Vimla Appadoo: [0:02] Hi, I'm Vimla Appadoo, and you're listening to the Distributed Future podcast. We're here today to talk about the future of the world, whether it's technology, politics or anything in between.

Tim Panton: [0:14] I'm Tim Panton, I'm the co-host on the Distributed Future podcast.

Vimla Appadoo: [0:19] And today we're joined by Lindsay Broadwell, the Labour councillor for Western in Leicester. Lindsay, would you like to introduce yourself?

Lindsay Broadwell: [0:27] Yeah. Hi. So, as mentioned, I'm currently one of the sitting councillors, one of the three sitting councillors for Western ward in the city of Leicester. I'm also the first out lesbian on Leicester City Council, so that's a little bit of a historical landmark there. And generally speaking, I've been trying to work towards, you know, economic betterment of the city, of my constituents and, you know, with a keynote of both social and environmental justice. So, I've had a fairly short career in politics so far, I was only elected about a year and a half ago, but it's interesting. So yeah, it's been quite the experience overall.

Tim Panton: [0:59] So I think we first Skype-- I first came across you when we had something between a discussion and argument about nuclear power. So you're kind of really seriously into tech, and its effects on society. So the kind of you want to give us a little talk around where you've come from on that background?

Lindsay Broadwell: [1:19] Yeah, I mean, as you say, I'm very into technology but in sort of like a fairly skeptical sort of way. You know, I'm not sort of one of these people who go, "Oh yes, I've got an Amazon dot, and it listens to me," and all the rest of this sort of stuff. Because it's like, while I am into technology, while I am generally in favor of, you know, I suppose to use a vague and loaded term, human progress, it's the sort of thing where, you know, I also approach it from a sort of, you know, fairly humanities heavy bend, where it's like, you know, "Well, what's the impact of this technology? Could it potentially be useful both for good and for ill? And also, you know, how has technology been misused in the past? Because you bring up nuclear energy and I think, you know, if there's a better example of a more fraught class technology than that, it's fairly hard to think of one. Because it's, you know, obviously fairly hard to ignore the fact that this technology was originally developed in World War II for the purpose of bombing Japan with nuclear weapons. And then after that, you know, people said, "Oh well, you know, since actually we can commercialize this." But there's been just such a long history of governments just misrepresenting this technology, of just, you know, lying about what they're actually doing. Though I completely understand the skepticism a lot of people have for the industry, particularly in the UK where, you know, some viewers may remember the government saying, "Calder Hall will produce electricity too cheap to meter." Except Calder Hall was designed to produce plutonium first and foremost and electricity second. Well, later Magnoxes did change that and, you know, we're by all accounts, actually relatively good reactors. That's not the sort of lie you can just tell and then expect to not have consequences down the line. So for instance, one of the discussions I have, you know, about Hinkley Point C for instance, leaving the horrendous financing aside though as people say, "Oh, wasn't it used to make bombs?" And it's just like that lie told almost 70 years ago now is still having repercussions in the present day with completely different classes of technology. And you know there's sort of people in nuclear industry who say things like, "Oh, you know, that's not right." And it's like well, the reason people still think that is because nuclear industry is terrible at public relations, you know. It's just they're relying on sort of like a motley crew of I guess, enthusiastic amateurs on social media like, you know, myself and some other people. And you know, some of them do good work and some of them rather bring the industry into disrepute, which is the exact opposite of what they want. So, my personal angle from it was actually, I don't knowif you can see the wall behind me. Well, you can see, the audience can't. But I've got actually two degrees to my name, one of which is an engineering degree. And my motivation was actually you know well, what do we do about climate change? And so, you know, I sort of had a fairly high number of like long nights of a sore, I was wondering, you know, how do we square the circle? How do we make this work? And, you know, they kind of led me on a deep dive because, you know, like I think a lot of people in environmental movements, I can't dismiss nuclear fission out of hand. Well, just like, "Oh, you know, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island all that, which you know and some of that comes from. But I looked at it again, and I was just like, you know, despite where this came from, it's an incredibly promising class of technologies. If it's done right, it's very very good indeed. And, you know, some of the fastest decarbonisations in history, France and Sweden have been, you know, done with renewables nuclear energy in tandem. You know, this doesn't need to be a puncher where you know, you got nuclear [unintelligible 4:28] saying, "Renewable's a scam," and you know, renewables [unintelligible 4:29] saying, "Nuclear's a scam." It's like 85% of all energy used worldwide, 85% of all global primary energy, comes from fossil fuels. So those are the people we should be targeting first and foremost, rather than, you know, just making constant punch ups about well which form clean energy is the best? All forms of clean energy are the best. You know, if it's clean, it's in, that's my attitude, and that's what I'm hoping to promote.

Vimla Appadoo: [4:53] And so you mentioned that they kind of the passion for environmental issues and climate change in particular, how do you find having the conversation about nuclear energy in kind of climate circles or environmental circles because of how contentious it can often seem?

Lindsay Broadwell: [5:12]
It very much depends on the kind of circles that you're moving in. I mean, if you go into like a meeting of Friends of the Earth, you know, [unintelligible 5:20] and anti-nuclear power organization, and that issue is still very prevalent. But I find that, you know, and within the Labour Party, you know, there's some grassroots organizations which are not friendly to it, but the unions in general, you know, they recognize like, you know, not only there's this type of climate change, but also provides many thousands of, you know, good unionized jobs. The unions tend to be fairly supportive, very supportive, but there is still like a suspicion or skepticism of it on the left, you know, it's one of the things I think we do have a bit of a blind spot on. Because a lot of people, you know, they hear about the accidents, they hear about the bad side nuclear energy, and there's no one providing a counter narrative that, you know, actually this allows to use enormous amounts of energy with very little environmental impacts. It provides good stable employment for many many years. And if done on public finance, rather than private finance, it produces some of the cheapest electricity on the planet. But that side of the argument isn't one that gets heard very much. So I find there is still, you know, hostility in some circles. But if you actually like sort of sit down and explain the positive case for it, rather than, you know, just relying on the negative word of mouth, I find that people are actually quite open to it, especially when you're honest about, you know, some of the failings of the industry and particularly, when it comes to Hinkley Point C. Two thirds of the cost of the electricity from that plant is not the cost of building, running, decommissioning and fueling the plant, it's actually dividends to the investors. It's something like-- I think it's something like £60 per megawatt hour of the £100 mega hour strike price, it'll be at the moment. It's literally just interest on the loan used to build the plant. And I think that some of the loan is on something like 35 years and the plant's ready for 60. So, you know, that's 25 years after that where it's a morph size. But even so, you know, you look at an arrangement like that, and it's just preposterous. But you know, the amount we're paying is, you know, effectively tripled just because the government says, "Well, you know, we don't want to actually build critical national infrastructure, we want to get the private sector to do it." And the reason I'm kind of like fairly down on people trying to make nuclear renewables into enemies, is that's also a problem with renewables, there's tons of shoddy shovel-ready projects up and down the country that are ready to go. But the government just says, "Oh, no, no, no, you need to get private sector investment to that, the market knows best." And it's just the market's interest is in running cheap gas units and speculating and generally just running down infrastructure as much as they can possibly get away with. So it's all like, you know, I'm not gonna say the market's always bad, but there's a lot of areas where it's sort of, you know, become accepted gospel that the market should be the one taking the lead, where, you know, it really shouldn't be. And I think, you know, nuclear power is just one of the most egregious examples of that but, you know, this affects so many things all across the board that, you know, I think it's much more productive if we fight our common enemy rather than fighting among ourselves.

Vimla Appadoo: [8:04] And just for anyone who's listening, myself included, what is Hinkley Point C?

Lindsay Broadwell: [8:09] Okay, so, Hinkley Point C is the currently ongoing new build nuclear project down in Somerset. It's two European pressurized reactors have I think 1600 megawatts each, and construction started of a couple of years ago and has generally been proceeding well. But the reason why it's gained so much infamy is the government firstly took an awful long time to actually, you know, decide they were going to do this in the first place. And then negotiated an absolutely horrendous private finance agreement to raise the money for it. Which means that the electricity from the plants because of that private finance arrangement is I believe some of the most expensive in the world outside of, you know, small islands with diesel generators and things like that. From an engineering perspective, the EPR did have an awful lot of problems at Flamanville and Olkiluoto in Finland. Flamanville's in France, Olkiluoto's in Finland. But you know, we've seen plants of Taishan have managed to iron those issues out, and they're working well now. So Hinkley Point C will hopefully follow in those footsteps. But it's been a very contentious project, because it's the first I think new build nuclear plant since Sizewell C in the 1990s. So it's both been a long time, it's perhaps not the design reactor we should have gone with, and it's got a very shall we say ugly, private finance deal attached to it. So it's a case of, you know, the plant itself is good. It's providing massive amounts of investment, tens of thousands jobs down the supply chain at the moment. But it's just as ever the politics surrounding it is kind of coloring everything else with a fairly negative brush, so.

Tim Panton: [9:42] To what extent do you think a new tech in the zone in terms of things like social media could could fix that? I mean, you're a fairly heavy social media user. Do you think that's something that could be used to kind of correct people's perceptions or do you think it's the wrong forum?

Lindsay Broadwell: [10:00] I think it's part of the forum. I don't think, you know, social media is all you should rely on, I think it's a major part of any strategy going forward. But to be honest, it's just it always depends on how you use it. Because I'd mentioned earlier, the sort of like the nuclear industry relies fairly heavily on sort of enthusiastic amateurs for outreach, and, you know, the quality of that is fairly variable. You know, you got people like me who, you know, I put a point of pride on not suffering fools gladly, but you know, I'm not, you know, abrasive, I tend to listen when I'm wrong or at least I try to. But there are also some people out there who have earned themselves the title of nuclear bros, who are just so aggressively pro-nuclear to the exclusion of everything else that frankly, they put it off. And the trouble is, you know, with industry presence on social media not being you know, particularly heavy at the moment, which is something I've been pushing to change, you end up sort of relying on the people who, you know, like me who just do it because we think it's good technology and want to advocate for it. And in the absence of like, you know, a proper professional operation, well, you know, we're the only voices out there and not all of those voices are good ones. So you can end up sort of skewing the conversation by that. But generally speaking, I think the industry does need to get with the times in a way, and so like especially reach out so the younger generations like, you know, myself who, you know, didn't grow up during the Cold War, who didn't grow up with, you know, all these negative perceptions everyone else has. And generally speaking from my experience, are actually very open to technology if someone's actually willing to sit down have that conversation with them. So I think that's something we definitely need to explore in the future.

Tim Panton: [11:32] Who do you think like you know-- Essentially this is politics you're talking about. Who do you think uses, again, I'm going to talk about social media for a little longer, but who do you think uses social media really well in politics?

Lindsay Broadwell: [11:52] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by far and away is probably the best user of social media in politics at the present, you know. She is approachable, she's direct, she avoids weasel words, she speaks very directly. And you know, she's not afraid to show you know, "I may be a politician, but I'm also very human indeed." Like, you know, for instance, when she was playing Among Us recently and Hbomberguy, internet stream for those who aren't aware, murders her character in the game, and her reaction was just like very human, very endearing. So, I think she has an absolutely fantastic social media operation. And honestly, I think that's something that an awful lot of other politicians need to learn from. You know, I try to be open, to be direct, to be all the rest of it on Twitter. But the issue is it's like being a politician is only sort of like parts of what I do. So I talk about a lot of other things as well. So I suppose if you were to use the phrase my brand is, I guess, like general engineering, LGBT politics and nuclear stuff and, you know, politics in general. So it's a like mix. But in terms of the best little like pure politician who I think does social media the best, as I say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her campaign is, you know, phenomenal. Her messaging is on point, she's direct, she's clear and she's not afraid to call people out when they need calling out. So yeah, she's phenomenal, the first example that springs to mind.

Tim Panton: [13:08] And I mean, I kind of-- Do you think that that the days of pure politicians, I mean, you mentioned like that you do other things, and your-- I don't want to say. Isn't pejorative, but you're a part time politician, essentially.

Lindsay Broadwell: [13:24] Yeah, being a councillor is a part time position.

Tim Panton: [13:26] Right, exactly. I mean, in the past that was always the case, that like politicians were they had other jobs. And now, not so much or I don't know. I mean, I suppose at the council level, that's still very much true.

Lindsay Broadwell: [13:43] Yeah, at the council level it's still very much true. And I think that this one of the reasons that particularly in this country, people find politicians so alienating. Is that, you know, when you speak to MPs, it's just being an MP is all that they do. And that's, you know, they sit on the board of a private water company or something, but I'm not gonna name names there. So yeah, it's like a lot of politicians they have so like this very polished, very fake kind of presences on social media or, you know, they're just terrible people and don't have a PR team to hide it for them, which is also something which tends to happen fairly often. So I think, you know, generally speaking, people do respond quite well to you know, a politician showing that they have a human side and actually being honest about, you know, the limitations and powers of position. And also just, you know, calling out, you know, stuff which is transparently wrong when it actually needs to be called out. Because I know there's an awful lot of times, you know, when, you know, some Labour Party politician or some other is, you know, retweeting warm words about, you know, the LGBT community whatever while you know, privately they're being buddy buddy with people like Rosie Duffield who are terrible to be frank, who have no place in the party. But you know and the thing is it's like when you have hypocrisy like that, I think people see it and people go, "Well, you know, you say these things, but you don't really mean them." So I very much, I guess you could say built my brand on being as honest and straightforward as I can and, you know, sometimes that, you know, extends into territory of being blunt, which is something, you know, I'm trying to work back on a little bit. But like I said, just so many politicians come off as fake, and part of that is just the only thing to talk about is politics. And that obviously in a lot of cases, just parroting a party line. You know, there's no actual thought or analysis gone into this. And the truth is, you know, I feel like Congress in America is actually a little bit better for this than we are. Because, again, you know, you've got politicians like AOC, who have I guess, a degree of independence that perhaps politicians in this country don't, who are, you know, expected to much more strictly tow the party line. And so I think, I think generally, the issue is that people see politicians as insincere, as fake. And, you know, I guess it's kind of sold us. And truth is, you know, being honest, in a lot of cases, that's true. A lot of politicians are exactly as bad as people think they are. But it's not true for everybody, and I think that people are different. The people who, you know, think politicians should be held to a higher standard, like myself, I think we need to push back extra hard just because of that. Because, you know, there's so many people who have said to me, "Oh, I couldn't be an MP. Oh, I couldn't be a councillor." It's like, "No no no, trust me. If you have the capability for self doubts, you're doing better than a lot of people currently sitting in office right now of any party." So yeah, we really need to raise the bar and the standards that we expect from people I think, and especially people in positions of power.

Vimla Appadoo: [16:19] There's something really interesting there about toeing the party line. Because I think that it's rare to find a political party that you agree 100% with. There are always going to be things that someone disagrees with, that you disagree with or that doesn't align to your way of thinking. And like nuclear power could be a really good example of that if there's a, you know, a political party that's like completely against it but then has a really great LGBTQ pass like policy. You have to always make those pros and cons. But what I see is, as soon as someone steps into that political arena, it's kind of all or nothing. You're either in for everything or not. And any criticism of something that could be disagreed with is almost seen as treachery. And that's not again, not the point of politics, it's about to have a debate about it and to understand that there's always going to be a pro and con to every conversation. And you're right, that that kind of level of honesty is really lacking in the debate. And for me, without getting too high horse about it, kind of comes down to value and morals. If there are some things I just won't accept as a person, so why would that change if I stepped into politics? Why would I all of a sudden be okay with accepting that statement or someone being friends with that person or whatever it might be?

Lindsay Broadwell: [17:36] I think a lot of the problem in this country, I mentioned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She won her seat by a landslide in a primary. And meanwhile, political parties in this country don't have primaries. Selection processes of the candidates are quite opaque. And generally speaking, if not decided, then very heavily influenced by highers up already in the party. So I think a lot of the problem comes down to a fundamental democratic deficit rather than answering to rank and file party members into the electorate's like politicians should. Instead there's this sort of blatant conflict, where politicians are also answering to a bunch of opaque higher ups who, you know, perhaps most people haven't heard of who, you know, perhaps most people would not like if they had heard of them. But because they call so many of the shots, people are just like, "Oh, I don't want to piss them off or I don't want to lose my seat. I don't want to do that." Like you look at the way the-- Leaving aside whatever it is he's alleged to have done for the moment, you look at the way that Jeremy Corbyn has been pissed about back and forth. He was suspended with pretty much immediate effect that's still being unilaterally denying him the whip being restored. And these decisions, they take place behind closed doors. And so I think, you know, even you know, our better MPs in this country you sort of always have an eye to the fact that, you know, if I don't tow the party line enough, I'll be out of my ear, regardless of what I think. And so I think that does sort of breed a sort of almost, I wouldn't exactly call it cowardice, but I call it a level of like being compromised. That a lot of politicians in this country fall prey to because they don't want to say what they actually think or they don't want to disagree even when you know, the mold of mention of a decision is fairly clear because they're worried about their own career. Because they don't answer to party members who are telling them don't do this thing, they're answering to higher ups who tell them, "No, do do this thing." And so I think that level of compromise, that level of conflict, I think the only way out of it is to insist on, you know, full internal democracy in all our political parties.. I think that should actually be the law of the land. Because there's been so many punch ups within Labour Party about, "Oh well, you know, we have this MP parachuted into a seat. Oh, I never vote for more, it's a job for life. It's this, it's that, it's the other." And I think that breeds just in general a very acrimonious atmosphere where, you know, people say, "Oh well, this is the Labour candidate, but they're not my candidate. I didn't vote for them." Anyway, some of them might be sour grapes but at the end of the day, they have a point. If there's a democratic deficit, then that's, you know, not really something which should just be ignored or swept down the carpet. It's something which, you know, needs to be addressed. And I think it's something which people see the results of even they don't necessarily have full awareness of the underlying cause of it.

Tim Panton: [20:08] You said something on Twitter a little while ago about, I'm going to paraphrase it badly, but something to the effect that having a Twitter following insulates you somewhat from that problem. Like what scale of Twitter following do you need for that to kick in?

Lindsay Broadwell: [20:24] I mean, I'd say it scales to the level of office that you're in. So for instance, me as a local councillor, I have, you know, pushing 10,000 followers at the moment. I have found that, you know, it means that you know, the higher ups who don't like everything that I say, will tend to pick their battles much more with me because I know full well if they tried to do what they are alleged to have done to other people, which is to, you know, bully them out of the party, to gaslight them, to drive them nuts. They know full well if they allegedly try anything like that with me, that I'm not going to stand for it. And I've got a big, independent platform which they don't control I can use to make their lives difficult. So it is sort of like that, I guess to use a fairly unpleasant term, it's still sort of like that implicit threat of consequences. Because there's definitely a breed of politician, this transcends party lines. So we're very used to doing whatever it is they want and getting away with it. And so I think the idea that, you know, someone actually being able to push back against that, I think that's, you know, something which they're not necessarily used to dealing with. And it means that, you know, they are a bit more wary than perhaps they might be if I was just, you know, just a local councillor rather than, you know, a local councillor and a minor figure on social media. So I think to an extent, it does insulate me from some of the crap, it doesn't insulate me completely. But yeah, it is what it is. It's not pleasant, but it's politics.

Tim Panton: [21:44] I mentioned Twitter, like are you an active user of other social media? Like I feel you do it anywhere else, but...

Lindsay Broadwell: [21:52] Honestly, no. I do have a Facebook account, but that's mostly because like networking within the local Labour party because all the events and groups and things are on Facebook. But other social media, you know, Instagram is kind of I see it almost as like a little bit shallow. It's like all visually based. And well, I'm generally okay with my face, I don't like showing it off that much. So I don't go on that. And then when I think about the platforms, you know, which I could try out [unintelligible 22:19] and whatever, I just think it's more work than I'm willing to put into for social media. For you know, things which I should get back from this. Because like my Twitter account is, you know, a reasonable platform in and of itself, I haven't really felt the need to be anywhere else. I mean, you know, perhaps as my career progresses, that will change. You know, have an actual social media management at some point which perish the thought, but honestly, at the moment, no, I'm not really active anywhere else, so.

Tim Panton: [22:44] I was just thinking like as you say AOC on Twitch, for example, I thought that was really-- I mean, that was interesting in itself. She chose a platform that like pretty much no other member of Congress had got a clue about. So I thought was quite clever.

Lindsay Broadwell: [22:58] Yeah, so it was a fantastic piece of outreach. You know, as well as, you know, showing the human side. It's also just like, "Oh hey, there's this really cool person who's playing with a whole bunch of other streamers, and she's a politician as well. So I think, you know, getting people who aren't politically engaged to be engaged, a lot of a lot of whom are young, I think that's something very worth doing.

Vimla Appadoo: [23:17] Yeah, absolutely. Moving away from social media a bit, I know that one of the other things that you're particularly interested in is transport. And I'd really love to know-- Well, so I live in Manchester, and the cycle lanes are appalling if existent at all. Can you tell us a little bit about your thoughts on public transport? Just what you believe in.

Lindsay Broadwell: [23:43] I mean, an awful lot of it comes down to the fact that Britain did what basically no other country did, which was instead of having public transport run by municipalities, run by cities, run by councils, we privatized it. So an awful lot of our public transport, you know, be that buses, trains, planes, whatever, is not actually in public hands in hands where, you know, the profit motive isn't the main motivation, it's instead of in the hands of private companies who they just want to run the profitable routes. And if you say, "Oh, you know, could you cross subsidized run some routes, which are, you know, important for people who live there but won't necessarily make you much money," they go, "Give us a subsidy. Give us a subsidy. Half of it's going to go and profit to our shareholders, but give us a subsidy. We are really really needy." So, so much of it is just you know, the systems of public transport in this country are on a level fundamentally broken because they've been broken. Because, you know, Margaret Thatcher got in was like, "Hey, free markets, free markets. I love Augusto Pinochet, I want to do what he's doing in Chile by privatizing everything." So just, anyway. So our systems of public transport are fundamentally broken to start with. And I think there's also just like this horrendous mindset of just taking hold of all levels of government, which is almost-- Oh, it's not the government's job to actually govern, we shouldn't build anything. We shouldn't do anything. We shouldn't you know, perhaps go against some vocal sections of the public who are a minority. And we know they're a minority, [unintelligible 25:05] No, no, no, we're just going to take the path of least resistance constantly and just hope that it all somehow works out. So for instance, I mean, in Leicester, weve had a few cycle lanes put up, but there was something very telling actually said in a scrutiny meeting I was in yesterday actually, which is the reason we had to push the meeting back to today, which is just, "Oh yes, we're building new cycle lanes but we're being very careful not to take any space away from cars." And when you go in with that kind of mindset, when you know, "Oh, the car is king, we must not ever disrupt the cars." You can't lock yourself in just this assumption that, oh, most people are always going to travel by cars or that we always need to have all of this public space and city dedicated to cars. And the thing is, you know, that hasn't always been the case in Leicester, and it hasn't always been the case in places like Manchester. Like there's, you know, some major pedestrianisations. Like in Leicester, you know, the entire city centre pretty much has been pedestrianised at this point. And in Manchester, I know there's an awful lot of streets that's been pedestrianised as well. So it's not as though you know, people haven't thought about this, that there hasn't been pushed back in the past. But they're always just like, "Oh, we mustn't go too far, we must upset the motorists." The truth is it's like I will admit, I actually do quite enjoy driving a car. But if I had to do that every day, if I had to commute, if I had to do that as my job, I'd be in the same boat as pretty much everyone else I speak to where they say, "I really hate my car. I hate having to drive this expensive, noisy box on wheels everywhere, but there isn't any other choice." And, you know, you could play the personal responsibility cards. You could get on your bike, you could walk, you could do this. But the thing is just like our cities are no longer built for that. We have, you know, busy dual carriage way roads with limited access points and with limited positions for pedestrians cross. We have narrow pavements, we have a total lack of cycle paths, as you mentioned in Manchester. And just generally everything is geared up around that corner. It goes back to what the guy in scrutiny said. It's just like we're making very careful not to take any space away from cars. So when it comes to public transport, the thing that a place like Leicester needs, we should bring back into use, you know, the old Great Central, Great Northern, Leicester and Burton, perhaps the [unintelligible 27:02] counties lines as well as you know, select public transport and heavy rail corridors. And you know, we should run fast, frequent, electrified services on those. And also invest in things like, you know, trolleybus network you know, perhaps and light rail if that's justified. And just sort of like see public transport as a public good, which it is. And I mean, one of the things which does stick out to me is there was an awful lot wrong with Soviet Union with USSR with that sort of like command economy structure things. But one thing that that side of the iron curtain did do and did do fairly consistently well, is they said, "Well, you know, we're not going to assume that everyone's going to have their own car, in fact, we're not even going to make that a goal. But what we are going to do is we're going to build trolleybuses, we're going to build trams, we're going to build metro systems." Like, you know, you can say an awful lot of things about the Soviet Union that were bad and which are true. I don't think the Soviet Union was good by any stretch. But they are absolutely fantastic at building public transport. They're absolutely fantastic at building metros. You know, there's some Muscovites I know who insist to me that, you know, the Moscow Metro is the best underground in the world. And it's like, you look at it and you're like, "Yeah, you know, I can see that."

Tim Panton: [28:07] There's a very funny visual thing of that in Berlin, which is the trams only effectively run in the old east. Like there's a excellent tram network in what was East Berlin, and outside that there are kind of few little ghosty lines, but that's it. Like the core of it it's all in East Berlin. And recently, we had a lovely thing in Berlin, where the transport authority was a bit fed up with the idea that Uber were like trying to get in there. So they run their own, essentially socialist Uber. And they use some-- As far as I can tell, they use some old justification which allowed them to run it, but only in the East again. So we had these kind of shared ride run by the municipality in East Berlin, but they couldn't go west because presumably there was some historical legal thing going on there.

Lindsay Broadwell: [29:04] Historical legal divisions. I mean..

Tim Panton: [29:06] Right.

Lindsay Broadwell: [29:07] Yeah, I mean, this is something which is, you know, really interesting to me. And it's something I've been trying to push through in Leicester. It's like so, you know, some people say they have trouble getting around the city center because it's all pedestrianised and they don't have the mobility. It's like, why don't we just buy, you know, some of these pedal taxis like they have in Berlin, and we run them ourselves. And we give people you know, with mobility impairments or people who are elderly, we give them free rides around the city center. That's something we could do. But then you get, you know, sort of like, again, this horrible public sector mindset we have in the country. "Oh, you need a business case, we should act like a business." It's like, "No, we should not act like a business. Our main profit priority is not to make money, it's to do things which are good for people, which, you know, to take a more collective mindset than, you know, perhaps the private sector does or is capable of doing. It's like when you look at, you know, for instance, I guess the delivery companies in this country, that's, you know, something like a dozen of them at least all doing the same basic thing. And, you know, the innovation they talk about is mostly, you know, how can we screw over our core as most effectively? Which you know, as opposed to like public six months just to like, "Okay, this needs to get to this place and we need to do it in the best, most efficient way possible. And the way to do that is you have one point of access, you have one company which does it, it's in public hands, your staff are paid well, you have more staff than you technically need, there's always slack in the system if you need it. And, you know, private companies look at it and say, "Oh, inefficiency inefficiency inefficiency," which means, you know, the moment you end up with a shock to the system which wasn't accounted for, just suddenly everything falls apart because it was run, you know, at the absolute raises of what's possible. And you kind of see that with sort of public transport, public infrastructure in general as it's very under resourced. It's very sort of like, "Well, you know, it works well enough, so let's leave it well enough alone." Because, you know, the bus companies maybe privatized, but they run on public infrastructure, they run on public roads, which at presents are predominantly sort of like dedicated to car traffic. And the thing about that is, you know, if one person has an accident, well, you know, suddenly, your entire suddenly your entire city is gummed up because oh, it was running just at the bare maximum of its capacity. And one shock to the system suddenly screwed it all up. Because, you know, I think there's something to be said for, you know, I guess a degree of individual freedom, which, you know, so that people, you know, have choice of agency, can make their own decisions in their lives. But at the end of the day, you know, the inescapable fact is that we do live in a society that our actions affect other people. And so, you know, when I directed some praise that, you know, sort of, like the central planning mindset of, you know, the former Eastern Bloc with, you know, sort of decisions made ostensibly for the collective good. You know, my main issue with that is they did it at the barrel of the gun. They did it so that, "Oh well, you know, if we get something wrong and you dare to say so, well, I hope you like the inside of a prison cell because you're not going to be seeing the sky for very long." And, you know, you look at the sort of thing that started it, and it was terrifying. But I think there is something to be said for sort of like a mindset of, you know, it's not me, it's us we need to consider. And I think fundamentally, that's why my own politics, I consider myself sort of like a fairly liberal syndicalist. So, you know, I'm socially liberal, I don't believe in, you know, like regulating people's personal freedoms, except for, you know, your freedom swing your fist ends where my face begins, and, you know, that kind of principle being applied. And generally, I think, you know, we need to have public ownership or we also need to have, you know, people with a sense of agency. Because the trouble in Britain with our nationalized industries is, you know, they may have been in public hands, but they're in state hands, and they still operate in, you know, much the same way they did before. Where it's like, "We've got the strict hierarchy, you'll do what you're told." And the fundamental problem of that is that ordinary working people still didn't actually have an awful lot of agencies. So when Thatcher came along said, "We're going to settle this, we're going to break this up, we're going to shut this down." And there's pushback from the unions, but at the end of the day, the decision to do that rests in her hands and the hands of the government. It didn't sort of like rest in you know, the people who actually work there saying, "You know, we need to modernize, here's a plan to do that. We're going to make sure no one gets screwed over. But you know, we've got to change the way we do things." Just having everything in one pair of hands, even though that was you know, ostensibly public democratically accountable hands and suffice you can call Britain a democracy. I think that led to sort of like fundamental vulnerability. So, yeah. I describe myself as fundamentally so like syndicalist or cooperatives cooperative contract--company that's the word. I'm sorry. But yeah. Generally speaking, I believe that so like things should be publicly owned. But public ownership doesn't have to mean state ownership. I think ordinary people need to have ordinary people like you and I we need to have a stake of buying into these things and actually having the capabilities to make decisions cos I don't think if you put it through--if you put it to the public, "Let's sell off our bus companies. Let's break them up into little bits and just assume competition will make everything better." I don't think people would have gone for that cos I think if people had the ability to make an informed decision than rather than having it just be imposed from above, people would never have gone for that because it's just transparently such a stupid idea. But, because the decision wasn't in our hands, that's what happened. And we are where we are in the horrendous mess we're on now.
Vimla Appadoo: [33:59] So there's something that you said earlier actually if the markets can't make all decisions, and I think the same is true for AI and data. It can't be dependent for all of our decisions because you remove the element of human analysis, interaction, understanding, empathy from it. And I think that's true of everything that you're talking about now as well is you need to have that and again what you said about earlier, the consequence or accountability of being involved and taking part in the decision.
Tim Panton: [34:31] Do you think there's any chance that new, again, tech could kind of be helpful in producing new structures, new ways of managing democracy, or do you think that's a dead end?
Lindsay Broadwell: [34:45] I think technology is a facilitator. And I'm not gonna speculate on what might come, what might come in the future, what might not. But--
Tim Panton: [34:54] Oh, that's what not we do on this podcast. That is not what we do.
Lindsay Broadwell: [34:56] Oh yeah. I phrased it wrong. I'm not gonna speculate on what precise forms technology will take. But certainly if there's ways to increase public participation, make the political process more accessible, make relaible information more accessible because the internet's a wonderful resource and social media has exposed an awful lot of politicians as being, shall we say, not terribly good at their job and a sort of like provided a window into that world that previously was all behind closed doors has let people see, "Wow, actually a lot of these people are--Yes, a lot of these people don't have the best interests at heart." And I think that's been some like a great awakening for people, but the issue is social media does have a dark side. There's an awful lot of people on there who get money, get clicks, get attention by just saying the worst most inflammatory kind of stuff that we have that's possible. And it's the same kind of thing that's happened with playground bullying. It's just people do this because, "Oh, it gets attention." It makes them feel good, and there's no pushback. Because if you've got, say, a fairly big account, let's say JK Rowling when she's directing dogpiles onto trans people are dead to screw with them, you see this and it's just like, "Well, those people who spend the time punching down among there's no real break on that." Because social media companies are private companies. They want to get money as much as possible, and the ways to do that is by engagement by advertise and clicks. And the ways to get a lot of engagement unfortunately is to be as inflammatory and as out there as possible, so that's why you see Twitter being reluctant to ban rampant homophobes, rampant transphobes, people who say horrendously racist things just for the sake of getting a reaction. And they are sort of like they don't care that that has a horrendous impact on the other people and affects, people have to read that and wade through it. And it's like, "Oh, well, this controversial topic controversial has caused lots of engagement, let's do that. Let's do more of that." So, I think one of the big innovations that I'd like to see is, again, going back to the concept of public ownership and sort of like heavily deprivatizing the profit motive. I think sort of like a social media which isn't run for profit which is meant with the genuine aim of connecting people, I think that could be revolutionary. I think that if you had tools to sort of like weed out bad actors, if you didn't have a platform which is focused on engagement and clicks and eyeballs above everything else, I think that could be potentially transformative. And as being an example from my own personal life if you look at it like dating apps and say, "Oh, find your perfect match on app whatever it is." And the thing is that just you think about it just like their incentive isn't defined to a partner because you find a partner when you don't need their app anymore. You aren't gonna keep spending money. You aren't gonna keep browsing. So their incentive is always to make sure that it kind of slightly sucks that you're never gonna match that with that many people. You're never gonna click cos if they actually do what they say they set out to do, they're effectively writing themselves out of a job.
Tim Panton: [37:55] I'm gonna do my self advertising here. We--
Lindsay Broadwell: [37:58] Yeah.
Tim Panton: [37:58] A couple of back-stories here. We actually on the Twitter stuff we had a podcast, what a few months ago, with Jake Lefton about how to deconflict and take the heat out of social media and kind of try and sprinkle a bit of harmony and truth in it which is fascinating. Some of those techniques are really interesting. And Vim, you probably remember this better than I do. But a long time ago we did a dating app interview. I think you did it actually.
Vimla Appadoo: [38:29] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And it was actually it was a startup in Manchester that was focused there. Their driver was to make matches. They knew that it was counterintuitive for their business, but it was still the driver for their ethos. There was kind of, "No, we want to exist to help people find love." And they celebrated more of their marriages or relationships that came out of it rather than the gamification of it as an app which was interesting. But there's Twitter recently released their statistics to say they made that subtle change and you can't just retweet anymore. You have to retweet as a quote, so you can still retweet without having to add anything to it. But, you're kind of encouraged to add a comment. And so what they've seen is the rates of engagement have gone down on tweets because of that extra step, and it's seen an increase in people either commenting or adding something to the conversation. So the reason they released it was to try and stop people from re-tweeting unconsciously stuff that they skim, read, and agree with and add their opinion or understand what it's doing. And I think it's interesting to see the shift as a social media company scales and grows to try and bring back more of that moral and ethics into how they're using the platform. Because if they'd done that at the beginning, their metrics for success would have been way different to what they're doing now. And now they can actually say, "No, we want this to happen because good or better informed engagement is better for our platform than unconscious engagement."
Tim Panton: [40:01] I'm curious to I'd love to find somebody in the advertising industry who could honestly answer my question about whether engagement that's come out of a conflicting point of view and a pylon whether that's engagement that you want if you're a brand. Cos like my instinctive feeling is that it isn't, but maybe it's still all engagement is good engagement. I don't know.
Vimla Appadoo: [40:24] I 100% think it is. But if you look at not just JK Rowling but black PrettyLittleThing in the not only the slavery but their outrageous reply to the Black Lives Matter movement like yes their sales went down and it's been awful, but it hasn't stopped. It's not been, it hasn't hit them too hard. So I think there's--As much as it seems flammatory at the time, it also flows over a lot more quickly than traditional news used to. What I do think is interesting in the JK Rowling incident or the incident in inverted quotes is one, how a bunch of authors and academics got together to complain about infringement on freedom of speech, but also the ability of the everyday person to actually have a voice against a figure against the person in power. And that's one of the things that I find quite liberating as much as it's horrible to be on the receiving end of it, it's quite liberating in social media that all of a sudden everyone does have a level playing field to use their voice and cool stuff out.
Lindsay Broadwell: [41:30] Yeah. I mean, that's one of the things. And it's like because I'm quite active in the LGBT community it's like previously the only way people ever heard of a gay person or a trans-person or a lesbian was if they happened to be on the TV or they happened to be in a paper. If they had to go through that filter, often have people who are quite homophobic or quite transphobic or whatever was now you can kind of get it from the horse's mouth and there's, as you say, that sort of leveling of the playing field where all voices no matter how marginalized can still be heard. And I think, honestly for me, so the biggest bugbear that I do have with social media at the moment is I'd say that the curation tools are not particularly great that you can end up being dogpiled or all the rest of it. And the other thing is algorithmic timelines which naturally try and boost the most engaging content at the top, but in reality it's just like an algorithmic timeline something like Facebook has made Facebook basically unusable for me because I'll see a post and still like, "Hey, I'm having this great party tonight." Pre pandemic times, obviously. And I'd say, "Oh, that looks interesting." And then the post turns out to be from three days ago, but because it got a lot of likes Facebook is showing to me even after the fact. So there is sort of like an element of social media companies actually shooting themselves in the foot by making their platforms worse to use in the name of driving some like advertising revenue and all the rest of it. So, I think honestly, social media can be a force for good. It can be like a wonderful liberating force, but it needs to have--it needs to be structurally sound. It needs to have people able to follow what they want to follow and not show people stuff they weren't expecting to see. Cos one of the worst things about sort of like an algorithmic timeline right now, and I'm very glad to still have the option to switch it off on Twitter is, I'll see something which annoys me. And I'm like, "That's annoying. Go away." And then I log back in, and it's still stuck on my timeline because algorithms are like, "Hey you, this makes you angry. I want to show this to you cos you're engaged more." And so I've seen thing I've had accounts that I've had to unfollow just because the worst stuff keeps coming up. And you mentioned a bit about quote tweets earlier. On one level, I like them. On the other level, I had to unfollow Owen Jones because he kept just quote tweeting the horrendous homophobic abuse, etc. And I'm just like, "Ok, I get why you're doing this." Yeah, that's [unintelligible 43:45] But anyway, I get why you're doing this and I get part of it is showing people what you go through, but also just like I'm a lesbian. I am gender non-conforming as well in a lot of ways. And seeing all this bile that people are espousing that I've tried very very hard to filter out being just pushed on my timeline by someone who I was under the impression I could trust and just like I don't really necessarily like that. So honestly, I'd say having better discretionary tools would be a good thing. I mean, for instance, you've already got the option on accounts to turn off retweets. You don't just see things they retweet but no comment. But I wish there's also an option to say, "So if this account you know quote tweets something, maybe just put it behind a spoiler side." They have to click on to actually see what it is. And so you're not constantly just hit in the face with stuff you aren't necessarily prepared or willing to see. It's like trying to [unintelligible 44:41] going back a few years now, but for secondary school biology I tried to do a project on abortion. And the problem is you go on a Wikipedia article for that. The first image at the very top of the page is a very graphic image of the aftermath of that particular procedure. And I'm just like for something like that for something which you do kind of need some full warning to see, it's really good behind a tag which grays it out and you click on it to see what it is because if I'm trying to read in fairly dry technical detail about this procedure, how it affects people it's just like I don't necessarily want to see pictures of it. And it's the same kind of thing as social media, and that's why I'm quite a fan of like content warnings or the rest of it cos it's just like-- I have a fairly strong constitution, but there's times when I'm just like, "I don't wanna see this. I don't wanna engage with it. It's not gonna be productive for me at this particular moment in time and using honestly like better filters to avoid seeing things I don't wanna see would be welcome." But, equally, there is some like a concern among some people. Social media might tarnish a bit of an echo chamber. And well, a degree of that is useful because I'm not necessarily wanting to see some vicious homophobes passing around or burn in hell or whatever. I think that can also have a bit of a dark side to it like when you see people go down the queue on a rabbit hole, and they filter out everything and everyone that disagrees with them.
And they just end up spiraling deeper and deeper and deeper into that abyss. So, honestly, I have a lot of ruminations on the subject. But when it comes to actual thoughts, I know it's complicated, social media is complicated.
Vimla Appadoo: [46:26] I do--Sorry, I do celebrate my safe circle quite a lot on social media. But now it's ok cos I know that I'm not gonna get the horrific abuse, but I might get some challenge, the challenge that I can respond to in a pleasant way. Yeah, I do. The thing that always worries me about content warning or greyed-out images is who decides that, and I know it's moderators. But it's based on their understanding of what's graphic or what's unacceptable. And I find that quite problematic. I think then for me it's about, "No, I want to control it. I want the level of control of what I can take in or exclude or whatever it might be."
Tim Panton: [47:07] Yeah. I found myself recently--My Facebook is constructed by with people who I have actually physically met. There's nobody now on my Facebook group who friends who I haven't physically met and spent time with. So, I was quite sort of careful about curating that. And I've never had to block anyone until recently, and now I have probably four or five people who are on the kind of rolling 30-day mute because they've been there like something to do with the pandemic has set them off into little obsessions. And, frankly, they're boring. And every now and then kind of at the end of a 30-day cycle, I get another blast from Fred or whatever about Fred's current obsession. And I'm like, "Oh yeah, Fred's still on about that like me for another 30 days." And maybe post pandemic Fred will resurface or somebody I want to spend time with. But at the moment I'm like, "Okay, once a month I can do this." And that's your limit mate.
Vimla Appadoo: [48:12] See, mines just start asking things for Saturday pretty much. That's alright. [unintelligible 48:17]
[Tim laughs]
Lindsay Broadwell: [48:21] Yeah. Oh, mine is I don't know. It's a mess, and I don't check my Facebook very often. But the point you raised about so like moderate is essential. I think that's a very valid point, and that's what sort of like I'd like to be the user's choice. So for instance, when I mentioned the article on Wikipedia I wish I had the options as sort of like, "Images in this article might be graphic. Do you want this to be hidden or do you want this to be not?" And that could be just like, I don't know, as a browser extension which pops up and goes, "Hey, you're looking at something about like medical stuff. Do you want me to like grey out the images just preemptively?" And that would then be my choice. There would be like an external moderator going, "Hmm, this might be problematic which, as we've seen, there's some fairly massive examples of bias like for instance I've had some great team selfies of mine flagged as inappropriate because I'm a lesbian. And Twitter looks at the word lesbian and goes, "Oh, that mostly turns up in porn. It must automatically be explicit." So, there is absolutely a moral hazard to greater moderation. But I think honestly the answer to that, as you say, it does lie in just like empowering users much much much greater to sort of like filter and curate their own experiences. And again, going back to the points I made earlier about algorithmic timelines, if you're picking who to follow and you see their tweets in chronological order, you're just gonna see what you choose to see. You're never gonna have anything like, "Oh, such and such liked this. Here's a tweet from a random account you've never followed." That's just regardless shoved in your face without asking. And it's like, "Yeah." There's still like this I guess I don't know exactly how to describeit, patrician attitude among some social media sites, "We know what you like, we know what's good for you." And it's like, "No, no, no, no, no. I know what I like. Let me choose, please."
Tim Panton: [50:03] But don't you think that the sites outsourcing labour to you are getting paid for it?
Lindsay Broadwell: [50:09] I think to an extent, it can be through asking for sort of like, "Oh community moderation." And, yeah, that's just like what YouTube did with sort of like trying to deputize people, "Oh, we're not gonna pay for people to moderate our side of things which clearly breach our terms of use. We're just going to get used to this. And yeah, you're right. It does sort of like offload some of the work. And, as a lot of things, yeah it does lie somewhere in the middle. So for instance there is an element of user creation I think is useful but, also when someone's just transparently spewing let's say racial hatred or saying horrific anti-semitic comments basically, that's fairly clear cut and dry stuff which moderators should be getting on and banning the accounts which you're doing cos one of the things I've noticed is I used to get dogpiled on by toughs a fair amount, but after just blocking like a relatively few accounts which were just like coordinating dogpiles, suddenly most of that went away. Because the truth is while social media may be vast and bold and confusing, the number of bad actors, the number of persistent bad actors is actually fairly low. And they experience an awful lot of people could be improved by just better moderation and better enforcement, but people will just transparently break the rules. It's like you see how long it took for what's his name Graham Linehan to get banned even though he was trying to get trans people killed, and it's like that's a flagrant terms of service violation. And Twitter is just ignoring time and time again until they couldn't ignore it anymore because it went up to someone with more clout than he had. And it's just like, "Yeah, cos I blocked him. I muted him. I never saw him on my timeline." And lots of awful other people join Twitter every day. You don't know about him." And they might be coming out as openly trans, and you're perhaps being a little bit cringe worthy cos they might be 16 17 18, not still fairly naive to the ways of the world. And all it takes is someone's is some big cancer, put them on blast go, "Haha, look at this cringe. Look at this person who's 17 and has a bad opinion." And that can ruin the entire week, ruin the entire month, I guess. So, yeah, these elements use a curation. And I think user curation is what most of the experience is gonna be, but at the same time platforms need to stop dropping the ball and actually enforce their own terms of service with a bit more vigor than they do at the moment.
Tim Panton: [52:20] What do you think the role of politics is in that?
Lindsay Broadwell: [52:24] Role of politics in terms of just them or?
Tim Panton: [52:26] Of setting of enforcing that. I mean, should there be legal enforcement of that or just setting the tone or how does that like?
Lindsay Broadwell: [52:36] I mean, I think that's fairly--
Tim Panton: [52:37] Cos I think we're heading into that like whether we like it or not.
Lindsay Broadwell: [52:40] Yeah. And I think that's fairly dangerous ground, to be honest. And one of the things which does occur to me actually is there are some legislative blindspot to show, but an awful lot of stuff which takes place in social media is already illegal. For instance, like mounting campaigns of harassment to try to talk people into committing suicide. That's already illegal. Very illegal. But the trouble is, it's like you go to the police, you go to court. They don't take it seriously. It's just like, "Oh, it's just on the internet, was it? Ah, it's not real." Even though it likely is. And so I think I don't know. And I definitely wanna see the law updates in some areas like for instance I think it was Leicestershire police put out a graphic recently explaining, "Oh, you shouldn't sext because that's illegal." And the barre lead in that is just like if let's say you're a 15-year-old who has been coerced into taking naked pictures of yourself or someone else. It's not just the person who's coerced into doing that is committing a crime, you're also committing a crime. And you could potentially face legal ramifications to that, and it's like I'm someone who's been on the receiving end of shall we say some of the worst of humanity in my life. And just the thought that I was coerced into doing this, but in the eyes of the law I'm also in violation. That's kind of a fairly big chilling effect on actually coming forward and actually doing anything about it. Cos it's like, "Ok, so you know society is going to judge me just as fast as it because I'm female who is doing things that society says, 'Oh, that's not modest. That's not right. That's not ladylike.''' I think the laws need updating, and I'd hope that we can have a very sensible adult grown-up conversation around it. But with a lot in power at the moment, I can't say I'm especially optimistic about it. I hope saner heads will rule the day, but I don't know. We're all like--
Vimla Appadoo: [54:27] Yeah. I know. I mean, if you look at how long it's taken for even rape laws to get changed or how little has actually come from the equalities act in the 70s, it's I mean, change in that arena is slow. And there is a massive disconnect between the voices and the pressure in sort on social media or even in local political spaces to then create the change of policy or governmental levelling.
Lindsay Broadwell: [54:56] Yeah. I mean, it's like you mentioned laws around rape. There's just an awful lot of them that it's like when it gets to this math about what the perfect victim is, so it sounds right. The perfect victim is, "Oh, it's an innocent, pure, good woman who's never ever done anything wrong in their life or was set upon by this terrific beast man who left stuff in the bushes." And the truth is reality is a fabricate and that most of the time people are raped by people that they know. And while it is less common, there's an awful lot of men who get sexually assaulted as well. But because they don't fit that narrative, is people start to say, "Oh. Oh, ok. So you're a woman, and you fought back? Well, oh well, you shouldn't have fought back. Oh no. Actually, he says he didn't rape you. But you still left a bruise on his face. That means you've committed assault." So, to me, I think part of the problem is not just what the laws are themselves but also sort of like the culture those laws reflect like the idea that if a woman is wearing skimpy clothes she's asking for it. The idea that, "Oh, men are all just ultra strong and macho macho manly men. If someone assaults you, it's your fault." The sort of like victim blaming in sort of like both directions, I guess. So-- I think while reform of the laws is gonna be important, we also need to sort of look at the attitudes in society which are unfair and unjust enough themselves. So--
Vimla Appadoo: [56:09] Yeah. Yeah. And--
Lindsay Broadwell: [56:10] --like you say. I mentioned sexting earlier. There's an awful lot of people who say, "Oh, well, if you didn't want them to be leaked, you shouldn't have taken them." And it's just like if you can't have a reasonable expectation of privacy, then what's the point? I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation to have, and the fault lies with a person who took your trust and abused it. It's not the fault of somebody for taking a picture and then sending it to one person. It's the fault of the person who shared it who will more often than not get off scot-free while the person who took the picture in the first place is humiliated. And part of that is sort of like I guess you could have a legal remedy for that, but also it's just like we need not shoot as a society and just go like, "Hey, you person whose nudes were leaked, this isn't on you, this is on the person who leaked them. We're angry at them. I get this is embarrassing and valid. We're not upset with you, we're upset with the person who leaked them." Whereas right now it's just like certainly at least when I was in school when one of my friends, her pictures leaked. It was just like, "Ohohoho, you took naughty pictures. Ohohohoho." All very much just like punching down at the victim not actually going, "Yeah, actually that really sucks. Yeah, that's not fair on you. The person who did this to you is a bastard." And it's just yeah. This legal attitude needs to be changed, but there's also social attitudes which need to be changed in tandem with them because sometimes as I can attest from your fairly better personal expense sometimes it doesn't actually matter what the law says. And nobody will actually believe you enough to actually try to push forwards to actually push for what's right under the law. If--
Vimla Appadoo: [57:45] Yeah.
Tim Panton: [57:46] Do you see that situation changing? Do you have like looking into the future, do you think that there are kind of hopeful signs that things are getting better or are we kind of sinking back into a morass?
Lindsay Broadwell: [57:59] I don't know. I mean, honestly at this point this sort of thinking could go either way because you see, there's a sort of reaction in government which is underpinned by appealing sort of like the worst in society because unfortunately the worst in society tend to vote more often than those who don't. And so I think honestly the forces of government are trying to push us backwards, are trying to push us back into the closet or pushing one back into the home of just pushing these very regressive agendas among I think honestly socially enculture. A lot of people take this that younger generations are like questioning the systems of circumstance they grew up on more than never before. And I think there is still like the gestation of a more liberal mindset among certainly my generation and hope for the generations after. But, as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. And I think that growth that progress is actually quite fragile. And if it's not properly supported by the rest of society or stamped upon, I think it's gonna be--I think it will potentially could get more hostile, more unwelcoming to precisely that people need the precisely the changes that need to be made. Sorry, I can't gobble that up. But I hope I make sense.
Vimla Appadoo: [59:08] No, no. It does, and I think you're right. Until we start to see more representation at local central levels, we're not going to be able to create that change because society won't have the leaders there to guide them through what that looks like or to change their perceptions at the moment. And like you said, it is still based on people on social media or who you see on TV.
Lindsay Broadwell: [59:30] Yeah, it is. I mean, you mentioned similar roles and things it's like, I forgot what her name was but on Great British Bake Off they had a Muslim woman who was wearing a headscarf. And because that's normally something which just appears as a demonized caricature in the media it was like, "Oh, look at this scary threatening person. Oh, they're alien." And then just suddenly on Bake Off there was this a wonderful, charming woman who was forthright about her insecurities as very human, very relatable. But that actually on its own did an enormous amount to change people's perceptions just like, "Oh, they're a person just like me. They're not threatening, not at all. They may be from a different sort of like cultural background to me, but they are still relatable. They are still funny. They are still, again, human." And I think honestly that is one of the criticisms I have of the media general is that there's so much emphasis on just stirring up controversy and taking just in the worst of us reading it. And you see this on sort of like things like BBC News where it's like they can't just have a transperson on to talk about their experiences. They have to have a transperson on and then invite, oh, God knows who, Germaine Greer or whatever to scream at them because it's just like, "Oh, we need to have debate. We need to have balance." And I think, honestly, when it comes to media there is that old saying it's just sort of like the job of the media to invite one person on saying it's sunny and another person on saying it's raining. It's the job of the media to look out the window and say, "Oh, it's actually raining." So, I think generally there has been some like an erosion of standards in public life. Certainly it was like last decade or so where we've seen--I'm certain I think people are becoming more aware of some like flagrant issues of bias in media, but generally it's just like I think a lot of the solution is to just humanize people a lot more. Because it's very easy to think of other people as sort of like, "Oh, well, they're not like me. I don't have to fully consider them as a complex rounded human being." And I think the media, both traditional media and social media, could be a very powerful force in showing, "Oh, this is someone else's lived experience. Here's how they live their life." It's like, there may be different things. There may be different things about it, but at the end of the day it's like like they're not fundamentally incompatible with you. They're not still like, "This is a completely, completely incomprehensible thing." It's like they're a human being at the end of the day, and that's where the emphasis should be drawn. But at the moment it's just sort of like you get the media throw out this horrendous shitstorm just like, "Are trans-women a threat to women's bathrooms? Are Muslims a threat to the British way of life?" And it's just like hysterical this just like division and hatred just for the sake of playing into people's worst instincts. And I'm just like you don't need to do that. You shouldn't do that, and I think the challenge of media both social and traditional is getting away from that mindset of, "Oh, punching down at people is funny. Oh, stirring controversy is funny. Oh, we should play out this thing as a massive threat and a danger to our way of life to get more eyeballs." And I think that's definitely one of the most toxic things in our discourse cos when you look at the Conservative Party right now, economically, they have nothing to offer. They're completely incompetent, just wanna stay the same course as seen as rotting slowly over the last 40 years. But the way they're still generating engagement to getting votes is by stirring up hatred by starting division by saying, "We're going to take back control. We're going to close the borders. We're going to do this. We're going to do that. We're going to put those people back in their places." This is a very negative kind of thing which just makes bigots feel good and get some an awful lot of support. But at the end of this is like us playing to people's worst instincts in order to override the fact that we have pressing material needs which need answering, and I think the reason we're able to get away with that is because there's a lot of population who are ignorant. And there's also a fair few people in public who unfortunately just take pleasure from punching down other people and are delighted they've got state sanction to effectively do that. So, yeah. Let's say the challenge of media both social and traditional is it's one of empathy really, I think.
Tim Panton: [01:03:23] Do you think that you as a young politician are gonna find other people following in your footsteps? Do you think you're, do you see yourself as a kind of--I mean, I want to say a mentor maybe for somebody else who's like maybe thinking about doing the same thing?
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:03:43] I certainly hope people will look at me and say, "Oh, yeah. Yeah. I could be in politics as well cos there's we still haven't got equal representation of women in politics right now. We still haven't got anywhere close to representation of LGBT people. So I hope that those people who would see me and be inspired by me but it's like I don't know. I'd hoped if someone had come to me for help, I'd be more than happy to help them out. But it's just I don't know. It's kind of like I guess partly just my own upbringing. I find it quite difficult to see myself sort of like a mentor and inspiration for other people. I mean, I'm very flattered that people find me that. But it's not something I exactly set out to do.
[Tim laughs]
Tim Panton: [01:04:24] Alright.
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:04:24] I just set out to be myself as much as I possibly can. And if people are inspired by that, I'm very glad. But yeah.
Tim Panton: [01:04:31] Cool. I think we're kind of at a good point in the hour now. What we're trying to do is publish this with some show notes. If there's links that you think would be good to add to it to like help people understand the context of I don't know BBC or whatever--
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:04:49] Yeah. Yeah.
Tim Panton: [01:04:49] --send them off, drop them over and I'll put them into the show notes. And I might drop in anything else in like a trend map of Berlin or something.
Tim Panton: [01:04:56] And we kind of then we'll publish it there. But I mean, also if there's anything else you kinda wanna say now just maybe throw that in. And likewise, Vim, if you've got anything else you wanna cover.
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:05:09] I think I've got another--
Vimla Appadoo: [01:05:09] I think we--Yeah, I'd like to say the other thing is when we put this live, you might wanna put a trigger warning on it, just because we touched on topics of rape and inflammatory content.
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:05:19] Yeah. Yeah.
Tim Panton: [01:05:20] Right. Yeah.
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:05:23] Yeah. And if I could make a little request as well, it's just like if there's anything that sticks out as you would like show notes on, please do let me know because I'm not great at remembering what it is I've said and what it is I haven't. I sort of like go with the flow of things, so--
[Vim chuckles]
Vimla Appadoo: [01:05:36] Could you send over maybe something on the power plan? I think all this will be--
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:05:42] Oh, I'll let some people see. Yeah, I'll have to dig into my recents folder. And I'll send you through some stuff, so yeah.
Vimla Appadoo: [01:05:47] That'd be great. Thank you.
Tim Panton: [01:05:49] Brilliant. Thank you so much. And I--
Vimla Appadoo: [01:05:51] Amazing. It's being such a--
Tim Panton: [01:05:51] I've really enjoyed myself. I've had a good time, so it'd be great. Thank you very much.
Vimla Appadoo: [01:05:57] Yeah, it was really really good meeting you. Thank you.
Lindsay Broadwell: [01:05:59] You're very welcome. Thank you. It was good to meet you, too.