Episode 101 – Is there a Brexit plan yet? No! Of course not. Why would there be with only 10 months to go? Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) talks to Holger Hestermeyer (@hhesterm) on what various trade options would mean for the UK. Plus a look at the UN’s report into the increase in racism post Brexit. All cheery stuff as per usual.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, a weekly podcast that answers your call for good political satire by telling you have the wrong number and don’t call here again. This is episode 101, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Prime Minister and the missing link between a stalagmite and a penguin Theresa May says the British public can promise her to deliver, I’ve no doubt it’ll be between 9 and 5 on a day no one’s in and then sit in a depot till it’s returned to sender.
Yes it’s yet another week where asking ‘Does the UK government have a Brexit plan yet?’ gives you a more consistently assured answer than asking where bears shit. But at least bears are actually getting something done. This week May has divided her top team of ministers into two separate groups to look at which of two completely unworkable options the UK should use for it’s customs relations with the EU. Should they go with the one the EU said definitely won’t happen or the one that the EU said really can’t happen? At this stage with less than a year to go it’d be more economical to send her cabinet down a river in a selection of barrels while a crow pulls random words out of a bag. Team 1 aka the Suicide Squad but mostly because of how boring they are, is ‘balloon attached to a bin bag’ Michael Gove, Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox and David ‘probably has a swear tin that’s never been used’ Lidlington who will be considering a customs partnership. But actually will probably mostly be spent trying to stop Liam wondering off because he’s seen a squirrel while Lidlington keeps getting snacks in on expenses and Gove changes his mind every two seconds depending on what he thinks will sound best in a headline. Team two aka Gloom Patrol has person entirely made of cappuccino froth David Davis, woman who’s just excited to be outside Karen Bradley and Greg Clark who’s so hard to describe on account of him resonating at such a dull frequency he’s almost impossible to notice. They will be discussing Maximum Facilitation a solution based on technology which probably means Davis will be showing everyone how the aubergine emoji can be used in a rude way, Bradley will sit gazing at sensory perception videos on youtube and Greg Clark will mostly not even attend but no one will ever notice.
Foreign Secretary and what it’d look like if they made a Cbeebies show about Irritable Bowl Syndrome Boris Johnson is not part of the groups on account of him saying publicly that he thinks the Prime Minister’s preferred customs partnership plan is crazy. That’s harsh criticism from a man who thought there should be an airport on an island in the Thames, authorised spending £37m on a failed garden bridge project, thinks it’s fine to make racist slurs towards people who are hosting you while abroad, changed his political views for popularity & consequently threw the country into mayhem & didn’t get a chance at party leadership and signed off on a cable car over the only bit of London where’s there’s nothing to see on the ground. Boris saying a plan is crazy is like a dog telling you your cooking stinks while it’s eating its own shit. In normal circumstances Boris would’ve been sacked as Foreign Secretary for speaking out like that against the Prime Minister but as these are abnormal circumstances her letting Boris go would be more like giving him a lifeboat when she’ll certainly need his bloated body as a raft while everything continues to sink. So instead May penned in the Sunday Times to ensure the content paying public that she will be taking back control but she needs our help to do it. I say she should start a kickstarter and see how many people give a shit.
The House of Lords aka where politicians go to die, have voted to make 14 amendments to the withdrawal legislation including backing the idea of a Norway style solution to Brexit, Labour have said that won’t work, probably because why would we want to do anything one of the constantly rated happiest countries in the world does, as that’ll clearly go against our British Values of having something to be miserable about all the time. Haunted Whistler painting Jacob Rees Mogg has raised the issue of reforming the Lords which is an odd call after Moggy voted against reforming the Lords in 2012. I look forward to him extraditing himself for his traitorous behaviour soon. Meanwhile ardent Brexiteers Daniel Hannan has admitted that Brexit isn’t working out the way he thought, which is a surprise to many as we didn’t realise he thought about anything before. Hannan is less a Brexit spokesperson and more a perpetually directionless human sat nav who’s forever recalculating to find the best route to nowhere. An apt description as the Brexit is forcing the galileo sat nav system out of the UK, with the UK losing access to its encrypted system. If if Brexit hasn’t already proved it has absolutely no road map so far and is driving blind. The Leave.EU campaign have been fined £70k by the Electoral Commision for breaches of electoral law, but founder and talking can of dog food Arron Banks is refusing to pay saying it is a politically motivated attack on Brexit. Of course. I mean why not campaign for your country to be more sovereign, then denounce its laws. I had no idea Brexit was about letting people do criminal acts and get away with it, though I suppose if we get all the Brits back that emigrated to Spain then some of it will be. Banks swears he is always the victim, though sadly never of very violent crimes.
And a UN report states that Brexit has definitely made racism more acceptable in the UK. I swear the UN only do reports into things we already knew two years ago. I’m certain their next one will be on exactly how many retweets you need to get free chicken nuggets.
In America, US President and the lovechild of two saggy elbows Donald Trump is withdrawing the country from the Iran nuclear agreement claiming that Iran are building a giant nuclear weapon despite having absolutely no evidence for this. You know why they aren’t building a giant nuclear weapon? Because of the fucking nuclear agreement. I bet Trump would tear up a peace treaty because he thought it’d prevent war. I bet he’d poke an angry sleeping lion with a pointed stick because he heard it might wake up despite hearing it snoring. I bet he’d drive straight through red traffic lights put at a busy junction to save lives because he heard they might go faulty. Meanwhile North Korea has agreed to put it’s nuclear program on hold in exchange for the US helping with its economy. Great now why not do the same deal with Iran and call it, the Iran nuclear agreement? I’m sure it’s only because Obama secured the Iran deal that Trump wants to back out of it, like he has with all the other former president’s policies. It’s such a shame that Obama didn’t insist on putting in a policy that all future presidents don’t have to smack their head against a large marble slab 6 times a day or something similar.
The US has opened an embassy in Jerusalem as part of it’s controversial recognition of the city as Isreal’s capital, and violence has already started with 52 Palestinians killed by the IDF on the Gaza border, including 6 minors and a man in a wheelchair. 70 years ago Israel was born as a state and it seems Trump’s present to them is just a shallow, antagonistic one. He’s the sort of person who’d turn up to diamond wedding anniversary party with an amateur sex tape of him and one of the couple. While Israeli forces again engage in disproportionate violence against Palestinians, their country’s act, Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision song contest on Saturday night. Must’ve been odd for them for once to have public backing in occupying a much sought after place.
The Sunday Time Rich List revealed the accumulated wealth of everyone listed is £724bn. I reckon we should sell them all off and fix the economy.
Scotland Yard say a small amount of crystal meth was found in the Home Office. That may explain why Amber Rudd was never aware of anything ever.
At the end of this week the government will no doubt be shoving out all sorts of controversial policies while the country is distracted by a TV star joining the Royal Family. Personally I think it’s an out dated institution that costs people far too much money and doesn’t provide any worth for modern day society apart from irrelevant pomposity and show. But hey I guess some people like marriage.
Lastly very sad to hear of the death of former Labour MP Dame Tessa Jowell, who was a pivotal part of the London Olympics actually being good which surprised everyone. She also created the Sure Start children’s centre programs, something that’s now been all but shut down by the government in the last eight years. But don’t worry they have pledged to honour Tessa’s legacy by doubling funding into brain cancer research which is a good thing. But one without the other does feel a lot like the government are saying they hope you have a crap beginning in life and they’ll then make sure they prolong your miserable existence as long as possible.
Yeeeeeah it’s episode 101! Does that mean this contains the worst podcast content in the world? No of course not. I used all that up in the Jingle megamix bonus episode I released last week. I can believe how angry that made some of you, but what I can’t believe is how much some of you enjoyed it. I couldn’t even listen to it. Well don’t fear, there won’t be another one of those for at least 100 more episodes. Sorry, I meant to start this with a hello, how are you all? Welcome, welcome to all the new listeners however you found this corner of the audio internet and all you classic hardcore old school vet listeners that are gluttons for ear punishment so keep returning. We are back to a normal episode this week with interview and everything and and and and AND….The big news is…. FANFARE PLEASE:
There is now a podcast website! YAAAASSS! The crowd rejoiced! That’s right. If you head over to partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or even parpolbro.co.uk cos that’s right, I gots the bucks to pay for both names (it was only £11) then you will see the real fancy new website designed by the brilliant James Hingley. It’s got all the episodes so far so you can go back and listen to any you may have missed, plus you can search for specific topics, find all the social media and email links, and all of that hoo hah. What it hasn’t got – yeah why not ruin the mood by pointing out it’s inadequacies – what it’s not got yet is episode and interview transcripts but they will be getting very slowly, slowly added, along with linear notes for older episodes. Hopefully at some point it will be a lovely resource for er, anyone that needs a lot of ways to describe Theresa May.
So that’s the big news this week. In other things, thank you tons and tons to Joe and Janine who are now Patreon donators, that is hugely appreciated. Just $81 to go before I hit the target I set like, years ago. If you’d like to sign up to give regular donations then please head to patreon.com/parpolbro or click the link on the parpolbro.co.uk site. And thank you to Anonymous for the ko-fi donation. I assume that’s not the global hacktivist group and is just one of you wishing to remain unknown but either way, it’s appreciated and if you wish to do one-off donation then please do that at ko-fi.com/parpolbro or again via the podcast website links. And look this week if you can donate it’s a mega help as last week a stupid sports cap water bottle leaked in my bag and my laptop is now undergoing some severe and expensive repairs while I steal my wife’s laptop for a day much to her chagrin. Under the plastic ban those bottles should be the first to go. I mean not only are they polluting and killing whales but there’s every chance it’s ruined a lot of whales’ personal laptops too. So yes, all donations this week will go towards fixing my podcast creating machine, aka my laptop and buying cakes for my wife to placate her for how much I’m stealing hers. It does baffle me how technology can connect to the internet, store years of music and yet one drop of water, fucked. On the plus side, if the robots do ever take over, they’ll lose in the UK within a week of shitty weather.
Thank you also to gasdoctorjoe and pfirGreej for the iTunes reviews. I always worry that its not just a made up name for a review and you’re a character from Star Wars and you’ll forever be sad I’ve pronounced your name wrongly. Hopefully not pfirGreej. But if you want to type something nice about this show, it does help get more people to listen so please do that on iTunes, Stitcher or anywhere else that podcast reviews do lurk.
On this week’s show there is an interview with Holger Hestermeyer who is a Shell Reader in International Dispute Resolution. What does that mean? Good question. We will never know. HA! JOKE! It’s all explained in the interview. Plus Brexit nonsense and a four hour discussion about whether the term Gammon is racist, or not. HA! JOKE! Its not racist otherwise butchers would be done for race hate murders. But before all of those things, here is these things firstest:
The Milibands are back once again. Remember the Milibands? That really funny double act with the older one who was dead serious all the time and had Lego hair and then the one who was more goofy looking and couldn’t eat a sandwich? Oh and it was so funny because the older one wanted to be leader but the younger one did instead and he got his floppy friend who dances to help. Oh it was the best. Well this past week both have made a reappearance into the limelight. David by standing with Nick Clegg and Nicky Morgan behind a lot of rice, but not for long enough to stop them being the wettest panel I’ve ever seen. That was all to oppose a hard brexit because yeah, those three will definitely sway leave voters, and David Milliband suggested we needed to seek a safe harbour proving he’s never been to a harbour as there’s water, bits of boats and sea death everywhere. And Ed by getting all tuss enuff in the Commons when his bid to enforce the second part of the Leveson enquiry aka 2 Press 2 Furious fell through by nine votes. If you remember, the first part in 2012 looked in to issues with the culture of the press and the ethics of journalism and its relationship with politicians. At the time, then Prime Minister and spoon made of playdo David Cameron took into account the enquiry’s calls for a new independent body to replace the Press Complaints Commission and did absolutely nothing about it which wasn’t at all to do with his being mates with several of the people involved in phone hacking scandals and hiring them for his own team or anything like that. Not at all. Nuh uh. Who would suggest such a thing? Anyway round Two: Another 48 Levesons was to look at members of the public who had become victims to harassment and poor practice by the press such as Miller Dowler’s family, and then examine why it happened and who covered it up.
The government actually announced they were dropping this bill in March but Ed Miliband and Ken Clarke tabled an amendment to the new Data Protection Bill include it, but it was narrowly rejected on accounts that such a move might undermine a free press. Really, a free press, or a press free to antagonise the public while inviting Theresa May to a party for their editor? Yes a free press is important but claiming this would undermine it is like saying opposing hate crime is against freedom of speech. Nope. What you’ve done there is confused basic human rights with trying to justify being an arsehole, who is mostly against other human rights and regularly prints that on their front pages. On the plus side, I don’t think Leveson part two would’ve been a very good sequel. I mean the Empire Strikes Back section happened at the end of part one.
Theresa May’s policies, much like her career as Prime Minister, seem to refuse to die. Her call to create new grammar schools was rejected after the laughable snap election, proving that whatever she learned in her education they probably should’ve provided more risk management. But it doesn’t matter because now Education Secretary and most unpopular item at the garden centre Damian Hinds has announced £50m for grammar school expansion. Yeah! The best way to tackle childhood obesity is by making schools bigger to fit them in! Sorry, I mean that’s what the world needs, for existing grammar schools to be able to take in more children so nearby comprehensive schools will lose pupils and funding. Win! This time round though rather than try to pretend that grammar schools are good for social mobility, which evidence suggests they aren’t as only 3% of intake is of children from poorer homes compared to national school average of 14%. But rather than even pretend, Hinds’s backing for this new announcement is just ‘actually this amount of money will only help 3500 children’. So it’s not even that great for grammar schools either. Brilliant. What a disappointing plan for everyone. In addition to funding, Hinds also announced that the plan to remove the cap on faith schools that says they can only allocate 50% of faith based admissions, has been rejected. While the idea of 100% faith based schools sounds terrifying to me, I have to say it is a shame. I mean young people have no other future prospects with housing, education and employment fucked. At least if they were forced into religion they’d have some sort of hope.
How much of the Brexit terminology are you au fait with? Do you know your WTOs from your ECJs or your EEAs or EUCUs and wait hang on isn’t this all part of that Jackson 5 song? Theresa May vowed this week to deliver the Brexit that people voted for but on the slip of paper I got it just had two boxes and options to remain a member of the European Union or Leave the European Union. If it had a ton of footnotes with explanations of every trade agreement possibility, abbreviation, legal terms and all that I think it may have put a lot of people off. While many people get angry at the suggestion they may not have fully known what they were voting for, I personally know that the legal areas of Brexit are not my bag. And even if they were, I’d probably have spilled water on them due to a stupid sports cap bottle oh god that still makes me so angry. The possibility of the UK staying in the single market is back on the table thanks to the house of Lords and the cabinet are still squabbling about customs unions but to you and me, the average Joe or er, average Tiernan, what do those differences mean to the way the UK will work post 2020? If it works at all. Oh wait, maybe Theresa May meant our Brexit would be in two boxes with people able to get cross in either one? Well I suppose she’s already managing that.
This week I spoke to Holger Hestermeyer. Holger is a Shell Reader in International Dispute Resolution, which doesn’t mean he scours the beach searching for small molluscks to whisper legal solutions to him. No it means that he lectures and advises many on the key issues that will and have arisen in the Brexit negotiations. Holger has been a special advisor to the House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee, worked in the Court of Justice of the European Union, taught at the Dickenson Poon School of Law at Kings College London and is definitely one of those experts that Michael Gove probably doesn’t like. I came across Holger’s work after we both contributed to an end of year piece for politics.co.uk and found that his writing and teaching is so brilliantly clear that even an idiot like me could understand it. Holger is currently in Northern Italy at the University of Ferrara as the Letizia Gianformagio Visiting Chair and I spoke to him while he was in his ridiculously lovely spacious office. As a result there is a little bit of echo at his end but I don’t think it effects the sound much at all. So enjoy as Holger explains exactly what he does, what WTO rules mean, and so much more that previously my brain had just assumed was complicated and ignored. Here’s Holger:
INTERVIEW WITH HOLGER PART 1
I don’t know if you knew, but racism and religious intolerance has become more acceptable since Brexit. I know right? Who’d have thought that years of unverified rhetoric about the dangers of immigration, rife Islamaphobia in the media, a government with a hostile immigration policy that deports non white British citizens, an opposition with anti-Semitism issues, free copies of the Daily Mail in our airports, a rise in hate crimes, school children getting caught out for blacking up and the royals having to say Prince Phillip is ill just so he doesn’t say something hugely racist or pervy or both to his grandson’s bride – ok I don’t know that for sure but c’mon that’s probably it right – but who’d have assumed that meant the UK was all a bit racist? No, me either. But a UN report says so, so hey, I guess that means its true. E Tendayi Achiume is the UN Special Rapporteur, which I think means she does all her reports in sick rhymes, she spent 11 days in the UK investigating the impact of Brexit on racial equality and what did she learn on her trip? That it doesn’t matter where you’re from, you’re welcome here, unless you’re from somewhere that isn’t here. I mean I’m paraphrasing but basically she noted a failure by political leaders on all sides to condemn racism that’s perpetrated in the media and in political campaigns. That hate crime rose by a third each year since the referendum, that there is inequality in the justice system and that the Right To Rent program is hugely discriminatory. Basically, you name an area, we’ve done it racistly. That’s just a taster too as the full report is due to come out in June of next year. The government responded by saying ‘hooray she liked the racial disparity report’ because you know, they’ll scour for any nugget of gold, and then said ‘if there is no rational explanation for racial disparities, then we – as a society – must take action to change them.’ Which feels a lot like what they did after a UN special report said the government’s treatment of people with disabilities was appalling and Number 10 responded by kinda going, ‘great, that’s what we were trying for!’
But I think it’s reasonable to say that much of what the UN report has stated is obvious, especially to people of colour in the UK, and while that is great that the UN is highlighting it all and putting the pressure on, there is more and more hidden institutional racism that is being revealed every week. The resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary and the appointment of Sajid Javid to her place seemed to be the government’s way of saying ‘its cool, we’ve done our bit now’. But more and more concerning elements of the hostile environment policy have been coming to light since. Figures have shown that more than half of the UK’s police forces are handing victims of crime straight over to immigration enforcement for detainment. How grim is that? You report a crime, you do the time. Bloody immigrants, coming over here, trying to make it a safer place. Southall Black Sisters, a campaign group that’s been working on this say there has been a rise in cases where rather than deal with reports of violence or rape, they’ve just arrested women or referred them to the home office.’ So that’s letting the criminal go free and punishing the person that reported them. Did they read the how to uphold the law guidebook backwards? Are they going round waiting to see if a burglar will apprehend them? Do they go back to their stations and sit in the cells? The Home Office has said that victims of crime must be treated as victims first and foremost, cool but a) that’s not what has been happening because of aggressive deportation targets and b) how are you treating them second and next most?
Thanks to a High Court review in December, the Home Office has now had to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to European rough sleepers who were illegally detained and deported. In 2016, Theresa May made it so that rough sleeping was an abuse of the EU treaty because you know, she’s just a bundle of compassion wrapped around a ball of care, and 698 homeless EU nationals were targeted and deported, even if they were working or had right of residence. Evidence suggests most immigration officers were working to quotas. Now as a result many of those arrested unlawfully have now been awarded damages of around £10,000 each. In a weird way, I think this may have been the most the government have ever done to tackle homelessness, albeit accidentally.
The government seems to be waiting to be caught out on all of this before they do anything about it, with the only time they seem to be aggressively anti-racist is when there’s evidence the opposition have issues with it and it can be used for political point scoring. There’s still no official budging on immigration targets, still no sign of removing foreign students from those targets, still no sign of actually doing anything for the Windrush victims despite saying ‘hey here’s Sajid and his family could’ve been victims of this but they weren’t, phew!’ Either more needs to be uncovered so that May and her hostile environment policies have no one else to hide behind, or maybe it’ll just turn out that our secret immigration policy is to put anyone off wanting to come here because we’ll probably treat them like invaders, and hey why worry about the full UN report when if we step things up a notch, their special Rapporteur might avoiding coming back anyway?
And now back to Holger:
INTERVIEW PART 2
Thank you so much to Holger for that. We had such a lovely chat that we continued nattering on for about 30 minutes after that interview too, though less about trade stuff and more about the sleeplessness of parenting. Anyway Holger can be found on Twitter @hhesterm and you can find a number of his lectures and articles on line if you do a google. All the other links, people and groups he suggests following will be on the new fancy smansy website by the end of the week.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again dagnabbit, if you have anyone you’d like me to interview or a subject you’d like me to find someone to interview about, please get in touch via the new contact thing on the website, the @parpolbro Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast Facebook group or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or why not storm the stage at Eurovision to shout it during the UK’s entry next year, ruining a song that no one thought could get any worse, and I’ll not be able to make out what you said as you’re bundled offstage and you become an international meme, and then the song still does badly because even a stage invasion couldn’t make it interesting. As I always say, probably easier to email.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. Thank you once again for wrapping your lugholes around these chat sounds. Don’t forget you can now go to the fancy new website at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk and have a snoop around there clicking things and sending me rude emails. And also on there you’ll find links to the Patreon and ko-fi for donations to this week resurrect my poor drowned laptop. If you can’t donate please drop the show a nice review on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Aquaintance, Fidel Cast-ro or Cephalopod or any others I’ve just made up.
Thanks to Acast for hoarding this show amongst its gallery of ear clowns, and to my brother The Last Skeptik for all the music I keep stealing from him.
This show will be back next week when I’ll be looking at David Miliband’s speech alongside one of the ones off Dragon’s Den and Sooty, all standing behind some Ainsley Harriet cous cous to recommend we just decide it’s 2006 again as he personally had a lovely time that year.
This week’s show is brought to you by the TomTom Brexit. For a post EU, post Galileo Satelilte UK, TomTom bring you a Sat Nav that allows you to tell it where you want to go, then it faffs around arguing with itself as to how to get there, with no realistic options. Special plus edition comes with speedy routes to the closest cliff edge and recorded directions from David Davis as he just keeps telling you to u-turn.