Ian Payne is Leading Britain's Conversation.
4 March 2017, 20:54
The Liberal Democrats are camping.
To be clear, they are camping indoors, not camping it up, although the two are not mutually exclusive.
Lib Dems have ordered 90 blow-up beds so that their peers can stay overnight in Parliament to tweak Theresa May on the nose.
They plan a pyjama party stand-off with MPs on the Brexit Bill, with which Mrs M wants to fire the starting gun on leaving the EU in the next few weeks.
On Wednesday night, peers voted to amend the Bill to force the government to guarantee the post-Brexit rights of 3.3million EU citizens living in the UK, which seems like the right thing to do.
The problem is that the PM wants to use those people as bargaining chips to discuss the rights of 1.2million Britons living in other member states.
That is the position we find ourselves in: four and a half million people don't know whether they will be allowed to stay in the country they now call home. That is a pretty dark bright new dawn.
Government ministers are itching to overturn the Lords vote when the legislation goes back to the Commons this month.
It will then "ping pong" between houses as the Lords will want to insert another amendment which the government will also fight.
It could ping back to the Lords at any moment, hence the ruddy faces on the Lib Dem benches as they strain to put enough puff in a Li-lo to catch a few winks before they are needed to stymie The Will Of The People.
That second opposition amendment would require Parliament to be given a ‘meaningful’ vote on Britain’s final withdrawal.
Who could argue against that? That's what the leavers wanted wasn't it - a return of complete power to our elected representatives?
Was not the whole referendum on asserting the primacy of the British parliament? Or did the leavers only want our parliament to have its say when they agree with it?
What a weird place we are in right now. Our MPs are fighting for the right to have no say on the future direction of the country.
This is because the government seems to believe that last summer the people weighed up the issues, considered the implications, understood the byzantine complications of the economic and social consequences and have wisely spoken.
What is alarming is that millions of pounds of advertising were used to directly target voters on social media, paid for by the super-rich that, for whatever reason, wanted us to leave the EU, and it worked very well
What we have now is a country run not by the political elite but a much wealthier, shadowy business elite, as in America.
They have very cleverly packaged both Trump and Brexit as a return of power to the little people, when quite obviously the opposite is true.
And "truth" has been the casualty on both sides of the pond - the most obvious example here was the "£350m extra to the NHS per week" bus advert.
Buses have not lied quite so much since they advertised how comfortable and convenient they are compared to cars.
Then there were the lies about all of Eastern Europe flooding into the country and the EU being a completely unelected dictatorship, which was so successful a lie that people still think that today.
What's most worrying is not that the people heard the arguments from both sides, thought about the issues and voted accordingly, it's that the people only heard carefully directed messages that showed up in their Facebook feeds and directed at them on Twitter and on phoney news sites, which were designed around their interests and internet histories by clever algorithms and direct marketing techniques, placed there by millionaires, using the latest technologies and propaganda tools.
Meanwhile, the Remainers were still trying to reach people the old fashioned way by reasoned argument and pushing leaflets through people's doors like they were fighting a campaign in 1975.
Coincidentally, that was the last year that anyone slept on a Li-lo.