PURDAH LIKE IT’S 1999 : An Announcement

Hello BTLers.

It’s been a little while, I know. Since last we spoke, the election train has chucked a load of coal in the engine, released the brakes, and is now slowly starting to chug out of the station.

We’ve seen the opening salvos of what seems destined to be a vicious few weeks, with blame-games and insults being thrown around with the nillest of willies.

We also have some intrigue in a report that Number 10 is trying to suppress about Russian interference in the referendum, a new speaker, the concept of tactical voting and Nigel Farage stepping in to cock up the one thing he’s been so desperate to deliver for about forty years.

But, dear reader, I have some news. While I am going to do my best to keep Between the Lines going over the next few weeks, I’m not going to be able to cover the election as much as I would like.

This is because I am now working for the Liberal Democrats.


WHODDA THUNK

Yes, I know. I lambast and belittle Johnson and Corbyn as frequently as a trip to the urinals after your sixth pint. I furiously wrote about how appallingly Johnson had acted in trying to bypass Parliament, and I lambast the way that Corbyn wants to take us back economically, politically, and socially to the 1970s.

It’s almost I’m some sort of chap who likes Democracy, and Liberal policies.

I’ve been a Lib Dem supporter for years now, ever since the coalition government. This is ironic, considering that the reason why the Lib Dems found themselves in the political wasteland until only recently was due to their going back on their word during that period.

But the Liberal Democrats drove what I liked about that government. 5p plastic bag charge? Lib Dem policy. State pension triple lock, ensuring pensions were protected? Lib Dem policy. Same-sex marriage?

Yep, you guessed it. Lib Dem policy.

Also, the B-word. I have always tried to write impartially about Brexit, and I will never, ever, say that those who voted to Leave should be told that they got it wrong. They didn’t, but I do believe that the lies, overspending and suspicious activity of the Vote Leave campaign should also really be talked about more.

But Brexit, at its core, is a hugely damaging decision. Not just financially (and it will be a major financial faceplant), but diplomatically – we have a seat at an entity big and strong enough to compete against the US and China in terms of trade.

To throw that away to pursue the vision of historical, empirical glory is utterly bonkers, to me.

I will be honest – the Lib Dem position on Revoking Article 50 without a referendum is something that I have my doubts about. But I do understand why that’s their policy – they are now, legitimately, the only party that is openly campaigning to Remain, rather than Labour’s renegotiated deal followed by a referendum.

Ending Brexit by revocation is also the only way that we make this Brexit mess go away immediately. If we pass a Johnson deal, or leave with no-deal, the negotiations for the future trading relationship will go on for literally years.


LIB DEM SPIRITS UP

It made perfect sense for me to support for the party that espouses these values, and I somehow managed to snag myself a job writing for them. It’s literally my dream job, and I feel incredibly lucky.

I’ve been told about some of the stuff coming in the Lib Dem manifesto, and it sounds brilliant. So many of the issues that I care about are at its core, and I think it should be well-received by the wider public.

I have adored creating Between the Lines, and I’m so lucky in that I’ve been able to express my deep interest in and burning fury at our national political meltdown through writing for you all.

But there’s been one itch it hasn’t quite scratched.

I want to help make society better. I know, I know, some of the kinder of you right now are saying “Oh, glorious BTL editor” (and if you’re not you should be), “you are already making society better by explaining things to us.” Which I sincerely hope is true, and why I will make every endeavour to keep Between the Lines going as much as possible.

But I really do believe in the Lib Dems, their vision for a progressive, fairer and forward-thinking Britain and I really want to help them get the best election result they’ve ever had. I’m going to be throwing myself into it headfirst, and we’ll see what happens.

I’m quietly confident that this could be a pretty big year.


PURDAH ON

Now, back to BTL. It’s not just the fact that I’m about to be helping to fight an election campaign that is probably going to be absolutely mental, but I also have to be careful with what I write, too. Purdah is an understanding that’s put in place during election periods, which basically accounts for balance and fairness.

While I have next to no doubt that anything I write on here wouldn’t be picked up on (or even deemed relevant), I would also kill myself if I made a Bozzle Konks dick-joke that meant I couldn’t work in politics anymore.

It would be objectively hilarious, for sure. But ya boi gots ta eat.

So while I will try to write a few blog posts here and there, they’re going to have to be a bit more impartial and a bit more factual. I’ll still try and throw in a dick-joke here and there for good measure, but it’s not going to be quite the same.

And after the election I have every intention on getting Between the Lines back up and running again – consider this a hiatus, rather than an end.


Before I Go…

I’m not going to tell you to vote Liberal Democrat.

…Though you should.

But it is of the utmost importance that you vote. Don’t you dare come back to Between the Lines on December 13th without exercising your political privilege, or I will come to your house and drive a shopping trolley through your front door while screaming “SUFFRAGE” at you.

But one other thing, too – the next few weeks are going to be tough. The language will be spiteful, the anger palpable, the debate dire.

But don’t lose hope.

I really do get the impression that we are, slowly, moving away from the Johnsons, Trumps and Bolsonaros in the West. We’ve seen what happens when we give populists a platform, and it’s about as pretty as a dog turd on a bit of plastic stuck around a dead turtle’s head.

Common sense is coming back, even if it’s at a snail’s pace. But in the meantime, listen to the arguments presented to you, think about them, challenge them, and support them if they resonate with you. Don’t let anyone tell you how to vote, whether it be your parents, your partner, or someone you follow on Twitter.

Democracy works when we vote for what we believe is best for our country. We cannot know this unless we’re give as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the latter, but we can damn well make sure we strive to do the former.

Good luck, everyone. I’ll see you when I see you.

Matt x

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