Episode 90 – We’re on the road to Brexit, la la la la. Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) looks at just how rocky this Brexit road the government are setting out may be, also just what is Foreign Aid and Tiernan speaks to John Myers at London YIMBY (@LondonYIMBY) about solutions to the housing crisis.
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We’re on the road to Brexit, la la la la. Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) looks at just how rocky this Brexit road the government are setting out may be, also just what is Foreign Aid and Tiernan speaks to John Myers at London YIMBY (@LondonYIMBY) about solutions to the housing crisis.
Links and sources of info from John Myers’ interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, a podcast that puts the politics into ‘oh god you know what’s shit? Politics’. This is episode 90, I’m Tiernan Douieb and as cabinet ministers prepare to set out the road to Brexit I’m wondering how easy it is to drive down a series u-turns and dead ends that culminate in a Thelma and Louise style end.
Yes don’t worry everyone! Within the next three weeks Prime Minister and the only person who enjoys going to the dentist Theresa May will make a speech that will explain what sort of relationship the UK wants to have with the EU. AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON! I mean it’s only been 20 months since the referendum and 11 months since article 50 was triggered so this isn’t so much closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, as attempting to find the stable door to close it only find the stable was knocked down 50 years ago, there’s now a brand new block of unaffordable luxury flats in it’s place and the only echo of a horse is a nearby glue factory and some Tesco burgers. There will be two speeches from May which is exciting because there’s nothing like hearing aggressive yet completely hollow sound bites twice in a month, in case you miss them the first time round. Then if the headline events weren’t enough, May will be supported by dropped yoghurt David Davis, Marjory the Trash Heap Boris Johnson, and disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox the disgrace. All you now need is Jamoquai and you’ve announced this year’s worst festival line-up. Though I’d prefer to hear JK sing the same track again and again with slightly different words any day rather than hear Liam Fox tell people for an hour that he didn’t say Brexit would be easy when he said it would be easy which he didn’t say apart from when he said it.
Three weeks is a long time in politics though especially if you have to watch the fucking thing, and there’s every chance the cabinet could tear themselves apart by then, as pundits are referring to the 11 ministers in charge of Brexit as the ‘war cabinet.’ This is presumably because in their heads this is a valiant effort to win freedom from the enemy, when in reality it’s not a war if you’ve chosen to do it and no violence is involved and even if it was, you can’t win a war by letting the whole country get gunned down on the frontline before blaming them for your lack of preparation. EU Chief Negotiator and someone who constantly looks like he’s about to warn you that a film may contain mild swearing Michel Barnier, he has said that there may not be a transition deal if the UK doesn’t agree to the EU conditions that were set out ages ago that basically include ‘excuse me, don’t forget all those EU citizens in the UK and you know, the entirety of Ireland’ and that he has some problems understanding the UK’s position. Let me inform you Michel, it’s lying on the ground crying, and if it had parents they’d be saying ‘we’ll just leave without you then’. David Davis said he was surprised to hear Barnier was unclear on the UK’s stance, but that is because David Davis probably gets surprised when someone turns a light on. Of course he’s unclear, because everyone in the UK government is unclear and not a single UK citizen has a fucking clue what is happening either. It couldn’t be more unclear if you let off a smoke bomb during negotiations and only spoke while making wibble noises with your lips.
The real reason this reject cast of the Dad’s Army remake are called the Brexit War Cabinet though is because they keep battling each other, though sadly not enough for any casualties. To try and fix this, May has ordered the entire team do an away day at her country residence at Chequers, because yeah why not take a day off to piss about with confidence building activities, we’ve got loads of time right? I mean let’s be fair, itwill probably be 12 hours of everyone playing their own games that they don’t know the rules to then blaming everyone else for not playing along, while Boris and Gove take turns holding knives under each other during a trust fall.
Meanwhile Labour still have no clue what on earth their Brexit stance is either, or even if they have a stance, or have just fallen over and what way is up anyway? Shadow Chancellor and Sick Boy in Trainspotting 12 John McDonnell has said that a second referendum wouldn’t be a good idea but a general election would be better, because why trust the public to vote on something as complex as the path we should take with EU legislations, customs unions and trade routes, when we could instead ask them to pick between a party that hasn’t got a clue about Brexit or a party that also hasn’t got a clue about Brexit. Why not just have a referenelection that works like a Buzzfeed quiz where we ask people what pizza they like, whether they prefer tea or coffee and if they’d prefer to date the Rock, Emma Stone or a porcelain doll possessed with the ghost of an 18th century Marquis? And I dunno, do you have a superiority complex and a fear of leaving your village? Then just present them at the end with whichever party they’ve voted for and what sort of Brexit we should have. A yougov opinion poll last week put Labour 4 points below the Conservatives which says Labour aren’t doing enough to win over the public but also that maybe the Conservatives are currently appealing to true British values by letting everyone publicly watch them fail but not admitting to it. So now Labour’s attempt to bring back public trust is to re-state that they would renationalise a lot of public services, a generally popular policy and that it would cost nothing, because those services would be assets, therefore over time cancelling out any costs. It’s a tricky argument because renationalising services could be very good for the economy and people, but it sort of depends who’s in charge of them. If the decision making abilities of the Conservatives or Labour were suddenly in charge of energy we’d likely find that it’d only be a matter of weeks before consumers are freezing to death because the government can’t decide if they should get hot water or a special type of water or or no water at all.
Like if daytime TV shows were hosted by a plastic figurine of a character from a TV show no one remembers, and your weird aunt, Labour’s Chuka Ummuna and Conservative Anna Soubry appeared together on the Marr show to rally for cross party MPs to join together and block the sort of Brexit Theresa May wants even though no one really knows what she wants. This is why the whole thing is pretty tricky to fight because it’s hard to rally people by shouting ‘what do we want? Some certainty about something but then maybe not what we then get certainty about.’ ‘When do we want it? About 20 months ago.’
In global news the Winter Olympics opening ceremony saw a man who looks like your dad badly singing Beatles songs, but also North and South Korean athletes parading together in a hugely symbolic gesture. Gothic Minion Kim Jong Un is yet to attend but his younger sister, er, Kim Jong Deux? Has been at the games and according to CNN with her diplomatic dance is stealing the show. I hope they get it off her before it crossed the borders or the next Winter Olympics will be held in a brutal internment camp. Meanwhile Vice President and world’s only entirely 3D printed human Mike Pence said the US are open to talks with North Korea but didn’t stand up during their unified parade. So the question is, was his staying seated it peaceful political protest of the kind he berated NFL players for, or was it the only way he could disguise the erection he had from his wife after being over excited by seeing quite so many women in one place. We will never know. Meanwhile the US has suffered a severe stock market fall after concerns about the bond market. None of which I understand but let’s face it, Spectre was rubbish so it sort of makes sense.
And finally, last week marked the 100 years of suffrage anniversary, celebrating a century of women having the vote to largely elect people who ignored them and continued to make their lives shitty. Theresa May made a speech in Manchester stating that women have a different approach to politics than men do, as it can be as much about listening and learning from others than broadcasting your own opinions. Cool, so I guess she’s the exception to the rule then? May also announced measures to stop offensive online communications which probably means most of governmental twitter accounts should be deleted by end of the week.
Hello! How’s you? Yes that was a weak gag to finish that bit on wasn’t it? It’s been one of those weird weeks of news where stuff has been happening, because well, things always do, but ultimately none of it is that interesting if you know what I mean? I mean, it is, but it’s a lot of repetition like ‘newsflash, still nothing has happened with Brexit’. I’ve almost started to worry that I’ve gained a sort of Stockholm syndrome from 2016 and 2017 and now can’t stop craving big awful stories. Essentially what I’m saying is this week’s show is not too long, the interview is really short compared to usual chats on the podcast and its half term which means only about half of you tune in because you’re too busy trying to work out what on earth to do with your children and I’ll be honest, the Winter Olympics is on and all I want to do is watch that because it’s great. It is great isn’t it? So many of the events make no sense. Is it called the skeleton because that’s what breaks first if you mess up? How do you realise you’re good at it? Do you accidentally fall down the stairs on a tea tray one day and think, oh, this is the thing I can do! How is the figure skaters can do an amazing routine with flips and twists and land perfectly all the time and then still get a red mark? Have the judges spotted a pube or something? So many questions, so little importance. I was tempted to do a Valentine’s special episode like I did last year but I think that was far too sexy for most of you and also me and my wife are spending valentine’s day having a midwife appointment, followed by going to the new Sainsbury’s near us as it’s only just opened, then watching Black Panther. I’m basically a modern day Casanova, and by that I mean a small house for a large amount of condensed burning gas. So yeah, Valentines can bore off. I’m way more excited about pancake day because if, as they say, you are what you eat, then I’ll have 6 or 7 pancakes and should finally get a flat stomach.
Bit of usual shit before we crack on. Firstly big thanks to Rob for donating to the Patreon and you too can pay me to watch the winter Olympics, erm, I mean, help spend more time on this podcast by donating to patreon.com/parpolbro with a small monthly offering, or you can do a one-off donation like Anita did, thank you tons Anita! – at ko-fi.com/parpolbro and both of those links are on various pages because I’ve used the internet before and yes I’m boasting. Thanks also to the couple of 5 stars the show’s gained on the iTunes page. If any of the rest of you want to review the podcast and maybe even write a word or two about it then please do. Seriously, one word is fine. Even if it’s a rude one like pumpernickel, which means fart goblin.
Also this week I wanted to quickly recommend the Guardian politics podcast, which I listen to most weeks, but in particular the one from the 31st of January with the title The Alternatives. Aditya Charkrovarty interviews Preston city councillor Matthew Brown about how they are successfully localising their services and keeping wealth in the area and it’s fascinating. Well worth a listen. Which brings me to another thing that someone online tweeted at me. Oz tweeted me, thanks Oz, asking to look into more grassroots political organisations, which is something I’d love to do. But as I’m London based I only know my local ones like the one I’ve got on this week’s show and the obvious big ones like Momentum. So are there any grassroots political organisations or campaigns near you that I could try and contact and interview? Please drop me a line with recommendations to the @parpolbro twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group or email@example.com. I’m not sure yet if I want to do lengthy interviews with them all or maybe do a one-off with several grassroots campaigns in it, but I’ll work that out by myself because I’m a big boy.
Oh and in me being on other podcasts klaxon I’m the guest on comic Matt Hoss’s Drunken Comedian podcast this week where we discussed all sorts of nonsense so do check that out too. And I forget to plug this every week but my stand-up special ‘Miserably Happy’ is still on NextUpComedy.com and will be for ages so go and watch that.
On this week’s show, I have a very short chat with John Myers at the London Yes In My Back Yard Housing Campaign, plus a look at foreign aid after all the recent news about Oxfam that made me feel oddly better about telling a chugger to fuck off recently, and more but not too much fucking Brexit. But of course first, have some of this all right up in your mush:
The world of stocks and shares is one of those that causes my face to keep a constant brainfreeze impression as inside my brain plays Hot Butter’s Popcorn on loop. But while my basic understanding of it is that if people in the stock markets – which isn’t where they sell OXO apparently – decide that things are bad they then make things bad and everything’s bad and the opposite for if they’re happy – what I do get is that last week they had their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. Why? Er, good question but a lot of it is because the markets rely on the idea that US government debt is the safest and most reliable in the world, and US Treasury bonds are considered risk free which allows them to decide how much stocks and other assets cost. So firstly because the US has had decent growth since the crash, something that has very little do with rotten persimmon Donald Trump and more with his predecessor, and that looks likely to mean interest rates will go up, which will make stocks less attractive to buy because they’ll cost more. Basically if wages and savings go up, the men in suits who get sad about the possibility of getting sad, get sad. Does that make sense? No, not really. Also the big tax cut the Republicans saw through for higher earners, and the budget deal could mean that US deficit is more than $1 trillion in 2019, which means the US has to borrow more which in turn means higher borrowing rates too. Do I understand anything I’ve just said? No. Why isn’t Wall Street just a place full of walls? I don’t know.
Meanwhile in the UK the Bank Of England has suggested interest rates will happen sooner than predicted though obviously not mine as I’m still bored and don’t understand what that means. But it caused a jump in the pound and it’s essentially good news for people who want to save money and really bad news for anyone with a mortgage, but potentially good news for people who haven’t got a house, but potentially bad news for Labour’s policies that require borrowing as that’ll cost more to do but potentially good news for people who like graphs with squiggly lines on as there’ll be even more of those. So in summary, stocks arrrgh, US interest woosh which means arrrgh and in the UK maybe interest woosh which means housing arrrgh but savings yeaaaah. I often wonder why I haven’t been offered a job as a business correspondent for Cbeebies.
COUNCIL TAX HIKES
There are loads of things that make adulthood the opposite of fun. One is nose hairs that somehow grow really long overnight as though they are secretly hoping to weave into your head hair and create a face banjo. Another is the lack of painting with potatoes. And also council tax. I know council tax is a necessity, I’m grateful it means I can get my bins collected if and when they actually bother rather than just leaving them on the street until a fox decides to parade my trash like an art exhibition of my weekly diet. I know it helps local services and children’s services and social care and parks and tons of stuff, but getting that letter to pay it is always a bit sad. And it’s about to get sadder as council tax is going to rise in 95% of local authorities and 93% of them are going to up service fees too. Why? Well because since 2010 most councils have suffered 40% or more cuts but are still being expected to carry out all the duties they always have done but for less which as most people know, doesn’t work. I mean if I gave you £50 to get the equivalent of £300 pounds worth of jelly beans they’d be shitty jelly beans and I’d end up having to either buy extra insulin for my type 1 diabetes to cope with eating them or lose more work time waiting at a GPs for an emergency appointment. I mean, this is a terrible analogy but that could be because I gave myself less time to write it. Look, somewhere I’m making a great point, ok? Former Chancellor and Patrick Bateman inspiration George Osborne wanted to free councils of Whitehall and government grants by allowing them to take back local business rate revenue instead of sending it back to central government. So since 2013 councils have kept back 50% of business rate revenue which has made £26bn nationally. The idea was that by 2020 councils would be entirely self funding. But there was no redistribution formula for this plan which meant councils in poorer areas with less business and lower business rates struggled to balance books while already wealthy areas like Westminster profited. What do you mean you’re not surprised?
Between 2010 and 2020 Liverpool council will have suffered 68% of funding cuts, adding up to around £460m. Northamptonshire County Council declared two weeks ago that they were imposing emergency controls on spending because they haven’t got any dosh left. Councils are asking the government to either assure they’ll get more funding or redesign the finance system and the government are, as per usual, not doing any of those things. And things could get worse from 2020 too as the plan for councils to self fund is still supposedly in place, with the Fair Funding Review report due, but there have been barely any meetings in Whitehall about how to make it work. So for now the only way many councils will cope is by taxing residents more for even less services. Woohoo! More for less! The only time it remotely works is when there’s a discount on old Bond films.
Back when Madness released the track ‘Our House’ in 1983 it was all about a working class lifestyle about one family crammed into a Victorian home. If that song was released now, well firstly no one would buy it because Suggs would act like a twat on every TV appearance, but also it’d likely be more about a wealthy family who’s main problem is the organic veg box keeps being left in a different place each week, a building that’s been turned into 12 flats with young people struggling to afford to live in a cupboard or a home bought by a foreign investor that’s been empty for a year. I mean, it’d a be a very long song. What I’m saying is there is still, in 2018, a housing crisis of the kind that is ruining a lot of young people’s lives, increasing homelessness, may dictate who the next government are and somehow would still make a boring movie. Or 80’s ska song. Homes are too expensive to buy in parts of England, people are struggling to keep up with monthly mortgage payments and all the other stuff the fast small print on adverts tell you about, private rents are too expensive, and there is a lack of affordable homes. So the obvious thing would be build more actually affordable homes but there’s problems with that including the cost of doing so, where on earth to put them, the fact it’d lower housing costs which would annoy home owning voters and the fact that really annoying people who already have homes complain about ‘Not in my back yard’ because they don’t want noisy works near their home or new neighbours or things blocking their view of their own self importance. And hey, NIMBYism as it’s known, has a use, such as if your home is about to be demolished for the High Speed rail 2 line because seriously no one should get kicked out of their house just because someone else wants to get to Birmingham really quickly. But when it comes to housing, a bit of leeway from total NIMBYs could open up space for development, even if the government are unlikely to fund any of that sort of thing.
So this week I spoke to John Myers at London YIMBY, aka Yes In My Back, a campaign to increase the affordable housing the capital by adding to already existing buildings and building in existing spaces that aren’t open to the public. John’s report on how to end the housing crisis, boost the economy and win more votes was reported on in the Guardian, BBC1, The Times and more and London YIMBY have recently expanded to an Oxford and Cambridge YIMBY too, which you’ll hear about in the interview. Now I’m fully aware that this is a very southern issue, and in this case, a very London centric issue, so for listeners in the North, Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland, feel free to skip this or laugh loudly as you sit in your mansions with gardens that you all bought for an apple and a bag of manure or however it works. But as I said the crisis has ripple effects to the rest of the country, not least because all us Londoners will eventually move out and ruin your area instead, as is already happening in a number of places.
We covered a lot in a very short chat so I’ve popped this week’s interview all in one go. Here’s John:
Thank you to John for that very informative chat. You can find out more about London YIMBY and their campaign and sign up to their mailing list @LondonYIMBY on Twitter or LondonYIMBY.org online. The other campaigns that John recommends following are Priced Out who are on Twitter @pricedoutuk or at pricedout.org.uk, Generation Rent at @genrentuk on Twitter or generationrent.org and Shelter who I mean, if you can’t find them, how are you allowed on the internet?
I’ve got the next 3 guests lined up but I’m trying to get a few in the bag for potential baby crisis in March so I can at least wheel out some interviews if nothing else, and as I said at the top of the show, I’d love details on grassroots campaigns near you, wherever you are in the UK or world, so please send through any details of ones you know or have heard of, or just any other guests you think I should interview or subjects I should really interview someone about to: @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or why not press your message into wet clay using a cuneiform stylus and have it hand delivered by ancient Persian couriers only for them to find it won’t fit in my letterbox and has to be delivered several doors down to number 38 who won’t let me collect it unless I give them full ID and frankly the idea of wet clay ruining their carpet makes me happy so I’ll likely leave it there. As always, it’s much easier to email.
Probably the most depressing story of the last week was the one about Oxfam. No not the charity that helps reunite bullocks with their loved ones. I mean Oxfam the global aid and development charity. The story which was broken by The Times says that the charity covered up complaints of sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation and downloading pornography while delivering aid to Haiti in 2011, with further allegations about similar incidents in Chad. The whole story is pretty grim and the deputy chief executive has resigned taking full responsibility, while those accused of the crimes are being investigated and may lead to being charged in the UK. But while this story shows that charitable companies shouldn’t escape scrutiny and investigation, another political issue has bubbled up from this like a leaky sewage pipe and that is the notion that once again we should cut supposedly pointless foreign aid. Jacob Rees Mogg, with his face like if Harry Potter’s only trick was being an arsehole, took a petition to parliament last week of more than 100,000 signatures of Daily Express readers demanding aid budget cuts. I know, I was shocked too. I had no idea that many Express readers were alive and can write their own names. I mean who would possibly thought that a paper that has previous had headlines about a migrant swarm, would detest the idea of helping people outside of their own village?
The UK spends a whopping 0.7% of it’s budget on foreign aid. Yes I was being sarcastic with the word whopping. I mean sure that was, in 2015 £12.1bn and that is a lot of money for say, me, to buy jelly beans with, but for a government budget when you consider that benefits and pensions will cost more than £219bn this fiscal year, it’s a bit like the government are popping their spare change down one of those whirly spiral charity bins and why wouldn’t you? It’s really fun watching it race down to its inevitable black hole death, like the world’s most evil velodrome. Apparently £12.1bn is less per household than the amount of food we throw away, which is why when your parents would bully you into finishing dinner because there is some poor child in Africa who would love that food, you could’ve retorted that actually by increasing foreign aid you could achieve both children’s dreams of dinner requirements a lot more easily. At the same time, the social care budget right now is facing a deficit of £2bn, so that could be fixed several times over with the same money. But then you’d definitely have to eat your dinner. 0.7% is the UN recommended amount for each country to contribute and despite agreeing to it in the 70’s, we only managed it for the first time in 2013 because we probably wanted something from somewhere.
16% of foreign aid goes to crisis relief, charities like Oxfam and the like, but most of the rest of it goes to multilateral organisations like the UN and the biggest chunk goes to bilateral aid, where our government gives money direct to other governments or official organisations for aid purposes. So at the mo, most of ours goes to Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria. Yeah with maybe the exception of Syria, a lot of that feels like petty apology money for years of terrible British interference and it’s consequences doesn’t it? Like when a dad doesn’t bother with child support but every Christmas pops a fiver in an envelope and hopes it’ll do. But there have been problems in the past with where this aid money goes to and what it funds. Last year BBC’s Panorama found that money being sent to Adam Smith International to fund the Free Syrian Police, a group supposed to restore law and order to the area, was instead ending up with extremists and funding things from stonings to fictional people on the payroll. I mean, it is amazing that on one hand you can be barbaric enough to stone people to death and on the other creative enough to invent an entirely new person. I always wonder how many lives worldwide creative writing courses could save. Up until last year, the UK gave North Korea about £4m in foreign aid, and a lot of money went to the Rwandan government despite evidence of them using it to support anti-government rebels in the democratic republic of Congo. I mean all this suggests to me is that more research should be done into where the money goes, not that aid should stop. I don’t not give money to homeless people in case of the incredibly rare chance that they override hunger to buy a spiked bat. I mean, I mainly don’t do it because I’m constantly broke as well.
There is one other possibly negative aspect, if this sort of thing bothers you and you spend your nights keeping watch over your neighbourhood with a spear because what if the foreigners arrive. According to the centre of global development, foreign aid encourages migration rather than curbs it you know because better education, income and structure gives people aspirations and makes them want to travel and seek out jobs and work elsewhere. Urgh how dare they have hopes and dreams? Disgusting. Let’s quell that immediately as there’s definitely no way they’d fit in in Britain if they’re even remotely romantic about a positive future. Urgh. There are also arguments that certain countries don’t need or even want aid anymore as their economies develop, but they are given foreign aid by more powerful countries who want to keep a hand in their politics and development.
So those are the downsides but also not the reasons for this call against foreign aid, which is mainly down to how the notion that we should help people here first rather than help people abroad. Because everyone’s forgotten that without austerity you could easily do both. Also highly likely that if foreign aid was scrapped and used towards aid in the UK the people receiving it would be classed as scroungers by the same Express readers within minutes. I sort of feel the overall solution is just to scrap Express readers. Hmmm. But with climate change meaning the possibility of disasters is increasing, and resources are depleting, foreign aid is a necessity, not just for moral reasons but also by aiding countries to become better developed it presents more trading and economic opportunities for our country too, something we might well need after, I dunno, March next year maybes? Similarly, as countries such as China and Russia rise up the global power ladder, the UK might need to keep paying foreign aid to keep some political allies too. Especially again after, errr, just a wild guess, March next year? But the trick would be to reform foreign aid so it’s more effective. Use it for specific projects that require knowledge and expertise from the UK on areas we’re good at. What do you mean that’s only complaining about things then? I meant educational systems, health services, minimizing pollution. There have also been studies into providing aid directly to those in need rather than through governments or companies, and showed that 25 African countries receive enough aid to lift all their citizens out of poverty, if it was distributed individually. So maybe if Jacob Rees Mogg made more effort delivering a few notes to those who need it, rather than petitions to government signed by thousands of those who don’t, it might all make a bit more sense.
We’re on the road to Brexit, la la la la. Don’t tell anyone, you know, incase it compromises our position or something, but there’s every chance we might actually get some news, that actually means something about Brexit in the next few weeks, if the government are to be believed. Which hearing the last bit of that sentence out aloud, means we probably won’t get any news. We are still where we were before but slightly worse in that no one has any idea about anything but due to this continued lack of ideas the EU may not even grant us a transition period because we have no ideas meaning we’d have even less time to try and get any ideas in. This transition deal is only valid if the UK work out whether EU citizens will have full residency in the UK if they arrive after March 2019. I mean, why they’d be arriving then, I’d have no idea. I suppose you do get grief tourists who have holidays where they visit the sites of horrific events. Another issue is that David Davis wants the UK to avoid implementing new EU directives it doesn’t agree with during the transition which Barnier doesn’t agree with because he’s had to put up with Davis for months now without making any progress so probably can’t wait for to push for a new EU law in April 2019 that bans David Davis’s from travelling abroad as soon as possible. Oh and there’s also the Irish border but you know that’s only a whole country that could be fucked by all this so who really cares? Barnier says a hard border would be unavoidable if the UK leave the single market and customs union, something I’ve said loads on this podcast but the government still think that they had a dream about an invisible border made with magic so it’ll all be cool.
So that’s that for now, except that last week The Telegraph, a paper designed for people who park their 4x4s on school crossings in order to pick up their kids despite living four doors down, last week they published an article by Nick Timothy, a man so shit at advice even Theresa May sacked him. This article warned of billionaire George Soros who is apparently secretly backing a plot to thwart Brexit. According to this piece Soros is backing the campaign group Best For Britain who are pushing for a second EU referendum. Part of their plan is supposedly to get Tory donors on board so it undermines May and target MPs to vote against the final Brexit deal so it triggers an election or second referendum. And George Soros has given them £400,000. Now firstly, this really isn’t very secret. Best for Britain are operating really quite openly and they are very open about the donations they’ve been given and by whom. I’m still certain part of it was from Skeletor. Unlike the Vote Leave campaigns which is still under investigation. But also George Soros is a name that regularly comes up in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish financiers plotting and co-ordinating politics. Why? Well he’s a Hungarian Jewish migrant who fled to the UK in 1944 to escape the Nazis and came into money through very successful investment. Throughout his life he has donated to philanthropic causes and is generally disliked by Trump fans and people who support nationalistic governments. I mean if he was female he’d be the ultimate anti-Trump. To denounce Soros’s donation as secret, signals to those people that Brexit is somehow being ruined by behind the scenes elitists, but really to everyone else, it’s a sign that someone who has funds is backing a cause he thinks is worthwhile. I often wonder if champagne socialist is seen as a slur because other rich people realise it makes them look shit for not supporting humanitarian causes.
What’s more of a story is that while Best For Britain is gaining support, a lot of senior Conservative donors are increasingly frustrated with Theresa May’s constant indecision. But it’s cool cos within three weeks we’ll all have our road to Brexit and be riding down it at 80mph, windows down, hair in the wind, playing some loud phat beats as we career towards a brighter future right? Or more likely, we’ll discover that the Road to Brexit was a contract the government sold to be project managed by Carillion.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. It should all be back to normal format next week as I’ve got an interview I’m excited for you to hear for episode 91. And don’t forget if you do enjoy the show please do donate to the Patreon or ko-fi, write me a lovely review on your favourite podcast app or toilet wall or crop field, and please do recommend the show to people you know, but only people you know because you shouldn’t talk to strangers.
Big thanks to Acast for still hosting this show and to my brother The Last Skeptik for providing the music, even though he’s not let me steal any new beats for ages.
This will be back next week when we’ll discover that the ‘road to Brexit’ will be closed for construction until 2030 and until then we have to take a series of diversions that mean it takes forever to barely get anywhere.
This week’s episode was brought to you by David Davis’s Chocolate Surprises. They are just a box of chocolates. But it fucking baffles him how they got in a box when they can’t move by themselves. Who put the lid on? Baffling.