Episode 141 – Why are we still nowhere near the political Endgame? When is the end of the long night of British politics? Sadly neither are in sight as everything continues to be boring and terrifying all at once. Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) looks at the EU election candidates for the Brexit Party & Change UK, takes a look at the new social care proposals and talks to Sian Norris (@sianushka) about sexism against female political figures.
Tiernan’s show at Machfest on May 4th: https://machcomedyfest.co.uk/show/2019/tiernan-douieb-tiernan-douieb-takes-up-an-hour-of-your-life-that-youll-never-get-back-work-in-progress/
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Linear liner notes
Why are we still nowhere near the political Endgame? When is the end of the long night of British politics? Sadly neither are in sight as everything continues to be boring and terrifying all at once. Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) looks at the EU election candidates for the Brexit Party & Change UK, takes a look at the new social care proposals and talks to Sian Norris (@sianushka) about sexism against female political figures.
Links and sources of info from Sian’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the podcast that would dive in after British politics as it plummets towards rock bottom but prefers to stand on the precipice shouting swear words at it while throwing in bits of stale bread. This is episode 141, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as the Conservatives announce that they are aiming not to fight in the European elections, I wonder if that’s like announcing that you’re not going to race in this stupid competition because it’s for losers, while trying to distract everyone from seeing that you’ve brought a donkey to the start line & everyone else is in a Ferrari.
In entertainment, the past weekend brought the Avengers fighting Thanos, and the Stark family fighting the Night King, politics too hasn’t wanted to feel left out, as the Conservative party continue to head towards what looks like a final season or at least a timely cancellation. Brexit continues to loom, with stakes upped by a state visit from football bladder filled with primula Donald Trump to contend with, the renewed threat of a Scottish Independence referendum reappearing despite it supposedly dying in season 3, all the while the battle with climate change grows in the background. Who will win, who will survive, how long will it actually be because I’m really sure my bladder will die before then and what snacks should I get? Sadly, unlike Marvel or Game of Thrones, this saga has very few heroes and is generally more of a universe where you mainly wish Thanos had decided to wipe everyone one.
Conservative party chairman and Gus in Disney’s Cinderella Brandon Lewis has refused to say when the Conservatives’ EU election campaign will start, saying they’re hoping parliament will reach a deal by May 22nd so that they don’t have to happen. Which means they’re going to start their campaign on May 22nd, complain that everyone else has frustrated the process and then ask if actually the elections can happen in October. There won’t be a solution by May 22nd because cross party talks are going so well that Labour leader and personification of an old furniture shop Jeremy Corbyn has said that Prime Minister and walking beginners guide to being a sociopath Theresa May just keeps insisting on the same crap that she always has because when May thinks outside the box, she’s still inside another box that contains the first box and lots of bits of paper telling her to look in the box. Meanwhile the government say Labour are dragging their feet, though I’m amazed they’re even moving that fast while watching the Tories potentially head towards everything. If I was Labour I’d have tied myself to a concrete boulder by now and every time the Conservatives asked for my thoughts I’d just point to it and awkwardly shrug a ‘sorry’. If Labour agree a deal then they’re electorally dead, if they don’t, the Conservatives are probably dead, but maybe also Labour and either way the UK is floating in the Irish Sea like a giant that willingly walked into the waves after watching the news.
Meanwhile other parties have been announcing their manifestos for the European elections, well except for the human embodiment of an angry dog barking into a megaphone Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party who won’t be announcing any policies till after the European elections. The latest opinion polls have the Brexit Party on 28% share of the vote, same as Labour, meaning its supporters are exactly the sort of people who’d gamble everything they’d won for the mystery prize if even its already been revealed that the box is empty save for the farty whiff of false promise. Oh, and a sad looking cabbage. Which is also how best to describe one of the Brexit Party candidates, Ann Widdicombe, who’s obviously been resurrected in order to appeal to any white walkers who might be voting. The racist, homophobic, anti-abortion hate mushroom who dances like she’s fighting wasps is back and has left the Tories for Farage, because hey, the Conservatives already had Theresa May, so they didn’t need two. Widdicombe is also quite famous for being celibate her entire life, so it should come as no surprise that she’s excited about jumping into bed with a loudmouth who drinks too much as that’s the mistake most people get out of their way in their teenage years. Saying that, maybe she’s been saving herself all this time just to fuck the Tories. While Widdicombe is the most well-known Brexit Party candidate, she’s not the most concerning, with woman who looks like she grew up on the set of Grange Hill Claire Fox, a genocide denying, Irish republican militant supporting, Gary Glitter endorsing (yes, post child abuse era) also running as an MEP candidate. It’s like a political rogues’ gallery, a collection of misfits too extreme to find a home anywhere else, so Farage has taken them under his right wing. How they’ll all work together despite many opposing views is yet to be seen but that sort of forward thinking is exactly what you wouldn’t expect from the Brexit party and if they’re really true to their name it’s unlikely they’ll have got much of a campaign beyond a name and blaming other people for everything they don’t like. Farage said that he hasn’t come out of semi-retirement to muck about, which makes you wonder which bit was retirement? The being on tv all the time? If only he’d chosen to spend it going to the Algarve and telling people he shouldn’t have been allowed to get there. The only way you can really retire a semi is by being a full-on raging cock all of the time, or floppy impotency. I really, really hope he suffers the latter. Political or otherwise.
Meanwhile the political version of a suburban estate agent Change UK aka The Party Formerly Known as The Independent Group also announced their candidates which included Rachel Johnson of the family Johnson, because with Rees-Mogg’s sister in the Brexit Party it seems you can’t start a new political group without the female sibling of a hateful Conservative cartoon character. Rachel had previously rebelled against her brothers by leaving the Conservatives for the Liberal Democrats but it seems it was lured in by the party who aren’t even sure what their name is and have a logo that looks like a bar code or template for a flag no one could be bothered to finish. I mean that is a tough choice. Political has-beens with nothing going for them following an ideology that has long since been rejected by the public, or the Liberal Democrats. Other Change UK candidates include former Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler, and Crispin Hunt, former lead singer of the Longpigs, because its very important for your party to have the appeal of a weak episode of Sunday Brunch. Meanwhile two other candidates have stepped down due to racist social media posts about black women and Romanians, that emerged very quickly after they were announced, while it looks like a third will have to go for Islamophobic and far right supporting posts. Once again it seems the Change UK members left their respect original parties because of issues with racism within them, mainly because it wasn’t the right type of racism. If only Labour had quit the anti-Semitism and aimed some bile at Eastern Europeans or Muslims then who knows which MPs it could’ve kept eh? Huh, what a shame.
While Labour haven’t had the same embarrassment with EU election candidates, yet, presumably because all their politicians that did embarrassing or offensive social media posts ended up as MPs, they are having to redraft their election leaflets after they failed to mention that 2nd referendum that they’ve pledged. Silly Labour, if only they’d not mentioned any policies at all, they’d probably be doing much better.
Environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg met MPs in Westminster telling them they did not act in time. I mean, that’s pretty much an evergreen statement for British parliament applicable at any point over the last all the years. She told them that their support for fossil fuels and airport expansion is beyond absurd, a statement listened to by all party leaders except Theresa May who was absent, probably because she doesn’t actually believe young people exist, so what’s the point? The right-wing press took it to task to insult Thunberg, probably because she’s everything that threatens them. She’s young, female, disabled and from a European country. If she had also been Muslim and at some point muttered under her breath that Princess Diana was overrated, they’d have probably exploded in a mushroom cloud of cry-wanking. I’m assuming they also think she’s an easy target but based on my limited ill-informed knowledge, being Swedish and having autism means she’s actually so smart she’ll be solving a series of very tricksy murders near the Oresund bridge at some point soon. It is amazing how David Attenborough doesn’t receive the same level of vitriol for his environmental stance and you may say that’s because he’s a rich, older white man. But I think its because everyone’s aware that we are going to need him to narrate the end of everything.
Since Thunberg’s visit and the Extinction Rebellion campaigns, the SNP have declared a climate emergency, while Labour have put in a motion to declare a national climate emergency, even though their councilors in Cumbria recently backed the go ahead of a new deep coal mine, the first in 30 years. Hey, maybe we’re all getting it wrong and the deep mine is to put coal into and then ignore it or use it like a really uncomfortable dirty ball pit, and instead build a hydro generator…no? No? Sigh. But its still all more positive than before and the UK’s fracking tsar has quit her role after 6 months saying that eth government are pandering to activists rather than science, evidence and a desire to see a UK industry flourish. Yeah what they should have done was paid attention to all that science that shows earthquakes have been recorded in non-earthquake prone areas after fracking and it’s also affected drinking water, and over 150 studies say the chemicals released may affect human fertility, then they could’ve saved money and not hired a fracking tsar in the first place. Fracking really doesn’t suit the Tories anyway as they usually prefer not to unearth anything that could be damaging to them and keep it buried as long as possible.
If all that wasn’t enough, US President and football bladder filled with primula Donald Trump has announced he will be making a state visit to the UK in June and protests have already been announced even though I think it’d be much funnier for us all to hide and he be greeted by May all by herself like she’s the ghost of Christmas future. Either that or the entire population of the UK heads to the US and spends a weekend helping get Mexicans across the border and scuffing up Mar-A-Lago just to annoy him. It’s been rumored that Trump is going to dine with sentient portaloo Boris Johnson during his visit to the UK and I have a feeling its less out of friendship and more because Trump reckoned, he could save money on a body double if there’s any assassination attempts. Obviously, I wouldn’t condone if there was, but if there was, honestly, we don’t mind which one you hit. Farage may also be invited which is a great idea if trying to lose weight as sitting opposite that face would put you off most food. Liberal Democrat leader and former Gringotts bank worker Vince Cable announced he would not be attending any state banquet for Trump as he said we should not be beguiled by pomp and circumstance into hobnobbing with a man who is on record as a misogynist and racist, though he did say that while sitting on a Question Time panel with actor Jonathan Rhys Davies. Jeremy Corbyn is also snubbing any state banquet though many were keen to point out that he did sit down with the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah. To be fair though, he did that under the pretense of peace, whereas Trump is only over to give America a slight breather for a few days like you might a parent with an over active 1 year old. Speaker and Wind in The Willows extra John Bercow also said he wouldn’t be attending though that’ll make it tricky if anyone wants food as he won’t be there to shout order. The US has just threatened to veto the UN resolution on classifying rape as a weapon of war, which is horrific though probably happening because based on the last few years, they think it should be classed as a campaign tool for US elections.
At the SNP Spring Conference, party leader and amalgamation of Guess Who characters Nicola Sturgeon said that she wants to hold a second Scottish Independence Referendum by 2021 if Brexit goes through. May I suggest a yes campaign that simply reuses all the old Better Together leaflets but with ‘hahahahahahaha’ written all over them?
In other news, wanker Damien Green has suggested that over 50’s have to pay an extra £300 a year in tax for social care, because it seems his party haven’t driven away enough of their core supporters already. I feel like the Conservative conference will involve Jeremy Hunt just lobbing glass bottles into the crowd until everyone leaves before the cabinet all sit on the stage drinking alcopops while listening to Nirvana. The UK has agreed to allow Chinese company Huawei ‘Wah Way’ access to help build a country wide 5G network but other countries have raised security risks due to the firm’s connections with the Chinese government. Given that the details of the national security council meeting with Huawei were leaked to the press, the phone company won’t have to bother as MPs will sell off all the data before they get a chance.
And in Spain, the Socialists have won their third election in four years but haven’t secured a majority so will have to form a coalition which makes sense for a social democracy to want to allow others to have a say in regulation. The conservative Popular Party no longer are losing 137 seats from the last election and far right group Vox won seats for the first time, probably on account of all the pops they got. Leader of the Socialist Party and man who looks like he’s about to do a terrible audition on X-Factor Pedro Sanchez said that the future has won and the past has lost, which is, to be fair, usually how time works.
Oh, and lastly in a poll by Conservative Home, Theresa May is now even more unpopular in her own party than Transport Secretary and genetic afterthought Chris Grayling. Yes, he’s even managed to fail at being the worst.
Wotcha podchums, how’s things? This week’s podcast arrives amidst a nerd cloud where I’ve managed to cram in the new Avengers film, which I won’t give any spoilers for but at three hours long my bladder definitely didn’t survive, and the big Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell against the Night King, who’d probably win in the modern age just by being regularly featured on news programs for balance. I’m a big fan of escapism at the moment though I have to not think about my choice of escapism too much otherwise its not escapism enough. I mean Game Of Thrones currently involves all the leaders coming together to fight both an ancient destructive white army, and a queen who won’t listen to anyone and insists on carrying out her awful reign. Yes, maybe the only way through Brexit is with the use of dragons, although the Brexit party now have Ann Widdicombe so I’m not sure if that counts. Then Avengers is about a rich arms dealer and his pals who realise they’ve not managed to prevent an awful event so they try to go back in time to stop it, even though that may or may not be the will of the people. I mean in the film it is, but Thanos would argue that as 50% of the people have now gone, you can’t account for the full will of the people and so it doesn’t matter and there won’t be a second referendum. Ok, maybe to relax I need to find something else to do with my occasional spare time.
But hey, fit this show in I did and thank you for being there, where ever you are. I mean unless you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be, though I might still thank you for that depending. I mean, maybe it’s better you’re there than someone else. I mean how else do they know to write those danger signs? Thank you this week also to Scotty and to Emma who donated to the ko-fi which is, as always, very appreciated. If you too like those two would like to donate to the ko-fi or patreon too, then please do that at ko-fi.com or patreon.com, no sorry, I’ve run out of the sort of too rhyme but it was nice while it lasted eh? I mean, that’s the sort of content you’d be donating for. Have I put you off? I’ve probably put you off. How about if you donate I’ll never do that again? Yep, better. If you can’t donate, please give the show a review instead and I realized recently that me banging on about how this show is close to 150 reviews on iTunes, it’s only that on UK itunes, so if you check it in another country you’ll notice, in say, Germany, there’s only two reviews. Danke Schon, but I mean, only zwei? C’mon. Is this punishment for Brexit? Not fair freunds, not fair. But look I don’t care which country you review it in, please do put some nice words somewhere to encourage others to waste their time on it. Oh and if you don’t want to any of those things then please just a tweet or a facebook or a note shaved into your pet for when you walk them in public areas, just something to spread the word. THANK YOU.
I’m off to Machfest this week, in Machnylleth and my work in progress show is on Saturday May 4th, yes, Star Wars day, at 2pm and tickets are £7.50, even though I’ve called it Tiernan Douieb takes up an hour of your life you’ll never get back. I’m so good at the marketing eh? If you’re round that way please do come along. The link is in the pod blurb or you can find more details at machcomedyfest.co.uk.
Because I’m at that festival all weekend from Thursday I’m not sure if there’ll be an interview next week as no one seems to be able to chat in the limited times I’m around, so we’ll see what happens and I will try but it’s tricky to arrange a 40 minute interview when there’s literally no time to fit it in. There may also be a week later in May, EU elections week where there might not be an episode due to some work I might have to do instead but hey, it might be for the best if it’d only be about EU elections anyway. We’ll see what happens but apologies in advance if all those things happen and I’ll try and work out releasing something so your lives aren’t too empty.
On this week’s show I am chatting to journalist Sian Norris about why people be hating on Greta Thunberg, plus, don’t get too excited but there’s a little look at the riveting new social care proposals because that’s the sort of exciting show I like to have. And no Brexit this week. None at all. Which, yes, if my sci-fi/fantasy binge this weekend tells me anything, it’ll likely be back with a vengeance next week, only stronger than before. Joy.
INTERVIEW WITH SIAN
The internet is often like a stroll in the woods. For a while it’s all lovely nature, trees, flowers the occasional squirrel. Then you’ll accidentally stray off the footpath and notice, oh dear, is that a human shit? Before noticing the entire path ahead of you is all turds with people shouting at you that it’s your fault they shat there and you should deal with it. Over the past week, one of the internet’s biggest paths of steaming horror took the shape of a cavalcade of entitled male opinion columnists criticizing and insulting Greta Thunburg, the 16 year old Swedish girl who’s concern about the future of the planet, lead her to starting the climate school strikes. I know what you’re thinking, yeah she’s fair game, I mean what idiot cares about the planet we all live on and need the air and food from and will entirely die without? And yeah, it’s about time someone stuck it to those young people who’ll have to deal with all the turds we’d laid. Hopefully you’re not thinking that, as well, it doesn’t make any sense. Neither did these pieces referring to her autism as weird, saying that she was a shill for climate campaigners and that because she is only 16 she clearly has no idea what she’s doing. This in many of the same publications that accused Shamima Begum of knowing exactly what she was doing when running off to join ISIS at 15. So, which is it then? Are teenagers fully capable of their own thoughts or not? While you’re at it, how do immigrants both take all the jobs and all the benefits? How are the EU unelected and undemocratic but apparently you also must vote for the Brexit party in an EU election? I doubt any of those questions will ever get answered but while I’m certain it’s just the voice of the threatened blurting out their fears that they’re being made irrelevant by a more interesting world, I still find it hard to understand why you’d bother and why it’s happening with increasing frequency in the press. And anyway, we all know that the only credible ways of attacking teenagers is by pointing out that they’ll turn out like you eventually, before insisting you find the things they like really cool and maybe you’ll check them out too.
I’ve had a lot of climate change chat on this podcast, because, well, it’s important and terrifying. But this week I thought it’d be more interesting to talk to someone about why certain voices, particularly those of female activists are so viciously attacked. So, this week I spoke to Sian Norris, writer and journalist on many aspects of contemporary feminism and politics and asked her why anyone would think its big and clever to criticize a 16 year old, when she hasn’t even been playing shit music from her phone on the bus. Because, yes we all know that’s fair game if you’re brave enough to confront it. This lead us to discuss the funding of anti-feminist publications, the rise of anti-feminism in the US and much more and let me tell you, it was bloody fascinating. So, I hope you enjoy, here is Sian:
INTERVIEW WITH SIAN PART 1
And we’ll be back with Sian in a minute but first:
I’ve mentioned on this podcast several bazillion times or round about that much, how social care is currently suffering a massive funding gap with the government not really doing all that much about it. None of which is a surprise, I mean we have a Prime Minister who struggles with acknowledging the public unless it’s tell them that they have to back a deal that no one likes and that they can’t back so it doesn’t matter if they do anyway. So why on Earth would May want to make sure they are cared for when she mostly appears to be upset that she’s not the only person left on the planet. Social care in England – and this is just about England as it’s a devolved issue so Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do their own thing depending on allocated funding or in the case of the DUP, bribery money – in England it covers social work, personal care and support and protection services to adults and children in need. And while children’s social care is also experiencing cuts, and may soon suffer more as one in four councils are planning to in order to make ends meet, for now, let’s do as the government do, and ignore the young people. Adult social care has a funding gap for loads of reason, several of which come down to the government cutting money available to councils who then can’t pay for it. But then there is also the factor that people keep getting older and not dying, selfish bastards, and the amount of over 85 year olds is set to double over the next 20 years, depending on Brexit and if we’ll need to eat them for survival or not. With more over 85s you have more people relying on social care and so somehow, it’s gotta do all that extra work without having any extra money to do so.
And so, riding to save the day like a knight in armour with weird stains on it, is former cabinet minister Damien Green who has published a report with the conservative think tank Centre of Policy Studies with suggestions of what should be done. And these suggestions? Yes, they all come down to older people paying more for being alive. The report suggests there should be a flat rate universal care entitlement, and then people supplement that with their own funds if they need to through annual payments of £10, 20 or 30,000. Yes, it doesn’t sound too dissimilar to the much-hated Dementia tax the Conservatives announced in 2017 that, and I’m summarizing, basically said if you have assets of over £100k and you get ill, pay your money to deal with that as you won’t remember anyway. May had to u-turn on that after it turned out that targeted pretty much every single Conservative voter ever. So, it’s surprising that the other suggestions in the report were taxing the winter fuel allowance and that the over-50’s might have to pay a national insurance surcharge as a last resort.
And look, some of this makes sense. Baby boomers tend to have a lot more assets than the under 50’s and are far more likely to own a home so for them to pay for it rather than it be added to everyone’s tax seems appropriate. But Green suggests it should be made a national not council issue, which is only the case because of cuts to council funding. Targeting extra NI for all over 50’s, and supplementing your own care costs would also target anyone who is older and can’t afford it, leading to an even larger rise in pensioner poverty which has been increasing for the last two years for the first time since 2010. Making old people poor is the top level of cruel as not only are they vulnerable but also their stories of how bad things used to become a lot less relevant which is a good percentage of their chat. These sorts of cuts are also leading to a rise in loneliness which the government appointed a minister for to investigate why it was happening, in the sort of amateur distraction technique that would be worth all of two minutes on a Derren Brown special. The government may as well just shout ‘look over there’ every time they’re asked about it, before scarpering out of the door.
But something has to be done as it’s a major crisis. The government insists it’s allocated £2bn extra to social care every year, a promise from its 2017 budget, but this is now taken out of the NHS budget which is self-defeating as social care is already having to support patients that the NHS doesn’t have beds or care for anymore. Less NHS money means more pressure on social care which means social care needs more money and Green’s plans at best would £2bn which sounds great except the costs keep rising and the gap is set to be £3.5bn by 2025 so its still not enough.
What other solution is there? Well an anti-aging serum would be handy, though I bet it’d be expensive and not available on the NHS, and so really it comes down to a rise in council funding. Or more highlanders. Ok ok more funding. The government has delayed, several times now, their green paper for a long-term social care funding plan, that was originally overseen by Green as DWP secretary till he was sacked for having porn on his work computer. I wonder if his preferred type was watching pensioners get fucked?
And now back to Sian:
INTERVIEW WITH SIAN PART 2
Thanks so much to Sian for that chat. You can find her on Twitter @sianushka and links to articles and other writing she does at sianthewriter.wordpress.com, but she has three articles out this week, two at Open Democracy and one at the New Statesmen so check those out asap.
I have currently got guests lined up for podcasts in the future but no one for next week or the week after so I need your suggestions for who to chat to and what to chat about but not how to chat to them, as in, I’m not keen to start doing this in the style of film noir or a western so you can keep those improv suggestions to yourselves alright? If you do wanna tell me of some handy talky types with political know how of the campaign, issue, amazing tales or other worthwhile content for this here show then you can do that @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group, the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you could scream it into the prevailing winds, hoping your voice will carry across land and maybe even sea, travelling a momentous journey, inexplicable by scientific terms, and blown straight into my lugholes as I begrudgingly put out the bins to which I’ll slightly freak out and run back indoors before writing about it on nextdoor.com and warn all the neighbors about the local weirdo who shouts at you when you’re trying to wheel out the dry recycling. As always, it’s probably best to email.
That’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you yet again, for listening. I mean obviously, if you didn’t, then I could tell my family that I was working on the podcast every Monday but instead have a sleep upstairs, but you know I totally wouldn’t want to do that ever, ahem, ever, I mean just think about it listeners yeah? Sorry, I mean I would never want to eschew this show for illegal sleep activities. Ahem. Of course. And if you do want to keep this show honest or at least lying but with style, then donate if you can to the ko-fi or Patreon accounts, review the show on all your pod apps, yeah all of them, even the ones you hide from the kids and do spread the word like it’s your new jam. See that works on two levels? I know, sometimes I gots all the clevers.
Thanking big some to Acast for snuggling this show in its noisey arms, to my brother the Last Skeptik for providing all the tunes but not for seeing Avengers Endgame a whole three days before me the total bastard and to Kat Day for linear liner notes and not seeing Avengers at all, making her the true hero.
This show will be back next week, possibly with a guest, possibly not, but either way, I will be looking further Brexit Party candidates of the ghost of Enoch Powell, a crow with a knife, Pat Sharp and a sleeping old man with a bag on his head that they’ve drawn a sad face on. While Change UK announce that both Phil Spencer and Kirsty Allsop have joined, as has an underused nutribullet.
This week’s show is sponsored by Damien Green’s DIY stairlifts. Have trouble getting up the stairs? Can’t quite manage them like they used to? With Damien’s DIY stairs we’ll throw a very heavy chair in your porch and you can either wave £200 pounds at us to lift it up and own your flights a few times or you have to go and do it yourself because it’s your own fault you’re still alive. Why won’t you die? Why? Damien Green’s DIY stairlifts, because you refuse to make the great ascent.