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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that advises against panic listening and hopes that means you’ll now hurry to hear to all episodes and even store some in jerry cans for later consumption in-case of emergency. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as Transport Secretary and surgically removed chin skin Grant Shapps insists there is plenty of petrol in this country, no Grant, just because you hang out with fossils who emit tons of natural gas, it’s really not the same.
Welcome to Britain, the land of empty. The country is out of fuel and going nowhere. Also, we’re out of petrol. Well, as Grant Shapps has pointed out correctly for once in his life, there is enough of it in the country, just you know, no one can get to it because there is a shortage of hgv drivers to transport it to the stations. So much like Grant Shapps’ life, the fuel is there but there’s zero pump action and absolutely no forecourt play. You might think that Brexit is the main cause of this, what with the country having actively voted to make trade restrictions more complicated than a user manual written by James Joyce and telling drivers from the EU to get trucking. But no, according to the Transport Secretary, you’d be wrong as in fact Brexit has made it easier to fix all the problems created by Brexit. Phew! Instead, it is of course, the fault of the Road Haulage Association for selfishly warning for five years that this would happen, in some sort of bizarre who smelt it dealt it blame game from the government failing to understand this doesn’t work like their own gas troubles. Yes, I will keep making fart jokes. You can’t stop me. Of-course it’s also your fault like everything is, because you and me, the public, we just keep secretly kidnapping HGV drivers and hiding them in our basements and if we’d just stop doing that so that someone will pay attention to our needs to make honk honk lorry horn signs at someone who gets it, then maybe we wouldn’t be in this fix. I mean, if it wasn’t for you, these hauliers would be chomping at the bit to piss in milk bottles and sleep on the side of the road for a pittance. It is the stuff of dreams. Dreams you don’t get when having a terrible night’s sleep in an overfilled lorry park in Kent. Also, people keep buying petrol when they don’t need it, according to Environment Secretary and child that’s had all their life force removed by a curse George Eustice, as opposed to you know, buying it only when your tank is completely empty. What we should all be doing is stop being selfish and drive till we run out of petrol and then abandoning our car at the roadside before trekking to the nearest station and filling up your reusable coffee cup with unleaded before necking it and running to work. Oh, and Covid is also to blame because as you know during the pandemic no one got anything delivered at all, it was unheard of.
So aside from you letting those 14 drivers go now, because they are so, so, hungry, the government have got some ideas to fix it. First up, offering 10,000 temporary visas to foreign drivers that they told to leave just months ago, like a last-minute desperate booty call now they realise they can’t do without you filling their tanks. Its only temporary mind, and they’ll have to leave again before Christmas, because nothing says festive like getting the sack. Still, I suppose it’s better than spending December 25th in an overfilled lorry park in Kent like last year. The EU lorry drivers’ union said on Radio 4 that they will not go back to England to help them get out of the shit they created themselves. Ah actually, I think you’ll find you created the shit by er, not stopping us from shitting in the first place…no wait, I’m not as good at this as the government are. There are also plans to train 4000 new HGV drivers, but they will make the test to get a licence easier, so it’s nice to know that while desperately driving up and down the motorway to find fuel, you could be driven into the central reservation by someone who got given a 53,000 pound truck because they could correctly identify it from a motorbike on a pictogram. The government have also suspended competition law meaning all oil firms can deliver to all petrol stations regardless of brand meaning that you can get ripped off for destroying the planet wherever you go. And there mentions that the army may be called in to help, because as we know, they’ve had a lot of experience of taking control of oil that isn’t theirs.
It’s not the only shortage hitting Britain right now, with rising energy prices meaning that we have a CO2 shortage while also having too high CO2 emissions. Nothing more British than having more than enough of something but absolutely none of it is distributed into the correct places. CO2, petrol, housing, wealth, comedians. The list is endless. Energy prices have quadrupled in a year, or levelled up if you like, and several smaller energy providers have had their lights permanently go out as a result. But the Prime Minister and deflating space hopper Boris Johnson insisted all this would be temporary as it’s just the result of the world waking up after the pandemic shutdowns like everyone going to put the kettle on at the end of a TV programme. Yes Johnson, because during the lockdowns absolutely no one used any energy at home at all did they? We all just heated our tea through the sheer power of our exceedingly high infected temperatures. High gas prices have caused fertiliser plants that produce CO2 to shut – you see EU lorry drivers’ union, if anything we haven’t made enough of our own shit actually – so that will affect beer, fizzy drinks, and meat supplies or as they’re also known, the entire breadth of British cuisine. This plus the lack of workers post-Brexit means it could be a pretty bleak Christmas for many with a likely shortage of turkeys, trees and toys. On the plus side, we probably won’t be in lockdown this year, so it means you’ll be able to have your family arguments back but now with new topics as to whether its Brexit that means you’re all having cardboard sandwiches and playing with stones, or the public’s fault for insisting on buying food supplies at any time before the very second, they want lunch. Honestly this government have now threatened more Christmases than the Grinch.
There will be an energy price rise for many consumers meaning, as it’s been coined, it will be a choice between heating and eating for many families this winter as well. You know, much like it has been for many for the last ten years. One solution for all of this may be a mass occupation of the House of Commons where you could get free heating and can eat several MPs who are well bred turkeys. It’s all fairly grim and yet I can almost bet at the Conservative Conference later this month, they’ll hail the lack of cars on the road and shops running out of food, as proof they’re hitting their targets to tackle emissions and obesity levels.
Maybe they should ask Labour where they’re getting all their fuel from, as they seem to have so much that they can’t stop their party burning to the ground. The Labour conference this year seems to largely be an exercise in getting people to vote for what they want, and then telling them they can’t have it. Though to be fair, that is what the Conservatives do at elections, so maybe this is the opposition’s prep to appeal to Tory voters instead. Delegates voted to make nationalising energy companies one of the party’s policies, but Shadow Chancellor and the closest you can get to seeing an actual void Rachel Reeves said now isn’t the time to do that as instead the party will focus on issues that affect the day to day. To be fair to Reeves, she is unlikely to need to heat her home regularly as she thrives on being in a cold, dead atmosphere devoid of all feeling. It was of course something that was in Labour leader and the sound of nothing Keir Starmer’s pledges when he campaigned for leadership, so of course it was never going to happen. Luckily for him delegates voted through his new plans to change how the leadership is voted for in future, so that MPs have a bigger say in who gets to sit on the fence for them, and it’ll be harder for members to deselect any MPs that aren’t doing their job. Yeah, take that ordinary people! You can take your for the many not the few and spin on it, because this Labour party are all change and want nothing to do with democracy or your shitty ideas for policies when they have heaps of brilliant ones of their own that they’ve stolen from the 90’s. Starmer said being able to make changes to party rules is a major step towards Labour winning an election. Yes of course it is as it means more leaders just like him can be elected and make zero impact on the electorate which is perfect for a society filled with political apathy and dreams of a government that will just waft by with nothing more than a stench of stale thoughts. The night before the conference, Starmer released his 14,000-word memo, which was kind as he knew the country was exhausted after the last 18 months and provided us all with a sleep aid to help us fall into a hefty slumber. The memo is called the Road Ahead, something even Starmer wasn’t bothering to look at last October when he hit a cyclist with his car.
In it, not that I’ve bothered to read it, he says the party will hand back powers from Whitehall to local communities and give people the means to take control, unless of course they want to have a say in who the party leader or their local MP candidate will be. One policy that has emerged is to tax private schools, in order to raise £1.7bn for state education. Not a bad idea at all, but overshadowed by the complete lack of mention that if they also taxed billionaires and offshore companies more, you’d get even more dosh, for well, everything. Reeves said if Labour were in government there would be £28bn to invest in green energy between now and 2030, which is great except by all accounts, £50bn a year is needed to achieve zero emissions. You get the feeling that if you asked the Labour cabinet for money to get the bus home as it’s raining, they’d work together to let you borrow a broken umbrella instead. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but only because it is, at the very least, something. Labour keep losing members but perhaps that don’t see that as a problem when the top of the party are such big members they’ll make up for it.
Shadow minister for Employment Rights and Protections and someone lost their uncle at the wedding Andy McDonald resigned from the Shadow Cabinet on Monday night, saying that he was asked to argue against a £15 minimum wage and statutory sick pay, despite that being a pledge Starmer ran on for leadership and even stood with a big banner and campaigners for. So again, of course he now doesn’t back it and luckily he won’t ever have to lie to members again as MPs can just vote him in instead. It says a lot that the supposed party for workers has even the minister in charge of job rights decide it isn’t worth keeping his job. In the meantime, tagging back into Labour is Dolores Umbridge impersonator Louise Ellman who has rejoined the party after saying that it was now safe for Jewish people to be part of the party again, after the rule changes were voted it on Sunday to ensure leadership could not interfere with complaints as per the EHRC report. Louise Ellman voted several times in favour of the Iraq War so Starmer likely sees an ally in someone who also couldn’t give a shit what the public actually want or think is fair.
It says a lot that the biggest story to come from the weekend in Brighton was that Deputy leader and star of 90’s kids TV show Alfonso Bonzo Angela Rayner referred to the Tories as ‘a bunch of scum’. Many Conservatives were rightly offended by this as scum means a layer of green matter on top of a stagnant pond and despite what they say, the Tories are anything but green. Rayner says she’ll only apologise for the comments when Johnson apologies for racist and homophobic comments he has said in the past, but it’d have been better if she’d just said what many of us were thinking, which is that scum is far too tame a word. Meanwhile Conservative MP and man with the sort of face you usually only see when its next to historical allegations James Gray, has apologised after joking on WhatsApp that a bomb should be delivered to the office of Labour MP and bewildered woodland creature Annaliese Dodds. Gray said he meant no offence, it didn’t make headlines and no Conservatives have condemned him for it, because to them bomb threats just mean more sales for all their colleagues in the weapons industry.
The Prime Minister addressed the UN with a speech about climate change, telling them humanity needs to grow up, said we all cling to an infantile belief that the world was made for our gratification and pleasure, and said that we believe someone else will clear up our mess as that is what someone else has always done. Yes, it’s very much as though Dr Sam Beckett Quantum leaped into his body and accidentally read the data brief he had on him out aloud. Johnson said we can make changes with commitments in four areas, coal, cars, cash, and trees. What with the new coal mine being built in Cumbria, I’m not sure he was clear enough on if the changes were to increase or decrease emissions. This became even less clear when he decided to use his speech to say that Kermit the Frog, an actual leader, had been wrong when he’d sang ‘It’s not easy being green’, which if Johnson had ever listened to the lyrics of the song makes it sound like Johnson is against green being the colour of beautiful things and what he wants to be. Maybe he’s just envious that Kermit is a muppet that is adored worldwide. And gets to touch piggy without it being a Bullingdon Club dare.
Johnson spoke to French President and shoebill Emmanuel Macron after Australia signed up to a pact with the UK and US for them to provide it with nuclear powered submarines, presumably because rather than deal with climate change, they just want to be able to get around once it really kicks in. This meant Australia pulled out of a $37bn pact with France to build 12 bog standard diesel submarines which would have been awkward as I can imagine it’s even harder to find petrol stations underwater than in England. Johnson very tactfully told the French government to ‘donnez-moi un break’ and ‘prenez un grip’, which is hilarious because had France ruined a weapons deal for the UK, we’d probably be at war with them by now.
The ministry of housing, communities and local government is now to be named the department of levelling up, housing and communities because nothing says levelling up quite like completely ignoring local government. What’s clear about the government’s ‘levelling up’ message is that none of them are gamers or they’d know you only ‘level up’ so you have some chance against the increasing difficulty that lies ahead. They’re basically saying we’re now on Nightmare mode.
In other news, leader of the mushroom kingdom, Angela Merkel can’t quite step down as German chancellor yet as the social democrats got the most votes in the country’s general election but not enough for a majority. There will now be prolonged talks towards forming Germany’s first 3 party coalition, and it does feel a bit cruel after overseeing Brexit that Merkel now can’t leave until big decisions about unions are made. And dinosaur chicken bite and broadcaster Andrew Neill has quit GB News, the station he helped set up and absolutely no one watches, after saying that he became a minority of one. I guess that must’ve been dangerous as that’s the exact description of the targets GB News likes to vilify most. Someone should really let Andrew Neill know that Andrew Neill tried to cancel Andrew Neill and maybe he’ll set up someone sort of viewerless cheap news channel to stop this kind of thing happening again.
Gina Miller – remember her? The predominantly anti-Brexit campaigner with the constant expression of someone who’s about to tell you off because you’re in their seat even though your ticket says its yours? She’s launching a new centrist party because it seems a key part of centre politics to just refuse to work with anyone else, even if they are wasting just as much money as you on policies no one wants. The party will be called True and Fair, which sounds like the name of a children’s detective series. I wish it was and that way someone might be able to investigate just what the poin t
And former education secretary and unwanted follow through Gavin Williamson is supposedly being tipped for knighthood following being sacked from the cabinet. Maybe they just mean one of those sleep masks so he’ll actually go to bed on time instead of crying under the covers and whispering ‘hard power’ to himself? Nothing would represent Britain in 2021 better Williamson becoming Sir Failsalot for his complete lack of contributions to anything.
Hey hey hey hey hey ParPolBrods. How’s you? I am back from holidays though, as I’ve realised, going on holiday with not one, but two three-year-olds, is definitely not a holiday. I thought having two 3-year-olds but 4 adults would equal some rest time. No no. The 3 year olds combined powers to become even more exhausting and I’ve realised that for 2, in order to have 5 mins of sitting you either need quadruple the amount of adults or just to holiday somewhere else without them. Being woken up every day at the crack of dawn by two children shouting ‘crazy pineapple’ at each other and having in depth discussions about what would happen if you didn’t have the bit under your tongue, is both adorable and also, oh god I miss sleep. I did get to catch up with friends, see some amazing sunsets as it turns out you get to see those if there aren’t stupid built up buildings everywhere and I had a chat with a horse. So overall I think a win. And I filled up with petrol one day before everyone went panic buying so I got home. But then I’ve got gigs next weekend that I may not have petrol for so I’m wondering if I should have persuaded that horse to come with me to get me there. Obviously missed that opportunity. Silly me. Isn’t it terrible that really there should be no petrol and we should all travel in economically friendly transport or live within 15 minute city scapes, but also I really need it to get to gigs so I can earn money and so I’d like this nonsense to stop. Also, there’s a real danger that Tesla drivers will be even more unbearably smug than they already are.
Anyway, I’m now back from sunny Yorkshire and this week is a thrust back into gigs and work and this show, though there is no interview! That will return next week and hopefully in weeks following, or indeed, like usual, trailing behind. So, this one is first a bit of this: BIG THANKS TIME TO EMMA, TIM AND SERA-MARIE for your sterling Patreon work. If you fancy joining the patreon too, to fund this here show, and also as it seems, mean someone else will leave it just as you join so that its exactly the same amount of sponsorship every month like an attempt at galactic balance, then you can do that at patreon.com/parpolbro. Also I forgot after the episode a few weeks ago, to thank pod champion Dave Pickering as he suggested getting Arthur on the show for an interview, so big thanks to you too. Dave is a former guets on this show and makes many superb podcasts himself so do check out all of them but in particular his ‘Down To A Sunless Sea’ series which is just beautiful.
Other notifications here at team admin. The wonderful, amazing bunch at Arts Emergency are looking for new mentors and mentees. If you are an arts, humanities and creative industry pro or a 16–25-year-old who would like to get into those fields despite all resources to do so being decimated from state and university education by the government, then do give them a shout. Only 16% of people in the arts and humanities come from a working class background which is shit and also why so much tv is exactly the same ‘oh look at these sad lives of rich people boo hoo’ rubbish. Arts Emergency is doing an amazing job of trying to change that and has supported loads of young people since 2013. So if you fancy being part of it or if you think they could help you out, head to arts-emergency.org and I’ll post the specific links for mentors and mentees in the pod blurb.
I was also asked to give a shout out to, well Shout Out UK about their London Voter Registration Week, which it turns out, was last week. So I’ve messed that up but you can still view all their resources and everything they put together for it at registertovote.london so please do that.
Admin done and dusted and this week’s show nearly is too but first, gas chat:
I don’t really understand science, but it does seem a shame that in the UK we currently have too many CO2 emissions, but we are also out of CO2. Is there not a clever way to put straws into the middle lane of the motorway and then suck up what’s needed for fizzy drinks? Though I suppose the problem with that is we’re also out of petrol so no one can drive on the motorway. Gosh this science is tricky when you’re out of everything. The UK is low on fuel, out of fizz and we can’t afford to use energy. All three phrases that also apply to how I feel as a parent. Basically, if you’re a listener in the US, we’re out of gas, gas and gas. If you’re a listener in Ireland, the UK is definitely not a gas. Though if you’re Irish, you’ve known that for many, many years. Why can’t you have a lemonade while driving recklessly down the motorway having left the hob on at home? Well as always, I could just shout ‘Brexit’ or ‘this fucking government’ and close the podcast, put my jacket on and leave. Which would be weird as I record this at home. But while in many ways that would be a succinct and complete answer, it’s not quite all the reasonings for our country’s lack of drive.
WHY NO GAS?
Actually, there is gas, it’s just energy prices are mighty high as they’ve quadrupled in the last year and not just cos that winter lockdown lasted most of our lives and we had to have the heating on for all of it. It is a little bit that, and a little bit because post Covid there’s been a global uptick, which is a stupid phrase as all ticks are up, otherwise they are a hill or an unfinished triangle. I mean, c’mon everyone. Yes, a global uptick in gas use since Covid hasn’t ended but everyone’s pretended it has. Not sure why but I guess everyone went back to, I dunno, spraying gas into the air or having been gas concerts or something. Anyway, all of that means that we have a much tighter gas market with less spare capacity. Yes, the phrase tight gas market makes me laugh too. It’s also being investigated as to whether the Russian state backed gas company Gazprom, which really sounds like a teenage party, has been up to suspicious behaviour which has inflated prices, but you know, not inflated things that need gas to inflate them. Then there’s loads of odds and sods that have added to it, like the large amounts of calm weather, that followed the rubbish winter that made us use lots of gas, now meaning wind farms haven’t been winding. Yes weather, particularly in the era of climate change times, aren’t conducive to cheap gas. Which in a way, might be the weather saying ‘let’s make it so expensive to buy gas everyone will stop using it which will in turn heal the planet’ like some very slow revenge. Gas platforms in the North Sea closing for maintenance during the pandemic which means they haven’t been pumping – snigger – and Asia using lots more liquified gas there which means it’s not getting taken here. And then there was a big fire in Kent on some cables that import electricity from France because thanks to the joys of privatisation, thanks Thatcher you shit, nearly 40% of our energy comes from across the channel, but it seems despite all their attempts Europe has failed to make us brighter as a nation.
The UK has relatively lower energy costs for domestic use compared to the rest of Europe, bargain! – but all our bills are much higher because we’re so completely energy inefficient. I mean I know that, I waste my energy on completely pointless things like shouting at the news or trying to get my daughter to tidy the play-doh mess she’s just made and frankly none of that goes anywhere. If we had better insulation in homes we’d use a lot less energy and you’ll be massively unsurprised to know the government has done pretty much zero on any of its plans to do such a thing. Industrial electricity prices are super high which is partly due to policies meant to be for climate change which aren’t very well implemented. Yet again, it’s a lot like you’ve got all the right pieces to a puzzle but instead of doing it properly, you’ve given the puzzle to a goat and expected it to put it together instead of eating bits of it and walking off.
And because of a price cap, a good thing, it means smaller companies were paying loads to buy in gas and then sell it at a loss, a bad thing. So that’s seven smaller companies that have vanished with their customers being handed to bigger companies meaning less competition and higher prices while the big companies make a massive profit overcharging everyone, which is bad and god imagine if British Gas was just state owned and we all could buy all the gas we needed for our breakfast or gas baths but also imagine if we didn’t need any of it and could be nice to the planet. There is ultimately no winning.
So, CO2 has been affected as big fertiliser plants need big gas to make big CO2 and the cost of big gas means the two biggest factories that make 60% of the CO2 in the UK, have shut down. Which means no dry ice for food transporting, no stunning of poultry before slaughtering them, no cooling nuclear reactors and no super amazing looking cocktails or sci-fi scenes in films where all the smoke goes everywhere and looks mysterious. Yes that is how they stun turkeys, with CO2, which does sound nicer and more humane than say, just telling them what the government have fucked up this week. However, the government have agreed a bail out of the CO2 firms, while totally ignoring all the small energy firms because they’re against fairness and far more for companies that help do foul murders.
But even if the CO2 all gets sorted, there’s big food problems due to the fuel shortage which isn’t a fuel shortage but is an HGV driver shortage, which has been made even worse by HGV driver shortage causing a fuel shortage meaning the HGVs that could transport the fuel now can’t get any causing a fuel shortage. Win! Covid and Brexit tag teaming mean there’s a shortage of around 100,000 drivers in the UK. The former caused a backlog of vehicle tests and the latter caused around 25,000 to leave and not return. Meanwhile the average age of a haulier is 57 as very few young people are keen to take up a job that pays badly, causes back problems and means you spend a lot of time shitting in lay-bys due to lack of truck stops. Why would you do that when you could, hang on, let me check my notes, do almost anything else? Older drivers are retiring and there’s been a shortage in the sector for over a decade, which the Road Haulage Association have been warning everyone about and the government has chosen to say this is their fault for doing so. I mean, they do prefer it if a crisis just appears out of nowhere and then it least looks like they have some excuse for not being remotely prepared.
Aside from being told they aren’t wanted here endlessly since 2016, and before, another reason it’s not such a great prospect for European drivers, or indeed from anywhere else, is CABOTAGE, which is impossible to not say like the Beastie Boys. Cabotage is the right for an operator for another country, to load and unload goods in the same country many times, making it worth it lugging up and down the country and endlessly swearing at road works. But post-Brexit, drivers can now only do two stops within seven days of the first unloading, before having to head back to their country of origin. So, they could pick up something, drop it off, do that again, then fuck off. Not the most exciting prospect for a holiday job is it? At least as a rep you get free drinks and a cap. The government has announced plans for 10,500 visas for drivers from abroad, half for petrol, half for food and only till Christmas. Not sure why anyone would jump on that job but also it’s still leaves about 90,000 vacancies. Basically, this ain’t ending anytime soon and unlike all the HGV drivers who aren’t HGV driving, these shortages are definitely in it for the long haul.
I guess for Christmas you’d all better be hoping Santa fills his sack with diesel or natural gas and then definitely doesn’t enter via the fireplace.
And that’s all for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast. If this is your cup of tea or coffee or Bovril or warm water with several drops of hopelessness, then please do recommend this to others so they too can quench their ears with this audio beverage, join the patreon and even if you fancy, give it a review on Apple Podcasts or similar less corporate evil sites.
Cheers big ears to Acast, my brother The Last Skeptik and Kat Day.
This will be back next week when the UK runs out of things to run out of and has to grovel to the EU to borrow things just so we can have a shortage of them.
This week’s show was sponsored by Keir Starmer’s Sleep Tapes. Hours and hours of the Labour leader speaking without actually saying anything, all delivered in a low nasal tone that causes the brain to shut down in order to save itself. Keir Starmer’s Sleep Tapes, they don’t promise to help with anything.