The Year Of Sad I Told You So – Rule Flexing, Capitol Storming and Professor Kenneth Armstrong on what the Brexit Deal actually means

Released on Tuesday, January 12th, 2021.

The Year Of Sad I Told You So – Rule Flexing, Capitol Storming and Professor Kenneth Armstrong on what the Brexit Deal actually means

The podcast returns in your hours of need. 2021 has already made 2020 hold its beer and seems to have started necking bleach instead. But let’s face it, its nothing we weren’t expecting and now we can all relish in not at all enjoying the most miserable ‘I told you so’s ever. Rising infections, Northern Ireland being denied Percy Pigs and America going pretty much exactly where we thought it would. Probably should’ve waited a week or two to return shouldn’t I? Plus Professor Kenneth Armstrong (@ProfKAArmstrong) on what exactly the Brexit Deal is all about.

CHECK OUT KENNETH’S WEBSITE HERE: https://brexittime.com/

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Further Reading

Linear liner notes 

The podcast returns in your hours of need. 2021 has already made 2020 hold its beer and seems to have started necking bleach instead. But let’s face it, its nothing we weren’t expecting and now we can all relish in not at all enjoying the most miserable ‘I told you so’s ever. Rising infections, Northern Ireland being denied Percy Pigs and America going pretty much exactly where we thought it would. Probably should’ve waited a week or two to return shouldn’t I? Plus Professor Kenneth Armstrong (@ProfKAArmstrong) on what exactly the Brexit Deal is all about.

Key links and sources of info from Professor Kenneth’s interview:

All the usual ParPolBro stuff:

 


Transcript

Ep216

 

ADVERT

 

Has the news in 2021 already made it feel like the bottom is falling out of your world? Well, what won’t help is your own bottom falling out of anything, so you may as well pop it into something comfortable so while you’re on the edge of your seat watching the state of things, at least that seat feels real snug. British Boxers make classic and crazily comfy underwear and loungewear from knickers to slippers, dressing gowns to PJs, boxers, face masks and er, dog bandanas. Well dogs gotta lounge too right? British Boxers manufacture all their products with minimal waste, all environment friendly like, and pay all their workers properly for creating them too. Basically, they are a properly nice, ethically sound bunch and my own butt would sing their praises but let’s be fair, no one wants to hear that one a podcast. Check out their range at british-boxers.com and as a listener to the Partly Political Broadcast, if you use the code PARPOLBRO10 when you check out, you’ll get a sweet 10% off too. Yes, that’s right, I’m now in the pockets of Big Pyjama and honestly, I couldn’t be more comfortable. I’ll keep this brief, because that’s also what they make, so head to British-boxers.com because not everything has to be pants in a bad way.

 

INTRO

 

It was just a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve that Prime Minister and Evolutionary Leftovers Boris Johnson told the country that 2021 would be the year we’d see a return to everyday things that now seem lost in the past. Since then, it’s become clear that what he must’ve meant by that was the arduous filling in of customs forms, not being able to travel, a lack of education or healthcare, the cries of bring out your dead from a man in a cart rolling down your street and perhaps most of all, the phrase ‘I told you so’. It’s been a long time since anyone has been able to say that about national events and yet already this year feels like event after event are all things that had you told any sensible human type four or five years ago that this would happen, the only response would be ‘yeah, thought so.’ There is of course no enjoyment in yelling ‘I told you so’ through a facemask, as the nurses tell you to please leave the hospital as you’re really not helping, or at a group of AK toting fascists who will have you arrested for quashing their freedom while they beat up some journalists, or, as we’ll probably find in years to come, trying to mouth it underwater at everyone that sinks faster than you. Yes, in the same way the Conservative government have recently even managed to ruin the dream of many kids that their school will suddenly having to close, by making the reality far less fun than it should be, it is now also not fun to be proven right because there will never be an apology or acceptance of responsibility from those that have led us here and instead you’ll just have to live in the shitty bed they’ve made for everyone. In fact, it is you that will be to blame for not having been optimistic about careering the bus into a tree and if only you had cheered it along as the branches smashed into the windows and through the driver’s left eye, then maybe it would have been the best, most world leading bus crash anyone has ever had. Perhaps the thing that will return in 2021 that has long been forgotten is that we’ll learn to no longer rely on the news sources that insisted everything was fine when it wasn’t, that certain figures were doing all the right things when they weren’t, or rely on governance from politicians who could barely be trusted to tell you the time, without assuring you that time is whatever you want it to be or that they’ve made it the best time ever, meanwhile they’ve actually sold the very concept of time to some donors of theirs who’ve managed to lose it in a quarry and have now replaced it with cheap spaghetti. Welcome back to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that regularly flexes the rules, but only the shatterproof ones as it’s not stupid. I’m Tiernan Douieb and a belated and now mostly redundant happy new year to you all. As Chief Medical Officer and man who always looks like he’s just been freed after years of being a hostage, Chris Whitty, warns that the next few weeks of the pandemic will be the worst, I say come on buddy, let’s be fair. No one’s at their best in January. Give the coronavirus a few more weeks to get out of the Christmas fug and I’m sure it’ll be back at the top of its game in no time.

 

It is quite something that the only area the UK is currently excelling in on a global scale, is coronavirus infections. Well, I suppose everywhere specialises at being good at something don’t they? It is, of course the foreseen and much warned about consequences of the relaxing of rules over Christmas allowing families to mix, as the government mistook the notion of festive spirits as something they had to try and supply with a high death toll.

Hence lockdown 3, which in past times might have signalled the end of a trilogy, but chances are likely with current trends, it’ll just be a long-forgotten sequel in a series of many, with each becoming more and more convoluted and ridiculous until eventually we end up in space. Health Secretary and what if there was a Japanese mascot for back alley surgery Matt Hancock confidentally insists that this will be the last lockdown, but it’s hard not to assume that’s because it will never end, or that they’ve already worked out a new name for any future ones, such as national home arrest, or a country-wide PJ party. Maybe Hancock will be right though as there are now three vaccines that have been approved in the UK and the Health Secretary says every adult will be offered one by Autumn. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll get it by then, it just means that the Department of Health will have shouted ‘oi, do you want one or what?’ at every citizen before popping their name down on a list by a date in 2035. Seven mass jab centres have been opened up this week because nothing sounds like a more reassuring way to vaccinate against a very transmissible virus quite like getting people to form large queues in the same place, and Boris Johnson has said that the army will be helping to roll out the vaccine by using ‘battle preparation techniques.’ Does this mean they’re practicing charging at patients with a syringe held like a bayonet? Or perhaps they’ll all be dressed in camouflage and leap out at unsuspecting recipients as they walk past a hedge or tree. Or maybe more likely, they’ll be informed that like with most battles they participate in, there’ll be civilian casualties and they’ll have to try to make it look like an accident. There is definitely enough vaccine supply for everyone insisted Johnson during one of the 4m press conferences we’ve already had this year, as part of their efforts to make the country healthier by replacing Joe Wicks workouts by getting us all off the sofa to jump up and down, shouting swears at the telly. But a day later Matt Hancock visited a GP practice in London to mark the start of the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout only to find that they hadn’t actually had their supply delivered yet, but fair play to the Health Secretary as by being there he was providing them with at least one prick from Oxford. ‘If all goes well’ said the Prime Minister, in words that have reassured no one that understands his government’s track record so far, 200,000 could be getting the vaccine every-day from this week, administered within 10 miles of their home. Which is great as everyone is being advised during lockdown to travel no further than 5. There is also the problem that some English citizens are refusing coronavirus vaccines unless they are the British one, so I think we should just tell them none of them are from this country and insist on pronouncing Oxford/AstraZeneca in a variety of different accents to actively reduce the number of racists.

 

 

With the NHS struggling in a way that makes the government concerned that they’ll have nothing left to dismantle and underfund, there are calls for an even stricter lockdown, though it’s hard to know what that would mean when you are only meant to leave your home for essential purposes like getting coffees from the cafes that can still open or popping to Halfords that is still open or taking your kids to nurseries which are still open because younger children have a much lower risk of passing on the virus presumably because they are generally much lower. Though it’s more likely that if parents have their toddlers at home, it’ll be hard for them to differentiate between their children’s nonsensical demands and future press conferences. Schools of course were allowed to open for one day, the Prime Minister saying on January the 3rd that there was no doubt in his mind that schools were safe, giving everyone definitive proof that they weren’t. Then on the 4th after thousands of children turned up to class to cough on each other and the teachers, Johnson decided that no, actually they weren’t safe as it turns out children breathe as well, something he hadn’t realised on account of never spending time with any. Is it because teachers can see through a lack of preparation and an inability to meet deadlines that the government keeps punishing them? Perhaps its jealously that unlike teaching staff the public haven’t learned a single thing from this government other than what their favourite class is. I mean the Education Secretary and creature from The Descent Gavin Williamson can only be in his position out of spite for the sector. Or maybe it’s to help teachers see and recognise the potential of a failing student to still have a career in excelling at being shit? As well as having to backtrack on school openings, Williamson also had to retract his promise of days before that, that exams would not be happening for English students this summer but apparently, he will put his trust in teachers not algorithms for the results, which must be the first lesson he’s ever learned. With 94% of teachers calling for his resignation, hopefully he’ll put his trust in that too and be replaced by an algorithm that can actually problem solve before making mistakes first. As always, none of these things are the government’s fault, and as Matt Hancock pointed out, some people criticise them for moving too fast at making decisions, and I can only assume those people are tortoises. The government are doing everything they can to slow down the rate of infections such as bringing in controls in airports like they should have done last March. Not so much shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, as leaving the window open at a glue factory where the horses used to be. All visitors to the UK will now need to show a negative test before entry to the country, and I presume that means a COVID one, but there’s a chance that to fit in with modern British society they’ll be shown a number of images and have to say that all of them are too woke and should be banned.

 

Luckily the leader of the opposition and air vent Keir Starmer has been holding the government to account brilliantly by being equally vague about what needs to be done which will frighten them into thinking he’s as qualified to be in 10 Downing Street as Johnson is. Starmer made his first speech of the year, despite no one really asking him to, in-front of a purple backdrop maybe in a hope to appeal to former UKIP voters, and some fonts that are uncomfortable to read by anyone who can. Again, maybe hoping to appeal to former UKIP voters. Starmer accused Boris Johnson of being indecisive, before saying there was probably more that we could do but wouldn’t really say what that was. He seems to have found it very difficult to suggest anything at all, but somehow do that very loudly and regularly. ‘Let’s recapture the spirit we saw at the start of the pandemic’. Aside from sounding like a shit ghostbuster, what does that mean? We were all miserable then and we are still are now, isn’t that enough for you? Starmer was trying his best pre-lockdown to avoid ever saying educational settings should close before the government did, and instead said only that zoos should close. Sensible advice though as while many intend to go to a zoo alone, it’s only a matter of time before they tell others they can come too. Not surprisingly he didn’t say whether Aquariums should close as that’d have meant a definitive answer on where he stands with schools.

 

Chris Whitty insisted that normal life will return in months not years, but he didn’t say how many months and if its more than 12. Either way nothing will work if people don’t obey the restrictions, and the official government advice is ‘act like you’ve got coronavirus’ because they hate the arts so much, they only advocate unpaid roles where you don’t even want to get the exposure from it. The Prime Minister says we must guard against complacency while Matt Hancock has warned that people need to stay in their local area and flexing of the rules could be fatal. So, it’s a real shame that wasn’t the case when Boris Johnson was spotted cycling in Olympic Park, 7 miles away from Number 10. The Prime Minister was apparently concerned by how many people he saw in the park, so perhaps he was only riding around to deter other people from being there. It would be nice to find something he’s actually good at, so I think making him cycle round overcrowded areas may be the job we need him for and would give a clearer message for people to stay at home than anything else, even if it’s just so they could successfully avoid him. Maybe the government are being proactive after all?

 

Brexit has of course fully tumbled in now along with expected food shortages even for chains like McDonalds, which has shocked everyone as none of us realised anything they sold could be classed as food. Packages aren’t being delivered due to extra paperwork that makes it too complicated, tons of British fish are going to waste as they can’t be sold to the EU anymore and Marks and Spencer can no longer sell Percy Pigs in Northern Ireland. But I’m certain many Irish people will be pleased about this having had to deal with their fair share of saccharine English boars over the years. Gulper Eel Michael Gove did warn that there would be significant additional disruption at UK borders in coming weeks, which of course he’s been saying all along since before the Brexit referendum when he said things like we’d have frictionless trade. Obviously looking back now, he meant it’d be slippy as fuck and as a result be all over the place. Or when Gove said there’d be no shortages of fresh food, he just meant we’d have exactly the amount he thinks we should have if we’re all to starve. Leading business groups have said that ministers need to restart trade negotiations with the EU to sort out all the baffling trade rules and regulations as it will only get worse, and one leading figure described it as a ‘complete shitshow’ which is problematic as that just means this government’s branding is working and they’ll like that. Boris Johnson has asked civil servants to remove references to the EU from thousands of laws to stop Labour reversing Brexit if they win the next election, which gives us an incredible insight into how Johnson’s idiot mind thinks something stops existing as long as he can’t see it. Someone should really pop a blanket on his head, so he thinks it’s night-time and leave him like that till 2024. The plan is known as Operation Bleach in Whitehall, presumably because its irritating to humans and used to whiten things. Meanwhile Leader of the Commons and best known for appearing in a photo of the ballroom of the Overlook Hotel Jacob Rees Mogg, has shut down the Commons Brexit Committee cross examining the trade deal with the EU. It is odd that the government are so damn proud of this deal that Johnson said it was his present to the British people but as soon as anyone wants to see what’s in it, they won’t let them. It’s a bit like the Prime Minister has told us about his best friend who invented chocolate and can do all the skateboard tricks but when we ask who they are, tells us we don’t know them as they go to another school. Another British industry that’s been hit is music, as the government rejected a visa free touring deal for artists in the EU, because they didn’t want EU artists to have the same in the UK, which is so petty and once again we lose out as itll be harder to find an Oompah Band to follow the Prime Minister around, but the EU has a greater chance of avoiding Ed Sheeran. Bastards. Still, what more do you expect from a government who refuse to face the music?

 

Across the big pond, there were violent fascists in the US Capitol, but you know, in a terrorist siege way as opposed to the Republicans that are usually there. Insisting that face drawn on a sunburnt pensioners stomach Donald Trump actually won the election, which he definitely didn’t, the rioters were dressed like if toddlers had tried to put on their own version of Coachella and proving that rednecks can’t even do terrorism without making it look uncultured. Five people died as a result of the siege including one Q Anon supporting Trump fan who managed to taser himself in the balls and die of a heart attack, no doubt a fitting end for someone clearly into shockjock culture. It took several hours to get them out of the building, while many staff members and politicians were fearful for their lives and you do wonder why someone didn’t just start a hog roast and play the banjo, which would have lured them out within seconds. Or better still, build a big wall to trap them inside and then that way everyone would have been happy? Many people questioned why, unlike the Black Lives Matter demonstration and other peaceful protests, the police barely used any force on the people who attacked the heart of America’s democracy. But we all know it’s because they didn’t want to start firing at the far-right rioters, then have the hassle of filling in vacancies at the station the next week. As the riots took place, it was confirmed that the Democrat candidates won the Senate seats in Georgia, meaning Trump lost the Republicans the house, congress and the Presidency in the true art of the fail and believing Vice President and character from the original Twilight Zone series Mike Pence could overturn the results, supposedly plotted to take him hostage and chants of ‘Hang Mike Pence’ could be heard at the Capitol. A silly thing to say when Pence has clearly been dead for years already.

 

President-elect and touche turtle Joe Biden told the Trump supporters who started the coup, that they should ‘go home’ which must’ve been novel for racists are are so used to shouting that at others. Biden said that it was an unprecedented assault on democracy and did not reflect America, which is true as usually they only do that sort of thing to other countries. But at the same time, President unelect and soon to hopefully fuck off Trump incensed the crowd by saying that he called for peaceful protest but also refusing to condemn them and insisting the election was frauded and that he had a landslide victory. Which I suppose could be correct if he means that he was rapidly brought down after years of mass wasting and erosion? Trump was blocked by all social media channels which must’ve been hard for him as he now has to spend his time on the toilet inside his own head instead. Though if you are missing him being online you can recreate his Twitter account by shouting something that never happened while repeatedly headbutting your keyboard as its on caps lock. The fact it took Facebook more than four years of Trump inciting hatred, violence and racism to block him, makes me wonder if the coup was the reason they banned him or if he was actually in the process of uploading a nipple pic or something. Much like social media, several Republicans, white house staff, news agencies and in fact even the Prime Minister Boris Johnson have all now decided that maybe Trump is a bad man after all and how could they have known when they were too busy really enjoying him putting brown children in cages and making police throw tear gas at black people. It is hard to realise that the racist violent bigot you knew and loved, also supported some people breaking stuff in a really wealthy old building and I guess that makes you realise you never really know anyone. The Democrats are making moves to impeach Trump with just days left of his Presidency and are pushing Pence to start the 25th amendment to remove his power. They waited till after the weekend was over to begin proceedings which seems stupid considering that would give Trump 2 days to do something stupid as President, but then we have to remember he barely did anything on the weekdays in the last 4 years so they were probably right. Trump is still saying that he has been betrayed and there are concerns there will be more attacks from his supporters at Biden’s inauguration on the 20th. But it’s tricky because if they all turn up to the event, even if it’s to cause trouble, it’ll just upset Trump that Sleepy Joe had even more attendees than he did in 2016. What might cheer ol’ Donnie up is that with Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg all saying he’d be our close friend after Brexit, there’s every chance he’ll have a job as a trade advisor for the British government any day now.

 

 

ADMIN

 

Yoooooooooooo. Welcome back ParPolBrods. God I miss it when the Christmas period would be full of nothing happening and I’d return to this show in January thinking ‘oh shit, what can I put in the show, nothing has happened?’ Instead, it’s like politics and the news has realised Hollywood and TV have been on halt for a year and so needed to up their dystopian dramas with the sort of plotlines no one enjoys but has to watch. Yet at the same time, like lots of Christmas telly always is, much of it seemed like repeats. How are you getting on? Hope you’re dealing with lockdown 3 all ok if you’re in the UK. We are having all the fun of wondering if my agent, sorry, daughter should be at nursery or not but really enjoying that she is still going to nursery. I mean on the one hand, it doesn’t feel at all safe that she’s there. On the other hand, I get two and a half days a week where I don’t have to hear the same three kids Halloween songs on repeat. So it’s not easy to decide to be honest. Actually, to be perfectly blunt, we’d have to pay for the nursery if we took her out voluntarily, as it’d still be open, but then we’d not be able to get any work done either. So we don’t really have a choice and as such I can override the anxiety about getting COVID a bit but constantly thinking about how I’m not listening to Knock Knock Trick Or Treat. I’d never known not hearing music to relax the mind until I got to not hear something I hated that I usually have to hear all day long. I had a lockdown birthday on Saturday. I’m now the big 4-0, which I thought I’d panic about but actually its really nice being the age that the state of things and parenting has made me feel for about 3 years now. Everyone warned me ‘oh 40 you’ll be needing to go to bed early’. Already there pal. ‘Oh you’ll be weeing all the time’, I’ve been T1 diabetic since I was 4, sooooo already there. I think the main downside is that you’re now listening to a podcast by a definitely middle aged straight white guy and I worry that that is just too new and different for some people. There’s just not enough of that out there and so something like this might make listeners wary of tuning in. We’ll just have to see how it goes I guess. My agent drew me a card for my birthday with a big scribble of my face on it, with beard, and then loads of dots next to it and exclaimed ‘Happy Birthday Daddy, that’s you and those are flies biting your face.’ So yes, I’ve been haunted by that since. Parenting is definitely the gift that keeps on giving.

 

Anyway, here we are, in what seems like a relatively shit way to start the year and I did really mull over whether it was time for comedy when you know, everything seems relatively concerning but then I wrote some jokes about it and felt better. Fully aware you may have less time if you’ve got kids or for those of you who work in the NHS and other key workers things and are insanely busy with the chaos or you just have a need to spend the next few weeks screaming out of the window. But I appreciate you coming back to this show and hope you will stick around as it will keep going unless I’m plagued by flies biting my face. In which case I’ll at least try to record some of the sound for your enjoyment. So I’ve got plans for guests that will cover all the big things from a few different angles, but also lots of things that are being ignored due to all the big things. So: Things. This year on this show, there will be things. Excited?

 

Some things to tell you about in a minute but first up big shout out and mega thank you to Doug, Richard, James, Christine, Veep, Somebody, John, Kim, Claire, and James for your very much appreciated donations to ko-fi.com/parpolbro and should you fancy supporting this show through what looks like a year where it’ll be hard work at times if it keeps going like this, then please chuck some worthless British pounds at the aforementioned ko-fi, join the patreon.com/parpolbro or via the acast supporter scheme. Or send €1 which I think will be worth about £400 soon, or $1 dollar which I think I’ll be able to sell as memorabilia after the war. Of course if you can’t do that, because really who can in this current world, please give the show a nice 5 star review with some words about it, on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher or castbox or somewhere like that, or just tell other people to give it a listen. Any of those would be bloody lovely.

 

Ok so you may have heard at the top of the show I did an advert for British Boxers. I approached them because they are genuinely lovely, nice people who make things I like and are politically sound. They very kindly agreed to try a little sponsorship trial with this show and I am keen to get them more customers because they’re an independent good lot who deserve it. So, as I said at the top if you go there and use the code PARPOLBRO10 you’ll get 10% off and hopefully it’ll all work out, you and they will be happy and I may be able to afford to keep doing this show and occasionally blag some pants which is all I want in life. Pant blags. Pags. Other thing is that the live show as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival is still going ahead on Feb 6th at 4.30pm but it’ll now be online. They can have up to 500 people watching the stream so if you would like to hear me do this show, but also see me and join in the Qs for my guests via the chat function, then grab tickets at the Leicester Comedy Festival site and I’ll pop a link in the podcast blurb too. Lastly, you might note that at the very end of the show, I’ve dropped the HotPolGossFact for the foreseeable future because well, it took up waaay too much of my time writing and researching it every week. ‘Why don’t you do one that’s easier or less effort?’ you say. Well, I say ‘why don’t you eat a goose, goose muncher?’ I will at some point, think of a replacement or something but if you have any suggestions for an end of show bit, then send ‘em in to all the usual places and some unusual ones if you fancy it.

 

Ok, so first ep of the year and of course it would have been stupid not to talk about something I know you’re all gagging to hear about, that’s right, BREXIT! Hey wait, where have you gone? Come back! No, I just thought while coronavirus is stealing all the headlines like an attention seeking always wanting to go viral bastard, that it might be good to actually hear what the hell happened with that sneaky deal. So I spoke to Professor of European Law at Cambridge University, Kenneth Armstrong, who explained all in a way that I could actually understand and goddamn was it appreciated. In the middle, some bits you may have missed or more accurately, might have wanted to miss but I’ve put them in here so tough boobies.

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH KENNETH

 

Welcome to post-Brexit land where you can apparently have a cake and eat it, but if that cake is from the EU then there’ll be a hefty customs charge and it might be stale by the time it reaches you. If you’ve not been keeping up with the story so far, because you’ve decided to enjoy your life or you’re in the government and therefore find it impossible to have a clue about anything that’s happening, then let me, like a trade negotiation Craig David, fill you in. As of 11pm on New Year’s Eve 2020, Britain finally finished it’s 4 and a half year long keeling out of the EU but only after a deal was struck on Christmas Eve which Boris Johnson announced as his Christmas present to the country, proving he really doesn’t ever talk to his kids or he’d know that that’d be a really disappointing gift to open and that actually we’d all have preferred a PS5. Of course, according to the Prime Minister, he managed to achieve the impossible, though to be fair he might’ve been referring to the fact he managed to do some work for once, rather than the deal. But while all the sycophants are praising the new beginning for the UK, many others are highlighting that actually this is just another part of the incredibly long ending we’re having as though it’s been directed by Peter Jackson and he’s basically given up now. Food exporters in the UK are already having trouble selling anything to the EU, many companies have a shortage of hauliers and there’s more red tape than the time Elmo went on a kidnapping spree. So even though many of us would like to never hear about Brexit ever again, including most of the people who made it happen as it’d be much easier for them if we all forgot about it and could blame all complications on something else instead. But it’s important to know if this deal is indeed a thin one, or is just very unwell? Is this it for future relations with the EU or is there scope for it to change in the future? And is the deal the problem or is it more the issue that with Johnson sticking to his journalistic days and only handing in a draft at the last possible minute despite four years of notice, that no one’s had a chance to prepare? Most importantly, at 2000 pages, do I have to read the bloody thing, because I really don’t have the time and a lot of the wording about trade makes me brain cry.

 

Luckily no I don’t. As this week I spoke to an expert in all of this sort of thing, Professor Kenneth Armstrong. Kenneth is Professor of European Law and Director of the Centre for European Legal Studies in the Faculty of Law at Cambridge University. Yes exactly, if anyone is going to understand this deal, it’s him. So, I was very excited that he had the time to answer all my many questions on whether or not this was indeed a good deal, if it’s the deal we should be worrying about or just our government – spoilers: Always our government – and most importantly what bits do we actually have to know about apart from where we can still buy Percy Pigs? And no, Kenneth hasn’t read all 2000 pages of the deal either, as you’ll hear, so I think it’s safe to say I don’t have to give my evenings up to google what quasi exclusion from competitive grant award procedures means and instead can just endlessly flick through Netflix wondering if I’ll ever find anything I want to watch. I found talking to Kenneth really informative, useful and in many ways, reassuring, so I hope you will too. Here’s Kenneth:

 

INTERVIEW WITH KENNETH PART 1:

 

And we’ll be back with Kenneth in a minute but first…

 

 

MIDDLE BIT – SOME THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

 

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the only news at all in the world right now was everyone having COVID-19, Brexit meaning lorry drivers can’t have sandwiches and things in America being exactly as we all thought they would be. I forgive you. There, see? It’s all ok. I’ve mainly been watching Korean supernatural comedy action dramas and assuming that I wasn’t missing anything news-wise either. But as per always, there have been many, many other things going on. Some of them you don’t need to know about such as the suspected human foot in a field in Gateshead turning out to actually be a potato. You don’t need to know about that one, even though its gutting that absolutely no one made a pota-toe joke. Criminal. There are though, somethings in the UK politics news that I thought you might need to know, so here is an FYIICYMI cos IYKYK, YKWIM?

 

Way back in April Gavin Williamson reassured headteachers that the government would provide free devices to disadvantaged kids who needed them for homeschooling during the pandemic because around 9% of families, or 1.78m, don’t have access to any of that stuff which means they are cut off from learning and also their parents don’t get any peace and quiet by giving them the iPad, sitting them in a corner for nearly two hours and having a cup of tea in the resulting silence. Sorry, probably gave too much away of my own parental skills there. Anyway, I know what you’re thinking, did Williamson actually provide them with old Donkey Kong LCD games or something? Was the term ‘devices’ used because they all got can openers or something one of his school pals designed that makes eggs into the shape of a knee? Was there an algorithm that means kids in private schools all got free Teslas while all the other children were given wooden tic tac toe kits? Well, no, actually, laptops and iPads were delivered, just, as you can probably guess, to nowhere near as many kids were promised. What you can probably also guess – because really, whoever is writing this season of the British government just keeps reusing old storylines and we’re all getting bored of it now – is that they gave nearly £1bn of contracts to a company to do the ‘puta providing and that company happens to be owned by Conservative donor, Sir Philip Hulme who’ve given the Tories over £150k. Computacenter were most recently given two contracts worth £12.4m to hand out 59,900 devices, but there have already been complaints from some schools that the laptops received are so low in spec that they’d be more useful propping up a table. It’s not known yet whether the contracts were put out to tender properly, and the department of education said they were awarded simply on the basis of the need for children to receive the support they need as soon as possible. Though they didn’t specify if that’s physical support by standing on the machine in order to reach things because it’s not very useful for anything else. These contracts add to the now £15bn of money given to the private sector to supply things to the public sector during the pandemic, on top of the £22bn for the test and trace and the half a billion for PPE, a large number of which have all been handed to companies with direct links to the Conservative Party. Really starting to wonder if it’s the public that needed to do the social distancing.

 

Bees are bloody great, what with the honey and the tiny strokeable fur coats. Yet the government have just authorised the use of a pesticide that was banned under EU law and is believed to kill off our buzzy chums. The pesticide is for use just on sugar beet, which is not just the name of my 90’s ska band, but also what we get all our sugar from here in Blighty. Environmental campaigners are understandably livid because without bees, they don’t pollinate flowers and then we have even less food making me wonder if the only policy Boris Johnson ever cared about was his one to make Britain lose weight. However it’s not as clear cut as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs being some sort of insect bounty hunting Bee-ba Fett. Climate change is really messing up crops and because last winter was very mild, aphids survived it in crazy numbers, stormed all the beet crops and poisoned them with beet malaria and killing a ton of crops. Sugar beet is also a non-flowering crop, so one bees aren’t all that bothered about and by putting the neonicotinoids on them it may well save them from aphid slaughter. A number of other European countries have been using it for that single crop too and if farmers in the UK didn’t, it’d kill the sugar industry and then we’d have to import that sugar from elsewhere like the EU and you know the rest. However, neonicotinoids are not good and can spread from the crops into the water which can then affect bees elsewhere and also birds and who knows what else. But this is meant to be a temporary use, so it’s whether or not money will be in place to allow it be replaced by farmers using better less polluting methods as soon as, or if the Conservatives want to kill the bees because their hardworking ethics really show them up in comparison.

 

Last year during the first wave of the pandemic, the government ended homelessness pretty much overnight as part of the Everyone In scheme, which made everyone wonder, oh why hadn’t you done that before then? About 15,000 rough sleepers were given shelter which according to the Lancet, would have prevented around 21000 infections and nearly 300 deaths. And also, you know, let people sleep somewhere under a roof for a bit. The funding only lasted a couple of months though, and the Conservatives realised it was ruining their reputation so by June it was everybody out again and instead they said they were giving funds to local councils to house people, but it really wasn’t enough to do much of that. They are not bringing it back this time even though young people sleeping rough in London is at its highest, deaths among homeless people in England and Wales are very high and 70,000 households have been made homeless during the pandemic so far. The government did promise that no one should be made homeless as a result of the coronavirus but I think they assume everyone is like Housing Minister and sponge cake Robert Jenrick and have 4 of them each so can afford to lose a couple here and there. A ban on evictions has been extended but that hasn’t affected the 200,000+ families approaching their local council’s for help with homelessness, or all the hidden homeless, or since June, those who are already rough sleepers. What would be best of course is if the government just housed everyone again because it didn’t seem all that hard last time but of course they can’t do that because hahahahaha there is no good reason. I’m sure Robert Jenrick could put a few of them up at a few of his homes.

 

Oh, and lastly there’s been a tiny cabinet reshuffle. The only bit of it worth noting is that Sad Goomba Alok Sharma is no longer business secretary and is now fully in charge of the climate change conference so he can now just screw that up instead of all of business. Instead, he has been replaced by Kwasi Kwarteng, known not just for looking like a cartoon fish but also co-authoring a book called Britannia Unchained, alongside everyone’s favourite rat pack Priti Patel, Liz Truss, Dominic Raab and Chris Skidmore, who you might not know but his surname really sums him up. The terrifying hard-line, free market book got all angry about high taxes and too much regulation, while being rarely factually correct. The big controversy was a bit about how British workers are idle and lazy. And they didn’t just mean the Prime Minister. Still there’s now four of the five authors of that in the cabinet but on the plus side I guess that means we know there’s a handful of people in there who can definitely read.

 

 

And now back to Kenneth…

 

INTERVIEW WITH KENNETH PART 2

 

Thanks so much to Kenneth for the time to explain all of that to me. It’s just damn useful to have someone who actually understands these things to clearly explain past all the headlines and noise, so that now I’m only panicking a bit instead of a lot. About Brexit that is, I’m still riddled with horror at everything else. You can find Kenneth on twitter @ProfKAArmstrong, his website & blog about all things Brexit is at brexittime.com. He can usually also be found at the Faculty of Law at Cambridge University, but obvs he’s not there right now, because well, everything, and I’ll post a link in the podcast blurb to the Monckton website he mentions and their recently published Brexit and EU relations law toolkit which Kenneth has contributed to, if you fancy a look.

I’ve bothered a lot of people to come on the podcast this year and very slowly some are getting back to me, so in the meantime, and also less mean, kinder time, if you can think of anyone I should be firing questions at right now, or a subject I still haven’t managed to cover on this show, because goddamit, there’s loads, then you can drop me a line @ParPolBro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast Facebook group, the contact page at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or you can email me at partlypoliticalbroadcast@gmail.com. Or any other method of contact you fancy, unless you’re Donald Trump in which case hahahahahahahahahah you can’t do any of them because you’re banned, and I won’t accept letters written in crayon. For the rest of you, as always, it’s probably just best to email isn’t it?

 

 

END

 

And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you absolutely tons for returning to this show and listening to it once again. If you do enjoy any of the noises that occur, please do give the show a lovely 5 star review on one of them podcast apps, donate to the ko-fi, patreon or acast supporter sites and most of all, just tell someone you love to give this podcast a try. Unless the person you love is me. I mean, I understand but I’m already here and I’d much prefer chocolates or a nice meal or rock hard cash. I demand serious romancing, none of this podcast recommendation shit that’s good enough for the plebs. I mean sorry, kindly potential listeners. Ooops. Oh dear. Oh well.

 

Merci beacoup to Acast, my brother The Last Skeptik for all the beats and bleeps, Kat Day for the linear liner notes and to Katie Coxall for the all the art stuff.

 

This will be back next week when Donald Trump gets banned from MyFitnessPal but absolutely doesn’t notice.

 

BYEEEEEEEEEEEE

 

This week’s show was sponsored by the beginners guide to acting like you’ve got the coronavirus, featuring tips on how to convince others you’ve got varying degrees of the illness, from asymptomatic where you’ll occasionally say that you’re not sure if you’ve got it or not but you’re sure it’s fine to walk too close to everyone at Sainsburys anyway, all the way to the method acting skills you need to convincingly cough to death while still typing ‘it’s all hoax’ on Twitter. Acting Like You’ve Got The Coronavirus, for amateurs, professionals or just those of you who’ve completed Netflix and need a new challenge.

 

 

 

 

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