Some really shocking news to get going with today: Open Britain have finally remembered that they’re supposed to be a political campaign group, and have taken a stance that has got them criticism from Tories for being too political, which is normally a sign that you’re doing something right. It’s also provided us with further proof, after the Commons votes on Article 50, that ‘Remain Tory MPs’ not called Ken Clarke are a mirage, as all of them will always put the Tory part of that ahead of the Remain when they come under pressure. Anna Soubry, for instance, calling it ‘blatant partisanship…when we must all come together’ shows that she’s swallowed whole the notion that Brexit means abandoning all democratic norms of opposition and scrutiny.
I’ve been critical of Open Britain in the past, and their refusal to do anything that might be slightly controversial (like referring to the Unite For Europe march as the ‘Make Your Voice Heard’ protest) has been incredibly annoying, but maybe they’ll finally get the fire in the belly for a proper fight against Brexit now, even if it is now several months too late.
Today’s big speech came from Keir Starmer, setting out Labour’s line on Brexit, which was that they continue to probably not be in favour of it, but will deliver it anyway as they have to continue pandering to Very Real Concerns. They will commit to letting EU citizens remain in Britain if they get into power, but quite what they’ll have to do with their time isn’t clear as they also remain committed to the Tory policy of crashing the economy by leaving the Single Market and hoping for the best.
Theresa May’s back on her Potemkin campaigning, and this time her standing in front of placard-waving Tory activists, then giving vague platitudes to journalists instead of actual answers happened in Wales. However, there are now reports that at some point since the campaign started she may have had contact with an actual member of the public. It didn’t go well. Oddly though, Graham Mills and his views haven’t been plastered all over the media like Gillian Duffy was in 2010.
Oh, and Tim Farron has clarified that he doesn’t think gay sex is a sin, so can we either draw a line under this, or insist that any MP who claims a religious faith provide us with detailed theological explanations of what they do or do not think is a sin?
Some news from Northern Ireland, where it seems attempts to form anti-Brexit electoral pacts are running into the same problems as they are in the rest of the UK, with differences on other issues coming to the fore. The election there is taking place amidst a huge number of other issues, and any decisions parties make isn’t just in the light of what it might mean in this election but how it plays in the post-Assembly election negotiations and in any potential future Assembly election if those talks break down. I suspect if any deals (beyond the Unionist pact) are possible, it’ll be a limited one between the Alliance and the Greens, in an attempt to try and win the Belfast East seat back from the DUP.
And finally, it’s Election Leaflet Of The Day time again, and yet again I’m wishing I included local elections here as then I could talk about how there’s a independent candidate looking to represent Weymouth on Dorset County Council called Francis Drake. If ever there was a perfect justification for knighting a local politician, his name alone is it. But sadly as he’s not running for Parliament, the leaflet of the day is yet again an uncontested seat as only this from Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge, has been uploaded since yesterday. As with yesterday’s winner, it’s a generally competently designed and written leaflet with no grounds for mockery. Am I going to have to wait until after the local elections are done for the genuinely weird and wonderful election leaflets to start appearing?