The campaign begins!
While political candidates begin prowling Britain’s streets, it is also my time to start my campaign to promote Eurovision! I kicked off in regal style with a gig at the Cambridge Literary Festival. I was on stage with David Goodhart, former editor of Prospect magazine, and the two main rivals for the Cambridge constituency, Labour’s Daniel Zeichner (the current incumbent) and the Lib Dem Julian Huppert (whom he beat in 2015). The event was chaired by Stephen Bush of the New Statesman.
David began with an introduction to his book, The Road to Somewhere. It’s a fascinating book – required reading, I think, for anyone seeking to understand the Brexit vote and the rise of populism generally. The two politicians then gave their take on things, and I was asked to comment on how Britain missed the start of both the EU and Eurovision.
Debate ensued… I was, I admit, a bit rusty – you have to be on your toes in such company. But it was a good, robust start to the campaign. For me the most important moment was when I asked both the candidates to clearly and unambiguously promise that their parties would support full continuing rights for EU citizens currently living in the UK, to which they both said yes. I expected that from Julian, but it was good to hear it from Daniel – Labour are trying to get back people who defected to UKIP, and it’s good to see they are not throwing decency to the winds in this pursuit.
It was, of course, a great honour to speak at the Cambridge Union, on a stage once graced by Winston Churchill, the Dalai Lama and Theodore Roosevelt.
My thanks to the organizers, and especially Anna, Heather and Mary, for inviting me and for looking after me so well.