A sort of Halloween episode but only sort of, because really what’s the point when nothing is as scary as the news anymore? Conservatives being super ghoulish in wanting children to go hungry, a possible four more years of Trump and the worst thing somehow being the word scum. Plus a chat with historian and write Evan Smith (@evanishistory) about if cancel culture is actually a thing.
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Linear liner notes
A sort of Halloween episode but only sort of, because really what’s the point when nothing is as scary as the news anymore? Conservatives being super ghoulish in wanting children to go hungry, a possible four more years of Trump and the worst thing somehow being the word scum. Plus a chat with historian and write Evan Smith (@evanishistory) about if cancel culture is actually a thing.
Key links and sources of info from Evan’s interview:
Pseudopod episode hosted by Kat: The Sneakaboo – https://pseudopod.org/2020/10/16/pseudopod-726-the-sneakaboo/
All the usual ParPolBro stuff:
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl across the neighbourhood
To say even they think hungry children should get food
Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Boooo-dcast, sorry Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that for the first Halloween ever is going to not wear a mask this year as that’s much, much scarier. I’m WERE-MAN BOO-WEB, yes, it’s tenuous I know, and this week as Conservatives excuse their vote against extending free school meals in England by saying that parents should be responsible for their children, I say if they have a problem with the Prime Minister, they should just tell him to his face. Star of 1958 sci-fi horror The Blob Boris Johnson is refusing to budge on the decision but has said that he doesn’t want to see children go hungry, which must be why he avoids kids at all times, including his own.
It must be hard for the Conservatives to understand just what they’ve done wrong. Most have never been children, often being born straight out of their eggs into the form of a rich, old man, eating any young siblings that may emerge from the rest of the batch for sustenance. Or if they do survive the initial birthing, they are immediately gathered by the elders and sent away to places where skilled senseis show them the art of how to answer with answering, they have all their empathy and emotions removed with iron tongs via their rectums and then are released into high society with all the knowledge they need to make sure they don’t have to bother remembering anything they said five minutes ago or how anything works. So when they voted against the opposition day debate last week, for the extension of the free school meal plan to continue in school holidays, a bill that had it gone through would still not have been acted on as is the nature of opposition debates, that this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back before it received a letter from the DWP saying it was still eligible to work and would be sanctioned if it didn’t try. Footballer and people’s champion Marcus Rashford had previously campaigned to extend free school meals to the Easter and then Summer holidays earlier this year, which the government authorised after some grumbling, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson pretending not to hear or see Rashford for a while and then ultimately u-turning while saying it was all their idea in the first place. But the idea of children in poverty still being in need of food for the rest of this year and possibly even next, ridiculous. ‘There’s no need for free meals outside of term times’ said the No.10 spokesperson. Yeah, exactly, who eats in the weeks in between school times like Christmas or Easter? Only idiots eat then. Pretty sure Jesus didn’t eat before Christmas Day when he was born or after Easter when he was dead so they should all take a lesson from him. Haven’t these children eaten enough at the start of the year to get through the winter? Why didn’t they just bury every other meal like squirrels so they could survive until Spring? Selfish children. Luckily hundreds of councils have stepped up the plate, literally, saying they will provide meals during school holidays themselves as have a number of small businesses, and in fact large ones including McDonalds who say they’ll provide over 1m free meals to kids in need. Something that considering the contents of a happy meal, may be more damaging than not providing anything. But the act of generosity from a multi-million pound company that could definitely give away more meals than that, still shows that Boris Johnson is a worse clown than Ronald McDonald.
This is what should happen said Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and misused chalk brush Brandon Lewis, who said they’ve increased universal credit and made £63m available to councils for targeted support, which of course will really help as it plummets into the £16bn funding hole councils now have after 10 years of austerity. Maybe they’ve forgotten that bit though as it did happen more than 5 minutes ago, the same affliction suffered by MP for Mansfield and what would happen if you encased stupid in a potato Ben Bradley who said he voted against the bill because in his constituency there is one kid living in a crack den and another in a brothel and those are the ones that need help, even though they would also get it under the free school meal initiative, as well as, you know, others and Bradley isn’t helping them anyway. It’s not a one in, one out thing Ben, but also without ten years of austerity, a crap load of policies such as a refusal to ban zero hours jobs or fund social care, then chances are those kids would’ve been rescued from those situations some time ago. I do wonder if MPs like Ben purposefully refuse to fill in the gaps or just sees them as the holes poor people should be put into so he can forget they’re there. Bradley got particularly angry with Deputy Labour leader and woman who always looks like she’s peering at you through your curtains Angela Rayner, who he said had misrepresented him by her tweeting a picture of his words on his tweet. Poor Ben. Must be horrible to have your words twisted by your own words. Maybe he should sue himself for libel and get himself to apologise. It was the second time Rayner was criticised by Conservative MPs after she used the word ‘scum’ during a speech by Conservative MP and what if Shaun Ryder had been withered by hate Chris Clarkson where he was advocating children not needing school meals. Apparently, Rayner saying the word which means a layer of dirt on the surface of liquid, is unparliamentary language, and I can understand as it suggests that Clarkson’s views hold water. Conservative MPs wrote to the Labour party saying Rayner’s use of the word was unacceptable and had led to them getting abuse online. I love that they think that was the only reason why they had received abuse, as though it was some sort of gateway insult and nothing at all to do with them being very happy to suggest its fine for children starve. Meanwhile 800 former judges and legal professionals have written to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary Priti ‘kids going hungry makes me horny’ Patel asking them to apologise for their harsh language and hostility towards lawyers, which they said endangers lawyers’ safety. But number 10 said simply that lawyers were not immune from criticism, which might be true, but they aren’t a political role and it doesn’t mean you have to give them any insubstantial abuse. I’m not immune to COVID as far as I know, but I’d hope that’d mean the Prime Minister wouldn’t feel a need to give it to me regardless. Ah no, he would though wouldn’t he? Either way, I’m sure Johnson or Patel wouldn’t stoop so low as to call any legal types scum and will just stick to the provocative death threat inducing politicising slurs instead.
Not all Conservative MPs voted against the free school meals extension. Five defied the whip which means mean face carved into a gourd Dominic Cummings will probably already be lurking around their homes telling them he’ll feed their bones to his pigs or something. MP for Eastbourne and blueprint for a manager at a travel agents Caroline Ansell boldly resigned from her junior minister position to vote for the extension. Good for her and maybe next time she should use all those public funds she took to hire her husband as her personal assistant to buy kids some food instead as I’m sure he’s had enough free lunches at the expense of the taxpayer by now and it’s time to share.
I do get that I, a mere peon or pleb, just don’t understand how money works at a governmental level. Just because there is money to be spent on failed mobile apps, management consultants for failed apps, or as it was revealed this week, the Neville Holt Opera, which gained £85k in Culture Recovery Fund despite it being a private venue owned by Boris Johnson’s personal friend who pays for him to go on holiday in Mustique. Then again, I guess the fund never stated what type of culture it was for recovering, and elitist or corruption may technically fall under that. That money there is different money to the money for spending on school dinners or to help support the people of Manchester in a Tier 3 lockdown. They need the same money that the government use to balance the economy for that sadly and it’s selfish they won’t think of the country when they demand it, while the government are working very hard creating opportunities for companies who’ve never provided PPE before to give it a go in-case they think it’s more fun than whatever they did before. According to the Mayor of Greater Manchester and template for disappointed dads everywhere Andy Burnham, Manchester needed £65m to ensure everyone would financially survive the closures needed for a Tier 3, so the government gave £60m and called Burnham a bully. Not scum mind you, they weren’t being that harsh. Once again, I assume that Conservatives read the tale of Robin Hood as kids and are taught that actually its Prince John who’s being oppressed throughout. Chancellor Rishi ‘I definitely took a briefcase to school instead of a lunchbox’ Sunak unveiled yet another jobs rescue package after the last three was as helpful as seeing someone on top of a burning building and coming to their aid by placing a bathmat on the ground and shouting ‘be brave and jump’. This latest package is Sunak removing the first bathmat and replacing it with an even smaller one, as workers in a tier 3 lockdown area will receive 67% of their wages, covered by the government and businesses won’t pay anything towards it. Businesses are helped while everyone else works out how to pay just 67% of their bills while still eating. In line with this, if the line is a steep downwards plummeting one, is self-employed support which will now be just 40% of profits to survive on over 3 months, while 3 million people have still been completely ignored by all of it. But don’t forget, it’s your responsibility to feed your kids, but if you try and work or keep your shop open, we’ll fine you. It’s a contradictory chain of thought that sounds less like responsible policies and more one of the more boring challenges from the Saw franchise. It’s about understanding just what Conservative ideology is in 2020. Is it about meritocracy or has that one been ruined now that Marcus Rashford greedily worked his way out of poverty and is now helping other people instead of buying a heated duck moat or something? Is it about the free market, now that their Brexit plans are making that just a handful of empty expensive stalls? Is it about conserving things as they can’t even keep the same jobs rescue package for more than 5 minutes? Or is it just about feeling powerful because other people are having a shit time and you’re not, getting away with as much as you can while giving your mates lots of money, and doing your best to avoid all accountability? Maybe I’ve got it completely wrong though, and as a parent it is my responsibility to feed my daughter despite having lost most of my work since March. Which is why I’ll be using my initiative and sneaking her into the Westminster canteen to eat some subsidised lunch paid for by taxpayers.
In COVID news, Scotland has unveiled a 5 tier alert and restriction system, which oddly starts at 0 and ends at 4. Level 0 is classed as ‘nearly normal’ which is classic Scotland, meaning that everything is only how it was if everyone’s being negative. Wales’s firebreak has included shops being told they can’t sell non-essential items which one Tesco shop took to mean women’s sanitary pads. Which is so hugely sexist as DIY stuff is considered essential but somehow it doesn’t count if women have the painters in. Both Wales and Scotland have extended free school meals to the Easter holidays next year, which is great news for kids in England, because as they have to drive all the way there just to get a COVID test they can get something to eat at the same time. Coronavirus cases continue to rise in the UK, despite local restrictions and there are rumours that the government are looking at increasing the Tier system to have a Tier 4, which will probably be just like Tier 3, but with less funding and you can only have booze in a restaurant if you get a starter as well as a main meal, before they have to introduce a Tier 5 which will be like 4 but they’ll put up the occasional warning sign. Half of all school pupils in England had been sent home due to infection worries by end of last week, so it’s probably even more now considering that its half term and it’d be weird if they were still in class. And the two week quarantine period for those testing positive for COVID could be reduced to just 7 or 10 days depending on what they think they can get away with saving cash on, and chairman of the liaison committee and evil John Oliver Bernard Jenkin has said a vacuum of leadership in test and trace has affected compliance with isolation rules. I’m not sure that’s how I’d describe Dido Harding. I mean she definitely sucks up cash, but she doesn’t really clean up the mess, rather just sort of lets it get worse. Though to be fair, I did have a hoover like that in my last flat so maybe he’s right.
The House of Lords voted down the international law-breaking internal market bill and reinserted powers to protect farmers and UK food standards into the agriculture bill. It will now go back to the Commons where the Conservative majority will likely remove all of those again but it unbelievably 2020 that the best possible future for Brexit now rests in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. Brexit talks have been extended because it will never ever end and your friend’s dad who labels his food in the fridge and EU negotiator Michael Barnier have said that both sides share a huge common responsibility, which I think is just referring to making sure the UK Brexit negotiator and collapsing souffle of a man David Frost doesn’t accidentally stab himself with a biro or try and walk into a window or something.
And over in the US, with just days until the Presidential election, the final debate between US President and pumpkin that scares all the kids Donald Trump and Democratic candidate and classic mayor of a town in a horror film where he hasn’t seen the monster so what’s the problem Joe Biden, took place last week. A mute button was used making the debate a lot more civil than the first one, but it still wasn’t used properly as otherwise they’d have pressed it every time Trump said anything and instead played circus music over the top. The two clashed over COVID, climate and racism, probably on account of Trump not recognising any of those things. Both candidates told porkies though Biden only a handful compared to Trump’s veritable pig farm full. Biden said he had never opposed fracking but in reality, back in March he said no to new fracking, as he clearly prefers their earlier stuff. Trump on the other hand made statements such as how he’s the least racist person in the room, which is false on several accounts not least because the chair was Kristen Welker a mixed-race journalist, and also because Trump is rarely in the room, being predominantly mentally vacant. The election is next Tuesday, and Biden’s lead is currently holding while at this point in 2016, American horror story Hilary Clinton’s lead was collapsing. Hopefully Biden won’t have any last-minute email scandals, something that’s unlikely to happen when he clearly can’t send one without his kids’ help. Instead an error on Sunday where he said the US needed to stop four more years of George, which Trump has taken to mean he had confused him with former idiot president George Bush. But I reckon Biden just sees Trump as the George at Asda President, a cheap imitation of what other countries would have as a leader.
GARY SAMBROOK EATS BIG DINNERS
Yeah, the Halloween theme lasted all of two sentences this year didn’t it? I really wish I hadn’t used up some of the previous year’s lines so early. If only I’d known that ‘actually monsters and ghouls would be a blessed relief this year’ would be more relevant in 2020 than 2019? You live and learn. Still I can’t say I’m not pleased that trick or treating is banned this year, though it would be a more viable way to get sustenance to children than relying on the government to do it. The school meals thing is fascinating isn’t it? I mean, it was an opposition day motion which means regardless of what it is, the government would vote against it on principal. But they’ve doubled down on it so much, that now they have to go along with it and it’s really not great for their image. It’s just funny how some of their supporters who are happy to go along with so many awful things they’ve done, have drawn the line at not extending free school meals. For me, as a vegetarian, it’s a bit like when someone who eats meat says they couldn’t eat a dog or something. I know that may make sense to you but to me, they’ve all got faces and bums so what’s the difference, hence why I wouldn’t eat any of them. Ok, it’s a flawed analogy but I just find it fascinating when people are like ‘yeah we’re happy for a government who increases child poverty, but we’re angry though won’t give those kids they put into poverty some food.’ I suppose it wasn’t a pandemic before and maybe its changed minds now a lot more people are screwed. And why a number of people who continue to be fine are just listening affordable ways to make a usually, vitamin free meal on Twitter in the most unhelpful way, as though that might be the problem rather than overall survival. ‘You could draw a whole chicken on your arm and then let your kids eat your arm and that’s free and leaves your other arm to sweep chimneys or mop piss or whatever it is poor people do. That’s what I’d do, just not with my family because I’m better than you. Or with my arm.’ That sort of thing. I genuinely can’t even begin to imagine justifying letting kids go hungry in my head, and I’ve got a daughter, sorry agent, who regularly rejects the nice dinners I’ve made her, and I often have a second or two where I think ‘FINE. YOU CAN EAT NOTHING THEN AND I’LL JUST LEAVE YOU IN THE PARK TO FORAGE FOR ACORNS.’ Which she’d love and then I’d feel mean and stupid.
Anyway, how are you these Halloween? My brother, the one who’s music I usually steal for this podcast, he’s got the dreaded COVID and is having a really rough time of it. He seems to be getting through it though. We saw him week before last so have been counting down the days to making sure we don’t have it which I don’t think I have. It’s so hard to tell when preliminary symptoms include fatigue which I’ve had ever since becoming a dad. It’s really something when the clocks go back, you get an extra hour and somehow your kid now just wakes up an hour earlier which sums up just why it’s called Greenwich mean time.
But it doesn’t matter what time you listen to this, or what timezone even, it is much appreciated as always. And a special big thanking times this week to Somebody, Taz, Conal, Helen and Jenkins for the ko-fi donations, and to Catherine for joining the Patreon. If you like this show or at the very least, don’t hate it and wish to contribute to the only income I have anymore then you too can head to the ko-fi.com/parpolbro, patreon.com/parpolbro or the Acast supporter site. Sorry, I’m really not doing any Halloween justice am I? One second…
YOU CAN DONATE YOUR SOUL, EYES OR FIRST BORN TO KO-FI.COM/PARPOLBOOOOOO
Yeah that wasn’t worth it. You can also review the show and big shout out to Brod, wocket1 and Woah-bro for your lovely words on Apple Podcast this week. Particularly the latter who spelt my name wrong in a way Donald Trump would have to make an effort to do, despite my name being written on every episode of the show. I applaud you but it’s still not as good as the music festival that listed me as Doobie Tehran a few years back, like I’m a middle eastern Jazz musician. Oh yes sorry…
GIVE THE SHOW A FIVE AAAAARRGGGHHH REVIEW ON YOUR PODCAST APP OF CHOICE OR JUST WRITE IN BLOOD IN THE MIRROR AND SAY PARPOLBRO THREE TIMES AHAHAHAHAHHA
Sigh. There’ll be no podcast next week sort of. It’s the US election on Tuesday so I thought it’s probably just best to let that happen and record a small something after. If loads of UK news happens between now and then I’ll record a small something for Monday too. I was planning on doing some sort of live streaming thing on Tuesday night but then remember that I like sleep and if it’s awful I don’t really want to see it and if it’s good then I’m happy to wake up with a nice surprise for the first time since, I dunno, my sixth birthday. Probably. I don’t even remember what happened for my sixth birthday and in fact, Thatcher was in charge then so I’m almost certainly wrong. I am going to appear on the Social Distance Warriors livestream at some point, the very fun mostly Manchester comedy collective who’ll be broadcasting throughout the night and the link for that will pop up on their Twitter soon @socialdwarriors. That’s it for admin because let’s face it, we’re all tired. Its why Halloween feels so pointless this year because I’ll be asleep long before the witching hour and it’s hard to even think of fancy dress when I’ve been solidly in tracksuit bottoms since March. Is it possible to dress as a vampire on a zoom call? I guess they wouldn’t be seen on it anyway. Something to think about.
Oh, and apologies for last week’s terrible pronunciations of pseudoscience. I’m not sure why I got it in my head that it was sway-do science which sounds like the science of a funky dance, rather than sue-do which is dough made by sue, obviously, but thanks to the many of you who complained. You were right too. I also mispronounced something else. Was it controversy or something like that? Anyway, that was an error as I had a burp coming, which I edited out then forgot to fix the word because tiredness. One day I’ll leave the burp in for you true fans.
On this week’s show I am talking to historian and writer Evan Smith about the scaaaary subject of cancel culture, which isn’t really, unless you’re a Nazi. They’ve really got rubbish Nazis haven’t they? I mean back in the day they weren’t even afraid of opening the ark of the covenant or living on the moon, but now, all upset if some people on social media think they’re boring. Not so much Dead Snow as Dead Snowflake amIright? Yep. I said it. Anyway there’s that and a few thoughts on what to look out for in American votey times next week.
I DON’T BELIEVE IN NATIONALISING CHILDREN
INTERVIEW WITH EVAN
While you or I may be spending 2020 concerned about catching COVID19, not being able to afford to pay bills, or putting the wrong jacket on for the ever-changing weather and not realising until it’s too late. Yes, that is as important as the others. It is. It really is. For some politicians and political commentators among others, the biggest threat to their existence is the possibility of being cancelled. It might be hard for you to imagine, but for some who reside in the lofty heights, there is a continuous worry that they might post one of their perfectly normal opinions online about how they believe that their ethnicity is the best one because they’ve only shat themselves twice in adult life whereas other races are known for cat burglary and eating giraffes. Or perhaps something about how it’s disgusting that some people can’t understand that they should be sweeping chimneys and eating gravel because they deserve it on account of not being born into a puddle of gold. Something like that. Then the next thing they know, the woke liberal mob of ordinary humans who live in a progressive society may decide to cancel or no platform them, meaning that they won’t get to do anything anymore apart from carry on complaining on social media and then do loads of television appearances about how they’ve been cancelled and get a book deal to write it up but even longer. Yes, there is always an argument for hearing both sides of an argument, though if you follow that thought through, there is another side to that argument that says that you shouldn’t. Increasingly, that latter point is correct as there shouldn’t really be a counterargument to elements of existence that in today’s day and age, we have all mostly agreed are the way humanity should be. Does anyone really need to listen to someone who says racism is right, or murder can be fine if you look sexy while doing it, or that wearing red trousers is actually not bad? Won’t that just persuade others that those opinions might be somehow valid when really, they should be confined to that one family member you desperately try to avoid at get togethers, instead of on national platforms and doesn’t that mean no platforming is a pretty valid thing to do? Is cancel culture a thing, or isn’t it just an easy way of saying ‘someone didn’t like what I said and that’s not fair’? Can we take columnists criticisms that cancel culture is ruining comedy or debate or everything seriously when the next week they’ll be condemning a TV show for having a joke that they didn’t like on it and insisting it’s pulled off air? When Conservatives are changing school PSHE curriculums to teach that cancel culture is bullying, while also insisting various political ideologies that they don’t approve of can’t be taught anymore? More importantly, what term can we now use for the government’s lack of funding to the arts meaning they’re actually cancelling culture? And how do we cancel them doing that? And cancel all the things that’d actually be good to cancel like poverty, climate change and Christmas flavours of crisps?
Luckily, I was recently pointed in the direction of Evan Smith, a historian, writer and academic who researches political extremism, no platforming and cancel culture among others. Earlier this year, Evan’s hefty tome entitled ‘No Platforming: A History of Anti-Fascism, Universities and the Limits of Free Speech’ was published, looking at the history of universities blocking Nazis from doing talks, and how its developed into today’s modern free speech crisis causing people like sickly llama Laurence Fox to make a lot of noise about how he’s constantly silenced or something. Evan is based in Adelaide and so very kindly navigated time zones to give me a bit more context on the subject so many, often right-wing commentators and politicians are endlessly using as buzz words, while hoping you never actually think about what it means. I asked him all about if cancel culture is actually a thing, if social media has made all of this much worse, and if we should really be just cancelling the internet. You know, except for this podcast, obvs. Hope you enjoy, here is Evan:
INTERVIEW WITH EVAN PART 1:
OVEN READY DEAL
MIDDLE BIT – US ELECTION
I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it, but next week America is having a big election thingy. No? You know America, that small place to the left of Ireland. Yeah? You know it? The one with the all the noise, the burgers and where Tony Danza comes from? Know it? Yeah that one. Well depending on how next week goes, it’s either the end of the Trump presidency, a tumultuous four years of horror, division and a repealing of human rights worse than if human rights was a banana and King Kong had found it and didn’t like it. That would be a repeal, right? Because he’d peel it but then go urgh, I’ll peel it again. He totally would. Bloody King Kong. What’s he like? But if it isn’t the end of Trump’s time in the Orange house, then it’s the beginning of the end of America as any sort of super power if that hadn’t already started in 2016, and a likely escalation of extremist far right groups, police brutality, nepotism, corruption, and Jared Kushner being given more important things to do despite him being the sort of deadweight who’d be best utilised as a draught excluder. If Joe Biden wins? Well who’s to say those things wouldn’t still happen as a retaliation to Trump’s loss or perhaps a continuation of where the US was already going, but it’d at least happen slower, slightly more coherently and with less tweeting at 4am as Joe is quite old and probably won’t be up then unless his prostate is playing up. It is a big deal election though, and whatever happens, it will change a number of things, not least the levels of risk White House staffers have catching COVID. Rather than predict what might happen, or what has gone before, I thought it might be handy if you, like me, are planning to stay up and try and make sense of anything that’s going on. By that I mean I’ll last till about midnight, then give up and hope that I wake up in the morning to find that Donald Trump hasn’t celebrated his second term by trying to bomb COVID19. Oh and don’t forget to listen back to the episode two weeks ago with Matthew McGregor where he talked all about the US election in brilliant detail.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE
Good question. I mean we have our own narcissistic, psychopathic big haired weirdo here, with 2015 in human form as the only contender and this election happens so late at night, why should I give a god diggety damn? Well for a start, 4 more years of Trump could mean more global instability as he operates an America First policy that is combined with him not really knowing what that means and having a complete disregard for all existing American foreign policy relationships. Which one hand is great as US foreign policy for many years was largely to turn up somewhere, kill everyone and nick their oil. But it also isn’t great as his Middle East peace process mostly involves Israel and Saudi Arabia annexing Palestine and he’s pally with Kim Jong Un which is just weird but also entirely understandable when you think about it. For the UK, he might be pro-Brexit but Trump’s also already interfered on our 5G contract with Huawei, and it may affect relationships with other European countries, and our relationship with Iran in future too and whoever he’s decided to start a war with while using twitter on the toilet that night. Trump may also pull the US further out of NATO which would mean the UK and EU have to pay a lot more on their own defence which could mean a big rise in taxes. If Biden wins, it might mean the US gets all cuddly with the UN again, and NATO, as well as global climate policy agreements which would benefit everyone and Biden is keen to re-engage the Iran nuclear deal. But the issue for the UK is that Biden has Irish heritage, you know, like everyone in America apparently, and is keen to see the Good Friday agreement honoured. He also described Johnson last December as a ‘physical and emotional clone’ of Trump, which is about right. If the cloning process went wrong during the tanning stage. So that might mean he allies more closely with Paris and Berlin than London, seeing them as bigger centres for European interests. So basically yeah, it does matter for us, not least because if Biden wins the Queen will probably crack open a brew at the thought of not having to host that stupid oaf that kept standing in front of her again.
WHAT ELSE IS BEING VOTED FOR
It is not just President that is being elected on November 2nd. No, no. It is also all 435 seats in the house of the Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate, 13 state and territorial governorships and a shedload of local elections too. What be them? Well the house of the representatives is basically their House of Commons, with members of congress elected to pass federal legislation which then gets sent to the Senate, then passed by the President. Hence why during the Obama years, the Senate was Republican, and so nothing got passed. The congresspeople or persons or thingies are allocated to each state based on population according to the US Census with each district getting one. So for example, California is bloody massive so gets 53. Whereas Alaska only gets one because its freezing and mostly occupied by bears. Really it should be represented by a bear but you try and get one to stand. They get really grizzly about it. YEAH I WENT THERE. Whichever party gets most seats gets to elect a speaker of the house. Then United States Senate, sort of their house of lords but with less Andrew Lloyd Webber and more Mitch McConnell with his misshapen jelly blancmange face and chargrilled hands like a birthday party spread gone horrible wrong. Each state is represented by two senators, and they serve terms of six years, which are staggered so only one third of the Senate is up for election each time because why not make this more complicated? Perhaps they should split that up again so everyone with surnames beginning with A-E where their birthdays are divisible by 79 can only be voted out in June and any with the star sign Gemini who have all their teeth can be elected on a Tuesday. I bet that does happen for one of the local elections. I bet. Anyway, them senators get the final say so on bills before the President signs ‘em, and its presided over by the Vice President, so for the past four years it’s been old very fly for an old white guy but not in the cool way, in the actual fly way Mike Pence. Then there’s governorships, which are up for grabs in what’s known as the gubernatorial elections which is a word I really like because it sounds made up. Governors are chief execs of each state and have sovereign police power, as well as being political and ceremonial heads of state. It’s a position that was from back in the old colonial days and they just sort of kept it, you know, along with the racism. Thems being elected in Montana, Utah, Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and also in the territories of American Samoa and Puerto Rico. Then there’s several big shed loadses, like you know, those ones that are basically a wooden house, but five of them at least, of local mayoral elections, the Native American United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees are elected their tribe leader, and Washington DC’s shadow senators and shadow representatives are also up for election and they get to work out where best to stand when its sunny. No, sorry, they get charged with lobbying congress for making Washington DC its own state. Oh and also voters in DC get to vote for or against Intiative 81, which would make certain psychoactive drugs including mushrooms and peyote the lowest law enforcement priority. Which if Trump gets in again, they may need it.
OK SO WHO NEEDS TO WIN WHAT
So you might remember back in 2016, Hilary Clinton and her weird smile that looked like at any moment she might try and bite you, won the popular vote, but she lost to Trump on the electoral college vote because democracy or numberwang or something. The electoral college is a body of electors, duh, established by the US constitution, and they decide who the president and vice president are making you wonder why any voters bother really. There are 538 electors and to win a presidency, a candidate needs at least 270 of those. It’s supposed to maintain the system of American federalism, and preserving the constitutional role, but they can also just choose someone the people haven’t and it means that citizens in less populated states get more of the vote, so it leads to swing states deciding everything and it all being a shit show that means you can’t really work out what’s happening until it does. There are eight swing states this time, Arizona, Florida, yeah fucking Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. According to the polls, Biden is ahead in all of them. So yeah you may as well just go to bed on Tuesday right and chill?
Because polls were very wrong last time on account of Trump voters not openly saying they were Trump voters when asked, polls not being all that representative when it comes to a country as massive and diverse as the US and the electoral college telling the people to go fuck themselves. In 2016 there were big issues with states that the Democrats completely neglected and areas in states such as Michigan where people queued for hours to vote for every election, but left the Presidential one blank, screwing Clinton’s vote because they didn’t like her and didn’t trust Trump either. Data shows that Republicans always turn out to vote and the Democratic base is there but doesn’t bother so much, sound familiar? And with COVID19 all over the place there are lots of questions as to if people can turn up or they’ll be too busy coughing up their faces. BUT BUT also, 58m votes have already been posted, and 80m are predicted which could delay the final result as each one has to be counted and then matched to a signature on a separate voting card to protect from electoral fraud. In 2016, it took over a month to count the final vote but by then Trump had won the electoral college anyway so honestly, I don’t know why anyone bothers doing anything except smash things and overthrow the system. Also a big difference this time are signs that African American voters are voting, when they largely abstained for Clinton, and young voters aged 18-29 have already voted in early voting, in 5 times the numbers in Florida, 8 times in North Carolina and 19 times the amount in Michigan. Could this favour Biden? Or are young people now so nihilistic about the future they want more Trump, so it’ll be over more quickly? Nearly 3m Latino voters have already voted too but there’s divisions in Trump and Biden support in that community so it could absolutely go either way.
So, there you go. Hopefully that’ll clear up some of what you see on Tuesday night if you choose to stay up and put yourself through it. Let’s hope for the best which, let’s face it, is any result but the worst. On the plus side, not for Americans at all, just us in the UK, if Trump does get in again, which is still possible because, well, everything, then at least we can breathe a sigh of relief that we’re still only lead by the second most awful haired racist bigot on the planet and frankly, the way 2020 is going, that might have to do. Good luck America, good luck everyone.
And now, back to Evan…
INTERVIEW WITH EVAN PART 2
Thanks tons to Evan for negotiating time zones so I could speak to him in Adelaide, and you can of course find Evan on Twitter at @evanishistory, his blog featuring his many articles in a number of publications and his blog posts is at hatfulofhistory.wordpress.com, his patreon if you fancy sponsoring his research is patreon.com/evanishistory. And his recent book ‘No Platform: A History of Anti-Fascism, Universities and the Limits of Free Speech’ is available via Routledge publishers on many of the major book shops and sites, or other army ranking denominations of books shops or sites. Sargent book shops? Maybe. Probably not. Shout out too to Phoenix Andrews, former podguest, who suggested I drop Evan a line about cancel culture and no platforming, so thanks tons for that.
Suggestions are of course always welcomed because then I have less research work to do and can instead spend my evenings flicking through several streaming services wondering why I don’t want to watch anything on any of them. Allow me such mind numbing times by dropping me a line with who, what, where, how and why I should talk to on future episodes @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at email@example.com. Or you could embrace Halloween and appear outside my window on October 31st, in the middle of the night wearing a hockey mask with the suggested recommendation written in blood across it, and I won’t notice as I go to bed much earlier than that because there’s really no need for days in 2020 to go on longer than they have to. You’ll likely just catch pneumonia and my window is one floor up so it could lead to accidents. All I’m saying is…it’s probably just best to email isn’t it?
WE ALL KNOW ITS MARK FRANCOIS
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast and because Halloween and that, it’s a special PARPOL-BOO-HOTPOLGOSSFACT this week. Which political buildings are supposedly haunted or maligned? Yes, I suppose by the latter definition, it’s all of them. But you know. I meant by spirits. Not the drinking kind or yes, again, all of them. There is meant to be a ghost of No.10, spotted by a number of staff over the years, of a lady in a white ballgown who travels between the State Dining Room and the Pillared Room, though she’s not been spotted lately as many just assume it’s the Prime Minister’s latest one-nighter trying to sneak out without anyone noticing. The White House in Washington DC is apparently choc full of spectres, and not just of democracy. 33rd President and host of Blockbusters Harry Truman reported knocking on his bedroom door in the very early hours, but checked to see no one there and the Secret Service said not even a watchman was around at that time. Though I suppose it could have his popularity running away. There are also supposed to be ghosts of same face upside down Abraham Lincoln who appears when the nation needs a leader most, so chances are he’s been there solidly since 2016. There’s also been sightings of the ghost of a daughter who calls out for help for her mother and a first lady that is forever doing the laundry which must be annoying when the place is basically a big machine set to spin. But one of the most spooky political buildings is 33 Sham Nath Marg, a Delhi government building home to the Delhi Dialogue Commission, which provides policy direction to the government. The place is believed to be cursed or jinxed as many politicians who’ve lived there over the years have met a tragic fate, including former Delhi Chief Minister who moved in in 2003, saying he didn’t believe in superstitions. He’d clearly also never seen a horror film before as saying that is basically like ghost bait. He fell ill soon after moving in, then died. Several other Chief ministers that stayed there. Ended up losing their jobs prematurely, but the current office has been there since 2015 without any unlucky happenings, but maybe whatever presence caused them thought that it’d too much hard work to make a situation more unlucky than being lead by the world’s worst mall Santa Narendra Mohdi. NAREN-DRAAAAAARRRGGHHHHH! There you go. If you loved that please spread the word about the show, post on social media or just do a Ouija board so you can tell the other side to tune in. If you hated it, why not curse someone you dislike to condemn to a lifetime of subscribing and hearing every episode from start to finish 12 times over? If that’s all too much to ask, then why not donate to the ko-fi or patreon or Acast subscriber. Money not limbs, organs or monkey paws please. Or of course give the show a dandy 5 AAAARRRGGHH review on your podcast app of choice. No do 5 stars. I can’t imagine 5 screams of terror will make anyone tune in, apart from the Home Secretary who’ll use it to help her sleep at night. Thanks.
Treats not tricks to ARRGGGHCast, my brother The Passed Skeptik, Kay SLAY, and FATE-y Coxall.
This won’t be back next week but will return as Trump is hailed US President for a second term after winning only 2% of the public vote but 100% of the electoral college and 50 Cent, who decide that as no one likes them, this was the next best thing they could do apart from eating worms. Within 5 minutes of re-election, Trump forgets to cancel the body doubles and is joined for his speech by 3 different Melania’s, before announcing that he’s heard that first is the worst so it’ll be America second from now on, and sells the Pentagon to North Korea in exchange for some tacos.
This week’s show was sponsored by the Monsters Collective.
‘We just don’t know what to do anymore.’
‘I’ve been redundant for four years now, kids just laugh at me.’
‘They don’t even notice me when the news is on.’
Halloween is meant to be the time of year that monsters, ghouls, ghosts and for some reason really sexy cats, get to work and revel in scaring children and adults alike. But for years now, the world has become so scary that many are numb to the charm of monsters and with the COVID pandemic and trick or treating banned, monsters are being asked to retrain by the UK Chancellor.
‘All I’m good at is saying boo. Boo! See?’
With just a small donation to the Monsters Collective we can work together to get these hideous creatures some jobs for the future, like maybe in Cyber.
‘I’m now a clandestine channel threat commander. I don’t know what it is but I mostly pull faces at fishes and I love it.’
Monsters Collective, because now, its scary for them too.