The podcast returns from its summer break in slightly truncated form. This week’s subjects all rhyme if you pronounce them incorrectly: Afghanistan, the social care plan, Ian Botham. So you know, do that.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that if laughter is the best medicine will probably soon be considered a new hospital by the Department of Health. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Prime Minister and the aftermath of an emu meeting a cement mixer Boris Johnson faces a backlash for raising National Insurance to pay for social care, I say won’t that just make it like all insurance though, where young people have to fork out loads for something that isn’t their fault?
Isn’t it funny how just a few months ago we were all asking for thing to go back to how they were before, and the Taliban showed up and it was like, no you’ve misunderstood, not that far back. We just meant hugs and nightclubs. Just how did the Taliban take control of Afghanistan so quickly cried the US and UK governments, confused as to just how somewhere they’ve been using as a personal litter tray for 20 years and then told everyone they were leaving could be so susceptible to new rule. How on earth could my home have got burgled I said after breaking in all the windows and then leaving a big banner on my front wall that says, ‘I won’t be in for some time and my laptop is on the table.’ I’m not saying the US have fucked up majorly, but they must be the only people in the world who caused more trouble by withdrawing prematurely rather than staying inside and finishing properly. US President and like if Charlie Brown chose the wrong grail Joe Biden announced that the war in Afghanistan is over, which is yet another example of America assuming that because they aren’t somewhere and can no longer see it, then it has probably ceased to exist. The sad truth is that the Taliban continue to take over more and more areas of Afghanistan, shooting many and oppressing women. Though I suppose it could be worse for their victims. They could live in Texas. The Taliban have said they will allow women to work and study within their frameworks, but you’re not into mounting pictures that doesn’t sound great.
Then there is the new threat of ISIS-K, who aren’t as I had wondered, the K-Pop version of the terrorist group. I had assumed they’d given up trying to groom new recruits and were instead hoping for a mass fan base to come to them via their boy band hits. ISIS-K were responsible for an attack on Kabul airport that killed 13 US service members and lots of Afghans that absolutely no one has bothered to count because otherwise you might start to care and then ask questions about just what the point of the last 20 years has been.
Because of this and despite not having boots on the ground, or any other pharmacy, the US are still trying to carry out counter terrorism missions in Afghanistan because if they don’t bomb civilians in the Middle East then they might lose their global brand. The Taliban’s Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada hasn’t been seen since the takeover, but the Taliban have promised he will come into public view soon, which very much makes it sound like they’ve had him refashioned into a parade balloon. The Taliban have also promised they’ll soon be announcing their line-up for the new Afghan government but Christian Ronaldo quelled rumours by confirming last week that he was going to Man U instead. So that’s the US bombing Afghanistan to tackle terror and the Taliban back in charge across the country. All we need now is Nickleback providing a soundtrack that is indistinct from a lawnmower being used on a concrete floor and the 20th anniversary celebrations will be complete.
But don’t worry everyone, the British will save the day, unless you’re one of the thousands of Afghans who were eligible to come to the UK but were unceremoniously left behind. The Prime Minister has said they will support them within Afghanistan but considering he can’t support people who are within the UK, that’s very unlikely. The government’s response to the crisis has been, like with every crisis under Johnson’s leadership, to go on holiday and ignore it till it goes away. First the Foreign Secretary fully laminated Dominic Raab didn’t make a phone call to his Afghan counterpart that he needed to because he was on his holibops, leaving it to a junior minister to do it instead. That phone call could have ended up saving lives, so there were calls for Raab to resign over his incompetence, but he didn’t and I can only presume he was too busy being on holiday to do it, so a junior minister had to leave instead. Raab did tell a select committee of MPs that he wouldn’t have gone on holiday with hindsight. Which is true because he doesn’t go to work with it either. Raab refused to say what the dates when he went and returned from holiday were, probably because he also isn’t aware and the timezone difference will have confused him. During questioning about his sunning abroad he claimed that the end of his holiday was ruined because the sea was closed, which I think would make him like the exact opposite of Moses. He’s so unlikeable that the elements will literally close just to avoid him. Perhaps we’re all underestimating him, and he did try to return to work early but the air had closed too? Or maybe he just knew that it’d have made little difference if he was present or not. No wonder Raab was surprised by the scale and pace at which the Taliban took over, which is true if he means by everyone just himself and not heaps of intelligence that suggested otherwise. Intelligence does tend to be what he is missing at the best of times. The fact is Raab has probably only just realised that Afghanistan isn’t the place in the Harry Potter books where the prisoners are. As Raab returned Johnson went to the West Country with his family, though the Prime Minister insisted he wasn’t on holiday. To be fair to him, you can only be on holiday if at some point you were off holiday.
The British government have told the Taliban they must respect the human rights of Afghanistan citizens, presumably because that would save them from having to. There is already a reluctance to take in anywhere near as many refugees as they should, with Home Secretary and woman whose personality is an amalgamation all the villains from late 80s and early 90s films from Heathers to Schindler’s List, Priti Patel, claiming that Britain isn’t ready to take in 20,000 people. Sure, I mean how will she find that many barracks unfit for human habitation so quickly? You try and get the water companies to shut off supplies within a week. Patel met some Afghan refugees when they arrived in the UK, because they obviously hadn’t been through enough trauma already. Maybe it’s a way of introducing them to British weather because if they can handle such ice-cold temperatures as she emits, they’ll be ok with our winters. But despite the personal welcome for a few, the Home Secretary is still very keen to dissuade refugees from arriving in the UK, saying that anyone escaping Afghan must only come to the UK via safe routes. Great except that there aren’t any and the Home Office won’t say which ones they’ll help provide so I really hope thousands of people thwart her by floating over on a series of cashboxes and lockers. Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, a man who could be replaced by stock photos of a car salesman and no one would know, said that the government abandoning all these people in Afghanistan has been a punch to the gut, and has undone 20 years of good work. Which isn’t true as it wasn’t good work, or even work, but he can’t be surprised that Johnson has abandoned the results of a poorly thought through intervention, as that’s basically what he’s done with all his kids too.
The British government’s plans now seem to be to ask the Taliban to follow agreed rules, which must be galling hearing that from them. Like James Cordon telling you to stop being such a self-serving annoying prick. Johnson wants the Taliban to allow evacuees out of the country past last week’s deadline because as a former journalist the word means nothing to him at the best of times, and the Prime Minister has now vowed to use every economic, political, and diplomatic lever to help Afghans. Why do I have the feeling he’ll only be using first class levers and somehow forget the other types? I do wonder if the government’s real plan is to let the Taliban take over completely as that way our country will get knocked down a place on the world list of worst possible leaderships. The complete lack of planning and useless response has been widely criticised by Conservative MPs, all other parties and even the grey goblin Tony Blair, who said the withdrawal was driven by imbecilic slogans such as the forever war. Sure Tony, whereas weapons of mass destruction and war on terror were total bangers, right? You don’t get to complain about the way a fire has failed to be snuffed out when you were the one gleefully handing the US a lighter to spark the gasoline back in 2001.
Nothing will make any refugees that successfully get to the UK feel more at home than our depleted food and medical resources. It appears the only thing we have an abundance of are pundits who seem completely unable to say Brexit when explaining why this is the case. Trade issues and a shortage of lorry drivers has meant the army have had to be called in to help stock shelves, which is hilarious because in 2019 the British Army had a TV advert featuring someone working in a supermarket and telling them to leave their job and join the adventure with the British military. You’d feel more than a bit gutted if the only change to your life was that you now get to wear camo while stacking beans. McDonalds ran out of milkshakes which means the building industry has had to go back to using cement. Wetherspoons ran out of beer. Well, I say beer, but it was Fosters so potentially easily replaced by the weakened piss of hospital patients. It is nice that Wetherspoons now has a theme though of zero beer to go with the appalling zero hours contracts for staff and the zero intelligence or foresight of poorly taxidermized lion Tim Martin. Most frighteningly there are not enough blood tubes for the blood tests the NHS needs to carry out, though I’m sure we’re just days away from a Spectator piece about how at least no one is taking our British blood or something. Such a shame just as all these new hospitals are being opened by Health Secretary and only Sontarian in the cabinet Sajid Javid. Well, he said he was opening a ‘new hospital’, but it was a cancer centre which is part of an already existing hospital. I’m sure that most of his work involves him writing the title on a bit of paper and nothing else, then shouts ‘finished’ as he hands it over. I hope for Javid’s sake he doesn’t have to be admitted to this new hospital whereby they tell him the procedure was successful as they removed all of the tumour, only for him to discover they snipped a bit off the side and left it at that.
As is always his only response to the fallout from Brexit, Cabinet minister and Year 7 clay sculpture Lord David Frost has said it’s the EU’s fault for causing this era of long-term chill, which is actually what we’d need to transport a lot of food without it going off. Yet again he’s said that the Northern Ireland protocol needs significant change and once again as the person that agreed it you can’t help but feel that change needs to come from within first. Apart from complaining that its someone else’s fault, the other solutions to the issue appear to be increasing lorry driver’s hours because that way there will be enough food again, even if it won’t be in supermarkets but scattered across motorways amongst the wreckages of vehicles driven by sleep deprived underpaid workers. It’ll at least add variety to the idea of roadkill. The other option, alongside depriving drivers of sleep, is to have longer trucks that can hold more food. Why stop there? Let’s have one truck the size of the UK so it can deliver to everywhere all at once, yeah? Maybe the driver can be on a permanent drip of red bull so that they never sleep again?
There have been concerns that the crisis in Afghanistan would lead to further terror threats in the UK, but with soldiers being sent over there meaning they can’t stack shelves, and the food shortages meaning Christmas might be cancelled, perhaps the Taliban have already worked out a long-distance way to win?
Food shortages mean price rises which are coming in just as the Prime Minister is looking to cut the Universal Credit uplift of £20 extra a week. Its being called a breach in Human Rights by Human Rights Watch but as we all know, human rights are only important when asking the Taliban to uphold them. Boris Johnson said universal credit claimants should rely on their own efforts instead of welfare but taking him as an example that means they should avoid trying to work wherever possible, sponge off the state loads and keep having children they can’t afford. The long-awaited plan for social care is due to be announced this or next week and currently it seems the government want to increase National Insurance payments to cover it, because their original plan of just letting everyone who needs social care die so Johnson could use the money to buy gold curtains, didn’t work as well as they’d wanted. The Conservatives did make a manifesto commitment during the last election to not raise National Insurance, income tax or VAT but I mean, if you took that seriously then you need to book an appointment with me as I’m a wallet inspector and I need to run a PIN check on all your cards too.
Labour have been stepping up opposition to these proposals by saying things like they’ll look at what the government propose but it might be wrong or it might not be and oh god stop asking questions it’s just too hard why can’t we all just get along? The opposition’s plan for Universal Credit is rather than scrap it or do something good, they just want to shake it up which sounds terrible which is a vague term that I think of as like when I worked in Next and would spend hours just moving the same jacket from side to side on the hanger so it looked like I was doing something when I wasn’t at all. Labour leader and man with all the use of the text at the end of an instruction manual for a Filofax Keir Starmer is taking on the Prime Minister head-to-head by having his approval rating fall at the same time Johnson’s has, with ‘neither’ beating both as the option for best prime minister in the polls. It says something when you can be so nothing as an opposition that nothing is actually preferable to most people. The party just avoided a strike by its own staff after it’s backed down from making compulsory redundancies and allowing voluntary ones instead. Yes, the party of workers there, giving its own staff a choice of how to choose not to be able to work. This is having to happen as Labour faces near bankruptcy with its finances. Still, I’m sure the country will trust them with the economy now right?
In other news, Covid is still hanging about. Yes, I know you all assumed it just quietly snuck off like Cersi during an end battle but nope it’s been having a productive summer too. Cases, hospitalisations, and deaths are all on the rise just as schools are returning. Education Secretary and like someone used a cotton bud to do the dusting Gavin Williamson has said that parents are responsible for preventing a new Covid wave. I presume he means his right? All schools will receive CO2 monitors to improve ventilation, but most schools haven’t got them yet. I worry that the batch need to be replaced after Williamson burned most of them out by himself. The question now is whether children can have jabs, even though when I was at school, we used to jab each other all the time till we got dead legs. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation say that the margin of benefit of vaccinating 12–15-year-olds is too minimal to support it, but the government look set to ignore them and go ahead with it anyway because as we know, they love to follow the science. Williamson says the NHS are ready to go into schools, which I guess means that will make all of them brand new hospitals according to Sajid Javid. Meanwhile despite vaccines having a definite impact on the amount of hospitalisations per cases, anti-vaxxers have been protesting outside the Science Museum, presumably because if they’d have been inside it they might have learned something. A week before they protested outside Google HQ claiming that they aren’t giving the right information. Surely that’s up to what you put in the search bar isn’t it? I mean try looking up something else or putting speech marks around it.
In Scotland the SNP and the Scottish Greens have formed a coalition in Scottish parliament, in what SNP leader and retired Crayola character Nicola Sturgeon called a leap of faith for both parties. Which is worrying as what we really need to tackle climate change is a leap of science. Creating a greener Scotland is part of their joint platform, as is another independence referendum though as they only cause a 7th of the UK’s pollution technically cutting themselves off from England would suddenly decrease their carbon dioxide output by 310m tonnes which is hitting a target.
In other news, former cricketeer and man composed entirely of gristle and the sweepings of a barber shop floor Ian Botham has been appointed as a UK trade ambassador to Australia. As Botham tweeted a naked pic of himself not too long ago, this appointment might mean his social media will now be filled with other people’s meat and veg instead. He got the job via International Trade Secretary and failed Chris Lilley character Liz Truss, which might seem curious after the government had told footballers to stick to football but former cricketers it seems can now be experts in trade. Though maybe it’s because Botham is very good at spin.
Chancellor and world’s most dull amphora vase Rishi Sunak has had planning approval for a new pool, gym and tennis court at his Grade II listed home in North Yorkshire. Bet the prick will willingly self-isolate now won’t he? This comes just as he’s about to drop the triple lock pension, cut universal credit and raise national insurance in order to pay for social care. Maybe he’s got all these new fitness areas in order to train from running away from the angry hordes of idiots that voted him in? Meanwhile two MPs that are gruesome for each other Esther McVey and Philip Davies have accepted over £18k in VIP tickets to shows and events from private firms in just two months. Still, it might be worth paying for them to have their own box just so they don’t sit near other people and put them off attending. And extra from the X-Files Michael Gove was seen dancing, if you can call it that, by himself at a nightclub in Aberdeen. It’s difficult to tell if he was off his face and gurning and that’s how he always looks. The newly single MP proved why he’s always likely to stay that way and while wearing the only suit he ever wears, threw upsetting shapes to techno and jungle. Which is odd as I thought he was more into country as he loves a fat line.
And lastly, an alpaca called Geronimo was killed after testing positive for tuberculosis, despite the owners pleading to the government to intervene and reform TB testing. You’d think judging by how often they back their leader, the Conservatives would be keen to save a hairy, disease-ridden mammal despite it being a threat to others.
Aloha ParPolBrods. How have you been? How was your summer slash eternal autumn which is apt due to it seeming like we’re in a constant fall of humanity? Oh good. I’m glad you had fun. I did as well though I’ve been working solidly through pretty much of all it, which is both lovely after 17 months of my work being mostly illegal but has now swung back round to me wishing I could sit on my arse for a week again and do sod all. I know some of you have been working solidly throughout the pandemic but if you haven’t, I wonder if you, like me, are expressing and equal amount of ‘hooray its good to be back’ with a few ounces of ‘oh I have to work again, that’s terrible.’ I mean I’m jammy as most of my work, bar a few Tuesday crowds and bank holiday ones, has been largely receiving heaps of laughter from packed rooms of lovely people which has healed my comedy soul. At the same time my sensible ‘there is still a pandemic’ head has sort of given up and conceded to my ego’s needs for self-gratification. It is amazing how we can mentally prioritise isn’t it? I mean, I’m still wearing my mask in shops, on the train, in crowded areas, then I’ll get onstage at Leicester Square Theatre and stand in front of 450 people and think, yeah this is fine. Of course, it isn’t. But I have been lateral flow testing to the extent where I don’t even gag anymore, lads, and I only sneeze 3 out of 5 times. I’m not sure how that will help me in the future, but I’ll add it to my CV anyhow. I’ve done a festival so that I could remember how much I hate camping and I’ve been writing for lots of things I can’t tell you about yet but I will if they ever get made or get binned or I get bored. On top of that this past week I’ve managed to pull a calf muscle and had a small blood vessel haemorrhage in my eye which sounds worse than it is and basically just meant looking through my right eye gives me ‘attacked by angry squid’ vision and what it means the doctor told me not to do any anabolic exercise or running for two weeks so I’ve taken that to mean I should sit on my bum and eat crisps till October. I have to because the doctor said and I follow the science.
So, look, this is now back sort of, kind of and there will be some changes, sort of, kind of. Why so vague Tiernan? Well, I’m glad you asked but basically, due to all the work landing on my feet. I mean not literally, that’d be painful and really not help the calf muscle situation. What I mean is due to me now having work, this podcast, like this week’s episode might not always have a guest interview on it because that’s the hardest and most time-consuming bit to sort out. Sometimes though, it might just be an interview. Sometimes it might be nothing and not come out for a week because of things. What I’m saying is, for the next month especially, this show might be a bit sporadic and then you’ll be able to tell when I’m out of work again as this will suddenly be regular and each episode far, far too long. I’m also streamlining some bits that while I loved, where all just talking ages adding them in. At the same time, as you’ll tell from this week’s episode, I’ve spent far too much time on other stuff that isn’t worth it and I’ve still got the same old beats from my brother because I can’t persuade him to send me new ones as he keeps selling them to Rihanna. Yes really. No despite her being a billionaire it doesn’t pay as much as you’d think. Gosh I hope she joins the billionaires space race. Or at the very least, uses her money to send Chris Brown into space and never lets him come back.
It’s all going to be sort of truncated and as I mentioned there’s no guest this week, not least because I had an awkward encounter with a brilliant journalist about Afghanistan where I asked them if they could do this silly show and they very kindly replied while pointing out they couldn’t as they were trying to help their family escape Kabul. I then felt like a terrible human being for asking them for a free chat while they were doing far more important things and cringed myself into a corner for the rest of the day. Next week though, there may be just an interview, maybe and the following week there might not be a show at all. It’s hard to say, and not just because I’ve written it in ancient Aramaic. I really need to change my calendar settings.
Also, I’m now only going to plug the Patreon, which is at patreon.com/parpolbro, just so you’re all in one place and I’m not firing links at you like someone with a Zelda gun, that’s a gag for 4 people. Oh, and British Boxers are still kindly sort of sponsoring this show so do head over there, british-boxers.com and use the code PARPOLBRO15 for 15% off if you fancy some nice PJs from good people. I think that’s it. I did have loads to tell you but I’ve forgotten nearly all of it because I ate too much lunch and have been doing no exercise because doctor said.
So welcome to the new, hopefully more svelte ParPolBro which will last at least 3 weeks until I end up doing hour long episodes again because there is too much awful to cover otherwise.
On this week’s show it’s just that intro bit really, this admin bit and then, apologies in advance, this jingle:
According to US President Joe Biden, by following through the plans of his nuance deficient predecessor he has ended the Forever Wars, which is great except for the fact that they are definitely still happening in Afghanistan, albeit without the US there anymore. It’s like saying the party’s over when you leave, despite everyone inside now having a better time talking about how great it is now that you’ve left. I think everyone can agree that the Taliban aren’t the ideal leaders of the country, with their fundamentalist misogynistic and highly violent religious ideology. But it’s pretty hard to say everyone was having a great time under the US and UK occupation over the last 20 years too. Yes, I’m going down the evil on both sides jaunt because in this case, there really was. What? The western world charging in to fix somewhere and somehow making it worse? Who could have predicted such a thing. I know right, so out of character.
Back in 2001 the Taliban government of Afghanistan refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden, remember him? So, the US invaded and removed the government which then led to all terror being defeated and now no one is scared of nothing. Sorry, I mean it resulted in hundreds of thousands of people killed, many of them civilians, loads of money being given to warlords for developments that never happened, a NATO installed government that were rife with corruption, an Afghan army full of ghost soldiers which doesn’t mean they were like undead and immortal but more that they weren’t actually turning up despite being on the pay roll, and even though the Taliban surrendered and Osama Bin Laden was eventually captured and executed ten years later, the US continued to airstrike the shit out of places. So needless to say, if you lived in Afghanistan over any of that time, you probably got on the natural path of remembering the previous government being better than the current one. Yes, we’ve all been there right? The Taliban have been growing in number since 2014, even to the extent that the Trump Administration struck an agreement with them last year for the US to leave mid this year. Donald Trump, a prime example of why you shouldn’t pick scabs, thought including the Afghan government in this decision would just slow it down, so instead totally undercut them and things went even more rapidly downhill from there. As anyone with understanding of Afghanistan could have told you, and hence why Dominic Raab and the British government didn’t have a clue.
So, what next? Well, there are several big time immediate issues. One is the health, safety and rights of women in Afghanistan. The Taliban say they vow to respect woman’s rights within the limits of Islam which is pretty vague and sounds a lot like how I’ll say I won’t all the cake today but then scoff it all except a few crumbs which are saved for tomorrow. So far the Taliban have said women can continue their education, and work outside of the home which is better than when they were last in power. They are also being pressed to have an inclusive government. There have been protests by women in Kabul demanding equal rights which is the bravest and most admirable thing ever and the Taliban hasn’t stopped these happening, yet.
The other big issue is that at least 12,000 people fled Kabul last week, which adds to the 5 million that have fled Afghanistan since 2012 and not returned home. Obviously, I think the rest of the world need to step up and accommodate but it creates a massive workload for relief foundations, as well as governments. I mean not our own because Priti Patel is a fucking horror show. Not even a good one. Like American Horror Story season 6 onwards. Within Afghanistan there is displacement too as its ranked 6th in countries most affected by climate change meaning that those in the rural areas have suffered floods and drought causing them to head to the cities. Agriculture was a big part of Afghanistan’s GDP and as that’s withered away, its hit their finances but also allowed the Taliban to recruit people who will earn more as fighters than as farmers. Their main trade is now in opium though the Taliban have sworn to make Afghanistan poppy free, which will upset all the Remembrance Day flag wavers, but if they do that it could also completely bankrupt the country.
Then there is attempted destabilisation and terrorist attacks from ISIS-K, concerns that al Qaeda will make a resurgence and the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan who are anti-Taliban fighters lead by an Afghan politician and former vice president. So, these forever wars aren’t at all over, even the US thinks so. While the US and UK intervening again might not be the answer anyone wants, it’s hard to know exactly what should happen next and the country faces political upheaval, climate change worries, humanitarian disasters, financial bankruptcy and that’s all without Covid which is increasing across the country.
So, what can we do? No. Don’t start buying the finest opium you can just to boost their economy. No don’t. Stop it. Firstly, there are some amazing aid groups, including Women for Afghan Women, GlobalGiving. You can become a member of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants who are currently trying to stop the Home Office criminlising asylum seekers arriving in the UK. Safe Passage also have a petition against that which I’ll pop in the pod blurb. Gal-dem magazine published a great list which I’ll also pop in the links and of course you can lobby your MP unless you have one like mine who won’t reply unless its to say something fucking useless. So put that heroin down and do that instead. Put it down. Stop it.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast, the first of a month of haphazard pod releases. Thank you for returning the attendance of your ears to these noises and of course should you like them so much, the noises that is, not your ears, then why not recommend it to other trusted associates and compatriots, or even untrusted ones. Should you like it even more than that though, you could also give it a spanking review on Apple Podcasts or similar pod review accommodations and even join the patreon at patreon.com/ParPolBro and donate towards its happenings.
Big thanks to Acast for hostings, Kat Day for the linear liner notes and my brother the Last Skeptik for all the tunes.
This will be back next week when confusion is caused as it’s revealed the reason the government are dropping the pension triple lock is because Boris Johnson lost the keys for it in the sea while not on holiday. Raab pipes up to say if only it had been closed.
This week’s show was sponsored by DIY Hospital a new kit from Sajid Javid to turn anywhere you are into a hospital. For £15.99, which will go straight into funds for a new smart telly for No.10, you will receive a box with instructions, one plaster and a paracetamol. DIY hospital, guaranteed to reduce NHS waiting lists everywhere.