In this week’s diary Rachel Johnson talks being impressed by James O’Brien’s passion and the new TV show which is not safe for couples to watch.
I spent the summer – God that feels like a long time ago – in Somerset. In other words, not in London. Reason I put it like that is because if you’re in ‘the bubble’, nose-deep in Twitter, things seem to be moving in the right direction.
John Curtice – the pollsters’ pollster, the guru, the oracle – now has Remain ahead by 18 points. Those who would like to remain in the EU are at 59% – we’re almost in supermajority territory, with women in front, when it comes to support for a People’s Vote.
Last week, I did my bit, I hope, and helped launch the campaign Women for a People’s Vote. Spots on BBC Breakfast on College Green with Leaver Gisela Stuart, at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) with my New European colleague Caroline Criado Perez, and then Sky, where Adam Boulton, like many broadcasters sees me and thinks Boris. ‘Does your brother want to be PM?’ he asked, after dispensing with the vote stuff. ‘Stop it Adam!’ I said, not for the first time.
The RCN long ago pointed out that health and social care would be harmed by Brexit, and that EU applications to become nurses and midwives have dwindled into dozens. The BMA, the NUS, the TUC, the GMB, even the Premier League, FFS, are on board the bus. There’s even a pro-People’s Vote body called FFS (standing for For Our Future’s Sake) which is quite funny. There are oodles more influentials lashing themselves to the People’s Vote mast – too, too many to list here.
Secretly, I am far more impressed by James O’Brien’s passionate and persistent opposition to a hard Brexit than the resistance offered by Chuka Umunna and Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, because my fury with the Labour party’s leadership on this issue knows no bounds. It’s even more shameful – and lastingly damaging – than the infighting over anti-Semitism.
Best of all is the stunning news out of Mumsnet Towers. Seven out of 10 Mumsnetters want a final vote on the Brexit deal. Women of Britain want in!
‘We should have not been put in this position, it was a ridiculous miscalculation,’ was one of my favourites comments from mumsy respondents. ‘Our future has been sold up the river. I envisaged jobs, travel and opportunity, not having a potato delivered by the army.’
But still, as I said: I spent the summer in Somerset. In the rainy West Country, eating scones and going for long walks to pubs. Outside London, it’s different. I can report that on Exmoor, folk don’t give a tinker’s about the deal and they don’t want to vote again. They don’t care about the fine print. The crash in GDP, investment, fruit and crops rotting in the fields, the £80 billion rise in borrowing, the loss of £2 billion in agricultural subsidy that stops hill farmers from going to the wall, the disappearance of people prepared to wipe bottoms and mop floors – none of it cuts through. It’s as if they’re taking dictation from Jacob Rees-Mogg. They hate Chequers, but all they want is for us to ‘get on with it’ nonetheless. They don’t think the British people should take back control at all.
After this summer, all I can say is: the country is another country now.
Am watching Wanderlust, which stars Toni Collette as a sexually frustrated therapist, which is ironic. Everyone in it is a sad w**ker or actually masturbates. Both husband and wife play away, around three quarters of the way through the first episode, and then in the last ten minutes talk about how they don’t want to have sex with each other but want to shag other people. It’s not telly for date night. It’s not appointment to view either. Nor is it, as my former colleague Peter Hitchens complained, ‘anti-marriage propaganda’. No, after watching only an hour of it in grim silence alongside my husband of 26 years I can tell you that Wanderlust is more ‘urgent appointment to see the couples’ counsellor’. Long marrieds – if you want to stay together do not watch this show with your parents, your children, or your other half. It is not safe for viewing at home.
The way Brexit has split the UK and both main parties asunder begs a question. If Theresa May fails to win a parliamentary vote on the deal, that – as things stand – takes us over the white cliffs of Hard Brexit-on-Sea, might it make more sense to have a general election rather than another vote? Not another Brexit general election, as that was a fiasco. But a straight duel between two main parties, Leave and Remain, which is how the cookie is crumbling anyway, rather than left or right. I know: this thought needs refinement.