Like many in this affluent South Edinburgh constituency I "should" be a Conservative voter – I’m over 60, well educated, involved in business and reasonably well off. I’m not of course – I’m a member of the Lib Dems as their values are closest to mine and the Conservatives have alienated multitudes of decent people through their appalling decisions in government.
But like many here I actually vote Labour in parliamentary elections. How so, given Labour seems to have been taken over by Marxists? Primarily it’s tactical to keep the SNP candidate out, but we are happy to do so because our local Labour MP, Ian Murray, is such a strong candidate who doesn’t simply follow the party line on all matters and is not a Corbynite. He is seen as his own man, a man of conviction driven by fundamental issues of social justice.
I’m British (of English birth, Northern Irish and Scottish ancestry) and have no desire to see the UK broken up. But the case for Scottish independence is being transformed by the Brexit debacle. Many people like me, in favour of decentralisation of power but reluctant to see a new border created, will be forced towards the SNP once Boris Johnson or some other Brexiteer Tory replaces Theresa May.
I find it incredible that some fraction of the 124,000 members of the Conservative Party could impose this on the UK along with the serious consequences that will follow, which include a no-deal Brexit later this year and a yes vote in a subsequent referendum on Scottish Independence.
The SNP vote will inevitably benefit if we find ourselves with a new, hard-right prime minister. What could mitigate this? Only if the perception of the Labour leadership as Marxists changes; only if Labour support a final say; probably only if Labour move back towards the centre, perhaps contemplating a coalition with the Lib Dems and other centrist parties. There seem to be few signs of any of these things taking place, and therefore the blame for all that follows will be shared by Labour and the Conservatives.
I am lending my vote to the Lib Dems – for now
The Lib Dems may well, as Sir Vince Cable says, overtake Labour and the Tories in the European elections on 23 May.
My own soundings among Remainers, mostly retired people known to me, is that some are breaking a lifetime’s habit in pushing party loyalties aside to cast their votes this time for the Lib Dems.
There are also other Remainers who are toying with voting Lib Dem. What’s holding them back is concern that the Lib Dems will take ownership of all the votes they receive, without acknowledging that many have been lent to them as the best placed pro UK and unequivocally pro-EU party to gain the most MEPs.
So, if Cable wants to gain even more votes, he should come out now and more clearly acknowledge the support he’s receiving from people who would normally vote for other parties. And if the Lib Dems do well, as predicted, he should after the results are declared again show his appreciation for their contribution. In much the same way, for example, as his MP Layla Moran has publicly thanked the Greens for helping to get her elected to parliament and also for increasing Lib Dem representation on her local council.
After all, it can’t be easy for these voters to switch allegiance, even if only temporarily for the good of the country. Who knows – it could become permanent if there is a realignment of British politics.
Don’t underestimate the injustice felt by Brexiteers
If Casper Hughes thinks the greatest existential crisis to this country in living memory has gone unnoticed by those who live here, he is quite wrong. To predict a weak showing by the Brexit Party in a general election because they're only about Brexit, is akin to suggesting that Nelson Mandela and the ANC would come last because they were only about freedom.
Brexit is now about more than Brexit. It is about a government in open defiance of its own people. It is about a party split between Remainers and Brexiteers when the issue has already been decided by referendum and clear instructions issued. It is about state employees grandstanding when they should simply be doing as they are told. It is about insolence, temerity and it is finally about a parliament that is completely and utterly out of control. And yes; we have noticed.
So if Mr Hughes can't find a reason why Farage and co might just cause a political earthquake, I would suggest to him that the fury of 17.5 million people would quite largely suffice.
Tories should take lessons from Labour before letting Johnson on the ballot
In the only race in British politics that actually matters right now – which party of Labour or Conservative will replace their leader first – the Tories have got off to a better start. May is a cadaver walking and those who would have her seat are formally or informally known. Johnson is of course in the running.
Many in the upper links of the Tory food chain hold to the delusion that they still have any control over anything and are considering how they might "play" that one.
Tory MPs considering letting Boris Johnson onto the sheet of candidates for the leadership should think hard about how Corbyn became the system-blocking tumour that cannot be excised from the Labour Party.
Ed Miliband lost the election everyone thought he would win – as I and about two others predicted. Instead of taking time and considering their position, time they had because of that very failure, the Labour Party rushed to secure a new leader. Some Blairites – for fear of seeming undemocratic (oh the irony) even nominated Corbyn.
Double standards on democracy
We are told ad nauseam that the wishes of the 17 million Leavers must be observed because that is democracy.
What is never or only rarely given mention is the 29 million who did not vote to leave – for whom democratic considerations seemingly do not apply.
Over several decades in the post-war era, trade unions acting on behalf of their members in labour disputes would call a strike, ignoring those who did not vote to strike. The Tories were highly critical of this and brought in measures to control those pesky unions – is there not just a whiff of hypocrisy here?
Revoke Article 50
It's about time somebody pointed out that a referendum result is for guidance to parliament and not legally binding.
A party's manifesto is also not legally binding.
If the results of next Thursday's election, or the next parliamentary vote, or a second referendum, are all inconclusive, we must revoke Article 50 and start again.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies