Behind the scenes

Inside the Big Issue: Count Binface says relax!

Count Binface is a long-time friend of the Big Issue. In this election week issue, he talks politics – and summer holidays

Inside the Big Issue: Count Binface. Illustration by Eleanor Shakespeare

“Greetings, Earthlings!”

Count Binface is a long-time friend of the Big Issue. In this election week issue, he talks politics – but also, how we can all rediscover fun after this week is over.

“Just as Bucks Fizz once sang at Eurovision, it’s making your mind up time,” he urges. “And just like many a Brit at Eurovision, the Conservatives have been flirting with nul points. Is anyone surprised? After three prime ministers, four chancellors, Partygate, Tractorgate, Lettucegate and so much more, if a country doesn’t give the ruling party a kicking with that kind of record, it never will.”

Who exactly is the intergalactic election crusader? There’s more to him than just the silly costume. Binface is the alter ego of comedian and writer Jon Harvey. Among his many credits, he’s a regular guest and contributor on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live, a longstanding writer on satirical staple Have I Got News for You and notably also pens the knowingly smug intros on Only Connect. As Binface and beyond, Harvey is steering pointed mockery that our political system is so ripe for.

Read more in this week’s magazine!

What else is in this week’s Big Issue?

Setting the record straight on migration

Among certain politicians and media outlets there is a deliberate, often inflammatory rhetoric that describes undocumented migrants in terms of ‘invasions’, ‘tidal waves’ and ‘swarms’. But these characterisations are highly misleading: the history of migration is the story of humanity and its progress. Professor Ian Goldin sets the record straight with 22 facts and figures that show the true benefits of migration.

The inside story of how Blair’s government almost ended rough sleeping

Keir Starmer’s election manifesto contains no firm pledges on rough sleeping. Instead, he has promised a cross-government strategy, working with mayors and councils to “put Britain back on track to ending homelessness”. By contrast, four years into government, Tony Blair’s team had declared mission accomplished, with a count of 532 people on the streets, a reduction of two-thirds. Big Issue spoke to those at the heart of making it happen, from housing ministers to a grassroots worker running a hostel.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ Letter to My Younger Self

The former Archbishop of Canterbury wasn’t much of a teen rebel and wishes he’d been less puritanical.

“There are moments when I think, oh my goodness I did miss out on certain things,” he says. “I’d certainly want to say to my younger self, relax a bit. Beware of perfectionism, judgementalism. I think there was a streak of that.”

Do you have a story to tell or opinions to share about this? Get in touch and tell us more. Big Issue exists to give homeless and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income. To support our work buy a copy of the magazine or get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

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