Hello everyone! After a brief hiatus, Between the Lines is back in action following the editorial team’s trip to Glastonbury.
…And subsequent recovery period.
Glastonbury is, by many accounts, the best festival in the world, and this writer is inclined to agree. Having been for the last 9 consecutive years (minus the fallow years), for me the festival at Worthy Farm has been, at various points:
- A joyous celebration of music and arts;
- A politically-charged, almost revolutionary gathering of like-minded people;
- A place of solace and comfort;
- A place to escape reality;
- And a place to remind yourself of how under-rated sleeping indoors is.
This year was something of all five. Within the confines of Pilton, the phone signal is so notoriously bad that the news is almost forgotten, save for those committed to trudging to the Guardian tent to pick up their papers every morning.
As such, I have essentially sealed myself away from the Tory leadership race for a week now, and perhaps the most depressing thing is that upon my return it seems as though absolutely nothing has changed.
While Glastonbury is unashamedly left-wing, with historical alliances with Billy Bragg and the Labour Party (John McDonnell spoke on the Left-Field Stage this year), it is far more progressive and inclusive than simply being a platform for Red Book Communism. While Corbyn may have been the darling of 2017’s festival, his once-progressive views have been tarnished by the antisemitism nightmare and his stock has fallen dramatically – this year, David Attenborough was the Pyramid Stage’s real headliner.
Some consider it to be a hippy-drippy, kum ba yah, weed-smoking paradise for the oddballs and drifters who don’t want to buy into society. And while there are definitely a few of those knocking around, the vast majority of festival-goers there are normal people who just want to escape the drudgery of the world we live in.
Which is probably why everyone joined in with Stormzy’s lyric, ‘F*ck the government and f*ck Boris’ with such gusto.
But now that the tents have come down (99.3% were taken home this year, despite what The Sun and The Mail will tell you), the glorious sun has retreated behind the clouds and the ciders have worn off, we return to the Tory party leadership race.
My feelings for which can be summed up by the below, which I found next to the Wormhole bar:
Jeremy Hunts Down Boris
Little has seemed to have changed in the week that we’ve been away, aside from a few policy points that have been raised here and there by the two candidates vying for the Premiership.
Hunt has seemingly tried to ease back his aversion to a no-deal Brexit, repeating that he would still go for it “with a heavy heart” should no new deal be forthcoming. While not sounding like he’s particularly enthused by it, repeating his commitment to it is important for winning over the Tory party members who are resolved to leaving on October 31st, come hell or high water.
This comes at the same time as Matt Hancock, an unexpected Boris-backer, being lambasted by some senior Tories for following Boris’ “rubbish,” both contenders being criticised for coming up with ludicrous spending policies and the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, warning that a no-deal Brexit would cost us at least £90bn.
But, ultimately, all of this matters little in the race for become Prime Minister – very few Tory party members will have failed to have decided already, and only a scant few will change their minds. Boris will almost undoubtedly win, and the march towards a no-deal Brexit will begin.
Until Parliament almost certainly blocks it.
More analysis on the leadership race will come tomorrow. When I can face it.
New EU, I Look Just Like Buddy Holly
The first sitting of the newly-elected European Parliament happened earlier this week, and it was just as much of a train-wreck as any Eurosceptics could have hoped for.
During the EU Parliament’s national anthem, Ode To Joy, all of the newly elected Brexit party MEPs turned their backs on the youth orchestra that was playing it. They turned their backs on children.
But the good news is that the Liberal Democrats, a longstanding political institution with gravitas and a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the current political landscape, afforded the situation the respect it deserved by– Oh no wait hang on they came in wearing bright yellow t-shirts with BOLLOCKS TO BREXIT written on them.
Everyone is going insane.
In other news, we learned that on October the 31st we will have new EU head-honchos!
President of the European Commission:
Jean-Claude Juncker => Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Council:
Donald Tusk => Charles Michel
President of the European Central Bank:
Mario Draghi => Christine Lagarde
Which means that two out of three head positions will be filled by women (a good thing). However, Ursula von der Leyen is highly pro-the European project, in favour of an EU army, and an advocate for a “United States of Europe” (a bad thing).
Increased integration into Europe was a major factor behind Brexit. Should Brexit not happen (which is a very real threat) von der Leyen’s plans could be disastrous. Additionally, it will go down exceptionally badly within those nations facing populist threats like Italy, France and Hungary.
This could eventually lead to the dissolution of the EU, which even the most ardent of Leave-voters would argue is a bad thing overall.
Take me back to Glastonbury. Let’s sink a cider in the Bimble Inn and wait ’til this all blows over.
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