Following a second crushing defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit deal on 12 March, Newsnight‘s Emily Maitlis wasn’t in the mood to mess around. Presenting the BBC programme from Westminster, Maitlis commented that while viewers may be frustrated, “it doesn’t look any better from here”.
This frustration was apparent in Maitlis’s interview style. But she met her match with Labour’s Barry Gardiner. Because he called out the bullshit she tried to ‘slide in’ to paint his party as incompetent. In fact, Gardiner’s reprimand reduced Maitlis to a tantrum.
No, no, no
The BBC Newsnight presenter’s attack line on Labour was clear: it’s been as bad as the Conservative government in coming up with solutions to Brexit.
Speaking about a ‘failing parliament’, she said:
You, the Labour Party, are just as much a part of that as the government.
Addressing Labour’s supposed inefficiency in more detail, Maitlis also attacked Labour’s alternative plan for Brexit. She asked:
Why is it down to Labour now to say ‘Okay, I admit our deal was pretty much like the PM’s, and that has been rejected, and we have to go further’?… I’m sorry, but we’re waiting for something proper from Labour
Gardiner was having none of it, though. He responded:
No, no, it wasn’t. I’m sorry… Emily, don’t slide those things in because they’re not true.
The shadow secretary for international trade is right. Maitlis’s assertion that Labour’s proposed deal is “pretty much like the PM’s” isn’t true. Because it crosses May’s so-called ‘red lines’ on Brexit. Most crucially, Labour wants a permanent customs union with the EU.
It could work
On BBC Newsnight, Gardiner also pointed out another fundamental difference between his party’s plan and May’s doomed one:
The interesting thing is that the European Union, when we put those things forward, they said ‘This changes the game. This is something that we can work with’.
Going on previous parliamentary maths, the compromise could command a majority.
So it could well succeed in getting through the UK parliament too.
Your democracy, and leaflets, suck
Faced with the total obliteration of her assertions that Labour’s Brexit plan is both crap and similar to the government’s, Maitlis had very little left to attack Labour with. So, she went after its democratic standards and, erm, its ability to design leaflets. She asked Gardiner what Labour would put forward as a “Brexit vision” in its next manifesto. After Gardiner reiterated the plan he’d already spent the last five minutes explaining, Maitlis scoffed:
That’s going to be on the leaflet?
In his response to this ridiculous question, Gardiner then raised the notion that what goes on a manifesto leaflet might be decided democratically. To this, the BBC Newsnight presenter looked to the camera, rolled her eyes, rapped her papers on the desk and started scribbling furiously.
With that little tantrum, she ended the interview with Gardiner. No wonder. She was up shit creek without a paddle by that point.
Featured image via Screengrab – BBC Newsnight
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?