Big Flagging Energy – Policing Bill, Lumpy Supplies and Nuking the Internet. Plus Dr Bethany Usher on the effects of celebrity journalism on politics

Released on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021.

Big Flagging Energy – Policing Bill, Lumpy Supplies and Nuking the Internet. Plus Dr Bethany Usher on the effects of celebrity journalism on politics

A week of flags, lumps, nukes and thumps. The Home Office condemns any thuggery they haven’t ordered, no one’s going on holiday and the Prime Minister’s been jabbed. Another totally normal week in British politics then. Plus Dr Bethany Usher (@bethanyusher) on the effects of celebrity journalism on politics. This podcast is now on a break till the Easter is all done. See you in a few!






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Further Reading

Linear liner notes 

A week of flags, lumps, nukes and thumps. The Home Office condemns any thuggery they haven’t ordered, no one’s going on holiday and the Prime Minister’s been jabbed. Another totally normal week in British politics then. Plus Dr Bethany Usher (@bethanyusher) on the effects of celebrity journalism on politics. This podcast is now on a break till the Easter is all done. See you in a few!

Key links and sources of info from Dr Bethany’s interview:

All the usual ParPolBro stuff:





Its spring and what better way to put a spring in your step then by buying new comfy knickers and pants. That is how it works right? I mean when I was a kid if you bought new trainers then you’d def be able to run faster, and so I guess some new pants might put a spring in your bum. No wait that sounds wrong. Yeah anyway, while the wonderful British Boxers do an incredible range of things to sleep in, it’s now nearly sunny outside again in that way where it’s also a bit cold but you’ll still need a new t-shirt, hoodie or new pants to go try it in before you have to go back inside and get your jacket. And they have a brilliant range of all those things, as well as pyjamas that you’ll still probably need for going to work in until 2023. British Boxers are an independent, ethically excellent lot who make actually nice lounge and casualwear that you can wear inside or outside but you know, with shoes on as well because you’re sensible. Head to and use the code PARPOLBRO10 and you’ll get 10% off whatever you order. You might accuse me of being in the pockets of big pyjama and I’d say no I take a medium and actually my pockets have an old tissue in because that’s tradition, right?

Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy and politics podcast that will always joke about other fabric decorative adornments including flags, bunting, banners and tapestries. To me, it’s all good comedy material. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling advises that the UK faces a real risk if people travel abroad, I assume that’s because they’d get a glimpse of how much better everywhere else is and refuse to come back.

It’s lucky that the Olympics are going ahead this year as currently the UK government and many of its supporters are prime contenders for winning the gold medal in mental gymnastics despite all the twists and giant leaps required to truly excel. I am envious of the ability to scream ‘they’ve cancelled free speech’ at someone like a distressed banshee while at the same time wanting the death penalty to be brought back for anyone who insults a piece of material that you feel precious about. Or wishing the army could be sent to fire at protestors, protesting for the ability to protest while complaining that we live in a nanny state because you can’t go on holiday abroad. Or that the government have reduced the army by 10,000 troops so if they were sent to shoot protestors, they’d not be able to guard the boarders from all the children they think are actually terrorists whose evil plan to destroy Britain involves having no access to benefits and being stuck in a former army barracks with no running water. Or that billions of pounds are being spent on new nuclear weapons in order to defend against the increasing threat cyber warfare as though you can just explode the cloud rather than kill everyone creating your own mushrooms ones. Or that Scotland’s First Minister and what if Playmobil made a figure of your aunt Nicola Sturgeon has to resign because she misled parliament by supporting women who said they’d been harassed, whereas the Prime Minister and Man-Thing in a chicken suit Boris Johnson failing to report a donation of £60k to make his flat all nice and probably only covers the stains he makes just sitting on things is fine, and the fact you’ve even mentioned it is pathetic political bias. Or that the Conservatives should definitely take over local government in Liverpool because those allegations of corruption are terrible and actually the allegations of corruption against the government just means they’ll be able to recognise it more quickly. Or that because half the population including you have had the vaccine, we should all be allowed to do everything again and what do you mean what about the other half? Who? What are you talking about? You only needed 52% last time to go ahead with a lack of planning and the fact the majority of those who’ve been jabbed are the same age ranges that voted leave surely means we can just give it a go and anyone that complains because their future has been destroyed is obvious just an incompetent young person who should work harder and stop buying avocados so they can afford the houses that don’t exist and aren’t affordable. Of-course nuance is often lost in today’s political age and maybe being able to hold two completely and utterly contradictory opinions at once based entirely on what works for you, isn’t illogical but perhaps some higher state of consciousness that allows you to be happy in this world while the rest of us just feel perpetually defeated, but as ignorance is bliss, I choose never to find out and just assume that a large amount of British people are fucking idiots and will never ever change.

At least it’s possible to say that our politicians are representative of the public, as if they too couldn’t conduct such incredible feats of logic shitting then how would the Home Secretary and someone who never had to revise to pass a means test Priti Patel remark on protests against the Policing Bill in Bristol by saying ‘thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated’ just one week after she ordered police to beat up a lot of women? Maybe I’m reading that sentence wrong and as is expected from Patel, emphasis is on the ‘by a minority’ bit, as that’s a category of people she never tolerates. The protests started as a peaceful affair against the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that was voted through its 2nd reading last week by lots of Conservative politicians like MP for Shipley and exactly who you’d cast if you needed someone to portray a denizen of hell disguised as a person in order to cause chaos on Earth Philip Davies, who had spent most of his time until last week protesting for free speech at universities where it already is, free speech for people to make videos promoting Nazis or just how Covid regulations restrict people’s freedom by not letting them die. Of-course when it comes to actually restricting freedoms Davies is totes voting for that as in reality, he only likes free speech when it comes from his mouth and is heavily paid for by gambling companies. Former Work and Pensions Secretary and constant proof that if you pick at a spot it gets angry Iain Duncan Smith said that he understood there were issues around freedom of speech and the right to assemble but overall it’s a good bill. Which is like saying that he can see that thousands of whirling blades 3 feet off the ground might be decapitate kids, but he finds the whirring sound soothing so it’s worth a punt. This is the same man who wanted the UK to crack down on trade with China due to their breaches of human rights, but it turns out that with his history of letting people with disabilities die, Duncan-Smith potentially thinks the problem is China don’t go far enough. Ashfield’s MP and what you might draw if I said, ‘make a brick racist’ Lee Anderson was only the other week insisting in parliament that phone hacking flaccid wattle Piers Morgan should be allowed to stay in the job he willingly quit from because of free speech, voted for the Policing Bill and described the Home Office deporting people to Jamaica as an early Christmas present. Saying that he probably has to say people going away is what he wants from Santa to cover up how he has to spend every December 25th alone because all his family think he’s an obnoxious prick. It says a lot about the Policing Bill that one of the only Conservatives who seemed concerned by it was former Prime Minister and prove you can fossilise people Theresa May, who said she was worried about the unintended consequences of the bill and the power it gives the home office. Exactly Trees, what if it lets them drive around vans with racist slogans on, or decide a whole ton of British people aren’t? It was the political version of when a major comic book villain reaches out to the superheroes to say something worse is coming. She did still vote for it though because ultimately what’s most important is all the intended consequences of it which May probably wishes she’d come up with.


Yes, the bill does include lots of ways that they say will protect people from crime but some of those ways now include the government’s proposal that to make women feel safer they’ll put plain clothes officers in bars and clubs. Brilliant! Because after a policeman was accused of the murder of Sarah Everard, making all the others dress up like their parents get them ready for the club just means any of them that want to harass or abuse women they will at least be protected by the Spy Cops bill and not clog up the courts system. See? Everyone’s a winner.

So, it makes sense that people would want to protest against this bill in order to be able to protest about anything else ever again, and so the Kill The Bill march in Bristol on Sunday seemed like a very reasonable response. Unless your name is Bill, and you hadn’t read the news and were worried about what you’d done. But while it started peacefully, it got pretty violent after riot police turned up with batons which as we all know usually defuses a situation and makes everyone super zen. I mean I don’t know about you but if I’m stressed and angry, nothing would soothe my mind like a man in a big helmet running at me with a stick. Especially when the week before a lot of officers with sticks attacked unarmed women just for feeling unsafe. So, a small number of protestors caused trouble by rather violently blocking baton strikes with their faces. Others stupidly fired fireworks into the crowd which is silly as by firing them into the sky everyone would’ve been distracted and had nice time instead, and a police van was set fire to which isn’t clever as with all the cuts to the police force, that’s not a renewable energy source. Some police were injured which isn’t good at all and nor is any injury to anyone or violence full stop. I don’t need to say that out loud, you’re not stupid. No, those people are too busy on social media to listen to this. But what shouldn’t happen and absolutely will happen is that the violent bit from Sunday’s protest will be used to prove that the Policing Bill is necessary, like the same way that one kid in your class might act up because they’d been largely neglected by the teacher and their valid opinions oppressed and then the whole class would get detention and then you’d all feel angry and work as a unit next time to take down the teacher using grassroots organisation. No sorry, I’ve got confused.


Obviously, people want the streets to be safer, which is why the police only arrested a few people at the anti-lockdown protestors marching through London on Saturday, knowing full well that as they didn’t wear masks, most of the others should take each other out within weeks which will save time and effort. Lockdown is lifting a bit more next week and then a bit more a few weeks after so protesting about it now just feels like wanting to open your birthday presents before the day. It’s easy to see why people are fed up now. For a start a leading epidemiologist has said that masks and social distancing is likely to be needed for years, which I think is great news for my plans to become a solitary vigilante. Then a government advisory body has said summer holidays abroad are unlikely, something that me and my bank balance have known for many years now and really doesn’t need it re-emphasised. Defence Secretary and big eyebrows drawn on a baby Ben Wallace has said there may be an extension to the ban on foreign holidays, which has upset many who were keen to use all the money they’ve got from exploiting renters to abuse regulations in other countries where it will matter to them less. Europe appears to be having its third COVID wave, with infection numbers rising so rapidly in Germany, Italy, France, Hungary and Poland among others, that the UK may end up not even having the worst death rate in the continent. Though I’m sure Johnson will see it as the EU being competitive and try his best to come out on top again. The EU have now decided that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use, and Boris Johnson called leaders to reassure them which will probably mean they’ll ban it again any minute now and has condemned vaccine nationalism as it’s only all the other types he approves of. Johnson got his first jab last week and says he didn’t feel a thing, but that may be because we all know he’s severely emotionally stunted. He turned up in a full shirt to be as much of a burden as possible to the nurse as if he hasn’t spent his time in No.10 hammering that home already. In contrast, Lord Bethell who lives entirely on hate, took his whole shirt off for his jab, like a toddler in a restaurant. Lots of people joked but it does explain why he thinks nurses pay is enough for the job they do, if the people he usually sees in nurses costumes require him to get naked and pay after.


The NHS have warned that there will be a significant reduction of vaccine supplies from the end of March, which the Health Secretary and Mr Poopybutthole in Rick and Morty Matt Hancock responded to during a press briefing where he clearly only found out about it on camera and panicked, by saying that vaccine supplies were always lumpy. The sort of comment that won’t reassure any Europeans concerned about getting blood clots. The supply issues are apparently India’s fault, as the British government seem to be working their way round all the big countries till all they have left to blame is the boogie. I mean hey our PM does idolise Churchill so I suppose we should’ve known at some point this would happen. India’s stockpile is meant to be for lower income countries so either the British government is employing the sort of vaccine nationalism I thought it didn’t like or maybe they’ve had a serious look at our economic future and are actually preparing something in advance for once.


The UK is still on course to vaccinate everyone over 50 by April the 15th, reaching a third consecutive record day of vaccinations on Monday by doing 27 jabs a second like E Honda’s special move. Nearly 28m people in the UK have now had their first vaccinations which is remarkable, but it still means half haven’t, though as is true form for Steve Baker, the MP who looks like Beaker’s humourless brother, much as he did with Brexit, he’s not remotely concerned about welfare of the other half of the country and wants everything to open up right now. Baker is head of the COVID recovery group who keep insisting on making the country recover by doing things that will make everyone get COVID more, as though a hair of the dog strategy works on viruses and you’ll never feel its effects if you just have a shot for breakfast. Baker says he will be voting against the government extending the Coronavirus Act renewal this week, which gives the government emergency powers to enforce lockdowns and give all their friends money to provide glorified bin bags to nurses. It’s tricky because really Baker is in some ways right to oppose a bill that allows Johnson to potentially continue to fuck things up like when the virus first emerged, and he said an overreaction would do more harm than good so the UK should just ignore it. I suppose it makes sense for the Prime Minister to assume the virus had the same weaknesses he did. The PM’s former advisor and rejected Funko Pop Dominic Cummings appeared in front of the Commons Science and Technology Committee last week and called for an investigation into the government’s handling of the coronavirus, as though by pointing and shouting look over there, they might not notice him sneaking away. Cummings who single-handedly took COVID to Barnard Castle said that actually the Department of Health were a smoking ruin when the crisis stuck, and that they should have had a separate taskforce just for the vaccine and I presume Dom had pals that had never been in a taskforce or knew what a vaccine was that would have been up for doing it.


Labour say they won’t oppose extending the Coronavirus Act as that’d mean they’d be doing their job and it’d just confuse everyone, so even if Steve Baker and his treehouse of friends don’t vote for it, it’ll probably still pass. But could it also be that maybe the Prime Minister has finally learned his lesson? I mean he’s chosen very careful language to say that without precaution the third wave will wash up on our shores from Europe. That’s smart right, as that should definitely get all those on board who believe covid is a hoax but are also terrified by immigration.


The Foreign Secretary and eyes like stab wounds in a week old pie Dominic Raab has confirmed that the UK will lift the cap on the number of nuclear warheads in our stockpile as what he called the ultimate insurance policy against hostile states, presumably because it’d mean we could take ourselves out before they do and that would count as a win in his book and he’d probably be shouting ‘world beating’ as Raab’s glistening ham face turned to ash. Considering that the main threat that currently exists is cyber warfare I do wonder if Raab thinks that the its possible to bomb the internet and that we’re mere months away from the government ordering a warhead strike on the wires at the back of the Foreign Secretary’s desktop. Only a few months back Raab said he was committed to stopping Iran from getting more nukes so maybe his thinking is by buying them all first Iran won’t get a chance, as they won’t bother staying up all night refreshing the Argos page. Sorry that’s PS5’s but its basically the same. Some people have said that its ridiculous that there is no money to give nurses a pay rise but there’s money to pointlessly increase the nukes, but if you think about it, if we launched a nuclear warhead and a nuclear war happened there’d be no one left for nurses to fix up. Or any nurses left at all. Or anyone. So really its far more cost effective. Meanwhile the army have been reduced to their smallest size in 200 years which now I think means they’ll be able to effectively fight mice, wasps and the MoD can save money by transporting them in your pocket rather than big ships or planes.


It is rumoured that the government are going to take-over Liverpool council with Housing Minister and loaf of bread with a face Robert Jenrick potentially planning to install commissioners to run the historically Labour city. This is due to allegations of corruption, much like the ones against Robert Jenrick, for handing his pal Richard Desmond massive tax breaks. Or like how Boris Johnson has failed to declare £60,000 that was donated to him to do up his Downing Street flat. Or like how it was found out this week that former Prime Minister and deflated balloon David Cameron lobbied the Chancellor and spring onion Rishi Sunak for £400m of government help to a company that then went bust but how else to prove massive, massive cuts to public funding was necessary than by proving so much of it is wasted on completely useless projects? Number 10’s new £2.6m media room was installed by a Russian company who also do work for state owned Russia Today and they installed all the cameras, microphones and computers in the facility just leaving out a picture with moving eyes and a secret room for a man in a Cossack hat to listen in. Downing Street say they have absolutely no security concerns about this being the case, but I suppose why would they as if anyone got angry about it, they’d find polonium in their tea. So, you can see why Liverpudlians might be concerned about the potential government take-over but I think they shouldn’t be so hasty as actually it could mean that an awful lot of money is brought into the city. For at least a few minutes anyway until its funnelled back out in failed projects and oligarch’s pockets but hey, at least it visited.


A majority of ministers on the Alex Salmond committee concluded that Nicola Sturgeon misled their inquiry as to whether she intervened in the government’s harassment allegation against the former First Minister and flesh conker. But an independent inquiry by Ireland’s former chief prosecutor James Hamilton decided that actually she didn’t breach ministerial code, meaning that Sturgeon won’t now be under pressure to resign as First minister but at the same time has lost the relevant experience potentially become Education Secretary, Home Secretary or even Prime Minister.


Labour have selected their candidate for the Hartlepool by-election from their very long list of one, and amazingly, against all the odds, that candidate won. Labour leader and Dell Optiplex 990 PC intel core Keir Starmer said just last month that the selection for Labour election candidates needs to be more democratic and local party members should be able to select their own candidates, so it’s lovely that they’ve adhered to that here by parachuting in an ardent Remainer into a largely Brexit area with a narrow Labour win last time while he lost down the road in Stockton, as though everyone that voted for the Brexit Party in 2019 will now think ‘ah actually no, what I really wanted was someone who didn’t represent me in the slightest and has already been rejected by our neighbours.’ Williams has already got in trouble after a tweet of his from 2011 emerged where he said ‘do you have a preferred Tory MILF? Mind-blowing dinner conversation’ which puts to rest any concerns by critics that Labour are in bed with the Conservatives, when in reality they just wish they were. Williamson also took a state arranged expenses paid trip to Saudi Arabia where he insists he met modern and progressive people, so good luck to any journalists trying to dig up dirt on him. Labour are concerned about the very progressive and pretty exciting Northern Independence Party taking many of their youth votes in the area. Weird huh? You think the kids would be flocking to a party that has shown how democratic they are by sending in a man who looks like one minute he might be making fresh pasta on This Morning and the next selling your nan for oil while trying to flirt with the Home Secretary.


And lastly, BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty was forced to apologise after laughing at a joke her white male colleague Charlie Stayt made, asking Robert Jenrick if the union flag in his office was a little small compared to his colleagues. It was a fair question though, as if government ministers really want to represent the country in 2021, they should be massively flagging too. Also, it says a lot that the Housing Minister is unable to erect a small pole to even half-mast. Arf. Boris Johnson is spending nearly £1m repainting a new Brext jet in red, white and blue. On one hand it’s a total waste of cash for pointless tokenistic showcasing. On the other it’s nice that finally one of the projects he’s spent lots on will actually take off. And far right uncooked calzone Tommy Robinson has been found to have spent all his supporter’s donations on cocaine, parties and prostitutes. That explains why he was so upset a few years ago having milkshakes thrown at him, because he’s more of a fully skimming guy.





Hey, hey, ParPolBrods. How goes you? I am recording this on my agent’s 3rd birthday, and second lockdown birthday. Which you might think is sad but actually I’m pretty pleased our flat isn’t overrun with sugar fuelled mad toddler smashing cake into the furniture and there’s part of me wondering if I should tell her there’s a lockdown next year too. I am of course joking, we had a nice day yesterday and she’s been at nursery today meaning me and my wife have celebrated 3 years of parenting sitting in the complete quiet and not moving very much. I’ve written today’s show while being so very, very still. It’s been really quite something. This is the last pod for a couple of weeks because I can feel my brain getting to the point where writing jokes is hard because all I want to do is say ‘oh what the fuck’ a lot and call people arseholes instead of writing something clever, as you may have noticed in the intro today. I read piece yesterday about a woman who is an asylum seeker from North Korea and is now running to be a Conservative councillor in Bury because as she is quoted as saying ‘after living in a socialist regime she couldn’t vote for socialists like Labour’. It’s a weird mix of wanting to scream, wanting to drive to Bury and shout political definitions into her home through the letterbox, and just sighing a lot, curling into a ball and giving up on humanity. I mean, not that you need me to go through this, but North Korea isn’t socialist, it’s a monarchy led authoritarian state filled with corruption and many elements of fascism but pretends to have the premise of communism by sticking a hammer and sickle up all over the place. Secondly, Labour isn’t socialist. They are currently social democrats if that at all. Then the idea that you might be an asylum seeker in the UK and think the best people to represent you are the Conservatives is akin to being a fox and running to be a Conservative councillor. I mean, is it a lack of awareness of political ideals? Is it just that no one fucking cares anymore? Is it that all of this is sewn up and we should just go live on Sealand as a tiny independent island? I don’t know but the fact is I should probably spend two weeks not thinking about it in order to stop asking my wife all these questions while she tries to watch and enjoy Drag Race.


So, this week, big thank you tons to Taz and Conal who have donated to the ko-fi, which is particularly appreciated this week as it appears the Self Employed support for Feb to April is now not arriving till May. I hope it comes with a time machine so I can actually pay my rent for all the months Rishi Sunak said he’d be supporting people in. Either that or I’m going to send him an invoice with interest added. So anyway, if you fancy supplementing where the government aren’t, I mean, isn’t that the future of all our lives? Then please do throw a pound or two to the, joining the or via the Acast supporter button. Or you know failing that, buy something at British Boxers using the discount code, or just tell everyone you know to listen in and give the show a nice shiny review so other people might give it a try and mix laughing without shouting fucks sake even more into their day.


Some quick admins for youse. Firstly this Friday, March 26th, I’m part of a lovely bill on an online Quantum Leopard gig raising money for Sisters Uncut. I should say its not endorsed by them but is for them if that makes sense. Anyway, I’m on with Sikisa, Chloe Petts, Sarah Keyworth, Sara Barron and James Ross who are all very funny people indeed. Tickets are pay what you want, and I’ll pop a link into the podcast blurb.

Also, regular pod helper Kat Day has narrated this week’s SUE DOUGH POD, which is how she says its pronounced. I’m still not sure. Sway do? Sew-do? Swah-dah? One of those, anyway, it’s swah-dah pod ep 747 entitled Keeping House and is a spooky old tale and much fun. Again, links be in the wordy bit.


Last thing is that on today’s show is another chat about the media and politics, which I’ve done a few of lately because I’m very interested in it and hope you are too. But when the podcast returns it’d be great to do a catch up on Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish politics, local elections, mayoral elections and more grassroots shizz. As in politics, not stuff to do with gardening thanks. So any suggestions you have for those things, send ‘em my way at all the places I’ll list later in the show in their usual home.



And on this week’s show the excellent Dr Bethany Usher is back to chat to me about the intertwining of celebrity, journalism and politics. Plus in the middle a teeny mo about vaccine nationalism, or as I like to call it vactionalism. No wait, bit tricky to say. Vax nash. Vaccinalism. Nationaline. Oh god I need a break.




If I was to say to you ‘what is the relationship between celebrity and politics?’ You’d probably immediately think of how every time there’s political fundraisers for good causes loads of cool artists and musicians turn up but every time the Conservatives do one it’s just Gary Barlow and then he sings a song that sounds like a small rodent is being washed down a very large drain and pretends he pays taxes. But actually, the notion of celebrity, as in someone who gets public attention, applies to many politicians. Not just in the way that many of us know who they are enough to swear at the TV when they’re on, but also the way in which the press feels it’s important for us to know details about their personal lives such as how many kitchens they have or if their relative they have no connection with anymore once thought about skipping a bus fare or when it comes to the Conservatives how its none of your business how many kids they have but don’t they rugby tackle children well? If journalism created and is driven by celebrity culture, has celebrity culture and journalism in turn driven our politics, into a wall while on a cocktail of drugs? I probably don’t really need to ask this as we all wonder why so many vote so selfishly, and then you turn the TV on to see normal people aren’t even allowed to win a washing machine on a game show anymore as a celebrity has to have a go to win money for a charity they otherwise wouldn’t bother helping. We are unfortunately invested in stories and narratives, and by making giving the human side to stories people become more invested and of course distracted from how many of the subjects are actually giant lizard people. Arf. Politics, celebrity and journalism are three sides of a weird coin that only rich people have, but will it ever change? And more importantly, are there ways to adapt to it or work with it to mean that we’re not forever stuck with a Prime Minister who is a former journalist and therefore knows just how to persuade people he has a personality rather that the reality of his entirely being just three repeated stories bellowed into a bin followed by whatever the last person in the room told him to say.


Recently I’ve had a few pod chats about the media side of politics as I think it’s such a major force in all of it whether we like it, or mostly not. Three episodes ago was Dr Chris Roberts on the state of British political media, last episode was Helen O’Hara on the sexism within the film industry and this week, to wrap it all up, I spoke to the brilliant journalist, writer and academic Dr Bethany Usher. Last time Bethany was on this show many moons ago, she superbly explained attack journalism and its history. Recently she has released a new book, Journalism and Celebrity, that looks at how celebrity journalism came to be and the effect it has had both on society and politics from the 1800s to today. I asked her all about how our obsession with slebs affects the way we vote and the way we digest news, and also why it’s also Gary Bloody Barlow for the Tories. Ok I didn’t ask the last one. Actually the first half of the interview is very much about Bethany’s recent research area and then, due to my tangential question asking, a chat that is more focused on the political lot we’re stuck with and just why people fall for their schtick. It was great to get Bethany back on the show and talk to her again, so hope you enjoy. Here is Bethany:







The thing about global pandemics right, is that they’re global yeah? I mean Dominic Raab may struggle to understand that there is anywhere beyond the sea, but over the past 12 months COVID has done far more travelling than any of us will get to do. 2.7m worldwide have died from it, which is the equivalent to the population of, er, a place with 2.7m people in it. Now in an ideal world, you know like one in a multiverse somewhere where instead of us humans they’ve got ones who have milk cartons for heads and they actually embrace sharing and kindness but also shit out of their knees and speak in cow, wait sorry, I’ve gone too far with this. I meant in an ideal world, vaccines would also be global. Hooray vaccines were made surely everyone will knock COVID on the head in a year and we can all get on with our lives just like we did with tuberculosis, which has been nearly all eradicated from the globe absolutely everywhere except, well, the global south including tons of developing nations. Or er, like we did with AIDS, oh no wait sorry. Or er….ok look here’s the thing with the COVID vaccination. All the big rich countries including ours, which is gradually sliding down the scale, have snaffled all the vaccines for themselves blocking aid for smaller countries until they’ve fixed their own, aka the airplane oxygen mask system. The US said back in February it was their people first, then India slowed down on exporting their vaccine and now the EU aren’t willing to share either until they’ve got all jabbed up. The UK were meant to be getting all our vaccine from our own country and some from the EU, but we’re now suddenly buying lots of India’s too, around 10m doses that were thought to be for poorer nations. Though the UK’s vaccine minister and style icon for Butlins magicians Nadhim Zawahi insists they we have got assurance that it won’t affect their commitment to send 300m doses to lower and middle-income countries all the while India’s own supply isn’t reaching its poorest citizens as they have to register online but have no access to the internet. It is a completely unequal game, becoming increasingly more unequal as vaccines get bought up meaning the supplies cost more, and many countries can’t afford them. There is also the issue of patents meaning only certain countries can develop them and the issue of resources and knowledge to make them. The UK, US and the EU have all blocked patents from being dropped because the drugs industry says it would stop its ability to invest in future COVID treatments and other illnesses. Yep, they don’t want to stop making money off people getting unwell and sadly there is no cure for greed yet and if there was they’d probably patent it and only sell it to the highest bidder. According to the drug lords, sorry drug industry reps, eliminating patent protections would undermine the global response to the pandemic, and yes, I guess it would as it’d show just how selfish many countries are and that its entirely not necessary to be. The big worry is that fewer organisations and companies would work on vaccines because there’d be less money in it and they wouldn’t want to save people if it didn’t mean they could also by a beema, so it could, horror of horrors, lead to a global effort to make people healthier because of kindness and that’d really dick up how everything works. The World Health Organisation is trying to work around this with a system called COVAX which sounds like a Marvel villain, and that means the G7 fund that scheme instead of sending vaccines to countries direct all of which is helpful, but not as helpful as all these companies  taking on the teach a person to fish phrase but with vaccines as fish really wouldn’t help right now.


But sadly, that’s the way it is because people are shits, so this means the vaccines all getting political up in here. Russia and China are sending vaccines directly to Africa, many countries on the continent now booming in the tech industry. We’ve got all up in India’s vaccine grill because they’ll be the third biggest economic power pretty soon and that’d be nice for the trades. If anything it does mean the UK might, possibly, maybe, be more generous with vaccine roll out in the hope that tit for tat, post-COVID and Brexit we might occasionally be sent a tomato or something from somewhere else. Boris Johnson to say 80% of the UK’s surplus will get donated, but as we might now have a slow-down in our supply through April, that’s currently 80% of not very much. French President and Smug beaver Emmanuel Macron said 5% of France’s vaccines will be donated too, which critics have said is actually nowhere near enough. The thing is, if poorer countries don’t get vaccines, then ol’ COVID will run rampant there. Not only could it mean more casualties and deaths in the places people conveniently pretend don’t exist till they accidentally see it on the news, but also it means the virus gets more goes to mutate and create variants which then could end up here, which means different vaccines need to be made, things shut down, borders closed, trade all screwed, everything be awful and us all finally complete Netflix. So, the choice is either everyone gets vaccines, or we all stay with COVID as the one true globally uniting entity, achieving what no other superpower has and ruling over us all and arguably forcing in more socialist progressive measures than any of our political parties might. Oh wait, maybe it wants to mutate to become the cure for greed? Oh no wait, then Boris Johnson wouldn’t have survived it. No ignore me, my theories are trash.


And now back to Bethany…




Thanks to Bethany for coming back on the podcast. You can find her on Twitter @bethanyusher and her book Journalism and Celebrity is an academic text so as is always the case with those it ain’t cheap, but if you can then do grab a copy from which I’ll link to in the podcast blurb.


I’m going to try and have some interviews that are focused on Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the local and mayoral elections before that all happens if I can, but I’m still also keen to hear what areas of politics you need to hear about right now, or in fact, which ones you definitely don’t. Let me know @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page at or email me at Or just write it on a really big flag and it’ll end up being in the background of some cabinet minister’s interview on telly as they lie about things. Sadly, though I’ll be too busy swearing at the TV to pay any attention to what it actually says. So as always, probably just best to email, isn’t it?





And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast, and in fact this month’s and a tiny bit of next month’s because well, we all need a break right? Hope you manage a small break too. Go celebrate Easter and remember when a giant chocolate rabbit was killed and them came back and we let our children eat them or something. I dunno, those Pagaistians or Christagans were cray cray and religion confuses me. If you feel like you might miss this show over the next two weeks, why not listen to old episodes, tell everyone how much you like it, use the time to review the show or even bribe me to release bonus content by donating to the kofi, patreon or Acast supporter sites so that I can buy chocolate bunny idols and sacrifice them into my face.


Dobri Den to Acast, my bro the Last Skeptik, Kat Day and Katie Coxall.


This will be back in a few weeks when the third COVID wave washes up on our shores and Priti Patel personally tries to detain it for several hours before asking police to come in and hit it, causing more than half the force to have to self-isolate and some protestors in Poole to get away with writing ‘arse’ across a statue of Robert Baden Powell.




This week’s show was sponsored by the Lord Bethell topless calendar, featuring the pallid grey skinned lord removing his top and exposing his corpse in a TV show body in a dozen exotic sexy locations. Buying crisps at the petrol station, sitting on the train, using the recycling centre, making people feel ill in a café, causing people to call the police in the park. The Lord Bethell topless calendar, for all your cutting down on eating needs.



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