Why Delia could be the People’s Vote campaign’s most potent advocate

Three weeks on Tuesday, I’ll be preparing my family’s Christmas dinner, as I have done for the last three decades, by following the instructions in my battered and splattered copy of Delia Smith’s Christmas. You know, I bought the updated version a few years back, but it’s the old one I always reach for.

In a dark cupboard, as I write, it’s Delia’s Christmas cake that’s slowly maturing, helped along with the occasional injection of brandy, waiting for me to ice it on Christmas Eve.

We’ve started every New Year for decades with her Filet de Boeuf en Croute. In fact there was one year we didn’t and that was a bloody awful one. We won’t be doing that again.

You get my drift. Generations of cooks have grown up to instinctively trust Delia. Her recipes work and they’ve become engrained in many a family’s rituals.

So when she appears on the political programmes telling us that Brexit is a recipe for chaos and we should have a People’s Vote and choose to stay in, with the same passion as she’s enthused us into buying every cranberry or lime in the country in years gone by, we’re going to listen to her.

Here she was on the Andrew Marr Show this morning:

She doesn’t have the on-message slickness of politicians. She spoke on Marr with a straightforward  passion and sincerity this morning. She wants another vote with a better Remain campaign telling us that we’ve had decades of peace because of the EU so why would we want anything worse than being part of it?

My advice to the People’s Vote campaign is to make sure we see lots of her over the next few weeks.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • nigel hunter 2nd Dec '18 - 12:26pm

    ‘Why does our country want all this?’ Cos the Tory party say so. Their part in this mess should NEVER be forgotten.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Dec '18 - 1:34pm

    This article by Caron would leave a better taste in the mouth if it did not follow on from the previous comments made by the author of these comments , about Tim Martin being so offputting that she cannot drink in a Weatherspoons! I hunger and thirst for balance, but tit for tat and bias are hardly what is needed. This subject has made some of us believe only a different approach,or emigration shall get rid of this feeling!

  • John Marriott 2nd Dec '18 - 1:54pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin
    I hope she won’t mind my saying this; but Caron Lindsay strikes me as someone ( I was going to say ‘a lady’; but she might take offence to my using this title), who wears their heart on their sleeve. And why shouldn’t she? The world needs people, who speak their mind on all sides of the political spectrum. All I ask is that they all acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if they find it disagreeable. While I cannot get excited about some of the views she enunciates, there is no doubting her sincerity. Surely that is a ‘liberal’ view.

    As for Mr ‘Wetherspoon’ Martin, I too find his arguments rather facile at times; but he can certainly run pubs, which means I shall continue occasionally frequent his hostelries around the country.

  • marcstevens 2nd Dec '18 - 1:57pm

    I agree with Caron and am in total support on this. There are some leave supporters or campaigners I can abide but Tim Martin who speaks with such vitriol and venom as he did on QT I cannot. I will not be visiting Weatherspoons again unless there is no other option. Delia would make a fantastic champion for the remain cause and we need speakers with passion like her on a platform.

  • John Marriott 2nd Dec '18 - 2:34pm

    You might struggle to find a ‘Weatherspoons(sic)’ where you live. Now, ‘Wetherspoons’, that’s different! Come on, lighten up a bit! When it comes to taking offence, two can play that game. Do I really want someone to lead a campaign, who apparently insisted that the BBC provide a portaloo in her garden for the cameramen and technicians filming a cookery series in her own kitchen as she didn’t want them to use her own facilities?

  • John Barrett 2nd Dec '18 - 3:00pm

    It’s worth adding that Delia was quite clear that she did not accept the result of the referendum. If you follow that line, or approach to democratic votes, what is the point of another referendum?

    She also added that we need a second vote, to ask the question “In or Out?” and that if we are going to live in peace, unlike the last century with two world wars and the atomic bomb, we need to remain in the EU.

    I suspect that there are not many who support another vote who believe the EU is responsible peace on earth and goodwill to all men (and women) at this time of the year.

    We all want peace in the world, but I don’t think Delia Smith is a leading thinker to inspire a following based on this morning’s interview.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Dec '18 - 3:35pm

    Humour has not been a strong element of this site, or party, no exception apart from David often, John here also, but one does try, I do not frequent the lousy Martin venues, do not drink, cannot abide boozy types of venue, and like Delia, but my comment is meant to allude to how inconsistent one becomes if following the lifestyle as well as politics of a celebrity, I was an admirer of Reagan as an actor, but preferred Bush snr as a president, not sure Bush would have been any good in the terrific movie Reagan was superb in, Kings Row!!!

  • nvelope2003 2nd Dec '18 - 4:17pm

    David Raw: I hope that you were luckier than me when the “travellers” decided to stay near my house. It took the council weeks to remove the huge amounts of rubbish they left after a relatively short stay which involved fires every day, not to mention the insults and filthy language they used when I took my regular evening walk which involved passing their camp and not saying a word to them except to reply politely to their unpleasant comments. To be fair they were very nice to their children.

    Tim Martin sounds like one of those evangelical preachers with 14 mansions and 27 Rolls Royces but his pubs are quite nice and the meals are good value.

  • Jayne mansfield 2nd Dec '18 - 4:47pm

    I doubt it Caron.

    The leavers in my native Rotherham and surrounding former mining areas, are more likely to be making their way to a Wetherspoon’s than watching the Andrew Marr show whilst preparing Warm Roquefort Cheesecake with Pears in Balsamic Vinaigrette for the family lunch.

    Even the dulcet tones of Delia yelling , ,Come on leavers lets be havin’ you, are unlikely to be persuasive given that they have still not recovered from the devastation wreaked on their communities by uncaring politicians.

  • John Marriott 2nd Dec '18 - 4:59pm

    It’s apparently true, David Raw. However, what I was trying to get at was that, despite her possibly obsessively high standards of hygiene, it doesn’t make me dislike Delia any more or any less than I dislike Mr Martin. As my old dad used to say; “It takes all sorts to make a world”.

  • marcstevens 2nd Dec '18 - 5:23pm

    How pedantic over a slight spelling error. Just goes to show some people just love point scoring. And no I will not be lightening up, I don’t blame Delia for not wanting the crew to use her own facilities, I don’t think I would either knowing some people smoke and you get dirt trodden in from outside so agree with her.

  • Mick Taylor 2nd Dec '18 - 6:52pm

    Mr Martin may be good at running pubs, but he’s a lousy politician. Maybe he should stick to running pubs.
    By the way Lorenzo a boycott is a very useful technique to employ when you don’t like the politics and actions of a business owner. If enough people do it, then the bottom line is affected and that makes the owner take notice.
    My wife and I have instituted our own boycott of Wetherspoons. Despite its value for money we think the politics of Brexit is far more important. I urge all readers of LDV to do likewise and encourage their friends and relations to make sure Mr Martin gets the message that a lot of his customers disagree with his views.

  • marcstevens 2nd Dec '18 - 7:21pm

    Mick I will do. It’s better than scoring pedantic points over a misspelling which another poster on here revels in doing. In fact I am never ever going in one of his pubs again. I reckon Delia should start up a chain.

  • On a related note, I’ve been wondering something about Stephen Lloyd. Bear with me here… We all know that, despite being a Remainer, he will vote for the deal because he told his constituents he would vote for whatever deal the government brought back in order to respect the 2016 referendum (John Barrett would no doubt approve). However, it now seems universally accepted that May’s deal will fail in the HoC vote on December 11, and there will need to be a second HoC vote.
    My question is: will Stephen still feel bound to support the deal second time round, or could he argue that he has fulfilled his obligation by voting for it once? Here’s the line: “Well, I did what I promised I would do and voted for the deal. I rebelled against my party and against my better judgement, to honour my pledge to my constituents. But the deal has failed, and the government is now in an utter mess. The situation is unprecedented, and I believe the only way to resolve this now is to put the issue back to the voters in a PeoplesVote, with an option to remain in the EU, and that is how I shall be voting now.” I think this is at least an option he should be considering.

  • John Marriott 2nd Dec '18 - 8:05pm

    Well, ‘marcstevens’, as they say, once a pedant, always a pedant! And there was me trying to bring a little humour to what has developed into a gloom laden interlude in our nation’s history. Failed again!

    Talking of Delia starting up a pub chain, I reckon she might have had something quite strong inside her when she made that famous exhortation at Carrow Road about “let’s be ‘avin’ yer!” I suppose that would more likely be down to the Chairman’s hospitality suite.

    One thing I will say in her support though. Unlike all those remain politicos, who say that they “respect the result of the Referendum”, she was at least prepared to be honest and said that she did not. Talking of ‘pedants’, I suppose you know that Mr Martin named his pub chain after one of his old teachers, or, should I say ‘masters’. Well, if you didn’t, you do now!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 2nd Dec '18 - 8:08pm

    Mick, Marc, I dislike boycotts in or rather against a democracy, BDS I dislike , in the campaign against Israel, as they are democratic internally, all citizens of any race or religion, have a vote, however awful the party in power, and the way to influence their wretched government in my view is through contact with sensible people in politics.

    I for that alone, as a principle , dd support sanctions against South Africa, it was not a democracy, black people had no vote.

    I do not think that any supporter of Brexit is a bad person, even Farage, who is about to leave UKIP because it is now really an extremist grouping rather than a populist one!

  • John Marriott 2nd Dec '18 - 8:08pm

    Oops! ‘there was ME’ – should have been ‘there was I’ as the verb ‘to be’ doesn’t take a direct object. Even pedants get it wrong sometimes.

  • I wouldn’t boycott Wetherspoons because the owner happens to be a vocal Brexit supporter, but the fact he tells such blatant lies and is so utterly shameless about it takes things to a whole different level and very definitely puts me off.

    I thought Delia came across well, and the fact she is known for always checking her recipes and getting them thoroughly tested by others before she puts them in any of her books immediately puts her at odds with the leading Brexiteers. I don’t think her saying that she ‘didn’t accept Brexit’ meant she wanted to ignore democracy, more that she didn’t like it and didn’t think the process is over.

    If I were to complain, it would be the idea that everything was great before the vote. Clearly people were voting against something. I don’t think she was trying to claim that absolutely everything was great, more that we were much better off and were without so many of these self-imposed problems that are dominating the conversation and time in parliament. If we do get to vote on the deal, the debate that goes with is must acknowledge that other changes are necessary, and demonstrate what these might be (e.g. electoral reform) and why they would be more effective at addressing the fundamental problems than Brexit.

  • nvelope2003 3rd Dec '18 - 9:27am

    Boycotting someone’s business because you do not like their views is almost as undemocratic as throwing bricks through their windows. He is entitled to his opinions as we are entitled to ours. In some places his pub is the only one left so it would be a bit hard on those who live there and do not have transport.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Dec '18 - 9:31am

    The Pub Landlord stood against Nigel Farage in a general election for the House of Commons. Farage did not win. There were a few laughs.

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Dec '18 - 9:38am

    Delia wanted “IN or OUT”. She is also famous for her involvement in football.

  • John Barrett 3rd Dec '18 - 12:54pm

    Tony – Just as I am happy to accept the result of the Scottish Independence Referendum, even though I was on the losing side. It has always felt to me that by taking the opposite lines about a second referendum, (after the EU and Scottish one), depending on whether the party approved of the result, was no way to regain the trust of the public. Either we accept referendum results or we ignore them. To face both ways is the worst of all decisions.

    I am sure that many, like me, feel let down by all parties at present, who appear to think that the demise of the other parties at Westminster is more important than anything else at a time when the long term future of the country and the direction it is heading in, is the really important issue.

  • Simon Horner 3rd Dec '18 - 3:57pm

    You should consider very carefully what you have just written, nvelope2003. If “boycotting the business of people whose views you don’t like” is indeed “almost as undemocratic as throwing bricks through their windows” then I have clearly been an anti-democratic revolutionary all my life without realising it!
    When I am buying something, my choice is most likely to be determined by one of the more obvious criteria: quality, price or accessibility. But there are other influences. For example, I avoid shops or restaurants that broadcast loud pop music. And, as someone with strong political opinions, it has always seemed completely normal for me to avoid spending my money (in other words “boycott”) companies that support the Tories. Similarly, I try to ensure that Murdoch enterprises do not profit from my custom. This is no different from the Tory mother of a schoolfriend who refused to shop in the Co-op because they donated indirectly to the Labour Party.
    Since the owner of Wetherspoons has chosen to enter the political arena rather forcibly – expressing views on the EU that are diametrically opposite to mine, I have stopped giving him my business. If this behaviour – choosing not to do something – is illegitimate as you imply, how would you put it right?. Would you have me frog-marched into the Edinburgh airport Wetherspoons the next time I am passing through, and have me force-fed shepherd’s pie until I am able to suppress my metaphorical brick throwing addiction?

  • Peter Watson 3rd Dec '18 - 5:57pm

    @Richard Underhill “The Pub Landlord stood against Nigel Farage in a general election”
    Unfortunately, given that the pub landlord, Al Murray, is yet another (very) posh white man, this just made British political culture look as narrow as ever. 🙁
    I also worried that in a political context the Pub Landlord character could be counter-productive, looking horribly condescending/mocking to people that supporters of the EU should try to win over (reminiscent of Emily Thornberry’s infamous tweet about a household flying an English flag).
    Though at least the Lib Dem candidate beat him!

  • Yeovil Yokel 3rd Dec '18 - 6:20pm

    Agree, Simon Horner – I feel I can exercise more power as a consumer than as a voter.

  • Hi John – I respect your view but to me the Peoples Vote is not just about disliking the result. So much new information has come into the public domain since June 2016. Three things in particular:
    1. we now have the exit deal on the table (which nobody seems to like).
    2. the government itself says Brexit will make us poorer in all circumstances.
    3. the Leave campaign clearly broke the law.
    These are very significant new facts. And the polling shows that people actually want another vote – including many Brexiteers.
    I’m not in favour of another Scottish vote because that would simply be a re-run of the same question as before, and nothing significant has changed since 2014. A new EU vote would have a different question to last time, because things have moved on.

  • John Barrett 3rd Dec '18 - 9:32pm

    Hi Tony, I understand what you are saying, but as this string was originally about Delia’s comments. She was saying that the same In/Out question be asked once again and I think we both agree that that makes little sense.

    If the result had gone the other way, would anyone in the party really be pushing for a second vote? I think not. So I think it is fair to say that it is the first result that people did not like, that is driving the call for a second vote.

    The economic predictions in recent years have been well off the mark, so I doubt anyone knows what is around the corner, apart from the fact that No Deal appears to be setting us all up for a complete economic disaster.

    Both sides lied during the campaign, which is no surprise to anyone who has lived through many General Election campaigns, it is just that leave won. If the result had gone the other way, we would have been heavily criticised for some of the dodgy claims we made, and if my memory serves me well, our party was fined as well.

    One other reason I feel that another vote is not the answer is that no party (including ours) has made it clear what happens after that vote; a) if it the same result as last time, that is close, but in the wrong direction from what the party has supported; or b) very close, but in the right direction by a smaller margin than the last referendum.

    There is little evidence to convince me that there is enough certainty that people would completely change their voting pattern since last time and if parties have not made it clear exactly what they will do after the next result, why should anyone believe another vote will solve the problems that now exist?

    The call for another vote is a simplistic campaign message, and it may succeed, but without clarity as to what all parties will do under the various scenarios which could unfold after the vote, the public will rightly feel badly let down and that the established political parties have stitched them up – again. That is a recipe for much worse to come.

  • John – I don’t actually disagree with much of your analysis. One thing that tends to go unsaid among PV campaigners is that a PV is not a particularly desirable thing. I certainly don’t enjoy having to campaign for it. Some of your criticisms of it are entirely valid. But this whole Brexit situation is so dire that frankly there are no good solutions; the PV is just the best course out of a number of really bad options.
    On Delia: unlike Caron I don’t find her intervention particularly helpful. To me, a PV would need to have three options: May’s Deal, No Deal and Remain, with AV as the system. I wouldn’t support a simple In/Out vote as before – and I don’t think many others would. It certainly isn’t the official line of the PV campaign.
    You say that you are not convinced that people will vote differently. Well maybe you’re right, in which case they’ll vote to leave and at least we will know that people really do want it. As it happens I do think there’s a lot of evidence that people have changed their minds: there’s a poll out just today which shows Remain at 55%. And don’t forget there are 3m new people on the register – young people, who are overwhelmingly Remain, whereas millions of older voters are no longer with us.
    ‘Both sides lied’. Well, hmmmm. We can agree to differ, but I honestly don’t think there is equivalence on this. And the Remain campaign has not been actually found guilty of wrongdoing.
    If a PV happens I would want the Remain campaign to be positive and factual. I totally agree that the current crop of politicians is deeply uninspiring, but I don’t think that’s an argument against a PV. Yes the Remain team would have to raise their game and set out a vision for the future inside EU. Can they do that? I don’t know. Again, I don’t regard any of this as ideal. We’re up a certain creek, and the PV is the paddle.

  • John Barrett 3rd Dec '18 - 11:32pm

    Tony – I forgot to mention that one very major thing has changed since the Scottish Independence referendum.

    It was that all the parties advocating No to Independence were saying during that campaign that only by voting No could Scots be guaranteed to remain in the EU.

    It was not known at the time that this would turn out to be “not the truth” or less generous people would simply say it turned out to be a lie.

    It is not the case that nothing has changed since.

    With a large majority of Scots voting to remain in the EU. How many might have voted for independence, if they had known what the result of the EU referendum would bring.

    I know one former Lib-Dem MSP who has told me that if the choice is between the UK outside Europe, or an Independent Scotland in the EU, they would go for remaining in the EU.

  • But John – we haven’t left the EU yet. That’s what some of us are trying to stop. 🙂
    And if we do, there is no guarantee that an independent Scotland would be allowed to enter the EU. Personally, at 00.00.01 on 30 March I will be campaigning for ‘Brenter.’

  • Jayne Mansfield 4th Dec '18 - 9:25am

    Anyone wishing to refute the claims of Tim Martin made on Question Time can watch the youtube video:-

    Tim Martin on Question Time- taken apart. Scientists for EU.

    And then circulate it on social media to as wide an audience as possible.

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