It’s The Wrong Virus Stupid – All the reasons, Biden’s Inauguration, Brexit Fallout and a chat with photographer and nurse Johannah Churchill

Released on Tuesday, January 26th, 2021.

It’s The Wrong Virus Stupid – All the reasons, Biden’s Inauguration, Brexit Fallout and a chat with photographer and nurse Johannah Churchill

It’s clear that all of this is no-one’s fault but the coronavirus and if it had only been a completely different virus and possibly even not a virus at all then the British government would’ve handled it in an expert manner just like they have Brexit or the economy or…oh, oh well. COVID adverts, schooling problems and the return of Brexit Fallout. Plus a chat with photographer and nurse Johannah Churchill (@JohannahChurchi) about her iconic image and the pressure NHS workers have been under for the past year.

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Further Reading

Linear liner notes 

It’s clear that all of this is no-one’s fault but the coronavirus and if it had only been a completely different virus and possibly even not a virus at all then the British government would’ve handled it in an expert manner just like they have Brexit or the economy or…oh, oh well. COVID adverts, schooling problems and the return of Brexit Fallout. Plus a chat with photographer and nurse Johannah Churchill (@JohannahChurchi) about her iconic image and the pressure NHS workers have been under for the past year.

Key links and sources of info from Johannah’s interview:

All the usual ParPolBro stuff:

 


Transcript

Ep218

 

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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that definitely isn’t as effective after a 12-week delay. Sigh. Bloody 2021. I’m Tiernan Douieb and as Health Secretary and drawing of a Canadian in South Park Matt Hancock says that before we ease measures we have to look at the facts on the ground, I ask has been using a road markings for guidance this whole time and is that why the government keeps looking right?

 

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s taken this long, but we are finally at a stage where the government are blaming the coronavirus for not being more cooperative. Drowned Ewok and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey is sure that they were prepared for a pandemic, just not the one we’re currently having. How incredibly selfish of COVID-19 to turn up when the Conservatives were expecting a kinder, gentler sort of virus. Perhaps one that wasn’t infectious, didn’t kill anyone and wasn’t even a virus in the first place and was instead a sandwich or a discarded shoe? With that sort of a supportive and let’s face it, hopefully British virus, this government would have tackled it in a heartbeat and frankly anyone who’s still insisting on catching this clearly traitorous coronavirus is obviously being unpatriotic. It’s a nice thought that somehow had things been different and the globe was besieged by a strain of something else that right now the UK would be the New Zealand of the world, being able to carry on as normal and just be panicking about the destruction of the NHS, rising unemployment and Brexit meaning that lorries are having to be reclassified as static caravans or food hospices. The reality of course is that even if say, COVID-19 had just been a relatively harmless virus that could only be passed around by someone lobbing a mango directly at your knees, the Prime Minister and celebrity icon to fans of paraphilic infantilism Boris Johnson would’ve boasted early on about attending a mass mango lobbing session and how he was fine, various MPs would’ve been caught out for attending private mango throwing sessions but refused to resign, and schools would be told that they’d be sued if they didn’t provide a full variety of tropical fruit at meal times delivered only by a tennis ball machine. Money would be poured into the fruit and veg markets but nowhere else, and over time as the virus mutated into other fruits and it transmitted through other methods, it would be the public who would be blamed. As it is only the most irresponsible citizens who took part in the 20-a-day national government campaign to boost fruit sales titled ‘Eat Fruit to Help Oot’ that they told everyone to do.

 

The UK’s death toll is now one of the highest in the world, and that is of course, the fault of the virus that has sadly and tragically killed so many people. Without it, we’d only be seeing excess deaths when it came to homeless that the government refuse to help with, food poverty, ableist policies or unsafe cladding, you know all the things that make Britain what it is. Like how some countries have a certain amount of deaths every year from poisonous spiders or falling chairs or something, we’re just aware that to maintain our traditions we’re quite happy to let people die rather than make a fuss. So I suppose it should be reassuring that our leadership is trying to keep that attitude going throughout this crisis, never once wanting to offer a minute’s silence in memory, and making sure everyone knows, as the Home Secretary and the sort of person who’d list bear baiting as one of her favourite sports Priti Patel, said ‘there are a number of reasons the UK has had over 100,000 deaths.’ Yes, yes there are Priti, it’s just that unfortunately all of them work in the cabinet.

Of course, we mustn’t compare international death rates as everyone counts them differently apparently. Some places might not count deaths where the person who died didn’t actually die or was so boring that they’d seemed dead for years. So we can’t say for sure that the UK has one of the highest death tolls from COVID-19 because even when you take into account all the statistics that say we do, you have to remember that other countries value their citizens lives more so even one of their deaths will count as about 10 of ours in comparison. Obviously, as you know, we should compare international vaccination rates as we in the UK have done some of the mostest in the whole world, you know if you don’t count that most people have only had one jab and aren’t actually vaccinated yet and may not get a second jab for 12 more weeks, which the British Medical Association say was difficult to justify and experts in Israel who’ve been looking at results of mass vaccinations, say is ‘very optimistic’. But if you don’t count those things and you understand that by just making sure as many people get the first jab as possible, then we can all agree that it allows the government to say they’ve done something very well and if anyone dies after being half vaccinated then it’s their fault and their bodies weren’t trying hard enough. Israel are seeing a drop in hospitalisations for the over 60’s three weeks after getting their first vaccine jab so maybe the British government think that by extending that by a further 9-week weeks, they can save some hospitalisations for the Spring in-case the NHS starts to get bored with having less to do. In the North East and Yorkshire they are having their vaccine supply halved so other places can catch up because they’ve been vaccinating too successfully and that sort of efficiency just shows everyone up so they have to be punished. The government are very much the teachers that would give a class detention because someone finished their work early because they found it lacking and so decided to start talking, but if the whole class did well, would immediately claim credit for it. This is of course a silly analogy. The government would never be teachers, as they’d only do jobs that they think have value like working for arms dealers or using public funds to not carry out tests.

 

There will be more deaths, said Johnson, for the first time ever promising something he can definitely deliver. It is genuinely tricky to know if it was a warning or a pledge, when in the same week during a visit to Didsbury, he informed them too that ‘more flooding will come’ as though he’s realised that just by being a prophet of doom he doesn’t really have to do anything about the consequences and can defend himself by saying ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ when questioned about it. He could at least have been useful and let the local residents use him as a sandbag. Johnson also insisted last week that this would be a phenomenal year for Britain. While I hate to say it, he’s likely not wrong either, as phenomena is something that is observed to exist or happen, even if the cause is in question and while many of us wouldn’t question how we got here, the Conservatives fingers are pointing anywhere but in the mirror. If it’s not the virus’s fault for being a virus, then it’s your fault for being one of a handful of people who are breaking the rules because your boss is making you and if you really cared then you’d lose your job and starve rather than catch a virus in a poorly protected job. I mean take staff at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency where over 500 workers have contracted COVID since the start of the pandemic as management insisted that they turn their test and trace apps off and stay at their non-socially distanced work. You could rightly say, well the management should be reprimanded for endangering lives, or that the Transport Secretary and Roland Rat’s withered twin Grant Shapps should have intervened or at least made a comment since the story was revealed. But a transport secretary can’t step in, that would go against his job position which requires him focusing on driving home inadequate policies. Instead, it must be the staff because if they were more considerate then they’d just not catch the virus in the first place, allowing them to keep up the important job of supplying people with licenses and penalties for journeys that they can’t make as we’re all in lockdown. There’s every chance of course that they didn’t catch the virus at work but instead at all the house parties barely anyone is having, which is why the news is insisting on endlessly reporting on the two or three that have, and Priti Patel has announced a new £800 fine for anyone attending house parties of more than 15 people. So you all need to behave and only attend ones of exactly 15 or less, or better still, ones that aren’t in houses at all. Maybe have it on a bus like the Vengaboys? Though I suppose that might need a DVLA license which could now take a while. Or in a church and throw in a prayer or two so it’s a totally legal public worship? Maybe make it an office party and get your hundreds of staff to all try and issue vehicle licenses throughout and then the Home office will be totes fine with it?

 

The government are doing everything they can to make things better and safer like launching a new advert to help hammer home the idea that we all need to be staying at home like pretty much everyone is, telling us all to look COVID sufferers in the eye and tell them the risk isn’t real, or you never bend the rules or basically all the things cabinet ministers and their special advisors have done for the past year but its ok as they can’t maintain eye contact with anyone that’s poorer than them, so it doesn’t apply. Frankly if you’re looking someone right in the eye to try and tell them you keep a safe distance, chances are, you’re too close to them in the first place and if anything these adverts will make things worse. They’ve also definitely thought about or at least discussed tightening travel restrictions maybe, with potential plans for a hotel quarantine for people arriving in the UK, though they could just use that Ibis I stayed in on the motorway once where I was too scared to leave my room because of the man endlessly screaming in the very stained hallway. According to Priti Patel, she actually recommended to the Prime Minister that they close borders way back in last March as the pandemic started, but to be fair to Johnson I’m certain she shouts ‘close the borders’ every other sentence and in her sleep so it would have been hard for him to tell if it was a useful suggestion or just her usual default greeting.

 

As for schools, Conservative MPs have demanded the government set out a route map for a return to schools, which seems unnecessary as kids should easily remember how to get there again even if the cabinet haven’t got a clue where they’re going. The Prime Minister insists that he wants to get them open as fast as possible, but can’t guarantee it’ll be before Easter, which we’d have known was the case even if he’d said he could guarantee it. Schools have never actually been closed, what with them being open for the children of keyworkers, and also remote learning for pupils, but I guess Conservatives are just annoying because it must be galling for them to have to pay all that money and still have to see their kids. The Children’s Commissioner for England has warned that schools being closed is making children feel isolated and withdrawn. On the plus side, that should fit in perfectly with the national attitude of post-Brexit Britain. The government are still discussing whether or not to keep the universal credit uplift of an extra £20 a week or not, because on one hand it helps families survive this increasingly difficult situation, but on the other hand it helps families survive this increasingly difficult situation and they have a reputation to uphold. Former government advisor and school governor who hasn’t had a child at the school for decades Dame Louise Casey has warned that not keeping the increase would mean the Conservatives would be known as the nasty party again which could be damaging. Really? I’d have thought it’d an upgrade from us having to refer to them as ‘yeah you know the ones that let 100,000 people die and gave all the cash to their pals party’ but then what do I know about semantics. Chancellor and what if JarJar Binks was a Sith Lord Rishi Sunak has said that they can’t keep the lifechanging £20 uplift though as the cost would be the same as adding 1p to income tax or 5p to fuel. Well, we can’t have that then, I mean how would all his tax dodging friends cope with spending more money to drive around pointing and laughing at people queuing for food banks? I mean you may as well ban all the fun, right? Intead Sunak has proposed a one off payment of £1000 which will cancel out the £1000 they’d lose if they cut the £20 a week, because Sunak thinks then they could spend it all at once and help the economy and then they can blame people on benefits for spending all their money at once and can justify change it to giving them vouchers only for chicken feed and candles. Theresa Coffey on the other hand thinks the uplift should just be cut and no extras given because it’s their own fault that a pandemic decimated the economy and took them out of work and if they really wanted to be rich, they’d have been born that way. She is another who is certain Britain has only got such a high death toll because we’re all obese and old, which at least gives us some hope that she’s not got long left and I’m certain she won’t want any help in dealing with COVID as that’d just make her selfish and dependent.

 

What is a relief is that the Department Of International Trade now finally have an official plan for those firms struggling to deal with Brexit costs, which is that they should move to the EU. Who knew that when they said Brexit would be great for British businesses it was because they got to escape to somewhere nicer? And when they said it would be great for British workers it’s because now everyday will be a day off. The Prime Minister is still certain that everything will be good for all of us though and in particular the currently very angry fishing industry that feel they unfairly took the bait and subsequently found themselves gasping for air but I suppose karma and all that eh? Boris Johnson told the sector that Brexit will turn out to be Eldorado for the fishing industry, but by my calculations that means it’ll only last for one disappointing season then get permanently cancelled. A gag there just for the middle-aged listeners. Sorry, another gag there just for the middle-aged listeners. Without fish to sell and all our small businesses likely to relocate elsewhere, just what will we as a country trade? Well thankfully the Conservatives voted to remove the NHS protections from the trade bill, which means any of it could now be lumped in with any future deal with another country. Then again, maybe I’m being naïve and what better way to reduce the number of COVID hospital admissions than by reducing the number of hospitals there are as each one of them are sold off to be turned into luxury flats where once a year a tax dodging billionaire can stay in it and point out the window at all the people who could really do with being in A&E. The government very narrowly avoided a defeat on legislation that could’ve meant even more dubious trading arrangements though as 33 Conservatives were keen to remove a Lords Amendment from the Trade Bill blocking us from trading with countries that have been ruled to commit genocide. They have a point though, I mean surely we should give this mass murdering governments a second chance as there’s every possibility they’ll be like us and just pretend they never did any of that in a few years and insist actually the problem is people being woke and that statues deserve more care than children in need, and then we’ll be losing out on potential trading twinsies.

 

Over in America, scorched earth gibbosity Donald Trump, left the White House for the final time, in part to the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, an ideal choice as Sinatra too was an entertainer that was involved in organised crime. As much as his time in office was a general horror show, it’s important to find the positives in everything. I think the Trump presidency has had a very useful effect on the plausibility of the actions of villains or idiots in films. I mean previously I’d have thought ‘who would steal fertilised dinosaur embryos? Surely no one would feed a mogwai after midnight?’ But now after four years of Trump I think ‘oh yeah, I know that guy.’ Joe Biden, aka oh that’s what happened to the robot from Ulyssess 31, is now the 46th elected US President, after his inauguration where I’m not saying the bar was low, but he spoke in full sentences that we all understood and therefore immediately seems like an improvement. The old rich white man from one of the only two parties that ever win announced that ‘we have saved democracy’ and used his speech to call for unity across all sides because nothing stops fascism like just joining together with them right? I’m sure that world war 2 would have been over super quickly if we’d all just joined the Nazis, right? Stop the shouting and lower the temperatures, said Biden, presumably as a reference to Trump’s years in power, but it could also have just been something a man of his age would say and there’s every chance he then complained about the kids on the bus and waved his fist at some clouds. On his first day in office Biden used executive orders to reverse lots of Trump’s damaging policies, and he outlined his economic rescue package that will cut child poverty in half but will still keep half of it to please Republican voters.

 

Boris Johnson spoke to Biden on Saturday in the new President’s first call with a European leader, and the Prime Minister said he looked forward to ‘deepening the longstanding alliance’, but after previously insulting Biden’s pal Obama and being super pally with Trump I’m not really sure how Johnson could get any deeper. One interviewer asked Johnson if Biden was too woke for him, because there’s nothing more confusing than finding out the right wing both think the new President is sleepy and woke at the same time. Johnson said there was nothing wrong with being woke but that it was important to stick up for your history so I’m sure any day now he’ll be defending all the past racist comments he’s pretended he didn’t say and that time he tried to help a friend get a journalist beaten up. The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said that Johnson doesn’t really know what the term woke means, which is clear by how often his government have declared war on it, something they could only win by being completely ignorant of progressive issues. Oh. Oh well. One nil to them then I guess. According to ex-civil service head and half inflated armband Mark Sedwill, Johnson is very glad to see Trump go, but it’s hard not to wonder if that’s just because now he can offer him a job as post-Brexit trade advisor.

 

The SNP have unveiled they will hold a legal referendum on Scottish independence, if they get a majority at Holyrood after May’s election. I’m assuming the campaign will largely just be pointing at Westminster and going ‘I mean, just fucking look at that.’ Boris Johnson has said that he would oppose this happening but if the SNP take office they will request a sector 30 order for a referendum, part of the Scotland Act 1998 that allows Holyrood to pass laws normally reserved in Westminster as that would leave the UK government with no moral or democratic justification for denying it. Ok but the only hurdle they might have is I don’t think Johnson’s government they’ve had moral or democratic justification for doing anything or been remotely bothered that they haven’t. You may as well be telling them that if they don’t do something then vulnerable people might die, to which Johnson would respond with a shrug and carry on entertaining himself with a fortune teller fish. The Prime Minister has said several times that he won’t agree for a referendum on Scottish independence for a generation but considering how many he’s let die from COVID that could only be in a couple of years, so it might be worth the SNP waiting it out.

 

In other news, research says talking can spread COVID as much as coughing, so fingers crossed parliament from now on will have to done in semaphore. It wouldn’t be that different to now when the Prime Minister’s career is increasingly flagging. Labour leader and patio heater Keir Starmer has been told to self-isolate for the third time, but that shouldn’t hard for him as with the Conservatives till ahead in all the polls despite everything, Starmer’s seemingly managed to alienate himself from most voters already. And as questions arise over whether local elections will happen in England in May, Glastonbury Festival announces that is cancelled again this year. It’s very worrying to see that the coronavirus has now advanced to the Pyramid stage.

 

Admin

 

Holla ParPolBrods. How goes you in these snowy times? I’m aware lots of you have had snowy times already this year, but ‘ere in the South we had our one day of snow yesterday and it came down thick and fast, but due to London prices it won’t settle for long. My agent, sorry daughter, was delighted and immediately wanted to go out in it, ran around for 20 mins then immediately wanted to go back into the warm and watch TV. I’m so chuffed she takes after me by easily letting bundles of optimistic enthusiasm get crushed by the weight of reality. I’m sure she’ll be excited again in 3-years’ time when it happens for an afternoon again. I think this is now the 7 millionth week in January but it’s very hard to tell in lockdown. It’s weird to will time away isn’t it, you know considering how precious it is, but dear god Spring can’t come soon enough this year. I mean not too soon as then all my eco-anxiety will come back. And wasps. As it is I’m trying so hard not to just waste time looking at stupid provocative news articles like one the other day about how roads are going to be named after recipients of the Victoria Cross as part of the war on the woke. I mean aside from it not being so much a war as people trying to get on with making things better as Telegraph readers stand across the road from them yelling about they’re being oppressed by other people not being as selfish and inconsiderate as them which makes them unfairly stand out as bastards. Aside from that aspect of the war on woke where some of people are angry about things that aren’t happening, also, I don’t know just how many people give a shit? I mean this is what baffles me on a regular basis, is just how much money, time and effort could be saved if various initiatives or headline vomits had two minutes before being publicised where they just asked even 5 random people ‘but do you give a shit?’ Barely anyone gives a shit what their road name is. Aside from a kid I went to school with who lived on Ennis Road because we all kept laughing when a ‘P’ was repeatedly graffitied on the road signs. Also shout out to school friend Anthony whose surname was the same name as the road he lived on and whenever he got stopped by the police because he was a black teenager and that’s depressing systematic racism for you. They’d ask for his and his address and never believe him. It was bleak but luckily, he found it funny, so we all did too. I’m just saying, otherwise, no one cares. Give all our streets numbers or made-up words or names of household objects or your favourite swears. In fact, definitely the latter. I would happily spell out on phone calls, ‘yes that’s 11B Fuckity park, Yes f-u-c’ etc etc. If you are regularly livid that road names are too woke for you, then maybe don’t live on a road. Go live in a field and shout at birds. It must be so exhausting being some people.

 

Sorry, my agent’s at nursery and my wife is working so I have no one to grumble about things to, so here we are. Of course I can’t really grumble at you for you be here and listening and I am forever grateful. Thank you so much for your many, many nice comments about the interview with Musa last week, I was so pleased you liked that one. Thank you too to Dave for donating to the Acast supporter page and Taz and Anonymous for your donations to the ko-fi site and of course, should you feel this show is deserving of your pennies then do lob them at ko-fi.com/parpolbro, or join the patreon.com/parpolbro or click on the Acast supporter button thingy. I’ll be honest, I still don’t know where it is or how you do it, so it’s a nice surprise when someone does. I think you click on a thing but there’s a chance you shout a magic word at your phone, or you send a carrier pigeon in a specific direction during an easterly wind. I just don’t know. And obvs if you can’t do that, please give the show a nice 5-star review at one of the podcast app sites, especially Apple Podcasts because they still have the monopoly on these podcast things, and or indeed or, just tell other people you know to tune in to this here show and hit subscribe. For one day, if enough of you do that again, it might end up on a podcast chart once more. Though obviously then this show would be mainstream and that could lead to me selling out, but that is a risk I’m prepared to take. Wait I mean no I wouldn’t, obviously. Ahem.

 

Right, quick admin times and look, it’s the same admins as last week but there are still tickets, in fact so, so, many tickets, available for the online podcast as part of the Leicester comedy festival on Feb 6th at 4.30pm. Please come along virtually and watch from the comfort of your own home, and there’ll be an opportunity to ask me and the guest or potentially guests questions too. I have no idea how much tickets are, I haven’t checked anything this week, but if they are too expensive then please get one and use the chat function to let me know throughout the show. Maybe. Also this is episode 3 that is sponsored by the brilliant British Boxers, and yes I will do a new advert for it soon but I still like the big pyjama line. Anyway, they are currently having a winter sale that means pants are even cheaper. I’ve no idea if the PARPOLBRO10 10% off code works on sale items but you may as well try and they are doing real fancy masks free with all orders over £30, so go get some nice knicks and PJS and support me and them at british-boxers.com while at the same time essentially just getting more things to sit around in. Win.

 

Ok on this week’s show I have a guest who not only very kindly bailed me out when the planned guest got ill, but also just happened to be a fascinating person to speak to too. Johannah Churchill, nurse and photographer of the photo of her colleague Melanie, that captured the anxiety of NHS workers at the beginning of the pandemic and ended up as a beautiful mural in Manchester. You might know the one. If you don’t, pause this, yes now, and go look it up. Yeah? See. Exactly. There is also a wee bit of Brexit Fallout in the middle because I know you’ve missed it. Yes, you have. Stop lying.

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOHANNAH

 

Find me someone in Britain who doesn’t value the NHS and I will, well, I will most likely say ‘why are you showing me a picture of Matt Hancock?’ But it goes without saying how precious the NHS is and how without it our rather dire past year would have been even worse, not least because then every Thursday people would have been out on the doorstep clapping for Netflix which doesn’t deserve it in the same way. The fact is, as all research shows, most people are keen to save the NHS, especially when that means staying at home because that is such an easy way to save things. I mean saving the planet is tons more effort. Saving the children too. I have one, I’m not even sure what I’m saving her for but I’m hoping at some point I’ll be able to swap her for a mortgage or Playstation 5. Of course, that’s not true. I love her too much to swap her for a Playstation 5. It’d have to come with at least two controllers and the Spider-man game. But people are aware to an extent that the NHS is under an extreme amount of pressure, a lack of resources, beds, and staff, during a time when all of those things are more than necessary. But what people are less aware of is how

years and years of cuts, pay freezes, increasing privatisation and rhetoric and polices that have put many foreign-born healthcare workers off working in a system that seems to want to charge them for the privilege of looking after others, have all brought us to this point where those who are saving lives are often also having to use food banks, struggling to pay rent and suffering from clinical depression, PTSD and anxiety from everything they are dealing with. It’s very clear that what the NHS needs is someone to actually look after it and nurse it better, but this government don’t really want to pay someone to do that when they could just sell it to America so they don’t have to think about it anymore and it becomes a subsidiary of Disney where you can’t see how tired the staff are because they’re all wearing giant character suits. To be fair, that would still be better PPE than they’ve been provided with for the past year. One of the big issues has been that until very recently there has been a shortage of reporters showing just what’s happening in hospitals and medical centres. That is of course in big part due to safety reasons but there are also many incidences of ministers refusing access because if you could see how bad things were then maybe you’d be asking just why we all did a Christmas. Instead, it’s been down to accounts from doctors, nurses and staff themselves across social media, oh and a Casualty episode that showed you don’t always need a helicopter crashing into A&E to convincingly show a stressful hospital situation. So how do you get people to understand the reality of the situation, if you can’t show them the reality of it directly? And actually, shouldn’t we at least have asked Netflix to commission some inside reporting and then everyone would definitely have seen it and taken it seriously?

 

This week I spoke to Johannah Churchill. If you don’t know her name, you might well know her photography, particularly the iconic picture she took in March last year of her nursing colleague Melanie, in full PPE as she prepared a COVID clinic in South West London at the beginning of the pandemic. The picture became a defining image of the time and still is, and while I am limited in my ability to describe art, what I can tell you is having looked it at many times in the last few days alone, the anxiety, uncertainty and feelings of pressure that Melanie’s expression gives you is pretty overwhelming. The image was commissioned for the Sunday Telegraph’s Hold Still project, let by the Duchess of Cambridge and the National Portrait gallery, which aimed to give an image of the UK under lockdown. As a result, Johannah’s photo featured on billboards and screens across the country and a giant mural of the image was put up in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Johannah has been a nurse for over 10 years and so I asked her all about what it’s been like working in the NHS this past year, why images are so important in communicating situations like this to the public and what she thinks about my new pitch of ENT Flix? Ok I didn’t ask her the last one. What I should say, to give myself a small get out clause, is that Johannah very kindly agreed to this interview quite last minute, and as you’ll hear some of my questions are not brilliantly worded, though Johannah does a fantastic job of answering them. What do you mean my questions are never worded brilliantly? Sigh. Anyway, I’m very grateful to Johannah for having the time. Here she is:

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOHANNAH PART 1

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

 

 

MIDDLE BIT – BREXIT TRADE STUFF MAYBE

 

Aside from the fact that this brainbox here, yes I am referring to myself as a brain box and let me have it just this once… aside from the fact that this brainbox here futureproofed this jingle and section title by calling it Brexit fallout so it can technically keep going until every single iota of fallout has finished. Aside from that, Brexit is, I’m afraid, still happening. Yes, I know you thought it was all done, but it’s like one of those fillums where they say ‘you thought it was safe to return to any conversation about any other politics ever but no…’ and then Brexit’s big, gallomping hand scrabbles out of the dirt where no British vegetables have been growing because it’s January. There’s two reasons why it’s not done and in those two reasons are many other reasons but let’s face it, we all have lives to lead, we all have lockdowns to stare into the abyss during and I did interview Professor Kenneth Armstong a few weeks ago who summarised all of this more clearly than I ever could and let’s not stomp all over that episode with my idiot boots.

 

Reason 1, is that there are so, so many things yet to sort out, deadlines that have been extended, reviews that have to happen, and a constant awareness that if this doesn’t drag on for the rest of your life you’ll run of things to say ‘oh fuck what, that’s still happening?’ about. Though obviously coronavirus runs in at a close second place. So much like a Marvel Cinematic Universe if every single release looked massively unexciting but would indeed have a major impact on everything that follows, the next first thing, is in March where the UK and the EU will agree to a memorandum of understanding on financial services regulatory co-operation…and the next…what? Yeah ok, basically it’s a lot of words to say that both sides will make an agreement as to how financial services will work from now on. No, its not interesting, but yes it is important as some estimates reckon a quarter of the UK’s banking sector relies on the EU for investments and that jazz that I don’t understand but I know people in suits do it and make money from people being sad. What do you mean I need to retract the brain box comment? Sigh. Ok. Anyway that’s the first one and then, there’s stuff like a 4 yearly Northern Ireland Protocol consent vote, temporary measures on data sharing, energy and fish changes that may change in 2026, reviews on the deal itself and then all the way until 2028, when UK courts will no longer be able to request a preliminary reference from the European Courts of Justice on issues to do with citizen’s rights provisions. Then they all fight Thanos. Ok, not that bit, but what this means is some of these things will create even more changes for businesses and the government to prepare for, or in the case of the latter, not, and some we just don’t know what it’ll mean.

 

So that’s reason 1 why Brexit is still going to go on for ever and ever and your children and grandchildren will still wish you’d shut up about it in 2028. But reason 2, is because Brexit is just starting to kick in which is why over the past week you might have seen a number of adamant Brexiteers complain that their band can’t tour Europe, or their fish are all rotting because they can’t be sold, or that wine costs have risen too much for their pubs that can’t open anyway or any number of things that, well, I mean yeah, isn’t that what you voted for? Ok, let’s be fair, it’s not just Brexit as a concept that means those things but in large part, the deal we have and the fact the government thought they’d just deal with it when they got round to it. While the Foreign Secretary and flesh sock Dominic Raab said there would always be teething problems, there are issues with imports and exports that are going to affect small to medium businesses for quite some time, leading even to the Department of International Trade suggesting that to get round the disruption maybe they should pack up and head to the EU. For a start there are charges for exporting into the EU that will cut into profit margins. Then there is all the extra paperwork and bureaucracy for items being transported into the EU from the UK and out again, with different paperwork needed from Britain to Northern Ireland and back again, all of which costs time and therefore money and adds onto the cost of items. You might’ve seen the vids of the lorry drivers getting their sandwiches confiscated by Dutch border guards because personal imports of meat and dairy are now banned under the new customs rules. On the plus side for Europeans, this means the EU are spared ever having to see battered egg and spam face Nigel Farage ever again as he simply won’t be allowed. One of the big promises about Brexit from politicians like twice Disgraced MP Liam The Disgrace Fox was that it would cut red tape but what it wasn’t made clear was that they had to cut it so they could make it go further because it’s a nightmare getting more imported in for everything they need it for. There’s so much red tape at the borders right now that had previous PM and depromotional cardboard cut-out Theresa May still been in charge there’d have been none left for all her red lines and there’s no way Indiana Jones is flying across any maps any time soon.

 

Then any customers in the EU that buy British produce are having to pay VAT on it in advance which means well, they aren’t because they could just get things from somewhere else where they don’t. Hence there are delays at all the ports, which the managing director of the Road Haulage Association said would be headlines in any other year but selfish ‘rona keeps nabbing the spotlight. The lorries that are stuck in the Kent car park are being charged to be there, the government system to work out how much you’ll have to pay in customs charges you to use in the first place, when it’s working that is and hasn’t been overwhelmed like it was last week. And ultimately most small to medium businesses, food exporters and fish, er people. Merpeople? Is that right? Anyway them, that are losing far more money than they are making and for six times the hassle, are wondering just why they’d bother trying in the first place. Hence you either move your whole business to the EU which benefits Britain by, er, meaning there’s more unemployed people to keep the other unemployed people company during the weekdays I guess? I mean according to MPs such as ‘oh no he’s been dead since 1873’ John Redwood, this should just mean we grow more things in Britain, which look in terms of less miles for food to travel and boosting British farms, great idea John. Except, just because he looks like a vegetable that barely survived the winter, most others won’t and we’re not known for our thriving all year round crop harvest. Also, doesn’t this sort of tread on the idea of a global Britain, or was the reality of that that everyone in this country has to pretend there is nothing else past the shores and that our country is the only place on the planet?

 

But there is still time for things to change a la reason 1. Whether or not this government will, when the prime minister has previously said fuck business, or there’s more concern about patriotic fish than people’s livelihoods, remains to be seen. What we do know is that phase 12 will be announced in 2028 and there’ll probably be several mini-series and a theme park before anyone realises that actually, this has definitely been done to death now and maybe we should try something new?

 

And now back to Johannah…

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOHANNAH PART 2

 

Thanks so much to Johannah for having the time to chat, especially so last minute. You can find Johannah’s photography on her website at johannahchurchill.com including all her remarkable NHS portraits series. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter under her name too. The photographer she mentions, Eva Vermandel, can be found at evavermandel.com and I spent about about an hour looking through her incredible pictures on there the other day, I’d totally recommend. Johannah also asked that I share the Royal College of Nursing’s petition for fair pay for nursing, which if you could please sign that’d be amazing as, Johannah said, it’s the very, very least they deserve for all they do. I’ll pop a link into the podcast blurb and I’ll be tweeting and facebooking it out this week too. Big thanks also to Joshua Neicho who helped put me in touch with Johannah.

 

https://www.rcn.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-with-us/fair-pay-for-nursing

 

https://evavermandel.com/

 

As always, any suggestions for who to have on this show or what topics to find someone to talk about are appreciated, and if you have one of them or even several, but not loads yeah, you know, know your limits. I mean if you send me 304 recommendations chances are high I’ll read page one then go get a cuppa and lose your email under some promotional email about how my new favourite thing is something I’ll never buy and actively hate. I’m just saying, one or two ideas is great. And you can of course send those to @parpolbro on Twitter, the regularly underused Partly Political Broadcast account on Facebook, the contact page at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at partlypoliticalbroadcast@gmail.com. Or like Johannah did, why not take a powerful and evocative photo, except yours would just be conveying your suggestion for a podcast guest and as the picture given the acclaim it deserves and recreated in stunning murals, I’ll end up inviting you on the show and you’ll only be able to talk about the person you were suggesting I had on and it’ll be a really weird and disjointed conversation that none of us will enjoy and I’ll still not end up speaking to the person you intended me too. As always, it’s probably just best to email isn’t it?

 

 

END

 

 

And that is all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Thank you once again for lending me your ears and I promise to return them now in the condition they arrived in and well within the lending term limits. No, I promise that scratch was there when they arrived. Yes, and the doodles. And the bits where it looks like other bits of ears have been stuck on to them. Trust me. That’s how they arrived in the case. If you did enjoy any of what you heard, even if it was just the adverts that don’t even feature me, then why not tell all those other hoomans in your life to give it a swig and listen and subscribe to this show on any of the podcast apps they like. Perhaps they and you, could also give it a big fat five-star review with some nice words of your choice on those very same podcast apps, and potential, should you so fancy, donate to the ko-fi, patreon or Acast supporter sites too.

 

Mega thank yous to Acast, my brother the Last Skeptik, Kat Day and Katie Coxall.

 

This will be back next week when the government release a route map for the reopening of schools, but on closer inspection, it’s revealed it’s just a crude crayon drawing to where Boris Johnson buried a porn mag somewhere in Olympic Park.

 

BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

 

This week’s show was sponsored by this government public service message:

 

‘Look them in the eyes and tell them they have really nice eyes but look it’s tricky to go on dates right now so how about you grab a coffee whenever this is all over if there’s anywhere to still grab a coffee anymore as it’s likely everything will be out of business by then so maybe you can go foraging for nuts? Look them in the eyes and tell them yes you can see what it is, it’s an eye lash and if they just hold still you can probably brush it out and it should be fine. Look them in the eyes and say as much as I love I really can’t wait until I can somewhere else for a day because I have lost all concept of time and hang on, are you asleep, with your eyes open? Wow, that’s weird, but fair enough. Look them in the eyes and say maybe you should get your eyes tested, you know you can drive hundreds of miles to do that right now and the Prime Minister will say you’re a brilliant dad?’

Stay at home, oh you are, no Robert Jenrick I don’t know which one you have to be in, just choose one and fuck off.

 

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