Episode 158 – The big questions this week: Does Boris Johnson have any shred of morality in his jumble sale of a body? Is any of this planned or is that giving these idiots too much credit? Are there any policies at the Conservative conference that they haven’t nicked off another party then made rubbish? Is it ok to put the heating on yet? Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) speaks to James Millar (@politicalyeti) and asks if any of this is normal plus a teeny look at Brexit disaster capitalists.
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The big questions this week: Does Boris Johnson have any shred of morality in his jumble sale of a body? Is any of this planned or is that giving these idiots too much credit? Are there any policies at the Conservative conference that they haven’t nicked off another party then made rubbish? Is it ok to put the heating on yet? Tiernan (@tiernandouieb) speaks to James Millar (@politicalyeti) and asks if any of this is normal plus a teeny look at Brexit disaster capitalists.
Links and sources of info from James’ interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that wonders if actually everything that’s going on is just a clever safety measure as there’s no way terrorists will attack the UK as any efforts they make would just look like they’re trying to fix things. This is episode 158, I’m Tiernan Douieb and as Prime Minister and mashed potato sculpture of a shipwreck Boris Johnson has had his prorogation deemed unlawful, is accused of misusing public funds and now also sexual harassment, I’m starting to wonder if he keeps promising 20,000 more police officers because he knew how many would be needed just to deal with his misdemeanors.
It’s depressing that the only thing surprising about a journalist revealing that Boris Johnson groped both her and another woman without consent some years ago, is that its vague evidence that he can actually multi-task. Johnson of course denies this happened but really who would you trust here, a woman who claims she was harassed by the PM or a man who’s lies usually only just fit on a bus and get told to the Queen? Chancellor and head of the Mekons Sajid Javid stated that the Prime Minister does not have a women problem, but I wouldn’t put it past him to get a note saying he does just so he can skip parliament even though we all knew it was really about Brexit. It’s very clear that Johnson treats women much like he treats everything, as though there is no consequence to his actions and it’s other people’s fault if there is. Shouting at his girlfriend so loudly that neighbours call the police, well it’s their fault for listening. Saying humbug in response to concerns at the memory of what happened to murdered MP Jo Cox and the increase in death threats to, especially, female MPs. Well Johnson is sorry for the misunderstanding, which is his way of saying ‘I’m sorry you don’t like me being a callous arsehole, but you should sort that out.’ It wasn’t a misunderstanding that Johnson dismissed important concerns by shouting humbug like an Ebenezeer Scrooge who’d probably tell the ghost of Jacob Marley that he wasn’t being optimistic enough. In the same way it’s not a misunderstanding that he said the best way to honour Jo Cox was to get on with Brexit, the outcome her killer wanted. It’s like honouring the victims of Waco by building a 150ft gold statue of David Koresh with a plaque that said ‘He totally duped those ninnys, total ledge’. Or that he uses words like ‘surrender’ and ‘betrayal’ about Brexit to fire up anger and encourage his supporters that it’s some sort of war, which if it was, Johnson would assume he could send everyone else into it while trying to make his way round all of their lonely wives. Boris has always been particular on the language he uses, which is why it’s often high falutin and often sounds like a fox is being violently sick after having eaten a dictionary. Last week, for example, Johnson spent some time comparing Brexit to the Greek myth of Prometheus, which worked but only because most of us just remembered the Ridley Scott film that we all thought was going to be great but then was full of gaping plot holes, impossible ideas, cost a lot of money and largely disappointed everyone. The Westminster parties have now agreed to try to use moderate language, which doesn’t seem all that fair to politicians on the far right and left.
It’s not a misunderstanding that the Prime Minister has been referred to police because it looks like he gave Jennifer Acuri, a model and tech entrepreneur he was having an affair with, potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds of public funds for her business that wasn’t even based in the UK. Johnson has said these stories are politically motivated, which must be confusing for him as he’s only ever been driven by getting his end away or earning more money. To be fair they probably are politically motivated but only in that he’s at Number 10 and its really handy if we all know that he might spend most of Britain’s resources on any woman that doesn’t tell him to fuck off. It’s not a misunderstanding that former Chancellor and Mr Men’s Mr Rush if he had no reason to live anymore Philip Hammond, a man who doesn’t believe in poverty because he hasn’t seen it out of the tinted windows of his chauffer driven car or in any of the member only bars he attends, he’s suggesting that Johnson only wants a no-deal Brexit as he’s backed by disaster capitalists who’ll earn a ton if everything goes tits up. Yes, Philip Hammond said that. Proof that Boris Johnson is the ISIS of politicians in that he’s so bad, you start to see heroes in those that you once hated just because they’ll call him out. The Prime Minister has had several five figure donations from hedge fund managers who’ve all bet on a No Deal crash out, which if it happened, would earn then millions in pay outs overnight. Well more fool them as in a No Deal that’ll only be enough money to buy one loaf of bread anyway and will probably only really be affective if they draw it all out in notes to make a stab proof suit so it’s safe to roam the streets during all the riots.
There have been two rather large misunderstandings over the last week, but both have been from Johnson and the cabinet. Both of these have happened at the Conservative party conference which is currently sort of creaking along, despite the government losing a vote for a parliamentary recess during it. You can’t unlawfully prorogue parliament, claim you respect the supreme court’s decision but disagree with it, making you sound like everyone who’s ever pleaded not guilty then been found massively guilty, and then ask for a few more days off so you can gather round all your pals for a festival of the unenlightened. The boy who cried wolf knew that after he’d been caught out, it wouldn’t have been right to ask the villagers for his own pet wolf that he actually needed for the big wolf race he’d probably ruined. Instead, if anything, it sounds like it could be the first ever almost appealing Conservative conference, what with many of the MPs having to be absent and it mostly raining outside. Then you realise that actually it’s still full of people like International Trade Secretary and vacant gumball machine Liz Truss who spouted that Britain will be on the side of the competitive freedom fighters, not the protectionists. What the fuck is a competitive freedom fighter? ‘You set them free! No you do it! No you!’ Meanwhile party chairman and the person who they have to write ‘Warning: contains nuts’ on packets of peanuts for James Cleverly stated twice that it was the Conservatives that founded the NHS which they definitely didn’t. The only explanation is that he thinks it counts as discovering the NHS when they finally enquired what all those big buildings are that their driver takes them past when on the way to their private clinics.
There was a panel featuring Chancellor of the Duchy and Slitheen tribute act Michael Gove, Leader of the House and only man who’s marriage free pass is for the Women in Black Jacob Rees Mogg, and Brexit Secretary and no, I’ve stopped looking at his picture so its impossible to remember his face, Stephen Barclay. The only benefit of having all three on one panel was that you could avoid them all at once by being absolutely anywhere else. Seated in a row like a descent into a gruesome hall of mirrors, they spouted such dregs as Gove saying parliament was paralysed, meaning that his government probably think its fit for work. He insisted Boris is brave, determined and he delivers, though Gove didn’t say what it was that he delivers, and no one wants the postman to arrive with an unnecessarily large bucket of shit. Sajid Javid announced in his speech big plans to increase the living wage to £10.55 and cut the threshold for that to 21 instead of 25, while pledging money for youth services, while announcing that the Conservatives are the real party of labour, which might be true if they just continue to steal the opposition’s policies as their own then water them down so they aren’t as good. I’m not sure how this plan will work but maybe the aim is to appeal to Labour voters who have a desperate love for shit awful tribute bands.
But no, those aren’t the misunderstandings, even though they are. The first big misunderstanding is the Prime Minister’s announcement for the biggest hospital building programme in a generation, with plans to build 40 new hospitals. Except actually, the funding only covers 6 new buildings or refurbs over the next five years, so I guess the other 35 are the hospitals we imagine along the way. None of this will make up for the massive shortage in doctors and nurses in the NHS right now either, so will they just be 6 massive empty buildings or will Health Secretary and personification of pulling your trousers up too highly Matt Hancock make some sort of app so you can go in and treat yourself? The announcement should’ve said that they’re going to patch up existing hospitals with not enough money that has come from seemingly nowhere, like asking a kid to wish up a sticky plaster for their broken leg.
And the other misunderstanding? Well it’s the one that sums up everything Boris Johnson has ever done, as the Conservative slogan this year is simply ‘Get Brexit Done’ something that is impossible unless they’re asking for Boris to arrange to have it beaten up which he does have precedent for. You can get a bit of it done, but after we leave and there’s decades of further trade deals and statutory law changes and more, what will the slogan be then? ‘Sorry Brexit Was A Bit More Complicated Than We Thought So It’ll Be Another Few Years And It’s Gonna Cost You?’ That’s Boris right there. Charging ahead with no thought of consequence whether that be when dismissing the effects of violent language with ‘humbug’, getting away with sexually harassing colleagues with an unwanted bumhug or just trying to get Brexit done like a thick thug. Then denying all of it by insisting it didn’t happen, or as he said on Sunday that actually he is a model of restraint. Like one he made out of old wine boxes, probably. Or maybe it’s all just our fault for misunderstanding that you really shouldn’t tell your kids they can achieve anything. frankly it’s such a shame he didn’t spend his life trying to do something like climb Everest only to be hospitalized after turning up to base camp in just his pants with a packet of crisps because he just thought he’d get away with it.
A big question to all of this is, is this what supposed political mastermind, special advisor to the PM and Roger in American Dad Dominic Cummings wanted? He said at a book launch last week that getting a Brexit deal was a walk in the park compared to the EU referendum, which doesn’t surprise me as its very likely a walk in the park for Cummings involves him losing everything he started with and ends with him doing something unlawful. The very next day Cummings denied ever saying such a thing, which if he genuinely doesn’t remember what he’s done from one day to the next and Boris is repeating him verbatim, it could explain a lot. All along we’ve assumed the gaslighting is part of a devious plan, but actually it’s all Hanlon’s Law and we’re really governed by idiots. Nothing proves this more than Transport Secretary and emoji for sniveling Grant Shapps whose speech on the collapse of Thomas Cook was largely plagiarized from a speech by his predecessor and melted battery Chris Grayling who was extremely skilled at being shit at everything. Grant Shapps there, the idiot whose so stupid, he copies homework off an idiot. The Transport Secretary, has, in line with everyone else in the Conservatives who hasn’t got a clue or any memory about anything they’ve ever done, said that he wasn’t aware he’d copied Grayling’s speech. But then I suppose he could absolve himself of responsibility by just saying that Michael Green did it.
In other news, the Labour Party at their conference voted overwhelmingly to back the Green New Deal, a plan to decarbonize the UK through a radical policy package to increase social and economic justice, with a key motion aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, a whole 20 years earlier than the Conservative pledge. It’s a really important stance but I’m concerned that if Labour made it into government, they’d break the pledge just by immediately wasting so much energy fighting themselves.
During the Brexit Party conference, leader and the glued together bin contents from a morgue Nigel Farage was reported to the police after vowing to take a knife to the pen pushers. A needlessly violent comment but also one that proves what an idiot he is, as the pen is mightier than the sword so he’d likely get defeated. If he was smart he’d head over there with some Tippex. Farage has said he’ll definitely stand as a candidate to be an MP at the next election, though that’s probably because there’s no way he’ll get a seat.
A new civility award has been launched by members of the House of Commons and Lords with the aim of addressing the current crisis of trust in politics and has the prize of £3000 for the charity of choice for the winners who are MPs that have shown the most courtesy and decency throughout their work. Thing is, at only £3000, it’s less a civility prize and more a scheme to highlight which MPs are the most rich and can’t give a shit about laughing at others death threats. To be truly effective the prize should be the allowed use of a foghorn during PMQs and then I reckon they’d all get on board.
And lastly, independent MP and visual textbook guide to weathering Rory Stewart is setting up a new centrist party because you know, people are still too embarrassed to directly join the Lib Dems. Stewart says they’ll be inspired by the French En Marche party, so I can only hope he’ll call them ‘Jog On.’
Greetings pod crew, how are you all faring this week? I am nearly considering putting the heating on, that’s where I am. I mean look, its October now, outside looks greyer than Philip Hammond’s complexion. It’s raining in the pathetic sort of way that won’t soak you immediately but will just keep persevering and wearing you down till you just feel uncomfortable, which I’m sure is one of the Prime Minister’s tactics. Plus, it’s getting all dark and leaving to go anywhere feels like an effort, which again makes me wonder if there’s any less than good situation that doesn’t just feel like a metaphor for current politics? I haven’t put the heating on because I have a jumper, so take that energy companies. It’s also because it’s not that cold, it just looks like it should be, which might be the effects of global warming going on, or maybe the weather just hasn’t put the effort into its appearance today. I regularly feel better than I look now, so I can totally sympathise. Did you watch Westminster last week? The viewing figures for the parliament channel were so high I’m sure they’re going to commission another series. I wasn’t sure whether to release that extra episode where Emma kindly explained the supreme court’s decision but glad I did as most of you listened to it, even though the jokes were rubbish and all my chat became redundant about 4 hours later. But yes, that debate in parliament that got all heated and really nasty was really grim. Sort of felt odd knowing that I would totally have loved it if it’d been commissioned by HBO but as a taste of reality hearing BoJo repeat ‘the only way to do that is to Brexit’ while dismissing all concerns of safety was unnerving. At the same time him constantly goading Labour to go for a no confidence vote very much felt like a wounded soldier begging the enemy to end the suffering. Which is probably also unnecessary language. And that’s when I realise I should probably tone it down and that’s when I realise that this is a comedy podcast and it’s a bit different and also that I have in no way suggested that fears of an MP dying is humbug and no one is actually hoping I fix anything so morally I think I’m still on top. It’s amazing that we now have a Prime Minister who you can use as a morality barometer but where he’s at the bottom of the scale rather than the top. I mean, it’s not as if any of the last however many PMs have been near the top, but holy shit Johnson feels like the weighted underplate to stop the barometer falling over.
Thank you for coming back to this. Did you find the bonus ep useful? I’m hoping I won’t have to do too many but hey, let’s see what happens. Thank you to whoever of you gave the podcast a 5 stars on iTunes last week, the show is now just 41 away from 200 reviews so if there are 41 of you that fancy helping out please do. And if just one of you is Grant Shapps then please use your 17 different identities to give it a boost. Thanks. If you fancy donating to this show, which this week I have realized I am drinking too much coffee and should probably take a breather so any donations will go towards, er, tea which isn’t any better but much like the weather, I’ve tricked my brain into thinking it is. So please buy me a single or even monthly recurring tea at ko-fi.com/parpolbro, buy which I mean I the tea wouldn’t be recurring because that would make it awful. Or you can do the same at patreon.com/parpolbro. And huge thanks to all of you who kindly tweeted about the show last week, it was much appreciated. I am desperately trying to find ways to get this show included on things like the Podcast Live: Politics weekend that is happening next week and we’re not included on, or even the Apple Podcasts recommended politics podcasts, which again, ParPolBro is nowhere in sight. But the best way appears to be getting even more people to listen in to my drivel about drizzle and so your help with that is appreciated.
Very teeny admin this week, admini if you please. Firstly, the kids politics show I do with Tatton Spiller at Simple Politics now has its own nearly finished website at politicsforkids.co.uk should you wish to see when we’re near you next. Plus the not for kids live podcast gig at 2Northdown now has a line-up, including comedians Alistair Barrie, Don Biswas, Sadia Azmat, Alex Kealy and speakers political journalist Jennifer McKiernan & the aforementioned Tatton Spiller who will answer all your impending Brexit based questions, as best as they can. That is on October 29th at 2Northdown in Kings Cross and you can get tickets at 2northdown.com so please do that. As I say every week, if nothing else, there is a bar.
On this week’s show I thought it was time to get someone who could sort of answer what on earth is going on, sort of, a bit and so I spoke to the excellent James Millar who is a Westminster journalist for a variety of places and hosts the UK in a Changing Europe podcast. Also, there is an idiot’s guide to disaster capitalism, or as some of you might know it, capitalism. ARF! DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I posted an Instagram pic the other day of me wearing a Zack Saber Jr tshirt, he is a wrestler type, and it says ‘I fight with my brain and an underlying hatred of the British conservative party’ and somebody commented ‘this is why your politics shows are not worthy, all the underlying bias.’ I was meant to take that as a compliment right? Anyway get buying your live show tickets and listen to this noise:
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES
British politics seems all a bit chaotic right now, which is a sentence that if you like, you can use for every week from now since about 2015. From a very basic level we have a Prime Minister who is only setting an example if the example is exactly not what to do if you wish to appear as even a moderately functioning human, his government who are blindly backing every fuck up he makes while simultaneously promising to fund all the things they stopped funding but with money that isn’t actually there, despite previously criticizing the opposition for pledging exactly the same thing just months before. The opposition seem hell bent on scoring own goals, the Lib Dems have gone full game of thrones and want to win everything, the people who promised sovereignty now don’t want it, the people who wanted an election don’t want it just yet, everyone is getting death threats and all the while Brexit is heading towards us like really badly CGI’d comet that no one can quite work out what it looks like. Is this normal? Is it a product of our times and do things only look like this because we can watch it on parliament TV? Sometimes I wonder if politicians in the 70s acted exactly like this, but we didn’t see it on telly and online 24/7 so didn’t have a clue. Was Harold Wilson calling the opposition chickens and traitors, but everyone was too busy using their tweeting hand to hold their cigarettes and er…flared trousers and er…sideburns? Erm.
To be honest, I have no idea and I thought this week it’d be nice to get someone who might be able to say if this is all as batshit as it seems or if actually parliament is always a pile of stupid. So, I spoke to political journalist James Millar to get some views on whats going on right now. James is currently the Westminster pundit for Press & Journal among other publications and he also co-hosts the UK in a Changing Europe podcast. I asked him all about whether or not it should be like this and just what might happen next if anyone at all has the slightest of clues. No I have no idea how long this chat will remain topical for either.
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES PART 1:
And we’ll be back with James in a minute but first…
Can you imagine the very idea of profiteering off things going to shit and everyone having a terrible time? No, I’m not just talking about car insurance. Or home insurance. Or travel insurance. Ok, they’re all awful businesses that are entirely based on earning money because you’ve had a really awful shit time. But at least with insurance companies you get to have that fun chat on the phone with someone where they tell you they’ll only replace your very necessary laptop with another laptop if you pay them the full price of a laptop otherwise, you’re getting a fisher price calculator. Disaster capitalists are, if you can believe it, even worse than that. First described as such by author and social activist Naomi Klein, aka the smaller version of Naomi Gross, in her book the Shock Doctrine in 2007, she said disaster capitalists were those who exploit national crises to profit from them or in order to
push through controversial policies much like, for example, the global financial crash allowed the Conservatives to push through austerity while dropping corporation tax. Turns out the actual phrase is misery loves big companies. Ahem.
This week however, former Chancellor Philip Hammond said that Boris Johnson is only pushing for a no deal because he’s backed by disaster capitalists who will profiteer from the country and despite the thousands of times Hammond has been wrong about things, on this he’s, now don’t fall over in shock, sort of right. I know, I know. Between May 10th and July 23rd, Johnson received just under £700,000 in financial donations according to the electoral commission and register of financial interests and over £400,000 of that was from hedge fund managers and city traders. Unbelievably the Conservative Party’s own 1922 committee placed a cap on campaign spending but Boris received a whole load of his before he announced his leadership bid and another chunk too late for it to count as he’d already been declared winner. One of the people who donated is a man called Crispin Odey who is a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager or translated has done nothing useful for society ever and looks a lot like if someone badly taxidermized Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. He and his wife have been named the Posh and Becks of the city, but I’m guessing that’s mainly because Beckham is known for being a big right winger and based on her singing, Posh was also skilled in making money from people’s misery. Odey has already profiteered off Brexit by speculating that the markets would fall if Leave won, netting him £220m. He then also took a short position on the pound, which sounds like it means he just made himself really low on the ground but actually just means he bet it’d fuck up, and thanks to our government and EU deals being voted against, it did. Odey and many financial commentators argue that this is just what you do when you’re a hedge fund manager as you predict the rise and fall of money and companies because isn’t it fun having all that money to play with while people’s lives are destroyed and yes really as a business it doesn’t make any sense especially when you know so much of that money doesn’t even actually exist in real life and if someone accidentally wiped out a ton of servers it’d all disappear. But the reality of this very weird reality aside, Odey has also taken short positions out on a ton of things, is known for doing and that and occasionally on certain companies doing well, such as Tesco’s, because every little helps. He says claims that he has any motivation towards causing a no deal are rubbish and he has no political investment and is simply an observer. Ok, that doesn’t stop him having the moral fibre content of white bread though.
But then why are there currently £4.6bn of short deals made on a no deal possibility, by people or companies who have directly financed the Prime Minister? And also donated to Vote Leave? And also took out short positions on the result of the referendum being leave? It could well be that people who do that sort of thing are fans of the Conservatives because well, I mean, money, betting on other people having an awful time, basing your entire life on toying with lives because you can afford to, I mean, it’s the most basic of prerequisites to be a Conservative member isn’t it? But even if they just so happen to be profiteering from Brexit, there are many others that will definitely relish a brutal exit. From the US government who look set to snap up various deals and public services, possibly even the NHS, to the Indian government who drew up a joint trade review with Britain looking at, post Brexit, reducing standards to do with pesticides in foods, and what if a toe was a vampire Iain Duncan Smith has touted several times that post Brexit the carbon floor price should be removed which would allow coal burning to be returned to the country and Johnson has previously mentioned scrapping all the green standards for electrical goods. A no deal means no trade regulations means a whole ton of people and businesses will do very well out of us getting lamps that explode, food that tastes of dead bees and a general air of smog. So to sum up: Is Johnson specifically driven by people who want him to no deal because they’ll earn nearly £8bn in gains if we do? I can’t say for sure but I mean, judging by everything else we know about him, it really would seem out of character if that had nothing to do with it. Will many profit of the situation anyway? Yes, very much so. Is Hammond right to call it out when he was an apologist for the banks who crashed the globe in 2008? Well no, he’s still also a millionaire shitrag as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if this entire stupid system of making money stopped because ultimately it doesn’t actually help anyone? Yes definitely. Have you written all this on your fisher price calculator? Yes, yes I have and you know what I’m very proud of myself too.
And now back to James…
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES PART 2
Thanks, so much to James for that chat and you can find him @PoliticalYeti on Twitter, or his website james-millar.com. James hosts the UK in a Changing Europe podcast, he writes articles for various publications including recently the Press & Journal. James’s recommendations will be on the partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk website soon. James also, on top of all that, runs the workingdads.co.uk website which is for, er, dads who work, and I occasionally blog on there and my newest one will go up later this week so do check that out.
I’ve currently got guests up to my ears, which is fairly awkward as I have to unstack them in order to speak to them and they really aren’t all that happy about being stored until I’m ready but hey, they agreed to chat so that’s what they get. What I mean is, I’ve got the next few weeks sorted but then after that its back to chasing interviewees. Thanks tons to those of you who’ve sent in suggestions recently but I’m always hungry for more, like a knowledge Galactus, and the more you send in, the higher the chance I’ll actually get someone booked in is. So, drop me a line on the website contact page, the @parpolbro Twitter account, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Humbug’ so I know you’re taking it seriously.
That’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you once again for using your precious life minutes absorbing this show into your head holes and if you do enjoy it then why not donate to the ko-fi or patreon, review it on one of the podcast reviewy type places and maybe spend an afternoon whispering ‘subscribe to ParPolBro’ in the ears of your loved one or placid colleague and coax them into giving this show an audio whirl?
Thanks to Acast, my brother The Last Skeptik for bleep bloop sounds and Kat Day for the linear liner notes for the website.
This will be back next week when its discovered that Boris Johnson has been drowning kittens in bags every Wednesday for 36 years but he swears its everyone else’s fault for liking kittens too much and he is actually the ideal example of a true animal lover as if he’d kept the kittens alive they’d have to live under his government which would be worse.
This week’s show was sponsored by the Sajid Javid’s new Labour tribute band made up of Conservatives, called the Stoney Roses with such hits as ‘Green New Deal but not really very green and full of old deals’, the Universal Credit scrap where they keep universal credit but only send its recipients bits of old food instead of money and the four and a half day week which is where businesses can’t afford to stay open fully anymore so everyone suffers. Check out the Stoney Roses tribute manifesto ‘I can believe its not Labour’ out now.