This post is fake news. OR IS IT?

Hello folks! This is just a quick news post to spread the word about an event I’ll be speaking at in a few week’s time, at London’s fashionable The Barbican. It’s called The Battle Of Ideas, and it’s a weekend of debates and discussions about all kinds of interesting things – one of which is Can Satire Survive In The Era Of Fake News? Well, can it? Come along on Saturday 28 October at 2.00pm to find out! 🙂

Did you hear the one about the comedy writer who went into politics?

*Record scratch* *Freeze frame*
Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation…

Just a quick update because I realise I haven’t posted any news since, well, the general election. Not that much has happened since then, eh?!

Yes, as we all collectively bite our nails at the prospect of a hard Brexit/nuclear war/our favourite going out too soon in The Great British Bake Off,  I have been trying to play a small part in trying to make the world a less bad place. My local Labour party has selected me to work with our Westminster City Councillors in Churchill Ward, Pimlico (London SW1) and it’s an incredible honour to join them in helping the local community. If you’d like to be part of our campaign for the Council elections (which aren’t until May 2018, but the work starts now!), then please do drop me a line via the Contact page on my site here, or email me at andreamannlabour@gmail.com. All help is hugely appreciated (AND campaigning is really good for getting your Fitbit steps up. What’s not to love?!).

One reason why I’ve decided to Get Involved In Politics Properly is because, well, jokes about Donald Trump can only do so much, it turns out. In fact, that’s partly the point I make in this piece I wrote for the latest issue of Fabiana (the magazine of the Fabian Women’s Network) – so please read and enjoy and check out all the great articles by other fabulous Fabian Women in it, too.

That said, I am still trying to bring down the government through the medium of satire. The brilliant comedy politics podcast I’m lucky enough to work on – Strong And Stable – has returned and you can listen to it here or subscribe to it on iTunes here. It features funny, informed people like David Schneider, James O’Brien, Grainne Maguire, Ian Dunt, Tiff Stevenson, Mark Steel, Josh Widdicombe, Jan Ravens, Jonathan Pie… and that’s just the first two episodes! Just wait ’til you see who we’ve got coming up in the rest of them!

And finally *shuffles newsreaders’ notes* outside of all this, I’m also working on a new script idea which I’m quite excited about, and not just because it’s a romcom about a comedy writer who becomes Prime Minister. Just kidding! She becomes America’s first woman President. #lifegoals #keepingitrealistic

In the meantime, I’ll be learning all these off by heart.

A podcast for the many, not the few

 Greetings, electorate! This is just a quick blog post to say that I’ve been part of the writing team on a BRAND NEW (yes THAT NEW) election podcast called Strong And Stable.

It’s funnier than a pre-rehearsed joke at Prime Minister’s Question Time, it’s hosted by the wonderful David Schneider, and the guests on episode one are James O’Brien, Josie Long and Bob Mills. Oh, and it features special appearances from Jonathan Pie and Rory Bremner. I know!

You can listen & download it here in the iTunes store. Please listen, enjoy, subscribe, leave feedback… and then, of course, vote Labour. 😉

Hope you like it!

I’m privileged to live near Westminster – and we’re all privileged to live in Britain

I live just half a mile from the Houses of Parliament. I wasn’t sure what to write about this week’s horrific attack… So I thought I would just post what I wrote on Facebook about it…

I wouldn’t normally mark myself as ‘Safe in an attack’ but I live just half a mile from the Houses of Parliament – and this afternoon was working just around the corner from them, doing my regular Wednesday afternoon shift at the wonderful Abbey community centre (named after Westminster Abbey): a hub for local residents and workers in the area, just yards from Parliament Square.

I always think I’m lucky to live so close to Westminster. I can’t get over the fact that on a very still night, we can hear Big Ben’s chimes from our living room; that I can walk less than 10 minutes, and there it is as I turn the corner: the mother of all parliaments, in all its gothic glory. I walk past it – and over the Westminster Bridge crossing to Whitehall – a dozen times a week, at all times of the day or night. It’s no coincidence, I’m sure, that I’ve got involved in politics since going past this place so often: I’ve seen MPs and advisers and staff and others coming to and fro from what it surely the most beautiful office building in the country, and our Parliament has thus become very real and tangible.

[Read more…]

What A Difference 29 Years Makes

parliamentWhat were you doing in 1988? Apart from enjoying Rain Man, A Fish Called Wanda and Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’? I was 17 years old and also enjoying all of the above – as well as studying for A-levels at a comprehensive school in the West Midlands, wearing clothes which ran the full colour palette from black to grey, and sporting a frankly spectacular perm.

In 1988, my perm and I also spent a week at the Houses of Parliament, shadowing my local MP, the ebullient Tory Patrick Cormack. This was as a result of winning a sort of competition that he ran every year for sixth-formers in his constituency, and despite me blurting out in my interview that I didn’t like Margaret Thatcher. I can only assume that, in that moment at least, his admiration for youthful chutzpah overrode his admiration for the Iron Lady.

It’s safe to say that the Rt Hon Patrick Cormack and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on political matters, but he was a perfectly gracious host. I spent my week shadowing him and hanging out with his parliamentary assistants, watching the action in the Chamber and, on one memorable evening, being lucky enough to sit next to the brilliant, funny Tony Banks at a posh parliamentary dinner.

But while it was a fascinating week, it was one that also totally and utterly put me off going into politics.

[Read more…]