Episode 168 – It’s finally here. Election Week. A slightly different episode considering you’ve only got two days to listen to it before we pass the political Rubicon. Plus an actual real opinion from Tiernan (@TiernanDouieb) and a chat with Christine Berry (@oeufling) about how we would prepare for a Labour government, or more likely, how to cope with the expected outcome.
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It’s finally here. Election Week. A slightly different episode considering you’ve only got two days to listen to it before we pass the political Rubicon. Plus an actual real opinion from Tiernan (@TiernanDouieb) and a chat with Christine Berry (@oeufling) about how we would prepare for a Labour government, or more likely, how to cope with the expected outcome.
Links and sources of info from Christine’s interview:
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast. A comedy politics podcast that, had I been smarter would’ve tried harder to tune into the popular public domain more by just shouting ‘punch yourself in the face’ for an hour every week before advising you blame your injuries on someone from another country. This is the pre-election episode, I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week I am eschewing elaborate descriptions of politicians, as now is not the time to dwell on how the Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks and moves like a stop motion bread bin filled with sick, or how Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn resembles a face drawn on your big toe peering out of a hole in your sock. Or even how Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson is clearly the Jar Jar Binks of politics, how SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is a walking advert for cold Bovril. Brexit party leader Nigel Farage is the sort of tragic case that a classical horror writer would’ve created before realizing no one would have empathy towards something so disgusting and stop bothering. Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price would just really like a minute of your time to ask who your energy provider is and how Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley of the Green Party look like the kind of people you’d walk the long way home to avoid having to hear about how amazing their kids are.
No. It’s not the time for that. Instead, with just mere days or indeed a compressed week or radio edit of a month with all the harmful bits removed, to go we have just enough time to really ask ourselves as a nation what it is we want for the next five years and how to justify that in ourselves considering that it’s pretty racist and massively stupid? And for those of you listening outside the UK, you have very little time at all to be practicing what sort of laugh you’ll be doing at us knowing that you live somewhere were people at least pretend to like each other enough to not starve. Those of you in the US are looking at us hoping you can finally pass the baton of most stupid political situation over on Friday, despite many of you not actually looking at us, but at France, which you think is the same country.
These are unprecedented times, where the country faces two exactly similar, basically the same choices with nowhere to go. Basically, the same choice twice isn’t it? I mean, it’s like choosing between twins or eggs or any of the contestants on one of those shows where people dance and eat insects or something? One the one hand you have a party presenting almost socialism, or as much as the UK might perceivably handle, a political ideology that says that capitalism is incompatible with fairness, equality, and human rights. One the other, basically obviously entirely the same hand, like two of the same hand and an awkward glove buying situation, you have a party presenting capitalism. Which says yes it is compatible with all those things, providing you pay for it with money we’ll never ever let you have. Tricky choice. But of course, I’m just giving an overview and when you look into the nitty gritty of the shitty, you can see just why the nation is in moral turmoil.
The governing party has spent the last 9 years sucking the life out of society like how a hungry vampire would gorge on the vein on Dominic Raab’s root vegetable head. There has been 9 years of austerity, an unnecessary political belief based on the notion that people are shit and deserve to have a shit time while other people pump cocaine into their eyes and white rhino soup into their mouths while purposefully breaking wind near trees to kill them off quicker. Homelessness has increased, though to be fair that may be the fault of all those people unable to find houses that haven’t been built. Child poverty has increased though that’s their fault for not being able to get jobs. Food bank usages has gone from 100s to millions, though its clearly all those chancers who’ve realized there’s no point in buying your own food with the money you don’t have when you can scoff a whole dented tin of chickpeas that some kind-hearted soul dropped off on their way out of the shop thinking it was the bin. Councils have sold off everything they own but it’s not like they used it properly anyway. I mean libraries with books in? Come off it, that’s so last century. That space is now much better used by a rich diplomat for never visiting except when they want to block some different disabled spaces for once. The NHS is at breaking point but if it was any good it’d just heal itself right? I mean, come on, how crap are all those nurses and doctors, the ones that are still there anyway, that have worked for twelve weeks straight kept alive only by neon lights and awareness that they mustn’t trip over people lying in the corridors? At least when the US buy it there’ll be giant Disney mascots to cheer everyone up over the screaming. Crime has risen which is a good sign of just how caring and careful the government are in how they influence kids, only showing them vicious cuts that ruin people’s lives. Schools are so depleted that many require parents to buy kids their own pencils but they are likely to chew those pencils so that saves the school or their parents having to supply them with food they can’t afford as well.
There was the hostile environment policy, and Windrush scandal that cared about BAME people and foreign nationals so much that it tried to send them to countries where people might actually respect them. Refugees, don’t worry, nothing will protect you from the horrors you’ve escaped from like us keeping you in a detention centre where no one will get to you, not even friends, family, journalists, or human rights. There was the bedroom tax which rightly questioned how dare people have a whole extra room to keep all their medical supplies, or carers, or family in, when they could rightly squeeze up a bit and squeeze into an air vent or boot of a car and stop being so selfish. Universal Credit has done wonders for people who, previously needing money to survive, are now being given a top training course in Bear Grylls style survival. Who needs to go to another island? Lucky you.
Oh, and then there was that whole referendum that happened to solve in party disputes, but actually I think you’ll find that it’s brought everyone together in despair and rage so it was clearly the right thing to do. Now we just have to get it done, like you might buy a car by walking past it and saying ‘that’s my car that is’ and not doing anything else because its now clearly yours. The pound has plummeted, but I bet it’ll make a nice plinky sound when it lands, and anyway that just means all those foreign types can afford to come over so we can tell them to fuck off to their faces. Wage growth has stagnated since before 2010, but who’s working to live right? If you enjoy what you do you’ll never work a day in your life, which is why the Conservatives have made sure none of you enjoy your six zero hour jobs that you juggle as otherwise you’d be a non-working shirker. And sure they’ve done very little to help the environment but you can’t trust air you can’t see, can you?
Who better to lead a country than a leader that you know you can’t trust so that saves you being disappointed when nothing he’s said comes to fruition? Sure there has been evidence of his racism for years now, but at least that means no one will get a nasty surprise as photos of him wearing blackface emerge from years gone by, as we’ll just assume he does that for the opening of parliament and so all his illegitimate kids won’t recognize him. His record of spending all that money not building a bridge, or on a water cannon he couldn’t use, or allegedly giving it to a tech entrepreneur he was sleeping with, or losing £5m he was given to tackle homeless just shows that he’s one of us, a normal person that’s shit with money and can’t help a bit of retail therapy. How many of us haven’t wanted to have a journalist beaten up, or burned money in front of homeless people to keep them warm? I mean who else can we trust to Get Brexit Done than a man who resigned to stop it happening then voted for the deal he resigned over and then brought the same deal back but worse and said it was better and is now denying it will cause customs checks between the UK and Northern Ireland even thought it will, which goes against all EU guidelines in the deal meaning we’re likely to Brexit for the rest of our lives or crash out in a No Deal and then Johnson will use the last remaining money Britain has to buy a bouncy castle in the shape of tits and roll around on it while people hunt for water. I mean what about that wouldn’t you want?
So, there’s that choice, of more of the same which sounds great as we all fear change. Or, if you’re a weirdo, there’s basically anything else. Why would you choose that? When we’ve all been so, so happy for the last 10 years. I can barely get down my street for people leaping over broken lampposts with joy, shouting things like ‘I can’t believe how great the trains are’ or ‘If I could I’d pay even more for university but I can’t because of its already ludicrous costs’. Don’t forget, the anything else includes a party who have been condemned for not tackling anti-Semitism and that may put you off voting for them if you’re concerned about racism for the first time in the last 9 years and are generally worried that there’s not been enough. So, it’s best to vote for the party who does all of the racism and is actually proud of it like a true Brit. No of course I’m not saying one type of racism is better than the other, just that if I had the choice about not caring about Jewish people I’d also definitely want the 3 in 1 deal of being able to vilify Muslims and continue deporting British black people as well. Don’t forget, the anything else includes nationalizing services that have been run brilliantly for years now, if you’re the CEO that runs it or another country. Who on earth would want to put things back in the public’s hands when they’ll probably just get it dirty or give it a disease? Don’t forget the anything includes a plan for social care, an attempt to curb climate changes, funding for schools and hospitals and all sorts of shit like that, which is just people pleasing. Who on earth wants to please people, they’re awful. I mean surely that makes it easier for you to realise that what we need is a government that wouldn’t be off brand if they announced a policy that involved someone turning up to your house, telling you you’re a piece of shit and then poking your child in the eye with a pointed stick?
Of course, that’s not the only choice, you know, the two parties that are basically the same. There is also all the other basically the same parties where you could vote to take things back to 2016 when they were ok but only had nearly as many people in poverty and not quite as many on the streets, but with the added horror of no Brexit which means everyone would have to find something else to talk about. Urgh, effort. Then there’s the other same party where they want independence for Scotland, which is stupid as that’s like saying it’s its own country with its own views and demand for different things to Westminster. Then there’s the other same party who’d like to protect the planet, which is stupid as if the planet needs to protection it should pay for it like everyone else. G4S could probably do a contract and then forget to send anyone to do it. Then there’s the other same party who’d like more people to speak Wales-ish which is stupid when no one else in England does. Then there’s the other party who are like the main same party but a knock off version, like buying that Irish Cream instead of a Baileys, but for hate and despair.
So, it’s a big choice between all those parties that are basically the same. Do you hold your nose and vote for one who won’t quite give you everything you want because you’re an individual and they have to represent more than just one person? Or maybe you spoil your ballot because you’re so angry at the system you’d prefer it to remain exactly as it is and you want everyone to see how well you draw a cock and balls? And what message does all of this give our kids, the next generation, as they witness those older than them making the decisions for the planet they will have to live on, and probably swim on everyday, once we’re long gone? Well actually it’s all been for them as all those years of othering, a lack of empathy, vitriol and lying should numb them so well that they’ll have no qualms or trauma pushing the boomers off the lifeboats in order to survive when climate disasters kick in.
I can’t tell you who to vote for, I can’t tell you what to do. I’m not your dad. Even if I am your dad, and you’re my daughter, you’re too young to vote so take off that fake moustache and stop trying, you’ll get arrested. What I can tell you is to remember that when you go to vote, remember, you’re just doing it for yourself, fuck everyone else and their needs. It is vitally important that we help a pathologically mendacious egotist fulfill a completely unfeasible and impossible promise that is in only three words so it sounds nice. And of-course whatever happens, it won’t be your fault, it’ll be someone else’s. It’s always someone else’s.
Good luck and see you on the other side, which is a cliff edge and we can writhe on the rocks below blaming each other for not doing more to stop our descent.
Hello. Bit of a different intro this week wasn’t it? As you can tell I’m feeling really hopeful about the results and just thought it was pointless just telling you that Johnson said the naughtiest thing he’d ever done was cycling on the pavement, even though it was likely he was on his way to lie to the Queen or on a bus. But everyone’s moral compass is different and some, like Boris’s, are broken with no discernable way to read it. What was it he said today? Oh yeah that he vows to stop EU migrants being able to treat Britain as their own. I’m guessing he’ll do that by selling it all to the US. But yeah all that seems useless when there’s just a few days to go. All you can actually do right now is speak to your Conservative voting friends and relatives. Not to persuade them to vote another way, but just let them know that they’ll be the first to get eaten when the purge starts and let them mull it over. I am of course, assuming the worst but that’s because then if its anything less than that, I’ll feel slightly better about it. A sort of preventative pessimism if you like. But there’s glimmers of sense. I did a gig on Friday in the constituency where Jeremy Hunt has been voted in every consecutive election since 2005, with Virginia Bottomley before him and the crowd made a disappointed groaning noise when I brought up his name, with general consensus being that they fucking hate him so you never know. But that is one gig in one place and what I have to remember is that haha Johnson is a character and you’d want to go to the pub with him. Would you? He’d constantly promise to get you a
pint and it’d never appear. It’d be awful. Then he’d tell you the same stories over and over again. At least in comparison Corbyn doesn’t drink so it’d be a cheap round.
So, look, thanks for listening to this week’s show. I know you only have a limited time to do so before we’ve crossed the Rubicon. And yes, I will try to bring a mini-episode out on Friday if I can, and some sort of shambles next week. Then, hopefully, I’ll give this show a rest for a couple of weeks, though I’ve heard politics foreseer Newstradamus may make his annual appearance if he has anything at all to predict. Other than that, thank you to Dan for donating to the ko-fi and to Jo for becoming a Patreon patron and let it be known that all your funds are definitely not going towards the booze and caffeine I’ll be inhaling on election night and you’ll no doubt be able to see the effect it’s not having on my twitter feed. If you would like to add to that pile of liquid stimulants, then please chuck me a few quid at either ko-fi.com/parpolbro or patreon.com/parpolbro. Oh and shout out to the excellent Oonargh for the lovely mention on her very funny Twitter, do give her a follow @Okeating.
Also, I’ve popped a link in the pod blurb to an article I wrote last week about my thoughts on how this election will effect kids, in terms of the examples we’re setting, not financially etc. And to cheer you up, I’ve also popped a link to the election St Gregory CEVP school in Suffolk did which just further proves that we should have children running things, instead of men who act like children.
On this week’s show I am interviewing writer Christine Berry, on how we handle things in this election if they don’t go as we expect and also if they do. Plus, there’s a little bit in the middle about press coverage and a few of my own thoughts, as if you don’t get enough of those already. Here we go:
INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE
If you like me, pay any attention to polls, predictions and the general way in which most people don’t pay attention and like three word slogans, it’s looking like Friday will be a Conservative majority result, leading to 5 years of a very hard Brexit, a government that will lie about everything and deny it, Johnson tumbling around like a blubbery tumbleweed and his cabinet doing more of that stupid leg stance where it’s like a small horse disappeared just as they got on it. At the least worst, it will be a hung parliament, which means one to two more years of political cock blocking, avoiding the terrible but also ignoring the other terrible because there’s no time for it. Sure, I’m skirting over many things but what we do know is that no one will be happy apart from maybe a handful of people who’ll be temporarily happily for about 5 minutes till they realise what they’ve done. Still stability eh? Even if what’s now stable is the constant instability. But supposing it doesn’t happen like that? You never quite now in today’s world and there is the remote chance it will play out in a way that means we end up with a coalition of Labour and the SNP or Lib Dems, or a minority Labour government or maybe last minute we’ll be invaded by aliens and none of it will matter. And if you do suppose that, well not the last one, then why not delve into what that’d be like. Even if it’s not your preferred outcome, its useful to seriously consider what an alternative system might be like for the country you live in, you know, past the hyperbole of it suddenly supposedly being a haven for communist terrorist pacifists whose love for both peace and violence cancels themselves out and they mostly sit around drinking strong tea. And if it is your preferred outcome and it doesn’t happen, how do you deal with the notion and feeling, that no one else wants what you do, if unlike me you don’t have it on a daily basis that is? How do you pick yourself back up and work out how, in 5 years time, you go through it all again?
This week I spoke to Christine Berry. Christine is the co-author of People Get Ready: Preparing for a Corbyn government, a book on what, in practice, Corbyn’s re-ordering of British politics would entail and how much hostility would there be from the establishment towards it. In her career Christine has been a parliamentary researcher, director of policy and government at the New Economics Foundation and most recently was head of policy and research at ShareAction. I spoke to her all about what would happen, how things might change, how those who’ve campaigned deal with it not happening and what exactly those aliens might demand. Sorry, not the last one. So just a heads up, we spoke just over a week ago and I think everything we talk about is still up to date but thought I should warn you incase. Also, Christine is a parent of a one year old and manages to be interesting, coherent and inspiring despite lack of sleep, yet I’m the parent of a 20 month old and hadn’t had enough coffee so my questions are very rambling. I swear it’s those extra 8 months of no sleep what did it. Anyway, hope you enjoy, here’s Christine:
INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE PART 1
We’ll be back with Christine in a minute but first….
This is the last election flex section, for 2019 and I was trying to figure out what might be useful to you. Maybe some soothing music? Compliments about how your new face gloves and bum scarf really suit you? How about a list of things that could be worse? Hey, its ok, at least a shark isn’t eating your face. I mean, I hope you’re not listening to this while a shark eats your face but if it is, and you are, I hope the acoustics make my voice sound good. Instead I thought maybe a few notes about press coverage and then some of my own opinions because it’s not as if there’s been enough of those this election has there?
I’m not sure if you’ve seen it already over the last few weeks but folks at the Centre of Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University have conducted news audits for general elections for years and for this one, they’ve been doing a weekly round up of findings from UK wide television coverage and newspapers. There are four big things they’ve noticed over the last few weeks. One is that as this election has gone on, coverage about Brexit has got less and less. You might see this as a good thing as its all we’ve heard for ages, Brexit Brexit Brexit, with everyone getting Brexit fatigue even though it’s what they voted for so it felt a bit like that old fashioned method of putting a kid off smoking by making them smoke an entire pack of cigarettes and then they become addicted to smoking a whole pack at once and it all goes wrong. Is it a good thing though? When the main message of the Conservatives campaign is Get Brexit Done, a lack of looking into exactly how they might do that doesn’t feel all that dissimilar to the EU Referendum. Let’s leave! How? Shhhhhhh. The second thing is how little coverage the environment has got, despite you know, us all living in it and needing it. Week 2 of the campaign it got its highest amount of coverage at 4.1% of all media, with every other week being much less. I look forward to trying to explain to my kid why we did want to stop the flooding but actually chatting about business and how they can pay less tax was more important because how will those CEOs be able to afford a helicopter to higher ground without those breaks?
The third is just how little coverage the Lib Dems got from week one, getting an eighth of TV coverage in Week 1 and less since, and even less in newspaper coverage, beneath the Brexit Party. While there is something to be said for the more coverage Jo Swinson gets the less people seem to like her, so maybe this was beneficial, it shows just how unbalanced the coverage is. How can you attain votes if voters don’t even know you’re there? Women’s voices also only accounted for a third of all quotation in TV and a fifth in press, with only 4 of the top 20 most covered politicians being female. When Boris Johnson laughably said he vowed to help women reaching their full potential, he could’ve started by shutting up and letting more female members of his party get a word in.
The last finding is how disproportionately negative the coverage of Labour policies has been. Loughborough Uni have made a chart where if an item was focused on positive matters for a party it scored a +1, negatively a -1. Things with no clear evaluation scored a zero. In the first four weeks, and this in unweighted, Labour scored a -95, -105, -106 and -110. In comparison, the Conservatives scored 5, -12, -17 and a -38, and the Lib Dems scored -15, 6, -11 and -8. So it’s not just how negative the press has been but the sheer volume of negative press Labour has got. It also shows just how weighted towards two parties it has all been with very little focus on anyone except Labour and the Conservatives with both getting 90% of appearances in week 4. Now I’m not going to assume exactly how that effects people as I don’t have the evidence, but if all the main coverage tells you there’s only two parties to vote for and one of them are terrible, you do wonder if the less discerning or those with less time to be discerning will say ‘oh well, I guess I’d better vote for what happened if Lassie got goiter and someone shaved him a lot.’
Have a look at the reports for yourself on the Loughborough University General Election website that I’ll pop in the pod blurb, and they are @lboroCRCC. Overall I think it really raises questions about media balance, which we’ve always known hasn’t existed, but sometimes it’s nice to see it in the facts and tables like someone sensible and clever has said it and I don’t just need to grab a tin foil hat.
So, look, what else can I say. Well except maybe:
Don’t be a dick.
And now back to Christine…
INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE PART 2
Thanks to Christine for that. You can find her on Twitter @oeufling and her website is at christineberry.net. Christine’s book is called People Get Ready – Preparing For A Corbyn Government, which she co-authored with Joe Guinan, and is available at all them book places. Though if you go to orbooks.com then they’re currently selling it at a small discount. Even if the title isn’t relevant after Friday, as you’ve heard the content and what it means to be in a different political system is highly worth thinking about.
Don’t forget that if you have someone you think I should interview on a future episode or a subject I should interview someone about, please drop me a line at the contact page on partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk, the @parpolbro Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast facebook group or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or maybe just leak it on reddit and about 5 months later a political party may notice and tell me about it before journalists warn me that it might actually be Russian interference because they don’t know how the internet works, and I have to ignore it. As always, probably just best to email me.
And that’s it for this week’s podcast. Good luck out there on Thursday and I shall be thinking of you all as I cradle my whisky and shout at the television at 3am in a way that won’t wake my daughter up even though she’ll wake up 10 minutes later as she always does. Don’t forget to tell people about this goddamn thing, donate to the ko-fi and patreon, and review it on all your pod apps.
Thanks, as always to Acast, my brother the Last Skeptik for all the music and who’s new album ‘See You In The Next Life’ is out now and to Kat Day for all the linear liner notes. And of-course to you for sticking with this show throughout.
This will be back, probably on Friday for a brief brain vomit and potentially, depending on how much whisky I’ve needed to drink, a real one.