Episode 88 – Lots of prime comedy subjects such as the rise of violent crime, homelessness and the President’s Club. Sigh. But to balance that out, Tiernan has a very fun chat with @thestevebyrne from @whatampolitics all about Ireland’s opinions on the Irish border situation. Also Tiernan boasts about getting to see Hamilton.
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Lots of prime comedy subjects such as the rise of violent crime, homelessness and the President’s Club. Sigh. But to balance that out, Tiernan has a very fun chat with @thestevebyrne from @whatampolitics all about Ireland’s opinions on the Irish border situation. Also Tiernan boasts about getting to see Hamilton.
Links and sources of info from Steve Byrne’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to episode 88 of the Partly Political Broadcast a podcast that takes politics and then puts in a it draw a re-gifts it someone else because it’s awful. Why would anyone want it? Why? I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week I’m really starting to think that the only bloody thing giving honour to the title of President is a brand of soft French cheese and the whole point of President brie is that it’s not even meant to be very mature.
Yes the big fart noise in an almost otherwise quiet week of news, was the exposé of The President’s Club, less a men only charity gala and more, it seems, eBay for Pricks. The Financial Times reported that not only was this annual gathering pretty grim on account of it’s attendee list looking like a selected cross section of SPECTRE board members and the Mos Eisley cantina, but also because those attendees groped, abused and harassed the female staff in ways that suggest their 2018 new year’s resolution was to try their best to get played by Casey Affleck in a Miramax movie of their life. The revelations have caused the Presidents Club to close down after charities returned their donations, because it turns out saying you’ll help disadvantaged children by abusing women is like saying you want to help cancer victims by chucking nuclear rods at oncologists. But pressure has also been put on the Conservative Party after MP and exactly what the blueprint for evil scientist in the Sims would look like Nadhim Zahawi attended the gala. Not the best look for a newly appointed undersecretary of state for children and families, but Zahawi says he left early so maybe he was just taking notes for a new department booklet on people kids should avoid for safety.
The co-chairman of the Presidents Club and Conservative donor David Meller has had to step from his position of non-executive board member of the Department of Education. After him and Toby Young I’m starting to wonder if the Conservatives’ next educational appointment is going to be Sid the Sexist. Prime Minister and anguished mushroom Theresa May said she was appalled by the reports though it’s hard to tell if she meant it as that’s how her face always is. May, who only eight months earlier told the One Show that there were boy jobs and girl jobs, said she is worried about what the Presidents Club says about the wider issues in society about attitudes to women. She has now pledged to review the use of non-disclosure agreements as the women working at the Presidents Club were forced to sign them, preventing them from reporting abuse though judging by previous government decisions I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re unable to tell anyone what the review says in-case it weakens their position.
In other gatherings of the kind of people that will one day be taken down by a vigilante in a scene scored with epic orchestral sounds, this week was Davos 2018. Davos is not the Swiss version of the British comedy channel, where by their version of TaskMaster, Aufseher has weird challenges such as who can get euthanized quickest or hide this Nazi gold in 20 minutes! No, Davos is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, a foundation who aims to improve the state of the world by engaging businesses, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Sounds great, except this year that ideal was entirely fucked by a speech from President Of America and congealed custard sculpture of a Belgian Griffon dog with under-bite Donald Trump. It all very much revolved around persuading everyone to trade with the US, claiming America First does not mean America alone, something that he probably thought of after the First Lady Melania refused to travel with him and then moved out of the white house after reports he slept with a porn star. Many lauded his supposedly tame speech because you know, it only included him criticising the press and getting booed for it once. It’s bizarre how several reports say the conference found him more pragmatic than they thought. Sure, nothing more pragmatic than saying ‘when people are forgotten the world becomes fractured’ after causing divisions around the world. That’s like saying that because of all the people who’ve become galvanised to fight against him and protest, he’s a pretty inspirational guy. Rectal offal Piers Morgan interviewed Donald Trump in an event that I think is important as it meant that by watching any other channel at the same time, I could avoid them both at once. During their mouth breathing Trump said he was ready to apologise for retweeting racist group Britain First in 2017, but still hasn’t actually apologised. Then again considering how poorly written some of his tweets are, maybe it takes him ages to rev up to being able to spell one. I guess sorry seems to be the hardest word. Trump also said that he is not a feminist in a scoop for Piers Morgan that’s right up there with him getting an exclusive on where bears shit, that you have to open doors before or entering or how his own face looks like someone spent years pummelling bagpipes made of flesh.
In other news about people with faces that look failed lab experiments, former Prime Minister and skin wrapped round futility David Cameron was caught on camera at Davos telling the head of a large steel company that Brexit is a mistake, not a disaster. By that scale his time at number 10 was just a terrible boo-boo and his entire legacy will be remembered as national snafu. Meanwhile current PM Theresa May made her Davos speech all about artificial intelligence because hey, talk about what you know. Her speech was only 2 3rds full which either suggests Global Britain really isn’t so much, or they were worried about being bored and/or coughed at for an hour. Or both. This has all added to more criticism of May, this time saying she’s too cautious as Prime Minister. Yep, cautious. Exactly the word for someone who announced a snap election that no one including her was ready for and is currently pushing forward with the biggest change in legislation the UK has seen in years despite having made no preparations for it either. With this level of caution I’m starting to think her being in Number 10 is less hazardous a position than her say, being a sky diving instructor.
Brexit continues to create more mass divisions than a top mathematician, and it’s again the turn of the Conservatives as some hard Brexiteers are afraid that the process is being diluted. Good, and may I suggest 1 part Brexit to 3 parts remain to make sure it’s not the sort of end result that makes you sick? Brexit Secretary and man entirely made of the stuff left behind when you remove a sticker but it tears a bit David Davis tried to allay concerns of in party fighting by saying there is no difference between him, the chancellor and the prime minister, and to be honest I’m not sure who that reflects worst on. Three cabinet ministers, Davis, Hammond and Clark have now put aside their differences to write to business leaders promising that EU rules will remain unchanged for two years following March 2019, saying it’s a pledge of continuity which is laughable considering the Brexit process has had more continuity problems than The Last Jedi. Yes that’s how I feel about that film. No don’t @ me. Considering how divisive that movie was I think it should be referred to as an official Brexit film. Governer of the Bank of England and walking Just For Men advert Mark Carney said that all the warnings about leaving the EU have already come true as the vote has cost the UK £10bn in lost growth since the referendum. Which is news to everyone who like me, definitely grew pounds over Christmas.
And lastly the government has announced a dedicated national security communications unit to tackle fake news, a decision they’ll probably quickly regret when results mean they have to fire the entire Brexit Department within 6 weeks. It turns out that a youthquake didn’t happen in the 2017 election, according to the Britian Election survey’s report so Labour’s popularity surge was down to people of all ages, which is good news for them but bad news for the Oxford Dictionary who will now have to change the definition of the term ‘youthquake’ to mean ‘youth turnout in elections is constantly shaky.’
And Foreign Secretary and what if someone shaved Bungle from Rainbow, Boris Johnson is apparently a descendent of a mummified 17th century woman found in Basal. This explains why many of his shit plans unravel then quickly fall apart.
Hey parpollers. Does that work? I still have no idea what to refer to you as, please do send any suggestions over. PPBaes? No, not that. Ear Plebs? Bit rude. Anyway welcome to you all old listeners, new listeners and er, sort of middling ones. How are you all this week? Still unable to respond to questions asked on already recorded podcasts? Oh that’s a shame. Well I am dandy, which I feel is a term not used often enough in today’s vernacular unless you are a Warhol or a lion, and really it should be open to all. I am dandy though and the reason is I had a totally jammy weekend which I am only telling you about for maximum shitty bragging points. I got a message on Friday saying I’d won the Hamilton lottery, now if you don’t know Hamilton then who are you? Where have you been? How did you escape from the past? Basically it’s a hip hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, an often forgotten founding father of America who came from the Caribbean and was hugely pivotal to the war of independence and the US constitution. Now look, I often hate musicals because I don’t trust people who sing about everything, no one is that happy, but I have a handful of faves and this has now shot to the top of that list because it is immense with an incredible cast, brilliant music and script which is political and funny and emotional and the choreography was just amazing and seriously, I’ve not stopped humming the tunes since. But it’s been making me think about two things. One is that if something is just brilliant and the best of it’s class then it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Like I can’t stand country music as I think it’s whiny, but Johnny Cash was still brilliant. Or I’ve never liked boxing because if I want to watch people hit each other for money I’ll pay more attention to the drug deals that happen on our road late at night, but watching old Muhammed Ali footage is constantly mesmerising. The other thing I couldn’t stop thinking about was how in 200 years time I can’t imagine them making a musical about anyone involved in Brexit in the same way as it’s hard to sing about a lack of conviction for two hours. Although they could keep a lot of the same song titles as Hamilton including ‘What Comes Next?’ ‘Cabinet Battle’, ‘History Has It’s Eyes On You’ and ‘Helpless’. Anyway do go see if you can, which you can’t because it’s sold out, unless you win tickets so, er, good luck. God that was annoying wasn’t it?
Big thanks this week to John, Bradley and Janine for the ko-fi donations and if you would like to donate to the podcast or, well just help me escape debt after buying one beer at the theatre on Saturday. IT WAS £5 FOR A BOTTLE OF SAN MIGUEL. A NORMAL SMALL BOTTLE. What do you mean I won really cheap tickets so should really shut up about it? Ahem. Anyway you can either do a one off donation at ko-fi.com/parpolbro or join the team of champs who donate monthly at patreon.com/parpolbro. Of course if you can’t donate then if you could spread the word about the show, tell people to go listen to old episodes or interviews you enjoyed, just aggressively steal their phones and subscribe then hand them back and they won’t know why their phone’s memory is fucked, any of those are great. Or you could review on itunes, Stitcher, podweasel or castflea or any of the billions of apps you might use. And if you’re a new listener, then thanks for coming onboard this weekly nonsense, and why not also listen back to older episodes too? There are a number of topics you might be thinking ‘why haven’t you interviewed anyone on that subject Tiernan you massive bellend?’ which is a bit aggressive, calm down. But I also might have done, just go back through previous guests and check. All the jokes will be hugely out of date but descriptions of Boris Johnson all still very relevant.
Also this week if for some weird reason one hour of me in your ears is not enough, I’m the guest on this week’s very fun Dream Factory podcast which is an excellently silly show hosted by Joel Grove and John Harris where they improvise and imagine amalgamated or made up films suggested by the listeners. Some of the ones on the show I’m on include Fantastic Beats and Where To Find Them, and a Bad Day To Die Hard. It’s really fun nonsense so do check that out if you like. If you don’t like, then don’t. I’m not your dad.
On this week’s show I am speaking to Irish political commentator and podcaster Stephen Byrne all about what them across the small pond think about Brexit and that, plus homelessness, crime and even more Brexit. Basically all the things that are ripe for a comedy politics podcast to talk about. HELP ME. PLEASE. Joke. NO SERIOUSLY HELP.
So to kick off here’s this:
HOMELESSNESS / CRIME RISES
Sometimes I think I am unfair to the current government, because to me the past week’s reports indication that violent crime, sex offences and homelessness has all risen dramatically are signs that they are doing a really terrible job of everything. But, maybe I’m looking at it wrongly? Maybe they’re taking the paleo diet to the next step and want everyone sleeping amongst nature and fighting for survival like our ancient ancestors did? Maybe they think the UK isn’t producing enough good bleak dystopian movies and are keen to boost creativity with intense stimulus? Maybe just maybe just maybe it’s none of those and they are really useless, which let’s be fair, is more likely. The Office for National Statistics says violent crime is up 14% with sex offences up 23% something that should drop by at least a % or two now the Presidents Club has closed and will drop yet another if Donald Trump doesn’t visit. Meanwhile homelessness has risen for the 7th year in a row with 2017 being a 15% rise on 2016. There are loads of reasons for all of these statistics and if you were an optimist, off your face or probably working for the government, like say Minister for Cabinet and that horrible maths supply everyone’s had at least once with coffee breath you could smell across the class David Lidlington. He said reasons for the increases in homeless are complex. And they are complex, if you don’t understand how all the cuts your party has made directly affect the lives of people. It’s like saying the reasons for this squirrel dying are complex because it was to do with time and place and a series of circumstances when in fact you poked a sharp stick in it’s eye. You did it. You killed the squirrel David, you awful man with terrible breath. Probably. Looking at crime figures first, even if you want to say that different police forces log figures differently or there may be issues in victims willingness to report, there is a definite rise, so any change in those would probably show more, not less, violent crimes. So the very likely real reason is because police numbers are falling every year with 930 less just between September 2016 and September 2017, and even the Home Office now say we have the lowest numbers of officers since 1996 which based on the road I lived on, wasn’t a great time for knife crime. Or it was if you’re a fan of it. This drop in officers and the fact many officers are given duties such as counter terrorism, football match policing and more, all taking them away from patrolling or dealing with crimes, means that crims can be as confident in carrying round a knife as I am driving at 55mph on the 50mph average speed camera bit on the M1 because no one ever ever cares. A spokesperson for Theresa May said that the Office For National Statistics has been clear that overall, traditional crime is continuing to fall and is down by 40% since 2010.’ What on earth is traditional crime? Teams of Morris dancers doing bank raids? Fish and chip fraud? Maybe non-violent crimes are down because why would you bother spending hours cloning a bank card when you can pop down the road with your stab stick & have a new phone in minutes?
Homelessness has risen because rent has risen, benefits have been cut almost completely for under 21’s, universal credit pays people late and they end up evicted, and there’s not enough social or actually affordable housing. The government have pledged to halve rough sleeping by 2022 but if it keeps increasing by 15% each year, halving it by 2020 will still mean there are more people rough sleeping than there are now. None of this is helped by attitudes of people like Conservative leader of Windsor council Simon Dudley who’s now facing calls of no confidence after saying that his area has been hit by an epidemic of rough sleepers and that they should be removed by police for the royal wedding. Yes because there is nothing more sympathetic to the plight of people struggling to find shelter than having them forcefully removed for a multi-million pound wedding for people who live in a castle with four times as many rooms as facial expressions. None of this is helped by the 15,000 high end luxury flats that can’t be sold in London that sit empty because foreign investors don’t want them and no one else can afford them. They’re known as ghost flats which is a stupid name because when I hear that name I assume it’s the spirit of a once dead flat that now haunts the location where it used to stand, but instead it’s just somewhere so expensive it haunts other Londoners by being hugely unattainable which is a terrible horror film. There’s 4751 homeless in the whole of the UK and 15000 empty flats so that’s not so much a tricky chicken, fox and grain puzzle as a why don’t you reclaim those flats give them to those people and then they can invite the chicken and fox round for a grain party but don’t leave them in the same room oh god that went wrong. I remember being told that in Belgium the council reclaim homes that have been empty for more than a year so they can be resold or used as social housing. I can’t seem to find anything about it online so feel free to write in and tell me I’m completely wrong and actually they just fill them with frites and go crazy. But whether its real or not, it’s a great idea and what the Labour party are currently touting. Labour leader and stunt double for Stanley Tucci in Captain America, Jeremy Corbyn said they would immediately purchase 8000 homes and end rough sleeping instantly, demanding them that councils build more homes too. Something that Ann Pettifor said during the interview with her back in episode 71, wouldn’t stop the housing crisis because that requires clamping down regulation. But it would end rough sleeping. And it would help with constant population increases and it would also dilute the amount of arseholes in those shiny high rises that look like Sauron’s tower.
As more and more criticism of Theresa May piles in, her official spokesman said that she was grasping the many opportunities of Brexit while also acting on housing, schools and the NHS.’ Firstly if you’re grasping it’s because you don’t have a firm grip, and secondly, if she’s only acting, that explains why she’s just pretending to care but not actually doing it and those figures will just sadly keep on rising. I’d be more convinced if they just said they were pioneering Beyond The Paleo.
INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN
The UK has always unfairly treated Ireland like a kid brother that it has to pick up from school only to entirely forget and go to a disco instead, coming home hours later to find something’s gone horribly wrong and now they’re in a lot of trouble. There’s a lot going on in Ireland right now with recently seated Taoseich and sitcom retail manager, that’s what he looks like, seriously, Leo Varadakar leading a minority government that nearly had to go through a snap election last year, an upcoming referendum on finally relaxing abortion laws oh and the possibility of a whacking great big border half way across the island between them and Northern Ireland because everyone seemed to forget they existed during the Brexit referendum. Yeah that little teeny tiny problem that keeps annoyingly popping because selfish selfish Irish people want to derail Brexit just so a whole ton of historical difficulties that took years to fix don’t all pop up again. So, so selfish. Well that’s how it’s reported in the UK anyway with The Sun, a paper entirely dictated by a drunk man up scaffolding shouting into a bucket, telling Varadker back in November to ‘shut his gob’ because he’d implied the Irish border was the British government’s responsibility, because, you know, it is. Like Trump’s never happening wall that he insists Mexico should pay, it takes a special kind of thinking to assume that someone else will take responsibility for a decision you’ve made, though that does also sum up The Sun’s general attitude towards publishing absolute bollocks and never apologising for it.
That’s why this week I spoke to Steve Byrne, host of What Am Politics, an Irish political podcast to ask him just what the view in Ireland is of Brexit, what is happening in Irish politics right now and will the abortion referendum actually happen or ironically be terminated before it gets there. This interview was recorded a couple of weeks ago and in today’s news it’s been confirmed that the referendum will happen and that Varadakar will campaign for yes, with the Bishop of Elphin Dr Kevin Doran saying that legalising abortion will pave the way to legalising euthanasia. Incredible scenes. Though in his case, probably not that bad an idea. It was much fun chatting with Steve and again hugely useful on updating me on what’s happening just over the water so I hope you enjoy.
INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with Steve in a minute but first:
It often feels like nothing really happens with Brexit. Nearly 19 months since the referendum and although its constantly in the news, most of the news has been about how no one knows what’s going on, or how something we thought was about to happen isn’t, how something awful MPs shouldn’t vote for has again been voted for or how once again David Davis has got his head stuck in a bannister because he swears this time he’ll be able to get out despite the other 45 attempts going wrong. I mean that hasn’t been the news but also it basically has. But this week’s news is different, and actually interesting. PSYCHE. It’s totally the same. I mean the main bit is that the EU have agreed a transition period for the UK from March 2019 when we leave to December 2020 when we’ll still be part of the single market and customs union and have to abide by EU laws, and basically just get a little more time to delay preparing the things we need to even longer. Except we won’t have a say in any EU laws so if the EU were really mean/clever/hilarious they’d inflict a ton of laws that only affected the UK, like say, ban the colour blue being used on passports or even just pretend they can’t see us even when we’re in the room, then we’d have to deal with it. The idea is that during this transition period the UK can safely negotiate trade deals with the 27 EU countries while still being able to trade under existing laws because you can’t do that under the Article 50 two year period. The reality is that we’ve only got 14 months to do that with this transition so it’s unlikely we’ll sort anything out. Yes I’m being a pessimist but I’m also aware that during a parliamentary committee meeting last week Hilary Benn questioned David Davis on why he said in 2016 that we can negotiate a free trade area massively larger than the EU and now that’s not going to happen is it? And Davis replied laughing well that was then and this is now. Great. It’s the political equivalent of saying ‘upsy daisy I dunno what I do hee hee’ before scratching your head and falling backwards off a wall. So really what we need is longer than 14 months for the transition and really really what we need is article 50 to be extended so there’s even more prep time before going into negotiations but all of that would upset undead Jack Skellington Jacob Rees Mogg and the like who’d prefer to pull their leg out of the wreckage and bleed to death rather than patiently wait for the fire brigade to safely remove them.
Some of the hard Brexiteering from within the Conservative party makes sense when you hear about C4’s Dispatches program doing an undercover investigation which found that more than 20 former ministers have become guns for hire making thousands giving advice on Brexit to private companies who want inside advice. One of these ministers is Andrew Lansley, aka the former health secretary aka an even sadder Droopy The Dog. He’s been charging pharmaceutical companies €5000 a day for brexit advice and said he was happy to give information to a Chinese company the program created for it’s investigation. He said he could provide intelligence and advice from his close former colleague Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox, so I mean, it’s pretty questionable if intelligence is the right word at all. Paying for parliamentary advice is not allowed at all and any financial interests or outside work has to be declared by politicians in the public register which may have said they have done. So not illegal as such but you have to wonder what sort of deals they’ll be voting for or against when they’ve got companies who may benefit from certain law changes paying them thousands everyday for so called advice.
The EU withdrawal bill is now in the House of Lords after that was rushed through the Commons without any care for amendments that could’ve stopped a government power grab or ensured citizens rights. The Lords will hopefully give it a bit more time, especially as they all look like the sort of people who’d unnecessarily drive 30mph in the middle lane of a motorway so as not to rush. The Lords committee has already said the withdrawal bill is fundamentally flawed and needs substantial changes. Hopefully that’s what they will do when they debate it this week and then no doubt all the rabid papers will call them traitors to the country because they’ve spent more than 5 minutes working on actual law, when we all know a true British patriot would just write ‘the law is death to traitorz and make passports blue’ in crayon on some sugar paper. It’s like everyone has to bow down to the demands of two year olds who just want things without knowing why, when really instead of doing what they say we should probably distract them with something shiny or threaten to go home without them and leave them on the floor crying and get on with not ruining things. Next time Mogg, or Fox or Leadsom or whoever complain that Brexit might be diluted I think protocol should be for everyone to point in the opposite direction to where they’re facing and go ‘oh look a red choo choo train’ and we should have some sort of reasonable deal within days.
And now back to Steve:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Big thanks to Steve for chatting with me. You can find him on Twitter @thestevebyrne and his podcast What Am Politics is on all them podcast providers like iTunes or Podbean or audiocough and soundgibbon or whatever, and you can find it on Twitter @whatampolitics so do check it out. I’ll also be posting all of Steve’s recommends on the Twitter and Facebook this week too. I have got next week’s all lined up but after that I’m back to scrabbling for guests again so if you have any subject you’d like me to interview someone about or someone you’d like me to interview in particular, do drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you could record your message then spend time reversing it and hiding it on an upcoming album so it can only be heard if played backwards only for no one to ever hear it because why would you do that with an mp3 you idiot? Email is definitely best.
And that is the end of this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Thank you for listening once again or even just hitting play and then pressing the forward 15 seconds button on your player until it’s cleared so you have space on your phone because how can one person listen to all those things? Yes, I do that lots. Yes I feel awful about it. A bit. A really tiny bit of the sort that’s basically not there. But look if you don’t do that and you do listen properly and enjoy this podcast please do tell other people about it, post about it on social media, subscribe and review on your podcast app, and donate to the patreon or ko-fi accounts if you can too. If you can’t, maybe draw a picture of you donating and what it would look like and email it to me at email@example.com and I’ll review your drawing then report you for spam.
Big thanks to Acast for hosting the show and my brother The Last Skeptik for all his musics.
This will be back next week when I’ll be asking just how David Davis managed to reduce our transition deal to only 5 minutes during which the EU inflict the law that no one called David Davis can wear trousers outside and they all gang up to custard pie him as he leaves the meeting room.
This week’s show was brought to you by Robinson’s Diluted Brexit, a dark blue passports bitter liquid with a taste that lingers for far, far longer than you think. Warning, water down with 3 parts sensible rigorous planning for your own safety, otherwise can affect growth.