Tim, Jeremy, Caroline, Nicola, Leanne,
This an open letter to all the leaders of the main opposition parties.
I’m a Remainer. There. I've said it.
In fact, I'm exhausted.
I’m exhausted trying to fight for what used to be great about this country.
I’m tired of chasing an ever receding goal.
I’m drained watching Remainers turn on each other for petty differences in the same basic liberal values.
The local council elections were a clear signal that the freight train is heading your way unless you do something. Something radical. Something beautiful. Something historical.
You all know as well as we do that the referendum was a farce. As someone said recently: a cat fight inside the Conservative Party, that has now created the hard right monster we call Blukip. A monster that wants to eat this country alive if we let it. And we know what they want it's very clear: hard Brexit, NHS sold, grammar schools, education cuts, food banks, fracking, fox hunting. What's next: bring back hanging?
And they are going to win the general election. You know it and we know it.
They’re going to win and win big time, for one simple reason.
That you five can't unite to beat them.
We, the general public, those not allowed to vote in the referendum, the youth that didn't vote, and the 16 million ignored people that did, can all try tactical voting but that won't be enough, not by a long chalk.
You know it and we know it.
We can all pretend the romantic dream that Lib Dems will pull some sort of miracle out of the bag. I would dearly love that to happen. But the local election results are the warning sign you ignore at your peril. Labour strongholds are, in many cases, no longer strongholds.
Unless you guys co-ordinate and stand-down candidates that will split the opposition vote, we are sunk. You will hand Blukip a resounding victory, and the UK will be plunged into five years of “Mayhem” the likes of which we have not seen in a generation, not to mention decades of damaging and wasteful exiting of the EU. Do the results in Netherlands and France not mean anything to you? The hard right is getting its backside kicked everywhere in Europe except here.
Because you guys can't get your act together.
For the sake of the United Kingdom. Get real. Unite. Help us.
Labour's leaked manifesto has reminded me why I used to vote for them
As someone who has been critical (verbally and in print) of Corbyn’s leadership – or lack thereof – I would have been surprised if there had not been a major leak in the run-up to the election. But the content of the leak stopped me in my tracks.
The media crowing was all about the Labour Party manifesto turning the clock back to the 1970s (so not as far back as the Tories and Ukip, who are going for the 1950s!)
However, for traditional Labour voters like me – someone who has not voted Labour since the Iraq War – this suddenly sounds like why I joined the Labour Party, became a Labour councillor and voted labour in the first place.
By leaking this document people may just have longer to think about it – maybe they will remember that the rich didn’t used to own the country’s resources and you didn’t used to have to spend half your time switching between one rip-off company and another. The leak may remind people that they used to be able to afford to travel by train and rely on the NHS.
With this leak, the centrist could have shot themselves in the foot with Jeremy Corbyn for the second time…
Corbyn’s manifesto is a Marxist shambles
Labour's leaked draft manifesto is not a serious offer to form a responsible post-Brexit government. It is a drunken trolley dash through the aisles of state socialism past, grabbing random shiny objects off the shelves, knocking down the pyramids of bean cans, with no regard for their cost.
The bill for this rag week stunt of a national plan will be presented to HM Bank of Taxpayer, presumably in a brown envelope, hand-delivered by Abbott and Rayner, eyes wide shut, sheepish faced and beating a hasty retreat back to the Marxist bunker once known as Whitehall.
The £500bn-plus ransom demand plopping at our front doors under a McDonnell Treasury will see the economy hijacked by rampant unionism, bound by the red duct tape of bonkers state control and interventionism.
Only the hopelessly naive or a true believer in the failed religion of Marxist-Leninism could vote for such a shambles. Less a suicide note, this travesty is the longest economic sick note in the history of politics.
Staines Upon Thames
Alternative views on the fox-hunting debacle
As a boy in the 1950s my father made me ride to hounds on fat ponies. I saw foxes ripped to pieces for jolly sport and people loving every minute. If you were “lucky”, you had blood smeared over your face by a red-faced, red-coated whipper-in. I found it objectionable, and rebelled.
Nowadays, foxes are more of a nuisance in urban areas than rural. Nevertheless, there are occasions when a particularly persistent fox, or perhaps a denser population than normal can create havoc for rural poultry owners. In these circumstances I do, regrettably, concede that a degree of control is necessary.
My solution is not blanket coverage of the British countryside by packs of hounds followed by self-styled local grandees, weekending investment bankers in odd Edwardian outfits, and sundry sycophantic hangers-on. Instead, rather than limit the number of hounds, as is currently the law, have as many dogs as is efficient to catch an offending fox, plus no more than three people on horseback with rifles who are licenced and trained to kill in the speediest manner the minimum number of foxes necessary to curb a local nuisance.
I would be very interested to know why Theresa May approves of fox hunting. Does she regard it as a glorious past time much lamented? Or does she observe that fox numbers need to be controlled and dispatching by a pack of hounds is preferable to poisoning, snaring or shooting and is therefore possibly the most humane method. It's a difficult topic, what's the best way to die, but unfortunately for foxes, an apposite one.
I'm not sure about her compassion towards animals. I've never seen any evidence of it.
Something else to ponder when deciding how (and if) to vote.
We are a nation of donkeys being led by the blind
We have no strategy or policy that is clearly stated and gives citizens a clear direction on: healthcare; social care; energy; air quality; industry; climate change; flood prevention; The North; Northern Ireland; reducing the prison population and reoffending; education/testing; good and affordable housing; pension provisions; roads, rail, and buses/trams; dealing fairly and compassionately with immigrants/asylum-seekers, etc, etc. It is almost all a mess or so vague and variable as to be useless to anyone planning investment or a career. Consequently the costs are also unknown and no clear targets are stated. Policies and expenditure are announced that override or remove funding from previously announced yet incomplete policies.
We are, however, supposed to trust the unstated policy and costs to us of decisions by a person who has told us that immigration can and will be brought down to very low levels and yet has failed to get within several multiples of the stated targets.
This person is surrounded by cronies who helped bring the national and global financial system to its knees and have failed to do anything other than ask the greater body of citizens to pay for it whilst the perpetrators have pretty much laughed all the way to their property portfolios or offshore banks.
And yet the pollsters tell us we are going to ask this person to do whatever they wish to take us out of the most balanced, moral, and democratic trading bloc that provides us with much of our imports and export markets. In nearly a year they have been unable to tell us where our trade will now be done, on what terms, and at what cost. They have been able to tell us, however, that we will not be saving anything like the amounts they promised and it might turn out to be more expensive than the current arrangement.
What happened to the brave lions? We appear to have become a nation of donkeys led by the blind.