Episode 119 – Recorded on fireworks night so it’s extra, er, bangin’, this week’s show looks at MP Tracey Crouch’s resignation as Sports Minister, Arron Banks being a terrible human and Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) speaks to political journalist Jennifer McKiernan (@_JennyMcKiernan) for a Scottish Politics update.
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Linear liner notes
Recorded on fireworks night so it’s extra, er, bangin’, this week’s show looks at MP Tracey Crouch’s resignation as Sports Minister, Arron Banks being a terrible human and Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) speaks to political journalist Jennifer McKiernan (@_JennyMcKiernan) for a Scottish Politics update.
Some stuff Tiernan mentioned at the start of the show:
• Bah! Humbug! An evening of comedy (Tues 27th Nov, Oxford) – https://oldfirestation.org.uk/whats-on/bah-humbug-2018/
• Jonny & The Baptists – https://jonnyandthebaptists.bandcamp.com/
Links and sources of info from Jenny’s interview:
• Jenny McKiernan on Twitter – https://twitter.com/_JennyMcKiernan
• The Press Association on Twitter – https://twitter.com/PA
• Press Association website – https://www.pressassociation.com/
• Political Yeti (James Millar) on Twitter – https://twitter.com/PoliticalYeti
• Political Yeti podcast – https://james-millar.com/podcasts/
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 podcast. 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 119, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Health Secretary and what happens if you aim a hairdryer at a chipmunk Matt Hancock says that people must take more responsibility for their own health, I’d like to apologise for getting type 1 diabetes at the age of 4 and causing such an irresponsible burden on everyone. I will now step up my efforts to produce my own insulin using a homemade chemistry kit and some imagination.
Hancock’s new NHS health plan is to be proactive rather than reactive and boost life expectancy by five years or at least until a no deal Brexit kicks in and we all have to live off puddle water and mouse droppings. The plan also includes halving childhood obesity, which sounds quite violent, but I guess the children will be lighter, diagnosing 75% of cancers by 2028 which sounds about the sort of waiting times many cancer patients have now, and using technology to predict patients’ illnesses. Knowing Hancock this will be some sort of app that gives all your details away for free and then after taking a Buzzfeed style quiz that asks you ‘if your illness was a fast food what would it be?’ then takes all the answers and tells you you’re fit to work so stop being lazy. The main drive though is to get people to take control of their own health, which look, I’m all for. If you choose to get up every morning and drink a shot of bleach to get your system going then don’t be clogging up A&E complaining how your insides are melting when we all know you could’ve mixed that Domestos with orange juice. But when austerity has created massive health gaps between the richest and the poorest due to costs of living, then really when the The Health secretary says it’s all about people making better choices for their own well-being, it’s probably less about cutting out sugar and salt and more about not voting Conservative. Let’s face it. If things weren’t quite so shit we wouldn’t have to drink so much to block it out.
MP Tracey ‘My surname isn’t quite nominative determinism for my former job unless you count Paula Radcliffe on that marathon’ Crouch is now former minister for Sport, Civil Society and Loneliness, with her resignation surprisingly not at all being to do with the fact that her job title sounded like it came from a random word generator. Ooh I’m now minister for Dungeons and Dragons, Cornflakes and Doubt. Weird. Instead she resigned because of the delay to the change in laws for fixed odds betting terminals which sounds like another name for any departure zone RyanAir operate out of but they’re actually those gambling computers that hate you and reside mostly in pubs, betting shops and service stations in case your long horrible motorway journey could be made better by losing money before you eat a disappointing sandwich. At the moment you can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds which I guess you don’t do with change or that’d almost be impressive, but to stop gambling addiction the new laws will reduce that to just £2 every 20 seconds. This would help curb gambling addictions and then leave people with more money to get more depressed cheese and pickle on soggy wholemeal Ginsters instead. This new law was meant to happen in April 2019 but Chancellor and ‘Siri find me a human who looks like a stinkhorn mushroom’ Philip Hammond announced in his budget that actually it’d now be October 2019. Crouch has been campaigning on this for three and a half years and so understandably resigned in the sort of principled decision that made you realise she really didn’t fit well in this government anyway with morals like that. She blamed the delay on other MPs who are clearly very interested in the bookmaking industry, obviously meaning Philip ‘Lovechild of Ramsay Bolton and a dropped yoghurt’ Davies who has had loads of freebies from the gambling industry in the last few years, despite being a total bandit. You could say he has a stake in it and has kept his hand very closely guarded but now Crouch’s called his bluff so hopefully the arsehole will fold and give up at some point soon. Tracey Crouch is now the 13th minister to resign from the cabinet in the past year but still Prime Minister and Edward Gorey drawing Theresa May still manages to keep control, maybe because taking charge of a sinking ship isn’t that glamourous a job prospect. But 13/1 really aren’t great odds for a big win if they’re not in your favour.
Speaking of the Prime Minister, EU officials say her chances of striking an Irish border deal are 50-50 which is a shame as if they were just 52-48 then everyone would feel much more reassured, right? Brexit Secretary and glazed fillet Dominic Raab reckons there’ll be a Brexit plan by November 21st but also wants an Irish backstop that won’t last for more than 3 months because it’s clear he has absolutely no concept of time. Pretty sure he’d insist that Rome could’ve been built in a day if those Europeans had stopped getting in the way and people hadn’t devalued the process. Irish Taoiseach and recently promoted Debenhams store manager Leo Varadkar said that a time limited backstop wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on, but that could be because he hasn’t realised that it’s likely to be written in crayon so that wax may add value. There are also still worries about the status of EU nationals in the UK post Brexit after immigration minister and rejected estate agent Caroline Noakes told the Home Affairs Committee that employers will have to check EU employees’ rights to work but she wasn’t sure how. Home Secretary and marble with eyes Sajid Javid said this isn’t true and there will be no check, which judging by his department’s record means they’ll just be kicked out without any warning instead.
Political donor and suited chode Arron Banks’s facing a criminal investigation from the National Crime Agency and no not because they are trying to find out if it’s actually illegal to be that much of a bell end. It’s because he has still not revealed the origins of the £8m of donations he made to the Leave.EU campaign during the Brexit referendum, with suspicions that it comes from Russian funding, and via company Rock Holdings which isn’t allowed to donate to campaigns because it’s based in the Isle Of Man and not just because it means one man has to treacherously row it across the Irish Sea on a raft. During an interview on the Marr Show, Banks, who looks a lot like if Baron Greenback was very ill, repeatedly took the Trump-esque arsehole stance of complaining that he’s the victim and everyone else is bullying him before saying nasty words about everyone and shouting a lot without actually answering any questions. ‘Let me get a word in edgeways’ he shouted over Andrew Marr and the closest we got to anything useful was when he said that the source of his funding, as long as its legitimate, is legitimate. Well that’s that cleared up then. Thanks 2018’s very own Bitty McClean. The investigation hasn’t yet started and there is no way to know for sure if Bank’s donations, whether legal or not, affected the referendum outcome so I can’t really comment on whether or not I think he’s guilty but I mean, just look at him and his stupid face like a beaten up pug, his record of being well, really horrible and his far right associations, and you know, let’s just all hope that karma exists.
In the US, as mid-term elections happen this week, US President and trampled langoustine Donald Trump has re-imposed sanctions on Iran because he’s still jealous that he’s not allowed to call himself Supreme Leader. Trump announced this move via his online vomitorium Twitter with a Game Of Thrones type meme saying ‘Sanctions Are Coming’. Odd choice considering Trump’s views of GoT are that there’s blame on all sides, White Walkers seem like good guys, he agrees with Ramsay Bolton that torture works, Red Wedding could have been stopped if more Starks had swords, and he isn’t sure if Winter is coming as it may be a hoax from China. Iran’s President who looks a lot like an angry Papa Smurf, Hassan Rouhani, has said he vows to break the sanctions, which makes all of this seem like it could drag out longer than a wait for a new George RR Martin book. Let’s hope it doesn’t have the same amount of casualties. At least in this there aren’t any characters anyone likes.
Lastly former Prime Minister and upset balloon David Cameron has said that he’d like to return to politics. Is that like when the only one who can remove a curse is the one who placed it? And this week sees the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, when in 1918, the World War 1 Allies and Germany met in Compiegne, France and signed for the ceasing of hostilities on the Western Front in an event that is hard to imagine in today’s day and age. Though that is largely because now if all those countries met, the UK would be standing outside shouting through the windows ‘how about we keep firing but everyone else stops?’ while the others discussed all the important things.
Ay up people, how’s you? Thank you once again for either listening in or at least hitting ‘mark as played’ when this downloads so you can ignore it for another week. It still means you’ve thought about it so it definitely counts.
It’s official fireworks night as I record this, or as it’s known in my area of seemingly never-ending explosions like my neighbours’ are trying to fight the sky, just another night. But today is actual Guy Fawkes, something that in 2018 should be reworked and retitled to be Lady Knives, and I refuse to go down the simple historically inaccurate suggestion that I’ve done previously that it’s a shame old Fawkesy didn’t get the job done because a) he was actually quite a dick and like a super Catholic libertarian type and b) it’d be condoning terrorism when I’d much prefer it if someone just went to Westminister and I dunno, blocked the toilets till MPs promised to stop being awful. That would of course make for some really awful annual celebrations in years to come where everyone empties their bowels at the same time because politicians couldn’t or I dunno, holds it in for a whole day. I’m not sure. The whole thing is so weirdly contrary. Let’s blow stuff up because Guy Fawkes couldn’t. It’s like remembering the titanic’s voyage with a successful boat trip or 9/11 by getting a plane that gets to its destination. People are so weird. Anyway I only tell you this as it’s likely throughout this recording, as I sit in my messy cupboard room, there will be intermittent loud rocket wallops in the background. I assume they’re still called rockets. They all have fancy names now like Dog Scarers, Baby Waker Uppers, Rubbish Expensive Ones or Whirly Bastards. I also do actually like fireworks but this weekend has made me realise that much like if you’re a pet owner, being a parent of a child too small to enjoy the fireworks means they just wake her up instead. On the plus side the really noisy ones mean we can’t hear her crying so I suppose it’s swings and roundabouts. It’ll all be over soon and then nothing to look forward to till Christmas or the apocalypse.
Mega thank yous to Paul and Stephanie who donated to the ko-fi.com/parpolbro last week which is much appreciated. Coffee is even more needed now the mornings are so, so dark. I mean ideally, more than coffee, I’d like sleep but as yet there isn’t a donation page that allows that. Until then, please get me caffeine hits or the equivalent thereof on there. Or if you want to give me a monthly donation head to patreon.com/parpolbro where I’ll soon be putting something on there as a bonus once I work out what. Thank you also to Ditton666 who left a nice but obviously frustrated review on Apple Podcasts, which is five stars but also very angry at the inaudible phone interviews. So sorry that they aren’t always crystal clear. Since reading the review I’ve been looking into other ways to get audio and other podcasters have suggested I ask the interview to record it their side too which I will try to do but I do occasionally interview people who insist I call their landline and don’t know how to do anything too technical as they’re too busy fighting the system. Otherwise it requires me trying to use a studio more often which I will do if I book guests in advance enough as the team at Acast are happy for me to do that. But all of this requires time and often money, neither of which I have. Or I could just sack this all off and do a podcast of fireworks sounds with me swearing at them which I reckon I could release a new episode of daily from now till New Year’s if that’s more favourable. I could call it ‘Wish They Weren’t Mostly Lit’ or something. If you’d like to review the show and really I will happily listen to all criticism if you stick a 5 star rating on it, because I’m that sort of shallow, then please do that on which ever pod app you use or one you don’t use if you don’t like to crap on your own doorstep. And most importantly please do just spread the word about this show and tell other people you know to give it a try. Maybe at first they could listen to it at the same time as something else they like then slowly fade one out till they feel comfortable? I hear this show goes well with a nice early 90’s electronica or white noise.
Last admin thing and there’s not much this week so it is admin, I am hosting for the umpteenth time in a row, a lovely gig at Arts At The Old Firestation in Oxford called Bah Humbug on November 27th to raise money for the venue that does lots of work for local homeless people. As well as me, Jonny and the Baptists, Angela Barnes and Ria Lina are also on so it’ll be an excellent gig and you can get tickets for that at oldfirestation.org.uk website. Speaking of Jonny and the Baptists, who are brilliant musical political comedy types and lovely chaps, are selling their whole back catalogue online for £20, which I think is about 7 hours of very funny stuff, and you can grab that at jonnyandthebaptists.bandcamp.com so please go do that, it’s very worth it.
Oh and just to say that if you want more info on the Arron Banks story, head back to episode 115 where I interviewed Peter Geoghegan from Open Democracy all about that. See I was totally ahead of the curve, like a, er curve beater.
On this week’s show what I am not doing is looking at the US mid-terms stuff because I can’t predict the future and I’ll be focusing on that next week, so instead I thought it’d be a good time to catch up with Scottish politics, and I’m interviewing journalist Jennifer McKiernan all about that. Plus: A look at gambling stuff and no Brexit Fallout! Hooray! It’s a Brexit Fallout free week but that is only because next week’s one is likely to be awful.
HEADLINES / BREXIT FALLOUT
INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER MCKIERNAN
If you live in England and watch the magic lighty up box in the corner of your home, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that most of the rest of Britain ceases to exist for a large percentage of the year and then just reappears for rugby tournaments and Hogmanay. But despite what the news and government priorities might say, Wales, Northern Ireland and of course Scotland are all still very much there, very much important and mostly all a bit peeved about how things are going. Right now, for Scotland, that fuzzy hat sat atop England’s concertinaed body, they voted against independence in 2014 to stay in the EU and gain more devolved powers, only for the rest of the UK to vote for Brexit in 2016 and be handed less control than a youngest sibling with a shared family computer. One million Scots are living in poverty, with 230,000 of those being children. But who is to blame? The UK Conservative government for their austerity measures and allocation of funds, or the Scottish SNP for the way they manage it? Or is it Wales with…hahaha only joking. Its never Wales. They can’t do anything. So, I thought it was time for a Scottish politics update this week to find out if, as Scottish Finance Minister and kid at school who’s been given a star for not wetting himself today Derek Mackay says, Scotland was short changed by last week’s budget.
So, I interviewed Jennifer McKiernan. Jenny is a political journalist for the Press Association specializing in, amongst other things, Scotland and Scottish politics. Who better to ask some badly written questions all about Holyrood and its devolved ways? Thankfully Jenny expertly answered my, well as you can hear, terrible questions and as you’ll also hear, did it with informative and excellently nuanced responses too. I should say that I’m not sure what happened to my questions in this chat, I think it’s because we spoke in the evening and I’d just dealt with my daughter’s bath time and so my brain had been too focused on trying to stop her drinking soapy bathwater to work out which words I needed to put into sentences and as a result I really sound like I haven’t got a clue. Which I don’t, but you know, more so. Luckily, Jenny was very on the ball. Hope you enjoy. Here’s Jenny:
INTERVIEW PART 1
And we’ll be back with Jenny in a minute…
I’m not much of a gambler, which I blame partly on being vegetarian so I don’t like any sort of stakes, high or low, but also I am a total coward when it comes to anything that might mean I lose what little money I have. Most weeks all I do is complain that I haven’t won the lottery despite not entering it in the first place. However, I’m certain that will work one day. Gambling addictions in the UK have risen over the last two years, and according to Gamcare a home for old gammons, sorry I mean the leading provider of help and info about this sort of gambling dependency, over 300,000 people have serious gambling addictions and another 450,000 are said to be at moderate risk. Of this there has been a 50% rise of gambling addicts hospitalized in the past year and estimates suggest that anywhere between 250 to 650 gambling addicts take their own lives every year. If that wasn’t bleak enough, the real jackpot for gambling companies are fixed odds betting machines which currently allow people to bet £100 every 20 seconds and rake in £1.8bn a year in revenue, which doesn’t feel fair. I mean at least the betting industry should have to try and win that by lining up different fruits or give it to charity. A gambling commission report back in 2008 said that FOBTs seem particularly attractive to those at risk of problem gambling because of their features of fast games, multi stake, high payout ratios. And recently resigned MP Tracey Crouch has been trying to fight for something to be done about these machines since 2014, with David Cameron at the time calling them ‘crack cocaine’ machines meaning none of us knew if he was really for or against them, and saying he was willing to work with Labour to address the problems with them. A review was launched by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to be concluded in Spring of 2015 and then further in 2016 and then finally in 2017 there was a government review into proposals to changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures, including reducing the maximum stake as well as doing things like making the roulette wheel spin slower which apparently would reduce bets but also hopefully bore people so much while waiting for them to stop that they’d just leave. Labour put reducing it into their manifesto and then finally Tracey Crouch and her then boss Matt ‘If only sick people would sort themselves out and stop being sick’ Hancock won over the Treasury and got them to reduce the betting stake to £2 and while no date was set Crouch and anti-gambling groups wanted it from the beginning of the 2019 tax year in April. Then last week Philip Hammond announced in his budget that it wouldn’t be till October and Crouch resigned. Which to be fair, is what everyone wanted to do after hearing Hammond’s gags.
In her resignation letter Crouch said that the 6-month delay would mean the poorest people in the country would lose millions of pounds with two deaths a day due to gambling related problems and that she believes the delay is unjustifiable. Wow, that is both awesome and gutting that one of the few cabinet members with principles has now left. Crouch also mentioned that the delay is ‘due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests.’ She didn’t say who she meant but all snake eyes are on Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, that is most well known for generally being an arsehole whether it be filibustering policies on tackling domestic violence, or doing the same but for a bill about providing first aid training to children. Or free hospital parking for carers. If you look up ‘the worst’ in the dictionary, he’s probably done something awful to have it removed from there because that’s who he is. In 2013, Davies was investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards as he gained more than £10k in benefits from gambling industry companies, which he didn’t declare. Davies was ordered to apologise, then did then nothing else happened. He’s registered as chair of the All Parliamentary Group for Betting and Gambling since 2015, which is what he used as his excuse to be cleared of wrongdoing over claims he was receiving favourable treatment from Ladbrokes who had lifted all restrictions on his betting account. He said that he is chair of the group and a former bookmaker so of course he met with bookmakers. You know like how if you’re a cop who used to deal drugs and is now on the drug squad, it’s totally cool if you hang out with drugs barons and honk smack through your face holes for research. I mean there’s a term for that sort of thing known, appropriately as gambler’s conceit. Then in 2017 he accused the government of playing to the gallery by looking at reducing the FOBT maximum stake and this year alone Davies has received over £3k of hospitality from Ladbrokes, William Hill and SkyBet which doesn’t sound like much for those gambling giants to pay when they guaranteed get a massive lemon in Parliament every single time.
The FOBT industry is massive and this stake reduction will cut bookmakers revenue by £150m and the association of British bookmakers predict it could mean job losses of 20,000 or more and many shop closures. So, it’s obviously in their interests for people to still be splurging £100s on their evil temptation boxes. Last October before a debate in Parliament about FOBTs, a document was leaked to The Guardian showing several draft questions for MPs by lobbyists for the bookmakers, with versions of many of them making their way into the debate. I guess they just had to be careful who asked them as, for example, you can imagine someone like Dominic Raab forgetting to stop reading his and shouting out ‘Love from Ladbrookes’ at the end. Labour MP David Lammy said back then that the gambling lobby is an open secret backed by a very powerful and well-resourced organization. Before the Budget FOBT changes date announcement there was a private meeting between Philip Davies and Culture Secretary Jeremy ‘I once painted my hallway grey, is that art?’ Wright, though Wright says he moved it closer from a 2020 Spring date, and Davies said that he wished he had that kind of sway over government policy. Which means either he’s not being entirely truthful which just doesn’t seem right for a man with such integrity…no sorry I can’t even pretend to say that without laughing… or the gambling lobby has even higher reach. Whatever the answer, Crouch took her shot and chose to hand over her job rather than keep putting up an empty hand. Hopefully this has made everyone more aware of the lobbying that takes place and maybe it can be tackled with enough pressure. I mean, even if it’s just luck, there has to be at least one time where the house doesn’t win right?
GamCare can be found at GamCare.org.uk or @gamcare on Twitter.
And now, back to Jenny…
INTERVIEW PART 2
Thank you to Jenny for that. You can follow her on Twitter @_JennyMcKiernan and she writes for the Press Association who you can find @PA or on their website at pressassociation.com. And James Millar aka Political Yeti, who Jenny mentions, is @politicalyeti on Twitter and his website is james-millar.com. And yes that’s all the links this week, nice and succinct isn’t it? You can use all those spare seconds you have doing something nice…oh wait, I’ve just wasted them with this bit haven’t I? Sorry everyone. As you were.
Next week I will hopefully have someone on to chat all about US mid-term elections but after that, who actually knows? Answer: Not me. But I would like to get someone on Welsh politics soon and at some point, if they ever get a government again, a Northern Ireland update too. All suggestions on who to chat to for those things are welcome. But what do you want me to interview people about? Who should I seek out and send annoying emails to until they let me ask them badly written questions? Let me know or risk a really weird episode where I question myself while reading out wikihow answers in a silly voice and pretending I’m an expert in things. No one wants that. Trust me. So you can let me know who to interview or what to interview them about by tweeting me @parpolbro, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group, the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you could plant it deep into the sea where dolphins will use echolocation sonar to discover it and race towards the coast to click the message to me. Only I live quite inland so they’ll be knackered by the time they get here, and I don’t speak dolphin so I’ll just assume someone’s in trouble or they’re a bit broken, take them to a garage and ignore them. As always, it’s probably best to email.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Big cheers to you and your ears for tuning in and please don’t forget to review the show on the podcast app of your choice or if you like, the dogpast crapp of your choice, or codblast map. Up to you, I can’t tell you what to do, I’m not your dad. If you can please donate to the Patreon or ko-fi sites and most importantly please please please if you enjoy this show tell others about it on your social medias or anti-social medias and if you don’t like it, well done for listening this far, I hope you’re getting sponsored.
Thanks once again to Acast for tucking this show snugly into it’s sound bed, my brother The Last Skeptik for all the musics and do check out his podcast Thanks For Trying too. And thanks also to Kat Day for typing up all the linear notes. You can find her on Twitter @chronicleflask.
This will be back next week when Matt Hancock insists Doctors stand at A&E and tell all patients coming to man up and sort it out before sending them away again and fining them £50 if they bleed on the carpet.
This week’s show was brought to you by Philip Davies gambling expertise book ‘Poker: I would like to but apparently us men aren’t allowed anymore because of feminism’. Read Davies’s expert guide on winning vast sums of cash by simply doing as you’re told, and filibuster games by taking so long to take your turn everyone just goes home. ‘Poker: I would like to but the bloomin’ Feminazis’ by Philip Davies is in all terrible bookshops now for far more money than it’s worth.