Episode 74 – Well Theresa May’s speech happened & that’s about the nicest thing Tiernan can say about it. Analysis of what it meant, plus it’s Conference Season! And Tiernan talks with Matt Turner (@mattturner4l) from Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) on the changing face of media.
Donate to the Patreon at www.patreon.com/parpolbro
Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/parpolbro
Well Theresa May’s speech happened & that’s about the nicest thing Tiernan can say about it. Analysis of what it meant, plus it’s Conference Season! And Tiernan talks with Matt Turner (@mattturner4l) from Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) on the changing face of media.
Before the interview Tiernan reeled off a huge wodge of different news sites with various political leanings. They were (deep breath, justbecausewelistedthemdoesntmeanweendorsethem):
Links and sources of info from Matt Turner’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to episode 74 of the Partly Political Broadcast. I’m Tiernan Douieb and like Prime Minister and only living person to have rigor mortis, Theresa May, I too think British people have never truly felt at home in the EU, which is why we treated it like a hotel airing our dirty laundry hoping someone else would clean it up, demanding services just for us, and now after trashing the place, not entirely sure what we did but realise we aren’t as happy about it as we thought having a hangover that really sucks, we are asking for a complimentary late check-out.
On Friday Theresa May made her lowly anticipated speech in Florence to an audience with absolutely no one from the European Commission in it, and instead only people who’d flown from Britain to attend. Yes the British Prime Minister went to Florence essentially to tell British people how important it is that in future it should be harder to go to Florence. That’s not what she said exactly although I’m not 100% clear on what she did say as I spent ages while watching the broadcast trying to adjust the volume to get rid of the aggressive sound of white noise, before realising that was just May talking in the way she usually does. The main bulk appeared to try to appeal to both Leavers and Remainers and she successfully did that by making both groups feel angry and underwhelmed all at once. I know it’s an easy comparison to say the main content of the speech – if any of it was content – sounded like a pathetic break up chat but it’s hard to compare it to much else. May pointed out that the UK have chosen to leave but hey the EU’s doing really well anyway and is sure it’ll be fine and maybe we can be really good friends, before then asking if we can have an extra two years transition period after March 2019, you know for clearing our stuff out because we don’t have anywhere else sorted out to stay yet. I almost wonder if we’d have had a better result if we’d just ghosted the EU and sent sexts whenever we were in town hoping it’d work out as a friends with benefits scenario. She mentioned the big issues of Northern Ireland, EU citizens rights and the so called divorce bill but didn’t actually commit to any decisions on any of them, making me more certain than ever that Theresa May runs off algorithms made up of things people read out allowed from newspapers because they don’t understand them. The Prime Minister finished after what felt like fucking years, by saying it would be up to the leaders to set the tone, which if that’s the case it’ll be a horrible endless droning noise for at least 3 years.
If that wasn’t disappointing enough, Foreign Secretary and happy slapped uncooked dough Boris Johnson announced that he would resign last week if May didn’t take his 10 point Brexit plan into consideration. And he didn’t mean as something to burn for when we run out of manure. But according to his allies Johnson did force the PM’s hand so she didn’t opt for the Norway option, because why would Britain want to mimic the happiest country in the world in 2017? So Johnson yet again let the nation down by not resigning leaving Britain without even a glimmer of hope that no matter how shitty things get at least we wouldn’t have to see his stretched knee of a face. But of course they weren’t the only things the government promised to deliver on and failed to this week, as after years of insisting austerity worked and that the Conservatives could be trusted on the economy, financial ratings agency, the appropriately named Moody’s, downgraded the UK from an Aa1 to an Aa2. Which to be fair does spell the noise I make to show people screaming at everything that I feel the same.
In other UK news, it is now conference season, with the Liberal Democrats kicking it all off last week in Bournemouth which is my least favourite part of the Bourne trilogy. Leader because no one else wanted to be Vince Cable opened the conference by telling all four attendees and the cleaner that he would lead the Liberal Democrats back to power. Which begs the question, how do you go back to somewhere you’ve never been before? Meanwhile the Labour conference is this week in Brighton because where else suits the opposition party quite like a city where even the beach is hard work? Labour leader and man who TV adverts for mail order CD collections are aimed at Jeremy Corbyn told press on the morning of conference day one that he would be listening to Labour member’s calls to remain in the single market, but warned that it might hinder the government’s ability to protect jobs. Though considering the current government I’m not sure how you can hinder something that isn’t there in the first place. Labour conference has decided there are to be no votes on Brexit during this conference because the only thing that helps the public have faith in an opposition party more than them not having a stance on the biggest political change in the UK in years is them not even having a stance on having a stance on it.
Meanwhile in Germany Lego hair model Angela Merkel is still Chancellor after her party Christian Democratic Union party has come out tops in the Bundestag elections, with the opposition Social Democratic Party trailing behind. And while much of the world should just be in shock that an election has turned out pretty much as predicted for the first time in years, sadly it was also predicted that the far right populist party AfD would come third and they have with over 13% of the vote share. This means they are set to get about 90 seats in the German parliament which will likely mean some very nationalist policies could get pushed through. Hugely worrying for Germany and also a real shame that the notion that of course Germany’s election turned out precisely as predicted might not be the only old fashioned stereotype of that country that may be resurfacing after this. AfD leader Frauke Petry has already resigned and decided to be an independent candidate which at least bodes well for the rest of the country if the party who seek to unite everyone through nationalist ideals can’t even stop themselves dividing. The other party leader Alexander Gauland have said AfD will fight off the foreign invasion, so I guess they’ll spending a lot of time indoors taking vast amounts of vitamin C.
Speaking of fascists, US President and only known child of the Mother of Vinegar, Donald Trump, has spent most of his weekend condemning American Football players for not being patriotic enough. Seems that in 2017 kneeling down during the national anthem to protest against racial prejudice doesn’t follow the American Dream anymore. Though to be fair, when the dream has become a repetitive terrifying nightmare of a giant orange demagogue shouting until everything becomes devoured in his mouth bile to make it appear similar to his own image, then its much better if you skip patriotism for a little while. This followed a week where Trump made a speech to the UN where he described North Korea’s leader and teacup garbage pail kid Kim Jong UN as ‘Rocket Man’. I can only assume Trump is too stupid to remember anyone’s actual name so has his advisors give him dumb down tags for them. I’m guessing Theresa May is ‘Handy Holdy Robot’, Putin is ‘Scary Daddy and Justin Trudea is ‘the one Melania keeps looking at all funny’. In his speech Trump called North Korea and Iran ‘rogue nations’ which I think means they’re part of the Star Wars saga and said they are going to Hell, which is just below Trondheim in Norway so I hope they pack their winter gear. The President of the UN, Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström said Trump’s speech was the wrong speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience. I’m guessing the right speech would’ve been anything said by almost anyone else, the right time probably the 1940s and the right audience anyone who still watches Michael Bay films. North Korea responded to Trump’s comments with Kim Jong Un calling Trump a ‘mentally deranged dotard’ which is an old English term for someone going senile. Having Kim Jong Un, a man that supposedly had surgery to look like his granddad, call you bonkers should definitely be a wake up call to Trump. It reminds of when I was told I was wasted by the resident piss head at our uni. It made me not drink for at least a day. Ok half a day. Ok, I had a water in-between beers, but I definitely took note. Trump’s top aides warned him about escalating things with North Korea but sadly the Donald would only take notice of advice about a meteor nearly hitting the earth if he misconstrued the story because it said ‘miss world’ in the headline. So instead he tweeted that Kim Jong Un is a madman who would be tested like never before, but who knows what that means from someone who’d struggle with an intelligence quotient challenge. Either way things are indeed getting even more stupid and scary between the two nations lead by the result of lifelong bad hair days.
And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced that he is calling an election a whole year early, predicted to be October 22nd, amid the national crisis of threats from North Korea. Abe is doing this because he’s gained popularity in recent weeks. I wonder why? I mean I can’t how everyone would be distracted from allegations against him of cronyism when all they have to worry about is sirens warning them of imminent missile strikes. I get the feeling Abe is the sort of leader who’d hold an election in a classroom just after a bee’s flown in.
And that is a fun note to start the admin hello with isn’t it? I mean I am struggling to find a comedy angle for the possibilities of world war 3 starting apart from the fact the logo could look quite cool as three w’s but the last one on it’s side. Do you do graphic design for terrifying global nuclear war situations? If you do, don’t give me a call, maybe just think about your life because you’ve made some real errors. Anyway, hello to you Partly Political listener and I hope you’re having a grand old week. I’m recording this week’s show from Ireland where I have been doing some very fun shows indeed and also attempting to drink all of the Guinness. I think I’m about 75% of the way through so far. So as a result of my location, travelling and all the shows I’ve been doing at the Dublin Fringe and Cork comedy festival this week’s show is a little light, unlike me after all the Guinness I’ve been drinking. Apologies for that but it will be back to full whack as of next week and thank you as always for listening to this weekly shoutings. Big thanks to Graeme who bought me a few Guinness, ahem sorry coffees at the kofi site, www.ko-fi.com/parpolbro and if you’d like to donate towards this show because it makes your ears and brain all happy like then you can head there or you can become a patreon donator at www.patreon.com/parpolbro where you can still get the recording of my EdFringe show but only for another week, so get on the case with that asap. And of course if you’re as broke as I am because you’ve spent all the money you earned doing shows on Guinness then why not just give this show a lovely 5 star review on iTunes, pocketcasts, Stitcher, or on scraps of paper thrown along your route to work so someone uses them as found poetry and is disappointed when it’s even more boring and inane than found poetry usually is. Yeah I said that. What you gonna do found poets? Send me a threatening letter composed of someone’s shopping list and a torn birthday card?
Not much else to mention this week but may I recommend another podcast to you, just for some interesting listening. The Brexit Podcast, as it says on the tin, is a weekly pod discussing all two sides of Britain shooting it’s own foot in order to stop anyone else wearing it’s trainers, and this past week they had Pete North from the Leave Alliance who are a sort of progressive leave group, not at all aligned with the racist bunch. Anyway it’s a genuinely interesting chat and one, were I to have any faith that the government will listen to anything other than Boris Johnson’s whale cries, does give you some possibilities for this all ending more like Return Of The Jedi than Empire Strikes Back. Which is bad in terms of films but better politics wise. Except for the Ewoks who I would have no qualms about harvesting for IKEA rug fur. Anyway, that’s the Brexit podcast, do check it out. Oh and this week I won’t be looking at the German election much because stuff about that will be on next week’s show when I’ve sobered up from the Guinness enough to use my GCSE German skills to not just laugh at the fact the German word for art is ‘kunst’. Hee hee hee.
On this week’s show I interviewed Matt Turner who is the editor of independent left wing news site Evolve Politics, plus there is Brexit hoo ha and conference hot news. Political conference that is, despite my desperate want to just talk about pears for 5 minutes instead to cheer everyone up. But you can’t have that on a politics comedy podcast as the content is never ripe and juicy enough. LIKE PEARS? DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Sorry.
Anyway, just quickly, before that, is a bit of this:
Secretary of State for Environment and stunt double for Annabelle, Michael Gove, has been accused of suppressing, no not just everyone’s sex drives every time you realise him and his wife word troll Sarah Vine have kids, but also figures about food price hikes after Brexit. The government refused to publish a report by DEFRA the department for environment, food and rural affairs (which means farming stuff not when people cheat on their partners in the countryside) about the increase in food costs because they say a premature disclosure of information could seriously mislead the public. Which considering their record of the last few years would’ve made me assume they’d release it as quickly as possible if misleading the public is the consequence. Unite the union who represent food workers among others, have sent a freedom of information request for the report but the government have rejected it. I mean why let people know it’ll get harder for them to eat? It might cause them to do something irrational like protest, you know, if they have the energy. Food prices are already rising post the referendum especially food from abroad with chocolate money now having more worth than the pound in most other countries. The food industry is concerned that post Brexit there may be costs hikes for a new inspection routine so grub can meet various worldwide trading standards rather than just EU ones. So were DEFRA to release these figures, while it could cause outrage it might also allow things to be put in place to prevent this happening when the final Brexit deal is sorted out. Incredible that the government now appear to not want people to be able to buy their cake in the first place. Or maybe it’s all part of Gove hoping that if most people in the UK die of starvation, by proxy the NHS will gain about £350m extra a year just because there won’t be anyone to see to anymore and therefore ol’ badly taxidermied weasel chops would’ve been right all along.
You know the House Of Lords right? The museum collection that sometimes moves of it’s own accord? You know them right? Well they’ve got all angry that the Electoral Reform Society referred to them as couch potato peers, and not because they several of the party peers look like a weird cross between a spud and something from world of leather, but more because they discovered that members of the Lords who only spoke 5 times or fewer in 2016-17 had still claimed more than £4m in expenses. Which is a lot of money for not saying much. You’d hope those five things they’d said had been real corkers, like proper Facebook meme level, mic drop pearls of verbal awesome. But while there are some very excellent peers like Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson who was a guest on this show back in episode 52, and in fact the most active members only claim half the allowed expenses, so it’s more likely those only saying 5 things are members such as human bagpipe Andrew Lloyd Webber who only pops by to vote for cutting tax credits because the hypocrisy of believing in something for nothing culture while you leach cash for spending most of your year sponging expenses and hanging out with tax dodging Gary Barlow is totally beyond him. The electoral reform society also found that 4% of peers had not spoken or voted at all in the last parliamentary year and the commons speaker John Bercow has called for the Lords to cut the number of members from 798 to around 400 which would cut costs a lot. The house of lords spokesman criticised the electoral reform comments saying that it focused too much on verbal contributions, because yeah guys they make a lot of methane ones too, and did point out that the house had tabled 5608 amendments to legislation, asked the government 7395 written questions and published 170 committee reports in the same year. Which is a lot when you think about it. Go on. Think about it. Yeah, see? But the House of Lords are looking into cost cutting and as peers don’t get salaries, it is the expenses that has risen dramatically and needs to change. There’s a lot of call for hereditary peerages to go, which I agree with and then maybe anyone who really doesn’t ever attend should be let loose and that way, it’ll be more cost efficient and effective. And Andrew Lloyd Webber might finally get pushed back into the sea so he can wail underwater with his relatives.
The Office Of National Statistics has said that last year not a single baby boy was called Nigel, with sources suggesting its because people associate the name with populist barnacle Nigel Farage and they don’t want their children to have anything to do with him because he’s an awful disgusting arse whelk of a human. Good and correct. Well done everyone. If it wasn’t such a terrible name I’d almost suggest everyone name their baby boys ‘Everything Nigel Farage Hates’ as a first name instead but I feel it may really complicated the school register. Though I bet they’d still get more letters actually addressed to them than I do. Sigh.
INTERVIEW WITH MATT TURNER – PART 1
Where do you get your news from? Old fashioned newspapers once you’ve peeled your last few greasy chips from them and realised you’ve eaten half the headline and that’s why that’s banned now? Or perhaps you leave 24 hour news running on your television despite knowing it’s why you won’t listen to anything anyone in your real life says unless it’s proceeded with a ‘DUN DUN DUN DUN’. Or maybe you get your news from news people on the social medias or your local town crier or perhaps your weekly news stork that flies over all the houses and skwarks things you should know about in morse code? Oh. Is that last one just me? Shame. The way in which we digest our news has changed, especially as it now isn’t part of our chips, and there are so many sources with so many of them politically biased in one way or the other due to ownership or target audience, that it’s hard to know what to read when for the right information. The last couple of years have seen the decline of print media meaning that online newspapers are now competing with the rest of the internet for readership. And that means that the rest of internet has realised that actually thanks to low website costs and the a much wider reach than a print run, rather than having to choose between papers with perhaps a tired prerogative and mogul ownershop, new news sites can emerge that can focus on the news and info they want to portray. This means in the case of right wing and alt-right politics sites like InfoWars and Breitbart have appeared, regularly ignoring all facts to shout at scared white teenagers till they become racists, or Guido Fawkes which took the idea of everyone’s favourite fireworks based criminal and made him into a newsite that’s like if your curtain twitching nan had a weekly meeting with the kid at school who tells porkies and wets the bed and they wrote a blog together. Then there are political sites like Wings Over Scotland which focuses on Scottish politics and I guess by the name is run by a news stork, Political betting which I guess makes sense as I’d class many politicians as successful odds, politics.co.uk which I use loads and is edited by Ian Dunt who’s been on this show a few times, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Total politics and PoliticsHome to name a giant’s handful and then on the left you have sites like The Canary, also a type of news bird, which has been criticised for disregarding editing guidelines and promoting incorrect info but is now to be regulated by Impress, Media Diversified which aims to change the lack of representation in media by people of colour, Left Foot Forward, Labour Left and Evolve Politics. Phew!
And for this week’s show I interviewed Matt Turner, who is the editor of the latter one of those, Evolve Politics, because I wanted to know why on earth anyone would run an independent news site, how he guarantees the news is correct and if it’s regulated and if creationists regularly insist his site doesn’t exist. Ok, I didn’t ask him the last one. But the others are questions I’m genuinely interested in as someone who reads so many different things all week to make this podcast, how can I be sure I’m getting the right information when there’s so many sources to choose from? And why does everything have to have such clickbaity headlines that I will absolutely click on like a Pavlov’s millenial? Matt very kindly agreed to let me ask him all these questions despite the stupid time schedule I gave him because of my travels this week. So whether you’re a fan of the site or not, I hope you find this chat about the ever changing face of news interesting.
Oh and a quick
For some reason the room I was staying in in Cork, made the recording at my end sound like I’m doing it through a balaclava. I’m not. Despite how comfy that would’ve been and how upsetting for the people in the rooms opposite that could see through my window. I’ve fixed it as best as I can. Matt sounds fine but there is a bit of background noise at his end too.
INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with Matt in a minute but unfortunately first it’s time for this week’s:
So Theresa May’s speech happened, that is definitely one of the things you could say about it, and another thing you could say about it, is that it generally caused less ripples than a duck farting in the bath. The three main issues up in the air that are causing stagnation in Brexit negotiations are Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland, the rights of EU citizens in the UK and the payment to the EU that honours the commitments of the UK’s membership up until 2020. And those areas were mentioned, but in more in passing than in depth, like the way you might throw in that the criminal looked like he probably drinks tea, while spending the rest of witness report telling the police about your favourite movie files on the laptop you had stolen. On Northern Ireland May said that ‘we will protect progress made in Northern Ireland’ which I assume she means about the border with the Republic otherwise the DUP might ruin that agreement they have as that’s not what they’re about. May also said ‘we will not accept any physical infrastructure at the border’ which is good but doesn’t actually provide a solution. Unless it’s a hint that they will accept a ghost infrastructure where spectres pass through traded goods to check them, or a philosophical border where you’re not asked what you’re carrying over but why you’re carrying it. Or more likely, it’s that she still doesn’t have a clue. Both the Irish Taosoich Leo Varadaker and the European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt have said the UK have not yet found a satisfactory answer to the border issue and that a ‘unique solution’ has to be found. I suggest the unique solution of Guinness. I mean, it won’t really help the border issue but it’s tasty and would make everyone at least feel temporarily happy until they sober up.
On the rights of EU citizens in the UK, May said ‘we have made significant prowess on how we look after European nationals living in the UK’ but then didn’t say what that prowess was. Anyone can do that. I can tell you I’ve made significant prowess in being able to shoot flames from my elbows but unless I show you a picture of a very awkward incident at a snooker club it means nothing. May went on to say ‘we want you to stay, we value you and we thank you’ which feels not unlike when a parent tells their kid ‘we want to keep the dog, we really do’ before then saying that we can’t and sending it to be put down.
And on the divorce bill, May said the UK will honour commitments we have made during the period of our membership, which is what you’re meant to do, but she didn’t mention exactly how much the UK would be paying. Lots of papers have said there would be an offer of €20bn but she didn’t mention that in the speech. It reminds me of when friends are trying to split the bill at a restaurant and I keep pretending I didn’t know what mine comes to hoping they’ll just tell me a figure and I’ll get away with the extra ice cream I had. So the speech didn’t say anything we really needed to know which feels like a tradition for May, but the one thing we did find out is that the UK will be looking at a two year transition period after March 29th 2019, where we will have access to the single market, customs union and all that and keep various laws and procedures in order to give us more time to work out what on earth to do. It’s like large scale stalling because they’ve finally realised triggering Article 50 without any plans in place was like hitting the airlock door button before popping your space suit on. But I wouldn’t quite go so far as to say May realising they need more time on this is a good thing, as two years still feels short sighted, but the short sightedness is definitely an improvement on her previous complete blindness and insistence on walking into the same walls over and over again. Overall though we mostly learned that with no EU officials attending May’s speech and her using taxpayer money to head over, it was almost as if the subtext was ‘hey on the plus side, once we leave, leaders that no one has any faith in can’t just have freebie holidays in Europe anywhere near as easily.’ I can’t help but feel if Theresa May was a real British patriot she’d have done the speech from a caravan park in Cumbria.
Meanwhile at the Labour conference members voted not to discuss Brexit at the event because hey, it’s no biggie, why bother? It’s not like it’s a hot topic or anything. Grassroots movement Momentum urged it’s members not to support the motion on Brexit and instead push for the subjects to be Grenfell Tower, rail, growth and investment, public sector pay, workers rights, the NHS, housing and social care. And while there has been a lot of anger that Brexit wasn’t chosen, Labour have backed it saying that they it’s the members who choose the motions and that Brexit will be discussed across the board, which it has to be considering it will affect nearly all the areas they’ll be discussing otherwise. It seems pointless discussing workers rights if you have no idea what they’ll be in 2-4 years time. It seems it was mainly not chosen so that it didn’t highlight divides in the party on Brexit and would make the appearance that they are building a consensus across the different factions. Yeah cool. Now instead everyone can just see all the infighting that will occur about areas like rail or social care instead. Emily Thornberry insisted Labour’s frontbench were all pulling in the same direction over Brexit, but that could mean they’re all pulling away from each other while facing inwards. Shadow Secretary for Brexit Keir Starmer made a speech to the conference on Monday where he accused the Tories of joyriding the economy off a cliff edge, which is not fair as I don’t think they do anything for joy, as that’s not how the Dark Side works. Starmer said he didn’t think the options of staying in the single market or customs union should be swept off the table just yet but when criticised that Labour had basically let the Conservatives do what they want, Starmer said that rather than lay down rash ideological red lines during negotiations, Labour had settled on a position that respected the result but also prioritised the economy and trade in exit talks. Which sounds like a paradox to me as it’ll be hard to do the latter when you’re doing the former. Stamer insisted that Labour are the grownups in the room when it comes to Brexit negotiations but considering they aren’t in the room that means they’ve left granddad Barnier with a petulant child and no emergency number to call if he runs out of nappies.
Still though it is hard for Labour to have a strong stance when the people they’re opposing don’t even have a stance, or an awkward sitting position and instead are flailing around the floor like a struggling bug. Perhaps if May can work out exactly what it is her government is doing, the negotiations can move on and Labour can then assume an opposition position. Or, more likely, it’ll get to 2021 and May will make a speech in Rome probably symbolising as she says the Eternal city and eternal relationships between UK and Europe while the rest of the world will think ‘she’s there because it’s the home of the collapse of an empire’. Then her speech will say something about how ‘hey sorry we still have that DVD of yours but I don’t where it is now’ before asking if there’s any way we can push things back another few years as she got distracted by things and promises she’ll get on the case as soon as she’s binge watched Stranger Things series 5.
And now, back to Matt….
INTERVIEW WITH MATT TURNER PART 2
Mega thanks to Matt for speaking with me. As I said, he really did very kindly keep to this interview despite me re-arranging it a couple of times due to hotel wi-fi issues. Evolve politics can be found at evolvepolitics.com, on Twitter @evolvepolitics and on Facebook too. Matt’s personal Twitter is @mattturner4L if you’d like to follow him as well. I do check Evolve Politics a few times a week as there’s often info on there that I won’t find anywhere else that often lead me to looking into stories from angles I didn’t immediately think of. But as with all these things, I would always advise you read a variety of sites to get your news from as I often find a real cross section of media helps me feel like I get the full stories eventually. Of course I don’t mean read the Daily Mail or The Sun though, as I wouldn’t put you through that when you could get the same sort of information watching a dog bark at a reflection of itself for four hours.
As always if you have someone you’d like me to interview or a subject you’d like me to interview someone about, do drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you could write it on silk, roll it into a ball of wax and then swallow it, eventually passing it through your digestive system and at some point when they eventually remove that fatburg in the London sewer I’ll see your request in pictures of it, all surrounded by lard and horror. I mean really, as always, email is probably easiest.
IT’S SEPT/OCT SO IT STANDS TO REASON
THAT RIGHT NOW IT’S CONFERENCE SEASON
THAT’S POLITICAL CONFERENCES NOT CONFERENCE PEARS
ALTHOUGH IF YOU PLANT THEM AROUND NOW THEY’LL BE REALLY NICE FOR NEXT AUGUST
IF YOU LIKE PEARS THAT IS
IF YOU DON’T THEN MAYBE DON’T DO THAT
OOOOH CONFERENCE SEASON
That’s right it is conference season, the time of year when parties like the Liberal Democrats or Labour head to seaside resorts to maybe symbolise looking outwards as they discuss the future while the Conservatives head to Manchester because they’re idea of a good time is being surrounded by people they neglect the entire rest of the year. I am heading to one day of the Labour Conference this week and so I will try my best to get some vox pops from people if I can, although despite contacting the press office over a month ago I’ve still not heard if I’m allowed to take my microphone without a press pass so we’ll see what happens. I may just deliver you a variety of different clips of audio of me being bundled out of a number of venues. But until then I thought it’d be a good to have a quick update on highlights of the Lib Dems and the Labour events so far.
First up the Lib Dem conference last week which was opened by new old leader Vince Cable who maintained that they are the party of Remain and while I could once make the joke that they should just be the party of the few that are remaining, they have membership of over 100,000 since the Brexit referendum as a result of being the only fully pro-Remain party. He berated Corbyn for sitting on the fence about Brexit and that the Conservatives are putting internal politics before the lives of 4 million EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. Cable demanded the British public are given a vote on the outcome of Brexit which he said wasn’t a re-run or a second referendum before saying that it was but it was one about facts. I mean fair play, but if the last few years is anything to go by, I’m worried most people would vote against facts after denouncing them as fake news. Deputy leader of the Lib Dems Jo Swinson made her first speech since announcing she wouldn’t be running for leadership earlier in the year. Her speech also pushed for an exit from brexit which I guess would be a brexexit or an exbrexit? Oh god, won’t someone think of podcasters like me when they do the marketing on these things?
There was a debate on the emergency motion on delaying the rollout of universal credit because as predicted it’s more of a universal disaster with many waiting ages for money to arrive and is contributing towards the increase in homelessness as payments to landlords are made late. The Lib Dems voted to demand the government pause the rollout which is good though you do sort of wish that maybe they’d mentioned it back when they were in the coalition government. On the fringes members attended a reception for the British association for shooting and conservation, two words that don’t usually go together. Do you shoot first and conserve later or the other way around? There were also fringe events by the Green Liberal Democrats who used the conference to launch a fully costed plan for a zero carbon Britain by 2050, which is a good and necessary idea and there were discussing about how move on from the dark shadow of Nick Clegg’s failed promise on rising tuition fees which still looms over them. Overall it the opinion is that with Vince Cable only becoming leader two months ago, and only a slight rise in seats at the snap election, the Lib Dems are still finding their feet as to who they now are. As it stands Cable intends to lead the Lib Dems to power by offering a mix of hope and realism. Two things that don’t really go together much but at least if it doesn’t work out for them they can probably get some sort of deal with Pixar.
The Labour conference is still underway and I’ll report more on it next week, but before it started there were already indications that they are still less of a party and more of a squabble as various key figures including Andy Burnham were kicking up a stink as to why they can’t speak on the main platform. Corbyn said it was to allow delegates more speaking time than in the past so there would have to be fewer speakers to allow for this. I mean, as someone who’s organised comedy gigs before, he could’ve at least allowed Burnham an open 5 spot in the middle so he could advertise his solo show about ‘How I Escaped the Westminster Bubble’ elsewhere which probably has a poster with him superimposed over an image from 70’s TV show the Prisoner. Apart from the Brexit vote, other discussions across the conference have included Shadow Chancellor announcing that if Labour were to get into government they would scrap PFI schemes and end existing contracts, handing them back to the public sector which would no doubt be expensive in the short term, but cheaper in the long term. McDonnell also said they would nationalise rail, water, energy and Royal mail, in that order, which could mean you’d get cheaper rail tickets but they still would arrive in the post for 5 days and when they do it’ll be at 3pm while you’re out. McDonnell’s speech essentially bombed away any remnants of Tony Blair’s New Labour policies from the party, but considering Blair’s history, he might be a fan of that.
Speaking of former party leaders, Ed Milliband made a speech at Momentum’s World Transformed Festival where he said he was wrong about Corbyn, which he can now add to his long list including a massive fucking Ed stone and terrible mugs. Elsewhere Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, said the party will demand a veto on any post Brexit trade deal with Trump’s US. I mean, I can see where he’s coming from and of course no one wants to trade with old bonkers orange jowls but if we can’t secure a decent trade deal with the EU post Brexit and then we block the US as well, we’re really gonna have to get good at growing stuff or start adding cannibalism into British Values. Lastly Jeremy Corbyn told BBC Points West that he would not rule out cancelling the Hinkley Point C power station unless it was already built and in operation. I mean he did actually say ‘wouldn’t rule out pulling the plug’ but I’m not sure you can do that with nuclear power stations without causing a terrible mess.
More on all that, next week.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Thank you once again for listening. If you haven’t already subscribed please do, also please give the show a review on your favourite sites, web or landfill, and if you can afford to, please chuck me a donation to patreon.com/parpolbro or ko-fi.com/parpolbro.
Thanks as always to Acast for hosting the show and my brother The Last Skeptik for all the music I shamelessly stole off him with his permission. His new album ‘This Is Where It Gets Good’ is out on September 29th so do check that out.
By the time you hear this show I’ll be at or have been to a day at the Labour Conference, unless I’ve got trapped in the middle of a West Side Story style fight between party factions and don’t make out of there alive, or at least without being covered in various badges, stickers and knitted goods. I’ll report on all that I see and attend next week so you can look forward to that. I’ll also no doubt be talking about Donald Trump tweeting that his dad is bigger than Kim Jong Un’s.
BE ALL UP IN YOUR EARS THEN. BYE!
This week’s show was brought to you by the number 2021 which is both the year that Brexit transitions will be done by now, and also if you write it vertically, the only number that looks like a Cyclops Elvis doing an ambivalent expression, which he would do if he were around in 2021 when no doubt the Brexit transitions still won’t be over.