to attend a press conference with the Saudi Foreign Minister who said he thought what Boris said had been misconstrued because let’s face it, after Boris’s brexit campaign, it’s unlikely he means anything he ever says, especially when it actually has truth to it. When Johnson’s comments on Saudi Arabia were revealed Theresa May’s spokeswoman stressed that they were the views of the Foreign Secretary and not that of the government, because as the past year has showed, the government hasn’t got a clue what it thinks of any other countries, let alone it’s own.
And party leaders have revealed their official Christmas cards. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s card has a picture of a dove, but if you look closely, it’s also the numbers 2017. Many would say this is a hope for peace in the next year, but I’m concerned it’s that Corbyn couldn’t actually choose between a Christmas or a Happy New Year’s card and again proves how unclear his policies are. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has a drawing from a child in his constituency of a dog asleep in a crescent moon, both wearing santa hats. This of course symbolises his extreme stance on how he wants to put to sleep any dogs that lie with Islam. I mean it doesn’t, but imagine how tiny and angry his face would get if we spread that rumour? And Prime Minister Theresa May has three different cards all designed and drawn by children from her constituency of Maidenhead proving that what she hopes for in 2017 is an increase in child labour.
Thanks again to all of you for continuing to listen to this show. Sorry for the non-advert at the start of today’s episode. I’m not keen on the idea of advertising on this show, but as NextUpComedy are a genuinely good bunch and they’re putting my last two stand-up shows on there, I thought it seemed fair, so do get on that offer. Also, another thing to sort of advertise. The brilliant Simple Politics website run by Tatton Spiller, who was a guest on this podcast the day after the Brexit referendum results if you remember, he’s made some brilliantly fun political games that you can buy on the simplepolitics.co.uk website. He hasn’t asked me to plug this, but I’m doing it because I bought them and they’re really fun. There’s a Guess Minister card game which is sort of like a clever Guess Who for politicians, the Simple Politics Christmas Pub Quiz and the Great British Break Off where you can play out the Brexit negotiations yourself and no doubt do a much better job than the government, even when pissed and full of Christmas dinner. So head to simple-politics.myshopify.com and grab them in time for Christmas day so you can play them with that relative and then have arguments even worse than when you play Monopoly and they insist on being the shoe because they hate the liberal elite but then immediately buy Mayfair & laugh when they charge you rent.
Right, all plugs over, cheers for your ears, thanks for all your Patreon donations so far too and I hope you who have donated enjoyed the terrible extra long bonus jingle you all got last week. If you want more stuff like that head to Patreon.com/parpolbro and sponsor me a bit and of course thanks for all your itunes reviews too. We are now on 50 reviews which is chuffing lovely indeed. Of course more reviews are always great and if you can keep spreading the word about this show it gives me even more reason to spend my week reading news, screaming about it and then doing this show instead of punching my television. Incidentally on that note, there was an article going around last week about how the audience producer on BBC’s Question Time had been reposting Britain First posts on her Facebook page which has really put into question if she should be in charge of finding a non-partisan audience mix for the weekly political show and perhaps why recent shows have had a very right wing tone to them. Now these posts on her Facebook page were about Remembrance Day and so some leapt to her defence saying ‘she was just reposting that sentiment and didn’t realise’ but let’s face it, if you don’t realise Britain First are a far-right fascist group, yet you work on a non-partisan politics show, you probably shouldn’t be working on a non-partisan politics show should you? So for me, this is the final reason to stop watching a show that seems to increasingly fuel hate and make me feel awful about the world on a weekly basis and I’ve decided to stop watching unless my doctor says I have unnecessary low blood pressure and prescribes I watch it to boost them. In this world of increasing fake news and click bait, a show that puts both Farage and Louise Mensch on in the hope it’ll boost ratings, isn’t the show you should be getting your political views from. You’d be better off spending an hour screaming at a dog while kicking a bin and punching yourself in the head for a similar level of intelligent debate. I hope this podcast provides some sensible discussions on politics, albeit biased towards my attitude which some might call left wing, but I describe as ‘why doesn’t everyone just stop being a dick to each other?’ and there’s many other actual good sources of info if you look for them.
This week’s show I speak to Carl Gardner who is a former government lawyer and talks all about the Supreme Court hearing on Brexit and the legality of the shitstorm we’re now in, and I’ll also be looking more at Trump rumblings. Yes, I said it like that on purpose, so it sounds even more like I mean farts. Yes, I am very proud indeed. But before all of that, there’s this:
COUNCIL TAX RISES
Prime Minister Theresa May is said to be considering letting local councils raise council tax in order to fund social care services. Quite how letting an underfunded council take more money off underfunded individuals to raise money for an underfunded system makes sense, I don’t know. It feels like there’s a portion of the circle missing where the social care services help an aging billionaire who hires all the people for well paid jobs, but then I realise that that would only be the case in some sort of feel good Christmas movie and we’re living in 2016 real life Britain which is more akin to having to watch Fred Claus on a loop until you cry. Local councils across England have suffered a 40% cut in government grants in the last six years so they could do with raising funds somehow. Similarly, social care services such as care homes, nursing homes, meals on wheels, they’re all in crisis. If you’ve heard last week’s episode with Emma Runswick, she said how cuts to social care mean patients in hospitals who should be going to beds in nursing homes aren’t and so it causes bed blocking in hospitals instead. By bed blocking I mean other patients in need can’t use them, not that people are sleeping how I do at night where I sort of cover both sides at once and force my wife to try her best to be comfortable around my extended limbs. But the big problem with funding all this with council tax rate rises is that council tax rise affect poor people the most. Council tax is 4.6% of post benefit, pre tax income for the poorest 20% of households, while it’s only 1.6% for richest 20%. So essentially to fund welfare, you’d be giving even more people a need for welfare. Next, Theresa May vows to stop risk of flooding by drowning the most likely hit areas in tons of water to reduce impact.
If you are a listener who uses Southern Rail trains or rather, over the past year hasn’t been able to, then you’ll know that any hope of having a reasonable train service in your area has been completely thrown off the rails by the dispute between unions and bosses. Well, fear not, because Home Secretary Amber Rudd has got involved so I’m sure it’ll all be solved in days, probably by her deporting everyone involved. Rudd has had a go at the rail unions for the three days of strikes that will happen between now and Christmas and will affect over 500,000 passengers a day. And it is partly unions fault as they are the ones choosing to strike, however the reason they are striking is because Southern want to operate driver only trains meaning that the driver will be in charge of everything such as closing doors and rail union Aslef say that not having guards to operate doors will endanger passengers on ever overcrowded trains that often feel more like an exercise in playing human tetris. Meanwhile RMT are trying to protect the jobs of conductors and so they’re also on strike. But really all of this is to do with increasing amounts of train customers on an increasingly unreliable system with constantly increasing costs. The antiquated system includes expensive overtime payments for staff working on a Sunday that date back to the age of steam trains, and working benefits such as ‘Walking Time Allowances’ for drivers to reach the front of the train from their crew room. And unions are keen to keep those comfy benefits because lets face it, you would too. This wouldn’t be a problem if private ownership of rail meant private investment but over 90% of all rail funding still comes from the public sector. From 2010-11 for example private investment in the railway was between £100m to £380m, while public money and money from fare rises was over £10bn all contributing to the UK having the most expensive rail service in Europe. And that’s not even including the sandwiches at the buffet cart that for those prices, should be egg mayonnaise between two gold leaves. The government rightly want the UK’s rail service to move into the 21st century which seems unlikely when it can barely move from Brighton to London on time. But driver-only trains mean job losses and lots of money invested to upgrade trains, which in turn will only mean higher fares to provide all of that. At the same time, a current lack of trains also isn’t really helping anyone and letting no one blow off any steam at all. So is it union’s faults? Is it rail bosses faults? Is it the fault of years of terrible privisation? I’d say in this case, all of them have been giving bad signals. Hopefully they’ll all conduct themselves properly, and Southern rail passengers can get their lives back on track as soon as possible. Yes, I am proud of all those train puns. In fact you could say I’m chuffed.
INTERVIEW PART 1 + BREXIT FALLOUT
As always there are currently more things up in the air with Brexit than a juggler in a helicopter, and they’re all equally as annoying and concerning. A large majority of MPs voted in the commons for Theresa May to trigger article 50 before March 31st of 2017. However, in an excellent parliamentary hoisting of Theresa May by her own petard, a slightly smaller majority also voted for the Prime Minister to publish her Brexit plan before that happens meaning that now, there is only 3 and a half months for her to actually come up with one. To be fair though, it also means there’s only 3 and a half months for Labour, the opposition, to work out what their stance on Brexit is too, with some Labour members now deciding the best way to win back voters is to with is to jump on the anti-immigration bandwagon, a bandwagon that is already overfull of pompous ill informed opinions and whenever it finally reaches it’s destination will no doubt concern those who reside there. Former Labour frontbencher Andy Burnham has said that free movement is discriminatory, because there is of course nothing more discriminatory and restricting than freedom. If anything, allowing someone that much freedom means they’re probably overwhelmed with movement possibilities and that discriminates against those who only like limited options right? Meanwhile Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot has said that Labour has never had an open door policy, which is a shame as it might allow a few more of us to see if they’re actually planning anything behind those closed ones.
Meanwhile the support group for EU Nationals in the UK, The Three Million are demanding assurances from the UK government that they will be allowed to stay with ‘indefinite leave to remain’ status. I think that’s a bit premature as post Brexit, they might be quite happy for an excuse to go. Meanwhile analysis by the University Of Sheffield of over 3 million tweets on Twitter, over a six month period of June to November shows that Leave voters talked more about immigration than anything else, which proves that not only can you definitely talk about immigration, you can do it constantly for 6 months while still managing to not make any actual relevant factual points. I look forward to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue adding it as a game very soon.
Oh and papers today have, for some reason, pointed out that Ian Brady, the moors murderer is an ardant Brexiteer, because that’s definitely who anyone wants on their side. Ironically, if Ian Brady had murdered children 20 years later, he’d have found it very hard to bury them in the moors with EU conservation laws.
Of course the biggest Brexit story last week was the government’s appeal case at the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court’s ruling that Parliament needs a say on the triggering of Article 50, even though MPs have now voted to trigger Article 50. Confused? You should be. But that’s ok, because so am I, and it seems, most of the government, constantly, about all of it. So this week I interviewed Carl Gardner. Carl was a barrister and former government lawyer where he worked for twelve years advising ministers and government departments on all areas, including advising on EU constitution negotiations. Carl now writes and lectures in law and so if anyone knows what’s going on, it’s him.
So hopefully this should clear it all up a little bit. Here’s Carl.
We’ll get back to Carl in a minute but first, it’s time to catch up with the Trumpocalypse:
THANK FUCK FOR THE ATLANTIC
A lot has been happening in the last few weeks in terms of finding out what a Trump presidency might be like. To summarise, or at this time of year, to winterise, it’s going to be a climate change denying, dodgy self profiteering, hate filled, bigoted uncontrolled Twitterstorm shit show. Don’t get me wrong, there’s the odd glimpse of gold, amongst the turds, including Trump’s promise that he’ll scrap the globalisation TTP project in his first day in office, which is on the whole, a great thing, but this barely balances out with him keeping his stake in his company while handing it to his kids. Or that his administration now includes two people accused of beating their wives, 3 army generals with quite controversial views, one white supremacist, 3 Goldman Sachs executives, you know, the bank that was hugely involved in the 2008 crash, 6 people who donated over $12m to Trump’s campaign and a man who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs even though he’ll be working with loads of them for the next four years. His environmental protection agency secretary thinks global warming is a hoax, his education secretary wants to dismantle public education, his attorney general opposes the voting rights act, his housing secretary opposes the fair housing act, his health secretary wants to dismantle medicare, his labor secretary is against a minimum wage, and his treasury secretary helped cause the financial crash then profited from it. Oh and on top of all that Trump is keeping his role as Executive Producer on Celebrity Apprentice because he obviously has such a firm understanding of exactly which candidates are best for the job.
But I’d like to quickly look at two things that have happened in US politics news these past few weeks to do with Trump. Firstly, Trump’s call to the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, where she congratulated him on his victory. Now that sounds all fairly standard and like me, you’re probably assuming that other than Tsai Ing-Wen saying ‘Congrats’ and Trump mispronouncing her name 400 times then saying how he deserves it because he’s the best, it was fairly uneventful. But that was the first time a US president or leader has spoken directly with a leader of Taiwan since 1979, before the US and China agreed on the One China policy, a diplomatic recognition that Taiwan is part of China even though Taiwan didn’t really get a say in this. Over history, Taiwan has either been owned by Japan or China, with brief moments of European rule because we can’t leave anywhere alone. But there is a growing independence movement in Taiwan and Trump’s phone call strengthens this and is a big ol’ fuck you to ‘Gina to say that America no longer cares about the One China policy when it comes to trade and international relations. Trump has since told Fox News, so called because it’s reporting is the equaivalent to that horrible screaming noise a fox makes, that he wouldn’t feel bound by a one China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things including trade. So this is a biggie, as it seems, whether he knows what he’s doing or not, Trump’s tampering with international trade policies could have drastic effects globally. In some ways, it’s could be great for Taiwan if this helps push it towards an independent state and breaks up China’s monopoly. But it’s more likely that Trump wants the best deals possible from China, probably for his own brand of suits and ties that are made there, and that means using Taiwan as a pawn, because that’s not at all how wars start right?
Now the Taiwanese president said that none of this means a policy shift for Taiwan. But various state owned press in China have called Trump a number of negative names including the Global Times saying ‘he’s as ignorant as a child’ and while China’s government have said they have ‘serious concerns’. That makes many of us who are scared about the effect of Trump’s bull in China’s shop.
The other story of course is Trump’s connections with Russia. A group of senators are calling for an investigation into US intelligence agencies and the CIA’s findings that Russian hackers helped Trump win the election. Current President and the man everyone will miss when he’s gone, Barak Obama ordered an investigation into the cyber hacks that took place during election campaigning, and the agencies have said that these attacks that leaked emails from and to the Democratic Party and Hilary Clinton’s key aide John Podesta. The Russian government have denied any involvement in this because that’s their key characteristic. I’m fairly sure their out of office auto-reply is a Russian version of Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’. Of course Trump has also said the whole thing is rubbish, but at the same time, looks like he might be taking on Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Rex is the chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corporation, the oil and gas company who a whistleblower revealed last year knew about climate change but paid scientists to cover it up so it wouldn’t lose them profit. Because of course, the end of the world won’t lose you any profit right Rex you fucking idiot? But also Rex has very very close ties with Putin, has spoken out against US sanctions on Russia and has a massive bastard oil rig in Russia’s bit of the Kara Sea in the Arctic. While there’s no direct links between Trump and Putin, despite Donald saying that Putin is a great leader several times, Rex Tillerson isn’t his only indirect link. There’s also Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort who helped one of Putin’s billionaire mates buy Ukrainian television assets and his national security advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn has boasted of making high level briefings to Russia’s military intelligence staff and several Trump properties have been sold to Russian oligarchs for silly amounts of money. Sure, you might think, what harm could happen with the US finally patching things up with their enemies since WW2 The Russians? What harm would it do for one chaotic, narcisstic, temperamental leader, who gets upset if people disagree with him and who makes things up as his goes along for his own gain, to buddy up with another narcisstic, temperamental leader who likes to have people killed if they disagree with him? Well I’m sure nothing. You know unless you’re gay, or in Syria, or the political opposition, or a satirist, or you don’t like the taste of polonium in your lunch or aren’t a fan of dictatorships or wars. Anyone know where the place furthest from China, Russia or America is?
I’m just checking flight details to New Zealand now….
And now back to Carl:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Many thanks to Carl for speaking with me, hopefully that’s cleared up some Brexit mayhem for you. You can find Carl on Twitter @carlgardner and you can find his blog and links to buy his e-book on the fixed terms parliament act on his website headoflegal.com. Next week I’ll be speaking to Paul Anderson at Homeless Link the national membership charity for all organisations working directly with homeless people. Hopefully I’ll be speaking to one of their panel of advisers who were formerly homeless so they can talk about their experiences too.
As always though if you have anyone you’d like me to try to interview or a subject area to find someone to interview about, drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, parpolbro group on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PPB QUESTION OF THE WEEK
This week I asked the slightly confusing question of what you thought a Russian controlled Trump USA would be like?
Matt Hoss /react-text You can have Russian dolls of Trump going into other racists.
@johnbeck_ Dec 11
@ParPolBro the Statue of Liberty will now contain several smaller statues of questionable liberty inside
@EthanDLawrence Dec 11
@ParPolBro In soviet America, pussy grabs YOU!
@gibbymcdibby Dec 11
@ParPolBro in Soviet America the pussy gropes you
not sure what may happen in trum-putin america, but the thought of the topless snaps of him fishing and riding horses is horrific
react-text: 213 Jacob Johannsen /react-text react-text: 216 /react-text Gulag Alaska. Kentucky Fried Beetroot. Jack Daniels Vodka. Dancing With the Stars will only feature cossack dancing.
20 hours ago
@ParPolBro Dissidents will be sent to Alaska. The KKK might finally have their first World Chess Grandwizardmaster.
@JanvierUK Dec 11
Oh, people are being funny. I was going to be serious and suggest the end of a drill-free arctic circle…Russia will get Alaska back. Idaho will begin making a hell of a lot of potato vodka. Iowa may find a way of turning corn into alcohol.
20 hours ago
1. Fox News becomes Bear News
2. US Flag gets rid of white and blue bits.
3. May Day becomes national holiday
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Next week will be the last full episode of 2016, then there’ll be a mini-end of the year one then this guy is having a break until January 23rd. That’s right you’ll have to cope with the first few weeks of the year all by yourselves. But I mean really, unless David Bowie appears saying he pranked us all first time round, but because he’s been hiding in a cave his eyes haven’t adjusted to the light properly and he’s hit by a truck, what is the worst that can happen? Trump doesn’t get inaugurated till the 20th so the Asia-Soviet War won’t kick off till at least Feb. You’ll be fine without me. Please do keep telling others to listen to this show and review it on itunes if you enjoy it and if you don’t enjoy it, why not gift wrap the device you listen to this on and give it to a relative you don’t see often for Christmas? That way you don’t have to hear this show and they feel guilty they’ve not gotten you anything so now they owe you and you can rope them in to when you need to move the bodies. You’re welcome. Don’t forget you can contact me about, well, pretty much anything, except my credit card details as I won’t fall for that again! – @parpolbro on Twitter, join the parpolbro group on Facebook and get some discussions going on there or email me at email@example.com.
This episode was brought to you by the colours red, white and blue which combined make a weird purple. Oh god, Theresa May means a UKIP Brexit doesn’t she? Noooooooooooooo.