I know I said I wasn’t going to do an episode this week but I mean *points to everything* exactly. This is just a mini episode about the lockdown sequel, and some really, boring comedy lite looks at the EHRC report that absolutely no one will like listening to. Minisode 2 will follow after the US Election hell night.
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Hello and welcome to a super mini oh the god news made me Partly Political Broadcast podcast, the comedy politics podcast that won’t be affected by another lockdown as its never gone anywhere in the first place. I’m Tiernan Douieb and in the words of Dante Hicks, I’m not supposed to be here today, but here I am as do you remember back in September when Sage said the UK could have 50,000 cases a day by October if there was no circuit break? Well unlike the government COVID19 is following the science and has decided to really over-achieve. As a result, England is going into a month-long National lockdown from Thursday, because it could’ve been just two weeks long if it’d happened a month ago, but this government just want the best for the public so preferred you all got 50% extra house arrest absolutely free. This is one of the many endless problems of having people in charge who are reactive, rather than proactive. The Prime Minister and what if Orinoco Womble was a cunt Boris Johnson, is the sort of person who’d never fill up with petrol at the beginning of a journey but would prefer to run out of fuel in the middle of a busy motorway, abandon his vehicle and expecting someone else will deal with it, before waiting around assuming he’ll be given a new car within minutes because of the school he went to. No responsible Prime Minister could ignore the message from those figures, said Johnson, at a press conference he called and then was several hours late for. Presumably because Sage had recommended it happen at a much earlier time. ‘We’ve got to be humble in the face of nature’ he announced, while reflecting inside on how sad it’ll be to cancel all those grouse hunts. The Prime Minister has never shown modesty when it comes to nature, which is why he’s on a constant mission to populate the planet with his own offspring in the hope they’ll wipe out other lesser beings like over-privileged grey squirrels. Grey squirrels that is, who wouldn’t bury any acorns ready for the winter, but would instead wait for winter to hit, claim that had no idea that would happen again even though it does every year, and then hope no one minded having to work extra hard for less food. Maybe what we have to realise is that on October the 14th when Boris Johnson said he wanted to avoid the misery of a national lockdown, what he meant was that he’d largely be absent while everyone else suffered in one.
According to the Sage group, infection rates are now worse than the worst case scenario, probably because the worst case scenario included the deluded thinking that the government may have seen the worst case scenario beforehand and thought ‘oh we should try to make sure it doesn’t happen.’ Instead it was handed to a bunch of malevolent fuckwits who saw it either as a challenge they needed to rise to, or a bunch of words that didn’t say anything nice about them in it, so wasn’t worth reading. Dog chewed candle Michael Gove, who somehow managed to appear on TV the morning after Halloween, instead of getting sucked back into the Hellmouth with his fellow ghouls, insisted the situation has been worse than any of them expected. What did you expect COVID would do Michael? Go in with lots of bravado, realise it was hard work and then give up trying halfway through? Germs don’t work like the government, even though they have many other comparable features. Such as killing off the vulnerable, having no regard for people’s needs and making you feel sick. World’s only successful brain transplant swap between a human and an old mop bucket Nadine Dorries said that only a crystal ball could’ve predicted the need for a second lockdown. She would know as it takes one completely useless air-filled hoaxers’ tool to know one. Fact is, if everyone else in the entire galaxy knew this would happen, saw the warnings, saw the results and had already pencilled it in their diaries and were just waiting for the confirmation call, did the government really have no clue? Are they the sort of people who still exclaim surprise that it gets darker earlier now? Like some sort of human goldfish? They admonished Leader of the Opposition and personified packing tape Keir Starmer back in October for suggesting a circuit break and called him an opportunist, a description that does actually suit him in many circumstances. In this instance though, even if Starmer was taking advantage of the situation, that’s still better than a bunch of people who pretend not to know or worse actually don’t realise that the situation is there in the first place. It is the age-old conflict that I mention time and time again on this show, of is it malice or is it stupidity? Or maybe malicious stupidity or stupid malice? Is it a coincidence that the lockdown starts on Guy Fawkes night or is it so none of us notice that the government have already set fire to everything themselves?
There are advantages for the government by delaying the lockdown till now. For a start the furlough scheme has ended just before it will start up again meaning several people will lose their jobs in the handful of days in-between, a great way to save money for the treasury. If all businesses could just fire everyone between November the 2nd and the 4th, then the government wouldn’t have to pay out for anyone and then they’d have saved the economy for the 4 or 5 people who are still part of it. The furlough scheme, after the 4th, is now extended until December the 2nd, which is so kind of the Chancellor and man who in another life would definitely run one of those phone shops that sold toilet paper for £20 a roll in the first lockdown Rishi Sunak, as that means he can make sure people lose their jobs just in time for the festive season. The most Conservative way you could interpret the notion of a Christmas sack. Of course, we could still be in lockdown in December as Michael Gove warned that could be the case, but he said, ‘ministers are guided by the facts’. In the same way I am guided by anything with Gregg Wallace in it, by wanting nothing to do with it so I’ll avoid it at all cost. The first lockdown back in Spring, which is hard to remember as it was about 200 years ago, was meant to only be a month but then lasted seven weeks, and this time infections are higher than they were when we all shut ourselves away last time.
Conservative MPs are livid with Johnson, and outie belly button possed by Satan Iain Duncan Smith claimed that the government has given into science by having a lockdown. I mean it hasn’t even though we wish it has, but it’s not really a bad thing when the person who wouldn’t believe anyone’s medical disability assessment was correct is complaining about science again. I’m sure IDS thinks anyone who dies of COVID should just return to work and stop being so lazy. Schools, colleges, universities and child-care will remain open as if all the teachers die then no one will be able to give history lessons in the future to tell kids how absolutely shit this government were. Self-employed support is being increased to where it should have already been but now they don’t have a choice and Remembrance Sunday events can still happen which is great as that way people will pointlessly die due to shit leadership to allow us to have more Remembrance Sunday events remembering those who fell in 2020 on the same date in the future. Johnson told the Commons that he believes the virus could be defeated by Spring, but he didn’t say what year, and whatever happens the current measurements will come to an end on December 2nd. So, as the PM said on the weekend, Christmas is going to be different this year. Not least because the entire year has unfortunately been a season for giving, just barely from the government.
In other news, the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was released and concluded that the party’s approach and leadership to tackling anti-Semitism was insufficient, which is inexcusable, and of course unhelpful for voters who would may find it tricky to distinguish between them and the Conservatives. The report found three breaches of the act: One was harassment, particularly in the cases of two individuals including former Mayor of London and generic anime old man Ken Livingstone as well as a local councillor. Livingstone said he was deeply hurt by the accusations, calling himself a life-long anti-racist, which could be the problem if you think everyone else in the world is Hitler and want to fight all of them. Another was a failure to provide adequate training to those dealing with anti-Semitism complaints, with one example being an email inbox left unmonitored for many years, meaning those people hadn’t even been trained to use email. Who were they? Someone’s parents? If only everyone who’d complained had sent in a letter and then former leader and dusting glove Jeremy Corbyn would’ve read each of them out at PMQs as a question. The third breach was evidence of political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, even though the report shows much of the interference was to speed up the procedure so cases could be dealt with more quickly. As we all know though, the real way to tackle racism is just to abstain from dealing with it, which is why Labour under Keir Starmer will be doing things properly from now on. Corbyn posted a response to the report with the sort of speed I only ever send regretful email replies at and anyone with an ability to read the room might’ve quickly sent a follow up saying ‘sorry, I sent that to the wrong person. Please delete!’ Corbyn’s statement said that ‘one anti-Semite is one too many in the party’ but also said that the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by their opponents inside and outside the party’. That caused Keir Starmer to immediately agree with Corbyn by suspending him from the Labour Party for saying such things, breaching article 10 of the EHRC report about protecting freedom of speech unless it’s unlawful. So, if anything, Starmer was quite clever in adding to the cases of harassment the report has evidence for, and therefore immediately adding to the scale of the problem and proving Corbyn wrong. Ultimately the report allowed everyone to believe that whatever they thought was or wasn’t the problem was or wasn’t, and whoever they thought was or wasn’t responsible was or wasn’t, and the new Labour Party under Starmer will no doubt fix everything by saying they will loudly while allowing racist Conservative policies to pass and providing proper equality in their party by ignoring all forms of racism to absolutely everyone.
At the beginning of the week Keir Starmer was involved in a road collision between his car and a cyclist, presumably because the Labour leader refuses to let anything pass on the left of him. After hearing about the tragic deaths of four refugees who were trying to cross the channel, including two children, Home Secretary and Nurse Ratched’s smirking bitmoji Priti Patel made a statement expressing how saddened she was by the loss of life – because she probably has that ready in autofill so she doesn’t have time to think about it – and that she will do everything she can to stop callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people. I assume that means she’ll be resigning fairly soon. And finally the Department of International Trade caused a stir..fry by tweeting during a specific challenge on C4’s Great British Bake Off about how their deal with Japan will make soy sauce cheaper, something that isn’t true unless they mean cheaper than how much more expensive it might be outside of the EU and on WTO arrangements.
Oh and an error with the NHS app has meant thousands of people were completely unaware that they were exposed to COVID, meaning that the only thing it really did was send you lots of anxiety causing false alarms, while never actually informing you about real concerns. Seems the government paid £12bn for an app that operates in exactly the same way they do. Lastly, exception to the rule that everyone has some good in them somewhere Nigel Farage is rebranding the Brexit Party as the Reform Party because it’s easier to steal money from people if you wear a fake moustache when you try it again. The name ‘Reform’ is in reference to how Farage is happy to be whatever shape he thinks will get votes, something that’s possible on account of his pretend human form being an entirely malleable inconsistent substance.
Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t do an episode this week because of the US election but TOO MUCH HAS HAPPENED. Let’s face it, we knew it would. I’m both angry about a lockdown and think it’s necessary which I think are two valid standpoints you can have all at once like a nuance legend. Similarly, I am worried about those in education that are still having to work without correct PPE and protection, but at the same time, I’m so so pleased my daughter’s nursery is staying open and I think it might help me survive this next month. NUANCE CHAMPIOOOON! I hope you and yours are coping with another month of pretending we’re General Pinochet but in a more shit house and at least Margaret Thatcher won’t visit. Pinochet is always my go-to awful dictator who was put under house arrest when such references are needed. My mum, dad and brother have all had COVID over the past two weeks now. Weirdly my brother, only 35, was hit the worst, with proper breathing difficulties and stuff, but we were worried about my parents and my mum has just felt exhausted and my dad didn’t even get a positive test reading and felt ok, but a bit achy. Bonkers how it works huh? Or maybe my dad is the secret cure and I should shop him into scientists till they try and kidnap him like they do with ET or something? Urgh, stressful few weeks anyway, followed by the fun of the last few gigs in my diary that had started to pop up again, all now disappearing again because lockdown. I’ve started to give up on the idea of comedy till next Spring. Even the jobs website Indeed emailed me today with suitable jobs for me and the top one was prison warden. Which it promoted by saying ‘whether you’re a parent, teacher, have worked in retail or the armed forces, you’ll have developed the empathy, self-confidence and great communication skills we expect.’ What does that mean? Those are all jobs where you work with people you wish were locked up? As a parent I’ve definitely gained the emotions to want to put my daughter in a room, close the door and leave her there for a while, occasionally pushing food under the door. I reckon even in a prison cell she’d manage to break something. At least as a prison officer I’d spend lockdown actually getting paid to ensure other people don’t go out which definitely seems better than my current situation.
But look, this is just a mini-sode, with that there intro and following this bit is a tiny bit on the EHRC report which I didn’t want to do but I’m going to and someone will be annoyed with it. There will be a post US-election mini-sode too, then back to normal or new normal next week hopefully, because let’s face it, what else do I have to do right now? So very quickly, big time thanks to Sam, ko-fi supporter, Tim, Christine, ko-fi supporter again but a different one, ko-fi supporter the third, Steve, Anne-Marie, Keely and John for donating to the ko-fi account. Again, if you enjoy this show and can donate even the price of one coffee from back in the days when you could go out and buy a coffee, then it’s unbelievably appreciated right now as the government has decided to be very unhospitable to hospitality yet again. You can do that at ko-fi.com/parpolbro, the patreon.com/parpolbro site or the Acast supporter button that’ll be on this podcast’s page on the Acast app. Obvs if you can’t do that, then don’t. I’d hate to be what you spent money on instead of food, family or the new Spider-man game out in a few weeks. Priorities yeah? But then in which case, please give the show a nice 5 star review on any of those podcast apps, or just shout about to friends and family and all the people you can’t see till December. That’s 2021 obviously.
Right, on with the mini-sode and yeah look, let’s talk about….
Do I want to talk about this? Nope. Do you want to listen to it? Unlikely, but here we are in a world where whatever you thought of the EHRC report into anti-Semitism in Labour, chances are you didn’t read it because it was too long and you’ve already decided that it proves whatever it is you already wanted it to prove. According to many newspapers that are all biased and people on social media who are all bots, it definitely said that Jeremy Corbyn hated all Jewish people but according to websites that can’t be trusted and other people on social media who are all bots, it said the exact opposite. So whatever I say in this bit, its unlikely to change your opinion but I did actually read the whole report because well, I don’t have any gigs to do anymore and I was procrastinating from some other unpaid work that I can’t be bothered to do. So, I thought it’d be useful to just straight up tell you what it said, and what Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour Party was meant to be all about. Ok? No stop writing your angry email. No this doesn’t mean I hate Jewish people any more than I hate everyone else in the world. I hate all types of people very equally, they’re all bastards. No, it also doesn’t mean I wish Jeremy Corbyn was fired into space, though I think it could result in an amazing sci-fi which you could either called Red Dwarf, Star Trek: Social Enterprise or maybe just Stop Wars. Nor am I going to bring up every occasion where someone said something or didn’t do something or went somewhere that may have been problematic or was problematic by not being problematic when they should have been. Instead I’m just going to tell you, what that report said and a teeny bit of contect for it. Cool? Cool. Now that’s out of the way, here’s some things:
WHAT THE REPORT SAID
The report itself says that the Labour Party are guilty of unlawful acts of harassment and intimidation in two instances and that it had breached the 2010 Equality Act by acts of indirect discrimination relating to political interference and a lack of adequate training.
What does that mean? Well the first one is obvious. There are two specific acts from Ken Livingstone when he said social media posts by MP Naz Shah, weren’t anti-Semitic and were part of a smear campaign by the Israel lobby. The ECHR acknowledge both Article 10’s right to free speech and the right for legitimate criticism of the policies of the Israeli government but that Shah’s post, about relocating Israel to the US and being like Hitler, were neither of those which I mean, similarly neither was Livingstone’s even though because someone mentioned Hitler it was impossible for him not to leap up and say something. I honestly think it’s like his trigger word that activates him into action. If you’d seen the post, this one was pretty obvious. The other act was councillor Pam Bromley who posted on social media that accusations of anti-Semitism were fake, among other comments in what is yet another example of why politicians shouldn’t be allowed on social media. Or given a job at all. Or allowed outside. Anyway, long section of the report short, those were both rightly found to be bang out of order and clear examples of anti-Semitic conduct that made Jewish members and Jewish people in general feel unsafe and unwelcomed to the party.
The report also says that they looked into a significant amount of other cases, 70 between May 2016 and May 2019, but there wasn’t enough evidence to prove the Labour Party was legally responsible for the conduct of those who made them, it was by ordinary members who the Party aren’t legally responsible for as they aren’t employed by them, or that the conduct didn’t outweigh the right to freedom of expression. So that’s that bit. Two clear examples of anti-Semitism in Labour proving that there was some in the party, and 68 other cases that didn’t classify as such under ECHR code. There were also many cases of anti-Semitic social media posts that the report says Labour failed to investigate till mid-2018. These are posts that party members liked or shared without commenting on, which meant they weren’t considered necessary to look at. But the party explained that they were unclear why that was ever policy and changed it under the new General Secretary Jennie Formby in 2018, once Ian McNichol left the post. The NEC set out a statement ‘Code Of Conduct: Social Media Policy’ on the party’s website, referring to all comments relating to race and religion. Even though, as I said it should just say ‘no one should ever use social media’ and it’d fix a lot of things.
The lack of adequate training is also fairly easy to understand, in that staff members weren’t trained properly in how to deal with complaints of anti-Semitism or how to understand what comments were anti-Semitic. It was something the party discussed in 2016 but in true political party fashion, didn’t really do anything about till 2018 and even then appointed new NEC anti-Semitism panels but didn’t give them any training or educational workshops. To be fair, it does seem to be a current trend for those in political positions to have absolutely no experience or clue what those positions mean. The EHRC have said Labour have 6 months to sort this out and then it won’t be considered unlawful and gave a whole load of examples which means it’s likely Starmer will make sure everyone does a 30 minute online training course like they did on unconscious bias and that’ll tick a box for him and he’ll take the rest of the day off.
The last bit is on a real poor admin tip. The party were incredibly shit at dealing with anti-Semitism complaints up until 2018, when until then, they had an inbox that they never checked, which while I can relate to in some ways let me tell you, my Hotmail account doesn’t lead to racism, just a lot of sad sex bots and far away princes wanting to send me cash getting no response. There was no clear complaints or disciplinary procedure and all of this led to massive delays in responding to accusations. In 23 of the 70 cases investigated by the ECHR, they found that Corbyn’s personal team interfered with the complaint handling process which is a full breach of procedure. However, it does acknowledge that in some of those cases, not all, it was to speed up the process as the case was taking too long to investigate or disciplinary measures to be carried out. In one case the ECHR mentions that two members were suspended months after the party received complaints about them, and without any new evidence available, so it was entirely due to social media pressure.
So that’s very quick summary and its worth reading through yourself, it’s not a tricky read. Overall, they find all that stuff amounts to a failure of leadership from Corbyn, but that there were improvements that took place, even if they weren’t enough. They set out a whole ton of recommendations, none of which are for everyone to delete all their social media accounts and I feel they’re missing a trick.
Ok so that’s that. Except that its worth looking at how party procedure is meant to have worked and where it didn’t. For example, the Leader of the Opposition’s office, isn’t meant to have anything to do with complaints and disciplinary procedures, as that’s up to the Labour Party Governance and Legal Unit, which is overseen by the General Secretary. This was, in the first of Corbyn’s time as leader and up until 2018 when Jennie Formby took over, Ian McNicholl, who according to the leaked Labour report that the ECHR didn’t accept for study in their report, and also according to a book by Times journalists Gabriel Pogrund and Patrick Maguire, hated Corbyn and went out of his way to fund opponants to the leadership, and work to undermine it. Sam Matthews was in charge of the disputes team who headed up anti-Semitism complaints and later was one of the whistleblowers on BBC’s Panorama about anti-Semitism in Labour, and Matthews complained about inaction in dealing with complaints, while also being the person who was completely inactive about dealing with the complaints. Which is the sort of brilliant refusal of accountability that should really see him in government. Matthews has denied that’s true and blamed it on interference from the leader’s office, but the ECHR report says they only have evidence that the leader’s office did that 23 times and mostly to speed things up, including in the case of Ken Livingstone. The report doesn’t name Matthews, or Ian McNichol even once. When Formby took over as General Secretary, Matthews and a number of other staff members resigned and as the ECHR report states, that’s when procedures started to improve, albeit not as much as they’d have wanted. It’s also worth questioning of the mass amount of delays and backlog that was caused by inaction, may have made it harder to catch up with dealing with everything when the party were able to but it doesn’t say. The report also doesn’t state who should have been in charge of the inbox of emails or name anyone that should have been accountable and does acknowledge that accusations of other forms of harassment may also have been ignored as a result of it but doesn’t say to what extent. Also, by ignoring the leaked Labour report, it doesn’t look at how members of other minority groups haven’t had their complaints treated with the same level of seriousness.
So why was Jeremy Corbyn suspended from the Labour Party? Well Keir Starmer said it has nothing to do with the report, but more to do with Corbyn’s statement after it was published. It’s tricky isn’t it because I suppose Corbyn had to respond immediately but maybe not that immediately like it was a jerk reaction rather than something he’d spent more than 2 seconds thought on. In it, Corbyn condemned anti-Semitism but also said the number of complaints had been exaggerated by political opponents. And while CAPTAIN NUANCE I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say that there were both issues with anti-Semitism in the party and it was used against Labour for political reasons, particularly by the Tories who couldn’t be bothered to deal with anti-Semitism in their own party at the same. Or Islamophobia. Or so much of the racisms that Boris Johnson spouts on a daily basis like a bigoted tannoy funnel. The fact is though that Corbyn can’t reliably say how many Labour members were the subject of an anti-Semitism case as the leader’s office wasn’t meant to interfere and Labour told the EHRC it couldn’t confirm cases until the EHRC started recording them in 2018. But basically, even if Corbyn was wrong or right, which Angela Rayner has stated he was, saying it so quickly wasn’t smartypants to do. Also though, by suspending him, the now General Secretary David Evans may have breached Article 10 of the EHCR report on freedom of expression, and if Starmer did intervene then its yet another case of the leader’s office interfering when it shouldn’t be.
Does that clear anything up? Unlikely. Will anything likely be fixed? Nope. Instead what’s happened is that the report has been reported as either proving everything or nothing depending on who’s saying it. When actually it’s a bit of both while not reporting some things at all. The lack of inclusion of the leaked Labour report which stated many examples of racism towards BAME Labour members has now made many others feel unsafe and insecure in the party, and there’s still big questions as to why the ECHR won’t investigate Islamaphobia in the Conservative party despite repeated extreme examples. With everything, you have to remember that politics, political mechanisms and internal party bullshit makes everything much worse and shitter than it should be and that’s why really, we should just scrap all the parties, fire everyone and start again with a bunch of people who aren’t any sort of racist, don’t own any property and have deleted their social media accounts. Only then, will it all be ok.
That’s all for this mini-sode. Mini-sode two will commence once the US has either descended into a post-Biden riotzone as Trump barricades himself into the White House & insists every ballot is fake, a post-Trump win second term hellscape as Americans decide actually it’s just best to eliminate humanity as soon as possible or a post-Kayne win hellscape as it turns out everyone who voted for Trump and Biden was actually a hologram of Kim Kardashian’s dad and so none of them count and Kayne wins with just 400 votes, all made by members of his wife’s immediate family.
If you can, please donate to the ko-fi, patreon or Acast supporter page and see ya’ll later in the week.