Episode 136 – Happy Not Brexit Week! But when will it be? And how slow? And why do MPs only want control for a few hours on a Wednesday? So many questions, so zero answers. Yes more Brexit horror plus a look at the collapse of Interserve that you definitely didn’t know about. No you didn’t. Don’t lie. And Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) talks to Ciaran Gillespie (@ciarangillespie) about political violence.
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Happy Not Brexit Week! But when will it be? And how slow? And why do MPs only want control for a few hours on a Wednesday? So many questions, so zero answers. Yes more Brexit horror plus a look at the collapse of Interserve that you definitely didn’t know about. No you didn’t. Don’t lie. And Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) talks to Ciaran Gillespie (@ciarangillespie) about political violence.
Links and sources of info from Ciaran’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the podcast that takes a fresh look at the past week’s news, or at least it did but No Deal preparations mean all looks are now stockpiled and in tins. This is episode 136, I’m Tiernan Douieb and happy not Brexit week! I know you’re all disappointed because your Brexit Street Parties have had to be cancelled for Saturday. I bet in line with the occasion you hadn’t planned anything, forgot to invite anyone, went ahead without any conferring with others and just assumed they’d let you do what you wanted and had ready stockpiled tins of roast dinners and instant cake powder to hand round. But we still might be leaving on Friday, or not till April, or May, or never. But does it matter? Because Prime Minister and hardboiled shoe Theresa May has promised that she is on the public’s side, like a fucking thorn.
For a long time there have been no single definitive answer to many of the questions surrounding Brexit. The answer to what is Brexit for example could well be either the result of an ill thought pipedream by blustering elite fuck knuckles and a disillusioned public, a catastrophic tantrum conjured by adult babies and forced upon an austerity hit nation, the natural consequence and sum of pandering to the far right, years of privatization and a swine fancying prime minister who’s greatest achievement involved walking off camera after an interview before you could swear at the telly. Or even just car crash air bag filled with mince Boris Johnson’s fevered wet dream night terror realized. Any of those would do, plus some more sensible answers no doubt. The question ‘why is Brexit?’ has, well, very similar answers but with some added ones about a stubborn need of the government to hit their head against a table repeatedly and say its progress, and an the notion that Britain is the world’s best country combined with an insistence that we mustn’t let anyone come here to check incase they realise it’s not.
Who is Brexit? Much harder question. It could be Johnny Depp, as though he’s attractive to many, most of the rest of us have very much realized that he’s abusive and overrated but still find it very hard to avoid him when he’s everywhere. Maybe its Michael Jackson because its spending a lot of money in order to ruin children’s lives but many are turning a blind eye because they’ve been enjoying the idea of it for 40 years and still really like the early stuff. Or more likely, its Theresa May who after failing to get the extension date she wanted from the EU and handed two other choices by them, announced she was making an urgent speech on Wednesday night. Promised for 10.15 at night, she didn’t arrive at the podium until nearly 10.45 proving she’s unable to deliver anything on time. And then rather than, as many were hoping, an understanding that much like a really stubborn giant tumour, she needs to be removed before Britain has any sort of a hope for the future, May instead said she knew the public had had enough and blamed politicians for talking about nothing else and avoiding making a choice. This from the woman who’s catchphrase ‘Brexit means Brexit’ meant she was using the portmanteau at least twice as many times as anyone else, who insists on returning exactly the same unwanted deal each time in order to avoid having to even consider anything else and who is also very much a politician. I’m starting to wonder if Theresa May has dissociative identity disorder and at some point she’ll going to look in the mirror have a sudden moment of clarity and have to send everyone in the commons one of those giant Clintons apology cards. Ha! Who am I kidding? She’ll never have a moment of clarity. We all know that the closest we’d get to May stepping down would be her saying ‘resigning is resigning’ 400 times before spending 2 years stuck in Number 10 unable to find a viable way to leave.
This of course, hasn’t stopped others from trying to make her go and an unsuccessful albeit probably didn’t try very hard may not have even been anything more than a distraction tool, coup. Over the weekend The Times, the newspaper that is the answer to ‘what if The Sun could actually construct sentences?’, scooped that Tory MPs planned out oust May with her replacement being either Jeremy ‘I’d probably end up forgetting my keys and sleeping on the doorstep of number 11 because I’d forget where I lived’ Hunt, Michael ‘Larry the Cat wouldn’t stop hissing at him because animals can sense evil’ Gove or David ‘we can’t have a prime minister who everyone time he appears on tv or meets global leaders, they and we all ask ‘but who is that?’’ Lidlington. Every time. It would happen every single time. While all of those options feel very much like hiring an arsonist with a petrol filled hose to tackle a blaze, I guess out of all three of them, Michael Gove would make the best caretaker Prime Minister but only because it looks like he’s wearing a rubber mask and would run around upsetting kids.
Lidlington denied a coup was happening and said he was 100% behind the prime minister, which is the perfect position to stab her in the back from and Gove said it wasn’t time to change captain of the ship, presumably because its sinking anyway so best just to scrabble around looking for lifeboats. It was all over before it started showing that the Conservatives, once a party that despite all their other awful, awful qualities, you could always say they were a well oiled, or perhaps even in many cases, oiley machine, but now seem to even fail at coups to get rid of a failing prime minister who’s failed to pushing through a failing project. Their old phrase of ‘you can trust the Conservatives with the economy’ may now have to go as many would just imagine they’d lose the economy down the back of a car seat and then bang their head everytime they tried to look for it.
What could that story have been a distraction from you ask, remembering one thing I said several minutes ago? Well the non-coup coup took the front pages of various papers instead of the anti-Brexit People’s Vote march on Saturday with between 1 and 2 million people taking part because several people continuing to not have a clue what they’re doing is of course much more important than millions of people very clearly stating what they want, or rather do not. I mean I say clearly but some were there demanding a people’s vote because they still somehow have faith in humanity despite everything, some wanted a full on revocation of article 50 and some just wanted you to see the excellent way they’ve done a pun on the EU for their banner. But the overall message was that it’s not working and to prove it, they used their freedom of movement to stop all over London and say so. It was constantly reported that two protests were happening over the weekend despite the other one, the March For Leave, being more of a unhealthy ramble. It wasn’t much of a comparison as numbers for that varied between 50 to 100 depending on which car park they were congregating in, but despite this, of course, blowtorched guppy Nigel Farage said those on the People’s Vote march didn’t represent the people, even though they were people from everywhere representing themselves. He said instead that the hundred March for Leave participants were a symbol for millions of Brexit voters, who either weren’t enthused or are so hardline that they’re afraid to leave their villages. Of course by this logic then the millions of People’s Vote marches must represents billions or even trillions of Remainers. Meanwhile an online parliamentary petition to revoke article 50 has now received well over 5 million signatures, though pro-Brexit critics say it’s all down to bots which it isn’t. Though if it was, then fair play that this is all such a shit show that they’ve changed their mind since 2016 and have swapped sides. Yes, Brexit is now such a mess that even autonomous programs think it’s a bad idea.
Which brings us back to the big Brexit questions. When is Brexit? Many showed they hope it’s never and it looks like it at least won’t be the end of this week though it still might be. The EU gave the sort of concessions you’d give a 17 year old with a beard trying to buy an alcopop and while refusing to extend Article 50 until June 30th, they said it could now be extended till April 12th or May 22nd depending on if anyone comes up with any good ideas or has any hopes of enjoying the Easter break that could be trampled over. May called an emergency meeting on Sunday at Chequers to discuss if she could bring back her vote a third time. with the sort of diverse cast you’d only find on a comedy panel show. This included bin bag full of dead leaves Boris Johnson, Pepparami mascot Dominic Raab, the rejected third member of Sparks Jacob Rees Mogg, curdled milk made human David Davis, hate filled boil Iain Duncan Smith, constantly looks like he’s taking a shit Julian Smith, Tom from Father Ted Brandon Lewis, stock photo of an idiot Steve Barclay, Alistair Burt who I didn’t even now was a politician and really looks like a penis wearing glasses, definitely a penis wearing glasses Michael Gove, David Lidlington who looks like, no wait, still can’t remember, and wanker Damien Green. Steve Baker aka Bert from Sesame Street’s disturbed cousin also turned up like a fly excited by a manure convention. Iain Duncan Smith arrived in a classic sports car with the roof down in one of the few moments I wished I’d had the abilities to conjure an army of birds to shit on command. Yes nothing says future of modern Britain like 13 middle aged white man racing to tell one woman what she should do. It was revealed afterwards that the group refer to themselves as the Grand Wizards, which either they haven’t thought about at all, or they have and that’s worse. Though credit where it’s due, despite the Conservatives being inherently racist and KKK references being unsurprising, if I did see Boris, IDS or Raab wandering around in a full Klan outfit, I’d automatically assume they’d got stuck in their duvets and were too stupid to work out how to escape it and too stubborn to admit anything at was wrong and it was all going to plan.
The result of the meetings? Well no one really knows as different people said May told them different things, but several are still demanding she get her deal through, which she can’t and then resign, which she won’t. Boris Johnson wrote in the Telegraph that May needed to channel the spirit of Moses in Exodus and say to Brussels ‘let me people go’. Forgetting of course that Moses was supposedly born in Egypt so if May did channel him, she’d probably deport herself pretty quickly. Which to be fair, might be a good solution.
During her commons statement on Monday, May ruled out a meaningful vote for this week, which of course didn’t rule out any meaningless votes or even several pointless ones and she mentioned that No Deal was now not going to happen while still mentioning that it can’t be ruled out and then hinted at a second referendum being a possibility but also not. BBC Chief Political Correspondent Vicki Young tweeted that she had no idea what Theresa May’s Brexit strategy which both simultaneously proving that the BBC are perfectly in line with public opinion and at the same time presuming she has a strategy, so showing that they are still more pro-government than they should be. To be properly non-partisan, she’d have said ‘this has all gone completely tits up, I’m going to put my head in a bin now, please come and shake me when it’s over’. May instead told the Commons that there was now her Brexit, No Brexit or Slow Brexit, which I believe they’ll be practicing on the next series of Strictly and involved going round in a circle while gurning constantly for two years before repeatedly falling over your own feet and onto your arse. That of course wasn’t the end of the stupid and following this during Brexit Debate log stardate 96830.16 Labour MP and wraith that feeds of people’s confused faces because how else do you explain her Kate Hoey told parliament that she doesn’t call no deal no deal but instead a different type of deal that would take us out. Sure Kate, except it is still an absence of deal, which is why its no deal. Its like me saying that I don’t call what Kate Hoey says ‘bullshit’ just a different type of lying or ignorance that also happens to be massively shit.
Then on Monday night three more ministers, who I would name but you won’t know them or care, resigned from the government, to vote for the Letwin Amendment, which was not only proof of nominative determinism but means that parliament will get control of Brexit for one day on Wednesday at which point it’ll probably vote for indicative votes which won’t count for anything but will indicate what votes MPs may have that do count for things. Yeah taking back control of a very small part of things to push for things that don’t mean anything. Yeah! Basically its all still pointless but sort of symbolic that it may not be because the government lost and MPs won etc etc . Hmm I’ll tell you what’s symbolic, we have May, the daughter of a clergyman regularly losing ministers making Brexit look like her delayed teenage rebellion against her dad. Then minutes after voting to take back control Parliament then voted against the Beckett amendment to have a vote on No Deal if there was still no deal 7 days before exit day. So they said hey lets have control but don’t go overboard eh? It’s a whole room of people who’d crank their car up to 4th gear on a residential road far too soon, but then be too scared to go into 5th on the motorway.
And so now of course, we should ask ‘How Is Brexit?’ and still no one really knows, though while we may get to hear some alternatives, right now I’d still hazard a guess at ‘unwell’.
Labour MPs voted to remove Ian ‘I’ve got such a tiny face’ Austin and Mike ‘the exact opposite in terms of face size’ Gapes from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on account of them no longer being Labour MPs and them taking up Labour places. However Austin and Gapes both said they were booted off because they stood against racism. Bit odd that they left the party but still wanted the party allocated places. It’s almost as though absolutely no one in parliament has any idea what happens when you leave any sort of political group.
Former Prime Minister and man who in every appearance he makes looks like he’s being further corrupted by the ring Tony Blair says police are losing the knife crime fighting battle, but that is probably because they’re not used to wielding blades as its not part of their training.
In world news the long awaited Mueller report has been released and found that yes, corners are better than rice. Ha! How many have made that joke? Yes, that’s right. Everyone. No seriously, the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that the Trump campaign had not conspired with Russia because I mean, let’s face it, how could a man who can’t work out how to get an umbrella on a plane do secret collusion? But it hasn’t cleared the US President and colostomy bag full of Irn Bru Donald Trump of obstructing justice which is entirely plausible as he was capable on his UK visit of obstructing the Queen without much effort whatsoever. This is just a summary of the report, and democrats are demanding public access to the full document which will be up to Attorney General William Barr. Trump has of course claimed this as a victory, saying that it was an illegal take down that failed, despite it being a legal take down that resulted in jail sentences for 5 of his colleagues and possibly another two who are awaiting sentencing. But I guess how would he know, he was probably unable to see any of the justice for being in the way of it.
And lastly back in the UK, Leader of the House and mother Andrea Leadsom said parents should be able to choose when children are exposed to LGBT issues. So weird that she could be prejudice against people with different sexual preferences to herself, especially when her kids and everyone else’s are still unshielded from seeing the Conservatives fuck everyone and everything.
Hey hey how goes it? Did you go on the People’s Vote march? Did you have fun? I didn’t because it seems that when deciding to be a parent I missed the small print that said you also have to be host to different unwelcome germ visitors every week and last week the mini-Douieb got some horrible stomach bug gastroenteritis thing which she then kindly passed to us and the weekend was spent with the blinds down hoping no one in the outside world would witness the horrors within as I pleaded for someone to daub a red cross on our door, for monks to stand outside warding people away and an exorcist to visit. I swear every week all I do is tell you what illnesses the family has had and I’ve realized it’s almost entirely down to the soft play centre, which appears to be a squishy petri dish of horrors. Last time we took the tiny one there she got hand, foot and mouth, then she got a cold from a friend’s party, then this time, Liberace’s vomit fountain. I have decided that she is not allowed to meet any other children ever again and shall only socialize with adults. I fully expect by the time she’s 8 that she’ll have some great chat about rent prices and parenting, while having an immune system so fragile she could get taken down by the mere suggestion that a plane flew. But I hope you had fun if you went. If you didn’t go, I fully respect that too. I am still not sure that a people’s vote is the right way forward for so many reasons, not least that people keep screwing up votes time and time again and I really feel it should be the animals turn now.
Thanks for listening again and hello to new listeners who heard the croaky voiced shit from last week and somehow still thought it was worth sticking around for. You be good people. How long will this week’s episode last? I’ve only recorded it after the votes tonight at OH GOD 11pm so hopefully it’ll last at least a day. When this is all over, I think we all need a holiday. Depending on how it all goes, I swear the government should pay for all of Britain to have a beach trip, probably to somewhere in Europe. I’ve got to do a gig in Brussels this week, on Wednesday and I was genuinely worried that something would happen, I’d be trapped there till Friday and then have to get smuggled back. It is for the European Transport Workers Federation though so to be fair, if anyone had the means to get me onboard a train or boat to do that, it would be them. I am slightly terrified about the show as it’s hosting the stage at their big protest for equal pay and treatment and Brexit has been so all consuming that my European politics knowledge is slim to none. I know some people in hi-vis are upset in France and …no wait…that is it. There will apparently be 3000-5000 people there so I mean, how loudly can they boo? Oh yes, quite loud. Sigh. Oh well. Anyway, quick admin thing, thanks to Farran, Conal and Hazel for donating to the ko-fi this week. I haven’t actually bought any coffees for the last few days because er, what with the gastroentiritus I er, thought it probably wouldn’t help. Ahem. But I will use them all this so very much appreciated. And if you are able to donate towards this show or at least my usual caffeine in take during it, please donate at ko-fi.com/parpolbro or you can also donate for no specific beverage choice at patreon.com/parpolbro. If you can’t do that, please review the show. iTunes or Apple Podcast or Tim Apple’s Fun House or whatever you call it, on there the show is 9 reviews away from 150. Come on, let’s all reach a number that doesn’t really mean much other than sounding more satisfying than 141. Wait does it? No 141 sounds nicer to say. But 166 sounds better right? Yeah let’s get there. Of course if you can’t do either of those things or have already done those things but are just eager for more, then please get on your social medias, your blog sites, your geocities homepages and msn messanger webchats and tell other people to get involved with some of those semi colon, close brackets smiley faces things all the kids do nowadays.
And only other thing this week is that, as I plugged last week, the ‘How Does This Politics Thing Work Then?’ kids show I do is at the Pound Arts Centre in Corsham this week on Saturday the 30th which I think will now have the Brexit bit it usually has? Oh god, who knows. But tickets are nearly all gone for that so if you’d like to come along, its suitable for children aged 6+ and starts at 2pm and you can grab tickets from the poundarts website.
This week’s show has expert in political violence Ciaran Gillespie on well, political violence. It’d be stupid to talk to him about something he has no clue about so I didn’t. Plus a look at the collapse of Interserve that you didn’t know about, no you didn’t, don’t lie and of course a whole load of stuff on Brexit that I really debated discussing because who knows if any of it will matter. That is the one plus side of Brexit, I have really learned to prioritise. Have this ya chumps!
The phrase ‘learn from your mistakes’ is meant to mean, you know, that when you fuck up, you are then aware of how not to fuck up in that exact way all over again. But when it comes to the British government, all they seem to learn from their mistakes is how to carry them out in almost exactly the same way again. Like each mistake is some sort of training for a bigger worse mistake, like preliminary runs before a marathon that mostly involves you tripping over your own feet. Case in point, just one year after Carillion collapsed, Interserve went into administration 10 days ago. If you’re like me, that is probably news to you on account of not knowing what Interserve even is. And no, it’s not a festish involving wanting your partner to dress as waiting staff. Interserve is one of the biggest government contractors, in charge of £2bn worth of projects, such as a £35m contract at King George Hospital in London for cleaning, security, meals, waste management, and you know, all the stuff that isn’t medical and is really needed to stop doctors and nurses having to wade through 4 day old dinners and a sea of urine in order to get to patients. Though it would make Casualty a far more interesting show. Obvs, with that many contracts it means they also employ 45,000 people in the UK and 68,000 round the world which however you look at it, is a lot of people. Go on try. Look at upside down. Yeah, still a lot. How about diagonally? Yeah still loads. So how on earth did the government let yet another outsourcing firm go under? Well the company ended up with £815m of debt due to cancelled projects and delays which makes me credit card look a lot better, and a debt reduction rescue plan was put into place which would have cancelled half the debt and left shareholders with just 5% between them. But US hedge fund Coltrane, who are nowhere near as jazzy as they sound and who owned just under a third of shares and who don’t care about your hospital meals or lakes of piss in intensive care, rebelled against it completely wiping out all the small shareholders who had voted for it. Instead an accountancy firm called EY, which I guess is pronounced Eyyyyyy as they slide in to take over the administration, say that they’ve secured all the jobs and contracts for the time being. But no one is sure how long that time is being and when it stops being then oh dear, times will start being awful.
But what’s super odd, or perhaps not odd and entirely unsurprising, is that despite knowing about Interserve’s financial difficulties, the government awarded them £660m of contracts including a £66m deal with the Foreign Office to run facilities management services. Even by December when the company announced their debt for equity rescue deal and basically shouted hey we are drowning and absolutely not waving, even then, they were awarded another £7m of public contracts. This is also despite ministers supposedly being so worried about Interserve’s failure that they drew up plans to renationalize all their operations. Now look, I don’t mean to take this personally but as a self-employed bod, I’ve had to have two credit checks, hand over bank statements and accountant statements and a note from my current landlord saying I’ve paid rent every month on time for 5 years in order to be accepted to rent a new flat. Yet, if I’d just said ‘Hey I’m £800m in debt and I’m really scared right now!’ then the government would have seen me as a viable contractor and lumped me with dosh? I really feel like I’m doing things the wrong way round here. The GMB union have said that the whole ordeal shows how obsessed the government have become with outsourcing and in a way, I do understand. I mean if you had Chris Grayling or Jeremy Hunt in your team, you’d want to delegate work to almost anyone else ever. But it’s clear from not only Interserve and Carillion before it, but also Serco with it’s treatment of asylum seekers or G4S with its forgetting to turn up half the time: All this outsourcing is not working, and at least some services need to renationalized to ensure their safety. While EY has said those employed by Interserve will have safe jobs for now, that could change. Meanwhile the CEO of the company, Debbie White, looks set to keep her job and receive a 50% salary boost for last year, with a pay packages of a £1m. Now you could say the government definitely aren’t learning from their mistakes, but the CEO of Carillion Keith Cochrane only left with a salary of £750,000, so I think they are, they’re just getting entirely the wrong message and I would very much like to point out that mistake to them, but I’m concerned just what it might lead to.
INTERVIEW WITH CIARAN PART 1
When I was younger it was very fun to point your hands joints at people and make them roar, before shouting ‘they’re terror-wrists’ but I’m reckoning that is the only time that terrorism can ever be remotely fun.
The disturbing shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand just over a week ago by a white supremacist raised a lot of questions about terrorism that were being asked before but not many people were really listening. What is causing the rise in fascism asked all the newspapers who had plastered anti-immigration statements all over their front pages for years. Is far right white supremacist terrorism now more of a threat than Islamic extremism, said large chunks of the media before referring to the gunman as angel haired and ignoring all the victims. And is it all social medias fault as Facebook allowed the killer to stream the murders live, and then the Mail and the Mirror popped it up on their websites just in-case you missed it and needed something to view with your tea. That’s a tricky question though because while Twitter and facebook definitely seem to be online petri dishes for cultivating fascists, they are also the only platforms you can actively tell them to fuck off outside of a march. But despite warnings and concerns about all those things from people in the know for many years, those are still valid and important questions. As is wondering if we’re in times of exceptional political violence, whether that’s terrorist attacks or death threats to MPs or me wanting to smash my telly in everytime I hear Theresa May make a completely pointless speech. Is it all down to political discourse or would twitter adding a dislike button really change things? Most importantly, how do we stop this from happening again and again for the sake of the victims, and of course my tv.
This week I asked these questions to Ciaran Gillespie, a teaching fellow at the University of Surrey who specializes in international politics and security, and as part of that, terrorism and political violence. I saw him being very good about it all on channel 4 news for all of 30 seconds and I contacted him to see if he’d be happy talking to me for a much longer time so, you know, he’s allowed to actually explain things. Luckily Ciaran managed to fit in a chat between lectures and flying off to a conference in Canada and I hope you’ll find as engaging and thought provoking as I did. Still though, terror-wrists. That is good huh?
INTERVIEW WITH CIARAN PART 1
And we’ll be back with Ciaran in a minute but first, the inevitable…
Here we are and no longer will the UK be Brexiting on March 29th at 11pm. Instead it will probably be leaving on April 12th on the basis that May’s doesn’t ever get her or a deal through which won’t happen this week as there’s now no meaningful vote, or May 22nd if everyone does vote for May’s deal or an alternative deal is found like I dunno an almond Brexit or soy Brexit or oat Brexit, or, I guess, May is carted off in a Hannibal Lecter style straightjacket hod carrier contraption and a chance at sensible conversation might happen. No plan, no real time to do anything about it. Some terrible plan or deus ex machina like it all gets defeated by bacteria or something and then very slightly more time to not do enough about it. Does this rule out a no deal? No, that could still happen after April 12th and all it means is that the German owned company Wepa can stockpile slightly more toilet paper for when the shit hits. Does it mean MPs have to vote for whatever May’s dea will end up beingl? No, but in which case MPs winning te vote on Letwins amendment means there be indicative votes on Wednesday on what MPs might back so that May can go to the EU with something new that can be worked on. Or something major that would need a ton of work and then the EU may approve a much longer extension but that will make the Conservative Brexiteers cry their baby pants because it’ll be like their Nanny wouldn’t allow them a milk feed on their birthday like she always does and they don’t know how they’d cope. Of course the EU could also go ‘no sod off’ but you know, in European or whatever, and then BAM, no deal all over again. Then of course all the possibilities of another referendum or a general election or a no confidence vote or everyone eating experimental 3 course chewing gum meals and inflating like a giant blueberry rendering parliament inactive. And of course all of those could also then go wrong and BAM no deal all up in your grill. It’s like snakes and ladders except all the ladders haven’t passed EU health and safety regulation tests and so they lead to snakes anyway if you take one wrong step and the country falls.
Obviously, there is now a pretty big voice for no Brexit at all, which you’d hope, in a decent democracy with a leader who cared what the people thought, would make a difference.. 111 out of 121 polls of more than 300,000 people that have been taken since the start of 2018 favoured remaining in the EU over leaving, seven were tied 50-50 and only 3 were majority leave and in fact, things started to change around July 2017 which is odd as not much happened that month politically except shaved Rockhopper Penguin Vince Cable becoming leader of the Liberal Democrats. Woah…you don’t think…that Vince has more power than we could ever understand? Hahahahahahahahaha sorry, I’m actually just guessing it was that most people got more vitamin D than normal and stop feeling so grumpy but who actually knows? Then of course this past week has now had the petition to revoke article 50 reach over 5m signatures and the People’s Vote march had over a million so that’s a considerable amount showing resistance to the idea of Brexit at all, let alone a hard one. Revoking is of course, a sensible idea, even if you’re a Brexiteer, as that’d mean the Article 50 time limit is removed and perhaps a more sensible Brexit plan could be made over a longer amount of time without all the bonkers promises. But the European Court of Justice did rule that an article 50 revocation would be unequivocal and unconditional which sounds a lot like if you go back on it, you can never leave. Doesn’t sound very democractic for a democratic union though does it? Though maybe it’s just their way of making sure the UK actually sticks to something. You sort of think that after all this they’d be so miffed we’d come back that they’d have to give us a way to sod off again? Though we have now had the largest pro-Europe public protest in the continent so it’s possible that was the post break up make up that will make things ok again. Then if we did revoke, how would you appease the side of the country who did vote leave and still want to? It won’t work simply to run around shouting you won then you lost because you hadn’t planned the winning, get over it. Oh its all so tricky.
Also will May give a shit about any of this? Well the petition has had over 100,000 signatures which means it will be debated in parliament, though I assume the possibility of revoking will be debated anyway but having you know, just a bit more than that should at least be noticed as should the march, although many marching on that were asking for a variety of outcomes from people’s vote to revoking article 50 overall and someone who had a banner about being angry that Theresa May might stop her dog from going skiing. But we have Theresa May as Prime Minister who wouldn’t listen to a fire alarm if she decided there wasn’t a fire, even if her shoes were alight at the time. Yes it is also very worth pointing out that the opposition also aren’t backing a people’s vote or revoking article 50 yet though they might do if the Labour Brexit is definitely, definitely unable to happen like how it’s been constantly rejected by parliament, but you know somehow more definitely than that like the very words they need to use for it are singed from all human memory and all who try to remember receive an electric shock of large proportions. Only then, they may back a second referendum or something else, but probably something else. And that’s only once they’ve discussed it among themselves so that all their members and leadership can all say different things when interviewed.
One thing that may make a difference although probably not for some years and by which time all the damage will be done and everyone involved will be dead or living in a tax haven, is a public inquiry which apparently the civil service are already preparing for. You see, that’s why it’s pointless MPs blaming the civil service for anything to do with Brexit. They’re already planning for a public inquiry that may not happen for ages, of course they’d have sorted out Brexit properly if left to it. There is support for it not just from the civil service but also Conservative peers, EU officials and from within the commons, with quotes of various backers comparing it to having their own version of Chilcot for Brexit. Which does of course mean that it could be pretty damning but that won’t stop the prime minister responsible from still earning lots of money elsewhere and regularly popping up on politics shows to annoy everyone by being undeservedly smug. It would be if the right planning was made, the right advice given, May’s strict red lines that have hindered negotiating abilities and of course it’d have to look into the vast amounts of legal cases made against the campaigns. The mainly Conservative backed official leave campaign group Vote Leave was fined £61,000 by the Electoral Commission in 2018 for overspending, then just last week the Information Commissioners Office fined them another £40,000 for sending out nearly 200,000 unsolicited texts, aka the other kind of dick pic. And then again, the Labour Leave campaign, an offshoot of Vote Leave was fined £9000 for failing to accurately register non cash donations. Then the Leave.EU campaign, backed by human garbage compactor Arron Banks were fined £70,000 in May 2018 for failing to report spending, then another £120,000 in February last year for data breaches. So that’s £110,000 of fines for the Vote Leave campaign for illegal electoral activity, and £190,000 for Leave.EU. Oh and the Britain Stronger In Europe got fined £1250 last year for failing to deliver an accurate spending return. But that’s a whole shit of doing things wrongly and at no point has anyone official been remotely bothered. But come a public inquiry, oh ho ho ho, that could be pretty damaging for all the careers they’ll no longer have because they’ll all be retired and that reputation they won’t need because they’ll still be on telly all the time. Yeah, the people will win eventually. Just after a lot of losing, and then still no real winning. Oh god make it stop. Where are you bacteria? Where the hell are you?
And now back to Ciaran…
INTERVIEW WITH CIARAN PART 2
Many thanks to Ciaran for that. This is why I’m not allowed to interview anyone on the news though, because I listened to all his answers and just kept thinking ‘yep I agree with that’ and then would have found it impossible to an Emily Maitliss or a John Humphrys and then out of nowhere say something like ‘but don’t these opinions mean that actually you’re the terrorist?’, ‘shouldn’t everyone just do national service?’ or ‘so once again it’s the failings of the Labour Party?’ for no real reason. Actually, I think I’m quite happy just doing this podcast. Anyway what am I on about? You can find Ciaran on Twitter @ciarangillespie and he currently teaches on a number of subjects at Surrey University ranging from Theories of International Relations to Terrorism studies so if you are one of the younger listeners of this show and that’s your bag, then do consider it on your UCAS form. Is that still a thing? They haven’t replaced it with an app where you play a game and depending on how you do you get given a placement? I honestly have no idea. I’m so old.
Send me more ideas for who to talk to on this show! Everything in the news is Brexit right now but there are other important political things going on in the UK and rest of the world that need a bit of voice time. What are they? Who should I talk to about them? Will they reply to my emails? Where am I? Who’s taken my shoes? If you can help with any of those questions please do get in touch @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you know, you could organize a massive march through central London with the sole purpose of telling me who to chat to on the show and as I completely miss it to deal with a vomiting baby, I’ll occasionally try to work out exactly who you mean based on a few sarcastic banners. Is that a pun? What are you dressed as? This is complicated. As always, it’s probably just a lot easier to email me.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thanks to you, the good people of poddington for electing this to be your weekly town crying and please do donate to the ko-fi or Patreon if you can, review the show on your pod applicants of enjoyment and generally just spread the word about the show and say nice things about us whenever you speak to your mum.
Yeah nice one to Acast for bear hugging this show in its audio embrace, to my brother The Last Skeptik for melodic times and to Kat Day for typing up the linear liner notes yet again goddamnit.
This will be back next week when the Conservative party spends two days of Brexit planning time panickily putting out lost person posters for David Lidlington, only to find out he was right next to them all along.
This week’s show was brought to you by Brexit Alternatives. Did you know British humans are the only animals to have Brexit which just seems unnatural right? Bleurgh! Why not substitute that unhealthy Brexit, for some of our naturally sourced alternatives, like shooing an angry goose, screaming at a butcher or rapidly passing your bare hands over gravel? You’ll find that they’ll give you much the same results for less than half the time and even lower cost. Brexit Alternatives, get your natural hit of sheer pointless frustration and self harm now!