HINDSIGHT IS 2020 – We’re Back, Baby

I was stood four feet away from the Liberal Democrats’ campaign director as the exit poll was announced.

The language used wasn’t what you’d normally associate with the soft, fuzzy, sandal-wearing Lib Dems.

Yes, dear reader, this general election was to politics what the Cats film has been to culture.

And I am truly sorry that I wasn’t here to write about it. I loved my time with the Lib Dems, despite the godawful result, but I missed writing for Between the Lines more than I can say.

And here we are – a thumping Tory majority, five years of Prime Minister Boris Johnson (at least), the opposition in disarray and Brexit done and dusted.

All of the above is pretty bleak.

But. But buttety butt butt butt.

There is cause for optimism. 2020 might not be a stellar year for politics, but the following ones might be. Here are three reasons to go into the new decade (oh my god I was 18 in 2009) with some cause for cheer.


1: It Could Still Go Tits-Up (Short-Term)

Since the General Election, Prime Minister Bonky Jong has decided that any extension to the negotiating period is a major no-no.

So much so that he is going to enshrine, in law, that we leave the EU by December 2020. A negotiation that would take a small country years is going to take us 11 months, supposedly.

Despite the ghosts of EU diplomats past, present and future all telling him he’s a fool for thinking this can be done, the Johnson train chuffs on. We have the ability to extend these negotiations for two years if we want – all we have to do is say we want to before July.

But no. We are Britain, you see. The EU needs us more than we need them, we’re in a far stronger negotiating position, we won two World Wars for them etc, etc, etc.

And what happens if we fail to negotiate a full, workable trade deal with the world’s largest trading bloc in less than a year?

A no-deal Brexit.

I would like to think that most politicians would encourage this not to happen on account of their not being lobotomised. But, unfortunately, the general consensus is that the new Tory MPs who “broke down the Red Wall” tend to lean towards “BREXIT AT ALL COSTS” rather than “pragmatic and forward-thinking fiscal responsibility.”

So a no-deal Brexit is now extremely likely again, with no ability to stop it in Parliament. But this brings me on to point two.


2: It Could Still Go Tits-Up (Long-Term)… and the Tories Have Nowhere to Hide

I hate Brexit. I hate everything it stands for. But the thing I hate about it most is that the people who voted for it are the ones who are most likely going to get shafted by it.

I take no revelry, whatsoever, in the idea that I might be “proved right” over the next few years. I swear on my father’s grave that I hope, with every fibre of my being, that I have been wrong all along.

I wish Brexit is a great success, it gives optimism and money back to local communities, and that the vulnerable are looked after. Our country needs a lift, and if Brexit does that then I will happily concede that I done goofed.

I don’t think it will though. And, when the real effects of Brexit are revealed, who will be blamed, now that Johnson has his majority?

Us Remoaner commentators? We were defeated, indisputably.

The “anti-democratic Parliamentary bloc”? Largely gone.

The “anti-Brexit” Speaker? Gone, confined to the annnuls of history as a funny little man who shouted a lot (but I think will be remembered fondly, eventually).

This is the first Tory majority government since David Cameron’s second term. In that majority government he called, and lost, the referendum.

Now, in this majority government, they have to own it.

The sunlit uplands. The Great Britain, free from the dastardly EU’s regulations on bent bananas. The proud, brilliant Britain (minus Scotland, probably), setting out its stall as an aspirational world power.

It all belongs to Boris Johnson.

No-one else. No-one else to hide behind, no-one else to sack, no-one else to blame. The proverbial buck stops, firmly, with him.

And if Brexit doesn’t fix the economy or provide jobs in the North…

Well, the artist-formally-known-as-the-Red Wall won’t be fooled no more. Nor will the rest of the country.

Brexit, under Johnson, might just destroy the Tories once and for all. You can win an election on lies, but you can only rule so far on them.

Especially when…


3: People Are Starting to Realise That Social Media (and Some Print Media) Is Horse Shit

The Tory social media campaign was an absolute masterclass.

It tapped into what social media is, at its core, when referring to politics: forget ‘information’, win ’emotion’.

I have written before about the fact that I think that Dominic Cummings thinks he is far cleverer than he is. I still believe that, largely because his plans have the longevity of a candle thrown into a volcano.

But my God. You have to doff your cap to his sheer callousness, and his adherence to realpolitik.

Tell them what they want to hear and they’ll believe you.” That concept, and Jeremy Corbyn, won the election.

That CCHQ changed their Twitter handle to “Fact-Check UK” during the televised debate was one of the most abhorrent abuses of political responsibility I have ever seen.

But it bloody worked.

But it was an exception, I think. Can it work again? Can this level of misinformation and deception really continue?

Only if we stop it.

We must ensure that the Tories’ election promises, and Brexit promises, are held to account. Day in, day out.


So What Do I Do?

You challenge every last damn thing you read on Facebook.

You challenge every last damn thing you read in the papers, too.

You look at the policies that this Conservative government enacts, and you judge them on those criteria alone (and I’ll be right here to walk you through them, good and bad).

You accept this majority, you understand that Brexit will happen, and you hope to the sweet Baby Jesus and the Orphans that it is the roaring success we’re told it will be.

I truly hope that it is: I only want what’s best for our country.

But if it isn’t; if everything in the Tory manifesto was a lie; if Brexit is a failure; if more people end up homeless on our streets; if more and more funds are siphoned out of the NHS, our towns, and our culture; if our media refuse to acknowledge the damage done to our northern towns and cities; and Brexit is an unmitigated disaster, then… well…

2024 could be an interesting election.

But until then, I’ll be here to run you through the carnage that Bozzle Konks leaves in his wake.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and I’ll be back with Parliament.

SUFFER FOR YOUR SUFFRAGE : Why Voting Is Vital, Despite The Misery


Hello everyone. For one night only, I’m back.

Well, that’s not strictly true. As of next Tuesday, I’ll be on hand to analyse, scrutinise and satirise all that comes after this waking nightmare of an election.

But here’s the kicker – we really don’t know what comes next.

Large swathes of the media would have you believe that the Tories have it in the bag. Other corners are saying they don’t.

The most advanced opinion polling ever says the Tories will get a majority. But that majority is shrinking by the day, and opinion polls are famously about as reliable as a bus driver who’s also a dog.

Also, many seats are so tight that they can’t be predicted with a huge degree of accuracy, meaning the forecasts could be totally wrong.

So yes. It’s tight. Tighter than that single, unremovable nut that’s on every piece of IKEA furniture you want to dismantle.

This is why, in this election more than any other, your vote counts.


TAKE ME, O DEATH

I know. This campaign has been absolutely devoid of optimism. The two potential candidates for Prime Minister are appallingly unfit for office.

The first is a misogynistic, albino Furby with daddy issues. Boris Johnson is blowing the dog-whistle of populism so hard he’s deafened the local Battersea dogs home.

The other is a postman who’s got a bit uppity since his union dissolved in 1973. Those closest to Jeremy Corbyn believe that a cabal of Jewish overlords control all of the world’s money. He hasn’t exactly rushed to correct them.

And that’s our choice. It shouldn’t have to be, but it is. The other parties have been swept aside by the media – it’s so much more profitable to have a two-horse race, you see.

Even Farage has largely been shut up. I suppose that’s one positive from this whole sordid mess.

So, faced with all of the above, what are we to do? The temptation is to just throw your hands in the air, swear loudly, and walk off a cliff.

But if that is your plan, then for god’s sake, VOTE FIRST.


What’s the point?

Stopping the Tories. That’s the point.

Look, I’ve tried to be balanced on this blog but I am a centrist to my core. If the Conservative and Unionist party was being led by David Gauke or Rory Stewart, there’s a chance I’d vote for them, as I would for Labour under a Starmer or a Phillips.

But this Tory government, under this shyster? Not a chance. This isn’t a conservative party, it’s a radicalised mad-house.

Make no mistake – if Johnson wins, it will lead to chaos.

Brexit will not be resolved on January 31st. Because he has refused to extend the transition period, we will have around 10 months to carry out the single biggest trade negotiation in our history.

For clarity, small trade negotiations usually take years.

So what does this mean? It means that, at the end of 2020, we will be staring straight down the barrel at a no-deal Brexit again. And with a Tory majority, we would need MPs to rebel against Johnson in their droves to stop him, which is unlikely.

All of those who might have done have already been turfed out.

What else?

  • The Tory manifesto hasn’t been properly costed, so all of Johnson’s campaign promises are likely to be as truthful as this one
  • We face the biggest threat to the already-crippled NHS yet
    • Any future trade deal with the US runs the risk of sections of it being privatised or opened up to “Big Pharma,” which would be catastrophic
  • Increasing child poverty, according to the Resolution Foundation
  • And kicking the climate change can into next week.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Out of Europe, out of ideas, out of our sodding minds.


So How Do We Stop Him?

By voting. For anyone but him.

Tactical voting is something I’m fundamentally uneasy about. I believe democracy to be about voting for the representative that best reflects your opinions and beliefs. Even if your candidate loses, you’ve exercised your right to have your opinion heard.

Asking someone to vote for someone they don’t believe in just so they can stop someone who they believe in less is a sorry state of affairs. But here we are, folks – welcome to democracy 2.0.

So how does it work?

Look at the results of the 2017 election in your constituency. You can do this here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2017/results

Look at who won, and by how much. If it’s the Tories, look at who’s in second place.

In Wakefield, Mary Creagh is a Labour MP who can beat the Tories. If Lib Dem voters vote L-D, she might lose. If they lend their vote to Labour, Creagh will win.

By contrast, in Richmond Park, Lib Dem candidate Sarah Olney can beat Zac Goldsmith if Labour voters support her.

Tactical voting is pretty miserable, but that’s what needs to happen to stop Johnson. Maybe one day we will have a voting system that actually represents people, but here we are for now.

Research your vote, pick the candidate to stop the Tories, and make it count.


But I Don’t Want Corbyn as PM

Me bloody neither. I’d rather eat gravel.

But there’s absolutely no way he can win a majority. His support has shrivelled away faster than a man-hose in a plunge pool.

A vote for Labour is a vote for a hung Parliament. A hung Parliament means alliances with other parties. Other parties will never allow Corbyn’s far-left policies to gain any traction. No far-left policies likely means no Corbyn.

And a hung Parliament will almost certainly result in a second referendum. Will this stop Brexit?

This is taken from 76 polls across the UK.

I’d take that bet.


GO FORTH

Please.

Vote.

Vote clever.

I know it seems hopeless. I know it seems like this has lasted forever. I know that all anyone wants is for it to end.

But if we stop Bonkey Jong from getting a majority, the end is in sight. A referendum, a win, and an end to Brexit (although it must be said, not an end to the Brexit debate – the fallout from either outcome is going to be atrocious).

If Johnson gets in, make no mistake – Brexit will rumble on until the end of 2020, and we’ll be right back where we were, but worse.

And I’m not sure my poor little brain can deal with that.


See you next week. God speed, everyone.

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

ELECSHUN? ELECSOON! : What Happens Now? (Part Two)

Here we go, lads.

Here we bloody go.

After three and a half years of terror, torture and tragedy, we are finally in the Endgame. Brexit, one way or another, will be sorted on the 13th of December, 2019.

…Except it may well not be. The sad reality is that Brexit is a part of us now. Brexit is us. We are Brexit.

And we deserve it.

While this election is the closest opportunity we have had for a resolution since the result of the 2016 referendum, a clear end to the deadlock is absolutely, categorically not guaranteed.

This nightmare may yet drag on into 2020. It may go on, indefinitely, interminably, for millennia.

Or it may end in a few short weeks.

It’s all to play for, folks. Who is going to come out on top?


ELECTION REQUEST 4 : ELECTORISE THIS

Finally, at the fourth time of asking, Boris Johnson got his general election yesterday.

As I explained in yesterday’s blog, yesterday’s vote was a one-line Bill, designed to allow a general election to happen with just 50% of the House of Commons’ backing. On Monday, Johnson failed to win an election through the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which requires a 2/3rds majority.

But it was never fully guaranteed. In their trademark, charge-in-head-first style, the government tried to ram the vote through the House. However, Stella Creasy (Lab) won an amendment that allowed MPs to table amendments to it. As such, motions to extend the votes to 16 year-olds and EU citizens living in the UK were tabled.

Sensibly, however, John Bercow, into his final three days of Speaktatorship, decided that these amendments were not relevant to the matter at hand. He didn’t select them for debate or vote.

Essentially, they were important pieces of legislation that needed more debate, more time, and more thought, before they could be approved.

While if either had succeeded it would have been a huge blow to the Tories, this was the right call. Major changes to the franchise (those allowed to vote) should never be made on the hoof.

But there was still an amendment made to try and make the election happen on the 9th, not the 12th of December. This was to make it easier for students to vote, and further away from disrupting Christmas plans.

However, in the end, the government won, with a strong majority.

An election is happening on the 12th of December.


HOORAY! BREXIT WILL FINALLY BE SORTED

Yeah… about that…

Current polls have the Tories and Labour at exactly the same percentages as May vs. Corbyn at the start of their election campaigns in 2017. While the Tories have a healthy lead, that could easily evaporate in the fickle winds of an election storm.

Additionally, recent research suggests that this current electorate is the least loyal since records began in the 1960s – we are all far more prone to choose parties that we agree with, rather than just whose tribe we grew up in.

So while Johnson will undoubtedly be a better campaigner than Theresa May, who brought all the joy of a wasp in your pint, a Tory win is by no means guaranteed.

Corbyn, for all of his many, many… maaany faults, is a far better campaigner when he can take the conversation away from Brexit. He and his party have a final (if muddy) strategy on Brexit (negotiate Labour-led deal, then referendum), which they can announce and then focus away from.

And our politics is no longer a two-horse race. The Lib-Dems have had a massive surge in recent months since they have taken the most openly anti-Brexit stance. They made huge gains at the local and EU Parliament elections, and won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

They have an untested but confident new leader in Jo Swinson, and aspire for an outright majority win. This might prove to be beyond them, but again – we live in strange times.

A thought for the Brexit Party, too. While the wind has been thoroughly taken out of their sails in recent weeks, expect a strong resurgence. Johnson must campaign for his deal, otherwise he undermines the weeks he spent negotiating it and thus himself (which he often spectacularly does anyway).

While there are currently splits in the Brexit Party about whether or not to support it, they will almost certainly unite to fight an election under a “no-deal” banner, which is still, somehow, a good idea to many. This could split the Brexit vote right down the middle.

Plus, Theresa May only won a majority thanks to a £1bn “investment structure” to the DUP. After throwing them under the biggest of busses in negotiating his new Withdrawal Agreement, they are about as likely to get into bed with him as they would anyone outside of wedlock.

Which is funny coz they hate extramarital sex and gay people and Northern Ireland just voted to make all of that hatred illegal.

Lol. Get with the times, DUP.

Anyway – do not believe the hype. This will not be an easy win for anyone, especially Johnson. He may well do it, and may well get the majority he needs to enforce his own brand of Brexit, but if I were a betting man, I would keep that money firmly in my pocket.


SO… WHAT’S ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN?

No idea.

But…

My early-doors prediction is that the Lib-Dem/SNP alliance makes them joint-kingmakers. Neither the Tories nor Labour will win an election outright, and will need to get into bed with the opposition.

If it’s the Tories, a coalition won’t happen without a referendum. If it’s Labour, the referendum will happen anyway, and the hard-left socialist policies that Corbyn and McDonnell are pushing for will never get a majority.

Centrist politics will be forced back onto the agenda out of necessity, with the reigns firmly on which ever party leads. No more idealogical politics, just debate, compromise, and common sense.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Unicorns may exist.

However.

In that scenario, Brexit doesn’t end on the 13th of December. Oh no, no, no.

A referendum takes six months to prepare. Six more, agonising months of Brexit debate. Over and over again through the same tired arguments. Paralysed from everything else in the meantime.

We are Brexit. And we deserve it.

See you all in July, 2020.