CAMPAIGN AND SUFFERING: So Far, So Predictably Crap

Hello BTLers!

I write to you after a weekend of doing very little politics because my life is now almost entirely politics.

For obvious reasons, I can’t go into too much detail about life at LDHQ. What I will say is that there is an incredible sense of purpose, of everyone wanting what’s best for the country, and genuine optimism about what will come next.

Also, a lot of people who are quite sleep-deprived.

I have desperately missed writing for Between the Lines. I write a considerable amount of blogs and emails for the LDs, but, as you’d imagine, I have to tone my rhetoric down quite a bit.

For example: I recently drafted a blog about Trump, Farage and Johnson being in bed together. I likened them to the Three Wicked Witches, except instead of magic their power was midlife crisis-induced masculine insecurity.

I also called Johnson and Trump “blonde-haired blusterbags.”

My manager asked me to redraft the blog. Politely, but firmly.

So here I am, back at the keyboard to write in my own style again. It’s good to be back.


GENERAL ELECTION

One thing I have learned from working for a political party for all of two weeks is that tunnel-vision is a very real thing. Since I started, I’ve tried my best to follow goings-on on Twitter and in the papers but the reality is that my life is Liberal Democrats.

I can see why Labour or the Tories can often seem so out of touch – you are surrounded, constantly, by people who only share your views. The LDs, to their credit, make a real effort to talk to normal people and be as broad a church as possible.

The same cannot be said for Johnson or Corbyn.

Let’s have a look at how they’ve fared on the campaign trail so far.

GENERAL DEFLECTION – BORIS JOHNSON:

  • Had the worst starting week to any campaign in living memory:
    • A minister stood down for derailing a rape case
    • The Tory Party chairman failed to turn up for a Sky interview, so Kay Burley “empty-chaired” him
    • Johnson was filmed spouting utter drivel about Brexit, showing he either doesn’t understand it or was blind drunk
    • And Dickensian tampon-applicator Jacob Rees-Mogg called the victims of the Grenfell tower tragedy thick.
  • Has seen an exodus of One-Nation, moderate Tories (many of them women);
  • Has got into bed with Nigel Farage, opening the door for attacks on the Tories as being the new Brexit Party;
  • Hasn’t got into bed with Nigel Farage enough, as the actual Brexit Party will still contest all the Labour-held seats he needs to win;
  • Was heckled to all hell by victims of the flooding in Doncaster;
  • Was interviewed for an easy chat on breakfast television and came across like he’d crawled into existence from a bog that morning and was still learning what humans are;
  • And yet somehow has gone up in the polls.

Remember though, folks – polls these days are as trustworthy as a fart after a vindaloo.

GENERALISSIMO: JEREMY CORBYN

  • Saw his deputy, Tom Watson, announce that he was stepping down as an MP at this election.
  • Saw Ian Austin, a long-standing ex-Labour MP, say that everyone should vote for the Conservatives.
  • Seems to have plucked policies out of thin air – nationalising Broadband is a bold, yet totally mental move.
  • Has had the entire Jewish community come out against him.
  • Was heckled as a “terrorist sympathiser” in Scotland.
  • Had a car-crash interview with Andrew Marr.
  • Had his long-term ally Len McClusky, the head of the trade union conglomerate Unite and major financial donor, say that Labour isn’t a Remain party.
  • And rumours circulate that he isn’t physically well enough to be Prime Minister.

Our two candidates, ladies and gentlemen.

Or so the media would have you believe…


GENERAL MALAISE

Look, I know I’m biased. I work for the Liberal Democrats.

But the reason why this all feels so… so…

…nihilisitic?

…is that these two men are utterly appalling candidates for the job of Prime Minister. One is a misogynistic toad who casually writes racist slurs, the other an antisemite who is more rooted in ideology than common good.

And yet they get all the air time. The wider media’s coverage of the election is CONSERVATIVE vs LABOUR, oh and here’s the Lib Dems, SNP, Greens and Brexit Party. lol, almost forgot

The reality is that there is another choice.

I strongly encourage everyone to look at their constituency’s results from the 2017 election. The BBC have a brilliant service for this, just go to:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2017/results

Have a look and see how your seat fared. In many cases, seats can be won or lost by a few thousand (or even hundred) votes. My constituency was won by 45 votes. That’s all it can take.

Tactical voting is, unfortunately, a requirement of this election. Our First Past the Post system doesn’t allow for proportional representation, so we have to be clever.

…in human speak, we elect our MPs, not the party itself. If I lived in a constituency where the Tories got 95% of the vote and I voted for the Lib Dems, my vote is basically meaningless. The Tories will win regardless, and my vote doesn’t have any meaning other than “you lost.”

If you hate the Tories, or hate Labour, and your seat is marginal between the two… Then, and I hate to say this, vote for the party that can win.

But if you live in a seat where that’s not the case, and you’re sick and tired of Johnson vs Corbyn, well…

You know what to do.


GENERAL REFLECTION

I absolutely do not want to turn Between the Lines into a mouthpiece for the Liberal Democrats. The joy of politics is being able to have reasoned debate, to criticise and argue with your peers from across the political spectrum, and to make your own choice at the end of it.

I will try to write about the election more generally when I can, rather than op-ed pieces like this one.

But the way I see it, there’s only one party that is moderate, progressive, and has the country’s interests at heart. Johnson is an egomaniac, Corbyn a Marxist.

Neither of these things are good.

If you feel like the news is a constant stream of disappointment, please do remember that there are other parties out there.

This week is manifesto week. I dare you to read the Liberal Democrats’ and see if you disagree.

Just please, please, please. If we can avoid a Johnson majority, we absolutely must try our best.

He might think he’s Churchill. He’s really just a chancer.

PURDAH LIKE IT’S 1999 : An Announcement

Hello BTLers.

It’s been a little while, I know. Since last we spoke, the election train has chucked a load of coal in the engine, released the brakes, and is now slowly starting to chug out of the station.

We’ve seen the opening salvos of what seems destined to be a vicious few weeks, with blame-games and insults being thrown around with the nillest of willies.

We also have some intrigue in a report that Number 10 is trying to suppress about Russian interference in the referendum, a new speaker, the concept of tactical voting and Nigel Farage stepping in to cock up the one thing he’s been so desperate to deliver for about forty years.

But, dear reader, I have some news. While I am going to do my best to keep Between the Lines going over the next few weeks, I’m not going to be able to cover the election as much as I would like.

This is because I am now working for the Liberal Democrats.


WHODDA THUNK

Yes, I know. I lambast and belittle Johnson and Corbyn as frequently as a trip to the urinals after your sixth pint. I furiously wrote about how appallingly Johnson had acted in trying to bypass Parliament, and I lambast the way that Corbyn wants to take us back economically, politically, and socially to the 1970s.

It’s almost I’m some sort of chap who likes Democracy, and Liberal policies.

I’ve been a Lib Dem supporter for years now, ever since the coalition government. This is ironic, considering that the reason why the Lib Dems found themselves in the political wasteland until only recently was due to their going back on their word during that period.

But the Liberal Democrats drove what I liked about that government. 5p plastic bag charge? Lib Dem policy. State pension triple lock, ensuring pensions were protected? Lib Dem policy. Same-sex marriage?

Yep, you guessed it. Lib Dem policy.

Also, the B-word. I have always tried to write impartially about Brexit, and I will never, ever, say that those who voted to Leave should be told that they got it wrong. They didn’t, but I do believe that the lies, overspending and suspicious activity of the Vote Leave campaign should also really be talked about more.

But Brexit, at its core, is a hugely damaging decision. Not just financially (and it will be a major financial faceplant), but diplomatically – we have a seat at an entity big and strong enough to compete against the US and China in terms of trade.

To throw that away to pursue the vision of historical, empirical glory is utterly bonkers, to me.

I will be honest – the Lib Dem position on Revoking Article 50 without a referendum is something that I have my doubts about. But I do understand why that’s their policy – they are now, legitimately, the only party that is openly campaigning to Remain, rather than Labour’s renegotiated deal followed by a referendum.

Ending Brexit by revocation is also the only way that we make this Brexit mess go away immediately. If we pass a Johnson deal, or leave with no-deal, the negotiations for the future trading relationship will go on for literally years.


LIB DEM SPIRITS UP

It made perfect sense for me to support for the party that espouses these values, and I somehow managed to snag myself a job writing for them. It’s literally my dream job, and I feel incredibly lucky.

I’ve been told about some of the stuff coming in the Lib Dem manifesto, and it sounds brilliant. So many of the issues that I care about are at its core, and I think it should be well-received by the wider public.

I have adored creating Between the Lines, and I’m so lucky in that I’ve been able to express my deep interest in and burning fury at our national political meltdown through writing for you all.

But there’s been one itch it hasn’t quite scratched.

I want to help make society better. I know, I know, some of the kinder of you right now are saying “Oh, glorious BTL editor” (and if you’re not you should be), “you are already making society better by explaining things to us.” Which I sincerely hope is true, and why I will make every endeavour to keep Between the Lines going as much as possible.

But I really do believe in the Lib Dems, their vision for a progressive, fairer and forward-thinking Britain and I really want to help them get the best election result they’ve ever had. I’m going to be throwing myself into it headfirst, and we’ll see what happens.

I’m quietly confident that this could be a pretty big year.


PURDAH ON

Now, back to BTL. It’s not just the fact that I’m about to be helping to fight an election campaign that is probably going to be absolutely mental, but I also have to be careful with what I write, too. Purdah is an understanding that’s put in place during election periods, which basically accounts for balance and fairness.

While I have next to no doubt that anything I write on here wouldn’t be picked up on (or even deemed relevant), I would also kill myself if I made a Bozzle Konks dick-joke that meant I couldn’t work in politics anymore.

It would be objectively hilarious, for sure. But ya boi gots ta eat.

So while I will try to write a few blog posts here and there, they’re going to have to be a bit more impartial and a bit more factual. I’ll still try and throw in a dick-joke here and there for good measure, but it’s not going to be quite the same.

And after the election I have every intention on getting Between the Lines back up and running again – consider this a hiatus, rather than an end.


Before I Go…

I’m not going to tell you to vote Liberal Democrat.

…Though you should.

But it is of the utmost importance that you vote. Don’t you dare come back to Between the Lines on December 13th without exercising your political privilege, or I will come to your house and drive a shopping trolley through your front door while screaming “SUFFRAGE” at you.

But one other thing, too – the next few weeks are going to be tough. The language will be spiteful, the anger palpable, the debate dire.

But don’t lose hope.

I really do get the impression that we are, slowly, moving away from the Johnsons, Trumps and Bolsonaros in the West. We’ve seen what happens when we give populists a platform, and it’s about as pretty as a dog turd on a bit of plastic stuck around a dead turtle’s head.

Common sense is coming back, even if it’s at a snail’s pace. But in the meantime, listen to the arguments presented to you, think about them, challenge them, and support them if they resonate with you. Don’t let anyone tell you how to vote, whether it be your parents, your partner, or someone you follow on Twitter.

Democracy works when we vote for what we believe is best for our country. We cannot know this unless we’re give as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the latter, but we can damn well make sure we strive to do the former.

Good luck, everyone. I’ll see you when I see you.

Matt x

PURDAH LIKE IT’S 1999 : An Announcement

Hello BTLers.

It’s been a little while, I know. Since last we spoke, the election train has chucked a load of coal in the engine, released the brakes, and is now slowly starting to chug out of the station.

We’ve seen the opening salvos of what seems destined to be a vicious few weeks, with blame-games and insults being thrown around with the nillest of willies.

We also have some intrigue in a report that Number 10 is trying to suppress about Russian interference in the referendum, a new speaker, the concept of tactical voting and Nigel Farage stepping in to cock up the one thing he’s been so desperate to deliver for about forty years.

But, dear reader, I have some news. While I am going to do my best to keep Between the Lines going over the next few weeks, I’m not going to be able to cover the election as much as I would like.

This is because I am now working for the Liberal Democrats.


WHODDA THUNK

Yes, I know. I lambast and belittle Johnson and Corbyn as frequently as a trip to the urinals after your sixth pint. I furiously wrote about how appallingly Johnson had acted in trying to bypass Parliament, and I lambast the way that Corbyn wants to take us back economically, politically, and socially to the 1970s.

It’s almost I’m some sort of chap who likes Democracy, and Liberal policies.

I’ve been a Lib Dem supporter for years now, ever since the coalition government. This is ironic, considering that the reason why the Lib Dems found themselves in the political wasteland until only recently was due to their going back on their word during that period.

But the Liberal Democrats drove what I liked about that government. 5p plastic bag charge? Lib Dem policy. State pension triple lock, ensuring pensions were protected? Lib Dem policy. Same-sex marriage?

Yep, you guessed it. Lib Dem policy.

Also, the B-word. I have always tried to write impartially about Brexit, and I will never, ever, say that those who voted to Leave should be told that they got it wrong. They didn’t, but I do believe that the lies, overspending and suspicious activity of the Vote Leave campaign should also really be talked about more.

But Brexit, at its core, is a hugely damaging decision. Not just financially (and it will be a major financial faceplant), but diplomatically – we have a seat at an entity big and strong enough to compete against the US and China in terms of trade.

To throw that away to pursue the vision of historical, empirical glory is utterly bonkers, to me.

I will be honest – the Lib Dem position on Revoking Article 50 without a referendum is something that I have my doubts about. But I do understand why that’s their policy – they are now, legitimately, the only party that is openly campaigning to Remain, rather than Labour’s renegotiated deal followed by a referendum.

Ending Brexit by revocation is also the only way that we make this Brexit mess go away immediately. If we pass a Johnson deal, or leave with no-deal, the negotiations for the future trading relationship will go on for literally years.


LIB DEM SPIRITS UP

It made perfect sense for me to support for the party that espouses these values, and I somehow managed to snag myself a job writing for them. It’s literally my dream job, and I feel incredibly lucky.

I’ve been told about some of the stuff coming in the Lib Dem manifesto, and it sounds brilliant. So many of the issues that I care about are at its core, and I think it should be well-received by the wider public.

I have adored creating Between the Lines, and I’m so lucky in that I’ve been able to express my deep interest in and burning fury at our national political meltdown through writing for you all.

But there’s been one itch it hasn’t quite scratched.

I want to help make society better. I know, I know, some of the kinder of you right now are saying “Oh, glorious BTL editor” (and if you’re not you should be), “you are already making society better by explaining things to us.” Which I sincerely hope is true, and why I will make every endeavour to keep Between the Lines going as much as possible.

But I really do believe in the Lib Dems, their vision for a progressive, fairer and forward-thinking Britain and I really want to help them get the best election result they’ve ever had. I’m going to be throwing myself into it headfirst, and we’ll see what happens.

I’m quietly confident that this could be a pretty big year.


PURDAH ON

Now, back to BTL. It’s not just the fact that I’m about to be helping to fight an election campaign that is probably going to be absolutely mental, but I also have to be careful with what I write, too. Purdah is an understanding that’s put in place during election periods, which basically accounts for balance and fairness.

While I have next to no doubt that anything I write on here wouldn’t be picked up on (or even deemed relevant), I would also kill myself if I made a Bozzle Konks dick-joke that meant I couldn’t work in politics anymore.

It would be objectively hilarious, for sure. But ya boi gots ta eat.

So while I will try to write a few blog posts here and there, they’re going to have to be a bit more impartial and a bit more factual. I’ll still try and throw in a dick-joke here and there for good measure, but it’s not going to be quite the same.

And after the election I have every intention on getting Between the Lines back up and running again – consider this a hiatus, rather than an end.


Before I Go…

I’m not going to tell you to vote Liberal Democrat.

…Though you should.

But it is of the utmost importance that you vote. Don’t you dare come back to Between the Lines on December 13th without exercising your political privilege, or I will come to your house and drive a shopping trolley through your front door while screaming “SUFFRAGE” at you.

But one other thing, too – the next few weeks are going to be tough. The language will be spiteful, the anger palpable, the debate dire.

But don’t lose hope.

I really do get the impression that we are, slowly, moving away from the Johnsons, Trumps and Bolsonaros in the West. We’ve seen what happens when we give populists a platform, and it’s about as pretty as a dog turd on a bit of plastic stuck around a dead turtle’s head.

Common sense is coming back, even if it’s at a snail’s pace. But in the meantime, listen to the arguments presented to you, think about them, challenge them, and support them if they resonate with you. Don’t let anyone tell you how to vote, whether it be your parents, your partner, or someone you follow on Twitter.

Democracy works when we vote for what we believe is best for our country. We cannot know this unless we’re give as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the latter, but we can damn well make sure we strive to do the former.

Good luck, everyone. I’ll see you when I see you.

Matt x