The magic money tree has returned – but this time it belongs to the Tories

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Sunday 10 November 2019 19:57
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Brexit is being ignored in this election as if it were a done deal. Where is the scrutiny?
Brexit is being ignored in this election as if it were a done deal. Where is the scrutiny?

The election campaigns have begun and already we have been promised apparently vast investment in schools, the NHS and the police among other things. Suddenly, as if by magic and as if there really was a magic money tree, there is enough money to almost return public spending to 2010 levels.

The elephant in the room is Brexit. Brexit is glossed over by the two main parties as if it were this fixed end point with finite parameters which will be “done” in one way or another. Senior politicians are not drawing sufficient attention to the fact that it will not be “done” any time soon. More importantly, Brexit, and its associated societal division, is the single most significant political, social and economic event this country has faced since the last world war. How will these spending promises be met in the face of the widely forecast economic downturn that Brexit will bring?

Brexit is being ignored in this election as if it were a done deal. Where is the scrutiny? How will Brexit make our lives better? What are the downsides? How long will it take?

Surely a proper examination of the consequences of a 2020 Brexit (is there such a thing?) is a vital component of this latest democratic exercise because it affects our future so profoundly.

We are sick of it but we know we cannot ignore it.

David Lowndes
Hampshire

Not so very long ago, Theresa May assured us that there was “no magic money tree”. Clearly there is now a rapidly growing magic forest somewhere out there.

Sue Breadner
Isle of Man

It’s not just young people we need to galvanise for the next election

I wholeheartedly concur with The Independent argument that this upcoming general election should galvanise voters’ turnout and that younger voters have become more interested in current affairs, from climate change to youth disenfranchisement, poverty, health insurance, public infrastructures, tuition fees, home, food, employment and financial security.

But this should also act as an impetus for Muslims to participate in political life despite the strong reasons why they often don’t engage in public affairs – ranging from intimidation to abuse, threats and intrusive scrutiny – as endured recently by (mainly female) MPs in the raging debates on Brexit.

Sadly, the turnout among Muslims eligible to vote has been lower than the wider population. This should change if we really care about civic responsibility, cultural diversity, volunteering and robust contributions to the countries we call home.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
London NW2

What is the point of all the polls?

I have wondered for some time what are the benefits, to the general electorate, of the plethora of polls at election time.

I suppose if one pays the mortgage by writing or talking about politics, or organising polls, then they are important, and results can be used selectively to influence in a particular direction, or as a counter-argument.

It seems a rare event to add such relevant features as the numbers of those questioned, the question asked, and certainly no indication of their statistical significance such as confidence intervals.

How, therefore, do they help me in trying to make a rational decision?

Michael Hale
Stourbridge

Who does impeaching Trump really help?

It’s 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down, thence the unification of Germany; a direct result of East German protesters, coinciding with the collapse of the USSR. In America, years of civilian protests finally convinced the government to withdraw from Vietnam in 1975.

Both these events prove that while some protesters are hugely effective, others are not so lucky and end up in overcrowded jails, or worse.

Every Remembrance Day we are reminded of President Woodrow Wilson’s infamous quote in 1918 that the Great War was “the war to end all wars”. Yet look at the state of the world today.

Armies battle in various parts of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and prolonged protests rage in the main thoroughfares of Hong Kong, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, France, Spain, the UK, Lebanon and Iraq, to name but a few hotspots where citizens take to the streets voicing their anger at decisions made by politicians.

Multichannel television screens are filled with the bad news 24/7, yet governments worldwide make the same mistakes time and again. This week Spanish citizens are voting for the fourth time in four years. Having just endured a dreadful and ineffective election campaign for 40 days and 40 nights in Canada, an annual repeat is difficult to imagine. The mother of all parliaments in the Palace of Westminster in London has turned into a theatre of the absurd for the past three years, where a dismayed audience watches parliamentarians act as verbal contortionists to tie themselves in knots over Brexit.

Yet, there’s every chance that global media will now put these various conflicts onto their back-burners for a while, to fully concentrate on televised impeachment hearings of the Republican US president, live from Washington DC.

Just 20 years ago a similar hearing was held for a Democratic president, who had been in the sights of the Republican speaker since he picked up his gavel following the 1994 midterm elections. The impeachment of President Clinton was foremost for Newt Gingrich and his team back then. It’s a replay today with Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic team determined to humiliate President Trump.

We will be told ad nauseam about the wisdom of the founding fathers, and how the upper chamber has the final say with the Senate trial. Just like what happened in 1999, all the fancy speeches and political theatrics become meaningless without 67 or more senators voting to convict.

Unless there is a monumental and unforeseen occurrence, it is very doubtful a guilty verdict can be rendered. A battered and bruised President Trump will probably claim victory, just months before the election next year. International media mavens know these basic rules, regulations and consequences, but will try and squeeze every last gram of vitriol out of the puerile political proceedings.

Bernie Smith
Canada

Boris Johnson – on the up

Boris Johnson has taken the role of prime minister to new heights. By not accepting that his Brexit deal is bad for Britain, it’s like he’s on another planet.

Roger Hinds
Surrey

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