Episode 116 – Cool Calm Heads – Universal Credit, Owen Espley from War on Want, McStrike, More Brexit nonsense

Released on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018.

Episode 116 – Cool Calm Heads – Universal Credit, Owen Espley from War on Want, McStrike, More Brexit nonsense

Episode 116 – A slightly shorter episode than usual because Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) has a cold and let’s face it, nothing remotely interesting has happened with Brexit negotiations since last week so no need for Brexit Fallout. Instead there is an interview with Owen Espley (@owenespley) from War On Want (@waronwant) about McStrike (@fastfoodrights) and the gig economy. Plus another look at the absolute sh*tshow that is Universal Credit.

Get £3 off tickets to Choose Laughs at Backyard Comedy Club in aid of Help Refugees on October 24th by going HERE and using the code PARPOLBRO

Donate to the Patreon at www.patreon.com/parpolbro

Buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/parpolbro

Watch Tiernan’s comedy specials on Next Up Comedy at: www.nextupcomedy.com

Join Tiernan’s comedy mailing list at www.tiernandouieb.co.uk/contact

Follow us on Twitter @parpolbro, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ParPolBro/ and the fancy webpage at http://www.partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk

Music by The Last Skeptik (@thelastskeptik) – https://www.thelastskeptik.com/

THIS EPISODE IS TAGGED WITH: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Further Reading

A slightly shorter episode than usual because Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) has a cold and let’s face it, nothing remotely interesting has happened with Brexit negotiations since last week so no need for Brexit Fallout. Instead there is an interview with Owen Espley (@owenespley) from War On Want (@waronwant) about McStrike (@fastfoodrights) and the gig economy. Plus another look at the absolute sh*tshow that is Universal Credit.

Get £3 off tickets to Choose Laughs at Backyard Comedy Club in aid of Help Refugees on October 24th by going HERE and using the code PARPOLBRO
Links and sources of info from Owen’s interview:
• Owen Espley on Twitter – https://twitter.com/OwenEspley
• War On Want on Twitter – https://twitter.com/WaronWant
• War On Want website – https://www.waronwant.org/
• The MacStrike (Fast Food Rights) on Twitter – https://twitter.com/FastfoodRights
• The TUC on Twitter – https://twitter.com/The_TUC
• Unite Hospitality on Twitter – https://twitter.com/FairHospitality
• Some background info on Liverpool: Time for Ten – https://waronwant.org/media/building-mcstrike-taking-action-make-%C2%A310-hour-reality-labour-party-conference-fringe
• Sheffield Needs a Pay Rise on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Sheff4ten
• Better than Zero on Twitter – https://twitter.com/betterthanzero

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




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. This is episode 116, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Prime Minister and only person whose reflection has more depth than she does, Theresa May, says this is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail, I ask is this once again just her way of saying she’s going to lead robots to rule over all of us? And if this is further definite proof of her animatronic workings, how do we reprogram her to stop getting frozen on Brexit like it’s some sort of Y2K bug?


Once again the Prime Minister took to parliament to tell them that absolutely nothing has got anywhere, no one has progressed on anything but that the UK and EU are arguing about something that may not happen incase it does happen if the rest of the negotiations ever move anywhere allowing it to get to the point where that could be the case, if that was ever likely. Brexit Minister and lovechild of Vaseline and a sausage Dominic Raab raced to Brussels yesterday to meet with Chief Negotiator and stock photo of your father in law you don’t get on with Michael Barnier only for them to not come to any decent conclusions whatsoever. This is apparently because the EU won’t accept the UK’s backstop without their backstop also in place like a double backstop or a backbackstopstop which incidentally are also the instructions the UK won’t listen to when walking near a cliff edge. I personally think Raab actually made the trip on a Sunday because someone pranked him and said it was already Monday in Belgium and he still has no idea how time zones work. As of last week various cabinet ministers were threatening to resign if May went ahead with her proposed Brexit backstop deal because nothing fixes the possibility of a temporary plan becoming a permanent one due to a lack of other plans, like people throwing a tantrum and walking out and being even more unhelpful. This supposed walk out was lead by ex-Brexit secretary and Visible Fart On A Cold Day David Davis, which is why it hasn’t happened and he’ll no doubt say it was never going to happen before saying he has notes that it was but no one can see them or it’d give his advantage away.


Across the small water the political wing of M.Night Shymalan’s The Village aka The DUP are still demanding they get the same deal as the rest of the UK, abstaining in a vote on the agriculture bill instead of backing the government for the first time since their agreeing to prop up a Conservative government like a very angry crotch. Which incidentally is also a good description for most DUP members. This abstaining was said to be a warning shot, something that should not be misjudged in Northern Ireland, for a possible blocking of the upcoming budget by the DUP, meaning the Conservatives wouldn’t be able to pass it, would could lead to a no-confidence vote for Theresa May, a woman who absolutely no one has confidence. Leader and resting smacked face Arlene Foster also met with Michael Barnier last week and said he was ‘difficult and hostile’ which presumably means she asked him to join her party as a promising election candidate. Foster said the meeting has led her to believe a no deal scenario is now most likely but I’m not sure we should trust her, a woman who is one of the main reasons Northern Ireland still doesn’t have an assembly, to give us her gut instincts on how negotiations between two groups are going.


She may not be wrong though as ministers have been told to make no deal preparations which depending on who you are is either stockpiling food and medicines or preparing for winter by wrapping yourself in a Union Jack and singing god save the queen till the cold goes away. The EU too have planned a no deal emergency summit in November where they will meet to discuss what would happen if the UK crash out and what the best popcorn is to eat while watching it happen. SNP leader and everyone’s least favourite Osmond Nicola Sturgeon has called for an extension of the 21 month Brexit transition period to get a commonsense future with the EU, which is a terrible catchphrase if you’re trying to pitch it to Conservatives who will hear the first half of that word and immediately just try and take the proposals benefits away.


In news that sounds related but surprisingly isn’t, the Prime Minister has unveiled plans to tackle loneliness, which based on her Brexit stance will be to suggest you drive all your close friends away, blame them for it and then just keep telling yourself you’ll be fine as you die from a lack of insulin. One of May’s plans is for postal workers to identify and check on elderly people as they do their rounds, which is a great plan because I can’t imagine anything more comforting than finding a delivery note in your door telling you they just assumed you weren’t in but couldn’t be bothered to ring the doorbell. Other plans include getting GPs to send lonely patients to art classes or community groups, you know, all the things the government have cut funding for or to prescribe dance lessons, in the hope that if they get good enough and learn rhythm they definitely won’t be prime minister.


Health Secretary and Bash Street kid Matt Hancock has suggested that the way to beat the robot economy is to think like a dyslexic but I doubt it as they have autocorrect so that won’t even phase them mate. Hancock who is dyslexic himself says it’s giving things a fresh perspective that will set humans apart. Yes, like the Matt Hancock app which tells the robots, using their code, exactly where he is at all time. Good luck surviving the Robopocalyse Matt. I suspect you’ll be first to go.


In international news the UK, France and Germany have called for an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khasoggi who, a critic of Saudi Arabia, vanished after visiting the consulate in Istanbul earlier this month though Turkish security sources say officials have audio and video that prove Khasoggi was murdered as he recorded it with his Apple Watch as he entered the building which is really smart and something that Tim Cook should totally advertise during the next Apple conference. About to get murdered? The new Apple Watch will broadcast evidence of your death to all your friends and family and allow them to like or cry face emoji as it happens live! Britain haven’t strongly condemned Saudi Arabia that much despite it likely that they killed a journalist in another country which is terrifying stuff. It took Foreign Secretary and cheese string Jeremy Hunt seven days to respond and mainly just said ‘well we’ve asked Saudi Arabia and they haven’t said anything sooooo…’ Weirdly US President and inflamed tonsil Donald Trump was harsher saying he would punish Saudi Arabia if they were found responsible though that is probably because he’s angry someone attacked a journalist without letting him join in. It’s of course hugely likely that the UK government won’t condemn Saudi Arabia because they buy so many weapons of us to then use on people in Yemen, which the UK then send aid to in the most pointless circle of events ever. It’s like buying knives for gangs but saying you’re counteracting it because you left some free plasters on a park bench. Speaking of pointless things, Donald Trump has now said that he no longer thinks climate change is a hoax, but he does think that climate scientists have a political agenda. Of course they do. It’s in their interests to campaign against a man who’s very bright skin tone increases the earth’s core temperature. Trump’s US Ambassador to the UN and author of Can’t Is Not An Option, a book of crosswords that never mention the German philosopher, Nikki Haley, has resigned from her position after realizing that as a female descendent of Indian immigrants she could spend more time being less valued at home in America.


And lastly, Labour leader and main cast of a 70s public information film about safety hazards in libraries Jeremy Corbyn has said the impact of the British empire should be taught in schools so children learn about colonialism, and the slave trade. I mean I agree, but I worry that if it’s not done properly, kids will just think it’s a term long study on how Boris Johnson thinks and lose interest. And fracking has started near Blackpool after a legal challenge failed on Friday which is one hand, in terms of the constant escalation of climate change and the risks to the environment and welfare of people nearby, really depressing, but on the other hand a few earthquakes could really boost the excitement on some of the older rides on the Pleasure beach. Climate minister and woman who constantly looks like she’s never entirely sure where she is Claire Perry, said ‘Why would you want to import gas when you could create your own?’ And yes, I heard that and laughed like a child for a solid ten minutes.




Hey hey podchamps, it is lovely to see you again. No wait, that sounds creepy doesn’t it? It implies I can see you while you listen to this which I can’t and I’ll be honest, I really have no want to ever do. I mean while I listen to podcasts I’m mostly being incredibly boring and just walking somewhere or say, driving while trying to pull a very long nose hair out. They are very long. I have no idea why this is happening to me but I fear they are trying to weave into my beard as part of my slow descent into becoming an overall wolf man. Or maybe they are just lonely and want to be part of a bigger hair scene? What happens to nose hairs of people without beards, do they grow long enough to reach your head hair, or worse, your armpit hair or maybe the hair of someone else? Wow, this is all really gross and terrifying. I’m sorry. All I’m saying is I don’t want to see what you’re up, so what I should say is it is lovely to just sort of shout at you. I know last week’s show was a bit shouty, sorry about that, it is my natural state of volume and I usually remember to tone it down a bit when I’m just talking to a microphone in a room by myself. I got told off doing TV warm up stuff last week by the sound tech who came up to me and said ‘you do know you have a microphone right?’ Yep, fully aware and I really think it’s just my DNA. I mean my daughter seems excessively loud for a tiny baby and I often say to my wife ‘why and how is she so loud?’ and my wife looks at me and says ‘you know why’. So, there you go. It’s in the bones.


Thank you this week to Ollie for becoming a Patreon supporter which is hugely appreciated and if you too would like to donate a monthly, well, anything, even $1 to this show then you can do that at patreon.com/parpolbro and with that equivalent of 76p I will put it towards making this show better, which, er, with 76p I could, erm, pay a child to do some research for me for just under 5 minutes. I mean, I’ve got to pay living wage haven’t I? But I also shouldn’t employ children as that’s not ok. Ok wait, I’ve got it, I’ll make the child do it for free and I’ll buy some crisps. Win! Please donate. You could also give me a one off donation of the price of a coffee at ko-fi.com/parpolbro if that’s more your cup of ..er….coffee. And if you can’t afford to do any of those things I will also accept being able to ask you for a favour at any point in your life that you can’t turn down, your firstborn child or you know, maybe just review the show on your fave pod app or tell people you know to listen in because its still only 212 in the Botswana Apple podcast charts and I can’t believe people aren’t sharing the goodness over there. Tlaya Batho! Which I think means come on people but you know, this is probably exactly why it’s still at 212. Also, and this is exciting, you can now tell people to listen to this podcast on… Spotify! Yes this podcast is now available on Spotify which means you can just start adding it to playlists called things like ‘Motivation for Idiots’ or ‘Music to listen to when having a panic attack’ or whatever then share them just to confuse people.


Only other bit of admin this week is that next week I’m hosting a gig called Choose Laughs, that I’ve mentioned before on this show, to raise money for Help Refugees at the Backyard Comedy Club in Bethnal Green on Weds 24th October with a great line up of Fern Brady, Dane Baptiste, Tony Law, Lou Sanders and someone else I can’t remember because I forget to have it up on the screen while recording this like a total amateur. It is going to be excellent and as podcast listeners you can get £3 off tickets if you use the code PARPOLBRO on the tickettext website when you find the event page. Of course, it is for charity so by having £3 off that makes you an awful person who is stealing from refugees, I’m just saying, but you know feel free to use that code and kick people while they’re already really down. You utter bastards. Hope to see you there!


A briefish podcast this week with no headlines because I have a sore throat thingy that feels like I’ve gargled razor blades which I haven’t done even though having a beard means I have little other use for my razors and I do hate waste. Instead on this show I am talking to Owen Espley from War On Want all about the McStrike that happened last week and why the gig economy is well bad. Also another look at just how awful universal credit still is. I know I’ve looked at it on this show before but it turns out, it’s still shit. And yep, no Brexit fallout because why not just listen to last week’s one again and imagine even more people are unhappy and that’s where we are. It does really bother me that one of the main British values we do actually have as a nation is saying sorry way to often and being far too reserved when in an awkward situation and I think that by not playing to either of those and just heading to the negotiations and going ‘oh er, really sorry I didn’t mean any of this, you just go ahead and I’ll stand outside’ that Theresa May is demeaning the country. There I’ve said it. Oh and there is nothing about the royal baby because a) I don’t care, and b) I’m choosing to pretend it’s a well timed conspiracy by the government because it’s due in spring and people will foam at the mouth at a royal baby Brexit whammy and not notice that still no one’s done anything useful.


And now, this:




INTERVIEW PART 1 – Owen Espley War On Want


One of the biggest contradictions of the McDonald’s global fast food chain, aside from Happy meals that are getting healthier but are somehow still happy, hmm, or the fries that are both moreish and tasteless all at once, is the ‘I’m loving it’ slogan, plastered across the apparel of staff who are working for less than fair wages. To make underpaid workers insist to the world that actually, they love their less than living wage job is akin to if Currys PC World staff wore tshirts that said ‘no please do ask me anything, I do know what I’m talking about and I promise I won’t just wander off when you ask me a question and never return.’ October the 4th saw the first nationwide McStrike, which no, isn’t a new serious of flammable or violent fast food products, but instead a day of action with workers not just from McDonalds, but also Wetherspoons, TGI Friday, Uber Eats and Deliveroo to take on the massive corporations that hire them and campaign for better pay and conditions, all organized by War On Want, Unite and The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union. Workers from eight cities across the UK staged a walkout making the fast food in the restaurants a damn sight slower, as a message to their employers who are already peeved enough that it’s being called a McStrike, as they know that branding is everything.


The number of workers on zero hours contracts in the UK has tripled since 2012, and anyone with basic maths knowledge can tell you, 901,000 times zero equals a shit ton of a lack of stability and an awful load of no employment rights. So, this week I spoke to Owen Espley at War On Want, a charity that fight against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice and were one of the groups who helped organized the McStrike. I asked Owen all about why fast food workers were angry, what the gig economy means for the country’s economy overall and of course the dreaded question of how Brexit may affect workers’ rights and how it is those fries taste of something and nothing at all, all at once. Ok, I didn’t ask him the last question as let’s face it, it’s not relevant and no one will ever know that. But I’m sure you’ll find this chat as informative as I did as Owen explained just why unions really are so important. Here’s Owen:




And we’ll be back with Owen in a minute, but first…




If you’d never heard of Universal Credit before and someone told you the name of it, you’d be enthralled right? I mean, it sounds like a system where you could use just one card where ever you travel in the galaxy? Or a tagline for a sci-fi film. Star Trek: Universal Credit. Guardians of The Galaxy and The Universal Credit. Sadly however in reality universal credit is much less an exciting intergalactic futuristic invention and more the opposite of a gift that keeps giving. A theft that keeps taking, probably. Ever since it was announced in 2011 by then secretary of state for work and pensions and always angry thumb Iain Duncan Smith, Universal Credit has been, to put it lightly, a mega shit show. It’s original intention was combine six different benefits including unemployment, tax credits and housing, into just one monthly payment like the Vidal Sassoon Wash and Go of benefit schemes but with a less catchy slogan and pushed by a man who’s hair likely fell out just to get away from such a cruel brain. I’m not saying it was a bad idea from the start but aside from all the technical and management failures that mean the cost of rolling it out has risen from £2.4bn to over £15bn, meaning it’s likely to cost more than the original benefits system and will now arrive five years later than planned, which already sounds like it’s being done by a badly written stereotypical builder who tells you it’ll be a two day paint job but six months and 14 gallons of tea later has replaced your entire roof and rewired the street. Aside from all that, there have also been warnings since forever that by not just sending housing benefits to landlords that rent may go into arrears causing a rise in evictions and homelessness, a delay in first payments meaning early claimants were going weeks without any money at all, and now, this past week, for the first time ever, Work and pensions secretary and Hell’s 1997 Eurovision entry Esther Mcvey, admitted that actually, thanks to a series of cuts by former Chancellor with skin made of clingfilm George Osborne, universal credit will be making some people worse off than they were before. Brilliant! Reports from the Resolution Foundation say 3.2m households are likely to lose £48 a week and the Policy In Practice report says £52.So it costs more than it should, is taking longer than I should and will cause a rise in poverty and homelessness, so why are a party who insisted for years that they wouldn’t reward failure keeping something that’s had so many fails it could be a highly successful youtube channel?


The government have of course defended it by saying that people can do more work to increase their income which isn’t that helpful if you’re not able to or, like many recepients of benefits, already working. And it looks like the only way to save it is with at least another £2bn cash injection which makes you wonder why Universal Credit doesn’t just try and actually work to support itself? So now Chancellor of Exchequer and man who’s been clinically dead for at least 15 years Philip Hammond has to decide whether to save it in the budget in two weeks and if so, where to get the money from. A number of Conservative MPs are threatening to block any further roll out of the system unless it gets funding, former Prime Ministers sad hairless cat John Major and man increasingly looking like he’s wearing a rubber mask of his own face Gordon Brown have both spoken out against it, saying it will be a disaster on the scale of Thatcher’s poll tax. In classic Labour style Shadow Chancellor and children’s football team manager who’s always let down by the kids John McDonnell said he backed scrapping universal credit altogether, while Shadow Foreign Secretary and scariest mum in the playground Emily Thornberry said it just needs reform and Baroness and generic 90’s Britpop lead singer tribute Shami Chakrabarti says it’s a brand problem. Sure because maybe if it was just called something less grandiose people would expect less from it? Great plan, let’s all save money, keep it as it is but just refer to it as a Detriment System or even more childishly Pooniversal Credit.


So far the Department of Work And Pensions have a tough it out attitude. Esther McVey says they have made tough decisions and some people will be worse off, and even in the Commons this week suggested that women in Birkenhead who are being forced into prostitution due to poverty from universal credit, should just look at other job opportunities in the UK as there are many. While DWP minister and captain giant smug face Alok Sharma defended increased food bank use by saying there are many reasons people use them. Yes, there are but they all come under the overall heading of poverty which is largely caused by the DWP not giving people any money to live on at all because Universal Credit is fucked. So now all eyes are on if the Chancellor decides to tough it out and if its Universal Credit that gets made redundant or given a pay rise. Meanwhile it’s been revealed that 22 charities working with universal credit claimants have been given a gagging clause banning them from criticisng McVey or they could lose funding. These were put in place by office wanker Damien Green when he was head of DWP but they are clearly an attempt to avoid further bad press for Universal Credit. But let’s be fair, unless Philip Hammond decides to gag that altogether, it’s effects will very much speak for themselves and it’ll only be a matter of time before Mcvey and her insistence that everyone just shut up and deal with a worse life, means she’ll be signing on any day now as it’s obvious that neither her or Universal Credit are fit for work.



And now, back to Owen…




Thank you to Owen for having the time to chat to me. You can find Owen on Twitter @OwenEspley and you can find War On Want @waronwant or at their website waronwant.org where there is lots of information on their current campaigns and more importantly, what you can do to help. All the other links and recommendations Owen made will be on the partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk website later in the week.


Owen very kindly moved my interview with him forward so it could be in this week’s show and not next week’s, after I had an interviewee drop out. So again, any recommendations or requests for interviewees or subjects to interview people about that you want to send in, just gives me a higher chance of actually getting someone for the show every week. Rather than you know, me doing a series of odd voices and pretending to be the authority on something like, I dunno, political taxidermy or an activist for bigger porridge. I mean, you can see by those examples alone, it would be terrible. So please send your suggestions, as always, to @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group, the contact page on PartlyPoliticalBroadcast.co.uk or by email to partlypoliticalbroadcast@gmail.com. Or you could draw it in giant chalk letters on a massive hill, like the Cerne Abbas Giant, but its due to be quite rainy for the next few weeks and chances are you’ll get a cold doing all that outdoor chalk work and the cold will be so bad your ears will block and then when I finally interview whoever you’ve asked me to, you’ll miss the show. So overall, probably best to email.





And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you once again for taking these particular sound waves into your head antennas and please don’t forget to like, subscribe, and review the show on whichever pod app you use or if you don’t use a pod app, why not just write it across the front of your computer screen or Echo or whatever with a permanent marker and send me a pic? Also if you can, please donate to the Patreon or ko-fi and if you can’t, just aggressively tell people to listen to it before you write your podcast review on their mug or pet with a permanent marker because maybe you accidentally sniffed it when using it last time and now everything seems unclear.


Thanks to Acast for stashing this show in its audio safety deposit box, and to my brother The Last Skeptik for all of the plinky plonky noises.


This will be back next week when Theresa May makes a statement to Parliament to let them know that something will happen on Brexit one day but it hasn’t yet and the day it might could be tomorrow or years away and hey isn’t it just nice that we’re all here together and maybe the true Brexit is the Brexit we found along the way?





This week’s show was brought to you by Claire Perry’s personal fracking kits. With Claire’s do it yourself package of a tin of beans, a spoon, some aspartame, a rubber tube and a polythene bag you’ll be creating your own gas within hours. Claire Perry’s personal fracking kit because when you make this much pointless hot air with your arse and mouth, you may as well use it for something.



Email Tiernan