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From Politics to Podcasting

This human side is the side of politics people don’t see

From Politics to Podcasting

Jess Phillips, Yours Sincerely Podcast Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley & Host, Yours Sincerely Podcast, UK. Hosted by Fi Glover & Jane Garvey.

Jess said it is great to do a podcast where people talk about nice things in their life as opposed to being an MP which is about criticism.  She was asked if it was her idea, but she said no.  During lockdown she had a constituent who rang her to tell her she had put her husband in an ambulance and never saw him again.  This was week 3 of the Covid pandemic.  The constituent’s son and daughter were trying to see her but she was terrified she was going to kill her children by infecting them with Covid.  Overnight her life had changed.

This story made Jess write letters to her husband, children and friends to say the things she wanted to say to them before she died.  Jess tweeted this, and Audio Always got in touch with her and asked about making a podcast.

Fi said this human side is the side of politics people don’t see, but it is off the scale for MPs.  Jess replied that yes the human element of being an MP is like being a social worker, and that she runs her office like a community centre (because the Tories closed all the community centres in my constituency.)

Fi and Jane asked if Jess’ constituents are bothered by her making a podcast, Jess replied one of them is her producer.  People want to see their MP.  As an MP you have to get used to people disliking you, in fact you need to lean into it!  They like it by and large - and it is different having someone who is a bit of a celebrity as their MP.

Jane asked about being a host and Jess replied she is used to asking the questions that are un-askable.  She has had to ask people if they have been ritually raped or if they are immediately safe in the next 24 hours so has a lack of filter re asking people questions about their life because she has spent decades doing it.  Also as an MP she says she has a certain level of authority.

Fi asked about the level of sisterly support in government.  Jess said she read an article in the leadership contest that said stop calling Liz Truss stupid and said she believes Truss is no more stupid than Boris Johnson, but because she is a woman she gets called these names.  Sisterhood is not just one way in one party, Teresa May tried to put in lots of policies that were the same as Jess’s agenda but her sorority is on thin ice with Liz Truss’s decisions.

Fi asked if Jess listens to political podcasts.  Jess said she doesn’t, she finds some of them boyish.  But agreed that podcasts are giving nuances in the space of political news that the 24 hours news cycle does not allow for.  In podcasting people can discuss actual ideas.  Not looking for the line that lands in all the papers the next day.

Jess was asked who she might form a a duo with and she said she thought there was interest in the space between her ideas and someone with opposite views.  Maybe Boris Johnson as he is nothing like the person you see on the TV (she added he is not better, in many ways he is worse - but he is different).

Jess was asked, 'if you have a podcast, how do we get an MP to become a guest?'  Jess said MPs are widely available, but make it about what they are interested in.  Bad faith is killing our world - enter into the conversation like they are going to say yes.

She as also asked about whether the editorial of the podcast would change if her party was in power, she said yes, she was also asked what job she would like if Labour win the next election.  She said she would like Justice or home affairs and would mainstream the safety of women in every single policy.

Written by
Rosie Smith

Tue 4th October 2022