Captain SKA via YouTube
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Theresa May is a “liar, liar” in this election’s hit song

“Ohh, you can’t trust her, no no no no . . .”

It’s a catchy song that will stay in your head for a while . . . maybe even for the week that’s left before the election. “Liar Liar GE2017”, a remix of a reggae song by the YouTuber Captain SKA, has all the elements of a good summer hit: nice tune, a funny video clip . . . and strong anti-austerity lyrics destroying Theresa May:

The video opens on a reggae intro while the following message reads on screen: “3.7 million children currently live in poverty in the UK/By 2020 this number is predicted to rise by a further 1 million.” It is mirrored by a clip of May declaring: “We [the Tories] have a mission to make Britain a country that works not for the privileged and not for the few, but for every one of our citizens. Together, we the Conservative Party can build a better Britain.”

And then the chorus hits:

She’s a liar, liar
Ohh, you can’t trust her, no no no no
She’s a liar, liar
Ohh, you can’t trust her, no no no no . . .

Catchy, innit?

Featuring disturbing shots of May sniggering at PMQs and Boris Johnson riding a bike, shocking facts about life under the Tories (“Nurses going hungry, schools in decline”) and more of the PM’s U-turns (“I won’t call a snap election”), “Liar Liar” is surely the song everyone needed for June 2017.

It’s also the song that the country’s less privileged need: according to Captain SKA’s YouTube, “all proceeds from downloads of the track between 26 May and 8 June 2017 will be split between food banks around the UK and the People's Assembly Against Austerity”. And it’s already topping the Amazon charts. Fighting austerity, one music download at a time.

There's even a People’s Assembly protest in front of the BBC headquarters this Friday to ask the broadcaster to play the song on air. But if you can’t be bothered to prep a sign (who listens to the radio anyway?), you could still follow the song’s call to arms (in the clip, an image of a ballot box carries the subtitle “People rising up is the only plan!”) and vote on 8 June. Presumably, you know, not for the liar liar.

I'm a mole, innit.

Getty Images.
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Theresa May missed an easy opportunity on EU citizens' rights

If the UK had made a big, open and generous offer, the diplomatic picture would be very different.

It's been seven hours and 365 days...and nothing compares to EU, at least as far as negotiations go.

First David Davis abandoned "the row of the summer" by agreeing to the EU's preferred negotiating timetable. Has Theresa May done the same in guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living here indefinitely?

Well, sort of. Although the PM has said that there have to be reciprocal arrangements for British citizens abroad, the difficulty is that because we don't have ID cards and most of our public services are paid for not out of an insurance system but out of general taxation, the issues around guaranteeing access to health, education, social security and residence are easier.

Our ability to enforce a "cut-off date" for new migrants from the European Union is also illusory, unless the government thinks it has the support in parliament and the logistical ability to roll out an ID card system by March 2019. (It doesn't.)

If you want to understand how badly the PM has managed Britain's Brexit negotiations, then the rights of the three million EU nationals living in Britain is the best place to start. The overwhelming support in the country at large for guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens, coupled with the deep unease among Conservative MPs about not doing so, meant that it was never a plausible bargaining chip. (That's before you remember that the bulk of the British diaspora in Europe lives in countries with small numbers of EU citizens living in the UK. You can't secure a good deal from Spain by upsetting the Polish government.) It just made three million people, their friends and their families nervous for a year and irritated our European partners, that's all.

If the United Kingdom had made a big, open and generous offer on citizens' rights a year ago, as Vote Leave recommended in the referendum, the diplomatic picture would be very different. (It would be better still if, again, as Vote Leave argued, we hadn't triggered Article 50, an exit mechanism designed to punish an emergent dictatorship that puts all the leverage on the EU27's side.)

As it happens, May's unforced errors in negotiations, the worsening economic picture and the tricky balancing act in the House of Commons means that Remainers can hope both for a softer exit and that they might yet convince voters that nothing compares to EU after all. (That a YouGov poll shows the number of people willing to accept EU rules in order to keep the economy going stretching to 58 per cent will only further embolden the soft Brexiteers.)

For Brexiteers, that means that if Brexit doesn't go well, they have a readymade scapegoat in the government. It means Remainers can credibly hope for a soft Brexit – or no Brexit at all. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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