There is much to dislike about the Lib Dems’ stance on Brexit, which is to overturn the vote through another referendum – a very European solution to the problem of voters not doing as their betters expect.
This is one reason not to support the yellows, who have fallen greatly since Nick Clegg led them into coalition in 2010. Another comes with the recent comments from the new leader Vince Cable on race and Brexit.
There’s something a bit stinky about Renew, ‘the UK’s most credible new political party’ according to press release that heralded the party’s launch earlier this week.
It’s not surprising that another new party has emerged. In the febrile atmosphere of Brexit, now is a healthy time for new parties – 50-odd were created last year and more than 20 have emerged this year before we’ve even left February.
What is odd that anybody cares.
Beyond a press conference, a functional website and a vague centrist ethos, it’s unclear what Renew has that many of the other small outfits don’t. From the outside, it is bizarre that a party led by an accountant, a start-up consultant, a comms advisor and a fintech executive with limited experience in politics has gained any traction.
From its website the party has 19 declared candidates. According to the Core interview with principal James Clarke, it is crowdfunded, and has a few larger donors. Given that it is deliberately drawing candidates who have never been in politics before – much as French president Emmanuel Macron did before he was elected – it presumably has few local roots in any of the constituencies it will fight for.
Equally, many of the arguments are remoaner boilerplate. None of the spokespeople can countenance that the EU is an unloved institution in Britain, with all attributing the leave vote to inequality, or anger at the financial crash, or anything but the idea that the British do not want to be governed from Brussels. Nor do they have a convincing argument for why the referendum should be ignored.
What gives? The only reason I can think of is that they have connections in the media that allowed them to wrangle some early coverage. And while it’s possible it could take off, there’s no reason to think it will.
A ‘dog whistle’ is an odd metaphor to use for coded, bigoted messages in politics. Its original aim was to denote something heard by a politicians’ supporters while being silent to everyone else. But for the most part it doesn’t work that way.
When Nick Clegg takes a knee in front of the Queen to receive his knighthood later this year, it will not be obvious what he has achieved in two decades of public office.
To be sure, as leader of the Liberal Democrats he was the first yellow tie in government since the Second World War. But his Commons seat loss at the hands of Corbynite Jared O’Mara – later disgraced for Internet rudeness – capped a year of Liberal destruction, in an election that has all but ensured Brexit by securing Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
At the risk of never being able to eat avocados in this town again, I admit I laughed out loud at a Toby Young gag about getting through five boxes of tissues while watching a Comic Relief film about starving children.
One of the more obscure obscenities in the recent harvest of the Tory journalist’s Twitter feed, the condemnation of it shows the loudest attitude towards loutish humour right now is censorious, the illicit comment being one of many found after Tobes was appointed to the board of the Office for Students. Earlier this morning, he resigned.