Podcast (ep. 18): Conservative Conference, EU Referendum and Russia in Syria

David Cameron at Conservative Conference Manchester, October 2015 by the Conservatives

After three weeks apart Jazza and Jimmy are finally reunited, and the sexual tension has never been greater.

We discuss the protests and content at the Tory party conference in Manchester, the egg slinging, the leadership posturing, the weird standing and everything in between.

We then segway seamlessly into the EU referendum campaigns being launched and how scared Jazza is of leaving, before finally, offering some interesting perspectives on Russia choosing to barge it’s way into Syria. Is it such a bad thing?

Image Credit – David Cameron at Conservative Conference Manchester, October 2015 by the Conservatives

Anti-Tory protestors pelt conference goers with plastic balls

Ball Pit, October 2008 by Jeremy Keith

Further mischief at the Tory conference was on show on Monday as those entering the “ring of steel” were pelted with plastic balls as the police looked bemusedly on.

It follows a day of ugliness on Sunday in which journalists were spat on and one young Conservative was even hit in the forehead with an egg.

Image Credit – Ball Pit, October 2008 by Jeremy Keith

Tory staffer flees Corbyn rally in Crick chase

Tory Mike Watkinson at Corbyn rally Nuneaton, September 2015 by Channel 4

Though the Blairites repeatedly assert that the Tories are unmoved by the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party, the blues still appear to be sending undercover staffers to rallies of the hard left candidate.

That at least is the obvious conclusion from a video posted by Channel 4 in which Tory West Midlands press officer Mike Watkinson walked hurriedly away from a rally in Nuneaton after being confronted by Michael Crick, political correspondent at the broadcaster.

When contacted for comment by Crick the Conservatives confirmed their press officer was at the “public event”, but offered no explanation as to why he felt obliged to leave so soon.

Indeed at the time Crick asked if he was “Mr Watkinson from the Conservative party” the staffer replied that he did not know what the journalist was talking about, no doubt indicative of a sudden bout of amnesia.

For his part Corbyn said the man was welcome to stay, and aides of the likely Labour leader said that Watkinson had been the first person to show at the event.  

Future infiltrators of Corbyn rallies may wish to swap Watkinson’s copy of the Daily Mail for the Morning Star if they do not want to attract similar attention.

Image Credit – Mike Watkinson at Corbyn rally Nuneaton, September 2015 by Channel 4

Moats, Lingerie and Lords as Cameron appoints 26 Tory peers

A former MP who abused parliamentary expenses to clean his moat was among 26 Tory politicians and aides nominated for peerages in the dissolution honours on Thursday.

Douglas Hogg’s £2,200 claim captured the absurdity of the expenses scandal back in 2009, a sore spot between the public and Westminster to this day, and has already been branded “Lord Moat” by much of Fleet Street.

The 26 nominees from the Tories eclipsed those put forward by Labour and the Lib Dems, who combined have nominated only 19 peers.

The move by prime minister David Cameron is thought to be an effort to boost Tory numbers in the House of Lords, where the Conservatives do not have a majority.

But Meg Russell, of the constitution unit at University College London (UCL), told the BBC that the move was “inefficient” and “expensive”, whilst others have suggested the number of peers be reduced to make the editorial upper chamber more representative of the party balance in the Commons.

Taking to Twitter to protest, shadow leader of the House of Lords and former Labour MP Angela Smith said:

Paul Goodman, Conservative MP for Wycombe, also criticized the list online for failing to act on a manifesto pledge recognizing that “a cull is needed”, adding that House of Lords legitimacy was “hard to defend in an age that stresses democratic accountability.”

Other suspicious nominations include Michelle Mone, lingerie-model turned entrepreneur, who was recently chosen by the government to review how best to encourage startups in areas of high unemployment.

The furore has also already resurrected arguments about abolishing the House of Lords.

Kirsty Blackman, Scottish National Party (SNP) spokesperson on the House of Lords, denounced the dissolution honours as an “affront to democracy”, criticizing a system whereby disgraced MPs can “legislate for the rest of their lives without ever having to be accountable.”

The SNP don’t sit in the House of Lords, deeming it undemocratic.

Abolishing the Lords could have wider implications for abolishing the aristocracy and the royal family. A recent poll for YouGov revealed that many people want to see the royal family reduced, despite a 2012 Guardian/ICM poll showing that the Queen’s approval rating was at an all time high.

Image Credit – House of Lords by Erin Kirk-Cuomo

Podcast (ep.7): Is Oh My Vlog Racist? London’s Conservative Mayor & Donald Trump

In this week’s Podcast it’s Jazza, Jimmy AND John. Just one more member and we’re a Union J tribute act.

We discuss the new ‘dead-tree’ publication, Oh My Vlog! which focuses on the most popular in the YouTube community like Zoella, Joe Sugg and Alfie Deyes. Does the number of white faces show wider racism in the UK YouTube community and the mainstream media? Three white, privately educated men discuss.

The Conservatives have announced their shortlist for the London Mayoral Election and have snubbed Ivan Massow and Sol Campbell, two high profile candidates, in favour of Zac Goldsmith running against three nobodies. Is this the Tories announcing Goldsmith as their preferred Mayor in all but name? Yes, almost definitely.

And Donald Trump is the leader in the polls on the Republican side of the USA Presidential Elections. This is hilarious. We laugh a lot.