As Brexiteers plan their celebrations for the UK leaving the EU, Remain campaigners are still deciding how to mark the date. Anti-Brexit group Led By Donkeys told The Londoner: “We don’t really know what we’re going to do on January 31. We’re still emerging from our post-election chrysalis.” The Londoner had heard a rumour that the group was planning to project an anti-Brexit message on the white cliffs of Dover. However, it claimed it was “perplexed” by the idea. “There are a billion options” it said. Campaign group Best for Britain said they also hadn’t decided how to mark the date. “We’re not thinking of scaling Big Ben or anything like that,” a spokesperson said.
Jonathan Lis, who is deputy director of think-tank British Influence, made waves by suggesting a “counter-demo” on a radio programme earlier this week, but said he was joking. He told us: “The 31 January is not a day of national unity and certainly not one of national celebration. For millions of us it marks the break-up of a cherished relationship for no good reason at all.” This week, consultant James Melville got support on Twitter when he suggested a crowdfunder for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to play the EU anthem Ode to Joy and light up the London Eye with the EU flag on January 31.
In the last few days, there has been controversy over plans to ring Big Ben, which is being refurbished. Not all Remainers want to mark the date. Our Future, Our Choice founder Femi Oluwole, whose political videos have amassed millions of views online, sounded downbeat: “I’m not doing anything.” He said that Remain group For our Future’s Sake is having a party but said: “I don’t know if I’ve been invited.” Europhile Lord Adonis told us he would be marking the date by finishing his biography of Labour war minister and trade unionist Ernest Bevin. “It is subtitled Labour’s Churchill. Make of that what you will.”
Gina Miller has no time for navel gazing
Gina Miller takes a hard line when it comes to modish fads. “I stopped my children going to mindfulness lessons,” she told a Feminist Book Society event at Waterstones in Bloomsbury. Miller emailed her daughter’s headmaster and said “the only mindfulness I’m interested in is mindfulness of others”. The legal campaigner told her daughter: “You’re not going to sit for 20 minutes and time your breath. If you’re feeling unhappy about something, talk to me about it.” Miller pointed out: “She thinks about herself enough — she’s a teenager!”
Michael Portillo believes his gaudy outfit choices are a symptom of being sartorially repressed in politics for so many years. “All this time there was this flower, there were these petals yearning to break free,” he told an audience at The Harlequin Theatre last night. The former Tory minister said: “Now they’ve burst free in a very vehement form.”
Not all superheroes wear capes but one wears a brooch. Baroness Hale was spotted on the Tube by a fan who, after sitting next to the former Supreme Court president, was so excited she said: “NOW I can’t breathe.” She did, however, manage to ask: “No brooch today?” The legal hero replied: “Oh yes, it’s just under my coat.”
Liam's girl Molly in Paris power crisis
Molly Moorish and Tigerlily Taylor swapped London for Paris last night as they celebrated the launch of Barbour Gold Standard during Fashion Week. The daughters of Oasis singer Liam Gallagher and Queen drummer Roger Taylor respectively, cut sharp figures themselves in the British Embassy last night. Later in the night, though, Moorish was in a spot of bother. As her television failed to respond to the remote, she posted on her Instagram story: “Anyone got any triple-A batteries in Paris, hit us up.” Oh, the glamour.
Meanwhile, Chrissie Hynde kicked off her plant-based revolution at Soho’s Karma Sanctum Hotel where, as part of a collaboration, the Wild Heart Grill is dropping meat in favour of a mostly vegan menu. The Pretenders frontwoman, who has long been an advocate of meat-free eating, is hoping her work with the Sanctum may encourage other restaurants to follow suit. Joining the revolution was singer Sonique, fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel and model Claudia Lavender.
Tom Watson says if he has “one thing to thank Jeremy Corbyn for”, it is for getting him out of politics. “I literally don’t miss any of it,” the former Labour deputy leader says. Watson said the day after he quit, it was as if “a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders”. He also told the Intelligence Squared Podcast his time in politics had been a “35-year-curse”. Does he protest too much?
Sir Keir Starmer was rather publicly taking new Labour MP Abena Oppong-Asare for a coffee yesterday in Westminster. Was the Labour leadership hopeful offering her a job or just hoping for support from her local party branch?
Parliament’s many mice have a favoured spot, The Londoner learns: the loamy soil and drainage pipes around the trees in Portcullis House. A box of poison nearby confirms the mischievous rodents are about, though one MP confides in us: “I actually think they’re cute.”
Megxit: a sharp eye for perspective
Harry and Meghan’s decision to “step back” as senior royals isn’t the end of the world, Private Eye editor Ian Hislop says. “People say, ‘This is unbelievable, this is the biggest crisis the royal family has ever had’ and you go, ‘The heir to the throne was caught shagging someone else. He got divorced, she died in a car crash,’” Hislop reminded an audience for “slow journalism” magazine Delayed Gratification in Somerset House last night. He added: “Most things that people get hysterical about have happened before.”
Quote of the day
"People were literally running out of stores, charging me with enthusiasm"
Claire Danes on the reaction to her being in TV drama Homeland