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June 01, 2023
Pod Save the UK
Don’t mess with a Baroness

In This Episode

Nish and Coco ask how we can save the UK from knife crime. It turns out we have evidence of what works – so why aren’t we doing it?


We meet Jon Yates, who leads a charity that has been given £200 million by the Home Office to research what works and then put it into practice. He’s trialling a targeted, interventionist approach, called ‘focused deterrence’ which helped Glasgow dramatically reduce violent crime. Those lessons are now going to be applied in 5 cities in the UK. One of those is Nottingham, a city that’s home to Dr Marcellus Baz, a community champion who turned his life around after being stabbed – what does he think of Jon’s plans?


Nish and Coco also cut through the rows about notebooks and WhatsApp messages to talk about why the Covid Inquiry really matters – they have a message for  the government “ don’t mess with a Baroness”. Plus we salute the Secret Tory and ask is the Post Office racist?


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Jon Yates, Chief Executive of the Youth Endowment Fund


Dr Marcellus Baz, founder and CEO of Switch Up, which supports young people away from crime in Nottinghamshire


Audio credits:


Sky News 







Nish Kumar Hi, this is Pod Save the UK.


Coco Khan I’m Coco Khan.


Nish Kumar I’m Nish Kumar.


Coco Khan And on today’s show we’re saving the UK from knife crime.


Nish Kumar We’ll meet the man who has £200 million burning a hole in his pocket.


Coco Khan That’s money he’s got from the government to find out what works and to actually put it into practice.


Nish Kumar Jon Yates will tell us his plans. And community worker and charity CEO Dr. Marcellus Baz Will tell us what he thinks of them.


Coco Khan Plus, has anybody seen Boris Johnson’s notebooks? Anyone?


Nish Kumar They’re almost certainly filled with drawings of penises.


Coco Khan So, Nish, how are you doing? I saw you strolling into the studio with your Beyoncé cap on. No, no, he’s got it on.


Nish Kumar I’m wearing my Beyoncé cap. Yes, I saw Beyonce on Monday.


Coco Khan When you wear it, is it so that everyone knows you saw Beyonce?


Nish Kumar Yeah. If anything, it’s too discreet. It just says Renaissance World Tour. I’d much rather it said I was in the presence of Beyonce. Yeah. I saw the Succession finale and Beyoncé within 24 hours of each other.


Coco Khan Wow.


Nish Kumar It was a real like it was a day of culture Monday for me.


Coco Khan Are you feeling really you must feel sort of emotionally drained after all that.


Nish Kumar Well, I think I think the Succession finale, without giving any way any spoilers, although if you’ve watched even a minute of the show, you’ll know. Bit of a downer. Yeah, it was a it’s brilliant TV, but it is not feel good stuff. Yeah. So in a way it was perfect to have had that experience and then in the evening see Beyoncé lift us back up. I don’t need No. I don’t need to sell the show to you. It’s selling itself. But let me tell you, at one point, she flies around on a model horse. She literally flies around the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.


Coco Khan It’s amazing how everyone who has in some way touch been touched by Beyoncé. It is like hugely significant and like my other half year and yet go. He was running a fashion magazine and at the time Beyoncé was doing some fashion stuff. I think she had a perfume brand. And so as part of that she was playing at Glastonbury and she took a bunch of like fashion journalists and fashion people to Glastonbury on her bus on the front of the bus just said Beyoncé. Oh my God. So she would drive up to a gate. Obviously the driver got to.


Nish Kumar Do like the idea the field site does the road drive, but.


Coco Khan They drive it to the gate and it would be like open sesame. But the word is Beyoncé like open. And he talks about the all the time lives have been touched, doors have been opened doors of perception.


Nish Kumar But it wasn’t it was an extraordinary gig. I did cry when she sang River Deep Mountain High in tribute to Tina Turner. Yeah, she sort of opened with some piano ballads, which a friend of mine described as basically making the old white people feel okay before the big black gay disco began.


Coco Khan Right, right, right.


Nish Kumar But yeah, it was a really amazing gig. And, you know, nice to see some of the happy faces in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after best of Mick season for the football club.


Coco Khan Onto the big political story of this week. It involves some missing notebooks, a bunch of missing WhatsApp messages, some diaries, and inevitably, Boris Johnson, Britain’s number one clown. It’s pretty complicated, and considering it involves the finest brains of Whitehall, it’s surprisingly stupid too. Here’s what you need to know. So the COVID inquiry, which was set up by the government to investigate how the UK handled the pandemic, you know, trying to figure out what lessons we can learn, how can we be better prepared for the future. That inquiry wants access to Boris Johnson’s COVID related WhatsApp messages, wants access to Boris’s diaries, 24 notebooks, and it wants them unredacted. So it wants them without anything edited out or anything blacked out.


Nish Kumar At the Cabinet Office, which is the government department that works with the Prime Minister. And the Cabinet has pushed back on that. It reckoned a lot of the messages and notebooks weren’t relevant and says it has no duty to disclose unambiguously irrelevant material. Now, Rishi Sunak wasn’t giving much away when he was asked about it.


Clip Well, I think it’s really important that we learn the lessons of COVID and that’s why the inquiry was established. And we want to make sure that whatever lessons are to be learned, are learned. And we do that in a spirit of transparency and candor. The Government has co-operated with the inquiry. Tens of thousands of documents have been handed over. And with regard to the specific question, at the moment, the Government’s carefully considering its position, but it’s confident in the approach that it’s taken.


Nish Kumar He said absolutely nothing of any consequence that that was some weak school fare, orange squash of a response like it was. He didn’t seem to have a huge amount of detail in it. Now, I’m sure as you’re listening to this, if you’re anything like us, you’re progressively losing the will to live. So let’s cut to the chase. The head of the COVID inquiry, Baroness Heather Hallett, wants this stuff and she what she really wants is an explanation about what the fuck is going on, which is not her words, but it feels like it captures the spirit.


Coco Khan But maybe her words?


Nish Kumar Yeah, it feels like her internal monologue and there’s an element of, you know, maybe tell us what the fuck is going on. But she’s asked the public for a signed statement setting out what’s happened, backed up by a statement of truth. And, you know, Boris Johnson has form when it comes to mucking around with Baroness because it was Baroness Hale that ruled against his attempt to prorogue Parliament. You don’t fuck with a Baroness. Clearly, they’re not to be trifled with.


Coco Khan So the big question is, will the messages be handed over if the Government hold firm, expect it to apply for judicial review and we will be suffering this endless torture for a while? It definitely makes you wonder where is the phone? Where are the phones? Have they accidentally fallen into the North Sea in the style of a Wagatha Christie? And what does it tell us about the way the government and justice system works, which is a really long way of saying, Hey, Nish, how many phones do you have?


Nish Kumar I’ve got one phone. Most of the time when I’m leaving my house, I’m in an absolute panic.


Coco Khan Yeah.


Nish Kumar So if I had more than one four, I genuinely don’t know how drug dealers and philanderers do it. This is this is another mess, right? This is like, Oh, I don’t even know. This is a new mess. This is the same mess rolling on and on.


Coco Khan But just on a personal level, when I read about having your WhatsApp messages summoned by a Baroness, I thought for a moment how I would feel if that happened to me. And that would feel very, very bad. If you summoned my WhatsApp messages now, you would lose total confidence in me. The last four conversations I had were genuinely about hields 100%. I’m not even lying. That’s what has been on my mind the last few days has been eels. So I’ve been talking about it.


Nish Kumar Yeah. I mean, I imagine Boris Johnson’s are an absolute severe offense, but the concern with some of this is that the reason the notebooks and the WhatsApp messages are being redacted is that they’re now also trying to protect members of the current government. And Rishi Sunak. There is a really important issue at stake here, and the important thing is surely the inquiry and getting all of us big answers that we want about the pandemic. Just to remind you, the purpose of this, the stated purpose of this inquiry is to examine the UK’s response to and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic and learn lessons for the future. It has powers to subpoena witnesses, require disclosure of evidence, hear testimony under oath, and there is also a separate inquiry for Scotland. There are serious mistakes made and we need to learn from those mistakes. And the only way we can learn from those mistakes is by fully finding out what happened. Absolutely. Without having key bits of information redacted.


Coco Khan Yeah, sure, for sure. We had one of the highest death rates in the G7. That is shameful. More than 127,000 deaths from COVID 19 happened on Johnson’s watch. That’s people’s lives, their families, communities scarred by that. Like we have questions they need to be answered and we need to be learning our lessons. It’s guaranteed there will be another pandemic. That’s a fact. That’s just how diseases work. Yeah. So we need to be prepared and we need to learn something so that next time there’s not such, such a stain upon this nation.


Nish Kumar Really? Yeah, There are absolute key questions here. How could we handle a future pandemic better? How would the decisions made? Why would people discharged from hospitals into care homes without proper COVID testing? And why did we. Records such high death rates second only to the US out of the G7. For clarification, was our lockdown strategy flawed? Where did all the money go? You know.


Coco Khan Eat Out to help out as well.


Nish Kumar Yeah, that’s right. What was the impact of Eat Out to help out the man who’s now prime Minister presided over a policy that seemed to be we can cure COVID with Pizza Hut.


Coco Khan I guarantee you, somewhere in Boris’s whatsapps, there will be a discussion of eat out to help out, and all Boris will be doing is making cunnilingus. Hundred percent. That’s the sort of guy he is.


Nish Kumar But yeah, I mean, listen, there are serious questions that desperately need to be answered. And, you know, families that lost people during the COVID 19 pandemic have a right to know what happened.


Coco Khan I think what I don’t want to see from this inquiry is that we find out over a kind of ordeal of time that, yes, mistakes were made. Sorry, but that’s not good enough. There has to be actual consequences of it and there has to be apologies. There has to be funds. There has to be promises that it won’t happen again. And the issue I suppose, that we’re concerned about is that if it takes too long, the ability for the public to hold those responsible to account, you know, it just fades away because there’s another crisis to think about.


Nish Kumar Yeah. And the thing that worries me about this is if, as they’ve announced this week, they’re aiming to conclude their public hearings by summer 2026, there’s too much of a time delay. And the longer you allow these things to go, the less chance you have of any act of consequence for any of the people responsible. The Iraq war inquiry was delayed and delayed and delayed. And by the time it actually published its findings, most of the kind of principal parties had moved on into different jobs. Some of them have gone on to move into podcasting. But it is a concern that we want accountability and we want it to happen sooner rather than later. And if they need to take until summer 2026 because they want to do a thorough job as possible, then that’s great. But what we can’t have is that deadline being pushed even further because the government are refusing to cooperate and give them the information that they need. You know.


Coco Khan It’s so interesting that you said that and you mentioned Iraq there. And actually anyone who has actually been affected by it, they won’t forget. Yeah, you never forget. And I think that’s really just an important thing to say, that for those that were impacted, this is lifelong. There is no amount of time that is too long to wait for answers. Really, it’s just about. How quickly can we serve justice? Because justice not served is no justice at all, really, isn’t it, for the longer that it goes on?


Nish Kumar I absolutely agree with you 100%, Coco. Coming up next, we’re going to meet the man who’s been given 200 million quid by the government to find the solution to use knife crime.


Coco Khan [AD]


Nish Kumar Let’s try an experiment. Okay. If you type the words knife crime into a Google News search, what are some of the headlines from the last couple of days alone?


Coco Khan Well, as it happens, I have done precisely that. Southampton teenager charged after Thornhill Knife attack. Machete and zombie hunting knife seized during a crackdown on knife crime in Wigan. Please see steep rise in people carrying knives in Norfolk. More than 350 knives recovered in Lancashire’s West Division during knife crime crackdown and 17 knives seized and dozens arrested in knife crime crackdown across West Midlands.


Nish Kumar Okay, that paints a picture of a countrywide problem. Here are some stats. There were 282 murders involving a knife or sharp instrument in England and Wales in the 12 months to March last year, which is the highest total since 1946. 99 of those people were aged under 25. 38 of them were aged under 16. All in all, police in England and Wales recorded nearly 50,000 knife related offenses last year up to December.


Coco Khan Now, what if I were to tell you that we already know what works to drastically reduce knife crime? You’d be quite right to ask, Why aren’t we doing it? Well, evidence shows that to get results, you need a combination of mentoring, therapy, family support and policing in the areas where violence is high. It’s a targeted, interventionist approach that has been adapted from a US model used most famously in Boston in the mid-nineties, where it led to what has been called the Boston Ceasefire. Since then it’s been used in Glasgow, once known as the murder capital of Europe, where it’s helped violent crime fall dramatically in the last 20 years, with murders falling by 90%.


Nish Kumar But we’re thrilled to introduce you to Jon Yates, the chief executive of the Youth Endowment Fund, which is a £200 million, ten year government backed initiative focused on tackling youth crime by supporting early interventions for young people at risk. Jon, welcome to the show.


Jon Yates It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.


Nish Kumar Yeah, before we start having what is undoubtedly a very serious and important conversation, I have been given a very strange piece of information about you, and that is that you and I have something in common. You were a stand up comedian.


Jon Yates Yeah, you still are, though, I believe a standup comedian, where I definitely am in the past tense.


Nish Kumar I don’t know, John. There’s a lot of people that don’t. It’s L.A. We start out with a lot.


Jon Yates Of people that believe my views on knife crime probably deserve to be so I was a very you know, I’ve spent a lot of my life setting up organizations. They say you should fail fast. I failed first at standup comedy. Did you do that? I did. I mean, we’re talking, you know, ten gigs. I mean, not to a large number, enough to realize I’m not very good at this. I, I told my friends I was going to do it and they laughed at me. You can really work out the end to this guy. But when I started doing it, that ended. And I thought maybe not for me, but it’s one of those things like, you know, so people have that thing they always want to do. And yeah, the thing I always wanted to do and I did it and I’ve done it so I can stop it.


Nish Kumar Is what’s great about it is that you’ve moved on. I do sometimes. I know a lot of comedians and I’m not including myself in this. I am no one lost a cancer cure by me going into standup comedy, but I know some deeply smart stand up comedians that I often think you really could be doing something better for humanity. I think for the good of humanity, it’s good that I do what I do, which is sort of broad news shouting. But it is good that you stepped away from standup comedy because you’re doing something I think I would consider to be much more worthwhile.


Jon Yates I think definitely for my previous audiences, it’s because I stepped away and I hope it’s good for white society.


Nish Kumar Fingers crossed. So let’s start with this headline figure 200 million quid. Where’s that money come from? And what’s it what’s it going to do?


Jon Yates Yeah. So let me give a thank you to everyone who ever paid taxes, ever. And that is all of us. If you’ve ever bought anything, you’ve paid 5% VAT or something on something. Thank you very much indeed. It’s money given to the charity. I lead to do a really simple thing, which is, wouldn’t it be great if we actually knew what really did reduce knife crime? So we didn’t just gas, we didn’t just get politicians going. I quite fancy this new idea or why don’t we try this or people writing opinion pieces of the newspaper there? Why don’t we just use some science? So when it came to the pandemic rather sensibly, someone said, Why don’t we test some vaccines rather than just give them to people? Yeah, why don’t we check if they work just in case they have a side effect? And and so they ran tests and that’s what my charity does. We test things, so we’ll fund different types of mentoring programs, different ways. The police by act, different things that could happen in schools. But the aim isn’t just to be a buffet and it’s to actually let us actually save lives. You know, 100 children lost their lives in this country over the last four years. I would like that to be closer to zero. And so let’s work out what works. I think we now know a lot about what works.


Coco Khan Yes. So tell us. I understand there is something of a method that’s developed.


Jon Yates Yeah, there’s quite a few things. I mean, I wish there was like one magic silver bullet that there’s not, but there’s a number of things that are pretty silvery that we ought to be we ought to be doing more of. So the one of the ones that I am really passionate about, it’s a program that was done in Glasgow, it’s worked in Glasgow, it’s worked in Malmo, is working in Chicago. And those are just the. Places that rhyme, but it’s not been properly tried here in England and Wales. And it’s a very simple program. It’s called focused deterrence. The only complicated thing is the name focused deterrence, and it’s really simple. What you do is you work out who are the people who are most involved in violence in a city. And the thing about violence is it’s really sticky. It tends to stick to a small number of people. It’s not lots of people doing it. It’s a small number of people. Who are those people? Then let’s approach them. And to do that, the police need to work really closely with the community. Let’s approach them and say, Hey, would you like to change things? And most people involved in violence are having a great time. Their lives are not working well. Things are really pretty troubled. So then you make an offer and you say, Would you like some support? And the way this was done in Glasgow is they brought a lot of young men in to a meeting and they came to the meeting and mothers spoke who had lost children at this meeting and said, this is what happened to my son. I would like things to change here. And a lot of these young men gulped and thought, I’d like something to change here. Yeah. And they were all given a little card of a number on and said, Look, call this number if you want help. And people started to call the number and then help was really genuinely provided. So people were given training, people were given therapy, people were given mentoring, people were helped with their housing by proper serious help. Glasgow is so much safer. It’s not perfect. It’s not perfect, but Glasgow is so much safer now. And this program was part of that answer. But we need it happening in more places.


Nish Kumar It’s such an interesting holistic approach to dealing with knife crime. And I remember reading that one of the things that they tried to do was switch it from being a kind of criminal operation to treating it as a public health emergency. What does that mean in practical terms?


Jon Yates Yeah, so people were really interested in this. They are quite willing to take a public health approach. The problem is no one really knows always what they mean by public health. So what do I mean?


Nish Kumar I’m definitely guilty. So who said we need to take a public health approach repeatedly and not fully known what I meant by that So.


Jon Yates Well, what we really mean is that, first of all, it’s actually quite contagious. You can catch it. You’re talking about the pandemic earlier. If I’m a victim of violence, I’m more likely to be a perpetrator of violence. You know, you respond violently to a violent situation. So that’s the first thing. A bit like public health, things are catchy, right? The second thing is when someone’s earlier, you can give them some medicine, but a vaccine is even better than early. So public health means, yes, we help people when they’re really ill, but why don’t we get in early as well? So a proper public health approach works out that people mix and they move around. So we’ve got to think about the dynamics in a city. But it also says get in early as well as late. The mistake, I would say is just to get in early.


Nish Kumar Right?


Jon Yates We used to get in all the time, right. So we need to think most children who get involved in violence have suffered trauma quite early in their life. Let’s get them therapy really early. Let’s get them support to their parents. Let’s get an early with that. A lot of children who commit violence have been arrested at least once. We must write them off. We need to get mentors and support in there. So it’s early and late to do it right. But it’s not just thinking we lock people up and it’s done.


Coco Khan Am I right in thinking, though, that the profile of people who are involved with this particular kind of knife crime in Glasgow would be very different to, say, London or very different to Birmingham? How how how do you essentially customize this to those cities or to those communities?


Jon Yates I think I think the people who get involved in violence are very much like me and you. We’re all pretty similar as humans. 99% of our DNA is the same. Right? But some pretty tough stuff tends to have happened to some of us. And so generally a lack of care and support and abuse from when you’re very little a society that feels like it doesn’t care for you. And then the thing that most of all, I’m struck by when I met people who’ve committed acts of violence is they feel like they don’t matter. They feel like they have no mattering in society. And that’s pretty common in all the cities. Now, I’m not a big softy. I’m not saying therefore we just hug everyone and it’s fine. Yeah, there need to be consequences. You can’t just say I don’t matter. Therefore, I committed acts of violence. There have to be consequences. But that’s the commonality. But of course, I’m not sure I’m being naive either. You know, London drugs are a big part of the violence. They’re not such a big part historically in Glasgow. You can’t be serious about thinking about violence in Glasgow without thinking about sectarianism. Yeah, you can’t be serious about thinking about violence in London, about thinking about race. But there are different contexts, and that’s why the community, which just means us right now, need to be involved as we think this stuff through. But the people are people and very similar.


Coco Khan So I do want to bring in our next guest. But just very quickly, what are the five cities this is being trialed in?


Jon Yates Yeah, So we’re going to be making it happen in Coventry, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Leicester and Manchester.


Coco Khan Can I just ask why that, why those were chosen?


Jon Yates Yeah. So there are five areas where there are issues with violence and there are people who want to make a difference. You can’t. My biggest players, we kind of know what works. What we need is adults to step up to try and make it happen. And in those places, people have stepped up and said, we want to make it happen.


Coco Khan We know an adult who has also stepped up as well. Perfect segue to introduce.


Nish Kumar That was a genuinely brilliant segue, I almost sat here being like, that is broadcasting, that is broadcasting.


Coco Khan Seamless, seamless. Glided along like a duck. So please let me introduce Dr Marcellus Baz. He’s the founder and CEO. Switch up. It supports young people away from crime in Nottinghamshire, which is one of the places Jon’s program is running. Hello, I’m going to say Baz.


Dr Marcellus Baz Hello, guys. I’m privileged to be on board and and thank you for having me.


Coco Khan So I know you’ve been on a long journey yourself with both your organization and just individually. I’d love to hear your story. How did you get into this line of work?


Dr Marcellus Baz Yeah, I. You know, I was one of those young people. I come from a very deprived area. There was a lot of poverty, you know, I seen a lot of domestic violence. You know, I was quite desensitized to violence, really. I was dyslexic, so the school conventional environment wasn’t right for me. And you can’t sit down and learn maths in English when you think that there’s domestic violence going on. You know, I mean, you just your mind’s all over the place. So what happens is then you don’t want to come home. And I didn’t want to go home. So my primary attachment shifted from my mum and, you know, my dad wasn’t really around much, but, you know. And then once my primary attachment shifted from my mum, it went to people who I thought cared about me. People who were selling drugs, not driving nice cars, wearing nice clothes. And before you know it, they pull you into that kind of world. And that world, you know, the natural currency for that is violence is scary because at first it’s exciting. And this is glamorous to think, Oh, yeah, I’m hanging around with these guys and being part of it. And then before you know it, you get pulled into crime. And then when I got pulled into crime, I seen, you know, people very close to me murdered one of them, you know, who was murdered in front of me, landed in my arms. I witnessed that. So when you go through trauma, right, then that trauma manifests into toxic behaviors like risk taking, behavior, self-harm, violent outbursts, you know, all various substance misuse. So you can go into various different things. And I started to do that and to to to fund that and to be able to make money and to be able to make legal money started to sell drugs. And when you start to sell drugs, you naturally, you know, start to carry weapons because that’s the world you deal with. And unfortunately for me, you know, living in that world, I seen a lot of bad things and I didn’t know how to deal with them. And I can remember one time I got arrested and somebody goes, Do you want counseling? And I thought, I don’t want to deal with labor or conservative and even know what counseling was for me. So from there, I ended up boxing. And boxing was great for me because it helped me self-medicate in a positive way rather than using substances. But then what really changed it for me is I got stabbed. I got stabbed by somebody. And I was I was dead for, you know, just under a minute. And I got walked back and I thought, you know, I’ve got to do something. Long story short, you know, I went into volunteering. I had the challenge of trying to find employment, getting knocked back, isolated and ostracized from society. And I was suicidal, you know. And then what happened is I came went back into college and I went and eventually got a job from volunteering somebody for a good word. And then I got a job at a sports center. And when I was at that sports center, I’ve seen young people like me that were. Really ostracized from society coming from dysfunctional families, traumatized. Absolutely ideal to be groomed into radicalization or criminality. So I thought I’ve got to create an environment to help them, like an environment that saved me. And that’s where I developed and I dissected my own past experience. I dissected the experiences of people who are no longer here, who are dead or in prison or still on substances or in dead end jobs.


Nish Kumar Baz, I’ve read that switch up has a five pillars model. What does that actually mean?


Dr Marcellus Baz So the first part is your hierarchy of needs of the got food, of the got ruins. Have they got someone to talk to? The next is your beliefs and perceptions. Because if you believe that someone’s going to upset you and you’re going to stop them because knives don’t kill people, people kill people, you know? So if you actually believe that you can do that, then we’ve got to challenge them beliefs and that’s what we do. Then the third part is therapy and support. The first fourth is skills and training, and then you place them in employment and help them become a law abiding, taxpaying citizen. Because a lot of the time we went into crime because we couldn’t we couldn’t find a job. Nobody would give us a job and we couldn’t make money to put food on the table. So that’s what the story is in a nutshell. But I could go on.


Coco Khan First of all, what an amazing story. Yeah, absolute big man that was inspirational. Like, so glad that people like you are upon this earth. I wanted to ask you a question, and maybe, Jon, you can also help me answer this. You know, I think sometimes with with issues like this, people want to see a result immediately. Right. You know, what I was describing there? That’s like a really long time or with each one of those cases. Right. So how long can it will it be or do we expect to see the change?


Jon Yates I think it depends what change we’re looking for, but we’re all work in progress. So, I mean, you know, it takes how long did it take me to start getting into, you know, fitness? About a decade, right. How long did it take me to learn math? Like, you know, we all take time to get where we’re going in life, and most of us never get where we’re going. But you can do things that within six months can reduce the likelihood someone’s going to carry a knife or someone’s going to use a knife. Proper high quality mentoring of the children that is working with that I’m worried about. They don’t have adults whom they trust. They don’t have to. Where are they getting their advice from? They’re getting advice from other children, too. I’ve got children. They’re rubbish at advice like, you know, we need they need adults. And you can see a change that could save a life within a few months. But we need to keep working and supporting children just as all of us as parents now.


Nish Kumar Yeah.


Jon Yates Baz, what do you think?


Dr Marcellus Baz Okay, just to answer your question, I think that that’s exactly what we need to be looking at because, you know, you can’t just say someone’s going to change in three months, you know, because when we bring people in and they’re referred to as through statutory organizations, we’ll do an assessment with them. We’re doing information gathering process and then we’ll look at their complex needs and traumas, you know, whether it’s really ingrained traumas. We know we’re seeing a lot of the results now. The chickens are kind of coming home to roost from the time when kids were having kids and then kids were then being traumatized because the parents weren’t ready to kind of bring them up. We’re seeing a lot of that now. And I’m what I’m trying to say is that, you know, there’s some people that have been with us for over three years and they just get in there, you know, and some people might just go through the program within three months and completely transition and actually get into work and and keep that. So I think we need to develop programs that can work with that individual or otherwise. What we’re doing is taking them to a halfway point and then dropping them off a cliff again, you know, So and that can kind of retraumatize people as well. And unfortunately, a lot of services are doing that. They put in a service that is one shoe fits all where you might catch quite a few people and help quite a few people, which is great. But if you really want to help people, we need to not just look at the symptoms but really address the issues.


Coco Khan Right. And I mean, look, we’re a politics podcast. It’s something we’re always thinking about. It’s like, where is politics playing in this? Like, isn’t there an argument to say that also as part of our work, we should be trying to clamp down on poverty, trying to improve domestic violence services so that children don’t have to live in homes like that. You know, it’s all kind of joined up. I know both of you have experience actually working with politicians. Why has this taken so long? To get off the ground?


Nish Kumar Yeah, the Glasgow model has been sort of around for quite a few years now. Why is there not necessarily been more of a will to roll something out that we can show works?


Jon Yates So when you when you last voted, what issues were you thinking about? And I think a lot of people, a lot of us don’t think enough about the fact that you can seriously reduce violence. Yeah. Like we are. We serve. It’s just there. It’s just the way it is. That’s just the way. It’s just not. So if you go back 20 years, violence was almost double the level that it is now. Violence falls. We can’t bring it down. So first of all, the public we those was listening. This can change. I believe it can change and vote on the basis of who can change it. That will start to change things. The second thing is a lot of people in power don’t have this as their number one priority, and I sympathize with some of that. So, look, big thing we need to do therapy. Children who are arrested, who are likely to commit violence, need therapy. Well, who has the budget for therapy? Health Secretary, is reducing knife crime the number one priority of health secretary? No, but we’ve got to somehow get it higher up the list. So that’s the second thing. It’s not always people’s priority. The third and final thing is sometimes the solutions aren’t things people expect. So some of us are like predisposed to. All I want to hear about is enforcement and how are you going to arrest doing? Some of us want to hear. All I want to hear about is soft kindness and trauma informed training. That’s all I want to hear about. The truth is, you kind of need a bit of both. And actually, you need to make sure we’re really providing great mentoring, great therapy, but also put in place in the right places, being properly trained matters. And most people will say to me, Jon, I love half of what you say, but I don’t like the other half. Right. But the truth is, we do need a bit of both. And sometimes that stops it being taken on board by people who really care about this stuff.


Coco Khan Baz can I ask you, I mean, you know, you talked about your own experience with the police. And I’m sure some of the cases you deal with have experiences with the police. What do you feel the police’s role needs to be in this? I could imagine that the resistance from some sections of the public would say, Yeah, but. We as victims, don’t we have a right to see, to see punishments, to see imprisonment, to see these things? Or is that just circulating, perpetuating the violence?


Dr Marcellus Baz I think this issue’s a lot bigger than what you what you’re talking about. I think we you know, when you come down to politics, right? Yeah. You know, I think a lot of this is with them. Look at all the youth service courts. They say we need to get kids off the street. But where do you take them? You know, CAMHS for young people, therapy. What Jon’s talking about in a two year waiting list, families are absolutely distraught. The cost of living crisis, the the fact that, you know, people were being abused in households during the pandemic and couldn’t ask for help because they were locked down or coming out now. And there’s a whole can of worms coming out, you know, so when you’re starting to look at this, the bigger picture is, okay, we’re going to be putting people in prison. But what happens is a big waiting list, right? So one of the things is that people are waiting for a couple of years just to be heard. You know, the judicial system is congested. So that’s then affecting people’s mental health. I’ve known people committing suicide because they don’t know whether they’re being locked up or they’re going to be spending time with their families. What’s going to happen. And it’s been going on and on and on. Then you then you go into prisons. Right. And we need to look at the rehabilitation structure within prison. And then we need to look at the resettlement structure when they come out of prison, how we reintegrate them back into into into their communities and back into employment. That’s a big segment that’s missing. A lot of people are being released and coming out of prison. They haven’t even got a home to go to. So what they’re going to do, they’re going to turn back to re-offending again, you know, short term prison sentences as another thing. You know, you’ve got somebody who’s got a job, who is got a house. They might go in for six months. They lose their job. They lose their house during the pandemic. You’re locked up for 23 hours. So they start using substances just to get some sort of sanity in this little room. And then they come out jobless, homeless and hooked on substances. So there’s a bigger issue to think about. And going back to your point about police, I think police need to take a balanced approach. Like Jon says, you know, there has to be some arrests and sending people to prison, but with a better rehabilitation structure there. But also they’ve got to do that prevention and early intervention and bringing and making cultural relationships and looking at that cultural competency and in making relationships with diverse communities and actually being a role model, being some so some sort of organization that young people like us don’t look at and get traumatized by, you know, I mean that they’ve just kicked down our doors and they’ve just stomped through the house and hurt Dad or something like that. You know, we’ve got to look at the whole bigger picture.


Jon Yates Can I give you a really practical thing just building about this point?


Dr Marcellus Baz Yeah.


Jon Yates So like most people will vote for something called a police and crime commissioner. And if we’re honest, how many of us actually know what the name of our police and crime Commissioner is? I’m not sure I do, right? And I work in this field, right. When you get to vote next in that police and crime commissioner what I’d love you write a letter, write something to that person and say ask them two questions. One, when a child gets arrested, well, support do they get because we know those are the children we need for what support you get in because these people have budgets to support those children. What supports being given? Secondly, to make sure the police actually spend time and get to know people in the area where violence is high, what you just said, and then where councilors, your local councilors, make a lot of noise because they ought to be where they’re needed to. Questions, do some place where they’re needed and do you actually get support? Children are arrested. That’s something everyone could do. And the evidence is really clear that will make your neighborhood safer, but it’s just often not happening.


Nish Kumar So is this a is this a communications problem? Is it a chicken and egg situation where there isn’t enough political will because there isn’t enough clarity about the fact that there are solutions to this and it isn’t just about locking people up.


Jon Yates Let’s start with the bit we can control. You know, none of us are politicians, so let’s where the public. So let’s start there and let’s demand of the politicians that they do the stuff that works. And what do I mean? I just mean saying this. We don’t want to be tough on crime. We don’t want to be soft on crime. We want to be smart on crime. Yeah, that’s what we want. And then someone goes after complicated. Sounds very complicated. Okay, let me make it simple. Mentoring Works is a mentoring for every child has been arrested in this country. No. Therapy works is the therapy offered for every child who had a properly traumatic abuse experience in this country. No putting police in the areas where they really needed to get to know local people works. Is it happening now? Three things we could all ask are those things? And they’re based on the evidence. But I don’t go to hospital and go, I want the tough medicine. Oh, I prefer the softer we go. I call it the medicine that works and let’s ask for the same thing when it comes to keeping our neighborhood safe.


Nish Kumar Well, I just want to quickly say, like, first of all, thank you both so much for joining us. It does sound like there’s a lot of shared aims between the two of you and shared senses of how those approaches can work. Is there scope for you, for both of your organizations, to be working together in the next few years?


Jon Yates I hope so. I hope so. I mean, we give our money, so I’m always going to be really careful about subtleties that have seemed to be doing a deal. But I hope that Baz will always apply for funding from us. And I know we’ve funded before, but more than that, my organization needs to learn and people like Baz teach us, but they tell us what goes on on the ground. So I’m in I’m in debt to him.


Dr Marcellus Baz Thanks for sorting that deal out.


Nish Kumar Okay. It’s time for our heroes and villains and we are reverting back to type this week with Coco being all sunshine and optimism and revealing the hero of the week and me exposing my cold, dark heart to the listenership. So I’ll start. My villain of the week is the post office. Now the post office is already.


Coco Khan Not the band. Oh, no, wait. That’s not Obama’s.


Nish Kumar Postal service.


Coco Khan Sorry.


Nish Kumar What you’ve done is you’ve translated the name of the American indie band into the English equivalent of the post office.


Coco Khan Sorry. Sorry. That happens. These things happen. It’s what happens when you work for an American brand.


Nish Kumar Yeah, that’s right.


Coco Khan I blame them. I blame Crooked Media. Anyway.


Nish Kumar For our American listeners, the band, the Postal Service, To be clear, it’s not referred to as the post office in the United Kingdom. That is something that Coco’s brain has done.


Coco Khan That would be so good though wouldn’t it.


Nish Kumar My villain of the Week is the post office. Okay. For American listeners, this might seem unfathomable, but I don’t know how to summarize this other than to say it turns out the post office is racist. So they’re already up. There was one of the villains of the.


Coco Khan White envelopes, brown envelopes isn’t it? I’m joking.


Nish Kumar I would. Based on the actual story, I would love for the entire thing to be white envelopes and brown envelopes? For context, they’re already up. There was some of the villains of the decade over the horizon computing system scandal, for which hundreds of innocent subpostmasters were prosecuted for stealing. So not only are they responsible for a miscarriage of justice, but also this week it’s been revealed that the investigators working on that case were asked to group suspects based on racial features.


Coco Khan My goodness,  oh, my God.


Nish Kumar Organizing suspects, which let’s be clear, in a case that turned out to be a huge miscarriage of justice and they were doing it along the lines of racial features. So the Freedom of Information request is revealed in an internal document published between 2008 and 2011 included the term Negroid types, along with Chinese slash Japanese types and dark skinned European types. That is some Victorian era steam powered racism. I genuinely can’t even believe that those terms are still in use. It is absolutely unfathomable. So just to be clear, this is a part of our legal responsibilities. The Post Office has said that it was a historic document. That’s what they said, a historic document. But by historic document, they don’t mean it was written on a scroll of parchment from the 16th century. They mean it was a historic document from 2008 to 2011. That is not acceptable. Absolutely. That is unacceptable. You can’t be like, oh, it was ages ago. It was so long ago. The first Iron Man film had just come out. It was a completely different time in the post office because absolutely go fucking post itself off its own ass. Awful.


Coco Khan So onto something a little bit cheery I’m on to here of the week. I have a hero called Henry Morris, a parody Twitter account. He is the secret Tory.


Clip Yeah, but it’s Henry. You’ll never guess who I just saw. No open arms. I haven’t seen him since before his last dog in session in Epping Forest. Yeah, No, actually, no. Michael Gove. Yeah. Really? No, no, no. That there’s no way to know. Have. I’m the Henry Morris has been amateurish lampooning his party’s brutal fascist fascism.


Coco Khan So as you know, there’s a number of Twitter accounts that have turned into books secret barrister, secret footballer. And so when the secret Tory account arrived online, many people thought that it was indeed a secret Tory. But plot twist, it was not. It was a parody account. It was Henry Morris. He is a personal trainer and ultramarathon runner. He’s from Yorkshire and he’s got a spectacular mullet. Really is the definition of business at the front party at the back here at Pod Save the UK, we can only salute a man who says that it all started because, and I quote, I inadvertently started parodying Mark Francois at the height of Brexit when I was bored between trading clients in my dream, end quote. He also adds, Other people discover they’re good at things like ballet or darts, but it turns out I’m really good at pretending to be a Tory MP, so thank you to him for bringing lots of levity and light to the political space. And we all know he need it. And actually he’s pretty, you know. So some of those parodies were very on point.


Nish Kumar Okay. Now we’ve got news of an exciting new element to the podcast. We are offering our services, aren’t we Coco, to be your political agony aunt and uncle.


Coco Khan I’m actually feeling very triggered by this.


Nish Kumar Why?


Coco Khan Well, because I’m. I consider myself too young to be an auntie.


Nish Kumar I’ve got terrible news for you, Coco. You and I are South Asians in our late thirties. We’ve gone into full Asian Uncle and Aunt territory. All those people we called uncles and aunts, whether they were uncles, aunties or not, when we were kids, were our age now.


Coco Khan Well, that was a different time. That was a different time. It was 2008. Iron Man was out. It was a different time. I’m not really ready to be Aunty Coco.


Nish Kumar I’m literally about to become an uncle.


Coco Khan Oh, really?


Nish Kumar In a matter of days. Okay, so I’m fully making that transition.


Coco Khan Okay. Uncle Nish here he is. Well, what does Uncle Nish bring? Samosas? Good vibes? Bad advice?


Nish Kumar What Uncle Nish brings is a lot of good advice based on bad decisions.


Coco Khan Well, anyway, how bad could it possibly be? So please do write in with any political related dilemmas, problems, conundrums, and a Aunty Coco and Uncle Nish will try and offer up some advice. So we’ve actually had our first conundrum from Ava. So she writes to say, I’ve been listening to the podcast and I thought you might be able to help me convince my friends to vote when they are able to. I’m 17. I’m a born and bred Scouser. Our city is famously anti-conservative and generally quite passionate about politics, especially local politics. This is why I was shocked when my friends confessed they wouldn’t vote and that their parents don’t vote either. I need your help because I seem to be unable to change their minds on the importance of voting, especially in local elections. It takes one look to see what damage was done to our city in the eighties by she who shall not be named. She, who shares a name with aside a brand and the underfunding as a result of a poorly elected government that is still a symptom of our suffering today. Would you be able to give us some advice on how I could change their mind? Okay, Uncle Nish, you first.


Nish Kumar Well, first of all, ever, thank you so much for writing in and thanks thanks for listening. I’m thrilled that we’ve got Gen Z listeners.


Coco Khan Yes. Oh, my God. It’s so exciting.


Nish Kumar Listen.


Coco Khan This is going to be so how do you do fellow kids this moment now, isn’t it? I can feel it in my waters.


Nish Kumar I’m not even go to attempt. No one needs to hear me mal- appropriate slang from Tik Tok like that’s the absolute last thing anyone needs. The thing that I would say, Ava, I think that I would always say to people who are younger than me, but also a lot of people my age who are feeling apathetic about politics is the problem in this country is that there are a lot of issues like taxation of rich people, rights for LGBTQ people, women’s rights, ethnic minority rights. There’s a huge number of issues that the majority of the public sit on the progressive side of. I would say, however, that doesn’t tend to get reflected in the way that our parties govern themselves. And part of the reason for that is the people who vote are generally older and generally a group of people that have somewhat swung a bit more conservative. Right. And so because of that, there is a kind of sense that a very small number of people are dictating the entire tone of political conversations in this country because they are seen to be the only group that matters. So this country has basically drifted into becoming a gerontocracy like a country specifically run for old people and a lot of whom share similar values. Not even like cool old people like the bloke from Glastonbury. I’m talking about the angry old Daily Mail readers. And the reason that things have shifted in that direction is they turn out to vote. So if you want to change policy, we have got to start turning out to vote. People our age and people your age over have got to start turning out to vote and make ourselves into a significant electoral bloc and force the political parties to tailor policies to our generation’s values and our generation’s interests. We’ve got to make ourselves and I’m speaking for basically everyone for Ian downwards. We got to make ourselves matter to these people. And the way we do that is by voting. We can change things if we participate and we force them to pay some fucking attention.


Coco Khan If you successfully get your mates to do it, Nish will do you a cameo.


Nish Kumar Yeah, it will. Yeah. That’s a so I’m not sure how much a cameo from me is going to be. I mean, I was from Liverpool so we could maybe try and blur it so it looks like I’m Mo Salah, but I don’t think otherwise that’s going to be particularly meaningful.


Coco Khan An awful cameo moment being like, Oh look, it’s Mo Salah.Aw its Nish Kumar.


Nish Kumar Oh no, it’s not. It’s that man.


Coco Khan Yes, it’s that man again. Please do get in touch with us by emailing PSUK at reduced listening dot uk Or you can even send us a voice note on WhatsApp, if that’s the thing you like to do. Our number is 07514644572. Internationally, that’s +447514644572. I hope one day they invest in a phone number. That’s catchier.


Nish Kumar What do you mean?


Coco Khan I don’t know. I want it to be like oh seven 800 PSUK. Do you know what I mean? I want it to be like a good number.


Nish Kumar We don’t, we don’t have those letter phone numbers in this country. That’s specifically American.


Coco Khan What are you on about mate? If you open your keypad on your mobile phone it’s got the letters above the numbers.


Nish Kumar I know, but we never do. We ever give numbers out like that?


Coco Khan Well don’t use we, I give numbers out like that.


Nish Kumar You give numbers out like letters?


Coco Khan Yeah. Sometimes.


Nish Kumar Wow. You were born to work for an American company.


Coco Khan But on the subject of voice notes, Matthew in York is threatening to send us one, and he says, Hi Nish and Coco, is it appropriate to use this number to send a voice memo of a whole minute of screaming into the void in response to everything that’s going on to this country? Cheers.


Nish Kumar Listen, if that’s what you need to do, Matthew, then go for it. If you need to scream into the void, then by all means. And I say that confidently as the person who is not in charge of listening to the ones that voice memos, I say that I confidently know it’s going to be one of our long suffering producers who’s going to have to open a week’s worth of people just yelling and screaming. I imagine a blizzard of obscenities into the whatsapp.


Coco Khan We can make something from we can do like a montage of screams.


Nish Kumar Do you want to do a dance mix of people screaming into the void?


Coco Khan We can do it. So it is so it’s like to imagine, you know, that they did in the pandemic. Imagine that viral video of the celebrities.


Nish Kumar The video that immediately made everyone immediately angrier. The one video that somehow made the pandemic worse.


Coco Khan Imagine it but with screams. That’s really fitting. Anyway. Whatever, please sign me on to your record labels. I have great ideas. And if you all new to the show though, remember to hit follow on your app and you’ll get every new episode every week as soon as it drops.


Nish Kumar Thanks, Matthew and thanks Ava for contacting us. We’ll see you next week. Pod Save the UK is a reduced listening production for Crooked Media.


Coco Khan Thanks to senior producer Musty Aziz and digital producer Alex Bishop.


Nish Kumar Video editing was by David Kaplovitz and the music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos.


Coco Khan And thanks to our engineer, DJ David Dugahe.


Nish Kumar The executive producers are Louise Cotton, Dan Jackson and Madeleine Heringer.


Coco Khan Watch us on the Pod Save the World YouTube. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at Pod Save the UK.


Nish Kumar And hit Subscribe for new shows every Thursday on Spotify, Amazon or Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.