Damp Squibs All Round – Foreign Aid Cuts, Liechtenstein boost time, Jeff Bezos will know about your eczema and Jack Brown on his book The London Problem

Released on Tuesday, June 8th, 2021.

Damp Squibs All Round – Foreign Aid Cuts, Liechtenstein boost time, Jeff Bezos will know about your eczema and Jack Brown on his book The London Problem

Yet again the government is being helpful by insisting on not helping lots of people. Though to be fair, based on how rubbish they are at most things, maybe that is actually better than them dealing out foreign aid and getting involved. School budgets, trade deals with Liechtenstein and Michael Gove is Pestilence the Horseman of the Apocalypse and I claim my £5. Plus opting out of Jeff Bezos knowing about your ingrowing toe nail and Jack Brown (@jackwbrown) on his new book The London Problem.

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Further Reading

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Yet again the government is being helpful by insisting on not helping lots of people. Though to be fair, based on how rubbish they are at most things, maybe that is actually better than them dealing out foreign aid and getting involved. School budgets, trade deals with Liechtenstein and Michael Gove is Pestilence the Horseman of the Apocalypse and I claim my £5. Plus opting out of Jeff Bezos knowing about your ingrowing toe nail and Jack Brown (@jackwbrown) on his new book The London Problem.

Information about the GP data upload:



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


All the usual ParPolBro stuff:





Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that is only ever on the red list, though that’s the extinction one due to how quickly the topical gags on this show die out. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Education Secretary and victim of Joker venom Gavin Williamson thinks that children need longer school days to catch up learning lost over the last year, if that works then how come most of his pals in the cabinet went to a boarding school 24/7 and are still thick as shit?

You wouldn’t be blamed for having heard the government spout the term ‘Global Britain’ about these last few years and conjuring up an image of the UK using Wales as its strange arm poking out of its midriff to hold hands with er, Italy’s leg while Alaska reaches over and gropes our Norfolk bum and they all sing ‘It’s a small world’ together but England can only do the verses in English and just shouts and points for the other bits. Ok that sounds weird now I’ve said it out loud. But what’s weirder, or perhaps exactly as you’d expect, is that the true Global Britain is one that embraces the rest of the world in the same way the Taxpayers Alliance really hates paying tax or James Cleverly. There was a chance that by the time you heard this episode the the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, like a punchbag filled with lard, may possibly have been defeated in the commons by Tory rebels – usually a term I would consider as ironic as Global Britain or affordable housing – over cuts to foreign aid. Former Brexit Secretary and man made entirely from the bits you find in your pocket if you left a tissue in it before putting it in the wash David Davis, is one of 30 MPs opposed to the cuts from 0.7% of the budget to 0.5% saying that it could lead to lives lost, something I wish he and the other Conservatives had been aware of back in 2010. ‘Children could die as a result of these’ says Davis, and maybe that upsets him because as someone who pushed for Brexit because it would take Britain to the top of global standards, he wouldn’t want other countries rising to the top charts of making kids starve and knocking us off our position. We can’t have them refusing to supply children’s school meals as well or we’ll stop being the special ones. Former Prime Minister and one woman petrified forest Theresa May has also spoken out against the cuts, possibly because if we give other countries less money, then they won’t be able to use it to buy so many weapons off of us. So much of our humanitarian aid goes to Yemen and if we stop sending it there, then those people will die of hunger instead of from the bombs and warplanes we sell to Saudi Arabia buy so why would they bother? Sadly the 30 or so Conservative MPs now won’t have to prove if they can actually do any rebelling as the speaker and llama Lindsay Hoyle didn’t allow the amendment to the bill for Advanced Research and Invention Agency which would have made the government make up shortfall in foreign aid if it missed the 0.7% target, though really what might be a better amendment would be for the Advanced Research to be on just how they never have money to stop people dying but can happily spend that much money on a fat pointless boat for a dead guy who couldn’t safely drive a car, or on a test and trace system that would struggle to find itself in a hall of mirrors. The government insist the foreign aid cut is only temporary, possibly because if they can get rid of a few more F-16 planes then there won’t be anyone left that needs aid and it won’t be necessary. If the government lose the vote, it’ll be the third commons defeat for them since the 2019 election but absolutely nothing will happen as a result so don’t even consider getting excited.

Perhaps the thinking is that the government are helping other countries by letting them sort out their own shit by themselves thereby achieving independence, like how burglars take all your stuff to allow you the freedom to refurbish your home all by yourself. Former Work and Pensions Secretary and woman who’s personal exercise regime is snarling at children Esther McVey said the UK should help other countries trade their way out of poverty. Great plan that, maybe they could sell their oil? Oh, oh dear. How about all their gold and wealth and oh, oh well. Well, I dunno then. Organs if they have any left after BAE systems have worked hard on ways to make their country into dust? ‘If more and more aid was the solution’ said McVey in an article in the newspaper designed specifically for cleaning Johnson’s hole as thoroughly as possible, ‘then large parts of Africa would’ve escaped all poverty decades ago.’ You’re very close there Esther to some sort of realisation, but also, as always, so, so, far.

One way the Prime Minister is calling for the world to be vaccinated against COVID by the end of 2022, though I’m not sure if he’s hoping that now he’s full of anti-bodies he’ll be able to excuse any marital affairs by saying he was just helping immunise others as part of the cause. Johnson is urging leaders of all the other countries that bulk bought vaccines so no poorer countries to have them to now donate whatever they have left to the vaccine sharing programme Covax, because there’s nothing more charitable than telling a hungry person they can feast on your leftovers. Is this the government’s real plan though? You have to ask when it seems the current strategy is just to send Cabinet Minister and shaved rubber chicken left out in the sun Michael Gove somewhere on holiday and therefore kickstart their attempts at herd immunity elsewhere. Portugal was added to the amber travel list last week but only after Govey had returned from watching the Champions League in Porto, and successfully coughed his way around the capital like a modern-day horseman of the apocalypse Pestilence but worse looking. On his return to the UK Gove was told by the NHS app that he had to self-isolate but he’s been exempt on account of taking part in a daily test pilot scheme that only he seems to have been allowed to be part of and no you can’t see the results because they go to another lab. Thing is, Michael Gove should have to quarantine and not just when he has symptoms, but all of the time from everyone for all of our benefit, so this seems yet again, unfair. No wonder just a few days ago his royal meltedness was saying that the government have an open mind about extending the furlough scheme because he’s already made sure that all the staff anywhere he visits for two weeks are going to have to take time off work. Either because they’ve caught COVID from him or are just traumatised from seeing his face up close like an acid trip induced live tales from the crypt experience.

Apart from Gove’s personal efforts though, the UK had its first Zero Covid deaths day last week, though it was after the bank holiday weekend that was actually sunny so no one wanted to miss that. There has been no significant rise of people being admitted to hospital in the UK with the Delta variant, which is good news too, though that does still mean there’s been a rise, but no one is bothered because again, the weather’s nice so honestly leave it a bit yeah? I want to top up my tan before I have to go indoors again. That is the new name for the variant by the way, as in an attempt to remove some of the racial stigma from calling them things like the Indian Variant or the Kent variant, the World Health Organisation have said they are to be named after letters in the Greek alphabet which must really have really pissed off everyone in Greece. The two strands first discovered in India are to be known as Kappa for it mainly affects people who wear 90’s tracksuits and Delta because it causes you to have a strong rhythmic pulse and er, a thumbed bass. Hmm. The UK has now approved the Pfizer jab for 12- to 15-year-olds and Health Secretary and gormless chopping board Matt Hancock has said its important to vaccinate children because the spread from them does impact others. Oh, that’s funny, I thought schools were totes safe all along. Well, that’s a shocker for everyone right? Can’t believe those selfish kids changed the goal posts this late into the game. What bastards. It could be some time before the Pfizer vaccine is rolled out to children aged 12+, because that will give the government just enough time to blame any rises on them not getting it first and allow all their voters to insist on bringing back conscription or something. While children are waiting the Department of Education and chinless jizz splat Gavin Williamson is stepping up to the mark by insisting children spend an extra 30 minutes in school a day just to make sure the kids get to provide as much free transport for coronavirus as possible while they can. What will be helpful is the extra funding that’s being provided in England of £50 per pupil, which while considerably less than the £2500 per pupil in the Netherlands or £1600 per pupil in the US, should be just enough for the schools to buy each and every child one of those pillows they can hug in place of all the social contact they’ll continue to miss by spending all their life in school. Johnson has promised that they’ll be more school funding to come down the track, you know, once all those kids have grown up and left. The Prime Minister said the funding will give parents the confidence that their children are being supported, something he’s not managed to do in his own life. Still maybe all these schools just need to trade their way out of poverty.

The Education Recovery Commissioner and Simon Farnaby character Sir Kevan Collins resigned over what he called a damp squib, which was either his view on the funding or he could have also just been referring to Gavin Williamson. Collins said the £1.4bn over three years falls short of what is needed, which is pretty much this government’s modus operandi and were they to take part in the long jump would fall over by the starting line while insisting they still tried their best and so deserve a medal.

It would also be a good way to describe the new G7 initiative to make tech giants pay more tax, though the global reps described it instead as ‘historic’ you know in the way that in many years to come historians will look back at it and point out it was notable on account of how inadequate it was. There will be a global minimum tax rate in the G7 countries of 15% which is lower than the corporate rate in the UK and it looks like due to the minimum profit margin it’ll all still mean that world’s richest flatworm Jeff Bezos will pay less tax than those kids selling lemonade from a stall at the end of your road. This is obviously not true as kids don’t pay tax. But I suppose, neither does Bezos, so actually…yeah. Chancellor and man with all the awareness of a blindfolded pheasant on a motorway Rishi Sunak said the agreement would make the global tax system fit for a global digital age, which means it’s been adapted to successfully troll us all. The UK’s own trade prospects are looking up with a trade deal signed with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, a country with no airport and that’s only accessible via EU countries that any goods will need a ton of requirements to pass through. According to the culture minister and human embodiment of the noise you make getting up too quickly Oliver Dowden the new deal will allow musicians, performers and support crews to tour easily in those countries, which is great because after a year of limited live performances it’s like a gentle easing back being able to perform to countries with such a small population the crowd will be social distanced by nature of location. And as the UK arts world fly off to perform to the big crowds of 12 or so people in Liechenstein, Brits in Spain have less than a month before they lose their residency status and have to return home. Still, I can’t imagine anything more beneficial to the British economy than a boost to our train robbing sector.

International Secretary of Trade Liz Truss, a woman with the air of air about her, says the Norway deal is a major boost but its hard to know if that’s true when she’s the sort of person that would consider being on a travelator a fast track to success. Just days before Truss was over the moon about Kraft Heinz’s plan to make ketchup in the UK which will bring a whopping 50 jobs to the North-West so won’t really touch current unemployment rates. I guess that’s what happens when you put all your efforts into something that’s a dip. Truss is also minister for Equalities because by giving her that job the government could tick the box of employing someone who has a lack of spine or brain. As part of that position, she’s been pushing for all government departments to withdraw from charity Stonewall’s employment programme which ensures all LGBTQI+ staff are accepted without exception in the workplace, but the Equality and Human Rights Commission were concerned about its value for money. You know, unlike the Conservative party who in return for heaps of dosh definitely didn’t give one of their donors a position on the EHRC board. Sarcasm emoji.

That is far better value for money though right, rather than paying money to be more inclusive at your workplace? Why spend that dosh when disgraced businessman and swelling Peter Cruddas received a life peerage for just half a million pounds? What’s more inclusive than giving work to someone who’s proved time and time again they don’t have the skills or ability to hold down any job? Who needs charity when you know all the right people and they’re all as crooked as you? As for everyone else who can’t get a job, maybe they should just trade their way out of poverty?

In other news the High Court has ruled that the Home Office housing asylum seekers in Napier Barracks is unlawful, but the Home Office said it was disappointing that the court didn’t take into account the significant improvement works that have taken place. It must be hard for Home Secretary and that feeling when you floss too hard and it cuts your gum but as a person Priti Patel to understand that cutting off the running water and having COVID run rampant aren’t considered improvements to anyone but her. Labour leader and BT commercial pager 34D Keir Starmer was interviewed by attention seeking wattle Piers Morgan because nothing boosts your popularity quite like being next to someone who’s even more pathetic than you are. Starmer talked about his life and appealed to the public to let him get out there and take the mask off, which feels once again hugely inconsiderate considering all the COVID regulations. Critics praised the Labour leader’s performance saying that he came across as human because he wasn’t discussing politics, but I’d argue that he doesn’t discuss politics most of the time and still seems like something you’d find at the back of an office utility cupboard. Starmer’s message to the Prime Minister was ‘move over, we’re coming’ which would probably just make Johnson assume he was at another of his parties at Evgeny Lebedev’s.

Of course, Starmer’s shouts for Johnson to move over, are probably just to get Labour more space to attack its allies instead and let the Conservatives get out of the way. Former party advisor and what if Spongebob Squarepants sold out all his friends Tom Watson, a man who campaigned for gambling reform then worked for Paddy Power and Betfair as soon as he left parliament, has accused the union unite of playing hard left games because some emails from three years ago were leaked that showed them planning to challenge sitting Labour MPs. Watson, who resigned as Deputy Leader just before the December 2019 election and did lots of interviews about how it wasn’t political but was also to do with Labour, blamed the union for sabotaging the election. You have to remember its only ok to unseat sitting candidates if Watson is part of the coup doing it, otherwise it’s just not fair. You know, much like the gambling industry. Speaking of people who you wish we didn’t have to hear from ever again former Prime Minister and Scar from the Lion King’s ghost Tony Blair said he had no sympathy for people who refuse to take the COVID vaccine, which puts them in the same category for him as children in Iraq.

And lastly, football fans booed England players taking the knee in support of Black Lives Matter at their games against Romania and Austria last week, with many online claiming it was not to do with racism but Marxism. Idiots, it’s not Marxist to take the knee, they’re obviously confusing it with fair and equal distribution of knees to all according to need.


Hey hey hey. How goes it? Well I goes very quickly this week because I have got a real life actual gig tonight, to adults and I have no material and no memory of how to do comedy so I’m cram writing, recording and editing today’s episode before cram learning a set and shouting it at people who will be hoping at least one of things I say is a joke. It may not be. Honestly, I’ve not done a live gig for adults since December, so it’ll be interesting. By interesting, I mean probably awful for the audience. Speaking of things that are awful for the audience, I need to use this admin bit for a part Frank chat and also a part Frankie chat. The latter bit first but assuming things do go to current uncertain worrying plan on June 21st in terms of coronavirus restrictions then I’m going to be supporting Frankie Boyle again from end of this month to mid-August. Which is obvs great even though I’ve definitely just jinxed it so the Gamma variant or whatever will be actively eating people by then. But a lot of the shows are on Mondays, the day I do this podcast and that might mean episodes are shorter or skip a week or whatever. Basically, as you probably understand after a year of barely any real work I’ve got to focus on that if and when it actually happens. I’m currently hopeful but also scared I’m being too hopeful and so trying to be pessimistic again. But we’ll see. Which brings me to the frank bit. I was told ages ago that the clever thing with all promotion is to say everything is going brilliantly even when it isn’t, but I’m too honest for that and enjoy complaining. So I’m ever grateful for all of you listening to this on a weekly basis and all of you who do share and tell others to tune in, and those that donate and email me and all that. Honestly, you are the bestest and I’m not just saying that. I mean I am just saying it because this is an audio show but what you can’t see is all the incredible dance movements I’m doing with it too to add gravitas. Anyway, what I want to get to is that listenership to this show has dropped massively over the last year, which is in part to the new ways Acast monitor listens and that, but probably also because I never change the format, politics is depressing and no one has time for podcasts because they’re too busy screaming. What that means is that at some point soon I’ve probably got to work out if I can keep doing this show on account of the time it takes up compared to work I could be doing to actually pay bills because capitalism is funs. I’ve got no intention of stopping yet though, so in a last-ditch attempt, I wondered if there’s any ways to plug and promote this that I haven’t thought about before? Or maybe there are podcasts you really enjoy that you could bother to get me on as a guest and shout about this show? Or maybe even just you know one rich benefactor who isn’t a Tory donor and fancies paying me to make this every week for some weird reason? I don’t know but keen to explore new options as I was hoping this show would at least outlast Johnson’s time in No.10.

Do let me know if you have any thoughts. I’m wondering also if I should scrap the ko-fi and acast supporter pages and just have a patreon page now, and also maybe reduce all the ways to contact the show too. Streamline the whole thing you know? Annoyingly with podcasts and well, comedy, very few people ever tell you how to do it, and I’m a crap boss and agent so any other ideas or decisions are welcomed. In the meantime thanks tons to somebody and Kim for the ko-fi donations for its hella appreciated. Oh and if you fancy coming to any of the Frankie shows, I’m doing all the ones at the Museum of Comedy, Soho Theatre and Leicester Square theatre till mid August, then the brilliant Jen Brister is taking over. They’re already selling out so grab tix asap. And also if you fancy it, I wrote another piece for Men’s Fitness magazine about health apps. It has nothing to do with politics but a lot to do with me being silly. I’ve popped a link in the pod blurb.

On this week’s show a chat with Jack Brown about his book The London Problem, which isn’t just the nickname I get called when I leave town. And some chat about opting out of Bezos getting all the details about your ingrowing toe nail.


Laaandaaan. The capital of England, the big smoke which doesn’t sound healthy, Londonium, the Great Wen, that place where the term affordable housing applies only to oligarchs and sheiks and where you need to take out a loan to buy a beer. It is a sprawling city of everything and one on expensively manicured hand contains the governing bodies of Britain, the Royal Family, many national cultural institutions and to ruin that, the banking sector. But on the other tired, working two jobs and clutching a very expensive travel card hand are the highest child poverty rates in the country, zero hours jobs, a debilitating rent market, overcrowded underfunded schools and my grubby flat which really needs a hoover and is frankly letting everyone down. It is as varied as you like or in many cases, don’t and yet it’s often referred to as one homogenous lump when it comes to politics. Especially when those politics are trying to their best to start a culture war despite not realising that a real culture war would involve dance offs and art attacks. At the moment, as you are probably aware, London is where all the metropolitan liberal elites’ control everything from their laptops that they tap away at in their coffee shops. A concept that is tricky to go along with when coffee shops are up and down the country, a lot of people have laptops now and all the people having a go are the actual elites who do indeed live in some of the most expensive properties in London. But the capital has long been the focal point of ire despite it also being the place those elites who pretend to hate elites seem insistent to never leave, and there has often been an assumption that the city is its own entity, with its own politics and its own ability to suck away funding from the rest of the country. Though if you were to ask many people in London if that was the case, well they wouldn’t reply because that’s how we roll down here. Stop trying to talk to me on the tube, can’t you see I’m busy ignoring everyone? Yeeesh. So is London the problem? Does the city need to suffer before the rest of the country can ‘level up’? Or is it just convenient to blame somewhere full of people so desperately trying to pay their extortionate rent they can’t respond properly? And exactly how long can my flat go without me hoovering it before I create a new geographical layer?

This week I spoke to Jack Brown, lecturer in London Studies at King’s College London and author of The London Problem: What Britain Gets Wrong About Its Capital City, a fascinating read that explains how the city both is and isn’t what everyone believes it to be, looks at how successive governments have failed to rebalance the economy between London and the rest of the UK, and how actually, us lot here are much like you lot everywhere else. You know, despite our laptops and coffee shops or whatever. So I asked Jack all about why the elites living in London blame other elites living in London, and how things may change in the future. Also, as you’ll hear, he provides some very grounding reasoning for why my gig in Manchester in 2005 didn’t go to plan. Bloody love you Manchester, I probably did deserve that response. Here’s Jack:


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


I wonder if one of the reasons the government are against erasing history, apart from that of all the shit things they’ve done in recent weeks, is because if its erased, then it can’t be sold off to big companies. Take the NHS, which is what the government have said to many of those big companies. GP practices have been instructed by the Department of Health to hand over all their patients’ medical history, all of it from your baby weight to what bum cream you now have to use. Why would they want that you think, apart from to share it round and laugh at your needs for bum cream? Well according to the DoH its to pool medical records onto a NHS digital database for academic and research purposes like just what the best bum cream is and hey, that sounds great doesn’t it? Isn’t the dream that the NHS could actually pool all your information so that every time you change GP they don’t treat you like you’ve just been born as a giant human adult with no understanding of all the conditions you’ve had for years? Oh if I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked if know how to use insulin, after having been diabetic for 36 years, then I’d have several pounds but not as many as you’d think and I’d feel bad I got them from the NHS so would probably refuse. Thing is, as with all things the government are involved with, there’s very little transparency about it. In fact these waters are so murky there’s probably a grime tune about it. Sure, it might all be totally beneficial and brilliant but it’s the way in which the contracts haven’t been released for all to see and the total lack of public campaign letting everyone know that if they don’t want the possibility of Jeff Bezos having a folder on his computer dedicated to your exczema then you have to send a letter – yes like in the past – to your GP before June 23rd in order to opt out. Yeah, you’ve already agreed to this data grabbery until you haven’t.

Amazon does already have access to a ton of NHS data, which is supposedly used to make Alexa better at hearing what your ailment is and then saying ‘stop crying it’s only a broken face’ or something more helpful. But that excluded patient records and while the data is going to be anonymised, everyone’s records will have a special code to un-anonymise it if needed for legal reasons. Such as you know, Jeff Bezos rebranding Amazon with a logo that looks like your knee fracture. But the more data a company has on you, the easier it is to cross link this with other info and work out just who you are and then use that to target adverts at you, affect your insurance or just have drones fly past your home with a speaker that has Jeff Bezos directly laughing at your needs for bum cream. He’d do it as well. He’s a bastard.

The government tried this in 2013, with a programme called care.data which sounds like the name you’d give a death droid, and that was scrapped because of concerns about security and confidentiality. And of course death droids. In 2016 Google had a contract with the Royal Free Hospital in London for data sharing but the hospital failed to comply with the Data Protection Act when it handed over 1.6m records without telling patients and now if you google them it gives you a google map to their house and all their credit card details. Ok it doesn’t do that, but it could have done because it’s dodge-o and without the all the info and with the government not even wanting to let people know it’s happening it just doesn’t feel right. It gives me a funny feeling in my tummy which I wouldn’t trust Alexa to diagnose. NHS Digital did a big ‘myth busting’ post about rumours online about how the data would be used but then, er, deleted it. Perhaps as an exercise in myth busting. Who knows?

So while the British Medical Association and Royal College of General Practioners are putting pressure on NHS Digital to inform people properly about this, if you would like to opt out and avoid Amazon drones delivering four tons of bum cream to your house and charging your card for it against your will, maybe, then you can find a pre-written letter to print out, sign and send to your GP at medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/ and I’ll obviously pop a link into the pod blurb. TAKE THAT BEZOS! YOU’LL NEVER KNOW MY BUM CREAM NEEDS! Unless you listen to this show of course, in which case please end world hunger then donate to the ko-fi. Thanks Jeff.

And now back to Jack…


Thanks to Jack for having time to chat. His book is a fascinating read of myth dispelling and also confirming, and I’d definitely recommend picking it up. It’s called The London Problem: What Britain Gets Wrong About Its Capital City and is available from all those dwellings where books lurk. Book shops. Sorry that’s what they’re called. Jack can be found on twitter @jackwbrown and at the Department of Political Economy at Kings College where he lectures. Big thanks to Asha at Haus Publishing for sending me a copy of Jack’s book and putting me in touch with him.

Of course if you’ve got big shiny ideas about who or what I should talk to on this here show then you can let me know what they be @parpolbro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast Facebook group, the contact page at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me partlypoliticalbroadcast@gmail.com. Or you could


And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehn, farewell until, you know, next week. So, it’s not goodbye, it’s just go away for a bit because I’ve got other stuff to do. If you enjoy the time we do have together though, why not share it? Yeah I mean its 2021 so its all cool. Do tell other people to have a listen, do give the show a review on Apple Podcasts, Podcast Addict, Podchaser or anywhere they’ve taken the word pod and put a word after it that doesn’t quite go. And if you can afford to, please sling me a quid or two to the ko-fi, patreon or Acast Supporter sites.

Cheers big ears to Acast, my brother the Last Skeptik and Kat Day.

This will be back next week when the government announce that rather than give any aid at all to developing countries, they’ll just offer them apprenticeship programmes to retrain in cyber.


This week’s show was sponsored by Amazon bum cream.

Email Tiernan