Episode 121 – It’s been another one of those week’s in British politics when the best way to sum things up is by loudly screaming while smacking your head into a large wooden pillar. Yes there’s a Brexit Agreement, no, no one likes it, not even one person and if they say they do they’re lying. This week Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) delves into why everyone be hatin’ on May, plus a look at the UN rapporteur’s report into poverty in the UK and a chat with Jen Persson (@TheABB) at Defend Digital Me (@defenddigitalme) about the Children’s Commissioner’s report into children’s digital rights.
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Linear liner notes
It’s been another one of those weeks in British politics when the best way to sum things up is by loudly screaming while smacking your head into a large wooden pillar. Yes there’s a Brexit Agreement, no, no one likes it, not even one person and if they say they do they’re lying. This week Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) delves into why everyone be hatin’ on May, plus a look at the UN rapporteur’s report into poverty in the UK and a chat with Jen Persson (@TheABB) at Defend Digital Me (@defenddigitalme) about the Children’s Commissioner’s report into children’s digital rights.
Get tickets for the MythMaking story-telling event on Friday 23rd Nov mentioned at the start of the podcast (thanks Tiernan!) – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mythmaking-a-night-of-new-stories-for-old-objects-tickets-51144252837
Links and sources of info from Jen’s interview:
• Jen Persson on Twitter – https://twitter.com/TheABB
• Jen’s blog – http://jenpersson.com/
• Defend Digital Me on Twitter – https://twitter.com/defenddigitalme
• Big Brother Watch on Twitter – https://twitter.com/bbw1984
• Emma Nottingham from the University of Winchester on Twitter – https://twitter.com/EmmaCNottingham
• Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow (book) – http://amzn.eu/d/cJ3HhSa
• Walkaway, by Cory Doctorow (book) – http://amzn.eu/d/6r1wxL7
• Echoes by Laura Tisdall (book) – http://amzn.eu/d/it8LluO
• Med Confidential on Twitter – https://twitter.com/medConfidential
• Med Confidential website – https://medconfidential.org/
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
‘Grandad, tell me again about that time, when you were young in the twenty and eighteens when all the grown-ups in charge went bonkers and didn’t know what they were doing and resigned over things they’d did themselves and complained about things they hadn’t even read and it was all silly and all the ridiculousness that you told me about before?’
‘Ok grandchild, but only because I know you like this story. Well, it all began when AAAARRGGGGHHHHHHWWAAAAAAAAARRGRGHHHHOHMYGODWHYWOULDYOUDOTHISAAAAARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.’
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the podcast that laughs in the face of politics only for this week, politics to say ‘oh you think that’s funny do you, well hold my very expensive parliamentary wine and pass me that fan so I can tip this vat of very expensive parliamentary feces at it in one swift move’. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Prime Minister and lifelong citizen of the uncanny valley Theresa May insists her unpopular Brexit deal is in the national interest, I want to know what’s made her give a shit about that now? It’s like if I suddenly told you I’m all about the football I am, despite spending the last 37 years of my life actively shouting ‘No! Fuck off!’ at Match of The Day before changing the channel.
Right are you ready? You may want to pop this on 1.5 speed….
Theresa May has finally proved that no deal is indeed better than a bad deal, but only in the way that before she had come up with a bad deal, she had absolutely no deal and everyone had hated her slightly less as a result. On Tuesday night UK and EU negotiators agreed a text on how to avoid an Irish hard border and judging by May’s plan that followed, I’m pretty certain it was mostly poo emojis and a crying face. It immediately didn’t look good for May as she failed to meet the deadline for a press conference she arranged herself, because the meeting with the cabinet to agree the meeting overran, probably while having to go over again and again to Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox why he can’t keep taking extra biscuits for his friend Adam. But the cabinet agreed, and May announced the deal to parliament while explaining that she owed the country to take decisions that were in the national interest, despite her never saying a word about Heinz nearly changing Salad Cream to Sandwich Cream or any comments on Holly Willoughby’s lacklustre hosting on I’m A Celeb. Among other things in its 585 pages, the agreement includes the EU getting the say so on when the Irish Border backstop would finish which is picking the scab over the wound that Brexiteers have been insisting they didn’t need despite their only solution being to get technology for that wound that doesn’t yet exist causing it to bleed to death first.
Of course while it took 872 days for May and the government to come up with an even vaguely coherent plan, but it took mere minutes before Remainers and Brexiteers alike were complaining about it. Yes, the Prime Minister finally succeeded in bringing the country together by making everyone join as one to say how shit she is. Emaciated sick chinstrap penguin Jacob Rees Mogg said the deal would make Britain into a slave state, so no I’m not really sure if it was a complaint or a gleeful hope. Though I suppose to be fair, he’s probably more a fan of a nanny state. Leaking sandbag Boris Johnson said it’s as bad as it could possibly get, which isn’t true because that scenario involves him being Prime Minister. He also complained that for the first time in 1000 years we will not have a say over the laws that govern our country, which is an odd statement not least because Parliament was only created in 1801, and also because it seems he’s now admitting we did have control of our laws until we leave the EU something we did because idiots like him said we had to, to get control of our laws. The DUP have warned that May’s deal would lead to a break-up of the UK and let’s be fair, they know all about divided countries so maybe they can whiff the early warnings like a canary in a dutch oven. And I have to say, at that point in the week I had a feeling May’s plan would be bad, but knowing it had already pissed off Boris, Jacob and the DUP, I did start to think, hmmm, maybe it’s not too bad after all. The curious thing was, at 585 pages none of them would have read it in time to actually have an informed opinion that quickly. It used to be that if you hadn’t done the reading you’d get left behind in class but here in 2018 it just means you get the best press coverage and a prime spot on Newsnight. Even former UKIP leader and current pig’s bladder filled with sick Nigel Farage said he hadn’t read it, which is wholly unsurprising as doing research is as out of character for him as it would be if he suddenly gained the wherewithal to know when he wasn’t wanted which is, spoiler, all the time. But he still called it the worst deal in history, forgetting that actually that title should probably go to the EU still having to pay him £78k per year as an MEP. And Labour also said they weren’t happy with Shadow Brexit Secretary and face drawn on a car spoiler Keir Starmer saying it was shambolic and that Labour will vote against it because it doesn’t meet their six tests which we all remember as being, er, being just like the single market but not being in the single market, being just like the customs union but also not, not having free movement but having free movement, being loud but without making a sound, moving fast while going nowhere, and being absolutely impossible but full of possibilities.
On Wednesday the resignations started with Northern Irish minister and disturbing 3D rendering of Penfold Shailesh Vara quitting which shocked everyone as they had no idea there was a minister with that name and suddenly worried they’d accidentally sat on him or hung a hat and coat on him in the past by accident. He was followed by Brexit Secretary and spam platter Dominic Raab who left his post because he didn’t like the deal he’d help plan. I mean I say that but Raab says he didn’t help come up with this deal, which to be fair, we all knew was the case whether he’d worked on it or not. The public are now very aware that the job of Brexit Secretary isn’t to actually do anything and there’s every chance it wasn’t until he heard the new agreement that DomDom understood the importance of a UK/EU deal as part of making Brexit happen. After Raab’s resignation came Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther ‘my spirit animal is a rabid Pomeranian’ McVey who said May’s Brexit deal doesn’t honour the referendum result, you know, the result where people voted to leave with no details as oppose to remain as is. The only way to truly honour that would be a deal that said simply ‘leave’ on it and expect the EU to know exactly what we want. Which to be fair, based on examples of British tourists abroad, feels very in line with British values. McVey also said the deal would bind the hands of the government. Based on her record as head of the DWP, I’m guessing she was upset by that as then she’d have to say the deal was fit to work then punish everyone when they didn’t turn up due to mobility issues. Others also left but let’s face it, if I read out their names you wouldn’t know who they are. I mean here you go anyway. David Chinstrap from the Department of Envelopes, Owen Pinot Noir a minister in Wall fittings, Susan Trousers at the ministry of sound and Steve Egg who mostly sat in the hallway. Those aren’t their names or jobs but seriously, they may as well be.
But weirdly there were no resignations from some of the other usual suspects and by that description, I mean the motley crew who really look like a botched criminal gang, a sort of broken Ant Hill Mob. Environment Secretary and flesh cauliflower Michael Gove was nowhere to be seen all day, prompting many to wonder was he about to resign or did he just try to tear up May’s deal but at 585 pages and with his weak arms like deflated uncooked bratwurst, had he just done himself an injury? No instead it turned out he had been offered the position of Brexit Secretary to replace Raab but turned it down, probably because Gove realized he’d already done as much damage as possible with Brexit but the environment still wasn’t hostile enough so his job there wasn’t done. According to his friends which is already surprising news that anyone would willingly hang out with him without being paid, Gove was in a tortured position, which I think is the first time I’ve heard news about him that I like. So, Gove, Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox, Sad Wall Chris Grayling, Mother Andrea Leadsom and cross between Kirsty Allsop and a QVC marathon Penny Mordaunt, all of them have decided to stay in the cabinet because they think that way they’ll have more influence. Interesting that as ardent Brexiteers they all assume the best way to fix a damaged system is stay part of it and do it from within.
The European Research Group, who are best at not living up to any part of their name announced that they had more than enough letters to challenge May’s leadership, and then in yet another case of being unable to do anything that doesn’t feel like a parody of what the problem with Brexiteers is, announced that they didn’t and then said they nearly did.
So, when May announced a last-minute press conference on Wednesday night causing many to wonder if her position had been challenged, or was she about to quit as PM, or was she was announcing a snap election or maybe that she had some new moves and was joining the Strictly Christmas Special. But no it was just to reaffirm her new deal and take questions in it, but you know, in the sad, almost crying, wobbly way she says everything. Theresa May’s best skill appears to be sounding like she’s going to resign even when she’s promoting her plans. May warned that either MPs and the public back her deal, or its no deal or no Brexit, which are the two scenarios each side want, you know, rather than her deal. It’s not much of an incentive for either to back her. It’s like trying to solve the Israel/Palestine situation by saying ‘either back my idea for all this land to be owned by a dog called Gerald who’s a bit stupid, or I’ll give it all to the Isrealis or all to the Palestinians.’ No wait, I take that back. Gerald’s a ledge. May’s other tactic, as demonstrated at her speech at the Confederation of British Industry is really pushing home how her deal will, as she puts it stop EU migrants jumping the queue, promising migration will be skill based. Now that’s the sort of dog whistle crapola that makes me sad but thinking about it, if people are being allowed in in order to fill a skill shortage in specific areas then there’s every chance we’ll have a government competently run by foreigners in no time.
Amber Rudd, the woman who always looks like a shitty boss from a Linda La Plante series has been brought back to the cabinet as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which seems like a perfect choice after her departure from the home office during the windrush scandal. Everytime someone brings up all the issues with universal credit, she can just point out that she was completely unaware and wander off until someone else deals with it. And Steve Barclay has been made Brexit Secretary. You know, Steve Barclay from the er, thing? You know, Steve Barclay? He did the thing, the er, when the people and the stuff you know? No, me either. What I do know is that he looks like a stock photo for men’s incontinence pads and was named by Conservative Home as one of a minority of loyal backbenchers who’s not voted against the government in any significant rebellions. So Steve got the job in the hope he’ll stay at his desk and shut up, if anyone asks him what he does he’ll just repeat Brexit Secretary means Brexit Secretary on loop and never question the country’s geographical status.
At this point, which is likely to have changed by the time you’ve heard this, May’s leadership could be challenged, her deal looks like it’ll be defeated in parliament though with Labour, Tory Remainers, Tory Brexiteers, the DUP, the SNP, and your mum all saying they’ll vote against it. Which in reality means some Labour MPs, very few Tories and the SNP will, but not your mum because we all know what she’s like. Why does she do that? Which means everything will be back to square one which could be as in before this all happened and still in the EU or as before the beginning of time which is no deal. Meanwhile Labour leader and Barney McGrew stunt double Jeremy Corbyn has set out his alternative which is catchily being called a ‘good Brexit plan’, clever move there Jezza. This Good Plan protects workers rights and environmental standards, as well as a permanent customs union that isn’t the customs union but does the same as the customs union which can’t happen. Considering there is zero ways for Labour to push this through parliament they can just say what they want but again you’d hope they’d be more imaginative. If I knew that no way would my Brexit plan get through I’d be promising how everyone who wants to leave will leave and everyone who wants to stay will stay and we’ll all get free custard and a porcelain dog. On Sky News’s Ridge on Sunday Corbyn once again avoided backing a people’s vote by saying it’s an option for the future but not for today, because what would the question be? Cool, I mean why bother backing anything now if its not immediately there and you don’t know what the choices are? I’m guessing in the next general election Corbyn won’t back other Labour candidates or even himself as he can’t 100% guarantee they’ll be on the ballot because what if they get struck by lightning, fall into a blackhole and are displaced to a different borough or are hospitalized by a falling cow beforehand?
Lastly, US President and walking heartburn Donald Trump has received criticism for blaming the vicious California wildfires on poor forest management, which is an odd comment by someone who can’t seem to manage his own government branches. Trump said that they should rake and clean leaves like they do in Finland to prevent such disasters, which they don’t and Finnish President denies ever saying to him. But I guess it sums up Donald’s presidency so far to say he foolishly assumes a simple tool can fix major issues.
And stop that 1.5 speed now!
Hey Podchamps! I really hope you 1.5 speeded that, and thanks to Sam Whyte for the suggestion. How are you all? Knackered? I can’t believe that last week I said US politics was good for schadenfreude. Did I jinx things? Was that me? I got tired on Wednesday just watching the news, how is that a thing? And more importantly, does it count as exercise? Look who knows how long this week’s podcast remains relevant for. Last week I think it managed a day before the Brexit Fallout bit, well, fell out. There is every chance that I’ll release this in its usual midnighty slot at 00.01 on Tuesday and by 00.02 May will have had to replace six more members of her cabinet with those flowers that dance to the radio. Still though, all good for pod content eh? Speaking of which, while I’d love to fill this rambly admin bit with this week’s ruminations on how all David Attenborough programs could be titled ‘Watch Cute Things Die’ or how I went to see the film Widows and feel like the characters would’ve been better off financially at the end if they’d just had a Scottish teammate. God that’s a niche joke. I mean, do Scottish Widows even advertise anymore? This is why you’re not on tv Douieb, this is why. But the past week’s news could fill it’s own 7 part series, which I suppose it does, you know, on the news, so quick admin then much like people shout when they too haven’t got a clue what it is they want or how to solve that issue, let’s get on with it.
Thank you this week to the anonymous donater who donated to the ko-fi. Weirdly I’ve realized that I get sent your email via paypal so even if you say you’re anonymous, I’ve read your name so I’m going to try to not shout out a name if you’ve specifically chosen not to give one on the ko-fi. I understand you may not want anyone to know you listen to this show incase you get bullied about it at school, in the workplace or more likely, parliament. But if you too want to buy me a coffee, please do so at ko-fi.com/parpolbro. Or you can do a more monthly thing at the Patreon at patreon.com/parpolbro where last week I added the meagre bonus of the Liam Fox jingle for your own use. I have no idea where you’d use it, but have been daydreaming about a civil servant who works in the department of international trade playing it on loop in the office for an entire week. If you can’t donate, it’s cool you don’t have to. I won’t come round and demand you throw pennies at me until a debt is paid or anything. I mean I don’t know where you live, so I can’t, which is a shame. But if you can’t then please do give this show a review on the pod apps that do that thing, or tell people via the medium of words or emojis or smoke signals about this show so that they too can have a listen and go ‘god what was with that shit Scottish Widows joke?’
And last bit of admin is that if you live in the Oxford area, Kat Day who kindly does all the linear notes for this show so I can pop them on the website, she is also an excellent writer among many other things and she’s part of a storytelling show at St Aldgates Tavern on Friday 23rd. It’s called Mythmaking and if you follow her on Twitter @chronicleflask you’ll get all the details. It sounds excellent but sadly I can’t go due to not living in Oxford, Friday being my wife’s birthday and having to sift through enough made up myths just for the Brexit Fallout bit of this week’s show. But you should totes go along if you can.
So yes, Brexit Fallout is of course on this week’s episode but also a chat with Jen Persson from Defend Digital Me on all the children’s data that gets collected and not just by Father Christmas and well, all the rest is about last week’s turdstrom that will no doubt change again tonight and then tomorrow and ok ok I’ll do a daily show if you get the budget. What do you mean none of you actually said that? Oh well, it was worth a try. And of course before that, let’s have a slightly removed from Brexit but still kind of about Brexit breather, with some of this:
‘Great misery has been inflicted unnecessarily.’ No, that’s not a quote from a TripAdvisor review by someone’s who’s been to Butlins, but it’s what the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights has said after visiting the UK for two weeks, and yes that was even before the news last week so fuck knows what he’d say after we were forced to go through that. Philip Alston has written a 24-page report on poverty in the UK, to be presented to the UN human rights council next year in Geneva and to say he wasn’t pleased with the current state of things is an understatement. To be honest I’d be amazed if the final page wasn’t a recommendation that we all get evacuated and take refuge in Switzerland. Among many things Alston noted was that Britain is in breach of four UN human rights agreements relating to women, children, disabled people and economic and social rights. He said, and I quote ‘If you got a group of misogynists in a room and said how can we make this system work for me and not for women they would not have come up with too many ideas that are not already in place.’ Yes that is what happens when you have a government in charge who put Philip Davies, the personification of incel, on the Women and Equalities Committee and a Prime Minister who in her last cabinet reshuffle, no not the one this week, the one before, promoted more people called Jeremy than women, which is especially galling considering they are Hunt and Wright, two men who’s collective assertiveness is somewhere down the back of a sofa in a skip. Alston also criticized cuts to council budgets, the five-week delay in receiving Universal Credit payments, the increase in homelessness and food banks and well, pretty much every austerity measure the last two Conservative governments have put in place since 2010 saying that poverty is a political choice. Yes that would be a much more honest slogan for the Tories to use at the next election but sadly I can’t see it happening.
The government have, of course, said the completely disagree with the report, claiming yet again that household incomes were at a record high, which it is but still doesn’t match cost of living increases so its like telling someone you’ve made them more dinner than normal but also, while they were asleep, you gave them surgery so they now have 4 cows stomachs to fill. They also pointed out that income inequality had fallen which it has according to the Office of National Statistics stats, which ignore the incomes of the top 1% and how they’re rising. The Department of Work and Pensions stats though say actually say income inequality is not at a 30 year low but is at best flat and at worst, rising. They’ve simply used the measurement that makes them look the best, which is something teenage me totally sympathized with. Ahem. Ok, ok and adult me. The last line of government defense was that Universal Credit was supporting people into work faster which it turns out they have no way of knowing as they’ve not put the right processes into place to find out, so they’ve just made that one up entirely. Which was also noted by Philip Alston who said that all the minister he met were entirely dismissive of criticisms of welfare changes and universal credit, instead blaming opponents for political sabotage or saying the media don’t understand the system and its unfairly been blamed. Which is a shame as his report states that many problems could be fixed if they were acknowledged by the government and considered his recommendations.
Except on the day his report was released Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey resigned from her position. This is a woman who was given top position at the DWP after a career of making comments about how it was right that people had to use food banks and that benefit sanctions teach people looking for work to take it seriously, so fingers crossed that by willfully giving up a position of work she’s given an absolute ton of them. She has now been replaced by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd who judging by her previous record in cabinet won’t be any better but instead will probably try to forcefully deport anyone in poverty and pretend she knows nothing about it. Well I joke but during her debut in the post in the Commons she said she is certainly going to listen to charities and experts criticisms of the universal credit rollout then immediately followed that hopeful statement by saying the UN report contained extraordinary political language that discredited it. Sigh. I almost wonder if they get taught in the politics school where they learn that politics that members of the public only have a 1 second memory and no one apart from MPs has the internet.
So, will this report make any difference? Well it adds to the pressure the government are already under and if that pressure builds then Theresa May’s promises that austerity is over will hopefully have to come true, or you know, maybe they’ll just wait till after Brexit when income inequality will vanish because the pound becomes just as worthless for absolutely everyone. Hopefully by the time Philip Alston presents this to the UN Human Rights council next year, they’ll overwhelmingly decide to bail us out and let us all seek refuge in Geneva.
INTERVIEW WITH JEN
Now I don’t want to shock you, but, and I hope you’re sitting, standing, squatting or hanging comfortably, but there are some other politics issues happening right now that, and take a deep breath, aren’t Brexit. WHAAAAAT? HOW CAN THIS BE? I hear you cry. And you’re right to cry because that’s the only way through this period of politics so batshit that bat sanitary workers are disgusted by it. Yes, the correct term is guano, yes that was rather battist of me. I’m sorry bats, and I had to say that as chances are, they’re listening. Look, what I meant to say was that there is definite other important political news happening and one such political news happening was the release on November 8th of the Children’s Commissioner report into just how much children’s data is being collected. That’s data about your children, not as in data that children have collected, that would just be a weird report on how many shells were collected how many times they saw a squirrel. No this is on all the data about your kids that gets snapped up every time your weans watch screans or use a website or app, then data is collected by companies and another whole heap of info about them is hoovered up and saved by schools and other public services. According to the report children, or adults who act like children, are posting on social media 26 times a day. And photos posted by parents, internet toys and CloudPets which sounds a lot like a nice way of saying ‘your pet has died’ all of those store and gather personal info, messages and recordings logging your entire child’s life in some database so they can be sent appropriate nectar points vouchers in the future. Or it could be used for or against them when applying for a job, credit or insurance because everything will be on file. For example, if as much data had been collected when my brother was 4, then it’s likely it’d be logged that when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said ‘God, so I can rule stuff silly.’ And if that had been the case its likely now he’d only be able to work as a contestant on the Apprentice. But what did the report recommend in order to protect children’s digital rights, did it go far enough, are there things we can do now besides giving our children some slate and chalk for their birthday and insisting to them that electricity is evil, and can parents download their entire children’s backlog to use to embarrass them in front of prospective girl or boyfriends when they’re older?
So to answer some of those questions this week, I spoke to Jen Persson at Defend Digital Me, a non-profit, non-partisan group who are experts in data protection, data privacy, freedom of information, biometrics and child rights. They campaign to make all children’s data safe, fair and transparent which as any parent will tell you, is an important thing to do. And I’m now really wishing I hadn’t just posted a pic of my daughter on Instagram but it has got 33 likes so you know. Jen is the director of Defend Digital Me and kindly answered my many questions and gave some very handy advice about what the report means, what her campaign would add to it and what we, and that’s parents and non-parents and children and non-children, can do to ensure that the Matrix doesn’t get a head start on the next generation, which, spoiler, does include me probably not putting pictures of my daughter on Instagram. Hmm. Oh, and just to say at the end of the second bit of this interview, the recording suddenly sounds slightly different and that’s because Jen thought of another recommendation she wanted to make and so sent it to me after we spoke.
Here is Jen:
INTERVIEW WITH JEN PART 1
And we’ll be back with Jen in a minute but first and oh god this may last a few hundred years, it’s….
Yes and just for you, I’m going to read each of the 585 pages of the Brexit Deal but in a silly voice. Yeah? Great let’s go:
Explainer for the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdon of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, 14 November 2018. 1.1 Summary. 1. The United Kingdom has now reached agreement in principle on the Withdrawal Agreement….
YAWN! That is enough of that, though if suffer from insomnia, drop me a line with a price and I’ll do the whole eight and a half hour lot, just for you. Or you know just join the Patreon. But if I’m not going to go through all of it, how will you know why everyone is so angry with May’s plan? Never fear chums, because I’m here with my keen skills at having nothing better to do, to inform badly about all the things so you can sit around the dinner table with your family and drive them to tears too.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE AGREEMENT?
I’m glad you asked. Firstly, it signs the UK up to a transition deal which is needed because loads more work has to be done and still no one has a clue about most of it. SMALL REMINDER: THIS AGREEMENT IS JUST SO WE CAN BEGIN THE TALKS ABOUT ALL THE OTHER AGREEMENTS. It’s basically a gateway agreement so we can get off our rocks on class A trade chat after we scoff down this toss that’s cut with all sorts of bad ideas. So all cool for a transition period but at the moment it’s till December 2020 but it could be extended and like 2 Unlimited the agreement has limits. Which still doesn’t make sense, how can they be too unlimited if they had no limits to limited they could be? They were just unlimited then right? Anyway, sorry, we could essentially be in transition for a long time and the agreement simply states that the deal covers until 20xx which could be their way of appealing to Rees Mogg by writing 20 in Latin, or maybe its anticipating that Brexit will set us back in time in terms of progressiveness and maybe that’s to the year 20 and they’ve added kisses. Either way, we do know it won’t cover us until the year 3000 which is why Busted only sang about the aftermath. European Chief Negotiator and your girlfriend’s scary dad Michel Barnier has suggested extending it until 2022 which hasn’t yet been agreed by the EU 27 who are waiting to see if UK government agree it first. Except they might not because Brexiteers want out now and 2022 isn’t now, and of course Remainers want out never and 2022 isn’t never and overall we’ll be under EU rules until the transition is over, but not being able to have a say in them but still paying for them. Great. It is both the only inbetween ground and also suggests to me that if May was trying to negotiate releasing hostages from armed gunman it’d end up with her exchanging herself to get a potted plant freed and the gunmen still getting a bag of cash too.
There also could be a goods check in Northern Ireland, ie a sort of hard border that’s a bit squishy in places. It’ll be like when I try to tense my stomach. This is if the backstop plan kicks in, which it probably will because it’s taken over two years to come up with a plan for being able to have a plan. Firms in Northern Ireland would have access to the Single Market for industrial, environmental and agricultural goods meaning someone’s gonna have to be checking those things as they head over the border otherwise all sorts of smugglings could be happening. The DUP are crazy livid about this because it means they’re still sort of part of the EU which is bad because they want to close borders but they also don’t want a border. I’m starting to think that really this should all have been managed by a skilled nursery leader with a large supply of lollipops and shiny foil paper.
Also, this backstop, the UK can’t just stop it willy nilly, it has to be agreed between the UK and the EU so again, it could be a long ting. Oh, and any judgements involving EU law, made by the European Court of Justice during the transition period will be binding in UK law. Remember all that sovereignty that was banged on about by the leave campaigns that they wanted to gain even though we already had it, by leaving and getting this deal it now means we definitely won’t have it for as many years as needed until we sort our shit out. So no wonder no one is happy but at the same time, it feels a lot like if you kick your toys out of the pram enough, then a dog will steal them and eat them and shit them out by some disused railway tracks and when you get them back eventually you’ll be a lot less happy about playing with them again. But you’ll have to because that’s what you wanted. Have your shit covered chewed up rattle. Have it.
Oh and there’s also a bit about fish that everyone thinks is total carp. There’s the whole Gibraltar thing, there’s the fact that Scotland and Wales aren’t even really mentioned, and protected status for parma ham and champagne as well as 3000 other products, in return for mowbry pork pies and whisky to get the same in the EU. Yes EU we’d like your finest products and in return we hope you’ll appreciate feeling like a lonely trucker in a layby somewhere near Derby.
So now what next? Well this deal has to get signed off by EU officials this weekend which it might do, and then it’s got to face the Commons and its very likely that if it gets over hurdle one, it won’t Colin Jackson the next one. Her own MPs don’t like this deal, the Brexiteer or Remainer ones, let alone MPs from any other party.
So then it’s either a new deal in a stupidly short amount of time which no one has faith in the possibilities of, well except Shadow Chancellor and oh god someone spin dried Steve Martin John McDonnell who thinks Labour could get a new deal with the EU within 3 months which of course he’d say, because they won’t get a chance to try it. Its very similar to what UKIP leader and escaped old fairground fortune teller Gerard Batten said too. Oh, I could do it over a cup of coffee old melty face said. He’ll never get near a cup of coffee in Brussels, mainly because if people see him walk around in the Belgian capital they’ll either assume he’s a performance art piece and surround him, or find their children and hide indoors until whatever spell created him makes him disappear again. And Labour’s deal is similar. They say they don’t like May’s deal because it doesn’t meet their tests, but their tests include having the exact same benefits of EU membership which you can’t have unless, and you can sing this one with me if you know the words, YOU CAN’T HAVE UNLESS YOU HAVE EU MEMBERSHIP. When asked why the EU would give Britain the exact same benefits, especially as Jean Claude Juncker said that couldn’t happen, Corbyn said ‘well that was his view and we have a different view’. Yes one that you’re looking at through glasses that seem to block out any important rules that you have to abide by. Similarly, Labour’s idea they can negotiate a new deal in three months seems to include knowing that the transition period is there so giving them extra time. Sure, except the transition period only happens once you have the deal you’d need to negotiate.
So without some sort of magic cream option, it’s either no deal or possibly no Brexit which the Supreme Court and judges from the Court of European Justice may make easier on Tuesday as they will decide on whether article 50 is reversible or not. On Tuesday they will decide if the triggering of Article 50 is set in stone, if parliament can reverse it with EU consent or if parliament can just reverse it all by itself, which I assume all the Brexiteers are hoping for as that’s proper sovereignty. With several leave supporting MPs saying that May’s deal is worse than remaining, if the court decide we can still do that, maybe they’ll back not bothering with any of this after all. The Department of Exiting the EU are trying to argue that this doesn’t need to go to European court as it’s hypothetical since the government have stated they won’t revoke it, but with a lot of the hypothetical possibilities coming to fruition over the last few weeks, the court may disagree. I mean let’s face it, no one knew we’d be here by this point this week so how the fuck are the court meant to know if anything is hypothetical anymore when everything is being run by a government who could be seamlessly replaced by a worst case scenario random generator.
In the meantime, May’s already managed to get businesses to back her deal by talking about stopping EU citizens from jumping the queue, which has, in turn, made the EU less keen. So what next? A new deal, a no deal, no Brexit, a snap election, a new referendum or quite simply, will everyone just keel over and shout fuck it so loudly it makes everyone in China jump at the same triggering a tsunami and wiping out a large chunk of the globe so none of us have to bother. No idea, but I’m going to take a gamble and pop my swim trunks on just incase.
And now back to Jen…
INTERVIEW PART 2
Thanks to Jen for the chat. You can find Defend Digital Me on Twitter @defenddigitalme and their website with all current campaigns on it is at defenddigitalme.com. You can also find Jen’s own account @TheABB and her website and blog at jenpersson.com. All the other links Jen mentions will be up on the website and do also check out Against Borders For Children who campaigned against the collection of school children’s nationalities and whilst they did win, its still an issue and their site at schoolsabc.net also has very useful stuff on boycotting the school census. They are also on Twitter @schools_ABC too and if you go all the way back to episode 58, I interviewed Gracie Bradley from their organization on that episode.
Is there anyone you want me to talk to? For the podcast I mean, not my own therapy needs or wellbeing obviously. Is there anyone you’d like me to interview? Again for the podcast, not for a job as my PA that pays only in crisps and this level of bantz. Yes, no one has applied as of yet. But if you have any suggestions for pod guests, or subjects to find a pod guest for, drop me a line @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you could engrave it on a stone tablet and have an ancient Egyptian courier transport it by foot to me, but I’ll be honest, I’m so bad at signing my name on those touch pads, I’ve no idea how I’d do it stone so it’d probably get returned to sender. As always, its probably best to email.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Cheers for your ears and please if you can review the show or donate to the patreon or ko-fi or even, just even at the very minimalist like Yayoi Kusama of podcast listeners, just tweet, FB, Instagram, carrier pigeon or use your mouth cavern to spread the word about this show and let others know that it’s worth checking it out. Thanking you.
Also big dankes to Acast for preserving this show in its sound jar full of pod brine. Thanks to to my brother The Last Skeptik for all his musics and to Kat Day for typing up all the linear notes for the website as she does every week.
This will be back next week when…oh who the fuck knows? What’s the point?
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