Its Hot Union Member Summer and everyone’s on strike, but none of it is the government’s responsibility because they know that increasing wages will just lead to inflation that’s already happened while no one’s had wage increases. Makes sense right? Meanwhile, in the US, the Supreme Court has reversed time by 50 years but sadly not in a way that allows anyone to take out the justices before they were born.
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Hello and welcome to the Partly Political Broadcast, the comedy politics podcast that is always pro-choice except of course when it comes to which comedy politics podcast you should listen to. I’m Tiernan Douieb and this week as the US Supreme Court overturns the Roe Vs Wade decision meaning at least half of all women across America are denied the right to an abortion, it really doesn’t help pro-lifers’ arguments that foetuses are human when there are justices in their 70’s who still haven’t developed enough to be considered anything close.
Many question the strength of people power, and yet even the Conservatives last week had to accept that the combined might of those wanting change could indeed cause it. Not the changes the rail workers on the picket lines might have wanted but instead changes, somehow to the fabric of reality. Yes, according to the Prime Minister and a dead leg but as a whole person Boris Johnson, workers very simply asking if they could have enough of a pay raise to survive the cost-of-living crisis, could lead to the high inflation we’ve already got while no one’s had a pay rise. Sure, inflation is at 9%, a 40-year high, but that is simply – and this must be the only explanation – the fault of you public, yes you, wishing you could afford to pay your energy bills with the money you earn by doing your job. And those thoughts, those silly negative thoughts, are causing ripples in reality that are usually controlled only by CEOs who are paid endless billions in order to keep things exactly as they are. You might think they are doing nothing farting away on golf courses or funding hate campaigns but actually they’re like paper weights for the essence of our existence, and that’s tough work. It’s all well and good RMT General Secretary and what if Professor X schooled everyone Mick Lynch saying ‘we refuse to be poor anymore’ but he’ll be sorry when the inflation we’ve already got only happened in the future past because people were already poor and then wished they weren’t, and it affected the entire space/time continuum. It’s a bit like how the war in Ukraine is responsible for the worker shortages, food shortages and fuel price increases that all happened in Britain before the war in Ukraine even started. Yes, it is complicated and you, yes you there the public, couldn’t possibly begin to understand just how powerful you are or how these things work and if you were responsible types, you’d all back down and die of hunger quietly. Think of it like the butterfly effect. You know? Where if a butterfly flaps its wings on the other side of the planet, Boris Johnson will insist that that flying insect is the very reason he’s so shit at everything, and the country is falling apart. Then all the papers will put up front pages with a war on butterflies and before you know it, it’ll turn out that butterfly that has long since died has directly taken the food off your plate, caused a pandemic and is sponsored by the Labour Party who deny this and condemn any of its MPs who appear anywhere near a butterfly or butter or flies or anything with a repeating pattern.
Railway workers took three days of action last week, protesting on picket lines against the three years of no pay rises and in real terms pay cuts, extended hours of work and now fire and rehire solutions posed by the rail bosses who have somehow got their jobs at the top despite having no clue how to send the right signals to anyone. The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, a man so inherently unlikeable as a child his imaginary friends found excuses to avoid him, insisted that the government have no role in handling the dispute as though the only reason he has his specific job is because of how often the rest of the cabinet throw him under the bus. Shapps refused to sit round the negotiating table, instead complaining that RMT union leaders walked out of talks that didn’t happen and if they had, Shapps wouldn’t have attended himself anyway so I’ve no idea how he’d have known if they had. I wonder if Grant Shapps many aliases are indeed his different personalities and he wakes up in strange locations not entirely sure if Michael Green or Corrinne Stockheath attended these talks instead of him or if they even happened. He is responsible for 15 train operators whose contracts mean they can’t negotiate workers pay without the Department of Transport’s approval. But is he responsible for them? Did he get the job or did Sebastian Fox and Shapps here is just trying to sweat it out until things make sense again or one of the more sensible minds inside him takes over? The Transport Secretary doesn’t think railway workers have inadequate pay as the median salary for train drivers is £59,000 compared with £31,000 for a nurse. But as train drivers weren’t on strike last week, all the other railway staff were who are underpaid, all this show is that nurses also don’t get paid enough. With potential NHS strikes being planned, where will government ministers resort to then to prove that actually, they get decent pay too? Think you’ll find the median pay of nurses is £31,000 compared to a child who works for 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon at Game. Well actually the median pay of a child who does part time in retail is considerably more than a voluntary worker so they do pretty well. Voluntary workers get a take home of free tea and coffee so they are far better off than people who died. Dead people don’t pay bills so it all ends up balancing out. The government say fewer people are using the railways since the pandemic so changes like redundancies need to be made, but they also got upset that the strikes meant people couldn’t travel anywhere even though they apparently aren’t anyway. Rather than actually just allow train operators to pay their staff properly, Shapps touted the idea that agency workers could stand in when staff are on strike, thus allowing the trains to run properly if you think properly is having someone in the signal box who got temp of the week and landed this role as they had a brio set when they were 7. Criminal Barristers in England and Wales are on strike this week, what’s the government’s plan there? To hire in agency workers that have watched a lot of Judge Judy so can step in at a moment’s notice? Then again, the entire cabinet is full of people who have zero comprehension of the areas they are in charge of so why not assume that can work for everyone else?
The season’s fashion trend you should be glad to hear, is hi-vis jackets on the picket line. That’s right, its hot union member summer and anyone can join in and hopefully will. There is a lot of support for it too, with exceptions being people who also want better conditions and pay rises but can’t be arsed to put the work in for it so slag off anyone who does. I understand that. It’s the same way I get angry about people who are super healthy. British Airways staff have announced several days of action in August, and teachers and NHS staff also discussing strikes as they should, with Conservatives MPs mainly complaining about the disruption it will cause to other people who then can’t get to their underpaid jobs that they’re being exploited at. Here’s an idea, if everyone goes on strike at the same time and brings this country to a stand-still, no one will be inconvenienced by anyone else being on strike, will they? The government line is that this industrial action is all Labour’s fault somehow, which only makes sense if the Conservatives are angry at having been elected at all and wished someone more likely to hand out decent wages was in charge. The current Labour Party aren’t likely to do that either though as they banned their front bench from attending strike action and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, the early stages image of a how to draw a cartoon using only circles, saying that a serious party of government doesn’t join picket lines. No of course not, nothing says serious party of government than one that doesn’t want to get the votes of absolutely anyone. Perhaps this is their game plan, to be too watered-down Tory to get the Conservative votes, while also pissing off workers and indeed everyone else until the only support they have is from 13-year-olds who hate everyone and just want them to go away. If Labour, the party with historic links to workers and unions, doesn’t want to support unions during the times of union action then who is it they represent? Is their party colour red, now just the shade we all go out of constant embarrassment for them? Labour Leader and Henry Hoover’s unpopular cousin Keir Starmer has been urging his cabinet to stop briefing the press that he is boring, but he is boring. He’s the actual absence of anything interesting. Starmer’s entire presence seems to serve only to boost the popularity of watching paint dry. What could be more boring than a refusal to propose any actual change at all, through the nasal tones of someone who talks like they’re doing an impression of a broken air conditioning unit?
Labour’s tactic seems to be to not rocking any boats in even the slightest of waves, instead mooring them and cementing them firmly in the middle of the road, then hoping the Tories implode and they can get into power without having to do anything anyone actually wants. Then, everyone will say, oh well they’re not as bad as the last lot because the Tories did terrible things and this lot do absolutely nothing which is better. Based on last week’s by-election results, this might work. The Conservatives lost the seat formerly held by a paedophile in Wakefield to Labour, while the seat formerly held by a tractor wanker in Tiverton and Honiton went to the Lib Dems. The latter was the biggest blow to the government as that seat has been Tory for all of time on account of most residents being mostly rural and therefore full of people who don’t see many other humans and can get away with wishing most of them were dead. Labour said they were rebuilding the red wall with their win, so they’d just better hope the construction workers doing it don’t campaign for better conditions or it’ll get awkward. The Lib Dems celebrated their victory by positioning a blue door with Simpson’s style writing on it, presumably because they are the party colour and also cartoons that do endlessly embarrassing things. The writing said ‘it’s time to show Boris the door’ and sadly it lead to nowhere, not even a room behind it for everyone to go and cringe in until they died. It’s been more than 30 years since a government lost two by-elections in one day so it is at least consistent of the Conservatives to be taking everything back to at least the 80s. Oliver Dowden, who if it turned out was a serial killer would only get witness statements from neighbours saying ‘yeah makes sense, thought so’, he resigned from his position as Party Chairman, saying these were the latest in a run of poor results for the party and someone should take responsibility for the losses. Not him though, which is why he quit. And it’s that sort of complete shirking of accountability that shows why he was the perfect party chairman and they’ll struggle to replace him with anyone quite as embracing of the government’s ethos of absolutely pretending its all someone else’s fault. Dowden was meant to do the morning interviews, but then resigned and no one else stepped in as the party clearly had to work out how to sell that this wasn’t as bad as it looked. One Tory talking point has been how cumulatively if you add up all their votes in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, the Conservatives got more than Labour or the Lib Dems and so that’s what matters. But it only matters for last week’s elections and not the last general election in 2019 where overall more people didn’t vote Conservative but that doesn’t count as that’s not how that election worked. Keep up. There are enough Conservative voters in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton that were they to all hang out and form a new constituency and then all the other people there didn’t choose to vote tactically for whichever party was likely to beat them, and indeed if every other person there just vanished and the ballot papers only had one option on it and it was Conservative then they would have won. So, you know, it’s not as bad as it looks. The Attorney General and worst of the house elves Suella Braverman and the Health Secretary and sad grape Sajid Javid were two of many Conservatives who accused Labour and the Liberal Democrats of having an illegal electoral pact, which isn’t illegal and isn’t unlike the one the Conservatives had with the Lib Dems. Or DUP. Or Brexit Party. Basically, they just don’t like it when no one joins their friendship group. No such pact seems to exist and it was just voters voting tactically, something that must be confusing for the government as that requires careful planning rather than just doing something on a whim and blaming someone else for it when it doesn’t work.
The Prime Minister was away in Rwanda, sadly not having been deported there for processing despite being a criminal and born in another country. He responded to the losses by saying he would listen to the voters, but will also keep going, which is the sort of reply that makes you realise why he has so many kids. Johnson had a sinus operation earlier in the week, which you’d hope would mean he’d be able to smell the bullshit coming from his mouth even more clearly. Sadly, though the blockage that he had, of whatever substance it was, was just taking up space his ego needed to expand into, and he is insistent he’s actively thinking about a third term as Prime Minister, into the 2030’s because what better way to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Second World War than be exactly re-enacting the rise of fascism that lead to it in the years before. But will he make it to the end of his first term? He definitely strikes me as someone who’s has issues with being premature in finishing. One anonymous Tory MP, because they didn’t give their name and not just because they blend into the amorphous grey blob on the backbenches, said that Johnson was like a disease, which I assume means they’ll ignore keep ignoring him and tell everyone he’s gone when he hasn’t. The 1922 committee has had a new wave of letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister, demanding the rules be changed so that there can be another vote as current rules should mean there can’t be for another year. Still, it’s very Tory to just keeping changing the rules till they work for you isn’t it? There were rumours that some Conservative MPs were considering defecting to Labour, but these have been quashed probably on account of it not counting as defecting if all you have to do is change your Twitter bio slightly. To add to what is now an encyclopaedic tome of awful shit Johnson has done or at least tried to do, a story was broken last week that he had attemped to get a Tory donor to give him £150,000 to build a treehouse at Chequers for his 19th son Wilf, but there were security concerns that it could be seen from the roadside and it was scrapped. £150,000 for a treehouse? Why so much money? Was it because it had to be equipped with enough things for Wilf to be able to look after himself when Johnson forgot his was there and drove back to No.10 without him? And what did the donor want in return for the money because he landed quite a few government contracts after that which meant it was clearly worth him branching into. A No.10 spokesperson wouldn’t confirm or deny the story saying it was a private or family matter, except Chequers is a public property and a rich Tory donor may have got public contracts for it so it’s definitely public interest. Not least so we can all find out exactly who never to order a treehouse from as they clearly overprice it.
Johnson is currently at the G7 in Germany, because it’s clear no one wants him around here, while he endlessly bangs on about Ukraine as though he’s actually doing anything about it. The British government have announced new sanctions on Russian exports meaning all they’ll have to rely on is Conservative Party investments. The British government are also loaning money to Ukraine, though obviously people there must understand that if they want money to live it’ll probably cause inflation to happen in the past and they’ll have to accept that. Johnson only ever brings up Ukraine now whenever he’s in trouble and it must be great for all the people currently suffering under bombardment from Russia that they are fighting not for their country, but to keep an idiot in his job. On the same day the UK celebrated, ha, it being 6 years since the Brexit vote, the EU granted the Ukraine the status of a candidate to join but I suppose you have to do what you can to stop the British PM from visiting all the time.
As I’m recording this MPs are voting on the 2nd reading of the Northern Ireland protocol. I’m guessing it will pass despite breaking international laws. When asked why she put forward a law that does this, Foreign Secretary and like having a conversation with an emptying bath Liz Truss said that it was because she is a patriot. I suppose that makes sense, in the way that someone might love something so much they’d rather kill it than let anyone else have it.
In other news, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, how AI might render a toothbrush getting ready for school, has defended the likely pensions rise of 10% in line with inflation saying they are among the most vulnerable in society. Yes, usually asking them to pay rent. That is actually not fair as 18% of pensioners are in poverty in the UK but at least they don’t have to work while not affording things. It does make sense that pensioners are given extra income though, especially as they’ll now have to pay for their own social care while housing their children and grandchildren at the same time. Sajid Javid has announced that there could be further cuts to NHS funding as there’s no quick cure for the A&E crisis. That’s proof right there he shouldn’t be health secretary. If you have a long term condition, it’s not helped by cuts. You wouldn’t have a patient with a complicated chronic condition and then tell them ‘there’s no quick cure for this’ before slicing away at their thigh. Javid says pouring money into the NHS is unfair to young people, which is true because if they had a functioning health care system the chances they’d actually have to live through the bleak future are even higher. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, a man who is definitely an early Skynet creation, has unveiled plans to override the Human rights Act because he isn’t one so he doesn’t need them. The Bill of Rights, so called because it enables fascism, erodes most peoples rights so the government become even more untouchable – no I know no one wants to touch them anyway and yes unwanted touching is one of the major problems in parliament right now – and will give them greater power to carry out human rights abuses. Raab though says it will strengthen our UK tradition of freedom whilst injecting a healthy dose of common sense into the system, which I think translated means the only way we’ll think we’re in a democracy is if we’re hooked on drugs and imagining we’re almost anywhere else.
It has been 6 years since the referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU, and Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg who every night the ratlings call to return to the witch house, he’s listed the main benefits of us leaving being an avoidance of a cost rise in fish fingers, presumably because they’re a lot cheaper now all the British fish are largely covered in piss and shit. The government have revealed they won’t actually be doing an assessment about whether Brexit was a success or not, which is good as it’d be time and money when everyone around the country could tell you for free that it’s fucked everything up. The Resolution Foundation thinktank released their Big Brexit report which states that it is indeed making the cost-of-living crisis worse. Still though, imagine if we hadn’t gone and everyone had all those work opportunities in years to come. Then just who knows how much inflation would’ve been in 2015.
In hateful rich testicles news, media mogul and proof that money can’t stop your face collapsing in on itself as an attempt to save humanity Rupert Murdoch is divorcing from his wife of six years, model and ‘I wonder what she sees in billionaire Murdoch’ Jerry Hall. I suppose he has made it clear he hates unions. And other newshole and miserable forehead Paul Dacre, after failing to get the OfCom Chair job, is being given a peerage. No not as a Sith Lord, though he’d love wearing the black shirts. Instead it’s for the House of Lords, the very chamber his paper the Daily Mail have campaigned to get rid of several times with one headline calling it the House of Unelected Wreckers. Oh wait, that’s why Dacre would fit in perfectly.
And lastly, in America, the Supreme Court voted to overturn the landmark Roe vs Wade decision, meaning that currently in 7 states and more to come, abortion is illegal because of fears that gunmen will run of out of kids to shoot in the schools and then who’ll keep the assault rifle sales going? Years of having radioactive melanoma Donald Trump as President is, ironically, still giving birth to shitty policies upheld by extreme religious people who weren’t even that bothered about abortion rights till the 70s. Policies that will not only take away women’s rights over their own body, but also threatens the lives of many, empowers abusers and justifies the recommissioning of the Handmaid’s Tale even though we all know it should’ve only been three seasons long. The Supreme Court are unelected so the only way to change this is for individual states to refuse to have their own progressive policies or for the US President and constantly deflating child’s balloon Joe Biden to increase the amount of judges in the court so there are an overwhelming amount of democrats and can win votes. But currently there doesn’t seem to be an interest in that as they much prefer using the repealing of rights to crowd fund their election campaign while occasionally doing shit poems about it. It is very much looking like the US is now an ethno-Christian fascist nation, but on the plus side, maybe it’s now time for some of those Middle eastern countries to return the favour and invade them with the aim of bringing progressive politics and democracy to the people.
Hey! It’s back after my one week away which I won’t call a holiday because going away with a kid is not that. It is, to quote the very funny Pippa Evans who was quoting a friend, going somewhere different for a week with a child. Yep. From the second we arrived all my daughter, sorry agent, did was complain ‘when are we going home?’ until we got home, and she got sad we weren’t on holiday. Sigh. It was however amazing to just be somewhere else for a week and I managed to read 4 books which is more than I’ve done in 4 years, so that was incredible and I mostly managed to avoid talking to anyone so that was also a win and it’s the last time we could go away outside of school holidays so probably the last time we’ll go away so you know, it’s nice we managed it. Big support and solidarity to everyone who was on strike last week with RMT and is on strike this week on the criminal bar and will be on strike. Honestly, we should all just strike all at once and bring the country to a stand still for a day or two. It’d be glorious and also basically like the jubilee weekend but without the unnecessary royal adulation and probably better street parties. The only thing is, as a freelancer, I can’t really strike as, well, no one would be able to tell. So I worry I’d ruin it or not be able to take part. What happens if all the freelancers strike? Does anyone care? Does anyone even notice? If a freelancer strikes in the middle of the working day and there’s no one around to read their sarcastic tweet about it, does anyone know?
I have no idea. What I do know is big thanks, can you know big thanks? Not sure. Big thanks to Freya, Lorette, Conal and Scott for the ko-fi donations which was super kind of you, and of course if you fancy lobbing me cash for you know, not doing a show for a week. I think that’s how it works. Then you can do a one off donation at ko-fi.com/parpolbro or join the patreon.com/parpolbro for regular handings over of cash. Acast, the pod platform this show gets ignored on, now has a thing called Acast+ where I could set it up, so if you wanted to you could pay a small monthly fee like £1 or something, and get this show without adverts on it. Would you want that? Is that worth it or does it just make yet another place to list in this already very boring weekly bit where I beg for cash? Let me know your thoughts. But you know, only your thoughts on that matter, not on all the other grim shit you think about. I don’t want to know. Stop it.
Oh, and there will be an interview again next week. Sorry there haven’t been many, but I have been emailing all of the people so you should get some proper sized episodes of this show filled with clever people saying why we should despair about everything, all bookended with my shit gags trying not to despair about everything.
But for now, its nice to be back and all that’s left on this ep is….
And that’s it for this week’s Partly Political Broadcast podcast. Muy appreciado to you and your ears for tuning in and of course, if this is your cup of tea, firstly, have you tried actual tea though? Honestly it does the job way better than this show. Secondly, thanks and why not tell other hoomans to give it a swig from a mug, perhaps donate to the ko-fi or join the patreon and maybe even give it a nice review on Apple Podcasts or similar pod home sites.
Muchas gracias to Acast, my brother The Last Skeptik and Kat Day.
This will be back next week when Boris Johnson announces that if you add up all the time he wasn’t doing something useless or corrupt he’s actually been really good at being Prime Minister. Several fact checking sites add it up and realise he’s still wrong.
This week’s show was sponsored by Keir Starmer’s books of exciting tales, featuring that time I went to the supermarket and they didn’t have the cheese I like. Riveting tales of when he thought he saw someone he knew but it turned out it was someone else. And the time he nearly joined a picket line because he thought it was a queue to the toilet. Keir Starmer’s Books of Exciting Tales, now available as an audio sleep aid.