Brexit continues to have more twists than Line Of Duty and it’s genuinely hard to work out if you’re celebrating or commiserating. And that applies to both sides. I helped host the People’s Vote rally at Parliament Square on Saturday. On Friday evening I felt hopeless. I had visions of everything being game over as I was sure that the vote would pass.
Then Parliament voted for another extension to make sure there was no jiggery-pokery (that’s a technical term) and that the Government didn’t allow us to crash out with no deal. The roar that erupted in from the crowd was deafening. I could feel it in my sternum. It was like we’d won the World Cup. Whatever that is.
There were some celebration drinks that evening with the People’s Vote crew which ended up in a karaoke bar. Up until that moment there had been this lovely sense of Remainer camaraderie and intergenerational love within the team — until it came to picking the songs. Suddenly there was a gulf between the millennial and the middle-aged. I was all for giving the youth a say in their future until I saw their playlist! At one point, I snorted at some apple-cheeked student: “What do you mean, ‘WHO is Bonnie Tyler?’”
And it was high drama again last night. When is a win not a win? When you lose the vital programme motion that follows, which means you can’t railroad through the most important legislation in a generation without proper scrutiny. Another cheer for Remainers! Go us, right? Well, yes and no. Because nothing is ever straightforward. We are not leaving on October 31 as trumpeted by our Prime Minister but that doesn’t mean we’re never leaving, and the prospect of a general election now looms, which could have profound consequences.
A Brexit general election could play well for the Conservatives, who, whatever you think of them, have a clear public position even if it’s not quite true — Get Brexit Done (nope — it’s only the start) and they have a “great” deal (it’s worse than the last one).
The Lib Dems, SNP, Greens, Women’s Equality Party, Brexit Party and Plaid Cymru all have a clear position on Brexit. Labour is still trying to appeal to both Leavers and Remainers and is failing to please either.
The fact that 19 Labour MPs voted to get Boris Johnson’s deal over the line and will face no sanction will hurt the party at the ballot box with their core Remain vote. A Tory majority could see any hope of a softer Brexit dead in the water, never mind a second referendum. So enjoy the small victories, but Remainers shouldn’t get carried away. We need to stay clear-eyed, which is hard especially when you’re glued to our social media.
As an MP said to me last night: “It’s probably easier for us being inside Parliament than obsessing about it from the outside.” And that was right. There’s a long way to go. And we probably still won’t like the final destination.
The Queen’s won a fan — thanks to Netflix
I wasn’t particularly bothered about the royal family. I remember where I was when I heard about Princess Diana’s fatal accident, and who couldn’t feel heartbroken for her young sons, but I didn’t really feel any emotional connection. Although I quite liked “Fergie” because she had red hair and I loved Anne of Green Gables, that was about it... until the Netflix show The Crown arrived.
I became addicted and suddenly I’m one of those absurd people who cares. I wouldn’t quite say I’m a royalist but I am now a huge fan of the Queen. The Crown has been the greatest piece of exquisitely shot PR Her Majesty could ever have dreamed of. She is very much the central “character” and the viewer receives a sensitive examination of a life dedicated to public duty and the consequences of emotional suppression, aka the old stiff upper lip. All of which makes the imminent arrival of season three all the more timely. It will focus on the fragile relationship between the monarchy and the press and public during a fraught period in the late Seventies. Sound familiar?
I can’t wait for it to start on November 17.
A binge beckons where I shall channel my inner Princess Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter with Ben Daniels as Lord Snowdon) in silk pyjamas with a stiff gin.
There’s an answer to the sick season
It’s sniffle season again. And it’s so annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see the back of all the awful warm weather but cooler climes bring fresh hell in the form of people sniffing on trains and buses, which at this time of year become mobile Petri dishes for all our wintry germs to breed.
Yum! Right now, you can probably hear the maddening and rather revolting sound of some poor sod trying to contain their river of snot by sucking it back up their nasal passages.There is an answer. Free tissues on TfL. I’d vote for that.