Episode 112 – The podcast returns! And the crowd rejoiced! This week Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) catches up on what’s happened over the last few weeks, talks to Dr Bethany Usher (@bethanyusher) about Attack Journalism and of course, Brexit Fallout.
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Episode 112 – The podcast returns! And the crowd rejoiced! This week Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) catches up on what’s happened over the last few weeks, talks to Dr Bethany Usher (@bethanyusher) about Attack Journalism and of course, Brexit Fallout.
Links and sources of info from Dr Bethany Usher’s interview:
• Dr Bethany Usher on Twitter – https://twitter.com/bethanyusher
• Sunny Hundal on Twitter – https://twitter.com/sunny_hundal
• Peter Jukes on Twitter – https://twitter.com/peterjukes
• Byline Media on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Byline_Media
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
• Twitter – twitter.com/ParPolBro and twitter.com/TiernanDouieb
• Facebook – www.facebook.com/groups/ParPolBro
• Website – www.tiernandouieb.co.uk/podcast
• Donate to the Patreon – www.patreon.com/parpolbro
• Buy me a coffee – ko-fi.com/parpolbro
• Review the show on iTunes – itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/partly-political-broadcast/id1075342863?mt=2
• Review the show on Stitcher – www.stitcher.com/podcast/partly-political-broadcast
• The Last Skeptik – www.thelastskeptik.com
Previously on the last season of Partly Political Broadcast:
‘Why is no one doing anything about this goddamn Brexit?’
‘Don’t look now but that Boris is saying something stupid again!’
‘I have to tell you…’
‘It seems, well, how do I put this?’
‘What is it? Tell me?’ ‘
It seems Labour still aren’t dealing with anti-Semitism effectively.’
‘Oh god no! NOOOOOOO!’
‘Who is that creepy man who talks in riddles?’
‘Why that’s Jacob Rees Mogg that is. They say he’s been alive for 400 years.’
‘OH DEAR GOD, WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT BUBBLING, STINKING PILE OF HORROR?’
‘That’s …that’s the state of politics.’
‘Hold me and never let go.’
Today on the new season of Partly Political Broadcast:
SAME SKETCH REPEATED BUT WITH DIFFERENT VOICES
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the podcast that laughs in the face of politics only for politics to laugh with it, causing me to say no wait, we were definitely laughing at you. Yes the show is back from its summer break, this is episode 112, I’m still Tiernan Douieb despite my efforts and this week as Prime Minister and mother of vinegar Theresa May has said that the post Brexit border solution for Ireland involves a friction free movement of goods, I want to know just how much lube that would take and wouldn’t it just put people off going anywhere they might witness that in the first place? 3
While many spent the summer travelling, politics instead seemed to opt for a complete staycation, choosing to barely move an inch, gorging on self-hate and returning back to school competing with all its friends’ holiday and coming of age stories by showing just how loudly it can armpit fart. Brexit is, as Brexit was and Brexit does, with the story still being May’s Chequers plan vs Brexiteers saying they don’t like that plan and they’d much prefer another plan that no one’s thought of yet. Actually, I take that back, they did threaten to release a 140-page document which apparently has thoughts on a missile defense system and an army to defend the Falklands, you know all that useful stuff that’ll really help the UK get food and medicine, but they decided against publishing them but won’t say why. I totally feel their pain. I’m often pretty shy about releasing all the work I haven’t done too. And it’s not easy to find an excuse people will believe. I mean 140 pages is a lot for a dog to eat.
Former foreign secretary and current whoopie cushion filled with trifle Boris Johnson has been using his weekly Telegraph columns to attack May, first claiming that the Chequers plan has put a suicide vest round the UK and handed Brussels the control. But if the UK are wearing the vest and the Brussels have the control, then it’s not a suicide vest is it? That’s either a homicide vest, or the EU have very kindly stepped in to stop us harming ourselves. He followed that up with this week’s piece where BoJo said the Chequers plan would be the first time since 1066 when our leaders were deliberately acquiescing in foreign rule. Yeah because I forgot that it was known as the Rolling Over of Hastings 1066. King Harold just strolled up the Normans and said no please do stick an arrow in my eye, I feel it’d make a lovely fashion edition and I’m well into face piercings. With these sorts of accurate criticisms May must be trembling about Boris’s threat to her leadership. What will his historical knowledge lead him to say next? That the Chequers deal will blow up parliament just like Guy Fawkes definitely did and wasn’t at all punished for it, or perhaps that the government have less creativity than the stunted period of the Renaissance? As they say, you must know the past to understand the present, which is why all of Boris’s attempts to rally the British people to his side are fucking useless.
May’s retaliation has been to say that it’s my deal or no deal, which isn’t the best way to sell a bad idea against a worse idea. That’s like saying it’s my rock or your hard place, it’s this bucket filled with sick or your one filled with shit. The Irish border remains a stumbling block with May’s proposal being that the UK stay in line with the customs union and single market until the EU agree enough has been put in place for that to change. Meanwhile the European Research Group aka a bunch of people who study what happens across the channel by doing crude drawings of people in stripy tops with onions round their neck and tell each other it’s a photo, their plan to avoid a hard border is to basically have a hard border. Brilliant work everyone! Why they aren’t using their talents for the UN Peace Corps helping to stop war by killing everyone, I don’t know. Lucky for May, she has the backing of Blowtorch melted Chupa Chup and Environment Secretary Michael Gove, you know the sort of person who’ll back you off a cliff and then walk down the cliff to go through your pockets. Gove said that May’s plan is right for now, though that was two days ago so there’s every chance that flip flopper Gove thinks it’s now wrong again. His spoon shaped point was that a future prime minister could alter the relationship between the UK and the EU, but my concern is that all potential next Prime Minster candidates seem to be from at least several hundred years in the past with no sign of that changing anytime soon.
Gove has had an interesting few weeks that started with a bid to stamp out puppy farming, which is a clever way to pander to any voters who like to supplement their dog whistle politics with actual tiny dogs, and also a nifty way to reduce litter too. Then after vowing to save kittens and puppies, Gove stepped up the badger cull by doubling the amount to be shot in the next few weeks to be 40,000 and followed that up by refusing to condemn the xenophobic anti-Semite leader of Hungary and Ox Cheek with a face Victor Orban. According to Gove the best way to tackle anti-Semitism is by avoiding individual criticisms of an anti-Semite. Now you might think I’d be against such viewpoints but if Gove keeps down this train of thought then maybe he’ll announce that the best way to stand-up to the EU is to rejoin it, and then start voting with the opposition on a number of policies in order to fight against them. Though judging by his views on tackling anti-Semitism, that’s not too far off anyway. Do you reckon he only upped the badger cull numbers because that way he’s appearing equally prejudiced to those both black and white? Hmmm.
Meanwhile the Labour Party spent the summer being the best opposition they can be, just unfortunately against themselves again, rather than the government. The party have now agreed to adopt all the examples of anti-Semitism as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance into its code of conduct, but alongside a statement by the NEC saying that ‘this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians’ which to some was like the party crossing it’s fingers behind it’s back and to others not bold enough at saying criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism. What is clear is that again, no one is happy and I do wonder if rather than try to please everyone, Labour should just full out try to please no one and both replace the NEC with just Rabbis, while simultaneously changing their logo to just the Palestinian flag.
Grassroots activist group Momentum have been working on proposals to make sitting MPs stand against rivals for reselection, removing the notion of safe seats and terrifying many
Labour MP and man made entirely of porcelain Chukka Ummuna is panicked by this idea and told Labour leader and Maurice Sendak creation Jeremy Corbyn, to call off the dogs, and stop trying to drive centre-left MPs out of the party, especially when they’re trying so hard to drive straight through the middle of it themselves, with as many casualties as possible. In the most bizarre response possible Shadow Chancellor and balding lemur John McDonnell said Ummuna’s comments were grossly offensive as Labour members aren’t dogs. Has he never heard of idioms before? What does this mean for Labour politicians using idioms in the future? Will any dubious word have to be replaced with ‘Labour members’ to ensure no misunderstandings? Look before you Labour members, don’t put all your Labour members in one basket. A stitch in a Labour member saves nine. A Labour member in ones hand is worth two in the Labour member? Those last two almost sound painful. Still on the plus side, Labour have made one very bold stand against racism within their party by allowing MP Frank Field to resign the whip all by himself.
It’s now the Lib Dem conference, which presumably is being held in a studio flat in Brighton. So far the highlights have been leader and shrunken BFG Vince Cable trying to change party rules so a non-MP could become leader on account of no-one in the party wanting to do it. That’s really selling the job right? Cable won the leadership after no other party members ran against him, and now even he’s saying ‘oh does someone else want to do this?’ The whole party feels like a loveless marriage where they’re only sticking at it, because it’ll be far more hassle to quit. So far the biggest draw at the conference was Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller telling the party she doesn’t want to be their leader either, nor does she like the term People’s Vote, before launching her new campaign called End The Chaos which sounds a lot like a manufactured teen emo group. Meanwhile Deputy Leader and head girl Jo Swinson told the conference that the party must own the failures of the coalition. Jesus. They may as well have paid for a dominatrix to individually go round telling them they’re all a worthless piece of shit before forcing them to eat something off a boot. One of Cable’s new policies is to get rid of inheritance tax and replace it with a tax on gifts instead because nothing will win that party back into people’s hearts quite like a war on birthdays and Father Christmas.
Lastly, shaved Totoro and former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has resigned from the SNP after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him. He says he’s resigned to avoid the case facilitating attacks against the SNP, which is funny as nothing in his political record shows that Salmond has any idea there’s such a thing as unwanted attention. Two Russians have been named as suspects in the attempted Novichok poisonining murder of Sergei Skripal, though both men say they were in Salisbury to look at the Gothic beauty of the cathedral with its 123 metre spire and famous clock. Really? You expect Brits to believe that? If you want to convince the public you aren’t responsible, you should never research a place. Just say you wanted to go to Sainsburys but got on the wrong train and we’ll be way more convinced. An oil painting of tweed blobfish Nigel Farage went on sale for £25,000 but failed to attract any buyers because god knows he’s cost everyone enough money already, but also why would anyone waste so much dosh making it look like you always have the telly on? And toilet paper is far cheaper and more comfortable than canvas.
And the Green Party have elected joint party leaders of Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartlett who previously lead the Greens with Caroline Lucas. Well I guess they are big fans of recycling things.
Oh my god there was loads to catch up on wasn’t there and yet, at the same time, absolutely nothing of note whatsoever. It feels like politics this summer has been that friend who talks to you for 45 minutes about that story that they could’ve explained in a sentence and given you just as much relevant information. Well never fear because the podcast is back just in time to digest all that waffle and then fall asleep because waffles are very carb heavy. Sorry, I mean digest it then regurgitates it into your ear holes in manageable forms so you too can think ‘oh wow, none of that is progress at all is it?’ Hmm, regurgitating into your ears probably isn’t the best way to sell this podcast is it? Welcome to any new listeners! Thank you to returning listeners for rejoining this nonsense even though I’m mainly talking about vomiting in your lugholes. You’re welcome. Can you tell my daughter is now 6 months old? That is basically my morning wake up every single day.
Did you have a nice summer hols? I did thanks for asking, with a mix of some lovely shows at Green Man festival and elsewhere, a weird discovery of a Welsh dragon projection, and nearly two weeks in Hong Kong with comedians Bec Hill and Howard Read doing some lovely gigs to kids and adults all of which were a lot of fun. Hong Kong was amazing for a number of reasons though, none of which are the durian fruit which I tried and it was not dissimilar to wrapping my mouth around the foot of a corpse that’s been dragged through very old onion soup, so no, not that, but one thing that was amazing was nearly all the audiences at the adult gigs thought Brexit was a shit show. I mean these are people who’ve mainly moved to Hong Kong to avoid paying tax, and despite that moral compass, they still think it’s bollocks. Incredible. The other amazing thing was meeting a podcast listener out there. Holy shit! This show is officially international! I mean I have received some lovely messages from various of you lot from around the globe but didn’t think I’d actually meet one of you at a gig, so huge shout out to John, as well as Jennie and Nian who were dragged along to the gig despite not listening to this show at all. That’s right, if you’re a non-listener but you hang out with a listener then you can have a shout out too, but how will you ever know because you don’t listen? Ahhhhhhhh. Hope everyone I met out there has been ok despite the terrifying sounding typhoon Mangkhut. It is very weird seeing pics on the news of places you walked past just days before now flooded and torn to shreds. The weather in Hong Kong seemed excessive at the best of times so I hope everyone there just shrugged it off and carried on eating gluten as per always. I ate so, so much gluten. So much.
Thank you also to everyone who filled in the survey over the summer. As you may have noticed, the most voted for tagline is now the official podcast tagline. Don’t like it? Well you didn’t vote so you can’t complain. Ha! It’s almost like the real world and everything. I’ve also taken into account lots of your other thoughts and hopefully this week’s interview is the right sort of length and sounds a bit better too. And there are tons of guests coming up along the lines of what survey contributors asked for so hope you’ll like ‘em. Obviously though if you have anything else you’d like to add, well the survey is still up but only because I don’t want to delete it and SurveyMonkey make you pay to download it, bastards. I mean how does a monkey even collate a survey anyway? – But you can also get in touch via the @parpolbro Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook, the website contact page partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget that if you want to review this podcast on the pod app of your choice, country wall, or even dirty lorry that you can write on with your fingers, make sure you wash your hands after though, then please do that too. Also as survey results mentioned, I fully understand that some of you can’t afford to donate to this show and to be fair, I can’t either which is why I keep asking you lot. But if you can donate to the ko-fi.com/parpolbro for a one-off donation or the Patreon.com/parpolbro it is hugely appreciated though I will be keeping the Patreon, mainly without extras as I want any extra bits and bobs to be available to you all because equal and fair society and all that. Though maybe I should also adopt the Conservatives policy of saying if any of you want to donate hundreds of thousands to me, then we can go for lunch and I’ll shamelessly weave your policies into the show while pretending they are my ideas. Yeah? Who’s in? Guys? Guys? Sigh. Worth a try.
Only other bit of admin to mention this week is that them clever types at Acast who host this show now works with Google Assistant so I think you can just shout at your phone or laptop or robot dog or weird android slave to play this show. Or if it’s anything like when I try to use Siri while driving, you’ll shout a lot and then it’ll tell you there are no results for Party Party Broadbean and you’ll nearly swerve into the central reservation.
Sooooo on this week’s podcast, as the show returns to its weekly noise, I am speaking to expert in attack journalism Dr. Bethany Usher who explains why the phenomenon of the papers going all out against someone isn’t a new thing. Also, of course, there is some Brexit Fallout despite it being entirely possible that I could have just repeated an old episode instead and you’d gain about as much from it. I’m starting to genuinely wonder if everyone will still be discussing what to do about Brexit 100 years after it happened while we all gnaw on overpriced diversified metals and war planes for nutrition. But of course, before all of that, here’s a little bit of this:
Fracking! There that’s just for the person who keeps complaining about the foul language on this show. You’re welcome. Fracking is the practice of sticking a whacking great drill in the ground to extract shale gases and it’s never been something the general public are all that keen on, what with evidence suggesting poking large great holes into the ground and injecting it with chemicals to take other stuff out of it probably isn’t all that great for the planet. In fact a report that was given to government ministers in 2015 but only surfaced in August just 4 days after a fracking firm was given a brand spanking new permit to earth pump parts of Lancashire, says that it increases air pollution between 1 & 4%. Cool so that sounds totally worth it for a government who’ve now been taken to court 3 times for failing to tackle air pollution and have only 18% of public support for fracking and I’m certain those people live on boats. Labour have said that were they to come into power they would unequivocally ban fracking but Cuadrilla the company who will start fracking between Preston and Blackpool in coming weeks, say that the GMB union, an affiliate of the Labour party, backs it. That is probably because initially it will provide many jobs, but after a while when all the places those jobs are sink into the ground to be eaten by giant prehistoric earth worms that have been woken by the wrong type of drill music, then they’ll probably think again. Yes that’s totally science. Uh huh. Yep. Where’s my sources? Er…up your butt you dink. Total science. In July the Conservative government made fracking for shale gas a permitted development which means they no longer need planning permission to crust fuck the place so now, for the first time since 2011 when fracking triggered a minor earthquake, work is about to begin again and the company Cuadrilla have an extended injunction against any protestors. Rumour has it the Conservatives are getting jumpy about changing the planning permission policy so lets hope they U-turn on this before more earthquakes or giant prehistoric earth worms get them jumping even higher.
Speaking of intensive groundwork, The Department of Health isn’t usually the government sector that springs to mind, but they are planning to have a blanket sell off of 1332 hectares of NHS owned land to raise funds for the service. 117 of the plots up for sale are currently being used for medical or clinical purposes and 63 other sites have had the information on them held back due to issues of sensitivity, which makes me assume they aren’t anesthetists’ wards. The department of health insist only unwanted land is being sold, but considering how much easier their lives would be if the NHS vanished, that could be anything. The cash will be ring fenced for spending on NHS services and much of the land will go to build houses because there’s nothing nicer than knowing you’ll go to sleep on a site where thousands of people’s corns were lopped off or hemorrhoids removed. With so many sites up for sale the Labour party are demanding the DoH come clean with exactly what’s being sold off and the government still hasn’t announced where the money for its £100bn NHS 5 year funding plan is coming from so there’s every chance it’s all going to be turned into flats in order to pay for it. But I’m thinking actually this could be great. I mean if they leave most of the medical equipment in those homes, you might not have to get out of bed to see a doctor? On the downside, I’m not sure you’d want a waiting room for your kitchen or to have to bring back a small sample every time you used your bathroom. Hmm.
Ever ones to make things harder for themselves, the Labour party appear to be backing proposals for sitting MPs to have to stand against rivals for reselection, meaning they’d have to run again for a seat they’ve already won. While I’d always be angry about being made to stand once I’d happily been sitting for a bit, this would solve issues such as MP and the sort of person who’s house you’d run past quickly as a kid, Kate Hooey, who appears in both voting record and general mouth emissions to be far more UKIP than Labour but has kept her seat in Vauxhall for 29 years. The new proposals put forward by Momentum have backing from 77% of members but Shadow Business Secretary and cartoon mouse Rebecca Long Bailey has said they’ll need to be careful as while it would make the party more democratic it could also lead MPs to spend too much time focusing on their own re-election campaigns rather than parliament. I dunno, it might mean they have even less time to just attack each other every ten minutes as well. It could be the political equivalent of putting more toys in the hamster cage. This is just one of loads of proposals for the conference committee next week, with 171 about Brexit including whether or not the party should adopt a call for a people’s vote. Well you’d think what with them wanting to be more democratic and all that, that’d be a goer right? Right?
INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY USHER
Mainstream Media is a term often bandied around without any concern for the other bodies of water like rivers or lakes whose news outlets feel very left out. But in the real life where I’m not being an idiot, the media is a powerful entity that dictates our daily doings all the way from allowing me to super snarky about things on twitter or informing us about the hows, wheres and whys of global happenings. News is an ever more necessary part of an overly connected world and freedom of the press and news is a hugely useful thing that does stop us living in a dictatorship where all you hear about is how mighty our leader. Instead in the UK at least, what it actually does which is show us how she dances like a wooden push button toy being handled by a drunk hippo. But while this press freedom is important, a lack of enforceable press regulation has led to, over the years, phone hacking scandals, a rise in fake news and an increase in what’s known as attack journalism. Much like its name suggests, it’s when the press find an enemy and prey on them day after day like a particularly unimaginative and unadventurous vulture. In the last few years in the British press we’ve seen that happen to Ed Miliband, Gina Miller, the judges who ruled UK parliament needed consent of MPs to give notice of Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, a ton of celebrities and footballers and by way of actively ignoring everything I do, me. Ok, not me, but I’m sure they’re doing it on purpose cos I’ve done loads of great things lately. I mean today, I ate two packs of crisps. Two. What a legde eh? Those are just a few of the many names who’ve been targeted above and beyond what you might expect. So why do it, how does it happen, do they all the media mogul types like evil prune Rupert Murdoch and no neck spam sculpture Paul Dacre all hang out together and decide who to target next, what effect does this have on public opinion and politics and seriously why does no one want to write an article about my two bags of crisps heroics? Bloody heathens.
So, after a summer of a lot of this sort of thing across the board, this week I interviewed Dr Bethany Usher. Bethany is a lecturer in journalism at Newcastle University where she focuses her teaching and research on campaigning, activism, celebrity news, self-identity and media as a mechanism for social control. Having started her career as a tabloid journalist, she knows quite a lot about it all from first-hand experience. Bethany recently gave a talk all about attack journalism at the Byline festival this summer as I was unable to make it I selfishly thought I’d ask her to tell me all about it on this show instead and she kindly agreed. Couple of things to mention before you listen, Bethany does say this herself during the interview but she wanted me to point out that she is at no point demeaning the accusations of anti-Semitism against Labour but more looking at the newspapers’ coverage of such events because as always, with everything except social media, there is a ton of nuance about all these things. Second thing is that I managed to hear Bethany talk about Thomas Paine then referred to him as Thomas Mann about 5 times when asking her questions. You can hear her telling me I can edit it out but no, I couldn’t be bothered. Just let it be known that I’m an idiot. There you go tabloids, that’s crisps and Thomas prejudice! Bring it! Someone notice me! Sorry, I mean, I hope you find this as fascinating a chat as I did. Here’s Bethany:
INTERVIEW PART 1
Tiernan Douieb: So probably an obvious question because I feel like some of it’s in the title, but what is attack journalism?
Dr Bethany Usher: So, attack journalism is when a newspaper or a news outlet, or a group of new outlets, target a specific person for a sustained attack. Normally that is around the fact that the person or the individual is perceived as some kind of risk to either the newspaper or the established hegemonic power of government or politics, or it could be just as simple as that they’re a commercial risk. So, what newspapers do is when newspapers are making decisions about stories, it passes through a series of value tests to see if it makes the pages or if it makes the news bulletin, and if someone is perceived as a direct threat to those values then an attack can form.
TD: I feel like I’ve seen it quite a lot, I feel like I see it almost every day in newspapers at the moment.
BU: Yes. Well, it’s one of news’ longest established discourses and that’s where my research comes into it and establishing how long it’s been going on for and why it’s come to be such a dominant area of journalistic practice. So, it isn’t anything new although the big studies in it so far have kind of called it a 20thcentury phenomenon. I’ve gone back as far as the beginnings of the press in the 18th century and, for example, one of the first examples I talk about is Thomas Paine who wrote Rights of Man, he was a French revolutionary who was British but was arguing for the rights of ordinary working class people for universal suffrage. The attacks that formed on him were so linguistically similar to things that happen today. So, the first time I saw the link was between what was happening with Ed Miliband and the discourse I’d found in the 18th century about Thomas Paine. So, basically, what I did was look at the content around him rather than the stuff he’d written himself, and instead of looking at that as evidence for some form of biography, I was looking at how journalism was formed and how it works. For example, they called him the devil, Beelzebub, a traitor, they talked about how effigies were burnt of him across Britain. They really talked about him in celebrity terms, so about his private life, salacious details suggest he was homosexual, he was basically beyond the pale. That was the idea, it was if we cast this person as beyond the pale then we would limit people’s engagement with them. Actually, what happened was the opposite, which is that more people became interested in him because of his values and his visibility because they’d raised his visibility, celebrified him, and actually more people were interested in what he had to say. It’s a bit like when we found a song today on Radio 1 and suddenly everyone buys it and it goes to number 1, It’s that kind of interest that people intrinsically have. What I was fascinated with was how the language worked in such a similar way, the use of the listening adjectives in such a similar way to what was happening with Ed Miliband at the time and it was the same kind of language, ‘traitor’, this threat that he would bring Britain to its knees, that he was a threat to the established order. It was the same kind of language and the same kind of discourse they created about Ed Miliband at that time. In many ways what happened with Ed Miliband was a forerunner for what we have with Jeremy Corbyn at the moment, so they established, they pushed the narrative, ‘How far are we going to get away with this?’ Now Jeremy Corbyn is a greater perceived risk even than Ed Miliband, even further left. There were established patterns, they know how far they can push this before it crosses the line into the territory of being against regulation of the press, the IPSO code, they push it right to that line
TD: Firstly that’s amazing that Thomas Paine became more popular, I love that. Is the phrase ‘All publicity is good publicity’, it feels like that came from there. There are specific signs, I’m guessing, to attack journalism as opposed to just a piece about someone doing something wrong. How do you differentiate between the two?
BU: That’s interesting. There is the public interest test on everything. I always start with my students, or when I worked as a journalist, my rule is does it pass the public interest? So, you could argue that when it’s about politicians it’s always in the public interest, but what we’re doing here is creating sometimes false narratives or developing a kind of sustained narrative that comes from different angles, which is really about challenging the authority of the voice or undermining this person in the minds of the public. That’s very different than revealing some genuine details about someone’s life or gossip. However, what I find really interesting about things like the Mail Online, for example, and their use of celebrity culture is that you can see elements of the attack in it. So, it’s very gendered, women are attacked based on their looks, sometimes that can become really sustained, particularly if a woman dares to speak out about what they’re doing. So, gossip can be used as a form of attack but more where stories are saying someone went to the shops or somebody was seen with someone else, it’s not attack journalism in its own right, it’s got to be sustained to be the form of an attack.
TD: So, like you were saying, as you previously mentioned with Ed Miliband, I remember where it got to the point they were criticising the fact that he had 2 kitchens or whatever and you did think, ‘What has this got to do with how he works as a politician?’
BU: Well, absolutely. It wasn’t just about that, of course. One of the kind of narratives of the press is you can’t be wealthy and a socialist, that’s a long established narrative, you know, Tony Benn suffered from that. It’s almost hypocrisy if you’re wealthy and socialist, of course we know that’s a nonsense, the term ‘champagne socialist’ in its own right. My mum who’s an ardent left-wing socialist always says, ‘Well, why shouldn’t the working classes have champagne? Why should it the thing of the wealthy? Why can’t we all have champagne if we want?’ It’s that kind of narrative. With Ed Miliband, of course, some of it is astonishing. I have a slide that I put up when I’m presenting on Ed Miliband and people kind of gasp when they see the level of it from, you know, ‘He won’t wear the trousers,’ terms like this, just these phrases and direct quotes, ‘He’s trying to get the (?) vote,’ ‘He’s an imbecile,’ ‘A grizzly mix of left and lefter.’ Then there’s this thing about the home, the north London home, always that phrase, his two-bathroomed house in north London. Well, for people who live in London, they often know this is shorthand for being Jewish, because what we’re talking about is where he lives. I’ve talked about this with other journalists, this shorthand, basically, that when you’re talking about a Jewish person in north London, you’re talking about the kind of certain groups of Jewish intelligentsia that lives in a certain area of London. If you think of lots of the physical ways they described Ed Miliband, ‘weird’, ‘odd looking’, what are they saying here? What is the meaning behind this? In my mind it’s very, it’s maybe not even subtle, but there’s a dog whistle into it, that if you have any understanding of representation in journalism you will get, but maybe for the vast majority of the public it might just slightly wash over them.
TD: The other interesting thing is how many papers got on board, the same with Ed Miliband and then with Corbyn now, it’s a number of papers ganging up on someone all at once even though they have perhaps different ownership overall. So, how much does the media mogul ownership of press having an effect? How is it that they all work together on this?
BU: Journalists are essentially pack animals, there is even a phrase, isn’t it, you know, ‘the pack’, when they’re on a story. Essentially there are two ideas, a lot of people think that there’s this great conspiracy, actually I don’t think it works that way. Having worked for tabloid newspapers myself is that what happens is that if a story becomes big, public interest, other people follow it, it becomes a kind of feeding loop in that right. That’s the storind it’s very, it’s maybe not even subtle, but there’s a dog whistle into it, that if you have any understanding of representation in journalism you will get, but maybe for the vast majority of the public it might just slightly wash over them.
TD: The other interesting thing is how many papers got on board, the same with Ed Miliband and then with Corbyn now, it’s a number of papers ganging up on someone all at once even though they have perhaps different ownership overall. So, how much does the media mogul ownership of press having an effect? How is it that they all work together on this?
BU: Journalists are essentially pack animals, there is even a phrase, isn’t it, you know, ‘the pack’, when they’re on a story. Essentially there are two ideas, a lot of people think that there’s this great conspiracy, actually I don’t think it works that way. Having worked for tabloid newspapers myself is that what happens is that if a story becomes big, public interest, other people follow it, it becomes a kind of feeding loop in that right. That’s the story of not just attack journalism, that’s for journalism generally. Of course, with people like Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn there’s also the added dimension of the political affiliation of the newspapers. So, in this country, the vast majority of newspapers are on the right of the political spectrum, they’re right leaning, usually Conservative supporting when it comes to elections. We have, you could argue, The Guardian, The Independent and The Mirror, who are other, but increasingly because of various things that are going on around funding of the press, they are less likely to rock the boat. There are some things coming in about how the press might be funded that Jeremy Corbyn, for example, is directly arguing around. So Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband were both not just a threat to the hegemonic power of (?) or corporatism, they were also direct threats to the press themselves. For Ed Miliband, he was adamant about Leveson 2, he was disgusted at phone hacking, he talked directly about breaking up the Murdoch empire, which is where The Sun were the leaders of the pack, but he also talked about the Daily Mail, particularly after the stories about his dad. He spoke directly about Rebekah Brooks too. It’s the same as this imported quote, apparently a journalist turned round to him and said, ‘You made it personal about Rebekah, now we’ll make it personal about you.’ So many of the Westminster bubble were astonished that Ed Miliband (?). They just couldn’t get their head around the level of it. Now we move on to Jeremy Corbyn who takes it even a step further because he just point blank refuses to engage with most of them. He directly works with the local press. There are journalists in London, I’m astonished sometimes, really quite left-leaning, liberal journalists on Twitter that I follow who are so dismissive of his engagement with the local press. Recently during the height of the anti-Semitism allegations there was a story about him going and talking to loads of local news outlets about the problems of public transport, trains and buses. The sneering on Twitter about how unimportant this story is from London-based journalists. Actually, if you live in the north and you’re relying on public services, and we’re in a crisis in the north in terms of public transport at the moment, this is a big story. It was this dismissal that he was almost running away, how could he engage with something so trivial? Really that’s about his refusal to engage with the London-based media and, at the same time, saying that he would look at the BBC and look at the different funding models for journalism, you know, massive media reforms. So, he’s a huge threat to the press.
TD: How much effect do these newspapers have? Does his not pandering to the newspapers then therefore mean that more people think he is all the things that the newspapers say? Do newspapers still even have much an effect? I realise that the Mail gets 3 million readers a day but we’ve got 64 million people in the UK. How much power do they have?
BU: Well, the Mail is the biggest news website in the world, the Mail Online, so they have other ways of reaching audiences that are very well established. The Guardian is read more online than in print. I completely take the point that do they have power in their own right? Okay. We’re looking at a (?) that is going across almost all newspapers and television in this instance. If you combine those things then you can see the level of the reach. Whether it’s going to have the opposite effect or whether it is having the opposite effect in reality, which is the value of Corbyn’s increased invisibility, means that far more people are actually engaging with his message because they’re going, ‘Is this really what he’s like?’ and going and looking online to find out for themselves, that’s the interesting thing, isn’t it? It’s what’s going to be the next thing here. I just want to say on this one that I’m not saying that all of the allegations of anti-Semitism in relation to the Labour party or society as a whole should be dismissed, that’s not my argument. There have some manifestations recently, such as the graffiti on the Warsaw ghetto, which I think is indefensible. What I’m saying is that it’s not just that with Corbyn though, is it, he’s also been accused of being a Russian spy, there have been allegations about his private life, they come from different angles to see what will stick. I’m really sympathetic to the Jewish people who are saying things like, ‘I feel frightened and I feel under threat,’ because they are bombarded with news constantly that anti-Semitism is at its highest ever levels. The thing is that they’re absolutely justified because they are genuinely frightened, but does that make Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite? I would argue not, I think that’s a constructed reality.
TD: I suppose it’s the thing with all of these stories or with attack journalism is that nuance is lost in that, as you say, allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour, there’s truth to some of them, or all of them, I don’t wish to judge, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that all of the stories that are coming out are also true. It requires a critical thinking eye on everything.
BU: Yes. There was a book about this about American politics by a guy called Larry Sabato which was called Feeding Frenzy, and how attack journalism transformed American politics is his basic argument. I think he again says it’s a 20th century phenomenon, as I say, I think it’s earlier and I think that he misses some examples of it. For him, it’s only in relation to the political sphere but I look at examples outside of the political sphere. Raheem Stirling is one I’ve been looking at recently. If you look at what’s happening in American politics as well is that you have a resurgence of the left in the Democratic party who are unseating the centre neoliberal Democrats. Left people, people like Cynthia Nixon, who was in Sex and the City, discussing things like universal healthcare in America, and of course Bernie Sanders. We’ve also got parallel discussions over there that they’re anti-Semitic. So there have been some accusations levelled at both Cynthia Nixon and Bernie Sanders too. A conspiracy theorist might argue that this is a globalised (?) causing this attack, I don’t buy that, I think that feeds into this narrative of Jewish control of the media and I just don’t buy that, I think that’s anti-Semitic. What I think is that at an individualised level, their support for Palestinian rights can be read as anti-Semitic so therefore it becomes a narrative.
END OF INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with Bethany in a minute but first, yes sadly, it’s this:
Yes sorry, it’s still happening and by happening, I mean absolutely nothing important has happened since the last Brexit fallout over 8 weeks ago. Nothing at all. I mean sure, stuff has happened. Theresa May went to Africa to pledge post Brexit investment even though she can’t yet because she doesn’t know what sort of trade deals we’ll be able to do because SHE STILL HASN’T SORTED OUT BREXIT YET. Boris Johnson has regularly complained about May’s Chequers plan week after week without ever saying what his own plan is BECAUSE HE STILL DOESN’T HAVE ONE. Though he is currently going through a divorce with his wife due to delivering goods to non-union members, so now he’ll have to be part of the single market whether he likes it or not. Labour still don’t know what they’d doing but Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has said Labour will vote against whatever deal May does even though it may be the best deal despite being an awful deal but NO ONE REALLY KNOWS. Labour may be about to back a people’s vote on the final deal EVEN THOUGH THERE ISN’T ENOUGH TIME FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. The EU won’t accept May’s Chequers plan because IT’S SHIT but they don’t need to accept it to stop a No Deal happening, but they do need to accept the withdrawal agreement and the Northern Ireland/ Irish Border solution WHICH NO ONE CAN AGREE ON SO THAT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD EITHER and Northern Ireland still doesn’t have an Assembly so that’s fun and Dominic Raab had a six hour meeting with Michael Barnier for which I assume he made a packed lunch of his favourite Pret food and brought a tena pad and at the end they said progress has been made but not on any of the important things so it doesn’t really matter and lets face it what they mean is Raab finally worked out how to use the lift or his key card or realise some of the people there are speaking another language and ultimately it’s all a big stupid and there’s now only 6 months left and Michael Barnier says a deal is possible within 6-8 weeks but he hasn’t accounted for the fact that all the UK politicians are insistent about sabotaging their own lives again and again like a bunch of stupid lemmings only none of the ones with builders hats or stop signs just the shitty ones who fall off stuff and the IMF and the Bank of England have all said we’re fucked moneywise and Brexiteers have said what would they know but they would know because they are the people in charge of the money. Cool. Cool? Not cool. Not at all cool. Oh, and the Lib Dems also want a second vote but it doesn’t even look like they want to be in their own party at the moment so chances are they’re just saying that as a last ditch ‘hey let’s have a dirty weekend away and try to repair things’ before giving up and sleeping in separate beds.
In amongst all that though, there are some interesting thangs. First thang is that the Good Law Project, headed up by Jolyon Maugham who was a podguest on this show way back when, sued the electoral commission on two charges. One was questioning the adequacy of the EC’s investigation into Vote Leave’s campaign spending, which ended up with Electoral Commission admitting that Vote Leave and aptly named head of youth group BeLeave Darren Grimes, I mean seriously, come on, had broken the law and now that stuff’s with the PoPo. I mean, Darren Grimes. Come on. He may as well be called Nicholas NaughtyBloke. But the second bit of the suingness was that the Good Law Project said the electoral commission had got the law wrong about donation. Woah! That’s a big ol’ statement. Hey commission, you know the rules that you regulate and oversee, yeah well, you don’t even know them. Slam! But according to the high court decision last week, they were right. It seems the Electoral Commission told Vote Leave that they could donate surplus funds to other leave campaigners such as Darren MuckyFace, so as soon as Vote Leave went over budget they instead gave £620,000 to BeLeave to pay for him using Cambridge Analytica’s services and £100,000 to Veterans for Britain to do the same. But the electoral commission didn’t give the same info to Stronger In so when they hit their limit, they had to stop and turn down any donations. So the regulator hasn’t been regulating properly which has all sorts of implications for the Electoral Commision, Darren DirtyKnees’s case that’s with the police and everyone’s least favourite God Scrubbers the DUP who also look like they may have also purposefully overspent on Vote to Leave ads. So a lot of people done a lot of bad things and now what will happen? Well we’ll probably still go ahead with a plan that isn’t there and then in 10 years time when it’s all done and we’re living in a more rainy verson of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Darren ShittyTeeth and the Vote Leave lot may end up in court and we’ll all look back and go ‘hahahahah this whole mess is all because people were illegal and no one cares!’ Yes I’m very confused about what message to teach my kids too. Hey if you learn to lie, break rules and generally refuse to back down about it all, you too could be successful. No put that book away, there’ll be no learning about accurate history here! Why not just go play outside and do your best to betray your friends?’
This section will be back next week when I’ll be playing the last few minutes all over again, just at 1.5 speed. You’re welcome.
And now back to Bethany:
INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY USHER PART 2
TD: One of the biggest questions then is what can anyone do about it then if it’s being happening for this long? We’ve seen it across not only with Corbyn and Ed Miliband and Raheem Stirling, but we saw it, I remember, quite a lot with Gina Miller about the Brexit thing and she ended up getting death threats and all the calls of being a traitor. It was even against judges and stuff who voted for politicians to have a vote in parliament. What can we do? There’s the Independent Press Standards Organisation, do they do anything? Are they at all useful?
BU: Well, at the moment, this is really interesting. So, that’s my campaign that I’m starting as part of my research and part of my book because, at the moment, the IPSO code of practice says you can harass through news gathering, so persistent pursuit. What I’m arguing for is that we should also extend that that you can harass through publication based on a variety of characteristics, so using repeated reference to things such as class, gender, sex, race, disability and various other characteristics, but that there is a harassment through publication too, which at the moment none of the codes of practice have in them, neither Ofcom or IPSO. I’m going to talk to the Media Reform Coalition about this, I’m going to be doing public letters, a few people said they would support such a move, so that’s going to be one thing that I think we could do to change it. The other thing is, of course, this attack is not just in the press now, it’s also dissipated (?) across social media. The counter can become a part of it and can also be become part of the defence, and you see this with both Ed Miliband and with Jeremy Corbyn, supporters of them are one of the most vocal counters to the attack. But there are distinct differences between how countering the attack has worked in terms of Miliband and in terms of Corbyn. So, when Miliband’s happening, one of the best ways of countering the attack, the most successful was Abi Tomlinson, a young girl, who was attacked in her own right. I mean, because she did it, they started on her and I was thinking, ‘God, this is a 17-year-old girl, come on now.’ Her narrative wasn’t negative, it wasn’t abusive back to the people who were attacking Ed Miliband, what she did was create a positive narrative. A lot of young people engaged in that and it was really positive, it was all about his good stuff, they were superimposing him on the body of famous film stars, you know, how they thought he was hot, and it was just this really positive narrative that actually interrupted the attack of the press at such a level that some of the journalists were furious about it. We saw it in terms of the tweet discussions between Louise Mensch and Abi Tomlinson, for example, where it got really nasty on Louise Mensch’s part. That was because this young woman was so successful in interrupting this attack and they weren’t happy about it. But there’s something different going on with Jeremy Corbyn, and what it is that some of his supporters are attacking, using attack in their own right, it’s getting nasty. It falls into abuse, it falls into misogyny sometimes, and when I’ve pulled some of them up on it in the past it’s like, ‘Well, what you can you expect, we’ve been putting up with this for a really long time.’ I’m like, ‘Well, you can’t counterattack by being uncivil. You’ve got to remain with civility in terms of debate.’ That’s how I always try to handle my Twitter, even in the face of sometimes what can become very personalised abuse. I was subject to a small case of an attack myself on social media just last week after a far right journalist took one of my tweets and reframed it and unleashed the alt-right on me on Twitter. You can’t counter an attack with an attack, you have to remain civil, you have to remain fact-based and you have to remain calm. I think that’s where a lot of so-called Corbynistas are getting it wrong, they’re feeding the attack by attacking too, that’s just unhealthy for us all. We need to try suck the toxicity out of the political debate at the moment.
TD: Absolutely. I wonder if as well, looking back at that historical case of Thomas Paine where people ended up favouring him, I wonder if that’s the result of so much hate. I’m on Twitter less than I used to be because it’s just people attacking each other now and I find that, similarly, the press is so attacking that I feel quite often that I have to step away from it and get a breather and remember that there are nice people in the world. Do you think that sometimes points people to supporting things that the press are attacking and making them go in a different direction?
BU: In the case of Thomas Paine, I don’t think it was necessarily him that became popular. It wasn’t himself that became more popular, it was that more people went to find out what all the fuss was about in his writing. So, he outsold the rest of the pamphlet movement and his work was distributed for free amongst the working classes so they handed out to them. By conservative estimates, it’s about 1.5 million, he was thought it was (?), had read Rights of Man, for those days a vast amount of people. I don’t think it was him as an individual that became more popular but that it actually meant more people read his work and actually thought, ‘Actually, why shouldn’t ordinary people be part of the political system? Why shouldn’t we have a vote? Why shouldn’t we have education?’ It was a step in the direction. That’s what I mean with Jeremy Corbyn, I think one thing is that people will go and find out for themselves. But there is an element of this idea that a lot of people will say that there’s no smoke without fire, and news has an incredible capacity to construct reality. So, the version we understand of events is often the version that the news has told us. It was the same with one of the first (?) journalism, a book that talks about this, News and the Construction of Reality by an academic called Dave Tuckman (?). It’s all about this, that news is a discourse of truth, it’s a genre of truth, therefore by putting its patterns and its linguistic tools and its narratives on events, it makes them true, you know, it convinces us that this is a reality. So, yes I do think that this will have worked on people, I know people who 100% who say, ‘Well, Jeremy Corbyn was an IRA supporter,’ or, ‘He was a Russian spy,’ or, ‘He’ an anti-Semite.’ I’ve met people myself who are convinced of it. So yes, there s danger to it, that’s the fear that things that can be subsequently disproven can become true. Once we’re past Corbyn and once Corbyn has left the leadership of the Labour party and we’re 5 or 10 years down the path of looking back on this moment with a bit of distance, I hope that a lot of people will think about what their role was in feeding into it. As I say, I just want to make the point here that I’m not saying that the (?) people around anti-Semitism are not justified, what I’m saying is that the construction of this narrative, that this man (?)a campaigner against anti-racism is a racist and is just, in my opinion, an incredibly clever constructed truth by the news media.
TD: One of the things I’ve always found interesting, even from a year or so ago when he being called both a terrorist and a pacifist at the same time, which I thought was an incredible feat of accomplishment if he is both those things, how do you do that?
TD: You mentioned earlier that part of your campaign is to get IPSO to change some of the journalist conduct. Are there any other ways to campaign for change? You mentioned that people should not attack attacks by being attacking, is there anything else that we can be doing actively? Are there any other campaigns going on right now?
BU: I think spotting it is a good thing and countering it and cutting through the narrative on social media and circulating it is a good first step. I really do believe that we can debate better on social media. I really feel your pain in terms of walking away from Twitter, I’ve got several friends who’ve walked away from it. Mine came with Facebook, that was when I turned it off because I’m originally Sunderland and I was really upset by things, particularly through the Brexit debate, not just the complete falsehoods that were coming through from some of the people I grew up with but the real dog whistle stuff as well. When I was encountering the levels of abuse that I was getting, or real kinds of just dismissal and nastiness from people I knew, I thought, ‘Right, that’s it. I’m kind of coming off from that platform.’ It can work better and I do believe social media can work better. What it takes is a critical swell of people who are willing to sign up to debating with civility, with facts, and not getting drawn into mud slinging and abuse, certainly not. Maybe, so it’s on a soft level and a direct action level and activist level, so on one side trying to change regulations for attack has to be in the public interest rather than it being a free for all, and on the other side, of us all looking at our behaviour, then I think we can muddle through. With this vision particularly of this nastiness that’s going on between the left and centre left, for example, we’re giving free reign for the far right to move into spaces. In places like Sunderland in the north-east there is only far right often and the left as the political alternatives, there’s always been then BNP and the EDL kind of fuelling tensions in areas, and in Sunderland there’s a big campaign at the moment that’s led by Tommy Robinson where there have been marches through the streets. Well, in that city, the people who are fighting against it are Labour party members and young lads who always vote against it and physically have had to take beatings at times. When they’re looking at the press or Twitter and these people they`ve admired for a long time labelling them as racists and anti-Semites because they support Jeremy Corbyn, when they’re on the front lines fighting the far right in their home town, it’s painful, it’s actually upsetting to them. I’ve had conversations with lads I grew up with where it’s like, ‘I never thought I’d be labelled this.’ We need to really suck this toxicity out of this debate, particularly the Labour party, and have some serious open-hearted conversations.
TD: One last question for you, which I ask all of our guests, apart from yourself and your work on Twitter and your courses that you’re teaching, who else would you recommend that listeners follow or read up on to find out about attack journalism and campaigns against it? Have you got anyone that you go to and that you enjoy following for that information?
BU: Not on this thing but I do think that there’s somebody who’s really balanced and who spots these kinds of things, I don’t know whether he’d say that in the same terms as me and attack journalism, but there are actually a couple of people. I would suggest people follow Sunny Hundal who’s a journalist. Last night we were just having a conversation on Twitter about the accusations of the editor of the Jewish Chronicle yesterday that when Jeremy Corbyn was talking about the economic abuses of the banking system during the 2008 economic attack he was actually talking about Jewish people. Sunny was being very measured and pointed out, like, the Warsaw ghetto was indefensible, the graffiti on it, but he was just like, ‘You can’t say that criticising the banking system is anti-Semitic.’ That is playing completely into the hands of conspiracy theorists who say that the global financial markets and media markets are controlled by Jews. I mean, we’re in crazy territory. He’s very good. Follow Peter Jukes, who was the journalist who live tweeted] the phone hacking trials and who runs Byline Media, and you can follow Byline Media. Those people are often talking about themes and abuses of the press that are related to this, attack journalism is just one manifestation of the abuses of the press that they identify.
END OF INTERVIEW PART 2
Thank you to Bethany for our chat and you can follow her on Twitter @bethanyusher or if you are at Newcastle University doing the MA in Journalism you can be taught by her too. I mean let me know if any of you do that just because of this podcast because that is above and beyond the usual guest appreciated duties but I’m totes sure it’d be worth it. The other people Bethany mentions are quite easy to find on the Twitters but links will be popped up on the episode page at the website too at some point soonish. Over the summer I was meant to do that for loads of old episodes but hey, there was ice cream to eat. What’s a guy to do? It will happen at some point in my lifetime. Maybe.
I’ve got quite a few interesting folks lined up for future episodes but as I say every goddamn show, if you have someone you think I should try to talk to or a subject you’d like me to talk to someone about, do let me know. I still will avoid talking to MPs if I can, and while there’s a few comedians I am planning to get on, I’m mainly looking for experts, campaigners, activists, that sort of thingy and the kind folks at Acast have said I can use their swanky studios if I need to as well so hopefully that’ll persuade a few people who are inticed by having to meet me in the flesh. Oh wait, why have all my future guests cancelled? Sigh. Anyway you can send recommendations at the @parpolbro Twitter account, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group that no one uses, the contact bit on the website, or email@example.com. Or you can have it tattooed on your body in a series of cryptic clues and then run around naked until a news report happens near you and you interrupt Mike Bushall doing a piece about extreme chess and it goes viral and then I eventually see it at which point I just think you’re weird and ignore it and now you’ve wasted all that time and tattooes and you have a cold bum and an angry Mike Bushall. No one wants that. Probably best to just email.
And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you for tuning in once again despite the break and I promise I won’t leave you now for quite some time. I mean, as if I can afford a holiday. Ha! If you do enjoy the show, please tell everyone you know, ooh I’m a poet and am painfully aware that I shouldn’t be. Also please do donate to the Patreon or ko-fi if you can, review the show on your favourite podcast apps or if you already have, why not grab your friends and families phones and review it on there? If they have one of those phone with face recognition you could secretly make a mask of their face and wear it to gain access then after go to work pretending to be them and take over their lives while they sleep! Fun! Oh and don’t forget to get in touch via all the social medias and anti-social medias and the middle aged medias that pretend they want to be social but are finding excuses not to be.
Ta loads to Acast for housing this show in it’s audio home for gifted sounds, to my brother The Last Skeptik for all the beeps and boops on the show and this week also to my wife who is on Twitter @proresting and she provided some of the voices at the beginning of the episode because I’m not that good at impressions.
This will be back next week when the Lib Dems announce that they’ve changed their minds and they will now be a leaderless party operating like a borderless bank and with all their policies in a cloud and no one has to bother going into work. After 4 weeks the cloud is hacked only to find the words ‘People’s Vote’ written in 162 fonts and colours and nothing else.
This week’s show was brought to you by Boris Johnson’s History Hour. Learn about history’s greatest moments from the present’s largest idiot. Be whatever the opposite of educated is on World War Two – the war that ended when England defeated Germany and Russia and Bogota all with just a very shiny spoon. How about the War Of The Roses, where the Yorkists and the Lancastrians fought together against Remoaners and some tigers over a box of chocolates. Or the Fall Of Constantinople where the city of Constantinople, which is still definitely called that, had an Autumn, and yes it’s still definitely called that. Boris Johnson’s History Hour, it’ll be like you’re travelling back in time but you know, only in respects to intelligence and information.