Episode 93 – Possibly the last podcast before Tiny Douieb arrives, so Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) speaks to Ros Bragg at Maternity Action (@maternityaction) on how the UK supports new parents. Plus the government’s new Emperor’s New Clothes Brexit plan and more ‘affordable’ housing.
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Partly Political Broadcast episode 93, 6th March 2018
Magical Cherry Cakes
Linear liner notes
Possibly the last podcast before Tiny Douieb arrives, so Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) speaks to Ros Bragg at Maternity Action (@maternityaction) on how the UK supports new parents. Plus the government’s new Emperor’s New Clothes Brexit plan and more ‘affordable’ housing.
Links and sources of info from Ros Bragg’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast a podcast that embraces politics with the loving grip of a hungry boa constrictor who’s found absolutely nothing else to eat for weeks. This is episode 93, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week I’m taking initiative from Prime Minister and Borg Queen Theresa May who said in her Road To Brexit speech last week ‘we have a shared interest in getting this right. So let’s get on with it.’ So I’m going to take over 18 months to sort this episode out and by the time you hear it, it’ll just have vague notions of any actual content.
Yes the Road To Brexit speeches ended, much like many roads in last week’s Snowmageddon, without having made much distance at all. May’s said it was an important moment in history, but I mostly forgot as she said it. And the Prime Minister set out five tests although we’re not sure who should be taking the tests, who’s marking them or what happens, if as is likely, the UK government doesn’t do enough reading and planning to pass them. Still the tests, it seems are: 1) Is Brexit Brexit? 2) Does it Brexit? 3) Are you sure it smells like Brexit? 4) How many Brexits can you fit into the back of a Mini that we won’t be able to sell abroad? 5) When do I get to go home? I’m summarising of course, but I don’t want to tell you the actual tests as it’s not helpful for me if you fall into a coma at the start of a podcast. What did we learn? Well the UK will be taking the 2Unlimited stance aka there will be no no deal, but there will be some cherry picking despite an understanding that we can’t cherry pick, not least because all those who do the cherry picking won’t be allowed in and all the cherries will rot and die. May also said that the fishing industry would benefit as we regain access to our waters, which was amazing because then two days later thousands around the UK suffered from burst pipes. May summed up her speech on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday by saying ‘sometimes we’ll do it in the same way as the EU, sometimes we’ll do it in a different way, sometimes we’ll achieve the same result as the EU but from a different method’. Which to me, sounds like a euphemism for all the ways we’ll be fucking ourselves. May believes the UK can set an example to the world in how we negotiate with the EU after Brexit. And I’m sure the world is reckoning, yes you can and we’ll very much learn from your mistakes and avoid doing all of that.
A leaked memo earlier in the week revealed Foreign Secretary and concussed haystack Boris Johnson had told May that it wasn’t the government’s job to maintain a no border in Ireland. Though as he seems to think his role is travelling around the world offending people, getting British citizens arrested and rugby tackling small Japanese children, I’m starting to think that he applied for his position assuming it was a theme park management company. On Radio4 Bozo compared the Irish border to the border between the London boroughs of Islington, Camden and Westminster. Yes, because as a lifelong Londoner I remember the horrific sectarian violence by Tufnell Park station between latte sipping Guardian writers and cyber goths. One wanting a utopian society for all except anyone who doesn’t like Wes Anderson films or whichever faction of their own group they want to decide is wrong that day, while the other strive for flashing lights, unnecessarily high shoes and sex toys. Years of pointless bloodshed with face piercings and cardigans thrown all over the street. Yes everyone out of all the borders in all the world, the Foreign Secretary decided the one between Northern Ireland and Ireland was closest to a congestion charge line in London. Though if his entire global knowledge is just based on the tube map, it would explain an awful lot.
Over in the US, President of America and what happens if you leave a cup-a-soup out for too long Donald Trump has decided to start a trade war with tarrifs on Chinese steel and aluminium imports, though that’s maybe because Americans only use aluminium, and also on EU made cars, as part of his America First plan. Trump stated that ‘trade wars are good’ once again proving he has little to no understanding of history as the last big US trade war lead to the Great Depression, though I suppose with many Americans under Trump already feeling like that, maybe it won’t make much difference this time around. Meanwhile political Norman Bates and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has lost access to top secret intelligence, a headline that when I read it wasn’t sure if he’d had it taken away or if he’d just lost it and couldn’t find it and was worried he’d eaten it by accident.
In China the government are preparing to change the country’s ceremonial legislature so that President Xi Jinping can be in charge forever. Hmm, scary much? Many are concerned that this will return China to an autocratic medieval style rule, which I’m comforted by only because according to Ang Lee films it was pretty awesome back then. The President’s political philosophy ‘Xi Jingping Thought’ will be made part of the constitution, even though it sounds like an instagram page with those shitty sentimental memes on. These are all decisions being made at China’s annual meeting of their parliament or National People’s Congress where apparently one of their other aims is to ratify a law to set up an anti-corruption agency because after giving their President unlimited rule with no opposition it seems they’ve also completely lost any sense of irony.
Germany have a government again after unconfirmed Vulcan Angela Merkal and her party formed a coalition with the Social Democrats. This means she is now chancellor for the forth time because apparently staying in power forever is so 2018. In another complete lack of awareness of irony, the Italian elections have resulted in two anti-establishment parties being the largest parties and so likely to become the establishment, which I think means they’ll be cancelled out and vanish.
And lastly for world book day, otherwise known as atlas day, Chancellor and stock photo model for germaloids cream Philip Hammond said that his favourite book as a child was George Orwell’s 1984, which explains a lot about his visions for the future. However after discussing with his wife, he changed his mind to Dr Seuss’s Cat In The Hat books, where a big cat wrecks everything and assumes it will all be cleaned up by magic. Which again, explains a lot about his visions for the future. Boris Johnson chose the Iliad, the story of Achilles a man who appeared strong but had a point of weakness in his heel, an appropriate tale for a buffoon who carelessly puts his foot in everything. Theresa May chose Swallows and Amazons, about children who fight each other for control of an island. I’ll leave that there.
Hey hey pod-warriors, how’s you? I hope you all survived the icy blasts of the Beast From The East all ok. By the time everything started thawing out here in the south on Sunday, I’d moved so little and eaten so much I was sort of praying for the snow to continue just to give me a chance to burn the extra fat reserves. And our boiler temporarily stopped working causing us to huddle round a small electric heater and choosing to see it as a taster of what post-Brexit Britain will be like. Its like how every now and then I eat some really burned toast just to prove I could survive if the world went like the book The Road. I am now on high baby alert. Or is that baby high alert? The former sounds like I’m waiting for some sort of emperor baby or very stoned baby, which I’m hoping for neither of though I guess a stoned baby would probably sleep more. Anyway the due date is this Friday so Tiny Douieb could be here any day now. Or not. Babies are even worse than Royal Mail deliveries because they don’t even give a definite date of delivery, let alone possible period of time. Though I also assume that when they turn up a grumpy man won’t just throw them at me the wrong way up while I squiggle a line on an e-pad so not really the same thing at all. Anyway, that all being said, this might be the last podcast before a short break, or there might be one next week. Who knows? Only Tiny Douieb and I’m not sure they understand the importance of podcast just yet, though I will try and get them into something easy like Serial very early on.
Thank you to those of you who’ve donated to the podcast, regularly pointing out that I will need the coffees purchased via ko-fi.com/parpolbro as Mummy Barrow and Bruce did this week or as Duncan who donated to the patreon.com/parpolbro said, he did the patreon as I won’t be needing a coffee to keep me awake when Tiny Douieb will be doing that instead. It’s funny how with these donations and messages I am both grateful and then I read the warnings about sleep deprivation and feel less so. But should you want to donate then you know where to do that, and yes, the original jingle is back, mainly because I had mixed responses to the remix last week, but I’ve sped it up mainly for comedy value.
Hee hee hee, it sounds like a cartoon is saying it. And that’s it for admin this week I think. I’ve probably forgotten something important which I’m sure will happen tons more as of next week. It’s still my firm belief that when people say ‘as a father’ or ‘as a mother’ at the beginning of a sentence, it means whatever they say next is invalid, as chances are they haven’t got the brain power to actually think anything through due to lack of sleep and constant poo and noise. On this week’s show I won’t be following up the Italian elections just yet as it’s not entirely clear what happened and what will happen. Yes I’ve started by telling you what’s not on this show which could be a long list. I mean, I should probably discuss Labour’s general secretary shenanigans, the government cancelling Leveson 2, or their plans to curb benefit sanctions. There isn’t time for any of that this week. Or the weird news story I read about how you shouldn’t read news stories. WHAT WAS I MEANT TO DO SHOULD I HAVE READ THAT OR NOT? I’m not going to be humming the Hungarian national anthem either or telling you the shades of my favourite crayons. There is also nothing about the Oscars because a) I don’t care and b) I mean boring Shape of Water beating Get Out for Best Picture. Oscars So So Whitebait AMIRIGHT? Ahem. But I am doing is interviewing Rosalind Bragg at Maternity Action as I thought that’d be appropriate, well for me, maybe less so for you but it’s not your podcast so shhhh now. See? Already good at the parenting. And I’m also going to look at the Emperor’s New Clothes Brexit plan the government now say they have even though everyone can clearly see they have their butt out. But before I gets into all a that, here’s a some a this:
Standing behind what looked like a chimney stack like an advert for Mary Poppins 2 The Nanny State Theresa May announced the government’s plans to overhaul the National Planning Policy Framework to tackle the housing crisis. It was an odd speech as she started by addressing young people, you know, the demographic her party often forgets exist assuming people go from children to middle aged within months, which to be fair is what happens if any of them have to listen to May’s speeches. She said that young people without family homes were right to be angry about the lack of homes before then reeling off lots of plans to build more affordable housing. And I don’t know if you remember but:
AFFORDABLE HOUSING JINGLE
So hey, you’re right to be angry, but if you thought you were pissed off before, wait till you get a load of this! Very strange tactic. The proposals mentioned today were that 10% of homes on major sites should be affordable housing. WOAH! Someone’s pushing the boat out eh? 10%? Bloody hell Captain cray cray. What next? Saying that one zero hours janitors job will be given to the first working class person who says please? The next proposal is for builders to be more open about affordable housing commitments at planning stage so as long as long as Steve says ‘nah we can’t even be bothered with 10%’ and let’s you know, that’s fine. Councils will have to adopt a new nationwide standard showing housing need in their areas. Great, that way we can see all the places people will continue to not be able to afford to live. Oh and infrastructure needs to be considered at pre-planning stage. But only considered not actually included. Basically it’s the thought that counts. Oh and there is something about giving special protection to aged trees which I think means Lord Tebbit gets left alone. So what this is all is is a lot of hoo hah without much that will actually do anything. Housing Secretary and anime character Sgt Frog Sajid Javid has told councils in England they’ll be stripped of planning powers if not enough homes are built in their areas which sounds good but actually councils approve nine out of ten planning applications are approved. But out of 321,000 homes that were green light in 2016-17, only 183,000 were actually built. The problem is house building companies are sitting on land earning profit off rising land prices. May did mention that in her speech and councils are being told to consider revoking planning permission after two years if nothing has been developed. But you might notice the term ‘consider’ there again as apparently as long as it’s pondered on that’ll do. And only after two years which is still more wasted time. Incidentally, former Labour leader Tough enuss Ed Miliband warned developers off doing this in 2013 which means this is the 3rd policy after stamp duty abolition for first time buyers and an energy price cap, that the Conservatives have taken from him so hopefully they’ll either start classing themselves as irresponsible Marxists soon or keep going and lose an election after standing next to a stupid giant headstone. Fingers crossed for either of those. And all of this feels irrelevant anyway when its emerged that Javid surrendered just under £300m back to the treasury, even though that was allocated for affordable homes. And just under £400m that was meant to be for the government’s flagship starter homes schemes. Overall over £1bn that was meant to be for housing development just wasn’t spent. So do the government actually want to help young people buy property? Or are they just considering it?
INTERVIEW WITH ROS
Babies. Put your hand up if you were a baby once. Yeah me too. Turns out, according to official statistics 100% of people were babies at some point, even the ones who looked like tiny old men when they were born. And it seems there’s babies everywhere all the time. I mean, I saw three just today in the supermarket. I mean with their parents obviously, because they’d have trouble reaching the shelves by themselves. But yeah there’s like a constant supply of babies, almost as though it’s how our species continues to survive or something. And on the medical side of things, in the UK we are pretty great at caring at getting those babies to that supermarket. Er. Yeah. But what we’re not so good at is the support of parents and the babies as their little lives continue. UK maternity pay is one of the lowest in Europe with only Ireland being worse than us. Which is odd, because in Ireland you can’t have an abortion but if you keep it, also fuck you. I honestly can’t work out what their message is there. Not only is maternity pay bad in the UK, but discrimination against working women who take maternity leave is still high which is mad because I’m pretty certain if you can get through birth and having kids, then there’s every chance when you return to work your job will seem piss easy in comparison and you’ll be super productive because you will be just so relieved not to be cried at every 5 minutes. And in terms of shared parental leave, even the government minister who’s promoting more of it, Andrew Griffiths has admitted he’s not allowed to take it for his soon to arrive baby because it doesn’t apply for ministers. Brilliant. Its amazing how so many of the government policies involve the word future somewhere but if you actually want to bring up the people who’ll exist in it, they’re a lot less bothered. Though I suppose less babies means less resistance for the robot overlords…hmmmmm.
What with me becoming a parent any day now and with mothering Sunday on March 11th, yes you’re welcome for the reminder and now you can forget again until you pass a petrol station on Sunday morning and panic, I interviewed Rosalind Bragg, the director of Maternity Action, a charity that as their website says, are committed to ending inequality and improving the health and well being of pregnant women, partners and young children from conception to early years. Their current campaigns include ending unfair redundancies of pregnant women and for equal rights to maternity care for all women, both of which we discussed quite a bit. Now I should say, I don’t know if this was too early in the morning for me, or I hadn’t had enough tea, but this is some of the worst question asking I’ve done in ages. My second question is structured, I don’t know, like some sort of drunk yoda? Anyway, I’ve left that all in so you can use it as a guide as to how not to ask questions. And luckily Ros brilliantly answered everything. So for current parents, those who are thinking of becoming parents, those of you who, like me, are going to go through this any day now and any of you who, you know, would just like humanity to continue which yes, is a debatable want at times, I hope you find this informative.
Here is Ros:
INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with Ros in a minute but first:
Last week, before Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox the Disgrace did his pointless Road To Brexit speech which involved him reading off a sheet and both praised the EU deal with South Korea and how great it was for the UK before saying we need to leave the Customs Union and contradicted things he said about the Customs Union just two years ago. Before that, the government’s former secretary in department of international trade Sir Martin Donnelly said that giving up access to the EU market and its existing trade agreements was rather like rejecting a three course meal now in favour of the promise of a packet of crisps later. Which I have a problem with, because I’d do a lot for the promise of a packet of crisps. Also what flavour of crisps? And it depends what the three course meal is. I do understand the analogy but couldn’t be be more specific? If he’d said that horrible Walkers salad cream one they tested that tasted like vomit, I’d get it. I mean come on Sir Martin, don’t let Brexit ruin crisps for me too! And Theresa May has given up crisps for Lent so how does that work? It’s all so complicated.
Sorry, I just really love crisps. Anyway, it’s really not worth mentioning Fox’s speech apart from as context to the crisps question, because his penultimate Road To Brexit talk added minus anything to the debate. Which was handy as it meant with the final speech in the series that hopefully won’t be re-commisioned for a second on account of it being mind numbingly dull, with a shit cast and terrible script, Theresa May was able to add a tiny amount of clarity bringing where we are now back to square one. Yes after speeches from Dopey, Petty, Empty and Crock, May has assured that we, the British public know that we’ll lose a certain amount of access to the single market, that the European Courts Of Justice will continue to have some jurisdiction over the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and that May wants the UK to have access to certain EU agencies, but not other ones, that the UK has close alignment and protections with Euratom and the single energy market and that somehow Brexit is going to keep Ireland’s open border but definitely leave the Customs Union, something that can’t happen as the EU have said it can’t. Basically there’s a lot of things the UK would really like but hey we aren’t just having our cake and eating it anymore but we did bring a cake round as an offering and we’d like to serve ourselves first if possible and now you can’t have the slice with the fancy chocolate decorations as we’d like that. So what we have is confirmation on stuff that we should’ve had confirmation on 18 months ago. Excellent! With any luck, by the time the transition period is over, we’ll have some clarification on what the UK needs to do during the transition period. But May has accepted we’ll lose single market access so that’s some realism in there side by side with unrealism on the Irish Border and customs union. It’s like a film that’s based on a true story where by the lead character has the same name as someone real but the rest of it they made up while drunk.
The Brexit Chief and character in a scandi noir who you think did it but he didn’t but he did something else real bad Guy Verhofstadt said that May’s speech did not move beyong vague aspirations, which suggests he hasn’t met her before as that’s basically her USP, and Brussels has said that her customs idea is fantasy. Which is a really dull fantasy, and that explains why the Phantom Menace was such a load of toss. And probably one of the biggest issues still, is the Irish Border which many Brexiteers seems to think will be solved by complaining about the EU being unreasonable about their own borders. How is it that the UK voted Brexit to take control of its own border but as soon as the EU and Ireland express the same notion, they’re being unreasonable? I wonder if the EU should start doing big UKIPpy billboard adverts showing Brits queuing up in the masses to get in at Killeen to hammer the point home.
So the EU say the UK can’t have what it wants, the UK government say they’ve listened and would now just like some of what they want please even though several of those things are things the UK said they can’t have. Its like leaving your job but still assuming you can pop by occasionally to use the loos, make a cuppa and collect a Christmas bonus. So what will happen to the UK if May sticks to this vague plan? Well either we get a goods only deal, like Canada, which will probably be pretty bad for the UK but not as bad as a no deal, but it will mean some sort of Irish border which is not good. Or, as former prime minister and inspiration for all of Dulux’s grey colours John Major suggests, we all have a second referendum, stop the threat of more violence in NI and generally stop being silly billies about it all. And that’s where we are in British politics right now, where a sensible voice of reason is the man who was succeeded as Conservative party leader by William Hague. This is end of days level shit. And of course Major has already been called a traitor for his opinions by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries a woman who the only time she benefitted the country was to leave it to do I’m A Celeb and eat bugs. But this is the problem, any suggestion of sensibility is still classed as against the will of the people because if the people want to dive headfirst into spikes what kind of arsehole would protect them, sit them down afterwards and make sure it was what they wanted to do? Only a terrible arsehole of course. As Theresa May tried to justify her speech in the Commons today, angry thumb Iain Duncan Smith said the UK should not accept it could not have the deal it wanted as cake exists to be eaten and cherries exist to be picked. And this is why we’re going nowhere. But also exactly why we all need to send Iain Duncan Smith a lot of urinal cakes asap.
I can’t believe Brexit has now ruined cakes, cherries and crisps too.
And now back to Ros:
INTERVIEW WITH ROS PART 2
Thank you very much to Ros for the interview. Maternity Action’s main website can be found at maternityaction.org.uk, and they are on Facebook and on Twitter @maternityaction. What they really need right now are donations to keep going so if you can help their much needed campaign out then please do.
As per usual, while this might or might not be on a break next week, I still need suggestions of interviewees so anyone you think I should speak to or a subject I should interview someone about do get in touch via:
Hee hee hee its like a mouse told you. A really smart mouse.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you for listening or playing overly loudly on the back of the bus while popping and locking and upset the old folks, or playing directly into the ground so all the earthworms get woke. Whatever you use this show for thank you and please do donate to the patreon and ko-fi pages, review wherever reviews live and do get in touch at all the places the squeaky voice told you about.
Big thanks to Acast for cradling this show in their digital arms and to my brother The Last Skeptik for all the beats and parps.
I may be back next week and if I am I’ll be delirious without sleep and laughing about Boris Johnson has tried to pass between North and South Korea by paying a congestion charge fee.
This week’s show is brought to you by Theresa May’s Cherry Cakes, containing no cherries or cake, just an empty cardboard box where you can imagine your wildest baking possibilities. Costing only £252bn. At first.