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Tiernan speaks to James Patrick (@J_amesP) about the trail of dark money and his book Alternative War. Plus Brexit Fallout returns!
Links and sources of info from Charlotte Chorley’s interview:
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast episode 81. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week I would love to say that I need a break from politics, but I’m worried that that now means I’d either have to secretly meet foreign officials or even worse, have the foreign secretary tell everyone I was training journalists and end up incarcerated.
First up on last week’s wish you weren’t here oh now you’re not is now former International Development Secretary and budding Disney villain Priti Patel. The previous week’s revelations that she had spent her private family holiday meeting Israeli officials were odd enough, I mean does she do that ever holiday? Has the family trip to Disney World involved her lurking off to have departmental business chats with Mickey and Goofy? Has she left the kids riding reindeer in Lapland while she chats foreign aid funding with Father Christmas? But it was also revealed that the meetings happened not only without the knowledge of the Foreign Office but not even the British Embassy in Israel despite discussing with the Israeli Prime Minister and jingoistic chickpea Benjamin Netenayhu about giving more international aid to Israeli soldiers. Then Patel revealed she’d had two more meetings with Israeli officials since her holiday in August and I started to wonder if maybe it’s an addiction problem she has. Does she wake up in the morning and meet an Israeli official? Can she not cope unless she secretly meets an Israeli official after every meal? Should someone stage an intervention? Well luckily they did as Prime Minister and winner of best dressed icicle 2017 Theresa May summoned her in the way only a master of dark arts could, and Priti boarded an earlier flight back from her meeting in Nairobi than planned and all on taxpayers expense but she was there on work not holiday so I doubt it interrupted anything important. On her return Patel resigned from her post in the cabinet because yes, Theresa May doesn’t even have the wherewithal to sack any of her own cabinet ministers unless they do it themselves. I’m pretty sure she’s the sort of person who’d struggle to swat a mosquito away, instead hoping it just decides it’s had enough or that it isn’t a fan of chilled blood and leaves of it’s own accord. The Jewish Chronicle then revealed they had two sources that said May was aware of Patel’s meetings, but she doesn’t seem aware of almost anything else so that’d be impressive, but either way with Patel resigning the heat has been taken off what the cabinet may have been wanting from these stronger ties to Isreal. So after Michael Fallon leaving the week before and Priti Patel this past week, that’s two cabinet members down in just 8 days leaving May with less of a useful cabinet and more of a broken storage box full of dysfunctional tat. Promoted to the post of International Development Secretary is Penny Mordant Conservative MP for Portsmouth North and the sort of person who looks like she’d get on with Kirsty Allsop. Yep, that sort of person. Penny Mordant is the MP who made a speech in Parliament in 2014 about poultry welfare just to fulfil a bet with her Royal Navy colleagues involving her saying ‘cock’ several times in the House of Commons, something that I’ve wanted to shout in that building quite a lot to be fair, but more concerning to her current post is that in 2016 she insisted the UK was powerless in stopping Turkey joining the EU using that as a reason to Brexit even though the UK totally could’a and now only can’t because it won’t be part of the EU in the first place. This was when she was armed forces minister but she either willingly lied or had no idea of the EU policy she was discussing and either way fouled up far worse than any speech on poultry welfare. Well whichever it is, lying or complete lack of rules, it does sound like she’ll fit into what was formerly Priti Patel’s role very well. Meanwhile Priti Patel will now be spending more time not going on holiday.
Next on wish they weren’t there but thanks to you, they will be sadly staying longer than planned, is Foreign Secretary and arse blancmange Boris Johnson who’s usual lack of awareness just highlights his own absence of conviction but this time sadly it’s increased the unfair conviction of someone else. North London charity worker Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has now been imprisoned in Iran for a year and a half following her arrest while she was on holiday with her daughter. The Iranian government suspected her charity work was a front used to overthrow the government, because nothing says secret ursurper like ‘hey, everything on this rack is 50p’. However Johnson may have now upped her sentence by another 5 years because he told a parliamentary committee that ‘she was simply teaching journalism as I understand it’ something that proves a) he clearly doesn’t understand anything as she was on holiday and not in the way Priti Patel takes them and b) is a serious crime in Iran and so even if it was what she was doing which it wasn’t why would you say it was and endanger her more? He has now apologised for his comments, 10 full days after it happened but first Boris said his remarks were taken out of context, something that is hard to do when the full context was a sentence were he suggested Nazanin was teaching journalism and not on holiday. Was there some hidden context somewhere? Did he have a bit of paper saying ‘NOT’ in his pocket? He’s since suggested it was the fault of foreign office officials rather than his, and he’s been backed by Disgraced MP Liam Fox the disgrace who said it was ‘just a slip of the tongue’ because hey, we’ve all had a slip of the tongue and landed someone in prison for 5 years right Liam? Though his is likely forked so who knows what he can do – and from the only person with even less conviction than Johnson to the extent that he stabbed him in the back and now seems to be behind him, possibly in position to do it again, Micheal Gove. Gove suggested on the Marr show that perhaps Nazanin wasn’t just there on holiday because he’d much rather ruin someone’s life than the career of someone who’s career he tried to ruin. Meanwhile nothing is being done to help Nazanin who is the person actually in serious danger. Nazanin’s husband Richard Ratcliffe has said that neither he or Nazanin wants Boris to lose his position as Foreign Secretary despite all this though, but that’s mainly because he’s now so intertwined in it all, it is in Johnson’s best self interests to do all he can. Personally I think he should offer a swapsies and offer to take Nazanin’s place and bring her home though sadly he’d probably get released pretty quickly by the Iranian government as it’s pretty clear that Boris would have little to nothing to teach journalists and could barely organise a coup at a pigeon race.
Brexit Secretary and man entirely composed of the bits you have to pull off tangerines under the skin, David Davis, has said the government have conceded and that MPs will get a vote on the final Brexit deal with the EU. Woohoo! Except he also said that they if they reject the final deal then we’ll Brexit with no deal at all. Booooo. What sort of a choice is that? You can choose if you’d like to die by being shot in the face but if you say you don’t want to die that way, I’ll kill you with this sharpened spoon and then shoot you in the face. The EU has told the UK it has two weeks to decide on it’s financial commitment in the deal or talks cannot continue, something that David Davis responded to in an interview on Sky News by laughing then saying they definitely have till December. I’m more and more certain that he’s going to turn up to the next talks with nothing but some excuse about how the dog ate their agreement. Still though they are determined to press on without a clue and Theresa May mentioned before this week’s debates on the EU withdrawal bill that she would enshrine the date and time we leave the EU in law as 11pm on March 29th 2019. Except at the rate the government are going that just looks like it’ll mean they’ll not only be destroying all the country’s future prospects but also now breaking the law too by not being at all ready for it. What a weird feeling that’ll be eh? Sadness at leaving but happiness at the government being courted off by police. And to think with it being 11pm last orders will have already happened too so we won’t even have booze to help.
Hello you, listeners old and new. Ooh I’m a poet but don’t know it. Except I do and I really don’t feel I deserve the title. Anyway, I hope you’re doing well this chilly week. I’ve been trying a new way of dealing with the endless news of the British government being morons and that is to look at it as though it’s a boost to everyone else’s ego. You know how previously the idea was that you look up to those elected to positions of power with the aim that they will deal with complicated stuff? Well I’m now pretending it’s all changed and we’ve chosen completely stupid idiots to pop on a pedestal so we can cheer ourselves up every day by thinking wow, I’m not as thick as the people in charge, I must be super smart, thus boosting mental health and feel good vibes all over downtown. The downside is of course, that they are still in charge of dealing with complicated stuff which sort of ruins it. Hmm. I’ll keep thinking. How do you deal with it all? If you have any sensible or preferably for this podcast, completely not sensible methods of trying to find the positive in knowing the last week’s mayhem has been down to top officials acting in a way that gets nursery kids told off, then please do let me know at all the usual messaging outlets that I mention too many times on this show already.
But yes, thank you for listening to this as always and this week’s thanks to those of you who gave the show yet more reviews on iTunes which is hugely appreciated. And you can do that too! Yes you! What do you mean you already did? No not you, behind you, that one, yes you. You too can review the podcast on any of your podcast apps using your preferred method of key pressing – sometimes nose is fun, you should try, but not when you have a cold as that makes your screen horrid – and please give us a review saying how much you enjoy listening. Also if you can donate to helping this podcast be better tech & time wise please throw a quid or two to Patreon.com/parpolbro or the ko-fi.com/parpolbro as it all really helps.
Also if you can come along please remember I am doing my solo show Miserably Happy in London on Sunday Nov 19th. I really need some bums on seats for the filming of that show so if you can come or are planning to come, please buy the tickets in advance so we know it has enough people to go ahead. It’s at 2Northdown in Kings Cross, it starts at 8.15pm, should be all done by 9.15pm and tickets are only £5. It is the last time I’ll be doing this show ever ever so please come along and watch and hear them jokes. You can grab tickets by searching for my name on tickettext.co.uk and I’m tweeting the link so regularly I’m going to get reported for spam any day now.
On this week’s show I am interview James Patrick for the second time, long time listeners may remember back in episode 39 when we spoke about police cuts and this time it’s all on his new book Alternative War which unlike alternative comedy, embraces the hack stuff if anything. Also Brexit Fallout returns. Yey but also boooo and of course, there’s some a this:
I don’t know if you did, but I wore a poppy all of last weekend because mm mm I love heroin. I have made that joke on this podcast before because it is my favourite. Personally though I am subscriber to the view that the best way to honour the war dead is by not doing more wars and actually taking carec of those who have fought in them. But then what do I know, maybe the correct patriotic act is to blow more people up but then wear a bit of plastic & paper for two weeks then forget about them. Labour leader and besuited stoat Jeremy Corbyn urged in an interview before the Remembrance Day memorials for more to be done to help veterans suffering from PTSD which is a big problem for many as they try to readjust to a normal life. Trauma, mental health issues and finance issues affect a lot of those who leave the armed forces and last year 2500 former soldiers were imprisoned with a disproportionate amount being for violent or sexual offences, many others take up substance abuse or alcoholism every year, and there are thought to be over 7000 homeless vets in the UK. That is veterans not animal doctors, just to clarify. I think a lot of them have homes judging by how much it costs to get a cat jabbed. With vaccines I mean. If you just want to jab a cat then you should be arrested because cats don’t deserve that. I mean they do but you know. The Charity Combat Stress who work with veterans with mental health issues said the only reason things are improving for former soldiers with PTSD is because there is so many affected by it so more people know about it. How depressing is that? PTSD has had to become popular before anyone decided to deal with it? Not unlike fascism I suppose. Or onesies. At the moment, the only real support comes from charities rather than any government funding so in a way your poppy is helping soldiers a lot more than the MoD that sent them to fight in the first place. It’s incredible that the Ministry of Defence are quite happy to combat enemies but not any problems soldiers may face at home. Corbyn called in his statement for the MoD to provide more support on decision making and housing as well as counselling if needed. The Ministry of Defence have not responded yet to Corbyn’s ask but chances are they’ll be happy just wearing a poppy like a real patriot.
Do you remember in last week’s podcast where I mentioned several times about how parliament needed an HR department like other real workplaces? Remember that? All the stories of sexual harassment that now seem like they were an eon ago? And then just as I loaded up that episode to reach your ears, I saw the news that the various party leaders had mutually agreed to introduce a new complaints procedure including face-to-face human resources support. So while this backs up my theory that I tell no one and don’t actually believe in that the government have hacked my computer and steal all my best ideas, it does also mean part of the show was out of date before you even heard it. Well to be fair it wasn’t that out of date as it’s not been implemented yet and won’t be for at least a year because hey, why the rush right? Surely those victims of sexual harassment can wait another excruciatingly long and upsetting amount of time before anyone gives a shit right? There will be an upgrade to the existing parliamentary complaints hotline by the end of November though, a line that is dealt with in house at Parliament which sounds bad but it’s not by MPs so that sounds better. But all of this is not really enough and Labour have called for an independent body to deal with complaints and who have the power to report allegations to the police, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas said there should be a training program to educate MPs on consent. Imagine that, MPs understanding they should see if people want things before they do them to them? I’m pretty sure the Department Of Work and Pensions would vanish overnight. While this is not enough there is cross party consensus to do more so hopefully parliament is making steps to being a bit more up to date with how the rest of the world works and that’d be great, even if it means my podcasts are usually a week behind as a result.
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES PART 1
Brexit, Trump, the rise of fascism, the Jumanji remake. What do all those have in common? Yes that’s right, the lingering feeling that none of them should have happened but somehow did. And as a remoaning liberal anti-fascist fan of the late great Robin Williams, I often struggle with the idea that all of things happened simply because that’s how public opinion is now, believing instead that there must be something more to it than just that there are a lot of awful people out there who really think somehow it’ll all be just as good even though now it’s a computer game and Jack Black is in it? Oh fuck off. Well apart from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle for which there is no hope, but the others, Brexit, Trump and Neo-Nazis, it turns out may be down to something other than a lot of awful humans. Yes that’s right it looks like it’s down to just some awful humans and their bots, as in robots, not bottoms. Thanks to some excellent investigations, the connections are many between Russia, Trump and his campaign, sick bucket with a face Nigel Farage, the leave campaign, Cambridge Analytica, psychometrics and your crappy Facebook profile with far too many pictures of you on a holiday no one cares about. There are many funding footprints and digital traces that suggest that this was all far more co-ordinated by those with an interest in disruption than just the world collectively deciding to be an unreasonable dick.
Now look, I’m not going to lie, I find it all hard to wrap my head around the detail of all of this and I spend most of the time reading about badly humming the theme tune to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but someone who is firmly on the case is James Patrick. If you’re a long time listener you might remember when I spoke to James back in episode 39 about when he whistle blew on the Met police fiddling crime stats and that is really worth a listen if you want to get a background on James before you hear this chat. But James has now turned his knowledge of data analysis and investigatory skills to journalism and has been following the trail of what he calls the Alternative War since earlier this year, writing many articles for Byline and releasing his second book called Alternative War in August. So I asked James if he could explain exactly what that’s all about, whether we’ve all been duped and should throw our computers in the bin to stop the Nazis and if Putin has anything at all to do with Jumanji 2 because really how else could you explain it? Ok, I didn’t ask him that, but I wanted to.
What I will say before we get to the chat is that if you’re a listener who’s not come across any of this in any articles so far by either James or Carole Cadwalladr in the Guardian or a number of others, then I just want to reassure you that so much evidence has been found about what James refers to as the international conglomeration of fuck nuggets or the trail of dark money that this is hugely important stuff with potentially politics and country changing results so I hope this interview is a sort of gateway drug to you reading up more on it all. Oh also James’s skype line goes a bit funny a couple of times which you can just assume is thanks to hackers and I keep referring to Carole Cadwalladr as Caroline because I’m an idiot and hadn’t had enough tea by the time we spoke.
Anyway, this is the Alternative War – sorry I really wanted to say that, ahem. And here is James:
INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with James in a minute but first the return this week of:
It’s EU Withdrawal bill debate time! Get your favourite EU law that you’d like to see repealed into UK law hat on! Mine is article 69 not only because it sounds rude but also because it’s the Extent of Protection law part of the European Patent Convention and that also sounds rude when added to the 69 bit! Win! Ahem. But you know what the EU withdrawal bill is right? You know the one that was the Great Repeal Bill and then just the Repeal Bill and is getting sadder and more depressing with each iteration of its name until at the end of the next 8 days of debate it’ll probably just be referred to as the ‘Oh fuck there’s so much to do this is all such a mess’ bill. The idea is that this bill will transfer all EU laws onto domestic statute by the time we leave but as I’ve wanged on so many times about on this podcast the second reading of the bill passed despite containing a clause that will essentially allow the government powers to pass legislation without any scrutiny from parliament. So one minute it’s all article 69 har-de-har, the next it’s ‘hey we’ve taken the EU clean air policy package and changed it to ‘all cabinet minister get gas masks and oxygen supplies and the rest of you can get fucked’, so that’s done now.’ So to summarise a bit, the week and a bit of debate is to go through all the amendments in all the 6 different clauses except clause 5 because fuck that, and work out what’s what before voting on the amendments, reading it again and then passing it to the House Of Lords by which point it’ll be around 2025 and we’ll all realise we’ve been without planes, food or hospital staff for 6 years and outside the commons it’s like Mad Max. So that all starts on Tuesday ie the day this podcast comes out and jumps in your ears. But what has happened before that’s started is that Brexit Secretary David Davis said that the government have conceded on giving parliament a vote on the final Brexit deal which May wouldn’t guarantee back in October, something that is completely bonkers when you think the government could just push through any old deal without any parliamentary consent.
So this concession shows that they are running scared as the government knew that if they didn’t offer this vote to MPs, chances are Labour and rebel Tory MPs would vote down other elements of the EU withdrawal bill and hinder their plans if they have any which I’m still not sure of. BUT and this is a big ol’ butt of the Sir-Mix-A-Lot liking kind, the vote the government are offering MPs is… only a take it or leave it deal meaning if they don’t want to vote for the only deal given, they have to accept a no deal. Yes, what a super shit concession right? You either eat this possibly shit filled sandwich or you have no sandwich but there is no way you can say, hey why can’t we have a sandwich with cheese in it and who’s shit is that? Is it yours? Oh god. Oh god this is wrong. But Davis did say the government will agree to any votes on substantive primary legislation which means MPs should be able to amend the bill before it becomes law before they then have to vote on it. Hooray! The potential of a shit and cheese sandwich! But then David Davis also responded to a query from the Lib Dems about what happens if a bill is only finalised last minute before the March 29th deadline and he said that could happen and then MPs would have to vote afterwards which is like saying we don’t want this shit and cheese sandwich after having eaten 2/3rds of it. And then everyone’s least favourite angry thumb Iain Duncan Smith asked what would happen if the amendment made went against the deal negotiated with the EU and argh the answer is basically argh. The next few days will be interesting. Or arghntersting. Especially if the next few days force votes on the power grabbing Henry VIII clause, or Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer’s amendment to stay in the single market during the two year post
Meanwhile leading up to this one of the amendments Theresa May wants on the EU withdrawal bill is for the date and time of Brexit to be set on the Bill as a fixed in law departure point, something that makes me want to sneak into Parliament and move all the clocks forward 5 minutes so that they all get a criminal record at 11.05 on March 29th. But in response to this the man who drafted Article 50, Lord Kerr, has said it is reversible even after if the date of leaving is set in stone and he doesn’t just mean you’ll be allowed to say 05 Elcitra on March 30th. Though I will, anyway. But Kerr has said that the Article 50 treaty has lots of options including seeking extra time for negotiations and even taking back the letter from EU President and Niles in Polish Fraser Donald Tusk, though who knows how many darts you might have to pull out of it first. So that remains an option if all else fails which would be following this government’s fine tradition and they bloody love a tradition.
Environmental secretary and undefeated all time winner of most punchable face in politics Michael Gove announced that he is planning an environmental watchdog to protect wildlife, land, water and air post Brexit although it’ll have to a be pretty big dog to check all those things all the time. Is it Clifford The Big Red Dog? Cos colour wise he’s probably more useful to the opposition. Some of Gove’s proposals seem pretty good though and I readily cheered his announcement that he would back a total UK ban on bee harming pesticides as flying insects are in huge decline, especially bees and neonicotinoids are said to be a cause as it definitely isn’t windscreens doing all the work anymore. But as I was schooled on Facebook by two of you lovely listeners Emma and Kat, this ban on neonictinoids could mean reverting back to the last legal product allowed for use instead, which are organophosphates which effect even more insects. And so once again we might have another flawed government idea that involves saving the bees by killing the ants, beetles and flies instead. Gove did also say that his plan is that he wants to see species which have been on the verge of extinction and endangered returned. Which if nothing else, does explain why he’s still backing Theresa May as leader despite everything.
And now back to James:
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES PART 2
Thank you to James for the interview this week. You can find him on Twitter @J_amesp and his book Alternative War, which I really enjoy and am terrified by, is available from all them bookshop places where they do the books but not bookies as that’s different why won’t you learn? You can also check out James’s articles and sponsor his journalism work on Byline.com. And do check out Episode 39 where we speak more about James’s past as a Met police analyst. As James recommended do also check out Carole Cadwalladr (not Caroline as I kept saying because I’m an idiot)’s investigations too and she’s on Twitter @carolecadwalla and her articles are in the Guardian, and David Carroll who is on Twitter @profcarroll. And what you shouldn’t do is follow anyone with a union jack for a profile pic and a username that’s followed by more numbers than a Euromillions draw as it’s likely they’re a bot, which is short either for robot or bottom and its often very hard to tell. Also do go back to Episode 47 where I interviewed Leslie Hallam who is director of the psychology of advertising course at Lancaster University and talked a lot more about what psychometrics and psychographics can do.
Who else do you want me to talk to? What other subjects should I interview people about? Had some great suggestions recently from Emma, Annie, Leo, Emma (another one) and Kat and I’m trying to sort things out from all of those too, and I got James back this week thanks to a few of you asking me to which is appreciated. But please keep those suggestions coming. And you can do that by dropping me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or pray to the Ancient greek god Hermes to deliver your message and he’ll send one of those shit vans and fail to drop it off because no one was in when they didn’t ring the doorbell. You know Hermes was the gods messanger and divine trickster? So depressing that a deity worked out the meanest trick they can play is just not to specify exactly what time between 9 and 6. Definitely just email.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Thank you as always for listening and please do spread the word about the show on all your social medias to real people or your favourite Russian bots, I mean come on, let’s use these algorhythms for good people! Well my good anyway. Also please do review the show on iTunes or your podcast app of preference and if you can please also do donate to the patreon at Patreon.com/parpolbro or the Ko-fi.com/parpolbro account for a one off thingy.
Big thanks to Acast for hosting the show and to my brother The Last Skeptik for all the music. He’s currently doing some shows in Australia in Sydney and Melbourne so go see him there if you’re not too busy enjoying the summer you utter bastards. I AM SO COLD.
This will be back next week when David Davis will have assured parliament that ok they can have a vote on a choice of final Brexit deals but one of them is a booby prize that means all they get is a cabbage and he won’t say which.
This week’s show is brought to you by Priti Patel Holidays the official holiday company for meeting officials on holiday. PPH – For when you really need a work from rest.