Three years on from the referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU there is still no obvious way forward. It’s therefore unsurprising – even fair – that these European elections will be treated as a comment on what’s happened since that vote, and what should happen next.
Theresa May’s handling of things has been chaotic, even allowing for the troubled circumstances in which she became prime minister. Writing this on Wednesday night, it seems her time has come.
It’s petty, but for the last minutes of Knock Down the House I could only fixate on the psychology of a man who wears shorts as his girlfriend ousts an incumbent politician of some two decades live on national TV.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now a Democratic congresswoman in the US, would justifiably be irked that I mention her man Riley Roberts first as I review a film centred on her surprise win in New York’s 14th congressional district. I can only plead that, given the film’s fixation on appearances, it’s fair.
There has been much debate about the legitimacy of inviting fringe figures – particularly those on the far right, or accused of it – onto mainstream media programmes, with the BBC’s output proving the most contentious in the UK due to its reach and unique status.
Ash Sarkar of Novara Media gave an interesting video overview of the topic following recent BBC interviews with Nigel Farage, most recently of the Brexit Party, and the US conservative pundit Ben Shapiro.
At a debate on democracy earlier this year columnist and former MP Matthew Parris registered an eclectic complaint about the state of our governance. Manifestos, he said, are too bloody long, and increasingly so. It would be better for politicians to give fewer specifics during elections.
The Brexit Party might well have taken this advice if any of their members were at the Institute of Economic Affairs that night. Since launching in January, Nigel Farage’s latest vehicle aims only to fulfil the referendum mandate to withdraw Britain from the EU, and will only produce a manifesto after the European elections.
As long as humans live there will always be an instinct to smother dislikeable ideas. And it’s unsurprisingly that some progressives have been emboldened in that pursuit by the sacking of comedian Danny Baker, after he unwittingly made a joke that could be interpreted as racist about the latest Windsor sprog.
That same Thursday many noticed that Nigel Farage, former Ukip leader and now leader of the Brexit Party, was due to appear on Question Time. Nesrine Malik, a Guardian columnist, put it starkly: “Since sacking Danny Baker only yesterday the BBC has hosted Melanie Phillips, Nigel Farage, and now the actual Ben Shapiro.”