Episode 49 – Tiernan looks at Gremlins in the Kremlin by speaking to Konstantin Kisin (@konstantinkisin) about Russian politics, there’s a look at how the Home Office hates international loving and yes, more Trump.
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PPB Ep 49
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast episode 49! I’m Tiernan Douieb and I am gutted I didn’t win best screenplay at the Oscars this year despite the fact I’m always changing my TV’s resolution from 16:9 to widescreen and back again. And if a film almost winning an Oscar and then instead another film winning an Oscar and everyone being quite nice about it to each other because the film that didn’t win that one won loads of other one wasn’t enough drama for you, then never fear as right now global politics is absolutely nailing it on the big scream. Sorry, screen.
Nominees for the most disappointing performance of the last week are:
The Labour Party who managed to lose their seat in Copeland for the first time since 1935 to the Conservatives who are aiming to shut down maternity services at the local West Cumberland hospital. That’s right, either the people of Copeland really hate babies for sponging off the state and not speaking English and think now is finally the time for payback because those babies can fuck right off, or Labour are so bad people would prefer a shit hospital to voting for one of their MPs in a byelection. I’m guessing it’s the latter in which case that’s probably the harshest review of a political party you’re likely to hear. And who is to blame for a whole area willing to risk an entire generation having to be born in a layby off the A595? Well according to who you ask in Labour, it’s everyone including the boogie, but somehow not including Hipster Radagast Jeremy Corbyn. Blame was placed on Blair emerging from his crypt just days before to shout down Brexit. Then it was the fault of fake news saying Corbyn wasn’t in favour of nuclear power because he wasn’t until three weeks ago. Then it was the political establishment who’ve let everyone down and so the people of Copeland voted them in because they’re big fans of masochism and you can tell that because some of them live in an area called Goose Butts and haven’t changed it’s name. It was also the first byelection gain for a governing party since 1982 so unless people are clearly so fucked off with the political establishment that they want them to have less free time in the week, it really can’t be the case in Copeland. Momentum and Labour MP Cat Smith said that as they are 13 points below the Conservatives in the polls, they only lost by 2000 votes. Hmm someone seems to have confused election strategy with the rules for the Pointless board game. But despite public calls for Corbyn to step down, he’s insisting that he will stick around till 2020 to, as he says, finish the job. Though whether he’s means making sure that the position of Labour leader will no longer exist once he’s done remains to be seen.
The next nominee is George Freeman, Conservative MP and head of the Number 10 Downing Street policy unit who defended the government’s plans to cut disability benefits by £3.7bn by saying they want to make sure they get the money to ‘really disabled’ people. According to Freeman people who suffer anxiety or mental health issues aren’t ‘really disabled’ but didn’t clarify what was but judging by his ill thought through comments, he probably just means people who are already dead. Freeman has already apologised on Twitter and said he suffered from traumatic anxiety as a child and doesn’t need lectures on how the damage those conditions cause, though if he really did then he wouldn’t be backing causing extra anxiety for all those who might lose their PIP payments as a result of the government’s traumatic plans.
This week’s third nominee is amphibian in a wind tunnel Nigel Farage who told fellow smegma king Piers Morgan that he was too frightened to leave his home because of the liberal media and metropolitan elite demonising UKIP, you know when they just reported accurately on all the awful shit they do. It isn’t known which of his non elite two houses it is, the family one in Bromley or the £4m bachelor pad Georgian house in Chelsea but I presume Nigel is so anti elite his just gets a bus between the two. Toad face then posted pictures of him having dinner in the US with Donald Trump because he’s a massive lying prick.
But the winner of most disappointing performance is…. UKIP Leader and Pinocchio source material, Paul Nuttall who failed to win the seat in Stoke by over 2000 votes, losing to Labour and making it less of a by election for UKIP and more of a goodbye election. Yes I said that out loud. It seemed the people of Stoke did listen to Nuttall though by refusing to give a job to someone who’s a stranger to the area. Perhaps knowing he lied about losing friends in the Hillsborough tragedy, they wanted to grant him a real opportunity to feel some sort of loss. Nuttall said that UKIP are ‘not going anywhere’ which by the Stoke result seems appropriate. I mean I suppose if they did go somewhere, they’d be immigrants to wherever they ended up and would have to hate themselves. Nuttall will now have to go back to where he came from, although that is Merseyside which might be a bit tricky for him after the past few weeks. When asked by a BBC reporter if he can be a UKIP leader while never have been elected as an MP, Nuttall replied ‘but I am elected, I’m an MEP.’ Yeah and I’m sure that never turning up to that job and campaigning to render yourself unemployed really helped sway the people of Stoke that it was worth voting for you, you utter numpty.
And in memorium much loved Labour MP Gerald Kaufman passed away this week at the age of 86. He’d held his seat since 1970 and was known for his outspoken views against Welfare reform and the Isreali treatment of Palestine. Kaufman famously called Labour’s left wing manifesto in 1983 ‘the longest suicide note in history’ though I can’t imagine what his will says as he’s leaving Labour with another by-election which could be very much the same thing. Rip Gerald Kaufman.
And finally Worst Male goes again to American President Donald Trump who banned CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, Politico, Buzzfeed and the BBC from his press briefings due to them being the enemy of the people. He also banned the Daily Mail, but let’s be fair he was correct with that one. News groups that were allowed to listen to an hour of his stupid face vomiting bullshit included top fiction site Fox News and where articles go to have tantrums Breitbart. So lots of investigative journalists were left with free time to actually investigate Trump’s dodgy connections and concerning policies, while the media wankers had to sit through a spoken turd event. Yeah, I’m sure that won’t backfire….
And I’m very pleased to accept the award for best Tiernan Douieb and would like to thank you, the listeners for continuing to board your ears onto my weekly sound train as we traverse various sounds of discontent. Big thanks to Dave The Happy Geek for the iTunes review this week and if you are a not so happy geek, why not give this show a review on iTunes too as I’m sure it was pivotal in Dave’s outward contentment. Also a big thanks to Dan who donated a silly amount of coffees to my Ko-Fi account for this show which was unbelievably nice of him and if I use it all for coffees I’m sure I’ll have a heart spasm within days. If you want to donate to the Ko-Fi account for a one off donation towards this show head to the totally unforgettable ko-fi.com/A065LHJ or if you’d like to join the Patreon which is easier to remember but is a monthly donating thing and in dollars, head to patreon.com/parpolbro and later in the show I’ll be giving you some info on some stuff I’ll be adding to that soon….
Also, also, also thanks to the crew that came to my work in progress at Angel Comedy last week. It was very in progress and they were all super patient despite me talking at 200 miles per hour and realising halfway through certain jokes that I didn’t have a punchline yet. Still there were definitely some keepers including a comparison between tomatoes and refugees that seems to work so there’s hope for the show yet. My next preview is at the Glasgow Comedy Festival where I’m doing a double header preview with the brilliant Bec Hill on March 12th at the Hug and Pint which is meant to be a hella tasty vegan restaurant meaning I’ll have to remove all cheesy jokes from my set. You can grab tickets to that via the Glasgow Comedy Festival website which you can probably find by typing those words into a computer, phone, typewriter, or the air if you’re an exceptionally good mime artist. And actually because that is a Sunday there might not be a show on the following Tuesday and so if you come along I’ll tell you some of things I would’ve got angry about that week. But I’ll keep you posted on that in the next few weeks.
On this week’s show I have a chat with Konstantin Kisin who is a politics and economics translator turned comedian who explains what the derr’mo is going on with that bloody Putin and I’ll be looking at Trump whinges, and why the UK government don’t want you bringing your holiday romance home with you and by that I mean loved one, not that time you went to the US and found birthday cake flavour Oreos. But before all that, there is of course, this:
Despite Iain Duncan Smith no longer being head of the Department of Work and Pensions, the ministry has tried really hard to keep the same attitude of trying their very best to ensure that the people it’s meant to help have neither of those things. During the by-elections of Stoke and Copeland last week, the DWP introduced emergency legislation to change the eligibility criteria for people to receive Personal Independence Payments or PIPs which refers to the size of benefits most people will get as this replaces the Disability Living Allowance system. According to Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Penny Mordant who is known for her rude jokes in parliament, made yet another when she tried to explain that cutting 160,000 disabled people’s benefits will provide greater clarity on what physical and non-physical conditions will receive what payments. By cutting benefits from 160,000 you are mainly giving the public greater clarity on whether or not you give the remotest of shits about people with disabilities. The PIP assessment is based on daily living and mobility but, if you suffer from a psychological issue that causes you distress if you go outdoors, perhaps induced by the morbid fear a Conservative MP will walk by and take away everything you have, but you seem physically mobile then you won’t receive any points in that area. So actually it’s all giving much greater clarity on the remotest of shits the government give about disabled people, is an even further beyond the horizon poo for anyone with mental heath issues. And of course points mean prizes and by prizes I mean the right to have enough benefits to not die. Changing the criteria will save the government £3.7bn a year but they insist that’s not why they are doing, meaning that yes, it is just because stripping entitlements from people is their favourite thing probably only after giving entitlements to loads of people that don’t deserve them. It has been challenged by Labour, Lib Dem and even Conservative MPs at least in the guise of Heidi Allen who it regularly seems joined the wrong party but is too proud to admit it. Hopefully PIP will be subject to an unfair assessment soon and be deemed not able enough to give people with physical and non-physical disabilities what they need. More on this in a future episode.
This week was the Scottish Labour party conference, or as it’s now known, everyone from the South going to visit Ian Murray as he gets all lonely up there. This year in Perth I’m not sure Ian or Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale appreciated the rest of the party making an effort as there were more faux pas than a Scottish pet shop owner telling you how many feet a dog has. Firstly in the transcript of his speech released before he made it, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said there was no difference between those who seek to divide Scottish and English people and the divisions sought by racist or religious bigots. Which is a pretty full on thing to say, and not at all correct when you understand that most people seeking Scottish independence post Brexit are probably doing so to avoid all the racist and religious bigots in England and therefore stay in Europe. Khan retracted his statement saying he just meant the UK needs to be united in today’s current climate, but if that’s his way of trying to unite people, I can’t imagine how he met his wife. Following Khan’s error, Jeremy Corbyn managed to thank the SNP instead of Labour MSP’s which to be fair, probably did appeal to Scottish voters more than his original intended message. Other choice sound bites of Jezza’s speech include his calls for unity between Scotland and the rest of the UK, though you feel he should probably start with within his own party first, and he quoted MSP Neil Findlay by saying you can’t pay your bills with a Saltire and you can’t eat a flag. I’ve been to Edinburgh many times, there are enough shops selling Saltire merch and many even have candy flags. Corbyn also forgot to mention Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale’s calls for a federal Britain, giving more powers to Holyrood for MSP’s. Although maybe by him leaving that for her to say, he was trying his best to delegate more responsibility. Calls for a second Scottish independence referendum are growing and there is much speculation that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will ask for one once the UK leaves the EU. So it could be as early as 2018 or 2019. If Scotland becomes independent and rejoins the EU, without a deal with England, there could need to be a hard border between the two. And then who would go and visit poor Ian Murray?
The Metropolitan Police Force has it’s first female commissioner in the shape of the unfortunately named Cressida Dick. I suppose if anything is going to make you want to handcuff people it’ll be years of being called PC Dick. In terms of equality it’s brilliant and long overdue, but Dick’s reputation will always be hindered by being in charge of the operation that lead to the shooting of the innocent Brazillian electrician Jean Charles De Menezes on the London Underground in 2005. She was the Gold Commander of the met at the time – yes Gold commander Dick – and was absolved of blame in the enquiry. Dick has expressed much regret over the incident and there is the possibility that such a tragic event will mean she is more cautious and careful a leader now. Either that or having Dick in charge could be messy for London. No, I’m not sorry about any of that sentence.
INTERVIEW PART 1
As Oscar Wilde once said ‘The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.’ If that’s true then right now the country of Russia and in particular it’s leader Vladimir Putin must be basking in Wilde’s statement which is odd as under their horrific anti-gay laws he’d be a criminal and all his writing would be banned. But yes, right now, Putin’s Russia is constantly in the news. Firstly there is all the Trump administrations connections with Russia from the national security advisor Michael Flynn having to step down, to Ivanka’s connections with a very powerful oligarch who’s mates with Putin, to Trump during his campaign telling Russia to hack Hillary, to him saying he does know Putin then he doesn’t then he does, to Rex Tillerson Secretary Of State’s award from Putin and his oil company’s Russian rigs, to…look everytime there’s one revelation about Trump, you open it up and find an even bigger one. He’s so entwined with Putin it’s like a reverse Russian doll. Then there’s the Russian funding of many far right European political parties including Marine Le Pen’s Front National. And of course there is Russia’s involvement in Syria, which they declared last week that they had won the Syrian civil war, immediately defining it as not a civil war. So Russia is definitely influencing the world right now, and mostly it seems, not for good. I for one just miss the days of Putin only popping up when he had pictures taken of him riding bareback on a horse, or handgliding with eagles like some sort of Disney animation about a little toe that comes to life through magic.
Now I’m not sure how much you know about Russia. You might be a specialist, but for me, apart from a misspent youth filled with a lot of vodka, occasionally playing as Zangief on Street Fighter and a bevvy of Cold War action films featuring Arnold Schwarzenngar not doing a Russian accent, I really know little about how things are there now. And it feels with Russia seeming to influence some of the most terrifying political decisions in the developed world right now, we should probably understand a little more what happens in that country that’s so big it traverses two continents, straddling the Northern Hemisphere like a US president’s shitty hair. So this week I spoke to Konstantin Kisin, a Russian British politics and economics translator who recently turned his hand to political stand-up comedy. So I asked him what exactly is happening in Mother Russia right now, what the deal with Putin is and why does he look like he’s constantly trying to stop his ribcage from eating his neck? And is everyone always Russian around or is that just a shit joke? Ok I didn’t ask him the last two, but I think you’ll find Konstantin gives a perfect guide to everything you need to know about Russia so we’re all equipped for when Brexit kicks in and we all have eat beets and herring.
This week the Supreme Court, recently called enemies of the people by wasted tree Daily Mail, upheld British citizens having to earn a minimum of £18,600 in order to have their foreign spouse from outside the EEA lives in the UK. So now they seem to be enemies of the couple instead. Well they decided it didn’t breach current human rights legislation which is mainly Article 8, the right to a private and family life, though presumably not at the same time or your family would get pretty sick of you hiding everything from them. Don’t look at my internet history, it’s my human right! Ahem sorry. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, created in 1998, basically says that the state has an obligation to refrain from interfering with the right itself, and should take positive measures to criminalise breaches of the right. Which makes you wonder why Piers Morgan wasn’t arrested eh? Not just for hacking phones but also because his face and very mention of his name makes me feel like my life has been violated by some sort of horrific disease. There’s a lot in Article 8 defining the right to a private and family life, along with the right not to be subject to unlawful state surveillance in your own home, something that will change under the Investigatory Powers Bill when lawful state surveillance means they’ll know everytime you type in ‘song that goes do do do do do do daaa’ online. It also includes respect for correspondence allowing you to have the right for uninterrupted and uncensored communication with others, which the state will be able to see once the Investigatory Powers Bill comes in but don’t worry they won’t interrupt your flow whilst nattering away. And most important with the Supreme Court’s judgement is the right to family life. Now there is no specifically defined model of family life, so it could be a relationship, parents and kids, further family connections, your old school fam, or Fam Ekman a Norwegian illustrator. Ok, so probably not the last two. But it is all a bit vague and nowhere does it say that it’d be a disruption to family life if your partner has to live in an entirely different country because you earn more than the average wage in West Somerset. In fact in 2015 research found that £18600 excludes 41% of the British working population and with an increase in zero hours contracts and the gig economy, it may even be even higher now. And anyone on such uncertain work hours wouldn’t qualify anyway and if you’re working for Sports Direct then chances are your life is already tough enough without your loved one not being around to yell Mike Ashley is a cunt with you when you get home.
Now obviously, some immigration restrictions need to be in place in any country, but the issue is in the Home Office’s detail on this policy, or lack of. It has to be you that earns more than £18,600 not your partner and it doesn’t count if it’s contract work. It also only takes into consideration your previous year’s earnings so not the salary you’re currently on, so if you’re abroad waiting to move over, after currency conversion it might not be enough either. Nor does it take into account any assets you may have. So you could work in the voluntary sector but return home to your golden apartment made of unicorn ivory and eat off diamond encrusted plates, but the Home Office don’t give a damn and you’ll have to cart all your fancy kitchenware back to your home on the moon. No, I don’t quite know who I’m imagining in this scenario either but I’m sure they fought Superman at some point. And this threshold goes up to £22,400 if there is one or more non-European born child in the family, so you’d better save the jiggy till you get here.
However while the Supreme Court upheld the earnings threshold, they did say that the rules around it unlawfully fail to take proper account of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 to regard the need to safeguard and promote the welfare or children. There are currently at least 15000 Skype children which sounds like the modern equivalent of what happens when phone sex gets too cray cray, but it means they can only keep in touch with one of their parents over the internet and trying to make them get ready for school or eat their greens when they can just hang up on your face is not good for them. Also this law was brought in by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary in 2012, remember back when she got those vans to drive around telling illegal immigrants to go home or face arrest, which then got banned after it was ruled it breached the government’s duty on equality and the Advertising Standards found it’s message to be inaccurate. Presumably because it should have just said ‘this is racist scaremongering’ then had May’s direct phone line on it.
But this minimum income, despite coming in in 2012, affected all couples where one partner was from outside the EU, even if they got together before the date it was introduced. And so people like Irene Clennell as Buzzfeed reported last week, have been swiftly deported without seeing her lawyer, and despite being a carer for her partner and having children and grandchildren in the UK. Irene was granted indefinite stay in the UK, but had to reapply for that once she went home to Singapore to care for her parents, then returned in 1998 and then hasn’t been able to get indefinite stay granted again since, because going home to look after your parents isn’t very British is it? How dare she? If she really wanted to live here, she’d show a callous disregard for anyone abroad unless they serve her chips when she points and shouts at them. Irene was placed in a detention centre last month, then bundled off to Singapore last Sunday with only £15 in her pocket, no change of clothes and nowhere to stay when she landed. Irene didn’t have a job as she was a carer for her partner John who’s ill. HOW DARE SHE CARE FOR SOMEONE AND EXPECT TO BE APPRECIATED ? It’s almost like despite all her time in the UK she still has no idea of British values eh? Buzzfeed started a crowdfund for legal fees for Irene which you can find online and MPs are raising the case with the Home Secretary but how many cases like this aren’t reported? The Home Office says all applications for leave to remain in the UK indefinitely are granted on individual merit, but when having a family here and caring for them isn’t considering much merit, it seems like only earning a lot of money is. And post Brexit will we still be adhering to the European Convention of Human Rights? Will it change from non-EU partners to any non-UK partners and could we see an awful lot more families split up? Hopefully the Home Office will take the Supreme Court’s recommendations into consideration but even then, with the earnings threshold it’s only decent earners who are allowed to have a family. It’s worryingly as though when Theresa May vowed to support families who were just about managing last year, it was by booting half their members out so they have less people to support.
INTERVIEW PART 2
Many thanks to Konstantin for talking with me. I hope you found that as fascinating and as useful as I did. You can find him on Twitter @konstantinkisin and at his facebook page called ‘From Russia With Laugh’ which he promises he isn’t proud of titlewise, even though it made me snigger, and he posts up jokes/memes and articles about Russia. Also if you live in the Tunbridge Wells area he is starting up a comedy night there soon called Comedy Tapas at the Sussex Arms on April 9th, so do head along and support that if you can. After our interview we kept talking and Konstantin mentioned some really interesting stuff about his father being a political refugee from Russia and some of his thoughts on Brexit and immigration in the UK. It’s really fascinating stuff and I asked him if I can use it, so I’m going to pop it on the Patreon as a bit of extra stuff. If you’d like to hear it, head to patreon.com/parpolbro, throw me a small amount of monthly change and it’ll be winging it’s way to you asap.
As always, if you have someone you’d like me to interview or a subject you’d like me to interview someone about, please let me know. Big thanks to Leo who dropped me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org with a great suggestion that I am chasing up this week. So if you too have a good idea, or even a bad one, or even one that is devoid of moral judgement and a total limbo idea, drop me an email there, or contact me @parpolbro on Twitter or the parpolbro group on Facebook.
PARTLY BIG QUESTION
This week with Trump announcing that he won’t be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, I asked you who should attend in his place.
@PrincessofVP @ParPolBro You. Obvs.
@AndyGilder @ParPolBro @TiernanDouieb A tub of lard – Roy Hattersly – HIGNIFY
@GavinCurnow @ParPolBro Alec Baldwin
@ParPolBro John McCain. He did a great job in 2008 at the Al Smith Dinner. The GOP won the election in 2016 and it would enrage Trump.
@ParPolBro Hillary. So we can pretend it was all a bad dream, just for one night
@Lindaheap a pic of a cake with a clown face on it.
@ParPolBro a gaping anus. Pulled wide so we see the abyss.
@ParPolBro Schwarzenegger. Then we’ll see whose ratings are better
@ParPolBro A sack full of dented bells with some wire wool balanced on top.
Ok super quick Trump speed run this week. GO!
Trump is proposing a 10% spike in defence spending, while cutting other departments by the same amount, proving he is overly defensive above everything else. Homeland security unveiled a plan to deport every undocumented immigrant they encounter. The only problem with this is that Homeland Security are currently understaffed. Guess they’ll have to hire in workers from abroad. Trump’s transition team told their economic advisors to predict sustained economic growth of 3 to 3.5% and then change all other numbers in their predictions to match this. I mean, I know predicting is a form of making it up in the first place but that’s just silly. The big orange twat said anti-semitism has to stop and that he speaks out against it whenever he gets the chance which turns out is often and he hasn’t. The Trumpministration aims to roll back protections for transgender students meaning they can no longer use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity in educational institutions. The reasoning is to increase students safety because there’s no evidence of transgender bathroom rights affecting anyone’s safety and lets face it, an emo kid with an assault rifle won’t give a shit where you pee, or, er a pee where you shit, but Trump is still repealing gun protection laws. Republican John Boehner says ‘a full repeal and replace of Obamacare is not going to happen’ but VP Mike Pence says they will replace it with something that is built on freedom and individual responsibility which likely means if you get ill and you’re not rich that’s your fault. The FBI rejected a White House request to take down media reports about communications between Trump’s pals and Russians during the campaign. The FBI won’t comment on it as the communications are part of an ongoing investigation and it seems that Trump’s team sought out people in news organisations to challenge stories about his contact with Russia all of which makes me cross my fingers so hard that he’ll be impeached soon that my hands are morphing into permanent shit shadow puppets. Oh and Trump said he’s not attending the White House Correspondents dinner probably because it’s not at Mar-A-Lago at $200k a ticket and someone is going to make fun of him in front of everyone and he doesn’t want to cry in public. To be fair, he banned so much of the media from his last press briefing, I don’t know who he has left to correspond with. Trips to the US have declined consistently since Trump’s travel ban because it’s no fun visiting a theme park in a country where the President is a cartoon. Oh and George W Bush said the US deserves answers on Trump’s relationship with Russia. GEORGE W BUSH. THE MAN WHO WOULDN’T GIVE ANYONE ANSWERS ON WHY HE ILLEGALLY BOMBED THE SHIT OUT OF IRAQ. Yep. That’s where we are now.
That’s not even the half of it this past week. I pity whoever it was from NASA that announced the seven Earth like planets they’ve discovered and had to tell the President there’s now even more places aliens could come from.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. If you haven’t reviewed the show on iTunes, please do. If you have, pat yourself on the back and eat a cake because you’re a good un. If you fancy donating to the Patreon account please do at patreon.com/parpolbro and if you already do, dance a little jig and shake your own hands because you’re definitely a gem. You can also donate via my ko-fi account but let’s be honest, even if I read it out again, you won’t remember so just find it on my website, the Parpolbro twitter or the parpolbro facebook group and regardless of all that if you want to contact me, drop me a line at email@example.com. Next week is episode 50 because the world still isn’t fixed despite 49 episodes of this shit. Well as a special treat, I’ll try extra hard to fix everything next time. Be in your ears then PPBers!
This week’s show was brought to you by the numbers £18600 and the letters from the Home Office saying they aim to stamp out love unless it’s purely British love and is largely two people who’s entire relationship survives by complaining about how nothing works when it gets windy.