EU and Me

I started this blog on the fifteenth of January, 2019. My first article was published at the height of the crippling indecision that was eradicating faith in our democracy.

Long story short, it was an utter shit show.

Theresa May had been to Brussels, negotiated a “Brexit deal” to some degree, but had no majority in Parliament. Her decision to hold a snap election and promptly lose her majority had seen to that.

Because she barely had the numbers to actually enact any policy, the Spartans of the ERG were holding her to ransom, and were pushing for a full break from the EU. Months of indecision and conflict within Parliament meant that her mandate, if she ever had any, was as meaningful as a “We tried to deliver your package” note from Royal Mail.

She was ousted, Boris Johnson took the reigns, and he openly mocked our institutions. By proroguing Parliament, he lied to the Queen, the people, and the judiciary. But that counted for nothing.

In the General Election, he won one of the most overwhelming majorities since Margaret Thatcher. His vision was mandated, his style approved, and his version of Brexit unstoppable.

The result? We have finally left the EU.

And, in 2016, this is what I wanted.


I have been a student of politics for twelve years, and even before then was more involved with it than most. From the age of 13, I read the Daily Mail – its sensationalist headlines and passionate editorials were very alluring. I only gave it up when I realised how biased and unnecessarily racist I felt it to be.

…Martin Samuel was a cracking sports editor, to be fair.

After shunning the Daily Mail, I moved to The Times – the newspaper of balance, supposedly. Around that time I started studying politics academically. This progressed from AS level, to A level, to an undergraduate degree at Durham University. I studied the Arab Spring during the overthrow of Mubarak, German politics at a time of great introspection in the German system, and US politics during the Obama era.

But nothing meant more to me than the bare-bones, nerdy-as-hell, nitty-gritty analysis of the British political system.

I first learned about the EU (properly, that is) at the age of 17. We had been a member of this supranational institution for the best part of forty years, but I had some major misgivings.

We gave up our sovereignty to be a part of this group. What had started as a trading bloc had slowly but surely become a major influence on policy across the continent, influencing everything from trade deals to human rights.

While the policies the EU dictated were largely admirable, they still weren’t being dictated by us, who I still thought to be a major international force. I didn’t like this one bit. Nor did I understand why our Great Britain was no longer being recognised as a world leader in international relations.

Over my studies, I became more and more concerned about how little say we had in the grand plans of these Brussels-based bureaucrats. “We’re the United Kingdom, though!” I thought. “We won World War II, we are the major players here, we deserve to be heard.”

I learned about UKIP. I learned about how there was a faction, relatively small, who wanted to leave the EU, led by a strange man called Nigel Farage. They were hell-bent on leaving this “misbegotten entity”, and restore the United Kingdom to its former, international glory.

I didn’t much like UKIP. I especially didn’t like Nigel Farage. But I conceded that they had a point.

And, in 2016, when I heard that there was going to be a referendum on whether or not we should remain in the EU, I thought, “Actually, this could be a really good opportunity for us. What has the EU ever done for us?”

Clearly, I wasn’t alone. As it turns out, millions of people across the UK had exactly the same worries and concerns as me: we eventually voted to leave the EU.

But, in between the calling of the referendum and the vote, I decided to listen. I wasn’t sure of my convictions, and I thought that if there could be a good, solid reason to stay in then I would give it the chance it deserved.

And it wasn’t easy to find it. The “Remain” camp were incessantly negative, with their arguments focussing far more on the “If we leave, x will decrease,” rather than “We will increase x if we remain.”

It was appalling. But the Leave campaign was far, far worse.

The second that the word “Empire” was used, absent-mindedly or not, alarm bells started ringing with the fervour of Big Ben’s bongs in an amphitheatre. The protagonists (or antagonists, depending on your view) of the Leave campaign, led indefatigably by the other-worldly Dominic Cummings, sought to “Take back control.”

This concept of restoring former glory was what, ultimately, resonated with a country where millions of the population were left bereft by Tony Blair’s erstwhile-yet-elitist push towards globalisation.

And, what’s more, this idea should have resonated with me, too.

This is what I was concerned about, after all. Finally, after decades of incremental influence upon our democratic systems by the unelected “EUrocrats”, we would be free from oppression.

But it just sounded hollow. I didn’t know why, at first, but the more that I read, the more I understood.

I started to learn that the textbooks that had made me wary of the EU were out of date. Technological advances had irrevocably and irreversibly changed the world of international relations. What used to be a group of autonomous, easily-defined states had started to congeal into a forever-undulating, insanely-intricate web of supranational checks, balances, and regulations (all, ultimately, to benefit our wellbeing).

It took a lot of reading to understand just how intricate this web had become. But the more I read, the more I understood that being a part of the EU was an irrefutable positive, not a negative.

For instance, I started to learn about how we, as citizens of the EU, are protected from free-market capitalism, where profit rules over morality.

When we buy a sandwich from Tesco, we know that we are not eating something that contains damaging chemicals or low-standards of production. Products will be checked as a part of EU regulations to ensure high standards are met (hence the issues around chlorinated chicken, should we form a trading partnership with the US).

When we browse the internet, we now know that our personal data cannot be harvested without our consent – GDPR protections are an EU directive.

When we are worried about people who come to our country to spy on us, cause damage to us, or even kill us, the EU’s criminal data network makes us exponentially more effective at stopping them. Europol is an incredibly effective network that can track, arrest, and convict those who seek to do us harm.

Being a part of the EU was, indisputably, a trade-off. We gave up a part of our sovereignty, but, in return, we were protected from a multitude of forces that would do us harm.

And I was no longer ready to assume that sovereignty trumped our best interests. There was, is, and never will again be a scenario where we are worse off by being a part of the biggest supranational institution in the world.

So I fought against leaving. I voted against it, I persuaded friends and relatives that it was a bad idea, and I started this blog.

It was already too late.


The last few years have been eye-wateringly embarrassing for our nation. We have seen a gridlocked Parliament consistently reject the pushes of a Government that assumed it had power where it had none. We have seen a Speaker of the House be dragged into political discourse by his own hand (regardless of whether or not you think he was acting in the interests of democracy or his own hubris). We have seen our Government lie to the Queen, to the public, and to the wider international community.

We have become a laughing stock.

But, despite the mayhem, there was a glimmer of hope. It seemed, for a moment, that these decisions around Brexit would be revealed to be as insane as they were jingoistic – a delusional afterthought to the nation that once ruled the world.

Britain will never have another Empire, and thank Christ on a bicycle for that fact.

But the idea that it might remains a beacon. To the Mark Francois’s. To the Tommy Robinsons. To those who think that this country can do better.

And do you know what? This country can do better.

But not in that way.


I was there at the moment we left the EU. I was in Parliament Square, surrounded by thousands of people who were overjoyed at the prospect of us being independent once again.

There were cretins, for sure. Cries of “MILLWALL, MILLWALL” cried out as this happened:

…And that is objectively funny.

But I listened to the people around me. Young, old, white, BAME… largely, the feeling was of liberation. Like this was about to be the start of something. The dawning of a new era of British politics.

In many ways, they weren’t wrong. This is going to be one of the most seismic changes in British politics in the last century. But there is one thing that must, always, be reiterated:

Not a single person at that rally wanted Brexit to happen because it would make us worse off.

Every person there thought that this will only be a positive for our country from here on out. And now, we will find out if they are right or not.


So, what next?

We can’t know for certain what will actually happen. The “Sunlit Uplands” might really be around the corner. I hope they are.

But the world is due another economic downturn. Slowing growth will damage everyone, from China, to the US, to the EU. But one thing is for damn sure – being a part of the EU’s regulations and safeguards protects those within it.

We do not have those protections anymore.

We are now alone. Maybe the British spirit can prevail, and I truly hope it does. No patriot wants anything ill to fall on their country just for the sake of being proved right.

But, if every economist worth their salt is to be believed, we are about to enter one of the most dangerous periods in our economic history.

What will actually happen is open for debate. I, for one, hope my initial instincts end up being correct, and leaving the EU opens us up to be an independent powerhouse again.

I’m not sure they will be though.


Goodbye, EU. You have your faults, by the bucketload in fact.

But we are about to take responsibility for ourselves. And I’m not sure we’re ready for it.

T-MINUS TEN : Brexit Bill Passes Parliament

And there it is.

Yesterday, MPs passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (or WAB, a WABsolutely brilliant acronym built for satirists). This is the same Bill that Theresa May failed to pass three times through the House.

This time, there was never any doubt. Johnson’s swinging majority bismarcked Brexit into British law. As Jozzle Bonkz himself said last night, we have now, “Crossed the Brexit finish line.”

We are now less than ten days away from leaving the European Union.


DUB(side-)STEP

For this to make sense, we need a refresher on the legislative system in Parliament. In the words of Blue Peter presenters past, present and future, “Here’s one I made earlier”:

You might have heard that the Bill had already been passed, and you’d be right – it had passed the first, second and third stages of reading in the House of Commons. Then, the House of Lords stepped in to scrutinise.

And it was more controversial than you might have thought. And should be more widely reported.

But that’s another story about the media for you, for another day.

Johnson’s version of the WAB has been accused by its detractors of being a worse deal than May’s – and unnecessarily cruel, too. The House of Lords, using its capacity as a scrutiniser of law, sought to make five changes to the WAB.

The most notable suggestions were:

  • Give EU citizens who live in the UK automatic right to stay, rather than having to apply to the Home Office;
  • Not allowing UK politicians to disregard judgements made by the EU Court of Justice, which is currently more powerful than our Supreme Court, after Brexit;
  • And the Dub(step) Amendment, which sought to allow unaccompanied refugee children to live in the UK if they have a relative here so they can be reunited with their family.

It all sounds rather reasonable, doesn’t it?

Don’t stick two fingers up at the EU, our future trading partner. Don’t tell EU citizens who have lived, worked and contributed here for decades that they need to apply to remain a citizen. Allow children who are terrified and alone to be reunited with those who can care for them.

I mean, it sounds fair enough? What arguments could there be agains–

Oh no. Here comes the Johnson, flapping in the wind.


BOZZMARCKED

Johnson has total control over every last one of his MPs, and over his majority. And how do you think he ordered his troops to deploy?

Every amendment from the House of Lords was defeated in the House of Commons.

No introspection. No collaboration. No remorse.

Now all that remains is for Royal Assent – a mere formality. Unless the Megxit Saga has finally done it for Lizzo and she declares herself Empress and invades the Faroe Islands.

Anyway.

Yesterday’s vote sets the tone for the Johnson Premiership – my way or the highway, chaps!

For all of the rhetoric about “Bringing the country together” or “healing the division,” not one inch has been given to any sort of dissent. Criticism, valid or not, is to be thought, and not heard.

And even then, Dominic Cummings might pick up the thoughts with his ridiculous, Mars Attacks, telekinetic forehead and sack you anyway.

Cummings Enjoys Naptime After a Hard Day of Telepathically Making Larry the Cat Speak Spanish to Terrify No. 10 Staffers

It looks as though this is the way things are going to continue. Johnson at the helm, naysayers be damned.

Whatever you make of Bonkey Jong, though, he’s got a direction. We are, finally, marching on. Not just endless, repeated faffing about.

And, by refusing to acknowledge the opinions of anyone other than Dominict Cummingberbatches, he has also done what we all thought he might: placed the success of Brexit, and indeed his own Premiership, firmly onto himself.

If he cocks it up, he will try to pass the buck. I think, in that instance, he won’t find too many takers.


EU Give Love a Bad Name

I was in Bulgaria recently. Sofia, specifically. It’s a city with a frankly ridiculous amount of history, having seemed to have been passed around from empire to empire until the record stopped with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

And so, when given its independence, what did Bulgaria then do?

Its absolute damndest to join the EU, that’s what.

Now, some of you might joke that this is a kind of imperial Stockholm Syndrome. “They don’t have an identity without some big daddy ruling over them, hahaha, poor sods, so they joined the dogmatic EU empire because they bloody love it,” said a Mr N. Farage, The Dog and Duck, Kent (unconfirmed).

But it’s not that at all.

Bulgaria is clearly a post-Communist state. Huge, stark buildings still pepper the city centre, with only the Red Star removed to hide its past. But it’s an EU state, too – with imported beers, aprés-ski bars, and European department stores in abundance.

Tourism is on the rise, its economy is on the rise… Bulgaria, in general, is on the rise.

It’s clear what EU membership means for this country. And that’s why it was all the more profound to be somewhere like that for the last time as a citizen of an EU member-state.

Leaving Bulgaria felt very much like my own physical manifestation of leaving the EU.

Many G&Ts were drunk on the plane.


What Next?

Brexit Day. 31st of January. Will Big Ben Bong?

No. Probably not. Nor bloody should it.

But, as of that moment, we are no longer an EU member state! Praise be to Jeebus / Oh God why (delete as appropriate).

Then begins the fun part – the transition period. Can Johnson really negotiate a full trade and relationship deal with the EU in just 11 months? We’ll soon see. If progress has stalled by the summer, there might be a few leathery squeaks from the Tory benches in the Commons.

But one thing’s for sure, squirm as they might, if it goes tits-up, they’ve only got one man to blame.

And if he’s going to take the fall, he’s going to pull the whole damn stage down with him.

WABSOLUTE CERTAINTY – Brexit Bill Passed, Here Comes The Fun Part

And, with the smallest of whimpers of protest, that was that. Brexit, it is confirmed, is happening on the 31st of January.

With Johnson’s huge, throbbing electoral majority, Brexit was always going to pass through Parliament. That’s what the General Election was, after all – the Tories seeking a mandate for Brexit. And my goodness me, they got it.

This week, it was set in stone. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, or WAB, the legislative bellend that proved so impossibly hard for Theresa May to pass, was brought back to Parliament for a final time.

It got a majority of 99. By law, Brexit will now happen.

So, that’s that then. Brexit happens at the end of the month, the people get what they want, Britain becomes opened up to a world of opportunity, and we all march off into the sunset, right?

Sure. And I’m going to live to 120 and headline Glastonbury 2025.


#Dab4DaWAB

Unfortunately for those as fascinated by politics as me, we’re about to return to normality. The last year, especially, has been absolutely bloody bonkers, with every Parliamentary vote on a knife-edge and a real mystery as to who will win.

Our political system isn’t meant to be like that. At all. In the months before the General Election, our politics was like a hippopotamus on LSD – unpredictable, a bit dangerous, but bloody good fun to watch.

Now, though, Parliament is back to normal – an old goat in a field, plodding about, keeping the grass short, predictable yet quirky.

Our system is built for one party to have a majority, like Johnson does now. He and the Tories can do whatever they want, unopposed, for the next five years. Then, at the next election, we can look back at what they’ve achieved (or haven’t achieved) and decide to stick or twist…

Yesterday’s vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is a perfect example of this – in a hung Parliament, May was unable to get the numbers to pass the Bill. Within her own ranks, there were enough mutineers (e.g. even bigger bellends) that disagreed with her version of Brexit.

No more though. Even if Johnson had suffered any traitors (he didn’t), he would still have passed it comfortably.

The ERG have fallen into line because they have no power anymore (they’re not needed for a majority), the hardline anti-Brexiteers have either changed their tunes or been turfed out and lost their seats, and the Opposition is a shambles.

Johnson’s power is absolute. All hail Johnson, etc.

And yet…


Jozzly Bob Can Still Cock It Up

I know I’ve spoken about this already. In short, my point is that Brexit could be such an absolute shitshow that the whole thing could backfire, massively.

But it’s worth noting that Johnson, so far, has taken absolute control over the story. Was the WAB being passed front-page news?

Was it balls – leave that to the star cross’d lovers, Harry and Meghan, who are bowing out from front-line Royal Duty because our press is sickening.

Anyway, back to my point – the WAB was nowhere to be seen, and nor was politics.

The Tories have quietly removed some of the rights of EU citizens since their getting into power, and, sadly, this is where we’re at now – Johnson controlling the story, very little accountability in the press, and pretty hard-right policies flying under the radar.

All we can do is take note, measure their policies, and hold them to account when it all fails miserably.


Next Week

We’re not quite sure what our quality/quantity output will be here at BTL Towers. A new dawn of politics means a different kind of urgency, and one that also screams “PLEASE GOD, NO MORE POLITICS, WE CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE.”

BTL will still be here, but the frequency might change a touch. We will, of course, keep you abreast of any changes.

Godspeed, readers. Have a lovely weekend and brace yourselves.

Brexit, at long last, is coming. And it is inevitable.

And it’s still a stupid bloody idea.

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.

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

Weekly Wrap-Up : CRUNCH TIME

Apologies for being misleading, but there’s no real weekly wrap-up this week. The reason for this is that anything I tell you now is pure speculation.

Yes, I know, speculation is basically what keeps this website afloat, but this is different. Tomorrow, Saturday the 19th, will be the day that decides Brexit, one way or another. To speculate on that now seems disingenuous.

Not to say that I haven’t speculated or analysed at all, though. I would strongly recommend you read yesterday’s blog that explains all of yesterday’s many complications, and throws in some predictions for what comes next.

Said blog can be found here:

What a week it’s been (I know, I’m a broken record). From nothing, to something, to a deal, to pessimism about the deal, in all of three or four days.

But go out today. Go and make Friday that 18th the best day you’ve ever had.

Because Saturday the 19th is going to be horrendous.

And I’ll be there with you, every step of the way.

BEYOND THE PALE : A Bad Day For Brexit, But Hope For The Future


Yesterday was like watching politics through a fairground mirror. While normality, and sensibility, reigned out the outside, proceedings were bizarrely distorted through the looking-glass.

Boris Johnson gave his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference and, in all credit to him, was far better than he’s been over the last few weeks. Watching him yesterday, you’d think that Brexit was all but resolved, a mere dotted line left to sign before we trotted off into the sunset, flipping the bird at Brussels on our way out.

But, a few hours later, that all flew out of the window. Johnson sent the EU what he deemed to be a “Final Offer” deal.

It hasn’t received the warm welcome that Number 10 might have wanted.

While the EU has not publicly responded negatively to the offer, it is widely reported to have been furious with it behind closed doors.

So while Boris’s speech dazzled his adoring fans, the optimism might well be short-lived.

And who could have predicted that?


Preaching To The Converted Conservatives

After a few weeks of weak public performances, when put in front of the home crowd, Boris began to show some of his old, indefatigable spark.

He made jokes about firing Jeremy Corbyn into space, how the SNP leaders of ironically-named Sturgeon and Salmond want to give Scottish fishing to the EU, and John Bercow eating a Kangaroo testicle.

Yes, Boris was far more like himself again. And, as you’d expect, the right-wing media loved it.

But, as per my article on Tuesday, it simply doesn’t matter. Not one jot. All the optimism, the bravado, the bluster – all irrelevant.

Because the fact of the matter is, despite the slogan of “Get Brexit Done,” it simply isn’t Boris’ decision to make. It is Parliament’s, based on the assumption that the EU will give them a deal and/or an extension.

A deal takes two to tango, however. And while the EU may or may not be ready for a ballroom dance, Johnson is currently acting like the drunken uncle at a stag-do having a stab at breakdancing.


Deal With It

This afternoon, the government sent a new offer to the EU for a Brexit deal. The messaging coming from the Tory media machine this evening is simple – “This deal gets Brexit done. Back it.”

And, according to reports, some MPs from both the Conservative and Labour sides who want to leave with a deal are ready to back it. Which is great!

Assuming the EU accepts it.

Sadly, yet predictably, this is desperately unlikely – the offer is nothing short of insulting.

It contains customs checks across the Irish border, a requirement of as-yet uninvented technological advances, and requires the Northern Irish government to approve it. The Northern Irish government, for clarity, hasn’t been sitting for two and a half years, so is very unlikely to approve it any time soon.

Because it currently doesn’t exist.

Considering that all of these issues were raised way, way back in the days of Theresa May’s premiership, the fact that Boris has sanctioned a proposal that entirely fails to resolve any of them is nothing short of embarrassing.

Or, at least, it would be, were it not a part of an almost more embarrassing plan.

Johnson is trying to blame the EU for failing to give any concessions in the spirit of finding a deal. This, despite the fact that the EU’s negotiating partner, us, has wibble-wobbled from every conceivable position about what “Leave” actually means since June 2016.

But Johnson’s premiership has never been about Brexit. It has only, ever, been about winning an election. By putting this nonsense in front of the EU, he has, for all intents and purposes, said, “This is it. Take it or leave it, and leaving it means No-Deal.”

The EU, through a mixture of damage-limitation and probably pity by this stage, would rather no-deal didn’t happen. It would be devastating to the UK, damaging to the EU, and no-one would win from it.

To be clear, it would not be a clean break. A no-deal Brexit would result in years-upon-years of trade negotiations with the EU, all from a weakened bargaining position.

Yet here we are. Joris Sodding Bohnson, throwing the ball in the EU’s court, ignoring everything that’s happened over the last three years, and claiming that it’s their responsibility to concede to it.

Pull the other one, it hangs lower and has bells on.


So What Happens Now?

The EU, unlikely to want to unilaterally call Boris a moron, will wait for Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland’s prime minister, or Taoiseach, to do it for them in pretty words.

Then, the EU themselves will say that the proposals are meaningless.

Johnson did, to some extent, precipitate this by stating that these proposals were “a broad landing zone,” allowing for more discussion to take place.

But you could consider slap-bang in the middle of the Atacama Desert as a broad landing zone, yet you’d still promptly die, no matter how much you pleaded with the sun itself for an oasis.

It was a final roll of the dice, and Boris will roll snake-eyes. Next comes the onslaught of “The EU didn’t like my decent proposal” bollocks, followed by an election campaign of lies, followed by a hung-parliament and yet more confusion and anger until the mid 2020s.

Assuming the EU don’t tell us to just piss off.

At this stage, it’s not unconceivable that they might just do that.


Christ. What Else?

Well, Parliament’s being prorogued again next Tuesday, which is always fun, as the government has learned.

This time, it’s only for three days, and is entirely defensible – for all of Parliament’s words, they haven’t done all that much scrutiny since returning.

Mostly because Johnson has been far too cowardly to face them, and is apparently too terrified of scrutiny that he refuses to stand before them and defend his views. By proroguing next Tuesday, Johnson will only have faced one PMQs in his entire 9-week premiership.

Tells you a lot about those who support the Prime Minister that they don’t want him to face even the most basic level of scrutiny.

But, hey ho, that’s the world we live in.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Is There Any Good News?

While our MPs have been back, they have been able to discuss a truly remarkable piece of legislation about domestic violence.

Theresa May had a pretty crappy premiership. This, I would argue, is uncontroversial.

But she did try to make a legacy for herself by creating legislation to protect those trapped in abusive relationships, which is unquestionably a dignified and much-needed proposal.

As such, because of prorogation being deemed illegal last week (*trumpet sounds*), a bill that she worked tirelessly on wasn’t dropped, but instead was reintroduced to Parliament. Yesterday, MPs debated it again, and it was a stark, much-needed reminder that, actually, our system does work.

May herself gave an impassioned speech on the Bill, full of care and emotion. As utterly crap as she was as Home Secretary and as tainted her reign as PM will be, what this writer considers to be her true colours came across during yesterday’s speech.

Additionally, if you can spare a few minutes, watch Labour MP Rosie Duffield speak openly, candidly, and heartbreakingly about her own experiences of an abusive relationship.

This is what our Parliament should be. A chamber full of people who care, deeply, about the issues and rights of their constituents, who are unafraid to speak out against injustices, and who work tirelessly against them.

What is heartbreaking is that this is what the vast majority of our Parliament already is. It is just a few, a sad few, who have driven us to the precipice of madness.

The ones who get the most screen-time and the most publicity through hyperbole and division are, in our current times, the ones who are most influential.

But, deep down, our system works. And it works well. Those who wish to distort the system for their own gains (Johnson) are told to piss off and stop being so stupid by the institutions (the legislature and the judiciary) that make our constitution, and our nation, Great.


We’re in the Brexit end-game now. There will be a colossal fall-out from it. Leave or Remain, Business or Community, Right or Left – there will be nationwide discontent, whatever the outcome.

But at our core, our very centre, is a room full of elected Members of Parliament, across both sides of the House, who really do care about the people, rather than themselves.

The days of those who lie and obfuscate for their own gain are numbered. How much damage they will do on their way out depends on what happens next.

There is a bright future out there, after Brexit.

How we get there is yet to be seen.

KNACKERED JOHNSON : Why The Tory Conference Is Irrelevant


The Tory Party Conference is currently in full swing, and you can imagine what it’s like.

A room full of crackpot old farts falling asleep to dismal speeches given by sub-par Ministers, Parliamentarians and commentators. You can imagine it is like this, because all party conferences are like this.

Labour’s one last week was an utter shambles, and it seems as though no-one really gave a moment’s notice to the Lib-Dems’ one.

Yet, every year, the media go and dutifully report on the conferences, from the flagship policies to the painfully-tedious debates. Every year, the parties themselves try to whip up a fervour for their party’s vision. And, by and large, there is usually at least something interesting said over the course of the conference season.

But this year’s Tory conference is pointless.

Not because of the fact that it was planned at the last minute. Not because of the fact that most of their policies had already been announced. Not even because of the fact that Boris Johnson’s womanising past is casting a shadow over the whole event.

But because Joris Bohnson (as per this unfortunate spoonerism during a vox-pop last week) is not the man who holds the power over the Conservative Party.

The 21 Tory Rebels, sacked from the Whip for defying his wishes, are the real arbiters of power.

Which is a touch ironic, wouldn’t you think?


So No Conference Analysis At All, Then?

Oh, go on then.

The Tory Party Conference has been, as you’d imagine, full to the brim of pro-Boris, pro-Brexit supporters. The messaging coming from the man himself has been a pledge to “Get Brexit Done,” and those around him have shown very clear and obvious support for their main man.

Seeing as the organisers choose who attends the event, this is unsurprising.

Many Tories have remained in London for most of the conference, which is unusual. This is not because they are so desperately anti-Boris that they can’t stand to be in the same conference hall as him, but because Parliament is currently sitting.

In response to Johnson’s illegal prorogation of Parliament, last week Parliament itself refused to allow the Tories to suspend Parliament for its conference, which is what normally happens.

So there’s been a bit of a strange feel to the conference. Because Johnson, Cummings et al all expected to be fighting an election campaign right now, most of their hands have already been played, with very few new policies being available to announce.

Not to say that nothing new has been said. Sajid Javid started a speech yesterday with a genuinely touching moment by speaking Punjabi to his mum, who was in the audience. He announced a raising of the national living wage from £8.21 per hour to £10.50 by 2024. This is a good thing in principle, and is actually also a Labour policy, but comes with risks.

This puts the burden of financing higher incomes on to businesses, rather than the government. Smaller businesses, in particular, might struggle to set the wage as defined by Whitehall.

But, it’s also worth noting that the standard inflation rate of wages would see a rise to £9.45 by 2024 anyway. So it’s a) not going to be that much more damaging to businesses’ overheads and b) not that exciting a policy.

And yet that’s the A-Grade takeaway from the conference thus far.

Except for this video of Esther McVey having all 4 of her brain cells stimulated by the idea of 3D modelling, which has been around since the late 1970s.


Give Me Strength. But It’s Irrelevant?

Yep. Because the Tories that are currently at the conference aren’t even the Tories who are in charge. Everything they promise, all the policies they reveal, are irrelevant, because there is no Parliamentary majority anymore.

The second that Boris expelled the 21 Tory MPs who refused to vote with him in favour of no-deal all those many months ago (it was only three weeks ago), he made it so that he is unable to pass legislation without support from opposition parties.

He also gave himself a brand-new enemy – moderate Conservatives.

In particular, one gets the impression that Dominic Grieve wouldn’t dive in after a drowning Boris Johnson so much as chuck him a cast-iron life-ring. And what’s becoming increasingly clear is that Johnson is laughably, hopelessly mismatched against Grieve’s considerable intelligence and unwavering commitment to decency.

To create such a powerful enemy would be unwise at the best of times. At a time of crisis, to immediately hand over one of your finest legal minds to the opposition, as he has done with Grieve, is what is known in politics as appallingly bloody stupid.

Grieve has been prominently on the same side as Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas, Ian Blackford, Anna Soubry and other prominent pro-Remain MPs in recent weeks. Not Corbyn quite so much, although they did unite to pass the Benn Act.

Together, they have been meeting and working together to prevent Johnson from carrying out his plans – as they now can essentially cast the deciding vote in Parliament, whatever happens next can only be approved by them.

…Unless the EU refuses to back another extension, which is possible, but unlikely.

Ish.

So while Johnson might stand before the faithful as their emperor and decree his will unto them, he is powerless to actually enact it.

He is like a wasp under a glass on a pub table: furious, railing against the sides of his imprisonment, and desperately trying to stab his stinger at his captors on the other side of the glass.

They won’t care, though. They’ve got him just where they want him.

And he’s not going anywhere.

ACCIDENTAL ELECTION: Not Boris’ Fault He Finds Lying So Sexy


Right. So.

I had every plan of writing a blog this evening (Monday night, to give you a glimpse the glamour of behind the scenes) that was going to outline this week.

Tuesday would be mental. Parliament might be so furious with BoJo that they might change the law. In a day, when it usually takes weeks.

Wednesday might have been needed to finalise a few things, followed on by a few days of time-wasting by Brexiteers in the House of Lords. Yadda yadda yadda.

The HoL, by the way, is one of our few institutions that is entirely unelected, but still vital to the passing of laws. Is it ironic that Brexiteers were hoping that an unelected body might prevent the “taking back control” (slogan of the Leave campaign back in 2016) of Parliament, our elected body?

Probably not, because irony is now dead, forever.

BUT NO.

Things have escalated to such a degree that all of the planning for this week is now irrelevant and dated already.

Let’s break this down simply and easily – this week is going to be historical.

For once, this hyperbolic blog is actually being deadly serious.


What In The Everloving Christ Has Happened Now?

Parliament reconvenes today. The plan is for rebel MPs to oppose Boris’ prorogation of Parliament (more on that here) by passing a Bill through Parliament to made it illegal for BoJo to leave the EU without a deal on October 31st.

This timetabling was forced by Boris proroguing Parliament, thereby reducing the amount of time Parliament had to debate and discuss the issue. Instead, he would promote his new political agenda for the year and try to force through his own version of Brexit without scrutiny.

In order for this to work, Boris would need his opponents to be divided, confused, and weak.

Instead, he’s pissed off everyone. So much so, in fact, that all of those opponents, who really do not like each other at all, are now in solidarity with one another against him. So much so that, actually, what was being touted as impossible is now the most likely outcome – the rebels are likely to win today.

The rebels, by the way, would not succeed without a number of Boris’ own party-members rebelling against the Conservative Party.

Boris realised this yesterday and threatened them with deselection (being fired from the party). But this hasn’t stopped them: the Tory rebels are so adamant that they are right that they are going to give up their political careers to oppose him.

His plan had failed before it had already begun.

So, at 5pm yesterday, he called his cabinet into Downing Street for a “drinks party.” While I, of all people, appreciate turning a work do into a piss-up, it does feel ever so slightly disingenuous to decide the fate of the country over champagne, fancy canapés and swooning over an admittedly adorable new dog.

At 6pm, having debated and discussed what to do with his inner sanctum, Boris took to the lectern outside No. 10. He announced that if he is defeated in Parliament by the rebels today, he will be forced into calling a General Election.

Oh Lordy Lou. To quote Brenda from Bristol, “Not another one?”


No. Not Necessarily.

Johnson, in his horrendously underwhelming speech in front of No. 10, loudly heckled and booed by campaigners throughout, said that “He didn’t want a general election, and nor do we [the people].”

But if his own Tory MP’s “cut the legs off” his negotiating position, he would have no choice.

As such, political commentators are speculating that the week will be as follows:

  • An emergency debate bill (SO24) is granted today, and John Bercow grants Parliament the chance to change the law (which is unprecedented);
  • Johnson will lose this, as a number of his own MPs will rebel against him.
  • Johnson cannot fulfil his promise of leaving the EU on October 31st, as he will be forced to ask for an extension.
  • He said yesterday that this was something that he would not do.
  • So, on Wednesday, Johnson will call an election (to be held before the Brexit deadline, most likely in early October).

Which… means we’re due a General Election, right? Yippee-Ki-Yay, we’re doing it all again. Kill me now.


Except We’re Really Not.

Every major news outlet is gushing about the fact that a General Election might be about to happen, especially as Jeremy “Couldn’t Lead a Party To a Disco” Corbyn has been calling for one for the last two years.

But. And this is a biiiiig old but. Nicki Minaj levels of a big ol’ butt.

Just because Boris calls for a General Election doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. It requires the agreement of 2/3rds of Parliament, which is not even remotely assured.

Corbyn might see this as the trap it is and wait for a better time. Conservatives aren’t going to trample each other to race to an election, because they’re all going to get absolutely savaged in constituencies where the purist Brexit Party will probably beat them.

The Rebel Alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and SNPs would all benefit from seeing the Conservative Party fall to pieces before going to the polls, which might well happen.

Boris might call for an election, but not get the numbers.

He might have to see this through to the end.


DEAR GOD WHY WON’T THIS SHIT STOP

Because deciding something important based on the fact that no-one cares anymore is a terrible way to run a country.

It doesn’t make up for the fact that yes, everything is godawful, and no, things will not get better for a long time yet.

But this week is super important. Please keep an eye on proceedings, make up your own minds, and be politically aware. It doesn’t have to be here, but please try to at least know what it is you might be voting for if we end up having to vote.

Because I would bet on Seabiscuit’s sweet, sweet, desperately-expensive jizz that an election is coming, and it will define a generation.

Read up. Fight inaccuracies. Form your own opinions, and do not take anything that you read in the newspapers as genuine fact.

We now live in a society where we have to fact-check the government, not the other way round.