Will Young: popstar to politician? Plus Westminster ceasefire row | Crooked Media
Jon, Jon & Tommy's first ever book is here - Order Democracy or Else NOW! Jon, Jon & Tommy's first ever book is here - Order Democracy or Else NOW!
February 22, 2024
Pod Save the UK
Will Young: popstar to politician? Plus Westminster ceasefire row

In This Episode

Nish and guest co-presenter Liz Bates set the scene on what went on to become a chaotic night  in the Commons, that put speaker Lindsay Hoyle’s job at risk. They call out the “pathetic and petty” political game playing that sought to use the suffering of people in Gaza to embarrass the  Labour Party. There are also harsh words for Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch for using the Commons to settle scores in her row with the former Post Office chairman Henry Staunton.


Former Pop Idol winner Will Young reveals his life-long interest in politics, and tells us what it was like to see his petition on ending medical testing on dogs, debated at Westminster. For his next foray into politics, Will says he’s planning to go to Somerset to troll Jacob Rees-Mogg, and says he’s even thinking about becoming an MP himself.


In heroes and villains, Liz takes inspiration from Samatha Morton, while Nish defends Indian cuisine. Plus find out why Nish is channelling Carrie Bradshaw!


Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.


Contact us via email: PSUK@reducedlistening.co.uk 

WhatsApp: 07514 644 572 (UK) or + 44 7514 644 572

Insta: https://instagram.com/podsavetheuk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/podsavetheuk

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@podsavetheuk

Facebook: https://facebook.com/podsavetheuk

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/podsavetheworld



Will Young: singer, actor and writer


Audio credits:

Sky News
Thames Television / Freemantle Media


Useful links:









Nish Kumar Hi, this is Pod Save the UK. I’m Nish Kumar and this week I’ve got a very special guest co-presenter.


Liz Bates It’s me, I’m Liz Bates, and today I’ll be joined in the studio by Will young. And let me just say, teenage me is very excited about that.


Nish Kumar Yeah. As he’ll tell us about his journey from pop idol to political campaigner.


Liz Bates That’s why Labour has finally decided to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Hello. Hello.


Nish Kumar Thanks for, sitting in for Coco Khan this week.


Liz Bates Thank you so much for having me.


Nish Kumar You’ve been on the show before, but your day job is political correspondent at Sky news. Though you have been absent from your day job for a very specific reason of late.


Liz Bates I have, had a child.


Nish Kumar Congratulations.


Liz Bates Thank you so much. And I have been successfully keeping that child alive for five months. And so when, your producer rang me yesterday and said, did I want to come and do, not that I’m not a huge fan of this podcast, but he basically offered me the chance to leave the house for a few hours. It was like, yes, please. So here I am.


Nish Kumar You didn’t even ask any follow up questions. I don’t care what it is.


Liz Bates No, no, he didn’t even get to the end of the sentence. I had no idea what he was offering. I could have been saying, do you want to go on a trip to the local sewage works? And I was like, sure, I’m in. I get to leave the house. That’s it. That’s that’s good enough for me. So yeah, usually I’m the political correspondent on Sky news. It’s rather different from this is quite formal. You know, I’ve it’s lots of, like, studios, huge amount of makeup. So this is this is a nice treat for me. And last time I came on, when I was guest, I remember waiting to come onto the show and just hearing you guys, doing swearing. And I was very excited because I was swearing. Not allowed to do that on Sky. So. Yeah, I’m doing a lot of fucking swearing on this podcast.


Nish Kumar Listen, fucking swear away, mate. If there’s if there’s one thing I like to cultivate, it’s an atmosphere where people can swear and look as bad as they want to. And I lead by example on that list.


Liz Bates You are being incredibly successful at that. It says in the script here, prompt Nish, to tell me about New York. So tell me about your adventures in New York. My image of you in New York is sort of Carrie Bradshaw like, sitting, looking wistfully out of the window. What can you say? It’s the laughter or the love for, you know, something like that. Is that. Is that what it’s like?


Nish Kumar Yeah. That’s right. I’m frequently, tottering around in my Louboutins in a pink miniskirt where, it’s, it’s quite the spectacle. I would say the main image of me in New York. Places I go from, work meeting to work meeting to stand up, gig to restaurant where I eat like I’ve been told that the apocalypse is evident. It’s. I’ve been doing a sort of, I would describe as a sort of gout tour of Manhattan. Brooklyn.


Liz Bates Okay. It’s it’s a bit further from Carrie Bradshaw than, than I was imagining. But, yeah, fair enough.


Nish Kumar I don’t remember, an episode of sex and the city that ends with Carrie Bradshaw. Okay. And that’s when I realized maybe I needed a Renny.


Liz Bates Just chugging Gaviscon.


Nish Kumar Yeah, yeah, it’s a special. A special sex of the city. Indigestion special. It’s safe to say the internet shared pretty strong thoughts on Sonys newest movie, Madame Web.


Liz Bates On yesterday’s Keep It episode, hosts Louie and I are at a break down the Spider-Verse spin off film and J. Lo’s This Is Me Now movie.


Nish Kumar Plus, actress Danielle Brooks joins to talk about her film The Color Purple.


Liz Bates For more pop culture coverage. Tune in to new episodes of Keep It every Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts.


Nish Kumar Rarely does politics feel so out of step with the real world than on days like today. So on the day we record this, Labour has been attempting to avoid what’s essentially a political trap laid for it by the SNP over its stance on Gaza. The SNP tabled a motion calling for an immediate ceasefire, and Labour is desperate to avoid a repeat of what happened the last time the SNP did this in November, when 56 Labour MPs rebelled, including ten frontbenchers, one of whom was Jess Phillips, who all quit in order to vote for it in defiance of the Labour leadership’s position. Labour’s new position supporting an immediate humanitarian ceasefire is set out in an amendment to the SNP motion. He is shadow foreign secretary David Lammy, explaining that Labour has shifted because the situation in Gaza has evolved.


Speaker 5 Keir Starmer and I have been calling for weeks for the fighting to stop, for aid, to get in. The situation has evolved and on the ground it is intolerable and the Rafah attack cannot go ahead. We are following our Five Eyes partners Australia, New Zealand and Canada, who a few days ago made it clear that there has to be an immediate humanitarian cease fire. We are mirroring that language and indeed the language now of the United Nations. Everyone wants the fighting to stop, but we also want this to be a permanent cessation of violence. It’s absolutely clear that that ceasefire has to last. And our motion also talks about the circumstances in which we can see a lasting and sustainable immediate ceasefire.


Nish Kumar Liz, talk me through how we’ve come to this point.


Liz Bates If we take a step back from all of this, what has really happened is and this happened so much in Westminster, is that the most serious, important politics that can ever take place, which, you know, is to do with an international conflict where people are dying right now and suffering horrendous experiences. Instead of Westminster focusing on working with the international community to get to a serious and measured position that could actually change things in the Middle East, we get this ridiculous petty Westminster politics that kind of it takes all these arcane procedures in Parliament and people trying to use them to gain tiny little bits of political advantage. And what you’re really seeing here is the SNP with their motion and the government, I think with their amendments, they are trying to exploit genuine divisions, I think within the Labour Party. And oh, probably because it’s an election year and people are looking at the possibility of a Labour government and thinking, well, this is one area where we can try and divide the Labour Party and gain a political advantage from it. How incredibly pathetic.


Nish Kumar The conversations that have been happening, sort of, as we record today, have been about whether the speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, was going to allow the Labour amendment to the SNP motion to happen. And we just learned that Lindsay Hoyle is going to allow that. So they’re going to debate the SNP motion with the government amendment and the Labour amendment.


Liz Bates The convention would usually be that the SNP would lay a motion, the government could amend it and, no other party would usually amend it. But I assume because of the, the gravitas of the situation and presumably the strength of feeling from MPs, they’ve decided to vote on all the different amendments, and those votes will take place this evening. So by the time this podcast goes out, we’ll know what the upshot of all of this is. But I think important to remember as well. Like, look, this is not the vote on the Iraq war. We’re not deciding to send troops and we’re not deciding on government legislation or government policy. This is just a motion. So this is just Parliament saying this is what we think. And there is quite thin dividing lines between the different motion and amendments that have gone down. Because, let’s be honest, every single MP in the House of Commons would like to see an end to the violence in the Middle East. There are differences of opinion on how, how we can get there. It’s also worth pointing out as well, that, you know, Benjamin Netanyahu is not sitting watching BBC Parliament waiting to see which amendment, gets through. It’s all utterly pointless and using parliamentary procedure to play politics. And it’s it’s irritating that we end up, you know, going down these rabbit holes and covering this as if it’s really important. It’s actually not.


Nish Kumar The US is now, calling for a temporary ceasefire. Presumably. Is that’s of more consequence to Benjamin Netanyahu. Is there a sort of suggestion that maybe some of the international opinion is turning on his response to the terrorist attacks on October the 7th?


Liz Bates Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think it’s been coming for a while, right? The shifting position when it comes to a cease fire. And I think that’s. Because of the images that we’ve seen coming out of Gaza. The only, I think, a government that makes any difference to what goes on. In Israel, the only government that really holds sway is the U.S.. And so, I think it’s, it’s important that their position has changed. They’re not going to take any notice, really of certainly not the leader of the opposition and definitely not the leader of the SNP. You know, Rishi Sunak has a tiny part to play in this and that really, you know, conversations that he will have. And David Cameron, of course, on the world stage. But, you know, we have, grand ideas about, the amount of, sway we hold. It’s it’s all about the US. And if we can hold a bit of sway with the US administration, that’s all we can do. Really?


Nish Kumar So away from this debate, Liz, sort of elsewhere in British Westminster politics, what has been going on with the Conservative Party?


Liz Bates Well, speaking of petty politics, so in Tory land, business secretary, Kemi Badenoch, I know you’ve had as villain of the week on on this podcast before, who was the bookies favorite? And of course, at the moment to be the next Tory leader has come out swinging this week in an astonishing row, with the man she sacked from his job as the chair of the Post office, Henry Staunton. Now, Staunton gave an interview with the Sunday Times in which he made a number of claims, the most damaging of which was that he said a senior civil servant had told him to stall on compensation payments to victims of the horizon scandal. Badenoch reacted with a series of furious tweets before then coming to the Commons the following day to brand Staunton a liar.


Clip It is not fair on the victims of this scandal, which has already ruined so many lives and livelihoods to claim, as Mr. Staunton has done, that this is being dragged out a second longer than it ought to be for Henry Staunton to suggest otherwise, for whatever personal motives is a disgrace, and it risks damaging confidence in the compensation schemes which ministers and civil servants are working so hard to deliver. I would hope that most people reading the interview in yesterday’s Sunday Times would see it for what it was a blatant attempt to seek revenge following dismissal.


Liz Bates Now the Tory press loved it, but Staunton said he was stunned by his comment about delaying compensation and has now published a memo suggesting he was told by a senior civil servant to hobble into the next election and not rip off the Band-Aid in terms of finances. This latest memo from Staunton is it’s quite funny, really, because it’s a little note that he made, to himself in the meeting that he’s produced as evidence. We can choose to believe him or not, but writing a note to yourself is not is not really evidence. But yeah, I think I think more broadly, I don’t know what you think about this, Nish, but in Tim, when it comes to the post office scandal, the last thing you want really, as a government is to be on the wrong side of it. And I think Kemi Badenoch is very much, by continuing this public row is in danger of getting on the wrong side of this.


Nish Kumar I can tell you the one thing I never, ever want to hear again, in conjunction with something to do with a member of Parliament. And that is in a string of furious tweets. It’s, that is not the way he she should be engaging with this issue. Rishi Sunak has offered a defense of her based on a question asked by Keir Starmer at a Prime Minister’s Question time. I would say the defense was not fulsome. I would say Rishi Sunak offered a technical defense. It’s gotta be bad. It’s not bad at all.


Liz Bates Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s really difficult for Rishi Sunak because it’s one of those. Do you want her in the tent or outside of the tent? She said you certainly don’t want her to be, gathering allies and causing problems on the backbenches, but I’m sure he doesn’t. I’m sure he’s not a huge fan of the way she conducts herself, either. I mean, I should just say as well there’s another, a very Kemi story out today, which is that she appeared in front of a committee of MPs to talk about, ongoing trade talks with Canada, that she insisted was still going on. And when they checked with Canada, they said, oh, no, they we’re not having trade talks anymore. And yet she has come out again guns blazing. No. We are. I mean, look, I’m no expert on trade talks, but I think at least the country that you’re talking to needs to know that they’re going on for there to be any chance that they’re going to be a success.


Nish Kumar Kerry is and always has been full of shit. And that’s that’s one thing she’s been consistent on the.


Liz Bates Certainly a pattern emerging, I would say.




Nish Kumar Before that was X-Factor. Before there was American Idol, there was Pop Idol. Our guest this week, Will Young, shot to fame in 2002 after becoming the first winner of a show that became a huge global phenomenon.


Clip The winner. Of Pop Idol 2002 is Will!


Nish Kumar Number one singles and albums followed, as did an acting career on screen and on stage. And now, Will Young is making waves as a political activist.


Liz Bates Well, welcome to the show, Will Young it’s so nice to have you here.


Will Young I love seeing those clips back.


Liz Bates Do you?


Will Young You know what’s really nice is. Is I get to see clips of my family and friends in the audience.


Liz Bates That was your brother.


Will Young That was my brother, who’s dead, sadly, sorry.


Liz Bates I know, I know, he took the documentary, but I. Yeah, I noticed that he was in the audience. That it must be. Is it nice for you to see?


Will Young It’s lovely. I love it, and. And and I just, I just like seeing the awful haircuts all my friends had. I mean, they are really, really bad haircuts.


Liz Bates I remember you talking about your politics degree on Pop Idol, I think. Was it discussed at the time?


Will Young Yeah, they probably asked me to stop. I mean, it was like the antithesis of a pop star, you know, posh, quite nerdy. Shy.


Liz Bates Politics student.


Will Young Politics student, gay. I mean, people could have told that. Obviously had to come out publicly later, but my first song was Aretha Franklin. Yeah, it was pretty obvious in a tank top. You know, and and talking about politics.


Liz Bates Can I make a confession, though? Because I was 15 at the time when you were on Pop Idol, and I remember you talking about, I think you did talk about politics on the show, and I was a real politics nerd, obviously. And so I had a bit of a crush on you. So I was like, well, maybe me and Will Young are going to get married.


Will Young It wasn’t you that wrote the letter saying, dear, well, now you’ve come out as gay. I’m really worried for you because no women will marry you.


Liz Bates It wasn’t. No, no, thankfully it wasn’t me.


Will Young Which I have framed.


Liz Bates Oh, my God.


Will Young It was the sweetest letter I’ve ever had in my life. There were nasty ones. Some weren’t so kind.


Nish Kumar So a petition you set up calling for an end to medical testing on dogs was actually debated at Westminster this week. Can you just explain what you’re calling for and why?


Will Young Yes. Yeah, I was there. It was really fascinating, actually. I calling for an immediate ban on testing on dogs. So it was sort of during Covid. And then I came across this place called MBR acres, and I just couldn’t believe that was this breeding facility, a puppy farm basically in Cambridgeshire. It’s been going for about 30, 40 years. Actually, it used to be called something else. The breed up to 2000 dogs a year, and the dogs are then farmed out to the borough trees around the UK to be tested on, but they’re also tested on inside the place. So sort of trigger warning before I say what happened to them. But, they’re bled out on site, for the whole of their life. You know, no anesthetic. There’s no limits. There’s no regulations on how many puppies. The female dogs, how many litters they’re meant to have. So sometimes they have up to 2000 puppies in there. I mean, it’s just awful. So I was just feeding increasingly sort of bit disgusted by it all and and bit helpless. And then I have a rule that is when if I feel helpless and hopeless, I have to remind myself that I’m not. So I ordered some. I ordered some handcuffs on Amazon and then set off and drove up to end breakers and handcuffed myself to the gates, which was hysterical.


Nish Kumar There’s a lot to unpack there.


Will Young No, there’s so much.


Nish Kumar Not least what that’s done to your Amazon recommendations.


Will Young Well, actually, that’s yeah, the algorithm’s definitely changed. Quite. It’s got a lot of love balls suddenly being sort of my way. But I was sort of shameless about it and just was ringing everyone, you know, like local papers just going, hello, I’m well young and I’m here, and I love shamelessly plugging myself. If it’s not about stuff to do with me, you know. So I’ll do it for for a charitable cause, you know. But, I wouldn’t ring up the sort of Cambridge Gazette and go, hi, I’m on tour. Just do what I talk to. And I take a lot of coverage. I thought, I need to get all these people, all these different groups talking to each other. I think shared knowledge and information and creates more cohesion, more power, you know? So I sort of started just talking to lots of people, from Chris Packham to Animal Aid, animal free research, Zac Goldsmith, you know, we’re not politically aligned, but animals. He loves animals. And he actually left the Tories because of the lack of animal welfare bill that they didn’t follow through, which I thought was very admirable. And so then I met with Keir Starmer. I sort of hadn’t in there, and it sort of snowballed. Spoke at the Labour conference. I mean, I just chase down people. I must be so annoying.


Liz Bates But that’s the advantage of kind of, of being famous that you, you get people are willing to speak to you and you. Sort of. You can make change happen. Can I ask you about your experience in Westminster Hall? So you went to that debate in Parliament? Yeah.


Will Young It was. Yeah.


Liz Bates What did you think of it?


Will Young It was amazing, actually. They had a really good turnout of MPs. I really enjoyed listening to all the points. I quite enjoyed the kind of ritual of the committee. I thought that was really interesting. But I did walk out when the Tory minister started talking.


Liz Bates Just in protest.


Will Young I don’t like being gaslit. So? So I stood up purposefully, made a little bit of a sort of of a noise, and I walked out. So I didn’t wait for the government response because I just don’t trust them and I just, I to be honest, I stopped dealing with Tories because it was triggering me and I just felt Jen genuinely traumatized after being in their presence. So I just made a decision that I’m just not going to deal with them.


Nish Kumar Let’s hear a clip from the debate. Here is one of the conservative MPs, Tracey Crouch.


Clip I naturally, as somebody who’s campaigned on these issues for a long time, fall into the majority view on animal testing when it comes to cosmetics. And actually, I’d like to thank my friend Brett Kavanaugh for the work that he did on this. As secretary of state have it, when it comes to medicines, I tend to melt into a mess of complexity because sometimes personal experiences and those of our constituents could muddy a bone with you on this issue. Now, I have absolutely no doubt that the success of my breast cancer treatment is down to experiments that have taken place in the past on animals.


Will Young Yeah, she was really good, actually. And I thought, I mean, she’s an example of a good Tory MP, so they’re not all awful, but it’s about a road map. So I’ve asked for a sort of immediate ban on testing on dogs and, and, and we had some good results because, they have pledged more funding, which is great towards, non-animal testing methods. And that’s, so I think we’re going in the right direction. And I think Labour have been always been better on animal welfare.


Nish Kumar Yeah. Tracy Crouch later herself clarified that she doesn’t advocate or support any testing on dogs.


Will Young She did? Yeah.


Nish Kumar You know, we’re always interested and excited by the idea that people who have a specific, campaign that they want to get behind can actually translate it into political action. That so you feel positive about these?


Will Young Yeah, it really can. I mean, you know, I’m very aware of what I bring to it. So I was canvasing, I won’t say who, but I was canvasing one of the, MPs in that petition. And it was like something out of a drama, like an hour before the person was going in. It was hysterical bringing them, bringing their office. Then I tracked down them to their local constituency. And I think just because.


Liz Bates I thought you were lobbying them, I was.


Will Young Lobbying. It was. I mean, it was really. I really enjoy it. I was really.


Liz Bates Lucky. What was that? What was the response like?


Will Young Actually, like, I think.


Liz Bates You’re asking me Will young.


Will Young Well, I mean with we are with lawyers, but, I think they sort of think if that, if they know what I do for a living, I suppose it’s a little bit more interesting having an actor and a pop star ringing up rather than someone from the local, you know, mealworm association or whatever it is. You know what I mean? I suppose given the given the order of their days, it’s probably worth a phone call. Maybe then that’s the way I say it. I’ve managed to get the attention of some really good people, and also I’m aware that I can give my support to different causes and and different parties. And that comes with something. You know, I’m not Taylor Swift, I’m not changing the election, but I’m aware of what I bring. And I get a lot of satisfaction. From it. And to be honest, I just keep on coming back to the sites of the dogs. And I just think this is why you’re doing it. You know, so, like, most of my things in my life are ego led, but this isn’t ego led. I suppose that’s rather refreshing in itself. Dog that is dog led.


Liz Bates You’ve not sort of got into politics later in your life. As we just previously discussed. You’ve always been interested in politics. You studied it? Yeah. You studied at university. I think by the time you got on to Pop Idol. So what’s your why, the interest in politics.


Will Young I remember doing it at A-levels, and I found it really interesting working out how our country runs. You know, all could run or, you know, should run. I’m interested in the. Corridors of power. I do find it fascinating.


Liz Bates Yeah. What are your thoughts on this stuff?


Will Young It’s just so interesting. I mean, for the first time now, I’ve sort of been going there a fair amount. I went to a very grand school, and and it was very. I was very used to grandeur in a, in a, in a building or in an institution. And I always by the way. Was always really grateful for it and appreciative, which is sort of all this is sort of child. But I remember walking around thinking, God, you are lucky to be in this, but, you know, it was the most incredible grounds, incredible building. So going into Parliament, I don’t get I don’t get bamboozled by the grandiosity of it. But weirdly, there’s a sort of slight sort of comfort to it, which disturbs me because it’s the and because I’m so institutionalized cause I went to boarding school.


Liz Bates That’s what David Cameron said. And said, it’s like it’s just like going to school.


Will Young Well, yeah, well, good old David’s back again, isn’t he? You know, David savior on a white horse.


Nish Kumar Gosh, do you think that that’s part of the problem with access and getting more variety, the backgrounds of members of Parliament? You know, if you segue from boarding school to parliament and you’re not fazed by any of it.


Will Young Yeah, 100%. It was literally the Houses of Parliament. Looks like the dining room that I used to have my tea in. And so so you you feel really comfortable there. But for me, because I’ve done a lot of work myself and sort of, kind of want to not just exist in my echo chamber and bubble as much as possible. It also feels there’s it’s slightly discomforting to me how a part of me is really settled quite quickly. But then the other weird thing is, is you have the two main parties, and it’s like being in Harry Potter because you just have the Tories are like Slytherin. I mean, they just wander around and the people around them because they’re so, you know, they’re not in a good place, are they? And they’re not going to hopefully be in government. So they just give off this energy. It’s not just the MPs, it’s the people around them of like slightly embittered and slightly jaded traffic wardens. You know, they’re just like, I don’t care, I’m going to give you a ticket anyway, do you know what I mean? So they’re a bit like that. And then the Labour are really quite, quite jolly and, and also what I know, and I might have this wrong, but.


Liz Bates Who do you consider Hufflepuff, then?


Will Young A Caroline Lucas probably. She’s probably Hufflepuff isn’t she? Love Caroline Lucas. But the other thing is, I think I noticed a lot more diversity in the Labour people and in their teams. It just feels so much more diverse and real, you know? And it just doesn’t feel like that with the Tories. And then you go into the chamber and you watch the debates. And I mean, I went into one PMQs. I didn’t want to because I knew I would find it so outrageous. And it just is outrageous. It’s just awful. People are just like on their phones, WhatsApp ING, you know, chortling away for a while. You know, very kind of male led. It feels like the voices seem to be very male led because I think women are just a bit cooler and like, screw this, what’s going on? So it’s just a lot, a lot of men going, oh, you know, thinking like you’re running the fucking country. And it just makes me so angry. So that that whole element I don’t like. And also it’s very intoxicating because it’s corridors of power. Yeah. So I can see why people. Get. Bewitched by it.


Liz Bates I think that’s a really interesting question, because I’ve thought about this a lot. Because somebody like you, somebody like David Cameron, sorry to lump you together, because I know you won’t enjoy that. But, you know, if you if you went to a prom. No. If you went to a private boy’s school and then you go and work in the House of Commons, that feels comfortable. If you like me and you come from a comprehensive school in South Yorkshire, it’s fucking intimidating. And when I joined as a journalist ten years ago, I literally didn’t speak for like five years. And every time I went down and sat somewhere, someone would come up to me and be like, excuse me? That’s that’s someone else’s chair. Wow. And know I didn’t know it was someone else’s chair. I just accidentally sat in it. You always been kind of moved along or quietened. You know, everything had kind of these rituals that I didn’t understand the secrets.


Will Young How did you find your place within that? Was that then, through experience and realizing you do have a right to be there?


Liz Bates You just you hang in there.


Will Young Yeah.


Liz Bates And then you watch people. I remember seeing Jess Phillips talk in various various different events. She would always put a hand up and be like, sorry, I don’t really know whether I’m supposed to talk now, but I’m just going to say something. And I was like, okay, that’s yes, I need to kind of copy, copy Jess little bit and just try and bulldoze my way through. But it’s hard. It’s very intimidating.


Will Young They should change that whole chamber. They should change the whole lot. It should be. It should be in a new building, brand spanking new and sort of neutral. So it doesn’t feel like that at all.


Nish Kumar If you’ve got a sort of track record with the Labour Party now, will in 2018, you interviewed then, leader Jeremy Corbyn for a podcast, and you actually attended the Labour Party conference. Have you always been a Labour supporter?


Will Young No, I was more Lib Dem, to be honest. I was always interested in peaceful political protest and democracy. I mean, I protested when I was 16 at the GP bypass and set up a sort of eco society at school and things, because I’m posh, people think that I’m, I’m Tory, which was, which was useful for a while because I could get meetings with people like, oh, it’s a good old boy coming in. But now I think the game’s up because I all I mean, I spend a lot of time just slagging off the Tories on Instagram, and I really enjoy it. You know, I my favorite thing is to find really awful pictures of Liz Truss and then I just put them up going, don’t forget about her, you know. And I really enjoy that. But to be honest, I move more towards Labour. Part of it was, was anti-tory, which I think obviously with the latest by election. So there’s been a lot about that, like all people pro de Boer Anti-tory. But it was driven by that and. You know, I think the final straw was seeing the parties during Covid and just the lack of because I’ve, I’ve grown up around a lot of those type that type of entitlement. My parents aren’t like that. They’re not snobby. And thank God. So I was wasn’t. It probably washed off a little bit of entitlement being in that sort of system, but not I was never a full on asshole. And but I know those assholes because I went to school with them. I was taught by them. And I see them. And during Covid, that kind of level of we deserve this. We are better than others.


Liz Bates Rules don’t apply to us.


Will Young The rules don’t base. It’s more than that. Those. It’s not just the rules don’t apply. It’s that we were owed this. We’re owed this, you know. And that just disgusted me, so. Well, I’m in a in a funeral for my brother that’s killed himself with my three family members. The worst. It wasn’t a laugh a minute, you know, the 25 minutes or whatever. It was in a crematorium in Berkshire. Well, I’m having to stick to the rules and I’m not the only one. So I just suddenly something flipped, switched me and I thought these people are. They’re the worst types of humans. There are some nice toys. By the way, my local MP in Berkshire, she’s um Tory Laura. I can’t remember surname now. She did a lot for beagles, for testing on dogs. And she actually tabled a question in Parliament, so I don’t want to tell them all with the same brush, but there’s just such a disregard and I just, I just the, the anger for others that I feel. I, you know, I just suddenly switched and that was it. And I thought, I’m going to use my platform. I’m sure I’ve now created my own. You know. No, I don’t know how many floating voters have, like, following my Instagram. But, you know, it’s my lenses. Thing is, what I really want to is I want to go to Somerset and just put up massive billboards of Jacob Rees-Mogg, in his constituency, where he’s reclining in the Commons. You know, that awful picture because I put that up about once a week just going, don’t forget this, man. And I’m really toying with the idea of a.


Liz Bates It’s a little picture of Nish sitting behind you. Can you see?


Will Young Oh my God, that’s so funny. I mean, oh God, it’s just the word. And I’m thinking about blowing them up and putting them around in his constituency just for the hell of it, because I just want to see him tumble, you know? They’re just they’re just the worst. And they create the division they’ve created. And it just makes me so angry and sad. So I’ve become a lot more activist, really. And I genuinely, by the way, think that if they were to continue in government, I think that this country would, would go to some sort of Armageddon, sort of George Orwell state of because they just want to destroy it. And these people are terrifying. So I don’t even know if they believe, you know, the people like the Bravermans. And, you know, I don’t even know if they believe what they’re saying, but they know the impact of it. You know what I mean? So, like, perfect example, gay immigrants and stop me if I’m ranting. So we’ll just rant. But, this is one. That’s fine. This is also my comedy show. So, like like, it sounds.


Nish Kumar A lot like my comedy shows, I’ll be honest with you.


Will Young So I just, I know this is why I know we’re going to be best friends. You know, she she she came out and she done that thing in America, and then she, you know, spoke about gay migrants, which were like 0.2% of migrants. Anyway, she knows what she’s doing. They all know. I mean, obviously, she’s gone now, I’m sure trauma to her head again. But they all know what they’re doing. It’s it’s targeting the vulnerable. And I’ve I just can’t bear it. And then, you know, you ask the Home Office for statistics on, how, LGBT migrants and how many. They didn’t have any statistics. She’s just making it up. And it’s just it’s just mind blowing to me. People need to know this. They’re literally making it up. The whole time and just targeting the vulnerable to create division, to create more headlines. And the worst thing about it all is that just clinging the whole drive behind it is just to back to the corridors of power is just to stay in power. They’re clinging on. It’s why he won’t call an election. Just give me the power for another six months. Do you know what I mean?


Nish Kumar You’ve said that the you that the UK is becoming a hostile environment for LGBTQIa people. Is that part of your fear about a potential conservative victory, however remote the prospect seems at this point?


Will Young Yeah, I said that deliberately, by the way, because also there are crossovers between being a performer and being a politician. You know how to get a headline. You know, you’ve got to give them a little quip. You know, you got to give them a soundbite. And so I deliberately said, I feel scared as a gay man in this country because I wanted to get it out. That being said. I don’t feel comfortable as a gay man. On what I experience and also what I see for, for others and particularly transgender people, you know. The kind of quips that you see in the House of Commons and the way it’s been picked up as a, as an issue. It’s just another prime example of the Tories. And and to be honest, I think Labour could be stronger on it. And that scares me because it’s again, they’re just using. Marginalized groups to spread hate and try and garner more power. So I don’t feel safe. I think the Braverman thing was, was actually the kind of final straw, really, for me. And that was it just sort of happened around. I think in the same week she’d done the LGBT people and then she to also, patron of a homeless charity. And she said, homelessness is a it’s a lifestyle choice. And, you know, it’s just like I also think I think a bit on the mat, you know, that’s the other thing is they are sort of mad. Do you know what I mean? I mean, they I think they, I think they need to be evaluated.


Liz Bates And I should clarify, what Suella actually said. It’s it was food discrimination for being gay or a woman should not be enough to qualify for international refugee protection. Speaking to a U.S. think tank. Yeah. It was whether the application of the UN’s 1951 refugee convention is fit for our modern age. That’s always been her position, which is that the laws already exist and are being gamed, by by people coming into the country.


Speaker 1 [AD]


Liz Bates Have you, lost your faith in politics, or do you feel hopeful about the future?


Will Young The opposite. I’ve become more hopeful.


Liz Bates Oh, God, I’m so pleased.


Will Young No, I really am, actually. I had a moment yesterday or the day before, and I was like, I wanna become an MP. I honestly have no. I had a moment.


Liz Bates And I’ll do it. It was.


Will Young Really funny. I think I was, it was either listening to the the by. It was all about the elections. I can’t remember it was you. You, you guys that put your podcast on it, the latest one to someone else. But anyway, I was thinking by elections, I was like, oh my God, I could become an MP. No, I’m really I’m really confused by Starmer. I really I’m kind of I’m going to I’m going to so I’m going to text. Okay, dog.


Liz Bates Like genuinely, would you really think about it?


Will Young I would actually because because I this isn’t, this isn’t a so sales pitch for Labour. But I genuinely do feel hope when I’m around the people in Labour when I talk to them. The meetings I’ve had with them. You know, I had one good meeting with one good conservative laws, my local MP, and that’s only because my mum basically beat her up on email.


Liz Bates It’s Laura Farris I think.


Will Young Laura Farris, that’s it. You know. And my mum did. My mum, her emails, to Laura Farris were bordering on I mean I’m amazed she wasn’t reported to be honest. And I, I rang up my mum and I was like quite strong wording to say, well, you know, they need to do more. I said, I’m going to take a different approach, slightly more diplomatic and less swearwords. But, you know, she was good. But other meetings I’d had with Tory people, it was it was really disappointing. And I get a lot of hope from Labour. And, you know, like Steve read his shadow death row. I mean, he’s brilliant. They’ve just announced the foxhunting thing. They did the badges, and, and they’re really hopeful. And I genuinely think that we need that in this country. And I need it as a citizen. You know, I want to feel like things aren’t absolutely hopeless.


Liz Bates How would you find it being an MP there? Day to day?


Will Young Well, the dick pics would get me sent out within a day, to be honest. Let’s be honest.


Liz Bates No, that’s pretty standard actually.


Will Young I need more. I need more, clearly. I need more than that.


Liz Bates Yeah. Get the archive out.


Will Young I mean, I think I think.


Nish Kumar Listen, you can’t do it in the chamber. We’ve discovered you can’t be. You can’t be looking upon in the chamber.


Will Young He was looking at a tractor’s website wasn’t even something. What was so funny? I mean, that is just. You see, though, politics for those kind of stories I’m all here for. I don’t get wound up about that. I mean, they’re obviously they’re mental, but it’s so funny. I think I’d like it. I probably wouldn’t toe the line, and. I, I’d probably wouldn’t last long.


Liz Bates And, but cabinet position. What do you fancy?


Will Young I’d go all in. Yeah I’d go in for the cabinet.


Liz Bates Well, any any in particular? Treasury? Home sec? Foreign sec?


Will Young I’d quite like defecate. It’s a massive brief, but I’m a country boy, so I’d quite like that. But I’d probably have quite a few clashes because I know there’s a lot of farming is. You know, Tory.


Liz Bates I can see this happening. Shout out to Labour leadership. Will Young’s available.


Will Young Why not? Why not?


Liz Bates Why no?.


Will Young Don’t you think the funny thing I really like Rishi. Rishi um Sunak talking at the farmers union. Have you seen that? And they’ve. And they’ve gone. He’s quoted Eisenhower. I don’t know if you saw this, but they’ve gone. They’ve. He’s such a dick.  I feel really sorry for him because I actually think he might be an alright person, but I just think he’s a bit of a dick. He just needs to, like, take all that money he’s got and just don’t do politics. Go enjoy your life. You know, he’s got like, 750 million or something. Just enjoy your life. He puts them on doing go off to the Maldives. Maybe he’s got he’s going to the you know, he’s come to the farmers Union. He’s clearly like his team has gone to you know, there’s a website isn’t there for the best quotes. So called something like best quote.


Nish Kumar Yeah. It’s quite like quotable or something. Tell me about that.


Will Young Type it in for farming. The first quote that comes up it’s from Eisenhower. So they haven’t even they haven’t even gone down the list. They haven’t even go down the list. You know, at least get to like the fourth one. You know, it’s just so funny. It’s made me laugh.


Nish Kumar Well, we’re lucky they didn’t scroll down too far. Will, otherwise Rishi Sunak would have ended up singing old MacDonald to a group of understandably furious farmers.


Will Young I mean, I’m here for that. I’m here for that. I feel I feel so sorry for him. I feel like he just it’s just not equipped, you know, everything from the Piers Morgan handshake, taking the bat. He’s just not equipped. He’s just a he’s a nerdy guy who is chancellor, you know, he just needs to, like, not do it. Do you know what I mean?


Nish Kumar Well, well, listen, you’ve heard it here first. Everybody Will Young is setting out his stall to go for a pop star to prime minister.


Liz Bates You’d be better than a significant number of the MPs that are already in Westminster.


Will Young I think I would actually.


Liz Bates You would.


Will Young The next time you see me when I’m doing the full press. Campaign. I mean, I will be full on Trump by that stage. You know that, don’t you? I’ll just be. Even if I met you, I’ll just be saying lies. Oh, you with your lefty lies, lies, lies.


Liz Bates Yeah. Great. Go for it!


Nish Kumar Will, you’ve got our vote. Thank you so much for taking the time and joining us. And, good luck with the campaign and good luck with your future career in politics, I guess.


Will Young I need it. Thank you so much.


Liz Bates It’s great that it started here.


Will Young Yeah. You’re going to run my campaign.


Nish Kumar Liz. We like to end the show by nominating a hero and villain of the week. Would you like to get us rolling by telling us who’s your hero of the week?


Liz Bates Yes, I would. This week, I want to celebrate someone who has been fighting for children in care and for anyone who has gone through the care system. So here’s Samantha Morton, who grew up in foster care and children’s homes, using her amazing acceptance speech after receiving the BAFTA fellowship award at the weekend to highlight the issue.


Clip And I dedicate this award to every child in care today. Well, who’s been in care or is suffering, or who didn’t survive? And as the amazing actress Christy Rock once told me, don’t let the bastards grind you down. Thank you.


Liz Bates Now, Samantha Morton doesn’t need me picking her up. So for my hero this week, I’m going for someone else a little less celebrated. Terry Galloway, who grew up in care living in more than 100 different places. He now leads a campaign for councils to recognize care experience as a protected characteristic like age, disability or religion. Last week, Cambridge City Council became the eighth council in England, Scotland and Wales to sign up. Here’s Terry telling us what it all means.


Clip Practically speaking for the councils, it means that whenever they make decisions or design new services for their populations, they have to think about how those decisions and services affect terrorists, parents, people. And what that will do is it will give parents, fans, people voice in places that they haven’t been heard before. I’m doing this because, carrots bins, people are 70% more likely to die prematurely than any other group. You know, I’ve lost my sister. We was at a funeral. By that time, she’d lost her children. She was really thin. She was addicted to drugs, addicted to alcohol. And, she said to me, I don’t want to be next, Terry. And all I could do to to give her hope was to try and persuade her to let us use our experience to make it so that other people don’t have to suffer like us. But unfortunately, she was next. And several months later she was killed by a boyfriend. So this is really a promise to her and a dedication to all the carrots, friends, people out there. Hero of the week. Well, I’m humbled by it, and I really am. And I’m so grateful. But I’d really I’d like to pass that on to all the carrots bins, people out there who are suffering, who have suffered and who have fallen. You know, we’ve really got to get this system changed until until it’s changed and we’ve got practical, meaningful change for carrots. Beans. People said that they’re not suffering that then I’ll be a hero.


Liz Bates It’s amazing these people that, dedicate their lives to, making other people’s lives better based on an experience that they’ve had. And I would also like to namecheck one more person in this area, a guy called Chris Wilde, who is exactly in a, in a very similar position, grew up in care. He now works with children in care, and he does everything he can to draw attention to their experience. He’s been lobbying the government really hard to make this change for people to have their care, experience, protected as a characteristic, like many of the, protected characteristics are. So I think they’re amazing people. They deserve all our love and support.


Nish Kumar Absolutely incredible. Really, really, really powerful and really, really amazing people.


Liz Bates Yeah. Nish, who’s your villain?


Nish Kumar Well, my villain of the week, is, an anonymous sign writer at York Hospital, who represents a couple of different characteristics that I think people find suboptimal, not least people who leave slightly aggy, passive aggressive notes in the workplace. So York hospitals actually had to apologize for a sign in the library that labeled Indian food as smelly. And this is what the sign actually said. The food and drinks policy. Hot and cold drinks are allowed in the library. Please do not bring any food into the library space, especially not supposed as pakoras or filled to parties as they are very smelly. Someone posted a photo of this sign, on, the website formerly known as Twitter with the poster asking was what was the need for the last sentence? And it’s been viewed by more than 4 billion people and attracted widespread criticism, then shared on anti-racism social media pages. Although the comments under the post seem to have descended into debate about whether indeed, food is smelly or not. The hospital trust said that the sign was absolutely not in line with its values, and had been removed as soon as they were made aware of it. Now look. Listen. Speaking as the children of India immigrants. You ungrateful people. We have brought you cuisine that tastes good. We have made your national dish into curry. I’m sorry if you think that food having smell is a bad thing. And it can’t all be a flavorless brown Smosh. But listen, the smell is good. Let the smell into your life. Let flavor into your lives. Otherwise, just, you know, spend the rest of your time eating boiled vegetables and hard potatoes. Just I it’s the smell of it. Dude, food is delicious. And I stand by this statement that anyone who complains about the smell of it did. Food should be forced to eat nothing but boiled carrots for the rest of their fucking lives.


Liz Bates I get the sense that the person that wrote this sign maybe does just eat boiled carrots. I have a real picture of it. Quite a quite a lonely, a lonely person, a joyless individual, if you like. Sort of shaking his fist at the kids outside the outside his house that are playing in the street and that sort of thing.


Nish Kumar Let let samosas into your life. Let pakoras into your life. Food can taste good.


Liz Bates Open your heart to joy and smell.


Nish Kumar You could get in touch with us. Maybe to give us your best smelling foods. But you could do that by emailing us at PSUK@reducedlistening.co.uk. It’s always nice to hear your voices. So do send us a voice note on WhatsApp. Our number is 07514 644572. Internationally, that’s +44 7514 644572.


Liz Bates And don’t forget to follow at Pod Save the UK on Instagram and Twitter. You can also find us on YouTube for access to full episodes and other exclusive content. And why not drop us a review too? We sure we want reviews?


Nish Kumar Listen, we we welcome the feedback.


Liz Bates Just not from the note guy. We don’t want your reviews. You shush.


Nish Kumar Thank you so much for filling in this week, Liz. Excitingly, you will also be back next week. But this time filling in for me.


Liz Bates Yeah. Yeah yeah. No. Really exciting for listeners because a lot less you. A lot more me. So that’s sure to give the public what they want.


Nish Kumar Give the public what they want.


Liz Bates And what you’re going to be at. You’re going to be on holds. You’re just going to be enjoying your life.


Nish Kumar I’m going to be, in Los Angeles.


Liz Bates You’re so fancy.


Nish Kumar I’m going to be in Los Angeles wearing a big floppy hat and consuming legal marijuana. Pod Save the UK is a Reduced Listening production for Crooked Media.


Liz Bates Thanks to senior producer Musty Aziz and digital producer Alex Bishop.


Nish Kumar Video editing by Will Duncan and the music is by Vasilis Fotopoulos.


Liz Bates Thanks to our engineer David Dugahe.


Nish Kumar The executive producers are Anouska Sharma, Dan Jackson and Madeleine Herringer with additional support from Ari Schwartz.


Liz Bates Remember to hit subscribe for new shows on Thursdays on Amazon, Spotify or Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts.