Episode 102 – All the easy fun subjects this week! Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) talks to comedian, writer and campaigner Tara Flynn (@taraflynn) about the #RepealThe8th vote in Ireland. Also the other fun easy light hearted subject: Israel! One of all the family*.
* But really not.
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Episode 102 — All the easy fun subjects this week! Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) talks to comedian, writer and campaigner Tara Flynn (@taraflynn) about the #RepealThe8th vote in Ireland. Also the other fun easy light hearted subject: Israel! One of all the family*.
* But really not.
Links and sources of info from Tara’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, a podcast that blends comedy and politics together creating a sort of smoothie that would likely be a called an Apathise, an Unequal Distribution Of Power Shake or simply an ‘Oh Whats The Point?’ This is episode 102, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and politics’ version of Tim Lovejoy Matt Hancock tells tech giants ‘reform or be fined billions’ I feel like he’d have had more luck and public support aiming that comment at ABBA. You know, instead of a bunch of CEO’s who really aren’t scared of an overgrown GCSE student who’s only just seen the 1995 Sandra Bullock film The Net.
Yes while the rest of the world spent their weekend ogling the Royal Wedding, the first time the Royal Family have seen that many people of colour and not tried to colonise them, the DCMS attempted to discuss a clamp down on online bullying & harassment on social media, with some of the heads of various sites. However as Matt Hancock sheepishly admitted on the Marr show, only 4 of the invited 14 social media firms showed up, which to be fair, sounds about right for a Facebook event. If he’d done his research he’d have known that if anyone clicks ‘interested’ then they clearly aren’t coming as they aren’t and think you’re awful. Hancock was unable to specify how the government would roll out age checks for under 13 year olds for various internet sites, because despite technology computers can’t quite register how many fingers a child is holding up just yet. The DCMS Secretary said he couldn’t answer how it will happen as there hadn’t been a consultation on it yet, though when he was a just a government minister he insisted under 25’s didn’t work hard enough to get the minimum wage, but I don’t remember him consulting anyone of that age group at the time. Maybe all various internet sites need is for children to show them just how hard they’ve worked and it’ll no doubt allow tons of 15 year olds into hugely unsuitable sites because Hancock doesn’t have a clue about anything. Matt Hancock said he wants to tackle the ‘wild west’ of the internet, but with Facebook CEO and man made entirely of Panna Cotta Mark Zuckerberg still refusing to meet the UK government, it seems more likely that he is nowhere near being a Butch Cassidy, especially as he has no idea how to verify the age of the Sundance Kid who’s apparently not working hard enough to help in the first place.
Transport Secretary and low budget Voldemort Chris Grayling announced that the East Coast rail line is to be renationalised in a move that many are calling ‘one of Labour’s policies’. Though rather than this being a possible first step before the Conservatives decide to go the whole hog, announce free tuition fees, save the NHS, start singing Theresa May’s name to the tune of Seven Nation Army and swap their Brexit plan for an equally confusing one, it seems this decision was largely due to Virgin Rail breaching a financial agreement and Grayling either renationalising or allowing Virgin to continue running it while the government pay the fees. A lose/lose situation for the Transport Department but on the plus side, now it’s a nationalised service run by the government, at least customers won’t expect the wi-fi on board to work, won’t be in the least surprised that seats are still unaffordable apart from a tiny percentage of equally pricey affordable seats, or that the gap has increased and that any expected arrival times will be months off on account of a total lack of preparation in place of self confident bluster.
Home Secretary and direct inspiration for Thomas The Tank Engine’s round round face, Sajid Javid revealed that 63 people from the Windrush generation could have been wrongly removed or deported from the UK, but has pointed out that’s not the final number. That’s a big difference compared to the government previously saying they couldn’t find anyone wrongfully deported and still amazes me that we’re meant to trust the Conservatives on the economy when they can confuse a number greater than 60 with zero. This reveal also doesn’t include people currently detained, those refused re-entry or any voluntary deportations from people who were threatened with deportation. So saying so far it’s 63 is as helpful as me telling you I only had one plate of food at the all you can eat buffet but that doesn’t include the starters, the fact I’ve now piled up the same plate 3 times or all the bread I’ve hidden in my pockets. Shadow Home Secretary and person who would insist on telling you her life story if you just asked how she is Diane Abbot has said Labour would dismantle the hostile environment policy and close down two detention centres, but only two because hey, when it comes to racist deportations and Brexit policies, you have to keep some bigots on board for electability AMIRIGHT? Don’t worry everyone some people will still be detained indefinitely and have their human rights violated because how else will we get Big Dave from Rotherham’s vote when he believes in lowering tuition fees but also that doing blackface is funny? There are increasing calls for a public inquiry into the Windrush scandal because there’s nothing that would help victims of unfair deportation like a verdict of its lawfulness in about 6 years time that everyone will ignore.
Environment Secretary and only person whose image remains unchanged in a funfair hall of mirrors Michael Gove has warned of a rise in identity politics in Britain but insisted Brexit didn’t help cause that. Bit like a calling up someone to warn them that their house is susceptible to burning down but you spraying petrol all over their roof, sticking fire lighters in all the pipes and advertising for Game Of Thrones to film their dragon sequences in your garden all has nothing to do with it. Meanwhile Scottish Parliament have voted against the EU Withdrawal Bill while the Welsh Assembly voted for it because traditionally familiars are looked after quite well by their owners. Just days after the vote disgraced politician and lobotomised chameleon Neil Hamilton was ousted from his position as Welsh UKIP Assembly leader. Apparently he received the message he’d lost his job by text, which must’ve been hard for him as he usually only takes things seriously if handed to him in a brown envelope.
And lastly reports suggest Conservative ministers are preparing themselves for a Snap Election in October, though judging by Brexit negotiations that means they’ll still be unprepared by late September, falling back into an extended transition period with nothing actually happening until 2021. I can’t imagine the UK public want yet another election so soon after the last one but arguably at the same time judging by previous elections the public opinion probably shouldn’t be trusted, weirdly meaning there should be another election and then maybe no one should be allowed to vote in it. Sometimes, democracy is hard.
And just in, Former Mayor of London and only politician who’d have done better if he was less honest Ken Livingstone, has quit the Labour Party after he said issues surrounding his anti-Semtism had become a distraction. It seems the Labour Party are so into pacifism that rather than fight anti-Semitism they just let it deal with itself until it gets fed up and leaves.
Hello ParPolBrods! How are you? What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Do you get any other areas of the woods? No one ever seems to mention the mouth of the woods or the stomach of the woods, or indeed the butt of the woods which makes me feel like the neck must feel a bit out of sorts most of the time. Is there even a scarf large enough for most wood necks? So many questions, so little want for answers. Thank you again for listening to yet another podcast that today I am churning out while trying to help my wife deal with our tiny daughter having her vaccination jabs today which means juggling dealing with her crying endlessly and then being overly happy at getting to eat tasty calpol, then throwing calpol up all over herself then crying as she becomes a weird purple tinged sticky mess with a slight fever. It’s like trying to sooth an angry Ribena berry. So what that means is that every now and then during this show I have no idea what I’m taking about because baby screams have rotted my brain. Yes, this show is really no different to any other episode over the past two months.
Huge thanks to Sparrow-7 this week for the stupidly lovely review, but cancelling that out there is minus a review on the iTunes! WHAT? Yes someone has willingly removed the nice review they did. Or more likely, removed their iTunes profile, or possibly been erased from existence by time travelling antics and mishaps. It’s likely the profile one isn’t it? Still as petty as that is, it breaks my pathetic ever needy heart that the iTunes reviews have gone from 115 to 114, and if any of you wish to aid the most shallow grieving you’ve ever heard, please do put a five star review and some nice words on the iTunes page, or on the Stitcher page, or maybe on a tiny scroll that your carrier pigeon can deliver to someone in the outer Hebrides who hasn’t yet got electricity. If you can donate to the show too, please spare even $1 on the Patreon page which I think currently equates to 75p, which is the same price as a ¾ ounce flex it spoon and you clearly don’t need one of those so you may as well donate towards this show. I don’t even know what a flex it spoon is. Is it for really muscular people to use because extra biceps, triceps and er, forceps mean you can’t reach your mouth without bendy aids? Who knows, all I know is that if you donate to the Patreon at www.patreon.com/parpolbro or a one-off buy me a coffee donation at ko-fi.com/parpolbro then you won’t need any sort of spoon as your mouth will be too busy saying ‘I wasted money on this shit’ over and over again.
All them links are of course at the still very fancy and still very new website at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or parpolbro.co.uk if you have lazy fingers, and I have started to add transcripts to it with my super incredible other half typing starting to type up the interviews inbetween unsticking herself from a calpol sad baby. So this week’s show will be up asap. Then episode 1 is fully there at the mo, episodes 2-10 have all my bits sans interview and slowly, slowly all shall be completed. Basically what I didn’t realise is that it takes fucking ages so if any of you out there fancy transcribing an interview or two I will be hugely grateful and happily send some gig tickets or even, if you really want it, a flex it spoon your way. Let me know via email@example.com or the contact page on the website.
Only other admin this week is that I attended the very fun British Podcast Awards on Saturday, just as an attendee as this show didn’t get nominated for anything and is therefore super cool and cult and underground, ahem. However many brilliant podcasts did win things so do check out the results on britishpodcastawards.com and special shout out to the ace Stop and Search podcast team who not only deservedly won two silver awards for their excellent must listen to show, but also kindly let me be a hanger on and honorary member throughout the eve because this idiot does a show all on my lonesome which isn’t great for social events. Just because it was a podcast awards doesn’t mean it was ok for me to turn up and just talk to myself in a corner with my headphones on all night.
On this week’s show I have the incredible Tara Flynn on talking about Ireland’s upcoming referendum on legalising abortion and this is one of those interviews I just want everyone to hear. The referendum is this Friday and I feel like an idiot I haven’t covered it beforehand but listen to the interview, share it if you can and spread the word encouraging Ireland to vote to repeal the 8th where possible. Also I’m going to attempt to give you some reasonable balanced thoughts on Israel – yeah that’s right people it’s all the easy subjects this week. Abortion and Israel. Classic comedy territory both of those. Oh god, what is wrong with me? Why couldn’t I do a podcast about baking or something? Or flex it spoons? I could release half an hour each week about what I’ve eaten with a flex it spoon and call it The Flexcellent Show or something. Now that would win awards. Sigh, my fucking life. On the plus side, no Brexit fall out this week because I think you’ve probably already had enough. Anyway, first up though, here’s this:
Things like the Royal Wedding are always good events during which you can bury bad news. That’s why I spent Saturday digging a ditch to put 4000 copies of the Daily Mail into. But also you may have missed a politics thing or two that was snuck out other than you know homeless people being turfed out of Windsor so rich people could camp in their prime wedding spotting locations instead. Yes that sounded horrible but I can’t help but feel if we utilise this properly, we could see rich people paying millions for homeless people’s prime locations all over the UK and end homelessness for ever.
Apart from that, sneaked out on Friday aka Royal Wedding eve were measures to allow Shale gas explorers to drill test sites in England without applying for planning permission and for fracking sites to be classed as nationally significant infrastructure so it would be government rather than council approved. There’s a lot there, not least the revelation there are Shale Gas explorers who I guess are really boring versions of Lara Croft but with a special nose mask and wafting devices. But basically it means that if companies want to frack in public, they can frack all over your area without having to ok with you or any residents because the government say so. In fact £1.6m is being put towards speeding up fracking applications so ground near you could be pumped full of awful toxic horrors anytime soon and causing all sorts of environmental chaos or you know, unleashing evil underground dinosaur ghosts. Ok there’s no evidence for the latter but there is evidence that it causes water contamination and possibilities of high pollution risks, something that the UK Environment Agency says can be reduced by planning regulations. But with money invested to speed up planning it doesn’t fill me with confidence knowing it might be rushed. The UK have just been referred to the European Court Of Justice for failing to tackle illegally high levels of air pollution so it seems odd that rather than make the UK more environmentally friendly they want to unleash a ton more fossil fuels instead. Then again, what do I know? Former Prime Minister and mutilated water melon David Cameron said that the only reason people don’t like fracking is because they don’t know enough about it. True! And you know what else that’s true for? Yep. Death.
INTERVIEW WITH TARA – REPEAL THE 8TH
This coming Friday, May 25th, Irish people will vote in a referendum as to whether women should have the rights over their own bodies or if, in fact, Ireland would be a handy place to film The Handmaid’s Tale season 3. Now that’s not exactly the options that will be on the ballot paper, but it may as well be, as its all about whether to repeal the Eight Amendment of the Constitution Act 1983 aka as the amendment text actually states, ‘the right to life of the unborn and with due regard to the equal right to the life of the mother’. So unlike much of the rest of the Western world, with the exception of America who under the tiny handed grip of a possessed space hopper are sliding ever backwards in human rights evolution, Ireland still has a ban on abortion causing many women to travel to the UK or Europe to seek the medical care that they need. Many others have resorted to illegal, un-monitored treatment in Ireland and there have been many cases of unnecessary deaths as a result of the ban. Of course this isn’t just a simple ‘oh well of course we’ll vote to repeal the 8th amendment because it’s 2018 and everyone understands that women should only have children if they want them and should be able to do with their bodies what they want’. No due to religion, misogyny, taboo, years of misinformation and the fact some people are weird, there is a strong No campaign that believes the rights of an unborn foetus that they don’t have to spend their lives looking after or spending money on or trying to make drink Calpol, should come before those of the mother. So far the No campaign has been caught using some really shitty tactics such as delivering 200,000 leaflets made to look like official government propaganda and warning that a yes vote would mean unborn babies at all stages of pregnancy will have no rights and you will never have a say on this again. All of which is simply not true in terms of what is being proposed or Irish democracy. Also if they believe that by voting one way you’ll be able to discuss the issue again in the future, isn’t that saying you’re pro-choice? So confusing.
This week I spoke to comedian, writer, actor and most importantly right now, a leading figure at the front of the yes to repeal campaign Tara Flynn. Tara revealed in a very moving and brave article in the Irish Times in 2015 that she had had to travel to the Netherlands to have an abortion 9 years previously and has since been working extremely hard canvassing, campaigning and fighting for Irish women’s voices and needs to be respected. Tara has faced some pretty horrendous abuse from pro-life politicians to a rather nasty bit of social media fake news that has been going around this week, and when you listen to her in this interview you’ll realise that she is doing this out of nothing but care, compassion and I would say, humanitarianism and despite knowing Tara for quite some years I really can’t tell you or put into words just how much I admire her for her strength throughout. This is a sensitive issue and I’m fully aware that even in this day and age and even in the UK, abortion can oddly still be a taboo topic. While I loathe people starting a phrase with ‘as a parent’ as my experience is that usually means whatever they say will be hampered by their lack of sleep, as a parent I feel I understand even more what a huge undertaking having a child is and dear god I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that without having the means and the absolute want to do so. And that’s not even taking into consideration issues of medical complications or sexual abuse. But even if, for some odd reason, you don’t agree with me and yet still listen to this show – why would you do that to yourself? – I implore you to listen to Tara and if you know people who will be voting in Ireland on Friday, persuade them to look at actual facts and human stories, and focus on improving women’s rights and human rights rather than hyperbole and misinformation.
Here is Tara:
INTERVIEW PART 1
Tiernan Douieb: So, the vote is on Friday, by the time listeners hear this, on 25th. Are you feeling optimistic about the outcome? You’ve been at the front of campaigning for Repeal, how are things feeling?
Tara Flynn: I mean, it’s tense because we’re battling years and years of indoctrination and, you know, all I ever heard growing up was that abortion was bad, that’s what was allowed to be taught in schools, that’s all we ever heard on the airwaves unchallenged. So, even when we had the referendum for the 13th amendment to say we had the right to travel, that’s enshrined in our constitution as the right to travel for abortion and the right to information so it’s absolutely hypocritical but people, kind of-, there’s a comfort in it’ll happen a way over there and it doesn’t happen here when the reality is that it does happen here, especially with the availability of abortion pills even if they’re acquired illegally. So, it’s tense because what you’re saying to people is, ‘I know it feels comfortable to you to keep things the way you think they are but that is not how they are.’ Many people are waking up to that and going, ‘Ah, crap. You know, it’s very uncomfortable for me but I have to acknowledge that that is the reality.’ So, I don’t think anyone’s optimistic, I don’t think anyone on either side is optimistic, it’s too close to call, it’s too difficult to tell. It’s an old Irish thing, it goes back to the civil war, you don’t tell anyone who you’re voting, so the canvas is interesting because you have to go on a twinkle-, many people will say, ‘Yes, I’m voting yes.’ We found on the last 3 canvases I’ve been on, it’s mainly yeses, lots of undecideds, but mainly yeses and very few no’s, that’s what I’ve seen and that’s only particular areas. No one’s optimistic but everyone is hopeful. I’m definitely hopeful but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to work up until the very last minute.
TD: Have you noticed a difference in ages, areas, classes because, obviously, as you said, it’s a very personal thing but it’s also quite a religious thing? There are a lot of things that might affect how people feel on this. Is it mainly young people that are voting yes? Is there a line?
TF: There is no line, and that’s what`s really interesting. Some of the younger people who are just coming out of Catholic schools are hard line no’s, they’re absolutely certain in their stance because they have just received all that teaching. Then, a couple of years later, just out of school and maybe have gone to college or into a job or seen a bit of life, they’re yeses. Then there are older people, so I think it’s something like most anti-choice, most no voters are over 55, but that doesn’t mean all over 55s are no voters, many of them campaigned against the 8th in 1983 and they’re getting a chance to vote again. And all of us fecking scaredy cats, it took us this long to come and stand up with them, many of them got driven underground and it wasn’t worth talking about and, you know, all the abuse and vitriol they would get, they became silent again. It feels like they’re speaking again, they’re coming up and telling us their stories. People have been keeping secrets for such a long time and we’ve, kind of, let them do it on their own but we’re here now, we’re sorry we’re late but we’re here. Ireland’s been living a lie and many, many older people know that. The other thing is that the 8th becomes a class issue is because what happens is women like me, and I don’t know if your listeners know, I publically shared my story of having to travel to the Netherlands for an abortion in 2006, so that’s one of the reasons that I’m campaigning even though I’m supposed to be a comedian and actor, but this is my life for now, this is my life until 25th. I was able to travel so I don’t campaign for me because it worked quite well for many people, the idea that we’d travel and then we’d lie about having to travel, we’d pretend it didn’t happen, but who got left behind then? Who got left behind were women living with disabilities who were unable to travel, women who are under the poverty line, women who, for instance, are migrants and don’t have visas to travel. So, we’re criminalising and penalising the worst off in society, and that doesn’t make any sense. If you have a credit card like me, you get to travel but then you’re supposed to lie, and if you don’t, you come back and you live the lie of the 8th by either continuing the pregnancy against your will regardless of your circumstances. Don’t forget that many people who access abortions, in fact over 50% are already parents and they’re making the best decision they can make for their family, their existing family. So, it’s that or you take matters into your own hands, and backstreet abortion is alive and well in Ireland and DIY abortion is alive and well in Ireland. Those of us calling for Repeal, many of whom might be morally personally opposed to abortion realise that that’s not morally correct and that it needs to be safe and that acknowledging reality is the compassionate vote.
TD: One of the things I read about they say that changed the abortion debate was the death of Savita Halappanavar, was refused an abortion and then died because of complications. Was that a turning point in Ireland, do you think?
TF: Yes it was. It was definitely the first time I got out on the streets on this issue because, as you know, that’s how we met. I was living in London and I think it’s weird, stigma’s an incredible force for silence. When I moved to Britain, I think I told everyone that I’d had a termination, and not because I wanted to share personal medical information, it was just because people did talk about it. Not everyone talked about it and it’s very private, and you have the right to be private. For me, I was living in a place where it wasn’t a radical or strange thing, you know. It’s still a divisive issue but it’s not illegal and it’s not taboo in that way. When I moved back, I went back under the covers as such. A couple of things happened and I can’t really remember the exact sequence but, around the same time, the abortion rights campaign started and, even then, using ‘abortion’ in the name was so shocking to some people. This was in 2012, I think it was. So, I went back a year before. They were reacting to the fact that Youth Defence, a vehemently anti-choice organisation here, they are connected to the No campaign. If anyone wants to go and look up Youth Defence, I’m not going to say anything about them, but if anyone wants to go and look up their history then it might be edifying people. But anyway, so Youth Defence had some posters up, some absolutely gory, horrible posters, and because there was no real Repeal movement or no real visible pro-choice movement, people felt really-, oh, the oppression of those posters was so heavy. So, people started to come out a little bit, and around the same time, Savita died and that was when we took to the streets for the first time en masse. You know, standing outside our government buildings with candles. We knew this was going to happen, that’s why I keep saying I’m sorry I’m so late, like, I’m sorry I didn’t do more, buck the stigma earlier and just start talking about this in a realistic way. I feel guilty when I think of Suvita now because I feel like we could’ve stood up quicker, we could’ve maybe avoided her death if we’d just been brave enough to buck that system. But she’s in all of our hearts when we campaign, and I think it was such a preventable death. The No campaign will say she died of sepsis but it’s, like, she was involved in dentistry, she had a medical background, she knew that she would die if she didn’t have the abortion and she asked for one and was denied it. So, you know, the sepsis was there because she couldn’t access that healthcare, it’s absolutely dishonest to say that the unavailability of the abortion wasn’t a factor. So, it was a flat point in many ways because I think we all knew deep down in our hearts that because it makes things dangerous and underground, something bad would happen. Bad things are happening all the time but it would cross that line, it would be very bad. There have been others, there have been migrant women who have died because of the 8th, there was the woman who was kept on life support because she was pregnant, even though she was fully brain dead, against the wishes of her family. You know, the state appoints a lawyer for the foetus and you just go, ‘Just stop.’ For those women, we’re fighting as hard as we can.
TD: Yes, it was a hugely tragic story. I suppose, without sounding callous, it takes an event like that to change people’s minds or to make people step up. I think it was that, and I remember reading in your article when you wrote about your own abortion, you said that it was also the gay marriage referendum that enthused people into thinking that maybe Ireland is changing. I mean, that was quite a dramatic result as well. To me, in some ways, they both are very progressive referendums but I don’t know if they’re comparable.
TF: Yes, they’re similar but different. Yes, it’s about social change, yes, it’s about bucking. When I speak about the Catholic church, I’m talking about the institution, not people of faith, many people of faith are campaigning very hard on this referendum, many people of faith, in fact, had to access abortion care. So, I’m not talking about people of faith, I’m talking about a dogmatic control that emanated from the church. So, I guess both the referenda are about a move away from dogmatic control of the church, but here’s the thing, indoctrination runs very deep, and when all you’ve ever heard is that abortion is bad without considering cases when it might be good or lifesaving, or situations where it might be the only choice a person feels they have. You know, that questioning isn’t there but that’s part of Catholic dogma, you don’t question, you’re a bad person if you question. The thing with the Marriage Equality referendum was it was 2 things, it was that progressive idea but also it was the engagement of young people in politics. Party politics here is so corrupt and interwoven and one party is the same as the other, it can feel like that. There are some great politicians, very active and engaging, doing great stuff, there’s real hope for the future, but party politics in general here is an absolute quagmire. So, people were not engaged with it, people were shut down, but both of these referenda have been cross-party, many parties joining together to get this done, that’s been exciting. You know, vibrant and dynamic young people going to people’s doors and canvassing, and a belief that people power can change things. The thing is, if you were to listen to mainstream, and I hate that mainstream media fecking cliché but I’m going to say it, but if you listen to the more mainstream journalists, political commentators here, this is a shock to them that we have tabled a fecking referendum. They didn’t see it coming, they didn’t see change, they didn’t see because they were looking into Leinster House, into our government buildings, they weren’t looking out to the grassroots, they didn’t see it coming. So, I think whatever happens will be a surprise to them because they haven’t been looking in the right place. What has been happening with the 2 different referendums has been people power, has been people going, ‘If I tell my truth, if I share my story and I go to another person and I say, ‘I need help, I need your vote, I need change,’ then it can happen.’ Marriage Equality gave us that hope so I think if Marriage Equality had never happened, we’d never have dreamed of even getting the referendum on the table. Now we have to win it, that’s a different thing, but even to get to this stage has been a miracle. If you had grown up in this country, this is a miracle.
TD: Yes. I mean, the conversation has just changed massively in Ireland forever now, hasn’t it?
TF: This is it. When people say, I’ve spoken to a couple of very lovely and engaged and you’d never have believed they’d have come up for a yes vote on this, older politicians, and they’re like, ‘Well, if it’s a no, that’s it now, that’s it for another couple of decades, that’s it. We’ll all just have to accept the will of the people.’ But I’m going, ‘But an indoctrinated will of the people? Do you think this genie’s going back in the bottle? Do you think stuff’s not going to be on fire?’ We can’t just wait for the next Suvita because it’s inevitable. We can’t, in all conscience, accept that. It’s been proven that the 8th doesn’t prevent abortion, the 8th doesn’t function as it’s intended so I don’t see how anyone in good conscience can defend it but, okay, they’re defending it. They’re saying it keeps abortion out of Ireland, it doesn’t, and whenever you ask them about the 13th and 14th amendments, the right to information and the right to travel, for an abortion, expressly, sometimes they’ve never even heard of them or they don’t know about them because they’re not discussing that hypocrisy. Okay, if you think it’s murder, why are the 13th and 14th amendments okay? Why are you not campaigning to repeal those? It’s so utterly hypocritical and it acknowledges every time we’ve been asked to vote on abortion since the 8th amendment, we’ve broadened the access to information or right to travel, so people acknowledge that without that pressure valve of the UK or the Netherlands or wherever, more women are dead. So, if it’s a no, and it won’t be, but if it’s a no, stuff’s going to be on fire, I don’t think they get it, they just don’t get it.
And we’ll be back with Tara in a minute but first:
Israel. Now I know you’re thinking ‘NO TIERNAN! DON’T GO THERE!’ I’m not going to, I can’t afford the flights and the closest I’ve ever come to holidaying in a humanitarian crisis was a nightclub I went to near Malaga where most people were fighting, shagging or being sick and some people all three at once. But look, I understand that with Israel, unless I add the word Madrid afterwards and ask weird football questions, any discussion of Israel is going to be divisive. Though to be fair, if you heard how bad my lack of football knowledge is you’d probably find that even more upsetting. To call the situation in Israel and Gaza an endless horror would be giving too much credit to most horror films who’s plots are nowhere near as complex as a 70 year conflict over land ownership that somehow seems to be getting worse. And I don’t want to go into and explain that 70 year conflict here as this show isn’t 5 days long and there are some good guides online including the Vox one that I’ll post on all PPB pages. So this is just about the past week’s upsetting violence. And of course, full disclosure, much like with every topic on this podcast, I am biased and I have a view and my one is that its bonkers there isn’t a two state solution, that yes Hamas are pretty shitty and not exactly people I’d want to have round for tea, or even to check the boiler but many Palestinans don’t want them in charge and don’t have much choice. I also do believe Israeli Prime Minister and what if someone crossed Martin Freeman with a Smeg fridge freezer Benjamin Netanyahu is a raving nutcase and that Israel do use disproportionate force, but many Israelis would agree and also don’t have much choice. All in all, it sounds and looks shit. So that’s where I stand, or more accurately, sit. And with that out of the way, let’s head to what happened last week.
So last week Israeli forces shot dead 60 people who were protesting at the Gaza border over living conditions and the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The first bit of that. A 2017 UN report stated that the Gaza Strip was now unliveable with electricity and water crises, shortages of building materials, few medical supplies, brutal import and export restrictions on food, the fact no one can travel anywhere due to the joint Israeli-Egypt blockade and unemployment is at a massive 45%. Except the problem is, people have to live there. Which makes the fact it’s unliveable a real issue and suicide rates in the Gaza strip have risen massively as a result. Gazans describe it as being in an open prison. The second bit is the US Embassy which by moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem basically overturned 70 years of international consensus on what land is Israel’s and didn’t just poke an angry bear, but basically grabbed its nut sack and cussed its mum all at the same time. A bit of history to that, is that in 1947 the UN decided Jerusalem was an international city, separate to any country, but in 1949 after the war following Israel’s declaration of independence, Israel took control of the western half and Jordan, the country not the celebrity on a particularly angry day, took the Eastern half. Then in 1967 in the six day war Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the whole city has been their turf since but not officially, just in a sort of ‘if you step on our manor we’ll spark you’ way. Palestinans however, still see Jerusalem as the potential capital of a future Palestinian state should that ever happen you know if say, the US imploded, all the Israeli government took MDMA or hell froze over. In 1980 Israel declared Jerusalam as the capital of Israel and the United Nations Security Council responded by going ‘WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?’, sort of, condemned it all and said it violated international law, to which Israel didn’t really care but most other countries thought ‘sod that’ and kept their embassies in Tel Aviv because, you know, diplomacy. So because Trump’s idea of peace is destroying everything until there is nothing left to make any disruptions, he decided to move the embassy, despite all warnings, and therefore backing Israel’s decision and sticking two very tiny fingers up at the UN and Palestinians who were really having a shit enough time already. It’s not just kicking someone while they’re down, it’s specifically stepping in dog shit before you do it.
But what Trump’s decision does do is cement even further the relationship between the US and Netanyahu’s government, a relationship where the US already give $3 billion a year to Israel. I mean, I’ve never been in a relationship like that and I’m married. I mean Trump paid Stormy Daniels $130k for one night, yet gives $3 billion a year to the Israeli government so they can fuck Palestinians? Each to their own. The US regularly block UN resolutions that are critical of Israel too, including one that was going to investigate what happened last week. The US Ambassador to the UN and evil Celine Dion doppelganger Nikki Haley walked out of the security council meeting as the Palestinian representative started to speak which is sooo grown up and diplomatic. Fucks sake. She may as well have just stayed, closed her eyes, popped her fingers in her ears and sang la la la throughout. Why does the US do all this? Well firstly there is a lot of support for Israel amongst the US public, and also it helps secure the US’s place in the Middle East especially as now things with Iran look like they’re all going to shitsville. Thirdly, because Trump is an super massive bellend of the worst kind.
So embassy plus unliveable living conditions meant protest. And protests had been happening in the build up to it being the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel but for the Palestinians, Nakba, a commemoration of being displaced as a people. Hamas has claimed 50 of the 62 deaths as their members and, let’s do this bit so no one gets too angry, Hamas as I said before, aren’t good guys in this. There is evidence of Hamas hiding rockets in schools on the Gaza Strip which Israel use as evidence of Hamas not caring about civilian casualties and using human shields, and they aren’t wrong, but then they also don’t have to bomb those schools to prove a point. Why bomb a school when, based on school kids in my area its likely they’ll find them and set them off themselves anyway? Again, no one comes out of this well.
Hamas were given conditions to normalize their international political status in 2017 by the UN, EU, USA and Russia but couldn’t agree to all conditions including recognising Israel as a legitimate state, though they did revise their charter to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip rather than the whole territory. Though that’s not that different from how Netenyahu feels either as while he says he doesn’t want a one state solution he keeps stopping short of saying he wants a two state solution because he wants to make sure that, as he says, what they have next to them doesn’t threaten their lives. The man pipped to be his successor, as Netanyahu is currently being investigated for alleged corruption so you know, his word on how things are going is totally trustworthy, the man who is said to succeed him Gideon Sa’ar is quoted as saying the possibilities of a two state solution are over and world powers should stop trying to create a Palestinian state as, as he says ‘we have to think about reality.’ True because in reality, there are no heroes and everyone is awful.
62 people were killed because Israeli forces fired live ammunition in defence against people who mainly had sling shots or in one case, was in a wheelchair. The Israeli Defence Force who clearly take tips in tweeting tactfully from Katie Hopkins, tweeted that Hamas can turn anything into a weapon of terror, adding an image that included rocks, explosives, arson kites, wire cutters, Molotov cocktails, children, disabled civilians and rope tied to fence. Firstly Arson Kites sounds like a football manager of a lower league club, secondly children are not a match for live ammunition. It is indefensible to say that Hamas use kids as weapons and that justifies shooting them. If Hamas really were that good at turning say disabled people and a rope tied to a fence as weapons like some sort of middle eastern McGuyver, chances are they’d be doing better at fighting off Israeli occupation than they are. That is obviously disproportionate violence. I mean I’d put it as though what if, like I did as a child, me and my friend hit rotten apples over his garden fence into his neighbours newly done washing? Yes we were being dick, fair point. What his neighbours did was complain to his mum and we got in fuck loads of trouble. However what the current Israeli government would do is kill both me and my friend, and his parents and all the other neighbours then say it was self defence because some of those apples were a bit sticky. Do the Israelis have a right to defend themselves? Sure. But so do Palestinians then and ultimately what really matters is that everyone should stop being arseholes and murdering innocent people who’d just like to stop living in abject poverty.
While the US keeps derailing UN attempts to intervene, other countries could do something, including the UK. Last year the British government approved the sale £216m of weapons to Israel, which is more than double the amount from 2016. This includes bombs, grenades, missiles, assault rifles, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles and armoured vehicles because uh oh, what if children attack? Green Party leader Caroline Lucas put to the commons how they could continue to allow the arms trade to profit from this violence, as realistically if the UK withheld arms sales they could push for an independent investigation into the shootings all of which would be further steps towards a peaceful solution. Prime Minister and harrowed curtains with a face Theresa May has backed the independent inquiry part, and gave a half hearted comment on Israeli forces needing to show a greater restraint so I can’t imagine she’ll be committing to an inquiry anytime soon. Sadly unless international pressure mounts to an even higher level with other countries actually willing to really do something, this isn’t likely to be the last time it happens. My hope for the people of Palestine and the people of Israel that maybe the intervention of Trump will eventually lead to a Korea style truce where both sides realise that its easier to solve a 70 year war than have to deal with that fuckwit again. We can only hope for everyone’s sake.
As mentioned before there is so much more to all of that than I can fit on one podcast and nuance is, as always, a lovely word to say, but also essential, despite my often un-nuanced jokes. I’ll pop the excellent Vox guide up on the website which I would highly recommend.
And now back to Tara:
INTERVIEW WITH TARA PART 2
TD: Again, this is reading from the UK where it was really hard to get good information on the campaign as it’s going in Ireland from just UK Google, but I was reading that a lot of the save the 8th main spokespeople are refusing to be interviewed, is that an awareness that they’re perhaps a bit out-dated? That must be a defence mechanism.
TF: I don’t honestly know. They’ve had such incredible media training, and if you watch them they’re an exercise in pivoting and it’s an exercise in not answering one question and just repeating certain buzzwords, emotive, button-pushing buzzwords. It’s very cynical. There are many of them who can’t wait to get an ear but there are some they try to keep back because it’s just so out there what they’re saying, it really is very draconian and anti-women, to be honest with you. That’s one of the reasons they’ve called part of the campaign ‘Love Both’ but they don’t love women at all. Their posters don’t ever have women in them, they have these floating foetuses, happy, smiling foetuses. We all want pregnancies to go really well but there’s a woman involved. We want every pregnancy to be wanted, that’s what I say at some of the talks I do now, ‘You know what I’d love? This is what I want, no more abortion, but guess what?’ You say it and people’s faces fall like, ‘What? That’s not possible.’ It’s like, ‘Yes,’ but it’s asking them to think about the fact that that’s not possible, that’s just not realistic, not every pregnancy is wanted, not every deeply wanted pregnancy is viable, and we need to be there for people when that happens.
TD: Let’s look at this very positively. If yes wins, what is the legislation change that the government are proposing, and is that going to be enough, do you think, if that goes through?
TF: Some people are saying it’s too much, I think it’s restrictive. It’s up to 12 weeks, regardless of reason, so anti people are interpreting that as no reason. Of course, as we all know, or those of us who care about the people who face crisis pregnancies know, there is always a reason, there’s always a reason for choosing abortion. Up to 12 weeks just about hits international standards, it’s still relatively early, especially in terms of maybe something like rape or an abusive relationship or someone might not realise they’re pregnant until a little bit later on, it’s still very early in the pregnancy but later than that exact window. So, there’s that in terms of the legislation. Then, of course, after that time, fatal foetal abnormalities or medical emergencies, they would be legislated for differently. I’m terrible because I’m not a lawyer, as you know, I’m supposed to be a comedian, but Lawyers for Choice are doing incredible work on this, they’re well worth checking out. Long ago, before the referendum was even on the cards, they had proposed some legislation that, as they said, ‘As feminist lawyers, we don’t think this goes far enough to be compassionate and inclusive of everyone who might need it but here’s something we think might work.’ So, they’ve been incredible on that. Some of our politicians have been brilliant but the legislation won’t go far enough, people will still have to travel, I believe, under it, but it’s a start, we have to start somewhere. It’s a start. Legislation can be changed, which is what, unfortunately, the scaremongering No campaigners are saying, `Legislation can be changed, which means that they’ll just start here and then they’ll make it completely permissive.’ There’s a real misogyny to that. Like anyone goes past 12 weeks and isn’t in some kind of situation where they either didn’t know they were pregnant or that they weren’t traumatised in some way. The truth is, the facts are, the majority of people who choose abortion choose it as soon as they know, and that’s 92% are pre 12 weeks, something like 80% is pre 10 weeks, and that would be dealt with with abortion pills, which you could get from your GP, but here, at the moment, people are ordering them online, it’s happening anyway. They’re ordering them online and taking them without supervision, then if something goes wrong, they’re going to A&E and lying about why they’re in trouble. It’s dishonest, it’s absolutely dishonest, and that has to change. Incidentally, it was weird, yesterday I saw someone on Twitter say to me that I was stigmatising people by saying no one doesn’t consider this deeply. If you’re facing a crisis pregnancy, people do consider this deeply and people do realise what pregnancy is and they do take it seriously. She was saying that I was stigmatising women, why not just say, ‘It’s my body, I can do whatever I want’? I was like, ‘Because people in Ireland aren’t there yet.’ While I might be there and I might agree that autonomy should be enough to win this battle, it simply isn’t, and because the narrative on the no side is all about these frivolous, cruel, irresponsible women just having abortions for the craic, we are having to counter that by saying, ‘Please don’t diminish women. Don’t infantilise them and say they don’t know what’s happening when they choose to end a pregnancy. They have weighed up what they’re capable of and they’re the expert on their body, life, mind and future.’ So, I was addressing them, not other women. I just wanted to clarify that because it’s like we’re having to roll back from so much bullshit and so much infantilising and diminishing of women’s actual experiences that, unfortunately, we’re always on the back foot really, we’re always in defence mode. Hopefully, come June, there will be retribution. I’m certainly going to say a lot more than I can say now. We have to bite our tongues, we have to go round to people’s doorsteps, Tiernan, and knock on the door and say, ‘We’re canvassing for a yes vote, can I answer any questions you might have? How do you feel you might vote?’ and some of them say, ‘No,’ and they smile and you have to smile back and say, ‘Thank you for your time.’
TD: That’s hard.
TF: It’s fucking hard. I remember watching my friends, my LGBTQ friends on the doorsteps during Marriage Equality and my heart breaking for them. This is just as bad, maybe in some ways worse because they feel they don’t even know-, everyone had someone they knew who was gay in the family, a friend they knew, and it was all about love. This is harder for people to get their heads around so I do sympathise on one level. On the other side, when somebody stands in front of someone on their doorstep, they don’t know my experience of they don’t care whether it’s happened to me or not, they will smile and they will say, ‘We don’t want any change.’ What I hear when they do that, ‘I don’t care what you went through, I don’t care that you were sent away, exiled in silence and secrecy and shame. I don’t care that you were traumatised by the horrible posters, the misleading posters with lies on. I don’t care that a woman might die. I don’t care that people are forced to continue pregnancies against their will,’ that’s what I hear. So, when it comes with a smile and a veneer of respectability because that is what the state has, our laws reflect those views. They’re within their rights to think that they’re the acceptable, respectable view. I would just beg people in the last 10 days to reflect.
TD: Like you said before, it’s such a personal vote this as well, so it’s not just, ‘My political views are different to yours,’ this is, ‘I believe that you shouldn’t have rights over your own body,’ that comes from a very different place, I think, to just saying, ‘Your austerity politics should be different,’ or something. It’s not on the same level.
TF: Exactly, but it’s treated by the political commentators as if it was a general election, and they just don’t get it, they don’t get it at all. Every single person who is canvassing is canvassing because they believe it’s deeply right, they’re canvassing because it happened to them, they’re canvassing because it happened to their wife, they’re doing it because it happened to someone they know and love and they saw what they want through. People say, ‘Oh, abortion affecting mental health, if you have an abortion then you’ll get really mentally unwell.’ Well, it has had an affect on our mental health but it’s been the stigma and the lies that have had the heaviest effect because, of course, as we know from the best available research, there’s no research doable in Ireland because no one’s honest about it. Even the figures that we do have for the UK are the people who choose to go to the UK and give English addresses or British addresses but, basically, I’m not on those figures at all because I went to Holland. So, everything is dishonest about this but the best available figures show that something like 95% of people don’t regret having an abortion, that relief is what we experience. That’s certainly been my experience. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t something that I grappled with, that doesn’t mean that just because it was a straightforward decision doesn’t mean it was an easy one, but because I’d done all my research, because I knew it was right for me, I experienced relief. But they will say that now we’re saying our mental health is being affected, they will say that’s guilt, they diminish it down to such a black and white thing when it is all grey. We’ve been pitted as us against them when actually the pro-choice movement is the middle ground, we’re all from different backgrounds, different beliefs on abortion, different faiths or no faiths, different classes. I mean, you’ve never seen such a broad church, it’s unreal. It’s just incredible, the people you meet, it’s been such a unifying and solidarity action, it’s just been so brilliant. But then when they’ll say, you know, ‘It’s you against them,’ it’s like, ‘No, we’re in the middle.’ Someone who is against them, on the extreme, will be someone who’s saying abortion should be compulsory or some mad shit like that. So, it’s been a very unevenly weighted narrative around the discussion or the campaign, and I believe it’s slowed us down. I believe they’re complicit in spreading anti-choice myths and lies that are very easily disprovable and I’m very angry about that.
TD: Do you think, and I know this is probably quite a tricky thing to answer, but if the vote is yes, do you think that will have any effect on Northern Ireland as well? Do you think that could see Northern Ireland change in the future on their abortion laws?
TF: I hope so and it has to. I swear to God, seeing the bus loads of Alliance for Choice people coming down, our sisters and brothers from the north coming down to canvas in the border counties, coming down to our rallies, we damn well have to turn it around and do that for them. We’ve got to get the 67th Act extended, and the fact that Westminster hasn’t done that is absolutely mind-boggling in its blindness. It just shows you that we’ve got to take our grassroots movement and help them out. They’re helping us out but we’ve got help them out too, and the solidarity from them has been, oh, I get emotional thinking about it. No, solidarity with our sisters up there, we’re not going to leave you hanging.
TD: That’s great. I know there are lots of people in the UK that really hope it goes to the yes vote. Apart from yourself who, obviously, everyone should follow, are there any other specific campaign groups that you could recommend that listeners follow? Any particular people that you recommend listeners should follow if they want to, not only for the referendum but also beyond that about women’s rights and Irish political campaigns that you could recommend?
TF: Lawyers for Choice are incredible. Doctors for Choice. The umbrella group, the campaign HQ as such, is now called Together 4 Yes, I believe that’s with a ‘4’ because, hey, we’re the new generation. They will retweet lots of interesting people and analyses. I think Mary McAuliffe, historians are very important in this, and Mary McAuliffe is very interesting because we’ve got to contextualise this in terms of things like Magdalene laundries and just getting rid of inconvenient women. Termination for Medical Reasons are brilliant. What you and I haven’t talked about is that the 8th affects every pregnancy, it affects consensual and continued pregnancy, it means that as soon as you get pregnant, you lose your autonomy, you lose your right to consent to or refuse medical treatment, even in the case of something like cancer. That’s something when we say, people say, ‘Oh, you’re just trying to distract from the fact that you love abortions,’ and it’s like, ‘No, nobody likes abortions, nobody wants one, sometimes people need them but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the 8th removes consent during continued pregnancy and birth.’ You could have a caesarean section against your will, you can be denied one if that’s what your choice is. It’s infantilising and it’s misogyny at work, the 8th is misogyny at work and enshrined in law. So, we have to contextualise it in history. I suggest Termination for Medical Reasons and AIMS Ireland to talk about things like those, about wanted pregnancies that the 8th affects. AIMS Ireland are Advances in Maternity Services, they talk about consent during continued pregnancy. In Termination for Medical Reasons there is an incredible couple called Gaye and Gerry Edwards. Gerry said, ‘We used to drop our women off at the laundry gates, now we drop them off at the departure gates.’ I thought that was incredibly poignant and summed it up really well, contextualising all this in history, our attitude to women in this country. It’s not just the departure gates, what about the people who don’t get to travel? They’re the ones we’re campaigning for.
Thank you to Tara for talking with me. She is super busy on the frontline for the Yes campaign and so I hugely appreciate her taking time out to talk with me, and I feel stupid for not getting this one out earlier as the vote is on the 25th, only days away and its so important to support the campaign to repeal the 8th and change Ireland into the progressive country it should be. Yes I am biased because everyone is in this argument and it seems stupid to me that this referendum even has to happen, but I will keep all things crossed for the Yes to Repeal campaign. Now Tara wanted me to keep her comedy, writing & acting life separate but do follow her on @taraflynn on Twitter though I suspect she’ll be quiet on there till Sunday, and check out her website at taraflynn.ie where you can find links to her other work including all her books. If you’re in Dublin she is doing her show about the referendum called Not a Funny Word on the 23rd, which is tomorrow if you’ve listened to this quickly enough, at the Working Men’s Club in Dublin. The rest of the links she mentions will go up on the site later this week but as I mentioned before, the vote is Friday, some of you don’t even listen to this show till two weeks after it’s been out, so mainly just make sure you tweet, Facebook and whatever you can the #repealthe8th hashtag and show your support to those campaigning.
As per always ever ever if you have someone you think I should interview, or a subject you think I should interview someone about, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, the @parpolbro Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group that I’m so so crap at updating, or the contact form on the website. YEAH! There’s a new one! Have that surprise in your face! You can of course also get in touch by committing a series of horrific crimes and leaving clues as to who I should interview in cryptograms to the local press, but I never read local newspapers so chances are I’ll miss it and you’ll just be arrested and jailed for ever or run as a Republican senator. Either way, probably easiest to email.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you for listening to this episode of heavy issues. Next week is much lighter as I’ll be discussing helium, areas of low gravity and low fat cream cheese. HA JOKE! It’s always heavy because it’s politics and everything is shit. You’re welcome, please listen again. Don’t forget to review the show on all your favourite platforms, online, train or otherwise, and please do donate to the Patreon and ko-fi too.
Thank you to Acast for placing this show on their ever growing audio mantelpiece and to my brother The Last Skeptik for all his musics and do check out his new album Under The Patio which has two ace pre-released tracks out now.
This show will be back next week when Matt Hancock will be trying to work out why even Tom didn’t turn up to the event he put on MySpace.
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