Welcome to my day: 22 October 2018 – Xavier Bettel is younger than you thought…

Firstly, I really should acknowledge the hundreds of thousands of people, some of our readers included, who gave up their Saturday to march in support of a People’s Vote. And, for the benefit of the BBC, it’s not a “so-called People’s Vote”. One does wonder if those who lead the BBC have given up on the idea of reporting altogether in favour of simply empowering the commentariat, i.e. the sort of people who have never had any problem in having their voices heard anyway.

But I digress. It was reassuring to see a mass demonstration of public support for a position, and regardless of what side you take on the Brexit debate, engagement by ordinary voters is a healthy part of a participatory democracy. We can only wait to see what effect it has.

After the European Summit in midweek, four of the participants went out for a beer and a chat. At least one British newspaper couldn’t identify Xavier Bettel, the newly re-elected Prime Minister of Luxembourg (he’s the one in the top left-hand corner), but it does look as though they were rather enjoying themselves. Our Government prefers private pizza and plotting nights, but each to their own. I think that the Europeans might be more fun, even so, especially as two of them, Bettel and Belgian Premier, Charles Michel, are Liberals.

The opinion polls appear to be settling towards a narrow Conservative lead, despite the recently published thoughts of Johnny Mercer, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View. He certainly didn’t hold back, and I find myself wondering what his plans are for the next General Election. His majority over Labour is just north of 5,000, so it would be a seat the Conservatives would hope to keep.

And that’s perhaps a sign of how useless Labour are as an Opposition. A Government that is hopelessly divided, with attacks on the leadership never ending and no sense of shared direction on the key issue of the day, is leading in the polls. If an electoral equivalent of Tony Blair was leading Labour, they would have a double-digit lead.

Finally, the experiment of publishing all of the day’s press releases has come to an end after a week. It’s been rather more successful than I had expected, and so I’m going to try to keep it up. It appears to offer our readers a chance to debate subjects that might not generate articles, and as we are a place to talk, why not continue? Thank you for your comments over the past week.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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  • Catherine Jane Crosland 22nd Oct '18 - 8:02am

    Mark, the BBC are right to refer to the “so called People’s Vote”. Actually I think they usually say “second referendum”, or “referendum on the final Brexit deal”. But when they say “so called People’s Vote”, they are just making it clear that “People’s Vote” is the term used by people campaigning for a second referendum.
    The BBC could not possibly say “People’s Vote” without the “so called”. To do so would appear to indicate support for a second referendum.
    Let’s face it, “People’s Vote” is an extremely irritating phrase, suggesting that in some way the 2016 referendum was not a people’s vote. Actually until recently I thought we were being told that the Lib Dems did not wish people to use the term “people’s vote”.
    But whatever you think of the phrase, it would be totally inappropriate for the BBC to use a term that is basically a campaigning slogan.

  • I am not (particularly) against the BBC using “so called”. There will of course be a vote on May’s deal should she get one. It will be in Parliament restricted to some 1500 parliamentarians – including 800+ unelected peers. The convention now is that any constitutional change is subject to a referendum. It should therefore be a “people’s vote” not just a parliamentary one.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 22nd Oct '18 - 10:11am

    If we are offered another referendum it will not be a second vote, it will be the third vote.

  • Yeovil Yokel 22nd Oct '18 - 11:10am

    Thank you for all your work on LDV, Mark, it is appreciated.

  • Peter Hirst 23rd Oct '18 - 1:02pm

    Don’t underestimate the power of over half a million people devoting most of a day to march in protest of something, whoever they are. It is a tremendous achievement and for every one who marched, there must have been another who nearly did. In a way it is the ultimate expression of opinion during peace.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Oct '18 - 11:01pm

    ‘it’s not a “so-called People’s Vote”.’

    Wasn’t there, going back a few months, a Lib Dem directive that its shouldn’t be referred to as a People’s Vote ?

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