My cousin, who lives in the same Yorkshire village as us, is running in the London Marathon.
I hasten to add that he is 20 years younger than me and is a decent runner and expects to complete the course in just under 4 hours. He is running to support Pendleside Hospice and we are all working hard to support him and currently he has raised around £7,000. On Saturday morning he held a coffee morning and cake sale in the village which was, as usual, very well supported. and raised just under £1,000. There was a raffle with many prizes. Richard’s mother, my aunt, who is 95, won a 6 month gym membership which she swapped with someone who won a box of chocolates!
Christine and I spent Sunday clearing our small garden of something like 30 pots for plants. Inevitably we found we had won a plant pot!
A PEOPLE’S VOTE
I struggle to grasp what is undemocratic about the concept of a 2nd referendum.
The 2016 referendum was clearly corrupt and what we have seen as the outcome of Brexit bears no comparison to what was promised by either the Leave or Remain groups.
Additionally, the narrowness of the margin between leave and remain was so close that no reliability could be placed on it as a way to take the country forward. Since May has been in charge the mantra has been delivering on the vote of 17,000,000. As one of the 16,000,000 I am left wondering what recognition of my views there should be. Not to mention the 14,000,000 who did not vote and who certainly did not vote “Leave”.
After nearly three of the most chaotic years in my life time the only thing that seems clear is that we have politicians who are the worst group of “leaders” and “opposers” the country has ever had inflicted on it.
In the obvious case of Parliament being unable to agree on anything then the only alternative would seemingly be to take the issue back to the people.
The May response is that the people voted to leave the EU in 2016 and she is supporting the decision of 17.4m people, though she never mentions 30m who did not vote to leave. Given that what people understand are the implications of leaving the EU are much different now than they were in 2016. It is as clear as the nose on anyone’s face that Brexit will deliver harmful and lasting damage to this country. It is a situation which will take decades to recover from. The futures of my children and grandchildren are being seriously jeopardised. My life in many ways will be the least affected by the situation although examples of the effect in a practical sense is that our pension pot has already taken a hit and over recent months there have been shortages of my old man’s medication every time I go to collect my prescription.
Last weekend was a clear example of where country stands. On Saturday the largest protest march ever to take place in Britain took place. Estimates of how many people march varies from 1m to 2m. Having spent many years trying to assess the crowds at Flags Finals I know that you can easily be 100% out.
The march was to support the revocation of Article 50 and to remain in the EU. Effectively for things to stay as they were before Cameron’s disastrous Premiership.
Running alongside the march was a unique petition which has the same objectives. The petition has taken off since the build up to the march.
At the time of writing the signatories were heading toward 6,000,000 which make it by far the biggest petition ever in UK history. How can a government ignore the march and the petition? It is crazy!
Given that Nigel Farage’s much publicised march has attracted hundreds not even thousands of people then the reality is that the numbers in favour of remain are growing and the numbers who support leave is declining.
Although the Government refuses to accept that there are a majority of people who are in favour of remaining in the EU at least we have Donald Tusk on our side who welcomes us as true Europeans. (much more inspiring than being English!)
A recent essay in the Spectator by Dominic Cummings (one of the leaders of the Vote Leave campaign) apparently said that they won the referendum because they lied. Perhaps Leavers don’t care whether they are lied to or not – they just do not like foreigners. Perhaps Democracy is not about the truth but I would personally like to have a referendum where there was truthful information available for the voters.
The only way that we can find out where we are is to have a people’s vote. If everybody is so protective about the role of democracy what can possibly be wrong about a democratic vote. If leavers are so confident about their position then a People’s Vote will surely only reinforce their position.
UK HAS A STRONG AND VIBRANT ECONOMY?
We have a government which has done nothing but Brexit for the last 3 years. To the total neglect of the rest of the economy.
Whichever area of our lives you look at there is never enough money for us to do everything we would like to do.
The NHS is a jewel in the crown but as people live longer and our scientific abilities make us more and more capable of curing the complaints that affect us. I never knew either of my Grand fathers who died in their mid fifties of heart complaints which these days would be dealt with in out patients
The need for care as people live longer will be an unbearable burden on society. In the olden days care of the elderly was a family responsibility, but not anymore.
Education is surely a priority in a society which is striving to create a better world. Altrincham has always (at least in my lifetime) been a town with great schools one wonders whether that idea is fading a bit. I have two grandsons in independent schools, granddaughter in a good sate school and another granddaughter who is in a good state primary school but who has the character to thrive anywhere. As an informed observer my view would be that if you can afford it pay for it. there is no comparison between state and independent schools, perhaps unfortunately. The range of curriculum on offer in an independent school is much broader and the quality of the teaching higher (probably because the pupils are generally more receptive).
Wherever you look, transport, policing, defence, law, welfare, local authorities there is a chronic lack of funding.
Whenever a “government “spokesman is questioned the response will be the same – “We are putting more money into NHS/Education/transport/ defence/care than ever before. End of conversation; when surely the riposte ought to be yes but is it enough? People are living longer and the ability to treat them is rising. There are more children in schools and the costs of educating them are rising. More and more state schools are asking parents for contributions/donations.
Whenever Philip Hammond decides to pontificate there is the usual questionable narrative;
• We have a vibrant economy and the highest levels of employment in history.
• What he does not say is that the economy is far from vibrant. Before the referendum the UK had the 5th largest economy in the world. After the referendum we quickly slipped to 7th and the latest figures that I have seen have us at 9th.
• The employment claims would seem to fly in the face of all the evidence with the high street collapsing in front of our eyes; the car industry in terminal decline and the financial sector moving operations out of the UK as fast as they can. What jobs have been created would seem to be low quality, and insecure.
• We are short of funding but are ploughing on with excessively expensive vanity projects. Hs2 is the obvious one where huge sums of money are being spent to enhance the dominant position of London. One could add Trident and Aircraft Carriers which we don’t have enough planes.
The outlook for the UK economy outside the EU would seem to be bleak and the Chancellor probably like the rest of politicians is prone to lying. Lying seems to be the political norm whichever party is talking.
Perhaps dishonest politicians are just what we deserve.
SHOULD MPS REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THEIR CONSTITIUENTS
The constituency which voted most strongly for remaining in the EU was Vauxhall in south London Their MP is Kate Hoey, a Labour MP who is strongly in favour of Brexit. I understand that Hoey does not intend to stand in the next election so she probably is not at all interested in what her constituents think.
However, there are a significant number of constituencies where the views of the MP do not mirror those of their constituents.
In normal times I was perfectly comfortable to elect an MP who was then free to take what he felt were the right decisions to reflect the interests of his voters. If on the whole I don’t like what has been done I only have to wait 5 years vote against my MP.
However, we are not living in normal times. Brexit is certainly the biggest constitutional crisis since the Second WW. Whatever the eventual outcome reversing the process will take years and in that time we will remain a bitterly divided country with increasing poverty and lack of opportunities for our young people. In these circumstances the idea that MPs can fundamentally differ in their views from their electors on the most important of our times is difficult to see as practical. The personal chemistry will have been destroyed.
Altrincham and Sale West is one of those constituencies which are on the horns of a dilemma. Graham Brady has for some years been a hardworking and respected MP and certainly has worked hard for Lacrosse and for TSC. However on the matter of the EU he is fundamentally at difference from his constituency.
The issue of Brexit is so important that it should in my view take precedence over other matters. Perhaps voters should consider how Graham’s position reflects on his judgement. Given that the Leave case in the referendum was illegal and based on lies and inaccuracies (the view of the people who campaigned for leave) and still Graham positioned himself closer to the ERG than to the Altrincham voters. If he read the information then perhaps he did not fully understand it which would make his suitability to represent the remain voting Altrincham very questionable.
In the last local elections the Tories lost control and there were even a couple of Green councillors elected. Perhaps there is a window of opportunity for the Lib Dems and the Greens in Altrincham and Sale.