I take issue with your editorial (Labour faces a huge challenge – a few quick decisions won’t change that, 9 May), which states that in 2019, there was “essentially the non-existent Brexit Party” to explain the Hartlepool swing to the Tories. The Brexit Party is alive and kicking and is now the Conservative Party – all the pro-Remain Tories were kicked out or left; the party delivered the hardest Brexit available and it is led by the architect of Brexit, Boris Johnson. Brexit would not have happened without his role, giving credibility to the “swivel eyed loons” of Ukip.
As jobs and investment in European-facing ventures dry up, the NHS finds its EU staff leaving, our fishermen continue to cry into the sea, and the petty patriotism of Little England grows, the Tories will reap what they sow. The Brexit “dividend” has been masked by Covid, but it will soon become all too obvious.
No political home
Yet another politically homeless name, me, to add to the despairing multitude (Politics needs to be reshaped - we can’t go on like this, Letters, 9 May). I join Ann Wolff and Jon Hawksley in their despair. The only reason I can comprehend for where we are is the absolute, purist attitude of the far left. If they are perceived by the electorate as unelectable, then we are left with the decline of society with a right-wing government.
I would bet money on the fact that most people want the same – good services upheld with a strong economy. Surely this is not brain surgery? Many problems are solved with compromise on both sides. Trouble is, this is anathema to the far left (look what happened to the one person who tried, and won a landslide followed by two more victories with our present system). Dare I mention his name, which is vilified and hated by the far left? Until we see a middle road as progress, then we get what we deserve.
Leigh on Sea
A comment by your correspondent Anne Wolff (Letters, Sunday) certainly chimed with me when she said “many of us on the centre left feel politically homeless”, but I don’t believe the answer is some utopian super party to combat the Tories. It is important that the differing and distinct stances and policies of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party remain part of our political debate and this would eventually be lost if these parties were to coalesce. What is required is for these parties to work together to push for a change in our political system by the introduction of true proportional representation.
Our country needs to get over its aversion to coalition government and the two-party system and the Labour Party needs to accept that it is no longer one of the only two parties that can compete for power. The public needs to feel that if, say, 20 per cent of them vote for a particular party, then they can expect 20 per cent representation within parliament. They would then no longer feel that their vote might be wasted unless they make it for a candidate they don’t truly want to support and centre left party fortunes would inevitably increase.
Step forward, Nicola Sturgeon
If the Conservatives are to be defeated any time soon, it’s not just a new Labour leader, or even different Labour policies, that are needed. Like it or not, our system has become more presidential and less parliamentary. To take on Boris Johnson successfully, the opposition needs a new charismatic leader with similar qualities to his.
Step forward, Nicola Sturgeon. No one else can rival her ability to win votes by downright lies and, without the least shame, disavow these immediately after an election. In the last two elections, she has urged voters to back the SNP even if they do not support independence. Once the election is over, she immediately claims that all the votes for the SNP are a mandate to push for independence.
In barefaced hypocrisy and deceit, she is an ideal match for our despicable prime minister.
It is an admission of weakness when Nicola Sturgeon says she is completely focused on dealing with the pandemic yet continually raises the question of a second independence referendum. It reflects the fear that once the pandemic is contained, Scots will find that they have more pressing matters concerning the rebuilding of the country, something that can only be realised in cooperation between all parts of the UK, rather than spending time talking about independence, which is designed to separate them from their sisters and brothers in the rest of the UK, a path that can only lead to economic stagnation and continued social deprivation.
The government is right to insist that now is not the time to talk of a new referendum and if the SNP continues to highlight its plan to force another referendum, it will alienate itself from the population and begin to lose support.
No way to treat Indian immigrants
What undocumented Indians in the UK need is empathy and compassion from the government, not plotting to forcibly remove them from their homes, friends and neighbours.
In a post-Brexit deal, the UK and India have signed what has been touted as a “ground-breaking partnership migration deal”. The Young Professionals Scheme (YMS) allows Indians aged 18-30 to live and work in the UK for up to two years and vice versa. In exchange, the UK expects cooperation from the Indian government in repatriating an estimated 100,000 Indians living in the UK without proper documentation.
This new route is one of the strictest, time-limited visa pathways, prohibiting young Indian professionals from bringing dependents. Further, it offers no possibility of extension, to switch to another route or permanent settlement in the UK. Inevitably, visas will expire and result in some workers remaining in the UK undocumented.
The UK’s hostile environment is inhumane at its core. It has stringent rules deliberately imposed to exploit migrants as expendable resources. Once they have served their purpose they are disregarded by the government. We see this with the Windrush Generation who were brought into Britain to rebuild the country after the Second World War, as well as Commonwealth soldiers discharged from Her Majesty’s Armed Forces who are later unjustly treated.
Life happens – some participants on the YMS programme will fall sick or pregnant, start families or build professional lives and relationships which they won’t want to abandon to return to India after two years. This is the sorry tale of many ambitious non-UK nationals trapped in the UK who are currently left with no immigration status – their mental health and career aspirations ruined by the government.
Given that the government fails to remove the majority of people with precarious immigration status, it is preposterous to create a new route that will only swell the numbers of people who will later be denied their human rights.
The sensible, humane and reasonable thing for the British government would be to create settlement pathways for the undocumented Indians whose home is the UK rather than enticing more young professionals to come to the UK only to later mercilessly discard them.
No hugs from you, sir
Prime Minister to give go ahead for hugging. Keep him away from me!
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