Freedom! But for who? You and me or just Covid that now gets to roam around wherever it likes with impunity. A final short episode before a summer break all about freedom and the Health and Care Bill. See ya’ll in September. Or in two weeks when lockdown 4 cancels everything else.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that says any day can be Freedom Day if you forget to put a wash on and have to go to the shops commando. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as more than 1200 scientists have condemned the government for lifting all Covid restrictions this week saying we are a danger to the world; I think that’s unfair as we’re just trying to be a global Britain and it’s not our fault that we never specified just what we’d be exporting everywhere. I guess infamy is still a kind of fame, right?
Ah Freedom! Can you believe it? Can you smell it? That whiff in the air of sheer freedom for all of England. Or maybe that’s just everyone’s breath you can now smell as people choose not to wear masks and embrace their choice to deeply inhale and exhale Covid instead. We might soon have no longer have the freedom to protest, or to the right to free healthcare, or to shelter or food, but don’t you worry because England here has full on freedom to not wear a mask depending on where you are, or to walk uncomfortably close to people you don’t know which wasn’t really nice pre-pandemic, or to have over packed weddings with all those family members and work colleagues you’ve never really liked and now have to pay for an extortionate meal for only to hear them complain about how it wasn’t as good as their wedding for weeks after. We only like our freedom in a limited and specific way in England, of course. The day we full Brexit’d was hailed as freedom too, but as time has passed we’ve realised it was only in the way it freed some people from their lifelong trade that is now no longer viable, or freed people from the hassle of having to choose where they might like to live and work in the world. So again, with Covid cases at 50,000 a day and rising, along with hospitalisations and death and still a third of adults to be fully vaccinated, what exactly is this freedom we’re now getting? Is it liberating us from the worry of catching Covid because now we definitely will and there’s no avoiding it? For those who are shielding is it the freedom of the burden of existence which will surely end if they want to do anything at all? Is it that by many people having to go back to work with restrictions lifting even if they don’t feel safe, that indeed work makes you free? I’m sure I’ve heard that somewhere before. Can’t put my finger on it. Freedom from the stress of the costs or having to plan a holiday abroad as other more sensible countries ban our little Plague Island from visiting them with gifts. Maybe for all those who’ve insisted that Covid is a hoax and that 150,000 were so dedicated to pranking that they died just to convince us so take that Impractical Jokers because you just aren’t trying hard enough. Maybe for those conspiracy theorists, this is freedom to investigate the truth for themselves and see which of their family members are in on the gag and will die to just string them along too? Maybe it is freedom for the government who can now spend all that time they did have to use pretending to care about the safety of people, to do more useful things like give vast swathes of taxpayer’s money to friends to fail to do a job with or ask donors to pay for 6 golden pedal bins for the office. Possibly, we’ve been looking at this all wrong and it is freedom just for Covid. For too long we’ve been restricting what and where the virus can go and now, by being a truly tolerant and accepting society we’re allowing a virus to have full freedom of the country. It won’t need a visa like all those harmful immigrants who do terrible things like work and live. No, from this week, the Conservatives have kindly said, we see you, a parasitic agent that prays on the vulnerable, as just like us and so welcome, enjoy the fruits of absolutely everyone else’s labour except ours.
Credit to the Health Secretary and Uncle Fester the early years Sajid Javid though, because one of the complaints about this current government is the lack of conviction in their own policies. Yet just days after insisting there is no risk-free way to tackle Covid and ‘if we don’t lift restrictions now, then when?’, Javid went all in and caught Covid now instead of later trying to get in before it’s too popular, I guess. As he’s double jabbed, the Saj said that thankfully he only has mild symptoms. Phew, that is lucky. Everyone who’s only single jabbed is so pleased for you and I’m sure just knowing that the Health Secretary is only feeling mildly shit is what will keep them going through many days of horrendous illness. Javid is now self-isolating and working from home, much to the relief of any of his staff who will now have a lovely week. It does though mean that he can hide under his duvet as restrictions are lifted and if anyone demands he makes a statement about why now everyone in the UK has Covid and there’s a new variant that causes your knees to fall off, his kids can just answer the phone and say he’s on the bog. If Javid has it, that means everyone he’s been in contact with gonna get a ping, but luckily for the Prime Minister and regular star of Dr Pimple Popper Boris Johnson and the Chancellor and brief character in Return of the Jedi Yak Face Rishi Sunak they didn’t have to self-isolate because they were part of a pilot testing scheme that made them exempt. It is funny how a randomised pilot scheme that hasn’t been confirmed to have started yet, selected two neighbours who just happened to be in major positions of governance. Whatever he does and whatever he is Michael Gove was also selected the other week when returning from Portugal. I mean what are the chances. Well, I suppose you can do anything if you put your imagination to it. Housing Minister and one of those bits of furniture that no one knows quite what it’s for Robert Jenrick was sent to all the TV shows to say that the Prime Minister and Chancellor will still be able to work but won’t be able to socialise or mix with their families, which almost sounds perfect for Johnson. If he could just find a way to not do any work as well then he’s basically on holiday. Jenrick insisted the pilot scheme is being trialled by 20 organisations including Transport for London, but TFL said that isn’t true as they’ve had nothing confirmed yet. Yes, it is typical of them to have to delays beyond their control, but it mostly just seems like this pilot scheme hasn’t even got a plane yet, let alone taken off. But everyone else still has to self-isolate for 10 days if they’ve been in contact with someone who’s positive, with Covid that is, not just weirdly happy about the state of things though I would keep clear of them too to be honest as they clearly aren’t ok. Due to getting pinged, lots of train services have been cancelled or delayed, and there are worries at supermarkets about food shortages as staff are having to self-isolate at home which is a shame as I feel there’s a real future for supermarkets where when you can’t find something that’s right in front of you, a drone flies an iPad over to you and a staff member in the bath sighs and says ‘its next to the beans you fucking idiot.’ So obviously people got angry that Sunak and Johnson were doing things their own way, the opposition parties were able to rule out the ‘one rule for them, one for everyone else’ bit which is now such a common occurrence I’m amazed the Conservatives haven’t adopted it as their party slogan. And so, within hours, there was a u-turn and suddenly the PM and Chancellor weren’t doing a trial that they definitely weren’t doing and were now going to self-isolate too, with Johnson being so concerned about following the rules like everyone else that he started his self-isolation at 10 Downing Street and then continued it all the way at Chequers. Turns out they’d actually only considered joining the scheme and decided against it but you know, only after telling all the press they were part of it and Jenrick was sent out to confirm to everyone and look like even more of a tit than usual.
It’s so nice when the government do something because they’ve realised that they’ve been caught out and actually everyone thinks they’re a bunch of arseholes, rather than you know, make the right decision in the first place out of the goodness of their hearts. I’m always hearted though when populists realise that they’ve done something very unpopular and the self-isolating sham happened only days after the cabinet found out that the public prefer footballers to politicians. Something that should have been obvious by the way supporters of politics don’t wear face paint, that’s usually left to racist MPs like Desmond Swayne. After the England players criticised the government for pretending to be disgusted by racist abuse, despite all of us knowing that’s how the Home Secretary and the only person who thinks Saw is a romcom Priti Patel warms up home office staff ready for the week. After that, Boris Johnson vowed those online racists will face a football ban for up to 10 years, which seems like a tricky thing to install not least as stadiums will have lots of fun trying to stop grey blobs who answer to a call of random numbers.
It’s all he has though. Rather than actually do anything to actually stop racism or apologise for all of the racism he has personally done; Johnson just insists something will happen that he hasn’t actually thought through and now if it doesn’t work that’ll be your fault for complaining about it. Similarly in his speech about the plans to level up part of the country, he didn’t actually include any solid policies. Instead, he waffled on about strong leadership being ‘the yeast that lifts the whole mattress of dough, the magic sauce, the ketchup of catch up’ which is an upsetting insight into what his bedroom must be like. No wonder he needed help redecorating. Johnson said he didn’t want to devolve too much in-case the loony left took over, which never feels like much of a warning when it’s said by a reject from the Loony Toons. And then he mainly reassured rich parts of the country that they won’t be made poorer as a result of levelling up other areas, presumably because all the rich people will be given new ways to launder money in the poorly built flammable luxury flats that will pop up as part of it. Of course, there’s no solid policies for levelling up, the Prime Minister has no idea what it means and just thought it sounded good as he heard it on a game that he gave to one of his kids to play so they’d stop asking him questions about where he was going that late at night with all those rolled up bank notes. Johnson has only ever tried to improve living standards by leaving his wife and kids or getting someone else to buy him wallpaper.
It’s only ever doing what he thinks people want to hear, which is why we restrictions in England have been reduced again today, even as epidemiologist and man best known for doing a Hancock before Matt, Neil Ferguson has warned that 100,000 cases a day is inevitable and 200,000 is very plausible. Well, it’s nice to have targets, right? The Balearics have been popped back on the amber list meaning people heading there will have to quarantine when back, but this is mostly because infection rates have soared there thanks to British tourists bringing it over. I mean let’s be fair, everyone catches something when they go to Ibiza so really this should’ve been in place years ago. France has now been added to a special category of its own, the amber plus list, which should really please French people as they often like to have exceptions just for them. This brand-new category means travellers won’t be able to get insurance if trips are cancelled and even double jabbed people will have to quarantine on return. This is due to the Beta variant, even though we currently have a ton of Delta variant in the UK, but I guess no one likes having to go back to an old model once you’ve seen all the fancy features of the new one.
But we’ve got freedom now and that’s all that matters. Not the same freedom as the politicians who can do make up rules whenever they like, obvs. But it doesn’t matter as you, you there with the freedom, are now able to go out and get the virus in even more places than before and if that doesn’t prove that freedom is contagious, nothing does.
Leader of the Opposition and what if they made a Metal Mickey without any character traits Keir Starmer has decided to focus all his energy this week on condemning the government’s relaxing of restrictions. Ha! No of course I’m joking. Instead, he’s expelling 1000 Labour members because what better way to gain votes than by telling the people who do support you to fuck off and taking down your own party. He says the members are from four groups with poisonous beliefs about toxic extremism, which are obviously not allowed in the party unlike Peter Mandelson who has actual venom he secretes from his fangs or Trevor Philips who’s just straight up racist so that’s fine and should appeal to swing voters. Starmer says he will sweat blood to win voters respect, but I think that’ll just make people find him a bit icky to be honest and probably call him an ambulance.
The government commissioned National Food Strategy was released last week but Johnson has little interest in the proposed tax on sugar and salt, despite his war on obesity. Knowing how his other plans go, the war will just involve lining the streets with cakes and pushing them through letterboxes, all the while telling people it’s up to them to not eat them. Maybe it’s because that might mean the government’s wine cellar would end up costing even more, with £73,000 of taxpayers money a year now being spent on it, an increase of £26,000 from 2019 so it’s nice to know MPs do have something in common with the British public, namely in the ways we chose to deal with the pandemic. I do think that if we found out all of the government were constantly pissed it’d explain a lot.
And lastly, Nik Nak dribbled on by a dog Nigel Farage has announced a change of career. He’s now going to host a show on GB News, which is great as it means that we can now be sure to avoid him by continuing to not watch that shit channel and be relieved he won’t pop up and ruin something else we’re actually enjoying. GB News fired a presenter for taking the knee, saying it was a breach of their standards, which was a surprise to many as we didn’t think they had any based on the rest of their programming. Really, they just shouldn’t have told people as with average of zero viewers, no one would’ve seen it happen anyway. The channel said the appointment of Farage will increase their viewership which is probably because he’ll record it and watch it back every night so that’s a 100% increase. Farage says he certainly won’t be taking the knee, but aside from it being because he’s all for the racisms, especially when tired, it’s likely because he’s not managed that much physical movement for 30 years and it’d snap all his ligaments which they aren’t insured for.
YEAH FREEDOM! Guessing there’s no way you’re hearing this pod as you’ll be too busy at 40,000 people raves, snogging everyone in sight and never ever washing your hands ever again. I’ve started gigging again and will be spending at least 4 days a week travelling into central London by tube, talking to over 100 people in a windowless room in a basement, then travelling back on the tube. So yes, I’m feeling super confident about it all and I’m not at all worried that I’ll only get 2-3 days into the run before getting ill or pinged or both and not getting to do any of the others. Freedom!
So yep, a super quick pod this week and the last one before a summer break as I have to get my head into what my stand-up jokes are and some other actually paid writing and of course all of them raves I’ve got to go to. This will be back at either the end of August, or beginning of September, or two weeks’ time when we go into lockdown 4 and all my work is cancelled. So look, what that means is several weeks without this, possibly some bonus eps but mainly a whole ton of time for you to give this show a dandy review on Apple Podcasts or similar, tell everyone you know to subscribe in prep for its return and you know patreon.com/parpolbro and all that. What I’ll be doing, is not watching any news and enjoying it and also working on changing this here sound beast for its return so it might be sleeker or chances are higher, still exactly the same as I’ll forget to work on it.
Not much else to say this week apart from how gutted I was to hear the wonderful Dawn Foster passed away last week. I only ever got to meet her a couple of times but was a massive fan of her fearless political writing and if you’ve never read any, go search now and read all of it. She was a truly excellent person and hearing she died so young because of complications of her illness was a real gut punch. This stupid year huh? Oof.
And that’s it. Thank you for listening to what has been nearly every week since the Christmas break, during a period of mostly not fun news to make fun of. If you’re coming to any of the Frankie Boyle gigs I’m the support act of and I haven’t been made to self-isolate, do say hello. From a distance obvs. Or maybe see you at Camp Bestival or one of the other places I’ll be attempting to tell jokes if I remember any. While I want this all to go even worse just so everyone hates the government even more, it would of course be better if it didn’t and hope you all stay safe, well, Covid free and enjoy the shit out of the summer because last Winter was about 8 months long I think.
Oh but before I go, this:
The NHS is safe in our hands, Conservative government after Conservative government have bleated. Thing is, there’s a chance that that is indeed true, but the big problem is its rarely in their hands as they keep selling it off to various companies who promise they’ll hold it properly but don’t support the neck or drop it on the floor because they were distracted by shiny money. The Health and Care Bill passed its second reading in the Commons last week, and as you can probably expect the only care within it is that of making sure it’ll allow a lot more tendering of NHS contracts to private companies and the only element of health is how thriving those company’s bank balances will be as the public health service deteriorates. When the bill was announced its purpose was to support recovery from the pandemic in a way that will support the NHS and lead to direct benefits for patients but in reality the legislation looks like it’ll be supportive like deciding the best way to help someone who’s exhausted by their workload is to fire them. And in terms of patient benefits, I’ve got a feeling that’s their way of saying various insurance plans might come with a loyalty card and once you’d had 7 operations you can get an 8th for free.
So that’s the selling point, that it’s to support the NHS because as we know the pandemic knocked it for six and will again after Monday and then again when no one in the government learns anything and by the time we’re in our 56th lockdown there’ll only be two nurses and a vending machine left. Thing is though, 11 years of austerity has left the NHS like this so really the plan should be to pump money back into it rather than say ‘we’ll give money to these other dudes to do all the work instead and then they won’t pay tax and then you’ll be even worse off and then we’ll pay these other dudes to do all the work instead and then they won’t pay tax’ and so on and so on until the NHS is one receptionist called Clive who isn’t allowed to do anything except rotate at 45 degrees in a circular desk every hour.
There are lots of bits of the bill that aren’t great to put it lightly, like how it ignores the staffing crisis apart from needing the Health Secretary to publish a report on the workforce every 5 years if they can stick around that long without snogging an aid or catching Covid. The bill also allowed the Health Secretary a lot of control over local NHS decisions which seems silly as Sajid Javid can’t possibly know what local areas need more than the people working and living in them. Plus he tends to run away from areas where there are problems so I can’t see it ending well.
But the big scary bit is how it will remove transactional bureaucracy and set aside bureaucratic rules, you know the ones that haven’t been there while Matt Hancock gave contracts to anyone who LinkedIn suggested he might know? Integrated Care Boards will be able to award contracts for healthcare services of unlimited value, without any tender process, to private companies. The same private companies are able to be members of these Integrated Care Boards and you can start to see why this will become a revolving door that someone’s shat in and it won’t stop spinning and spraying poo everywhere. There’s been creeping privatisation in the NHS for decades now, but this is no longer creeping. This is big fanfare privatisation time where before you know it the only way you’ll be able to get a rotationplasty is if you turn up to a theme park car park where some zero hours workers with a sledgehammer checks if you’ve got a Virgin Media Broadband subscription as if not you can only get the first 20 mins of operation for free followed by a taster reel of what the full procedure would feel like.
There are a lot of campaigns against this but if you’ve got the energy, then do write to your MP to say how concerned you are about it, weownit.org currently have a petition you can sign at their site, as does everydoctor.org.uk. Failing that, maybe teach yourself how to do a series of important medical treatments so that you can survive without dying at the hands of a Serco temp because you said you were there due to acute liver failure and they just tried to put a bow and some big eyes on your organs.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast and in fact this season’s. Not that this show has seasons or series. I suspect it’ll keep happening until things are either so good that there’s no need for humour anymore as we’ll be too busy being fulfilled by the joys of life, or until things are so bleak you’ve all got bored of jokes about having to eat rats while Elon Musk orbits the Earth shouting ‘pedo’ at random people via a giant loudhailer. Whatever the case, it’s now time for a summer break but this show will return in 4 to 6 weeks, with probably some mini-sodes in the middle depending on what happens in the news. In the meantime, if you fancy telling others about this weekly screaming you tune into, maybe even use the times you would’ve been listening to type up a quick review on Apple Podcasts or similar pod happening places and even join the patreon or yeet cash at the ko-fi or Acast supporter site.
Ever thankfulness to Acast, my brother the Last Skeptik and Kat Day.
This will be back in September when Covid is so rampant in England that it becomes the most popular party and ends up winning elections and running the country with many agreeing it’s still an improvement to the previous one.
This week’s show was sponsored by FREEDOM!