The Cruel World of Politics

Released on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021.

The Cruel World of Politics

A Conservative MP has finally resigned! But not because they admitted wrong doing, more because they’re sad everyone else knows they did. Parliamentary sleaze if you don’t please and everyone wants to keep all their second and third jobs while ignoring their first one they were elected for. Plus a chat with James Murray (@James_BG) at Business Green (@BusinessGreen) on why Cop26 is important and possibly hopeful too.




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A Conservative MP has finally resigned! But not because they admitted wrong doing, more because they’re sad everyone else knows they did. Parliamentary sleaze if you don’t please and everyone wants to keep all their second and third jobs while ignoring their first one they were elected for. Plus a chat with James Murray (@James_BG) at Business Green (@BusinessGreen) on why Cop26 is important and possibly hopeful too.


Key links and sources of info from Dr Garfield’s interview:


All the usual ParPolBro stuff:




Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that is part of the fight against corruption but always makes a backup mp3 file as well, just in-case. I’m Tiernan Douieb and isn’t it funny how many times over the past few years, people have said MPs should’ve resigned if they’d had standards, and yet now one has, what if Countryfile fucked Crimewatch Owen Paterson, and its entirely because he didn’t have any.


It’s not often the general British public get things right. They seem to think every other person is a refugee who’s simultaneously taking their jobs while also on benefits. They are also certain the monarchy serve a purpose other than to highlight awareness of sex offenders and they think that Ed Sheeran is a musician. In amongst all those turds though, there are nuggets of tinned sweetcorn that show sometimes you can’t beat the sheer natural instinct of Joe or Joe-weenasapheene public. Take any number of polls over the last many, many years on the least trusted professions in the UK, and there standing proudly on top of a podium made up of neglected areas of society and wearing a cape of brown envelopes, are politicians. Actually, that’s an unfair comment because brown envelopes are so 20 years ago and now it’s far more accepted by politicians, particularly Conservative ones, that breaching standards and codes of conduct is the job and if anything, this whole representing the public really gets in the way of the cronyism and corruption they became a politician for. As Owen Paterson resigned from one of his many jobs last week as an MP for North Shropshire, he announced that he will remain a public servant but outside the cruel world of politics. Yes, that cruel, mean, awful bullying world of politics that says, ‘hey maybe you could do the job you were elected for instead of breaching all rules and lobbying for two different companies who are paying you half a million’. Urgh, bastard politics. Why so harsh? It’s one of those things though isn’t it, where you know, everyone does it, so you don’t really realise it’s not ok. Like singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant without paying copyright duty to Warner or having a sip of your parent’s alcohol before you’re 18 or influencing government policies in return for cash. When all your peers do it, it’s hard to understand its wrong. No wonder last week Paterson was insisting it was the investigation into his egregious case that was wrong and bad and unfair, and not at all him doing all the wrong and bad and unfair things.


In fact, many of his Conservative colleagues agreed, including eight MPs all currently under investigation into their conduct and they voted in the Commons to change the standards system. The Leadsom amendment, as proposed by daytime TV host in the Upside-Down Andrea Leadsom was to set up a new standards committee, you know one that perhaps wouldn’t monitor standards and didn’t have any themselves, so they’d be more suited and understanding about the lack of any in the Commons. The vote would mean a suspension of Owen Paterson’s suspension and likely him getting away with everything scot-free when it turned out that the new standards committee would be thick pudding Mark Francois with a traffic cone on his head shouting ‘uh uh’ game show noises when he doesn’t understand things and letting everything else go through. ‘This is about justice for MPs’ said Leadsom, something she knows about as her CV says she has been a high court judge, a judicial officer for Mega-City One, and a Greek goddess of justice, which she wrote on there in-crayon underneath astronaut and mother. The government won the vote by 250 to 232, because as we know, they are tough on crime, but tougher on people who try to stop them doing crime. But 109 Tory MPs abstained on the vote, because they didn’t agree with it. This is, as you know, the best form of action, as the famous Nike slogan says, ‘just don’t do anything’. There is nothing like sitting back and letting a policy pass to show everyone just how hard you are fighting to stop it. This sort of mentality is echoed around much of what the government do. They are so concerned about the situation in Afghanistan for example, that they are leaving it well alone. Or as we have seen at the Cop26 this week, the Prime Minister and reason you can buy extra tall stair gates Boris Johnson, is so concerned about climate change that he fell asleep through the conference while simultaneously not wearing a mask and sitting next to national treasure David Attenborough so that he could fight climate change properly too by being dead. Such bravery all round. So, it makes sense that, such an abstention, the language of protest they understand, could rattle the government into a U-turn on the vote the very next day. Well, it might have been that it might have been all the newspaper front pages of even right-wing papers criticising the vote and general outrage online which is a relief to know that they can’t just do what they like and still fear popular opinion. It’s just also a shame that popular opinion is that refugees should drown at sea and Ed Sheeran is a musician. Of course, they defended the vote first, sending out Minecraft character and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to do all the interviews suggesting that, maybe it’s the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who should quit. And he had a point, because I can’t imagine what it’s like for Kathryn Stone to work in job where she’s got nothing to do. It would be far more rewarding for her to get a job somewhere with standards like an underground fight club or a drugs cartel.


But just as Kwarteng promised no support for failing energy companies, there was no support for him supplying a party line that had run out of fuel long ago, and he was thrown under a proverbial bus within hours as the government changed their mind on supporting Paterson. The government didn’t let Owen Paterson know about this either, he instead found out about the U-turn when a journalist called him as he was in the supermarket. But I guess it had become impossible to tell if his absence from the Commons meant he was at work or not. Paterson announced his resignation from being an MP later that day because it seems politics just isn’t fair to people who don’t like being fair. I can only hope he finds a job where he’ll feel more at home, like rigging sports matches or being paid by the government to develop an app that doesn’t work. Star of the Funny Bones books and leader of the house of commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs that he feared the vote for the Leadsom amendment conflated the individual case with the general concern. Which as we know means that they suddenly became aware that by highlighting Paterson’s misdemeanours, it had put a big flashing led sign over all of them saying ‘wrong uns’ here.


Since Paterson’s resignation, allegations of sleaze or as it’s called everywhere else in the world, corruption, have been pouring out like an open sewage valve into the British coastline. Several unnamed MPs told unnamed journalists that ‘levelling up funding’ for their constituencies was threatened if they hadn’t backed Paterson in the vote, which makes you wonder if the real levelling up is Johnson going from Prime Minister to Crime Boss. These same MPs said ministers are in tow to Johnson and won’t stand up to him, saying they all want to please Daddy. A grim image but I suppose there is also every chance that he is the real dad of several of the younger ones. Should MPs have second jobs, especially when they often can’t do their first job very well? International Trade Secretary and we couldn’t find the parrot, so you’ll do Ann Marie Trevelyan said in an interview that minister having another job adds a richness to their role in parliament. Yes, I suppose that is one very blunt way of putting it. She did also say that there should be a ban on lobbying, which there is so I reckon it’d be an idea to check her accounts fairly sharpish. In amongst concerns about MPs breaching rules by lobbying, it also seems that the government have been giving away a peerage to anyone who hands them £3m. Not sure why you’d want to spend that much money on one, when I can have my decisions overturned within hours and fall asleep in a chair at home for a lot less. According to a report by the Sunday Times and Open Democracy, all but one of 16 of the most recent Conservative party treasurers have ended up in the Lords, as have 22 of the party’s biggest donors, but Environment Secretary and example of how people would look if there was no gravity George Eustice says it’s just a coincidence. Yes, I suppose these things do just happen right? In the same way if I open 20 bags of crisps and there’s crisps inside all of them it’s a coincidence or how it’s a coincidence that George Foreman grills happen to be company owned by George Foreman. It feels a lot like George Eustice got the definition of coincidence from wherever Alanis Morrisette got her definition of irony.


Another coincidence is how all of this is presided over by a Prime Minister who lied to the Queen, was up for breaking international law, got his own standards chief to quit, broke lockdown rules and has had four investigations into his conduct by the Parliamentary Standards commission. What are the chances eh? Where’s the Unsolved Mysteries crew, it’s just too much. It’s also a coincidence that Boris Johnson’s stay in Marbella last month in a villa owned by anaemic gumby Zac Goldsmith was completely free and that Zac Goldsmith was given a peerage and a job by Johnson. Johnson refuses to specify how much that trip, that he took just as the UK was plunging into an energy crisis, cost but there is every chance that he has no clue as he forgot to look at any of the price tags while marvelling at just what a coincidence it is that he was at the Goldsmith’s home when he had just randomly planned to fly on holiday and walk into anyone’s villa and stay there. It must be somewhat galling for Goldsmith that those are the lengths he’s likely had to go to get a peerage, when knowing full well Johnson doesn’t need that level of comfort to relax, he just requires several people explaining in detail how doomed the planet is alongside the possibility of giving Covid to someone who is actually respected.


Labour Leader and sad paintbrush Keir Starmer said that Prime Minister has given the green light to corruption which is a smart choice of words during Cop26 as it shows Johnson is very capable of being green when he wants too. Labour are calling for investigations into pretty much everything, saying Rees-Mogg’s position is untenable, which I’m not sure is true as always looks very comfortable lying in the commons. That there must be a probe into Kwasi Kwarteng’s comments about the Standards Commissioner, and an investigation into Johnson’s holiday. Is it investigations that are needed when it feels very much right there in front of us that this is all clearly corruption? Perhaps a trip to Specsavers would be more appropriate but my concern is that Starmer would refuse to do the eye test until he’d heard what a focus group said what each letter was first. It’s not easy for them to act as a moral pariah in the same week as former Labour MP and always Noh-Face from spirited away Claudia Webbe was found guilty of harassment and given a suspended jail sentence. Though to be fair, Labour are now calling for her to resign as an MP whereas if she’d been in the Conservative Party they’d have voted to change the definition of harassment so it didn’t include what she’d done and then promoted her to minister for kindness or something. The party also admitted this week that there had been a data breach of its members and supporters’ information, after a cyberattack on the third party that handles their data but luckily that should now only affect the 3 people that have stayed. Actually though, lots of people who used to be members were also emailed about the breach meaning Labour have kept their data even after leaving. Still, I suppose it’s useful to them to have a bunch of contacts they can ask what the leadership campaign pledges were that Starmer said he’d carry out as he seems to have completely forgotten.


The public are very away that politics and sleaze go together like the Prime Minister and horrifically inappropriately timed holidays. Whether or not anything will change remains to be seen, or if like in years past, MPs will just find new ways to do it so it’s not as obvious and Paterson will be used as a scapegoat for getting rid of all the corruption until he coughs up £3m for a peerage. By the time you hear this podcast there will have been a 3-hour emergency debate on parliamentary standards, which was started by minister Stephen Barclay apologising for the vote last week. A smart choice as he was clearly chosen on account of him being so forgettable no one will remember that the government said sorry for something. Why was Stephen Barclay leading it? Well Boris Johnson couldn’t as he had a pre-arranged visit to a hospital in the Northeast. What a coincidence eh?


In other news, as Cop26 enters its second and final week, Boris Johnson has urged delegates to ‘drive for the line’, showing yet again how clueless he is as getting the train to the line would be heaps better for the planet. Over 100,000 protestors marched in Glasgow for action on climate change but were criticised by some media outlets for not providing enough detail, but I’d argue that means they’re just as clued up as everyone inside the Cop26 on exactly how to fix everything going on fire. Week one of Cop26 saw some promising agreements on deforestation by countries such as Brazil who were previously insistent on getting rid of all the Amazon except a small strip in the middle. US President and cartoon tortoise Joe Biden said methane reduction has been game changing, because at his age I guess that can be a big problem. More than 40 countries have agreed to stop using coal too, but Australia didn’t sign and their resources minister, the appropriately named Keith Pitt who also looks like he’s been recently dug up, said they expect to be selling coal decades into the future which is not only careless but ignores that if they keep doing that it’ll be a lot harder for them to dive for coal than it currently is to mine it. Despotic morph suit Jeff Bezos gave a speech where he said his flight to space made him realise how finite and fragile the world is, which probably means he’ll try to put it in an overly large cardboard box with a ton of brown paper. Bezos pledged $2bn for land restoration in Africa, but his company Amazon generate millions of tons of plastic waste around the world and its carbon emissions have increased in past years and not just from Bezos’s penis rocket flying to space. Someone needs to suggest to him based on previous purchases that maybe he’d like to do something actually fucking useful.


The government’s own figures show that Brexit losses are 178 times bigger than all the trade deals Johnson’s government have gained but at the same time fair play they’ve shown everyone who mocked Johnson saying it was ‘do or die’ by managing to both do and die at the same time. Keir Starmer said that Labour would make Brexit work. Not sure how they’d do that unless they can train it to be an HGV driver.


And lastly that tricksy Covid is still about, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer and giant baby Jonathan Van Tam has warned that there are hard months to come in the UK, which is a relief as I was quite worried but now it just sounds like he’s describing every winter. Health Secretary and when he wears a face mask, he legit looks like an egg in an egg cup Sajid Javid says that everyone must get booster jabs to enjoy Christmas, so I’d love to see the look on his kids faces as they unwrap a batch of those from under the tree instead of a new bike.




Hey hey hey ParPolBrods. I’ve got big news for the podcast this week. I know I always say my one rule on this show is not to have party politicians on it and I try to not have any particular bias towards one or the other and equally despair at everyone. But following just how corrupt the government are being, I am now breaking this rule my very goddamn self as I have been made Minister for Cheery Pessimism in the Monster Raving Loony Party and that does mean I will show unquestionable bias towards my favourite party from now on. I mean, the reason I first got into politics was the MRLP who when I was 6 had a pledge that as well as a hot and cold water tap in every home, they’d also have a custard and jelly one and boy oh boy did I wish I could vote. I still hope that comes true one day. I didn’t even have to pay £3m for my peerage, or in fact anything at all, but I am now Lord Douieb according to the Loonys and I will happily take on that definitely official mantle. I can now put that on things, can’t I? I don’t know what things as I don’t have a business card and rarely write letters, but I might start doing both those things just so I can add my new title. Let me know if you’d like a letter and which one of the 26 you’d prefer and I’ll send it over.


Exciting news aside, that was quite a fun week of news, wasn’t it? I did enjoy watching politics actually not be good for some terrible people for once and I weirdly found hope in the government having to U-turn from an awful decision because no one liked it. If only they could also all not like all the other awful shit they do then maybe it might work out? No? Oh well. I had a moment of realising my own total moral failure this weekend. I wanted to go on the climate march but was too shattered to, and instead took my daughter to her first fireworks display where people lit a bonfire. It very much felt like I’d made the wrong choices, but I suppose I justified it in my feeble head by thinking if those 12 companies that cause 70% of all the pollution just fucking didn’t and Jeff Bezos didn’t go to space like a prick, then we could enjoy a bonfire. Because they’re great. I’m very much someone who at my age still likes fireworks though that is because my daughter is of an age where she finds them exciting, and I will no doubt return to thinking they are largely all the same as soon as she loses interest. I do wish they’d make some different ones though. Ooh a circle, ooh a line. Boring. I want one that spells out messages of hope, or better yet looks like Jeff Bezos’s penis ship going to space but then explodes. Something to really cheer us up.


Must get on with this week’s show as there’s lots in it, but just to let you know that if you like the music on this here podcast, you’ll probably know that it’s all beats I steal from my brother, producer, and rapper The Last Skeptik. Well, he has a new album out that everyone, including even me, is liking. It’s called ‘you don’t like me but I’m still here’ and you should get that from whichever places you get music from.


On this week’s show I am speaking to James Murray from Business Green about Cop26 and if there’s any hope in it at all. I spoke to him before I went to see a pile of wood get set on fire and I’m pleased it was that way round or I’d have felt too guilty to ask him questions. In the middle, a little sleaze if you please, or if you don’t please.






One of the real bonuses of the pandemic was that for a short while, being terrified of a virus and barely going outside, really made me forget my eco-anxiety. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t check the weather then immediately assume it’s a pre-cursor to us thinking ‘oh that’s why they’ve never found Atlantis’ as we’re submerged by a sharknado. To me, if I was in charge of everything, or indeed, anything, I’d just ban all polluting industries overnight, have everyone’s overly large diesel 4x4s compacted and turned into shelters for wildlife, renewable energy developments put in place and Greg Wallace would be imprisoned in a cell, miles underground never to be seen again. That last one has nothing to do with climate change, I just think it’d make the planet a happier place. I simply cannot fathom why anyone would risk the fate of the place we live in order to get more cash when ultimately, you can’t fight a sharknado by throwing £50s at it. I always imagine a billionaire like Jeff Bezos staring out at a fire covered, withered landscape and feeling so alone that he tries desperately to buy the friendship of a giant cockroach. So knowing that Cop26 was going ahead this year, didn’t fill me with hope that the same business and global leaders who’d been happily digging up fossils to burn would now suddenly have an about turn and go green. But its businesses and global leaders that started it, which means that depressingly, and in many ways as it should be, they also play a part in ending it, and many policies that have emerged from the past week of the conference have been promising. More than 100 world leaders have promised to end deforestation, though already some of them are complaining that the pledge means they won’t be able to build things they wanted to rather than breathing properly. There were pledges to reduce methane emissions, no you’re sniggering, sustainable food development, 40 countries signed to reduce coal though sadly not the biggest coal users, and money has been pledged to help developing nations achieve goals some of the rich countries giving money haven’t signed up to. But will the leaders go through with these pledges? And how much hope is there that are really thinking about how time is running out when the conference queueing system meant it’s been taking attendees over 4 hours to get in? Is Cop26 a beacon of hope or do I need to keep doing my sad eyes when I see people under 30 and get planning different dust recipes?


This week I spoke to James Murray, Editor of Business Green, the UK’s leading website for green business news and analysis. James is superb at making green policies in the world of suits understandable and as you hear this, he’ll likely be at Cop26 live tweeting the progress of just what’s happening and what it means. I spoke to him just before he headed to Glasgow during week one of the conference and he kindly took time out of what is a stupidly busy few weeks for him, in order to explain to me just why Cop26 is important and even, possibly, hopeful too. Here’s James…



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





You might be asking, just what did Owen Paterson do wrong though eh? Isn’t he just setting an example to all those workshy lot that there he was, doing several jobs at once? Yeah! Except actually he sort of wasn’t doing the main job he was meant to do, while doing two others that he really wasn’t allowed to in the manner that he was. I’m not going to pretend that lobbying rules aren’t vague and confusing, but while its definitely to do with the fact he was giving companies access to the government in a way they shouldn’t be, it’s also about how he wasn’t really saying that’s what he was doing. So weirdly, he may have got away with it if he’d just very openly popped on the register of member’s financial interests ‘yes I’m reaping in dosh from agrochemicals and clinical diagnostics. No agrochemicals aren’t the most ill-tempered ones. Paterson lost his job as Environment Secretary in 2014. You may remember his time in that post was blighted by constant issues with badgers, no doubt as it emerged later he’s really not keen on anything being clearly black and white. This company was called UK2020 and Paterson said it was a Conservative thinktank which can’t have been true as those words all cancel each other out. It published reports on things like the environment or the NHS but it was all funded privately and donated tons of money to Paterson for things like overseas trips. Rather than list it in the register of member’s financial interests, he just said all the funding came from the thinktank so it wasn’t publicly available who was actually doing it. I may also use this excuse when buying things I shouldn’t. Er yes, that Playstation 5 that’s arrived was just er, funded by the thinktank. No I haven’t used the credit card inappropriately. Stop asking questions.


The Guardian paper found two donors to UK 2020: a trade association representing agrochemical manufacturers, and clinical diagnostics company Randox Laboratories which paid for Paterson’s thinktank to publish a report in 2016 that said why the NHS was not as good as health services in other countries that used insurance systems. Randox also hired Paterson as a consultant from 2015, paying him £100,000 a year, and he then lobbied for them loads and got them meetings with kindness abyss Priti Patel who was international secretary at the time. So actually, I say he worked for them but if I paid someone £100,000 and it meant I had to meet Priti Patel, I’d want an instant refund as I could get the same experience staring at racist graffiti on a toilet wall for free. He also helped them lobby the food standards agency to use Randox’s technology to scan for antibiotic residues in milk, because they had tested UK milk and it was full of the stuff apparently. But they couldn’t say where the milk was from and the FSA didn’t recognise Randox’s testing methods so nope to them. In 2016, Paterson also started working for Lynn’s country foods, a Northern Irish company like Randox, which sells Finnebrougue’s Naked Bacon, a supposedly health alternative to bacon so I’m guessing it doesn’t contain any actual bacon. Paterson helped them lobby the Food Standards Agency so they wouldn’t have to put it on the label that actually their bacon did contain an additive, and no, not just whatever causes the smell of bacon, but it didn’t work and again you wonder if Lynn’s country foods had started to regret their hiring process.


During the pandemic Randox were awarded a £133m contract to deliver Covid testing, which they then failed on due to a lack of equipment to deliver it, and 750,000 kits they made were considered unsafe and left care homes without testing. They were then punished for this failure by being given another £347m contract –  or maybe it was further apology for them having to meet Priti Patel in which case, fair –  and just before they signed it, while being advised by Paterson, they relocated to the Isle of Man which has a 0% corporate tax rate. Because you know, there’s only one man there and corporations isn’t people. This contract was handed to Randox by useless gerbil person Dido Harding, who much like Paterson’s late wife, sat on the board for the Jockey Club. A club that had many infrastructure investments in Newmarket, the constituency of former health secretary and what if one of the guards in Squid Game just had a stupid face drawn on their mask Matt Hancock. The Jockey Club’s biggest annual event also happens to be the Randox Health Grand National. Randox say Paterson had nothing to do with those contracts being awarded, maybe because he didn’t have to by that point. And Owen Paterson insists he is innocent of any wrongdoing, the investigation into him was unfair, and he only worked for those companies in the interest of public health and safety. Which is funny because the only time he’s really done anything for any of those areas was when he stepped down as MP, and as a consultant for those companies meaning there is a greater chance of the public actually getting tests that work next time and bacon that isn’t weird.


Of course, Paterson resigned before he could be suspended or face a by-election because as he’s learned from colleagues before him, it’s much better just to fuck off and let everyone else clear up your mess before blaming it on someone else. A by-election is now going to be scheduled but Paterson won it with a 22,000 majority so even with the whole sleaze thing it’s unlikely to change from being a Conservative constituency because voters love the possibility of someone who won’t remotely work for them as they’re too busy doing several other jobs. And as for parliament’s anti-sleaze system? It’s pretty unclear what will happen to that just yet, but I suppose there’s still a chance a new Standards Commissioner will be brought in and hey, funnily enough, you know who knows all about standards and is currently looking for a job right now?



And now back to James…




Very grateful to James for having time amidst his relentless Cop26 reporting to have a chat with me. You can find James on Twitter @James_BG, Business Green’s site is or they’re on Twitter and Facebook at Business Green. James and Business Green also run the Net Zero Festival. This year’s happened at the end of Sept, but you can still watch some of the content online at


Currently still looking for people to interview on, well, corruption in politics & lobbying, Afghanistan, and well a whole heap of things I’ve missed or not yet covered on this show. Got ideas? About guests that is, don’t tell me about your inventions for an app that tells you how far away you are from a melon at all times. I don’t want that. So guest suggestions only, no Canteloupe station pitches or whatever, to





And that’s it for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. If you cling onto this show like an audio loving barnacle, then why not suggest it to others who may wish to cling onto its side and er, filter food particles…look, just tell other people who might like it to have a listen, like the Cirripedia arthropods they are the resonation hungry versions of. Which I wouldn’t tell them as that isn’t very flattering. Nor is calling you barnacles. Look, what I’m trying to say is please spread the word, like a word spreading limpet. If you can, donate to the and even give the show a review otherwise you’re just shellfish.


Thanks a bunch of banana republics to Acast, my brother The Last Skeptik and to Kat Day.


This will be back next week when its decided MPs standards will be regulated by a standard bearer who’ll sit at the side of the Commons. This plan is scrapped when Johnson tries to give the job to Owen Paterson in return for £3000 and a sticky bun.




This week’s show was sponsored by sheer coincidence.



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