Last Week Tonight with John Oliver host John Oliver is known for his viral TV rants about American politics, where he plays on his English outsider status to take pot-shots at President Trump, or ‘Drumpf’ as he’s christened him.
In a startling turnaround this week he moved closer to home—and spoke out on Brummie politics. He explained the electoral position in the UK and then launched into a routine all about the battle for the Birmingham Erdington seat in tomorrow’s election. For one reason or another—maybe the US public wasn’t ready to hear Oliver’s take on Cllr Robert Alden, or maybe censorship, or is it all fake news?—it never made it to the screen. But we have obtained a transcript…
Take my home town of Erdington, it’s supposed to be a safe Labour seat—that’s the Democrats, slightly angrier in worse clothes, but essentially the good guys—but it has become a marginal.
Or so the British media tells us. You can only really trust them to report two things: what’s on TV that evening, and that, yes, Pippa Middleton has indeed got a bottom.
But if it is now close in Erdington in Birmingham, this seems to be down to the personalities involved.
On the one hand, Jack Dromey a former union big wig who’s sort of semi-retired into being a Labour MP. On the other, Robert Alden who for some reason doesn’t seem to have ever had a proper job… almost as though his Dad was the Mayor and his mum is a councillor and wannabe MP too. Young Bobby has spent a lot of time in Erdington casting himself as the local compassionate conservative: all saving the bees, worrying about the environment, and opposing the opening of businesses and community centres which just happen to be run by immigrants.
So Dromey is a Labour guy from down south who got the gig for good behaviour, while Alden is a Tory who has put himself about the place fussing about bins and having photos taken cleaning up alleyways. And fair play to him. Have you seen some of the Erdington alleyways? I often saw them from the inside of those bins, where I was hiding from the local toughs after school. So, in some way thanks Bobby for keeping somewhere open for nerds to hide—after your lot closed all the youth clubs and cut the police.
You see the point is this: a vote for Robert Alden is a vote for the Conservative government. That’s the same conservative government who have forced cuts onto Birmingham Council—the same cuts which, as the leader of the local Conservative group in the council, Alden claims to oppose.
Now, Jack Dromey may look like a squashed cauliflower on top of a Burton’s window mannequin
but he’s about as likely to change his mind – he’s tribal labour, it’s all in the family, and that means attempting the best for normal people. Some people on the doorstep object to Jack because he’s married to Labour grandee Harriet Harman, like he’s some sort of cuck, and as though Bobby’s mom isn’t going to pick his ties out for him.
It’s like you’re being offered a choice between a grown man in a Lion King wig who’ll treat your public services like a fucking hyena and the volleyball from Castaway, who at least will vote the right way with Tom Hanks.
Alden thinks he’s Simba but actually he’s Timon and Pumbaa distracting you while Theresa May sneaks in to steal your kids’ lunches.
Animal caste systems are no basis for a system of government, and neither is hereditary councillorship. But in England it’s often the circle of life, in this case the Kingstanding Circle of life if you will.
Pauses for laugh but doesn’t get one
[aside] Kingstanding Circle is a place in Erdington, in Birmingham in Eng- aww, never mind
Oh, and one more thing—at the end of The Lion King Simba basically wins because it rains. No matter what the weather is like on June 8th, get out and vote—vote for the volleyball, vote for Harriet Harman’s husband, vote with Jeremy Corbyn, vote for the many not the few, for an Erdington with a future.
Hakuna Matata: it means No tories.
You may not think a mayor of the West Midlands is a good thing.
We’re getting one on Thursday anyway.
The mayor might not yet have all the powers we need to take back that control from Westminster, the devolution deal might not be a real deal for the people of the region. But the mayor will have powers, they’ll have influence, they’ll represent you to the country and the world – and they’ll do that soon after the close of polls on 4th May.
There will be choice on your ballot paper, and the choice will be between someone on the side of central government and someone who isn’t.
Is central government policy working for Birmingham and the West Midlands? A glance around at the people sleeping on the streets, the closed libraries, the lengthening hospital waiting lists say it isn’t.
Sutton has a Town council, they were even elected and everything rather that just being the last people propping up the bar at Moor Hall golf club when the motion was passed. The town had a referendum to set it up and allow them to add an additional charge to council tax in the ‘royal town’ – they get £1.8 million a year to spend.
But so far they’re struggling to find things to spend it on. They’ve decided to spunk invest half a million on a ‘CBSO play songs from the adverts concert in Sutton Park’—including ways to keep people without B72-76 postcodes out—but still £1.3 million remains. With the financial year end approaching from behind there are rumours of wolves circling with things like ‘civic wifi plans’ that will cost almost exactly the right amount.
We reckon there are better options. This is what £1.3 million could buy the residents of Sutton:
- Two cursed restaurants:
- There is only one cursed restaurant on the market in Sutton Coldfield right now, and it’ll use up half of the money in the kitty. There are some addresses where every business fails. Don Diego seemed to have broken the hoodoo of “the restaurant next to Ask” until its new owner decided to try to murder his staff in a diesel fire. Yeah, a diesel fire. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- 130,000 Freddos (pre-Brexit prices):
- In Sutton Coldfield they have both types of conservatism—big and small c. In an independent Sutton Coldfield children will be able to play football in the streets, you’ll be able to leave your front door open, and Freddos will only ever cost 10p. The town could afford to buy a lot of them with £1.3m and then control the retail price through subsidy. Only two school children will be allowed in the shop at any time.
- £1.3m will go a long way to overturn the local effects of national spending cuts. If you just look at one of Sutton’s secondaries, Arthur Terry School, you’re looking at a drop of £900k over the next 2 years—and that’s just one of the town’s state funded schools. If a surplus of £1.3m could be achieved year on year it would relieve a lot of pressure—go further by not bothering with classical music concerts and lumping the whole budget on the children.
- A wall around Perry Common:
- Possible disadvantages will include poor stock levels on the shelves at Tesco New Oscott when people can’t get to work, but Ocado does deliver to all Sutton postcodes.
- 10 buy-to-lets in Erdington
- Harry Redknapp’s dog’s wages at Blues
- A new ornate entrance to Sutton park for Andrew Mitchell MP, with a smaller ‘plebgate’ next to it.
- A back of a fag packet calculation here but we reckon you might be able to buy some books and pay some staff and provide a valued public service with all this money
- A shy Tory campaign in the mayoral elections: millions of leaflets, but no blue ink.
- John Lewises’ Andy Street has spent over a million so far on leaflets to every corner of the West Midlands in order to make cash pay in getting the job of Mayor. Scared of being held to account for the record of the Tories in Brum and Westminster he’s mostly been trying to pass himself off as a green or independent candidate: even in his letters to residents in Solihull where being a Tory is usually considered a plus.
- 260 biggest rabbits in the World.
- (Delivery not included) but they only have to come from Barnt Green.
Apologies to Conservative (yes, who knew?) mayoral candidate Andy ‘Mr John Lewises’ Street for this image macro. In a previous version we originally suggested the Tories had cut £.13bn from councils in the West Midlands Combined authority. The actual figure is at least ten times that at £1.3bn.
£1.3bn which — ironically for a campaign that is ‘shy Tory’ — is a conservative estimate as it includes some councils only up to 2104 and excludes police, fire and health service cuts in the area.
Please share this image and not the previous one, many thanks.
Villa’s defence have been doing the mannequin challenge since last season, way before the current craze started. And Birmingham is always ready to jump on such a bandwagon for promotional purposes, but what would a Birmingham mannequin challenge look like? Luckily we’ve got a leaked email from internet marketing guru Andre de Jong…
To: John.Clancy@birmingham.gov.uk From: Andre.De.Jong@zaphiks.in Re: Forward while standing still! 29th November 2016 11:03
Hey John Clancy!
How’s everything going? Not too worried that the new metro mayor will usurp all your powers? Good job on hiring Paul Dale btw, all the better to neuter any scrutiny. Anyway, Andre here, we met at the social media cafe thing, where the students are students and the PR people are nervous.
We’ve been brainstorming a thought shower for you on the new internets sensation. And the best bit is you don’t have to do anything at all. Literally Birmingham just has to stand still. Like under the Tory/Lib Dem coalition, am I right, JC?
So, how about we do a mannequin challenge with all of Brum’s great stars? We just set up a Brumagem Hogarthian tableau and film it. Then, profit!
I figure we do this at an artisanal street food market. If we can’t do it tomorrow then there’s another one the next day. And now the MDMA stall’s closed there’s not too much movement anyway.
So first we see the bar staff at the fighting Cocks—they have a craft beer pop-up and are moving speedily to serve you.
The pie stand has run out, and Steve Bruce is standing nearby looking embarrassed. Some Villa supporters are cheering him but there is a long queue made up of Blues fans, Remi Garde and Tim Sherwood who all look sad. The pie shop is run by Andy Street who is disappointed that he knowingly oversold.
Talking of the football, ex-Villa star Gareth Southgate is full of anticipation as a man from the FA looks like he might be about to give him a job sometime soon.
Lenny Henry is half way through delivering one of the many duties that BCU’s chancellor actually has. Maybe he’s sorting out the bins or something. Talking of bins, Marco Pierre White’s team from the restaurant at the top of the Cube are doing ‘everything they can’ to clean up and get a better safety certificate.
At a table with a laptop, Jess Phillips is writing a column. She’s done one word: “I”. Her husband is making a sandwich and picking up a good pay cheque.
Keith from the Prince of Wales is there with his laptop too: caught halfway through starting an online petition to stop something that isn’t happening happening.
The UB40s who like Jeremy Corbyn are running a falafel store. The UB40s who don’t like Jeremy Corbyn are telling people how falafel stores are so over.
Now the camera swings around to where the Mosley Labour Party are doing some voter ID, moving as quickly as ever to open the train station, and we keep moving over to the entrance to the market. Andrew Mitchell is caught having a nice joke with a police officer—he’s holding a gate open so the officer can wheel his bike through, and all is forgiven. Another police officer is buying some sourdough bread from Jamelia, but she’s insisting on seeing his ID before giving him the forces discount. You can never be too sure.
And who is next? Here’s Gisela Stewart! She has a bap of something pulled she thought she wanted but she seems a bit taken aback by the price. Careful what you wish for.
And then lastly the camera comes past Albert Bore who is looking in the back of a cupboard for the Capita contract.
Continuing the hot 2016 meme of unsecure private political comms, here’s another hacked correspondence from digital experience agency Zaphiks to their biggest client
To: Andy.Street@greaterbrumminghamlep.com From: Andre.De.Jong@zaphiks.in Re: Christmas Teasers — #boingboing 8th November 2016 14:02
How’s the shop going? I hope it is ready for Christmas because my goose is fat.
As you know the advert for your shop is super important for Christmas. So we started today the teaser campaign. It is very cool. The campaign is called “Boing Boing” and we went big on the #boingboing hashtag for it today.
I think some people think we made a mistake because we didn’t realise that the football fans of West Bromwich use this hashtag all the time, but actually it’s all part of the plan. The advert isn’t about a dog, that’s just a red Hollandse nieuwe haring. We’re bringing Christmas to the Midlands!
Yes actually the advert is a story about the “football widow” and her husband is at the big game doing boing bounce. How will they connect and talk? They’ll buy some things from the shop! Happy Christmas to everyone!
Here’s a rough cut for you.
Sure it’s a bit 1970s but it’s all very Brexit, and I think your mayor voters will like it a lot. Also the Labour guy likes this team, so it’s good for you mix it up a bit.
ps we just need to add the pay off now, what present can he get for her on the way home from the game? Do you sell Baggies hats and orange chips?
Psychologists say that your answer to this problem reveals a lot about you.
There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. On Camp Hill are the Camp Hill chords, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch over the Camp Hill chords. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track towards Moseley. The Camp Hill chords, however are not open.
Given that Martin Mullaney and the Labour lot have been promising the reopening of the Moseley and Kings Heath stations in a war of pledges to outdo each other for the last 15 years, despite it actually being in the gift of Centro (who are about to be shut) and now the WMCA who are desperate to spend all available money in the black county to pacify them about being part of Greater B’ham: what the fuck are you meant to do?
The zaphiks servers just aren’t secure…
To: Andy.Street@greaterbrumminghamlep.com From: Andre.De.Jong@zaphiks.in Re: All hail the Mayor!!! 9th September 2016 12:01
How’s the shop going?
I hear in the news that you fancy a knock at the big job, that’s super. Given your work in a similar but totally accountable position for the last few years I’m sure you have what it takes. Don’t listen to the naysayers, Andy, nor the voters!
You’ll need a media guy, it’s all about the advertising these days. Post-truth politics is the new thing so we can just lie all day. AND I still have Dion Dublin’s phone number, can you play dube cube Andy? We could get a load with your logo on.
I’ve already thought of some some slogans for you. How about:
- Taking back control (for exchange only within 28 days of purchase)
- ‘Best Midlands’, or something, it rhymes
- Street cleaning/Streets ahead/Street view something
- Andy Street: Serving the midlands (please take a ticket)
- Never knowingly undersold – not sure what this one means.
- We are the up to 99% off
- Build a Wallmart and make Asda pay for it! (They’re the same company, right?)
- If you want a digger for a neighbour, go to B+Q
- Eat the Rich tasty ready meals in our essentials range.
Btw what’s the best email to get you on now you’re moving on?
Every brummie has as much of a stake, and as much of a say, in deciding who runs the USA as they do in deciding who runs the council. As primary season swings into gear, it’s important to know what prospective Democratic Party nominees think of B-Town, so we present this primer for you:
Birmingham is a great city. I always think of it as England’s ‘Mo-town’, and like Detroit it has a history of industry and musical invention. As progressives we must stand together to preserve that legacy for everyone. This great city’s Floridian policies have secured a growing and prosperous young middle class but we mustn’t lose sight of the needs of those outside of it: the old, the sick, those out of work, and those young people who lack the skills and connections needed to work in creative industries. And let’s not forget that inequality and poverty affect women and children disproportionately, a fact which is even more apparent in Birmingham. I also remember how Brum’s Lunar Men were influential in the founding of our constitution and country, and of course I love Boon (series 1-3) repeats on PBS.
Bill loved the Malt House