Weekly Wrap-Up : Settled Dust


Ok so here’s the thing.

I recently wrote an article that was, by far, the most-read, shared and engaged post that Between the Lines has posted so far.

And it’s not hard to see why – things are a teeny weeny bit tense at the moment. Which is an understatement that equals, “Roger Federer is quite good at tennis.” All those who read the article (and thank you for doing so) presumably wanted to understand why.

Boris Johnson ripped up the rulebook on Wednesday morning, stating his intent to prorogue Parliament in order to prevent it from stopping his Brexit plan.

And I, bastion of unbiased analysis and impartiality that I am, wrote an article calling him a dickhead for doing so.

Make no mistake, I maintain that BoJo is a dickhead.

However, now that the furore around the move has subsided from apocalyptic to mere abject fury, I think it is worth taking stock of what the situation really is.

And maybe with a touch less hyperbole.


This Is Not A “Baller Move”, But A “Weird Flex”

Yeah I don’t understand popular culture at all. But hear me out.

Johnson, at his core, yearns to be loved.

This move to prorogue Parliament is designed to get this Brexit shit-show out of the way so that he can move on to be the glorious leader our country needs (or deserves, if you want to throw a Batman analogy into it).

He has created a task-force to do this, full of cynical but effective political strategists. The thinking is that people are exhausted by Brexit. It’s gone on too long, no-one has had a clear strategy, and we can all move on once it’s done.

All of those statements are true. We’re all sick of it. It’s the political equivalent of that one person at a party that stays a bit too long and for some reason starts picking at the leftover nibbles.

Those leftover nibbles, so we are entirely clear, are for the hosts to enjoy the morning after rather than do the cleaning up.

But it’s not enough. To merely look at the exhaustion of voters across the UK and say “Well, they’ve given up, so we can do what we want” is utter rubbish.

Certainly in our elected representatives it’s rubbish. Our MPs were voted in in 2017, and they are still the people tasked with serving their constituents after all of the misery that’s happened since. I’d wager most of them are probably so fed up with Brexit that they’d rather be Prince Andrew’s Press Liaison than continue with their current job.

And yet still they fight. Still the anti-no-deal brigade fight on, as they have for the last three years.

But now, crucially, they are all utterly, utterly furious.

Johnson’s move was taken straight out of Game Theory, but he has failed to recognise that no-one else gives a toss. While the move might be a tactical masterstroke, Brexit has never been about tactics.

It’s about emotion.


Let’s Get Real

Brexit is no longer about Europe. Yes, the EU has a small mountain of flaws, but remaining in it is still the lesser of two evils, in a purely economic sense.

Many of those (but absolutely not all) who voted to Leave were told that the EU was to blame for their own lack of opportunities in life by mainstream media press like the Mail, the Sun and the Express. Initially the arguments were about the EU and, fundamentally, immigration.

But can any Leaver look me in the eye and tell me that, honestly, that’s really what it’s still about?

I would argue that it’s now about “I’m right and you’re wrong, and to hell with you for telling me otherwise.”

The Brexit Party are unequivocally in favour of a no-deal Brexit, as Farage said two days ago, despite its catastrophic economic fallout (as predicted by economists and business leaders). For them, it’s not about leaving the EU for the sake of the country, because if it was then they would want a deal.

It’s about proving that their political Johnson is longer and girthier than Johnson’s own Johnson.

And it’s utterly mental to think that way, yet they are the ones that Boris is pandering to.

There is no Brexit that doesn’t damage the UK in the short-term. But the damage is mitigated significantly by having a deal in place with one of the largest trading blocs in the world.

But the game has changed. It changed on Tuesday, when the opposition leaders of parties with a vast variety of policy ideas got together under a united banner. It was cemented on Wednesday, when their opponent played a deft hand to destroy their momentum.

But now, that cement is not just laid: it is set. Whatever their previous quibbles against one another, Johnson’s opponents finally stand united.

Not to undermine the will of the people. Not to undermine democracy. But to make sure that those elected to Parliament, by the people, have their say.

They are fighting to safeguard the single most important cornerstone of democracy. Johnson’s mission is legitimate, so long as it has the consent of those who we voted into power.

Otherwise, we might as well have a dictatorship.

PARLIAMENT PROROGUED : It’s Just Not Cricket


This has been a truly incredible year for sport.

Not only did we have an all-English final for the Champions League, we also saw a truly magnificent Wimbledon final, a brilliant Women’s World Cup and Tiger Woods clinch the Masters.

But nothing, nothing, compares to English cricket.

One thing that I adore about cricket is a law called “The Spirit of Cricket.” Codified into the Code of Laws in 2000, the rule states that cricket matches should be played “In the spirit of the game.”

Our team has been much maligned, much doubted, yet victorious. Ben Stokes’ work at the crease for not only our World Cup win, but also in his once-in-a-lifetime innings during the Ashes last Sunday, has been nothing short of superhuman.

The bravery of his batting, and the resilience in the face of overwhelming odds, has been staggering.

Our cricketing triumphs have been quintessentially British – we’ve shown bravery in the face of adversity, and done so in the spirit of fair-play.

It is that which has made those sporting moments, in my eyes, the most special of all.

By contrast, today, Boris Johnson announced that he will prorogue Parliament for a Queen’s Speech. This will cut Parliament’s time to block a no-deal Brexit.

It is not in The Spirit Of Cricket.


Cowardly, But Constitutional

Right. What happened today is confusing, so let’s break it down very simply.

Proroguing Parliament is not unconstitutional. In fact, it’s actually very common.

Every session, or sitting, of Parliament will end, usually after a year. This is so a new programme of policies can be set by the government. This new programme is set by way of a speech, made by the Queen, as our Head of State.

In the days before the speech, Parliament is prorogued. This means that it cannot make policy decisions – this is so that the new programme can be set without being immediately undermined.

It is, in a way, the “Spirit of Cricket” – the opposition understands that things won’t work unless they accept the rules. As such, they stand down and let the system work.

Proroguing is not unconstitutional.

However, Boris’ use of it today is absolutely not in The Spirit of Cricket.

Boris said that a Queen’s Speech is needed. He’s got a point – this particular Parliamentary session has been sitting for two years. It is overdue.

But I cannot emphasise enough how cowardly, how feeble and how downright duplicitous it really is.

After yesterday’s meeting, the Brevengers’ plan was to counteract Johnson’s reckless procession towards a damaging no-deal Brexit through legal means. They aimed to tie his hands and make it illegal to pursue a no-deal Brexit.

You can read more about that here.

However, by calling for a prorogation today, Boris has made that all but impossible. While it is undeniable that the Brevengers’ mission was to prevent no-deal, they would not have been able to do so if Parliament disagreed with them.

Everything that they wanted to do had to be ratified by all other MPs in order to be put into effect. That is how Parliament works. That is how democracy works.

Boris, by refusing Parliament even the chance to accept or refuse the planned Bill, has hidden. Rather than allow democracy to work as it has for the last few centuries, he has used legal, but immoral tactics to deny it.

All to make sure he didn’t lose.


Rant Time

Strap in.

Between the Lines is committed to being impartial on Brexit. This writer’s personal opinion is that it was a stupid referendum that blames the EU for too many issues of our making, but it happened. My side lost, your side won.

Understanding that is The Spirit of Cricket.

But you simply cannot carry out one element of democracy by denying another one.

If his actions today result in a no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson will be remembered as the man that marched Britain into another recession through bypassing democracy. I cannot emphasise enough how damaging no-deal would be.

The line that “no-deal needs to be on the table” for negotiating is bullshit. Not only is it bullshit, it’s even been dropped by those who originally said it – scores of Tory politicians who have previously been totally against no-deal are now proponents of it.

Matt Hancock, a formerly moderate Tory MP, also wrote this of prorogation in June:

He is now a member of Boris’ cabinet.

These politicians are liars. They are shysters, they are conmen, they are, to their core, pathetic. They care for the people they are supposed to serve, to protect, far less than they do their own interests.

And Boris is the worst of the bunch. Surrounded by unelected cowboys like Dominic Cummings, he is just a mere puppet to this “Brexit Or Death” mentality that has infected our government.

He is cowed into following the plans of revolutionaries and egotists by virtue of the vortex in his head where his principles should be. His drive is determined by his need to be loved, to be powerful, to be Churchill.

But he isn’t. He’s a sad little boy who is too scared to face reality.

And he’s our Prime Minister.

I don’t care anymore that my side lost. I really don’t. But my side lost to the promise of an orderly, managed Brexit. Tearing ourselves away from the continent and tearing ourselves apart in the process is not the same thing.

No-deal is a lie, and it deserves scrutiny of Parliament. That is democracy.

That is The Spirit of Cricket.

So get your fucking pads on Johnson, you worm.

Avengers: Assemble


Right now, Jeremy Corbyn might be feeling a little bit like Captain America. No, the irony that Captain America was basically created as a pinnacle of capitalist America and Corbyn is a staunch socialist is not lost on me.

Yesterday, Corbyn chaired a meeting of all of the leaders of political parties (other than the Tories, of course). The meeting’s aim was to find a means of preventing a no-deal Brexit on October 31st.

Realistically, however, it’s fair to say that most people in that room really wanted to overturn (or avenge) the referendum result of 2016, the Thanos snap of contemporary international politics.

For those of you who haven’t seen The Avengers, let me explain it a little better.


“I Am Lyin’ Man”

Ok, that’s another knock-off Avengers quote. Let’s get to the real stuff.

While Corbyn chaired yesterday’s meeting, it was attended by the leaders of the Lib-Dems, the Greens, the SNP, Plaid Cyrmu, and The Independent Group for Change. All of these people are staunchly anti-Brexit.

As such, they are trying to prevent Johnson from steaming towards what would be, make no mistake, a huge act of economic self-harm – a no-deal Brexit.

They were especially concerned with the idea of proroguing Parliament, essentially shutting it out of the decision-making progress. Boris has refused to rule this out.

Whatever you believe regarding Brexit, if you believe in democracy, then you should believe that Parliament being ignored is anti-democratic.

The recent rumours have largely revolved around the strategy of holding a vote of no confidence once Parliament returns. If BoJo lost that vote, then an alternative government would have to be found.

That new, alternative government would most likely ask the EU to extend Article 50 and remove no-deal as an option.

However, this plan had some flaws, despite Johnson’s majority being just one in the House of Commons. BoJo would likely have very few Tory MPs actively vote against their own team (and lose their jobs), so early on in his premiership.

Additionally, Number 10 is currently saying that talks with the EU are progressing, so why would Tory MPs sabotage that?

Labour rebels who represent Leave-voting seats, of which there are a few, would likely support him, too.

So, ultimately, holding a vote of no confidence might not have achieved what the Brevengers want to do. And so a new strategy was formed.


Better Legislate Than Never

After what was described as a “surprisingly” constructive meeting, the Brevengers decided to try to legally bind the hands of the Prime Minister, rather than usurp him.

To do this, they would pass a legislative bill that would make it illegal for Bozza to allow a no-deal Brexit to happen.

This, however, also has its flaws. For a start, there is next to no time left before the deadline of October 31st (in political timeframes, at least). In order for this legislation to be passed, an amendment would have to be made on a pre-existing bill.

The government controls the timetabling of the House of Commons, so could prevent this from happening. This is especially true considering the impending deadline.

However, there are some options here.

Firstly, there is a government report due about Northern Ireland due next month which could be amended. However, this wouldn’t be legally-binding, making it an unlikely candidate.

Secondly, they could seek to wrestle control of the timetabling from the government. While extremely difficult to pull off, they achieved it earlier this year. Remember the Indicative Votes?

No, neither do we.

Either way, it worked – Parliament took control of the timetabling. It could do the same here and create a law that secured another extension to Article 50 and prevent an October 31st no-deal.

Additionally, yer boy John Bercow, Loki the trickster god in the Brexit/MCU analogy, is in play.

He has encouraged MPs to use a Standing Order 24, or emergency debate procedure, to allow them a say on a no-deal Brexit. While these aren’t usually legally binding, Bercow could change the rule-book.

He does have precedent for this.

So, it is possible. Hard, but possible.


So What Will Actually Happen?

Hypothetically, the legislation route could be successful, but would require the government to lose multiple votes in Parliament.

Again, Johnson has a majority of one – it might happen.

But, also, Boris is using the media to his advantage by playing up the progress with the EU. He has already used this to accuse his opponents of undermining Britain’s negotiating strength.

This isn’t a good look.

If nothing comes of it, Corbyn will plough on with a vote of no confidence, but that would really be a final roll of the dice.

Either way, it is on our doorstep. T-minus six days and counting.

Brexit Be Thy Name


One week to go. One week until Parliament returns and the proverbial hits the fan.

Boris’ Premiership is still very much in its infancy – he’s only had the job for a few weeks, after all.

Usually, this is still the “honeymoon” phase for a new Prime Minister. Supporters would normally be rallying around their new leader and opponents would begrudgingly cede power to their victor.

None of that for BoJo though!

Boris only had one session in Parliament with him at the steering wheel before the summer recess kicked in, taking MPs out of the spotlight. While he’s been off meeting with foreign dignitaries and masterminding his own Brexit plans, his opponents have been lurking in the shadows, plotting a quick and brutal end to his reign.

This is why next Tuesday is so important – the plots and schemes will either kick in or fall flat. They will all have a rapidly-approaching deadline of October 31st, too.

And, in a weird turn of events, Boris also seems to be competing with a whole new kind of opponent.

God.


Godsend

In today’s slightly bonkers society, it’s actually quite comforting to know that there are sentences out there that are still genuinely surprising. Here is one now.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the UK’s most senior Christian authority, is currently speaking with Remainer MPs to help form a Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit.

God, as it turns out, is a Remainer.

Well, maybe not a Remainer, but certainly no fan of a no-deal Brexit. The Most Reverend Justin Welby, the AoC, is being tipped to chair a series of meetings with 100 citizens to try and hash out alternative strategies to just flying out of the EU with no deal.

A no-deal Brexit is widely believed to be a catastrophic outcome for Britain, with certain food and medicine stocks threatened and chaos at airports predicted.

So, the AoC is going to step in to try and help avoid it. This has drawn the ire of Iain Duncan-Smith, the heavily Eurosceptic Tory MP who is also a top contender for the coveted “most out-of-touch politician” award.

After Duncan-Smith told the AoC to “stay out of it,” the Bishop of Buckingham replied by asking Mr Duncan-Smith what he’s afraid of.

I, for one, really did not think for one moment that the Church would ever be so brazenly trying to influence politics – for an institution that is supposed to be deliberately removed from government, it really is rather surprising.

It’s also probably not a very good idea.

But it will be interesting to watch an argument between two people who preach about putting your faith into something where there’s no proof of it existing. It’s just that one is God, the other is a Brexit nirvana.


Messiahs or Pariahs?

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and Change UK (or Change for Independent Changes within Independent Change, or whatever they’re called now) will meet today to try to figure out how to stop Johnson.

Ian Blackford, the leader of the SNP, has called for leaders of all parties against Brexit to come together to stop a no-deal Brexit, which is admirable.

However, as is often the way in politics, politics has gotten in the way.

The meeting today will be chaired by Jeremy Corbyn, a man who has led Labour like Jose Mourinho – stubbornly, arrogantly, and with an unwavering belief in a philosophy that is no longer relevant.

He has offered to become a ‘caretaker’ Prime Minister should Boris Johnson be voted out of power by a Vote of No Confidence, which has been largely perceived as a cynical attempt to seize power.

Were he a man of more substance, he might be able to pull the wool over the eyes of his peers, but sadly he isn’t. Jo Swinson has already written to him saying that she could back a Labour-led coalition, but not with him at the wheel.

Woof. I’ll get the Savlon, coz Corbyn got burrrrned.

So while these pro-EU MPs and leaders are meeting today in good faith, there is more than a faint whiff of gamesmanship underpinning the whole thing.

If Remain-favouring MPs want to oust Boris and stop a no-deal Brexit, they will need to use teamwork. Today we will see if this is something they are capable of doing. If they aren’t, then October 31st will really be the day the UK leaves the EU.

But if there’s a Will, divine or not, there might be a way.

Weekly Wrap-Up: BoJo Does Europe


Well, it was going to happen eventually. 

The former Foreign Secretary who extended a UK citizen’s jail sentence in Iran through flippant remarks, who called women who wear hijabs “letterboxes” and described black people as “picaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” went to Europe as our Prime Minister and primary diplomatic figure.

And… erm… actually, it wasn’t that bad. There were tensions, for sure, but these meetings came before the sitting of the G7 (advanced Western states) in Biarritz this weekend, so it was always going to be tense.

Boris was Boris, as you’d expect, but actually toed the line between being charismatic and offensive surprisingly well. 

It doesn’t change the monumental challenge he’s about to face, but still… 

Well done Boris. Gold star for you.


Wednes-yay

First up, Boris met Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany. Merkel, for all her flaws, has been a truly monumental politician. She will go down in history as a collaborator, a peace-maker, and an ally to Britain. 

She is on her last leg as a leader – she is to step down in 2021, having chaired her political party since 2000. However, she will leave an excellent legacy in her wake.

And she dealt so well with Boris that there even seemed to be some chemistry between the two. Boris made a slightly weighted joke at her expense (by saying “Wir schaffen das”, or “we will manage” about Brexit, referencing a speech Merkel made about a controversial policy about Middle-Eastern refugees) and she rolled her eyes.

Rolling your eyes, as a leading political figure, is hard to do correctly. Too much and you inadvertently call the man next to you a moron. Too little and you seem like a snarky little so-and-so.

But it was actually a moment of brevity in what has been a harrowing few months (/years) of diplomatic tension between the UK and the EU. 

And, what’s more, Boris seemed genuinely keen to strike a deal, whereas the Cabinet he has formed around him seems to be something of a no-deal Berserker Squadron.

Merkel, for her part, insinuated that if the UK came up with an alternative arrangement to the backstop within 30 days, then there could be scope for changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.

The backstop, lest we forget, is the controversial part of the Withdrawal Agreement that keeps the UK bound to the EU. Only, it must be said, to prevent a hard border being reinstated between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 

It is the one major sticking point for many politicians, as it might keep us within a customs union against our will. A way around it would be a major Brexit miracle, so for Merkel to suggest there was a chance was a big deal.

Everything, for once, seemed as though it was heading in a sensible direction. Diplomatic history and respect was being utilised to try and find the best possible deal for Britain, and a way of leaving the EU in an orderly, respectable manner.


Thurs-nay

And then came Macron.

Yes, I know, this writer once proclaimed Macron as “The Saviour Of Common Sense,” but that was at a time when it seemed as though he might actually be able to affect real change.

Also, shut up.

Actually, as it turns out, he’s just another small, angry Frenchman. And we all know how that ends.

*coughTrafalgarcough*

Yesterday, Boris went to meet with Emmanuel Macron, the French President, to discuss striking a deal with Europe and avoiding no-deal.

Remember: the previous day, Merkel had given BoJo a 30-day ultimatum to find an alternative to the backstop,

Macron, on the other hand, said that the backstop was “indispensable.” This, at its core, was a major blow to diplomatic discussions on Brexit.

Why did he undo such positive progress, you might ask?

Well, Macron has an absolute shed-load of domestic issues (the riots in Paris are indicative of this, for a start) and being hard on Britain gains him support in France.

I know, I know: bring on the ‘zut alors, les rosbifs sont merde’ gags.

But, as the perceived “hard man of Europe” he can’t be seen to be giving concessions to the British, just because someone has come along with a firmer negotiating strategy.

It is, at its core, diplomacy – you’d say the same thing if you were the French in this scenario. You know you would.

No really, you would. Think about how angry we Brits get about French fishermen encroaching on our waters. Imagine that, but about life.

…Not fishing.


So What Changes?

Very little. 

Merkel gave the faintest of hints that Europe might be willing to budge on a few crucial points if Britain gives them alternatives, but the overall EU line (as preached by Macron) is that nothing will change – it’s EU way, or no-deal way.

Either way, with British diplomats about to be pulled out of EU meetings to focus on Brexit, the party-line is very much in keeping with Boris’ slogan: “We are leaving on October 31st, with or without a deal.”

Maybe the first signs were shown of some kind of contrition being made? Maybe, just maybe, we can avoid the no-deal disaster that the Operation Yellowhammer leak has promised?

Or, this may yet prove to be another false dawn – the second that Parliament sits again on the 3rd of September, the fragile promises that Boris champions could be destroyed for good.

Time, as they say, will tell.

T-Minus Two Weeks


It’s quiet.

Too quiet.

Yes, sure, there’s still plenty of discussion going on around Boris, Brexit, breaking up the Union and some general buffoonery, but it is, ultimately, still very quiet.

To be fair, there’s a reason for this – Parliament is currently in recess as our MPs deal with constituency issues and take some much-needed R&R. 

But, in exactly two weeks’ time (yes, on a Tuesday, for some reason), they will return to the House of Commons and all hell will break loose.

We here at Between the Lines have been taking something of a break over the last few weeks, like many political commentators.

Hey, don’t judge. Shit’s gonna get real you guys, and we’ve basically been steeling ourselves to get ready for it.

While most of the current news is mostly hypotheticals, it is worth us taking a moment to talk about one possible outcome of all of this.

An outcome that isn’t even an outcome, but rather an absence of one.

A no-deal Brexit.


No Deal? No Big Deal

It’s worth noting how the language around the possibility of a no-deal Brexit has changed recently.

Upon being elected, BoJo told us that there was a “million to one” chance of it happening. Now, however, it seems as though that’s not entirely true.

Preparations for a no-deal Brexit were immediately vamped up after the blonde barnstormer took the reins at Number 10, sticking Michael Gove in charge.

Presumably this was as payback for Gove stabbing him in the back the last time he ran for leader. If it all goes tits-up I’d wager my left knacker that the buck will be passed firmly to Govey.

Anyhoo, part of the preparations has been a concerted effort to persuade the citizens of the UK that no-deal really wouldn’t be that bad. In fact, it would free us from the £39bn we owe the EU, and let us strike up new trade deals with whoever we wanted!

Sounds peachy, right?

The reality is less sunshine, flowers and rabbits as it is drizzle, weeds and myxomatosis. 

That £39bn isn’t money we’re gifting the EU, it’s money we owe them.

Regardless of leaving the EU, we’ll still want to trade with them (seeing as collectively they’re a powerful enough market to compete with the US and China). 

Sticking two fingers up at them and reneging on our promises wouldn’t be the best start to our bright new future as trading partners. They’d probably impose sanctions on us, for a start.


Mellow Yellow… hammer

And even if that weren’t the case, The Sunday Times managed to get a hold of a report from Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s no-deal Brexit preparations team.

And whoa boy, it’s as about as optimistic as a life expectancy prediction for a binge-drinking, 40-a-day smoker who exclusively eats arsenic.

It is important to point out, before I tell you what it says, that Whitehall sources confirmed that isn’t worse-case-scenario planning, this is planning for something that is basically inevitable.

Ready? Here we go. This is what the report said:

Straight out of the gates, some fresh food supplies will decrease. Bam. Suck on them apples. Oh wait, you can’t, they’re mouldy.

Fuel shortages. Because apparently we’re happy to live in in the dark ages now. And we enjoy making Tesla drivers feel even more bloody smug.

Some medicines will be vulnerable to severe delays. This means, and I cannot emphasise this enough, that people will die. But Farage will be happy, so who cares?

Channel ports and airports will have disruption that could last for months. New checks on visas, imported goods and general changes to the timetabling will take the years of hard planning required to make ports work at all and piss all over them.

Then set fire to them.

Then piss on the ashes.

And, finally, Ireland. Hard borders will likely have to be put in place to ensure that the correct tariffs are placed on goods that travel in and out of the EU, and that will lead to “protests.” 

Or, in other words, it’s actually probable that we’ll see actual fighting kick off again.

And what does the Boris government have to say about all of this?

“It’s merely Project Fear.” 

They say, after admitting the information in the documents is real.


Oh God.

Yep. And look, I could go into more detail about exactly what’s been happening but, really, it’s not important at the moment. Closer to the time, Between the Lines will explain exactly what’s about to happen, but for now, the above is what you need to know.

It’s the direction our government is taking us based on the votes of 180,000 Tory party members’ votes, after all.

“Taking back control,” indeed.

Chapter Two

Hello folks.

I wrote last week that posts from Between the Lines would be a little less frequent for the immediate future. This is with good reason: while there is plenty of bluster and overblown predicting of what’s going to happen RE: Brexit, very little of real note has actually happened.

All we’ve really seen is Boris Johnson finally having his long-coveted crack at the whip, and we’ve sort of just been leaving him to it, like a parent just being pleased to have some peace and quiet while their little darling is on the Nintendo.

Once Parliament comes back from its holidays, it is widely thought that all hell will break loose. Rumours are swirling about a no confidence motion being passed that could bring down Boris, Boris refusing to leave if that happened, and even the Queen having to step in and force him to leave…

It’s all going to be pretty exciting.

But, in the meantime, I just wanted to have a quick chinwag with you about Between the Lines.


A New Dawn

When I founded this website, I wanted to bridge the divide between our political discourse. What used to be an ideological debate between socialism and conservatism has metamorphosed into a much murkier battle between hearts and minds.

In order to cross this divide, I try to plonk us slap-bang in the middle, like that one mate you have who always steps between the two drunk morons at a club who are squaring off.

…Sometimes it is quite tricky to be impartial when almost everyone is handling things so spectacularly badly.

But anyway, in order to achieve this I’ve largely tried to follow the following principles:

  1. Look dispassionately at facts;
  2. Report them honestly;
  3. Explain why those facts are important;
  4. Predict what might happen next.

Betting on politics is a bit like predicting the winner of the Grand National if it had 650 horses in it, but so far, I’ve predicted that:

  • We wouldn’t leave in March or June (we didn’t);
  • Theresa May’s first declaration that she’d step down wouldn’t mean anything and she’d stick around for ages (she did for over a hundred days);
  • And that the EU would never reopen the Withdrawal Agreement (to date, they haven’t).

So I do feel like I’m not pissing directly into the wind, at least. Maybe just the occasional splashback onto my shoe.

It is more important than ever that we have clear, unbiased journalism, which we often find lacking in the mainstream media. For Between the Lines, I have sources that vary from other journalists, to politicians themselves, to economists and civil servants.

I am committed to open, honest reporting about politics, and I love writing these articles for you. I hope that you, my wonderful readers find them both informative and entertaining.


But We Need You!

Between the Lines, for all of its use of the Royal ‘We’, is a one-man team. It’s a lot of hard work to maintain the site and keep articles flowing regularly, hence the slight break recently.

Additionally, advertising is almost non-existent due to budget constraints – while some nifty use of social media advertising is helping to grow the readership, it’s still at a glacial pace. I desperately want this to be what I do full-time, but can’t really justify spending the time on it I want to (and growing and developing it) if I don’t earn any money from it.

So, dear reader, I have a request.

In this time and age where we can get everything for free, I am asking for some monetary help, gawd help me.

I set up a Patreon account a few months back and already have a few very kind donors. Their donations have already funded three successful Facebook advertising campaigns.

You can find it here: https://www.patreon.com/betweenthelinespolitics

Being a donor comes with perks like having your named added to the Thank-You page on the site, having personalised political essays written for you, and even performing slam-poetry for you (terms and conditions apply).

But, if nothing else, it means that you believe in what I’m doing and are supporting it, which would be utterly fantastic. I am already so grateful for your readership, so would be beyond grateful for what you could give.

Even a basic donation (£3.80 a month) helps me to be seen in the Patreon algorithms, which would mean the likelihood of getting more donors increases exponentially.

So please, as we begin a new phase of Between the Lines and, indeed, a new phase of politics, please do consider helping me out. If you can pay for services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or even a newspaper subscription, then please do consider paying for this one if you think it’s worth the money.

Alternatively, if every reader told one other person who might be interested about the site, it would double my readership.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for already being here. Whatever comes next, I look forward to seeing it through together…

And hopefully finding a few things to have a good old laugh about along the way.

With love,

Matt