Conferences and Councils: An Update
The last couple of weeks have seen the Conservative Party reach new lows.
First there was Theresa May’s announcement of a ludicrous £120 million ‘festival of Brexit’. As I argue in the Guardian. It is surely no coincidence that this ‘celebration’ coincides with 100 years of Ireland’s partition when the Government is currently beholden to DUP leader Arlene Foster. In my New European piece this week, which can be found here. I argue that if this ‘Festival of Partition’ happens, it will be a funeral not a festival.
It is clear that the Conservatives still do not take the threat that Brexit poses to the Good Friday Agreement seriously. I was in Northern Ireland again on Wednesday to appear on the Nolan Show, where I debated Conservative MP Nigel Mills and Jim Wells of the DUP who could not explain how Brexit could be done without re-imposing a hard border. You can watch the full episode here.
Then there was Jeremy Hunt’s shocking comparison of the EU to the Soviet Union. I am currently meeting European Ambassadors, including the Latvian Ambassador on Thursday who told me how Canadian-led NATO forces are protecting Latvia from Russian aggression. If Hunt was up to the job of Foreign Secretary, he would be warning that today’s president of neo-fascist Russia wants Brexit and the break-up of the EU.
Not to be outdone, Boris Johnson announced a deranged plan to stop HS2, which he told me he strongly supported while Mayor of London, and instead build a bridge to France (there is already a tunnel) and a bridge to Ireland (whose economy & trade he is about to undermine).
To top it off, Andy Wigmore joined the Tories in the next stage of UKIP’s takeover of the Conservative Party.
The momentum for a People’s Vote has continued to grow in the face of this shambles. First I addressed the enormous People’s Vote ‘March for the Many’ at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool alongside TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes, GMB General Secretary Tim Roache, and David Lammy MP. A week later I spoke at a huge People’s Vote huge rally of over 12,000 people in Birmingham by the Conservative Party Conference, which you can see here.
Councils across the UK are continuing to pass motions backing a People’s Vote with Lewisham Council, Stockport Council, Aberdeenshire Council, and Belfast City Council joining the list of councils rejecting Brexit. ‘Let us go forward together’ as Churchill would say.