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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,357

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Anna Soubry isn't the only one thinking about this

This was also posted by a former top civil servant at the Treasury


My response on Twitter was as follows

Whilst this idea has merits, it would be very very difficult indeed with both main parties being extremely tribalist and selfish at present.

Just look at Corbyn flouncing out of a meeting because he didn't want to breathe the same air as Chuka Umunna this week for an example of this.

And that's before we get onto the whole matter of Ramsey MacDonald and the National Government of the 1930's (still an extremely sore point for Labour) or the Lib Dem's experiences of coalition with the Tories.

My MP is one of those quitting Labour

I live in Penistone & Stocksbridge, so my MP is Angela Smith.

She's been one of the very few Labour MP's who've been any good on the disastrous project to leave the EU. However, she's a staunch Blairite, firmly on the right wing of Labour. She's pro-fracking and has links to the water industry. Angela Smith has been openly critical of Corbyn and Momentum, which has lead to her getting a vote of no confidence from Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP.

I fully sympathise with her decision to quit Labour. That party is a total mess. However, she's already made a gaffe about people with a "funny tinge" which has been seized on by Corbynites. She's also very tribal indeed and is known for being personally vitriolic towards members ofthe UK's established centrist party (the Liberal Democrats) which will no doubt cause her problems further down the line because the new Independent Group needs all the allies it can get.

Interestingly, it seems that her husband is staying in Labour (despite being as right wing and anti-Corbyn / Momentum as she is) and is up for re-election to Sheffield Council in May. That could be very awkward indeed for all concerned as the Liberal Democrats are targeting that ward.

So many mistakes have been made that it's difficult to know where to start

The government refused to tell the public the difficult truths about the process to leave the EU, which allowed the hardline Brexshitter charlatans like Jacob Rees-Mogg to run rings around them and box them into a corner.

Theresa May set hopelessly impractical red lines for the negotiation.

Article 50 was triggered without preparation or due diligence. The Chequers plan may have been a lame duck of a proposal, but it should have been produced before triggering Article 50, not towards the end of the process. This is probably the part that angers me the most about all this, and there is a LOT to be angry about.

A snap election was called, which backfired on the government due to the Conservative election campaign being dreadful. This made the government reliant on the DUP, who make the likes of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage look rational in comparison. The involvement of the DUP is an ongoing obstacle to the Irish border issue being resolved, which is one of the major parts of this that people on this side of the Irish sea really don't grasp.

Britain was a deeply divided naton following the referendum. Instead of seeking to heal the wounds the government has exacerbated the problem by going out of it's way to silence and demonise dissenting "remoaner" voices, and appease the hardliners. Worst of all this is the way that experts and people such as expat groups who could have provided a constructive approach have been sidelined. Feeding the hardliners delusions has ensured that it has become impossible to pass a withdrawal agreement. It has also hugely entrenched the divisions in this country.

A good opposition party holding the government to account would have spurred the government to take a better approach to all this, but Labour under Corbyn have failed to do this for fear of losing the OAP vote in Northern England. Labour's pronouncements on the subject have in fact at times been every bit as tribal and delusional as the sort of rubbish being spouted by Tory hardliners.

In summary, a "least worst" EU withdrawal could have been agreed if the government had done a good job of preparing and taking stock of the facts. But we have the worst government since the days of George III and politicians acting in ways that would result in dismissal in any other profession. Bad politicians putting their own selfish desires above the needs of the country have created a major constitutional crisis, which is also heading towards a major economic and social crisis for this country.

I've moved constituencies recently.....

...and my current and previous MP's are against the deal for diametrically opposed reasons.

My current MP is Labour's Angela Smith, who is one of the more pro EU Labour MP's and opposed triggering Article 50 (quite possibly the best moment of her political career and quite courageous for an MP in a marginal constituency that voted by a large margin to leave the EU) She is a supporter of a referendum on the deal and highly unlikely to support the government.

Before that I was in the North East Derbyshire constituency with a recently elected Conservative MP called Lee Rowley who is an ERG group follower of Jacob Rees Mogg. He is publicly opposed to the deal and has already sent a letter of no confidence in Theresa May to the 1922 committee.

What can we learn from this? Whilst the deal may be the best we can get thanks to Theresa May's red lines, ultimately it doesn't make anyone on either side of the fence happy. What a mess the government has made of all this!

I was disillusioned with Labour under Blair....

....I am now disillusioned with Labour under Corbyn. Albeit for very different reasons. Corbyn might never invade Iraq, but he has lurched from one anti-semitism scandal to another. That would have been unthinkable under any previous Labour leader. Labour and Momentum's clear issues with anti-semitism make it increasingly difficult for Labour to oppose bigotry with much credibility.

Labour has veered from one extreme to another without ever pausing to try and strike a happy medium. A situation that is not helped by the various internal factions, who seem far more interested in fighting each other than fighting for the common good.

Former Labour Candidate: Labour's Growing Intolerance Has Crushed My Belief In The Role I Can Play

Confession time, I knew Oliver Coppard growing up in Sheffield. I didn't much like him back then as I always found him very full of himself. However, his clearly deeply held Jewish faith was always something I admired about him.

Oliver Coppard was Labour's candidate against Nick Clegg in 2015, and some people would consider him the obvious choice to be the Labour candidate in Sheffield Hallam at the next general election to replace the disastrous Jared O'Mara (who was backed heavily by Momentum). However, he is being forced out of Labour for what is actually his best and most redeeming feature!


Iím Jewish. My own grandparents came to this country from Czechoslovakia and Austria; just two of a handful of my motherís family not to end up in Bergen Belsen or Auschwitz. They came here as frightened young people who knew nothing of the country they were joining or the fate of the family they left behind.

Until now I have always believed that the Labour Party is the best defence against the type of hatred that we saw in 1930s Nazi Germany, and the bigotry now growing again in other parts of the world. The Labour Party exists to represent the interests of the many, but that cannot mean silencing or disparaging the voices of the few, and the Jewish community are few. If the UK were made up of just 200 people, only one would be Jewish.

Solidarity with ethnic minority groups is not selective. Support for the Palestinian people is not an alternative to support for the Jewish community, but that is all too often how it is expressed. Let me say it now, sadly but clearly, the Labour Party currently feels like a hostile environment for all too many Jewish people like me. That is not just a stain on our movement but a tragedy for our country. Tolerance is not a spectrum, itís binary, and right now we are on the wrong side of that divide.

As the Party begins its search for a prospective MP in Sheffield Hallam, for now, despite encouragement from local people, the growing intolerance of our movement has crushed my belief that I could play an active role in putting the Labour Party into government and Jeremy Corbyn in Number Ten. I hope Iím wrong. I hope we regain the courage to respect a diverse range of voices, not just the Jewish community, but all those people with whom we disagree, without challenging their right to speak out or the good faith in which they do so. I hope we can rediscover what we used to know; that tolerance and empathy not only make us stronger as a movement but are a fundamental requirement of a transformative, socialist Party of government.

From all that, it's difficult to know who to blame more....

For the totally unrealistic and un-negotiable position the Government finds itself in over the EU negotiations.

Brexshitters like to claim betrayal at the first sign of compromise, but the real betrayal is the failure of their own leaders. Rushing to trigger article 50 without proper preparation was a terrible decision. A decision made because the government is afraid to tell Leave voters uncomfortable truths about what this whole ludicrous charade actually entails.

And that's before we get to the botched general election campaign (David Davis bears some responsibility for pushing for an unnecessary snap election) or the government's consistently unrealistic negotiating position, not helped by a failure by many leavers to acknowledge what a weak negotiating position Britain is in with all this.

The first rule of Brexshitters.......

......is that they never ever take responsibility for their own f**k ups. No matter how obvious it is that they are making a total pigs ear of everything.

The movement to leave the EU can be quite cultish at times, and the attempts by Leave supporters to blame anything and everything but themselves are only getting ever more desperate over time.

That's basically the Republican argument

(note that Republican in this context is very different from what Republican means in US politics)

Personally, I'm not too fussed about such things, and I would pay more attention to the republican cause if they moved from being negative about the institution to discussing what sort of constitution they would want in place of the Monarchy, because we do still need a lot more checks and balances in UK politics and to abolish the Monarchy without addressing this would be a colossal waste.

On both the left and the right, I've never despaired more at British politicians

Excellent article that sums up many of my own feelings about how dreadful British politics is right now.


British politics reminds me of a Land Rover stuck in a field: the wheels are spinning, mud is flying everywhere, but there seems to be no possibility of moving forward. Theresa May somehow manages to be both reckless and cautious Ė which is almost impressive until you remember that she canít even get two dozen of her own party, sitting at the same cabinet table, to agree what the Brexit end-state should be. Instead, the Tory party indulges itself in therapeutic infighting and preparations for the next leadership race. It has learned absolutely nothing from the referendum campaign, which was seen through the psychodrama of Dave vs Boris, a rivalry dating back to their school days. (I suppose itís part of a grand British tradition that the EU referendum was lost on the playing fields of Eton.)

Not that Labour is any more inspirational. Its tactic seems to be, to borrow a phrase from Johnson, to wait for ďthe ball to come loose from the back of the scrumĒ. In other words: hang on for a Corbyn government. But that isnít good enough. There might be four years of this parliament left to run, and all the indications are that the economy will get worse, wages will stay stagnant, homelessness will continue to rise, prisons will remain dangerously overcrowded, the transport network will continue to crumble, the NHS will gasp desperately for more money and we still wonít build enough bloody houses. This is no time to tend to the allotment and wait for your turn to come.

With noble exceptions such as Anna Soubry, most Tory MPs are keeping quiet about the disaster they think is coming because they are afraid of their voters. The bulk of Labourís parliamentary party is keeping quiet about still thinking Jeremy Corbyn is hopeless because they are afraid of their activists. Corbyn himself talks relentlessly about a ďjobs-first BrexitĒ to disguise the fact heís fine with pretty much any kind of Brexit. (He knows that, unlike him, the majority of Labour members, as well as Labour voters, are pro-European.) May pretends that Liam Fox is the best choice for the job of trade secretary, when the truth is that his globe-trotting pointlessness represents nothing more than appeasement. And if Rees-Mogg enters the next Tory leadership race as the favourite, how many of his colleagues in parliament will have the courage to say to the swooning Conservative grassroots: weíve seen him up close and youíre making a big mistake?

Iíve been writing about politics for seven years now, and itís double that since I first became politically active thanks to the disastrous Iraq War. In that time, Iíve never felt so depressed about my country and the quality of the people who want to lead it. Previous governments in my adult lifetime have been variously wrong, and cruel, and misguided, and deluded, and complacent. But I canít remember a time when Britainís problems seemed so large and the politicians confronting them felt so small.

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