As a habitual tuner to Radio Five Live ever since it first hit the airwaves in its current format in March 1994, I tend to treat its regular presenters of the moment like old friends, even as from time to time they come and go on to bigger (or lesser) things as their career fortunes ebb or flow.
Amidst the surfeit of programmes being produced day by day on the subject of Brexit, one of Radio Five Live’s current offerings is Brexitcast – a hybrid combining a review of the latest goings-on and a discussion between professional journalists Laura Kuenssberg, Katya Adler, Adam Fleming and Chris Mason (all of them fluent broadcasters) – which for me ‘works’ because, however well-prepared and/or structured it is, it gives the listener the impression he or she is ‘ear-wigging’ on a private ‘after office hours’ conversation between the four of them, whether oiled or not by a glass of alcohol [and I’m not casting any aspersions].
It may be a sign of the times, but ‘Auntie’ – as per the hip-modern fashion (and partly as a means of streamlining its overheads?) having sought to cross-fertilise between different digital platforms by developing a televised version of Brexitcast that now airs on Thursday evenings after Fiona Bruce’s Question Time on BBC1 – is already getting stick from the public because the programme is so ‘boring’.
It strikes me as ironic that just about the only thing that everyone – not least politicians, pundits, members of the public who get stopped in the street to provide “vox pop” soundbites – agrees upon is that they all want it to stop.
In reality most of them are loving every moment of the Brexit crisis – and instinctively want it to continue – because it increases their self-esteem and sense of importance to think, believe or convince themselves that they are living in momentous times and somehow quite possibly playing a part in creating the future history of the nation.
And, as importantly, that the UK population will one day be eternally grateful to them and at some point happily shell out for their taxpayer-paid pensions, gongs and ‘elevations’ to the House of Lords, where they can live out their days pontificating generally about everything over expenses-paid lunches and sleeping it all off afterwards on those plush red-leather benches.
Now that the annual Conference season has begun, we’ve already had Jeremy Corbyn calling the TUC to arms in readiness for a coming General Election battle in which “the many” will prevail over “the few” … but not just yet because the Labour Party isn’t yet quite ready for the fray, partly because it is still to work out what its detailed stance on Brexit will be.
The Labour Party shadow front bench, which is teetering on campaigning for Remain in a General Election (and/or in a Second Referendum, it isn’t clear which, or whether they mean both) and against any new ‘Leave deal’ that they themselves are seeking an extension of the current 31st October 2019 deadline date in order to negotiate, appears to have a slight problem to navigate.
It is that among the raft of brave new policies announced by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that they plan to introduce should they obtain the keys to Number 10 is a scheme for wholesale re-nationalisations of the likes the national railway system and public utilities.
However, over the weekend, one political commentator pointed out that under EU law – to which the UK will still be subject if Labour’s espousal of Remain wins through – not only are nationalisations verboten, but privatisations are encouraged!
And then we have Jo Swinson, the new leader of the Lib-Dems, who has just had her supporters nod through a new policy whereby – should the Lib-Dems be swept to majority power in the General Election – they will immediately revoke Article 50 and reverse Brexit – or rather, put a stop to it. Because Brexit would have been be a catastrophe for the country.
Er … despite the UK electorate having voted for it in a Referendum.
In fact overnight I notice that the Lib-Dems are going one step further.
Apparently new (‘Establishment’ stereotype) recruit Chuka Umunna – a Blairite fugitive from the Labour Party – is now proposing that, if Brexit should by any disastrous happenchance actually take place, then a Lib-Dem government (or one in which the Lib-Dems were participants) would re-apply for EU membership – see here for a report by Andrew Woodcock and Ashley Cowburn upon his comments as appears today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT
I can hardly wait for the Labour and Tory Party Conferences …