Editor's Notes: Pity the Lib Dems – they can barely keep their heads above water, why Germany might want a free-trade agreement with the UK and Boisdale's new Jamaica Garden Terrace

Christian May
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Tim Farron Meets Refugees At A Centre In Gloucester
Farron's Lib Dems are flailing ahead of the General Election (Source: Getty)

Things seemed to be looking up for the Lib Dems. In electoral terms, they appeared to have their mojo back.

With Labour’s policy on Brexit leaving voters somewhat confused, it fell to this tiny party of nine plucky MPs to be the unashamedly pro-Remain, anti-Brexit party. In theory, 48 per cent of the voting population was up for grabs. Alas, this idea has not survived contact with political reality.

An Ipsos Mori poll yesterday revealed that the Lib Dems have crashed to just seven per cent, down from 13 in April. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The party’s pledge to hold a fresh referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal was supposed to serve as life ring for voters aghast at the prospect of leaving the EU.

Read more: Lib Dems unveil plans to reverse corporation and capital gains tax cuts

The problem is, there is no such thing as the 48 per cent any more. Pollster YouGov has revealed that the new division in UK politics is in fact between the 68 per cent who now back Brexit and the 22 per cent who want the referendum result overturned. That whopping 68 per cent comprises of those who always wanted to leave the EU and a new group of “Re-Leavers” who voted Remain but now believe the government must follow through with Brexit.

Technically the nine per cent of “don’t knows” are up for grabs but they’re unlikely to break for Farron & Co. All of this means that the Lib Dem decision to run an election campaign on an anti-Brexit platform is shaping up to be the biggest strategic blunder since the British decided to capture some guns at Balaclava.

It’s not impossible that the Lib Dems could actually lose seats in the election. A couple of wins in the leafier parts of London will be small consolation if their existing MPs are squeezed out by Ukip votes flocking to the Tories and Labour supporters staying at home.

Read more: Tim Farron: Tories will win landslide, but I won't commit to resigning

After all, only Tim Farron himself enjoys a majority greater than 4,000. “Britain is not yet lost” declared Farron at his manifesto launch. While this is certainly true, the same cannot be said for his party.

Why Germany may be eyeing up the UK for an FTA

An intriguing snippet from the director of Euro Intelligence, Wolfgang Munchau, who noted this week that the scientific advisory council of the German finance ministry has urged Angela Merkel to fight for a free-trade agreement with the UK. The council notes the very deep economic ties between the UK and Germany and argues that a sudden Brexit would cause massive economic damage.

Read more: German firms fear Brexit will trigger more instability in the EU

They also point out that the structural depth of the City of London will not be easily recreated elsewhere in Europe. Munchau takes this as evidence that the “German hard line on Brexit is already cracking” and that Merkel’s tough talk is a bluff. Time will tell, I suppose.

Why City folk get exploration

To the Royal College of Surgeons, which played host to a bash thrown by the Scientific Exploration Society. This isn’t usually my scene but my brother is in oil exploration and I thought he’d like it, plus I was told that plenty of expedition members tend to come from a City background. The outgoing chairman, Andrew Mitchell (who seemed to me as if he’d just stepped out of a Flashman novel) assured me that the crossover between exploration and City life is very real: “It’s all about risk, planning and, hopefully, reward. City folk get this.” He made a compelling case. See you up K2...

Boisdale's new Jamaica Garden Terrace

Boisdale chief Ranald Macdonald has announced that Boisdale Canary Wharf will mark 55 years of Jamaican independence with a Jamaica Garden Terrace, to be launched on 3 July.

Read more: Boisdale restaurant chain returns to profit

He tells readers of Boisdale Life mag that he has “an umbilical bond with Jamaica” – which he puts down to the fact that the island is home to more Scottish surnames than anywhere else outside Scotland. However, he reports “with great sadness” that the most popular name is Campbell – the “mortal enemy of the Macdonald Clan.”

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