F*cking Hopeless – Chesham and Amersham by-election, the Daniel Morgan Inquiry Report and Carole Walker on her book Lobby Life

Released on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021.

F*cking Hopeless – Chesham and Amersham by-election, the Daniel Morgan Inquiry Report and Carole Walker on her book Lobby Life

Matt Hancock is f*cking hopeless. Not my words, well not this week anyway, but the words of Boris Johnson. But isn’t everything right now? Chesham and Amersham say no, and the Ed Davey proves them wrong with a tiny orange hammer. Science super, the inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan and broadcast journalist Carole Walker (@carolewalkercw) on her new book about the secret world of lobby journalists ‘Lobby Life’.

BUY CAROLE’S BOOK LOBBY LIFE HERE: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/history-politics/lobby-life-inside-westminsters,carole-walker-9781783965656

LISTEN TO UNTOLD: THE DANIEL MORGAN MURDER HERE: https://www.podfollow.com/1114802610

THE GLOBAL CORRUPTION BAROMETER: https://www.transparency.org/en/gcb

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Further Reading

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Matt Hancock is f*cking hopeless. Not my words, well not this week anyway, but the words of Boris Johnson. But isn’t everything right now? Chesham and Amersham say no, and the Ed Davey proves them wrong with a tiny orange hammer. Science super, the inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan and broadcast journalist Carole Walker (@carolewalkercw) on her new book about the secret world of lobby journalists ‘Lobby Life’.

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






Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that covers every election upset, and then continues to be upset long after it’s over until the next one. I’m Tiernan Douieb and as it’s revealed that small boy playing the headmistress in the school’s end of year show Dido Harding has applied to be the NHS England Chief Executive, on the plus side this might finally mean the government give it the billions in funding it needs. I mean sure the health service won’t work and you’ll have to get your MRI scans in Alton Towers car park by a 15-year-old doing a weekend shift for Serco, but hey investment is investment right?


Last week an Egyptian vulture was sighted in the UK for the first time in 150, something that ecologists have hailed as a very exciting development. I however would argue that as vultures tend to scavenge on the remains of dead things, this particular bird is merely the first to the party having heard about our Isles full of endless carry on. The Independent Climate Change committee has warned that we in the British Isles are woefully unprepared for climate change which will come as a surprise to absolutely no one who lives here. We seem woefully unprepared for everything and right now I reckon even an unexpected bout of hiccups could probably take us down. The Climate Change Committee or CCC as they are known – which confusingly is also the name of a Spanish improv group – says that we are going to have more severe heatwaves and intense rainfall, but of course that could also give us the plus side of other tropical countries. You know, for example richer nations exploiting us as a tax haven and holiday resort. Homes need to be made more climate proof, but we all know they won’t be as the government shun making buildings safe in order to spend millions on a royal boat that they can hide in while voters get swept away trying to swim to the polling station. No.10 have said they will table an amendment to the Environment Bill for infrastructure projects to have a net gain for the environment, which doesn’t sound like a thing unless you’re aiming for HS2 to be made entirely of compost rather than just a shit idea. The government have pledged a nature positive future and it’d be naïve to assume they don’t just mean that by letting every element of the UK die off and rot, it should be the perfect home for many more Egyptian vultures in a matter of years.


The public are aware, it seems, that the future of the UK is potentially like an Atlantis that no one will want to search for. Or maybe they just don’t want railways built through their garden but are very happy to have them through everyone else’s. Whatever the level of selfishness, it meant that the people of Chesham and Amersham voted in their by-election for the Liberal Democrats instead of the Conservatives for the first time since it became a constituency in 1974. Sarah Green, with the expression of someone who’s just been told its their car that’s blocked in an ambulance, beat the Conservative candidate and 90% chin Peter Fleet, by over 8000 votes, with the Green Party coming third and Labour getting just 622 votes with their worst by-election result ever because they must be known for something. It’ll be like how people go to see shows and films that get one-star reviews just to see what the fuss is about. It’s quite the coup for the Lib Dems though who fought a very local campaign for very local people focusing on NIMBYism because people only want change if it stops them getting change and it’s prompted much talk from the Conservatives about a need to rethink their approach to planning reform which is currently based on whoever’s just had lunch with Housing Minister and jeering sponge cake Robert Jenrick. The government say the Planning Bill will allow them to hit house building targets, but many people are worried that’ll just mean building on green spaces or putting a coal mine in the middle of their garden, something the Liberal Democrats will never do though that’s mostly because they’ll never have enough seats in parliament to push it through. The Chesham and Amersham win brings their total MP count to 12 and further demonstrates the cracks in the previously Conservative dominated blue wall in the South of England, a perfect metaphor for the effects of the government’s planning reform for commentators who aren’t inventive enough to find a better one. Liberal Democrat Leader and Vizzini cosplayer Ed Davey celebrated the victory by knocking over a small plastic blue wall with an orange hammer as though trying to make sure voters in Chesham and Amersham immediately regretted their choices. I’m not why anyone thinks these political stunts work, as though what the public really wants is someone who hasn’t a clue about politics but might be able to play crazy golf and not be beaten by all the children. Still, I’m sure Davey’s ‘oh no dad please don’t do that’ stunt will help the Liberal Democrats do very well in future elections with anyone in the constituency of Mario Kart. It’s heartening to see that the Conservatives can be beaten in areas that have previously been safe seats, but also massively disheartening that it’s not to do with them regularly being unlawful or letting 150,000 people die unnecessarily but because there’s a chance that you might have to have new people in your neighbourhood instead of places that were convenient for hiding bodies.


The Prime Minister and mutant belly button fluff Boris Johnson called the result disappointing but as far as we know that could just mean it has potential to be the next Health Secretary. According to further leaked WhatsApp messages from the Johnson’s former chief adviser and wannabe Victorian hypnotist Dominic Cummings, the PM called sad trowel Matt Hancock ‘fucking hopeless.’ Which is jarring to hear because that means the Prime Minister has been right about something at least once. The messages showed that Johnson even considered handing responsibility for procuring PPE to preserved wet specimen Michael Gove who could of course single-handedly made everyone rush to provide him with adequate face covering. Of course, Hancock has said the Prime Minister only said he was fucking hopeless, not because he is – which he definitely is – but because he was stressed, which is interesting as that might mean that under more stress Johnson might tell the truth again and we should really exploit this if possible by, I dunno, repeatedly getting children to ring him up and ask if he’s their dad or have stockists tell him that the gold wallpaper is all sold out. Of course, Johnson says he has complete confidence in Matt Hancock, and better yet for the Health Secretary, the Leader of Commons and Office Assistant in its emo phase Jacob Rees-Mogg called him a successful genius. Probably because for Mogg, letting 150,000 normal people die is worthy of a Nobel Prize and puts Hancock on his list of idols just under Thanos and the Night King. Having Jacob Rees-Mogg call you a successful genius is like a doctor having Harold Shipman compliment them on their bedside manner. The issue is, being fucking hopeless is a badge of honour in the current government. I mean everyone is, it just means Hancock fits right in. What isn’t fucking hopeless right now? A fucking hopeless world gets fucking hopeless people in charge of it.


Its why Dido Harding is applying for the role of Chief of NHS England because she’s appropriately under-qualified to do the job right now. There’s no need for someone like the current Chief and Ian McDiarmid tribute Simon Stevens, who couldn’t stop laughing when asked if he thought Matt Hancock was hopeless by a journalist, because he understands the job and that just makes the government look bad. No what they need is someone like ex-jockey Harding who can look at the NHS and think, rather than fix this, if it’s not working maybe I should just put it down?  Harding says she wants the NHS to end its reliance on foreign workers, which makes you wonder if she’s going to replace them with all the dogs she’s just whistled. There’s around 170,000 non-British workers in the NHS right now, and they are very much keeping the service going so the only real way Harding could end a reliance on them is to close all the hospitals in England except 3 and have 2 of those only for horses. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe the only real way to thank all those who worked so hard during the pandemic is by offering them a way off this xenophobic island so they can work somewhere people might actually respect them? This is Harding though, who’s track and trace system that couldn’t do either of the things in its name, so chances are high that this is a ploy, so she’ll be given a £40bn government grant for a recruitment initiative to get real British NHS staff that won’t manage to employ a single person.


Having Dido Harding as Chief of NHS England will bring the health service in line with the Met police who an inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987 found they were institutionally corrupt. I mean who isn’t in this day and age, right? The report said Police Commissioner and what it’d look like if elves were depressing Cressida Dick had personally placed hurdles in the way of attempts to uncover truths about the private investigator’s death, probably because then she’d have been able to justify shooting anyone trying to leap over them to catch a train. Dick said she has no intention of resigning and the Home Secretary and when you accidentally bite the side of your mouth but as a person Priti Patel has no intention of asking her to either, instead blaming the Independent Office for Police Conduct for not being able to hold the police to account. I mean how can you expect anyone to do their jobs properly if an entire agency that shouldn’t have to exist isn’t doing its job that it shouldn’t have to do? If no one’s around to stop Cressida Dick from actively interfering in cases, then how are we to unfairly expect that she might actually want to be a decent human being instead? We all know who the real criminals are here. Which yes, according to Cressida Dick, its women holding a candlelit vigil.


Any chances of making anyone accountable for any of these abuses of power are also fucking hopeless. Even the Electoral Commission is to be stripped of its powers to prosecute just as it’s investigating the refurbishments to the No.10 flat, which does make you wonder what they might find in there and if there are certain rooms Johnson has set up like a scene from Seven. Ministers have said that the commission taking cases to court is a waste of people’s money, which I guess it is and why it’d be easier if the politicians they investigated hadn’t been inconsiderate enough to break the law in the first place. Another MP said the Commission were biased because, you know, they only tackle people who breach the rules which is terribly biased and why can’t they just let everyone do what they want and maybe not even bother turning up to work? Its yet another agency that the government won’t be accountable to and yet another power grab that means soon the only way to challenge the government with anything will be if you have dragons and an army of unsullied.


What hope do we have then? Well Boris Johnson is going to set out a plan to make the UK a science superpower, which based on my comic book knowledge means we’ll end up something like the Hulk, completely uncontrollable and causing damage that is expensive to fix. On the plus side, at least we’ll be green which is an improvement. While posing in a lab coat and mask and looking unsure if he’d woken up at the sperm bank again, Johnson said he would provide direction on how research is harnessed for the public good. So I guess it’s only time before young people are often part time apprenticeship work as lab rats. Chief Scientific Officer and upset Drew Carey Sir Patrick Vallance has been put in charge of the new Office for Science and Technology Strategy as part of the government’s strategy to put everyone who might implicate them in a Covid inquiry into a top role so they won’t complain much. A herd immunity plan if you like. With Vallance in charge we can trust him that if the dept do develop anything harmful he’ll at least try make sure all of us will get to have a go.


The Prime Minister has said 19th July is looking good for lockdown restrictions ending completely, you know in the same way he said the same about June 21st. Around 60% of all adults have now had their 2nd jab which is great news, but Johnson says foreign travel is still uncertain as we have got to stop the virus from coming back in. Unless of course it has a good trade deal offer in which case he’ll probably hold a BBQ for it. Matt Hancock says the Covid booster jab plan for the Autumn will come in a few weeks, so I expect that means in the Autumn about a month after its needed. MP for South Northamptonshire and human embodiment of the website Next Door Andrea Leadsom has said that some people are avoiding returning to work because furlough has been great for them. I assume by some people she means all the staff that pre-pandemic had to work with her. In a moment of actual opposition, the Labour party have instead said they want to give people the right to disconnect from work possibly because that way their leader and Acorn Archimedes 400/1 series Keir Starmer would be more relatable all the times he seems disconnected and isn’t working.


The UK now has a trade deal with Australia which the International Trade Secretary and what it looks like when someone does actually switch off after work and during work Liz Truss insists it will not hit UK farmers which she could be right about but only because it’s only a 47th of the trade with had with the EU and a lot further away so I’m not sure it’ll hit anyone. Johnson said the deal would mean Australia could give us Tim Tams and we send them Penguins, they’d send us Vegemite and we’d send them Marmite, because nothing says successful deal like selling somewhere things they already have in a version they prefer. Meanwhile constantly collapsing Lord David Frost had advertised the position of a Director of Brexit Opportunities department which is probably one small desk in a corner facing a blank wall. They are looking for a visionary, inventive and dedicated leader to help us shape the future policy. Basically, anyone who’s got any ideas because they are completely out. I might apply and just constantly say things like ‘Let’s trade with Mars!’ and laugh my face off as they actually take that seriously for at least 6 months.


In Northern Ireland, man who is constantly in the wrong resolution Edwin Poots has resigned as leader of the DUP after only 21 days, though he probably believes God made the world in 7 so he’s done more than enough. He quit when he agreed a deal about Irish Language legislation with Sinn Fein but didn’t inform his party and that meant the DUP revolted, which is what they do to most people. He is likely to be succeeded by all neck Sir Jeffrey Donaldson who came second in the leadership race against Poots and is seen as far more moderate politician than his very brief predecessor, which in DUP terms means that he probably believes in some dinosaurs but is opposed to same-sex marriage. But then I guess you’d need to believe in extinct reptiles in order to share the same views as them.


In other news, Former Speaker of the Commons and Wind In The Willows star John Bercow says he has joined the Labour party after years of being a Conservative. Critics say its so he can be made a peer, but if that’s true and that’s really what he wanted then he would’ve stayed a Tory and just donated £500k to the party.


And a group of Conservative MPs want to include invertebrates into the Animal Sentience Bill so that they too can get legal protection. There’s some possible good news for Matt Hancock.




Its bloody grass pollen season here and I have one eye that is itching like its waiting for the bass to drop after an overly long build up. Only one eye though. My right eye totally not susceptible to grass shenanigans. My left eye a watery mess. I’m sure there’s some sort of hilarious political comparison to be made but my eye is too itchy for me to work it out. And yes, I am taking all the things that I, as a diabetic am allowed to take. Things up my nose, tablet things, I’ve eaten honey which doesn’t make sense cos its grass pollen. So I guess I should probably drink milk? What else eats grass? Do I need to lick an elk or something? I hope not. I was in a field yesterday doing a kids gig at the first festival of the summer which was so summer festival that most of the audience had left on the Friday and Saturday due to the torrential rain, so I got to shout at the last few survivors. It felt very 2021 shouting at children in a mostly empty under the grey skies while backstage I kept snorting Beconase. Maybe this is the new normal?


Anyway quick thank yous this week to Joe, Lubottom, Helena, Conal and Taz for hitting up the ko-fi.com/parpolbro, and if you fancy donating to this show or even just supporting my new beconase addiction then please do so at the ko-fi, join the patreon.com/parpolbro or even find the elusive Acast supporter button.


And that’s it for chat this week. I have done very little else of interest other than realise how horrible it is to sneeze into the mask you’re currently wearing. Should I remove it to deal with the horrors but then I’ll get in trouble because I have to keep it on, but if I do that then I’ll end up drowning in hayfever slime? Choices, choices. Also, lateral flow tests while you’re having a sneezing fit are really tricky. Like, toughest level on a game show tricky and maybe Takeshi’s Castle should take note.


Ok so on this week it’s a bit of a sort of straight up professional interview where I just asked very nice professional things to my guest who has been a political broadcast journalist for so long that I was slightly wary of saying things like ‘but how do you not just say urgh at Michael Gove all the time?’ The guest is Carole Walker who has written a new book all about the secret Lobby journalists club which is super interesting, so I hope you’ll enjoy it. Plus: A bit in the middle about the po-po-5-0 which isn’t at all what anyone calls them in the UK and I’d say that’s yet another thing we should hold against them as an institution.




When I think of a lobby, the first thing that pops into my head is a beige coloured waiting area where reception staff stare at you with disdain for possibly wanting them to do something while music plays that is of specific genre that means you’re never quite sure if you’re actually hearing anything or not. In Westminster though, the Lobby is arguably one of the most important places in British politics. Not only is it where various business representatives accost MPs hoping they’ll forget that when they were Prime Minister, they didn’t believe in public funding but now would like tons of dosh for the failing company they work for, or possibly hope to accrue a multi-million PPE contract because they once wore a mask in a school play and it didn’t seem hard. It’s also the home of the lobby journalists, the reporters who’ve been given special access to just what is going down in politics town before they are then given the task of relaying it to us public. You know so several of us online can say it’s either nonsense, the exact opposite of what was really said, and they know because they have a friend who once worked for Pieminister, or that it’s all a conspiracy by giant lizard aliens who for some reason rather than take over the world just want to repeatedly fail to deliver a bill on social care. Whether you are a fan of the mainstream media, consider it biased or aren’t even sure what it is as you still get all your news from the town crier and the occasional pigeon mail, it is unarguable that British politics and political journalism are as integral to each other as shoe making and key cutting, and this nearly 100-year-old exclusive club has been a key part of shaping the country. Even if sometimes that shape has been an endless circle of despair. Throughout history the way in which the official spokespeople have treated the journalists they address, or which specific words they chosen to relay the PM’s intentions have led directly to changes in elections, politicians resigning, and you know, all the sorts of things that used to happen before this current lot who refuse to be accountable for anything. I mean even giant lizard aliens would step down if their boss said they were hopeless, wouldn’t they? So, is the Lobby still relevant in today’s politics? Does the Lobby mean journalists are just relaying whatever the government dictates? And just what is it like having to twice a day sit in a room with many of the politicians I can’t stand to see on TV for more than 2 minutes?


This week I spoke to veteran broadcast journalist Carole Walker, who has just released her book Lobby Life about her more than 20 years as part of the exclusive journalist’s club in Westminster. In it she details the history of the Lobby, just how decisions and briefings in there have directly changed history and the importance of transparency in political journalism. It’s a really engaging read, and it’s really casts a light into just how that element of British politics works despite most people being completely unaware that it even exists. I can’t say it wasn’t slightly intimidating interviewing someone who has been doing broadcasting for a lot longer than I have, but it was great to talk to Carole and ask her all about her many years as a lobby journo. Hope you find this chat as interesting and insightful as I did. Here is Carole:




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




One of the reasons I never got into Line of Duty was because it seemed a bit much to spend time watching a show about unaccountable corrupt police when we already had the news. Last week the report was released into the way the Met concealed or denied its failings over the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987 and the big headlines were ‘the Metropolitan police is institutionally corrupt’. This very concept might shock you if you’ve never heard of Hillsborough, Orgreave, or many other incidents including last September when it seems the Home Secretary may have influenced the Hertfordshire police’s response to Extinction Rebellion protestors blocking delivery trucks for Newscorp owned newspapers. 13 people were arrested, 62 people made a small sigh when they couldn’t do a crossword and 4 people were upset when their fish and chips were just flung into their hands. A magistrate’s court in St Albans was told two weeks ago that the Priti Patel made several phone calls direct to the Chief Constable which would directly contradict the principle of operational independence of police in the UK. Luckily all those recordings were lost due to an IT glitch so it’s just too bad that we’ll never know. Computers eh? If only they had an undelete or people who could fix corrupted files or you know a way to make copies. Sigh, such a shame we don’t live in the future.


I won’t go into all the details of the Daniel Morgan’s unsolved murder, as there is a brilliant podcast all about it from 2018 that you should check out called Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder. But to summarise, the private investigator was murdered with an axe in the car park of a pub in Sydenham, South London. Several people who knew Morgan believed he was about to sell stories of corruption in the police to a newspaper which may be why he was killed but the Met police said there was no evidence at all to suggest any officers may have been involved. Over the next three decades misinformation was put into the public domain, suspects were arrested then acquitted, cabinet ministers blocked efforts to have a public enquiry and potential connections of the suspects to the News Of The World were discovered. 35 years, four investigations, an inquest, and a failed trial. All very dodgy, unnecessarily difficult, and so very upsetting for Morgan’s family who’ve been chasing closure and justice for so many years. The independent panel on Morgan’s murder was set up in 2013 and this long-awaited report was meant to come out in May until the Home Secretary blocked it saying she needed more time to assess it for national security reasons. I mean, it hadn’t met officials while on holiday in Israel so I doubt it could be as much of a risk as Patel is.


The inquiry was to look at if police were involved then how, if police corruption protected those responsible and if there were corrupt relationships between police, private investigators, and journalists. And basically, long arm story short, all the answers were yep, going so far as to say that not only were the Met Police not honest in their failings they were the single greatest obstacle to truth and justice. I mean, they only had one job and did pretty much the exact opposite, which must be why the Home Secretary is so protective of kindred spirits.

Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who was then Assistant Commissioner, is named as blocking access to a police internal data system and sensitive information about the case but has never given a good reason as to why. This is the same woman who oversaw the operation where police killed Jean Charles De Menezes on the London underground in 2005, which also no officers were ever charged for and Cressida Dick received a promotion shortly after. This is the same woman who had officers charge into women holding candles at a vigil for a woman who was kidnapped by a police officer. I’m just saying, its not really a good look for someone who is supposed to uphold the law but appears to mainly be standing above it and deciding its far beneath her. Dick has said sorry to the family but won’t be resigning though to be fair, in that way she is being very Prime Ministerial about it. While the Prime Minister’s anti-corruption tsar has put pressure on Dick to resign, the Met have rejected the report’s findings, and both the Home Secretary and Mayor of London Sadiq ‘exhausted TinTin’ Khan have said they have full confidence in the Police Commissioner. So who polices the police if the police are doing the exact opposite of policing? I don’t know. If it was a film I guess criminals who felt redundant would have to step up and form a vigilante team, or maybe we all just cross our fingers and hope karma is a thing. The Global Corruption Barometer measures the proportion of a country’s citizens who believe their government and public institutions are corrupt but the Home Office wouldn’t even fund the inclusion of the UK in their recent report, which really isn’t a shining beacon for everything being ok. I’m starting to think Line of Duty should be reclassified as light entertainment.


Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder is on all the podcast platforms & I’ll link to it in the podcast blurb. The Global Corruption Barometer if you’d like to see how every where else in the world fares, can be found at transparency.org.



And now back to Carole…




Thanks to Carole for having the time to chat and you can find her book Lobby Life at all good, bad and morally ambiguous book shops, and I’ve popped a link in the podcast blurb too. Carole can also be found on Twitter @carolewalkercw and on her regular Times Radio show. Thanks to Emma Finnigan PR for arranging our chat.


Who else should I talk to for this show? What other subjects shall I hope to expand my tiny land of understanding about in the sea of complete political ignorance? Let me know via @ParPolBro on Twitter, the Partly Political Broadcast group on Facebook, the contact page at partlypoliticalbroadcast.co.uk or email me at partlypoliticalbroadcast@gmail.com. Or you could apply to be the Director of the government’s new Brexit Opportunities Unit and insist on trading recommendations for this show with me as part of the country’s overall direction. But that likely means they’ll get stuck in a lorry at a border and by the time they eventually reach me, if they ever do, they will carry a £7000 customs charge which I’ll refuse to pay. So as always, it’s probably just best to email isn’t it?





And now this week’s episode of Partly Political Broadcast bids you adieu, so please don’t be rude and outbid it at the last minute as it won’t make you popular. If you enjoy or at the very least bear with this show, then please do let other people know that it occurs in the depths of the internet by shouting it about it on socials or just in real life. Especially when walking under a bridge so it does a cool echo thing. Do also review the show on the podcast platform you use giving us a fat 5 stars and some words of sheer joy, or even just unnecessary exclamation or perhaps even just some in an ancient language that no one knows anymore. And if you can afford to, violently hurl a pound or two at the ko-fi, patreon or Acast Supporter sites too.


Deepest thanks so deep they are basically a dangerous pit and there should be a warning about it to Acast, my brother the Last Skeptik and Kat Day.


This will be back next week when Boris Johnson announces the new science investment money is all to work out how to build a bridge between Wales and the Moon.




This week’s show was sponsored by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s book of successful geniuses featuring in depth looks at just how these intelligent winners rose up the ranks to the fame they deserve. Featuring Pol Pot, Wil E.Coyote, Magneto, Countess Elisabeth Bathory, Bean Dad and Matt Hancock. Available at all books shops of terrible repute for two half fathings and your first born.

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