There won’t be Coalition of Chaos

… so let’s squash all talk of deals, pacts or any other nefarious practices, and while we’re at it, let’s be very VERY cautious with all these so called ‘tactical voting’ projects too.

I had been a long time supporter of Open Britain, so I was quite pleased when they put my constituency on the list where they’d like to topple the pro-brexit incumbent. Naturally, I logged on to their website to pledge my support. I was rather shocked when, after giving them all my details, I landed on a page urging me to get in touch with my local Labour party. They also followed this up with an email, again telling me I needed to get behind Labour.

Now this is all very galling. Throughout the referendum campaign, the Stronger In stall in Wycombe was amost single handedly run and staffed by local Lib Dems. Not only that, Labour have not, as I write this, even selected a condidate yet! I wrote to Open Britain, but have received no reply. In fairness, Vote2017 have simply stated that they don’t have a view on our constituency yet. But for Open Britain to blatantly favour Labour like this probably expains why the remaining Tories have already deserted them.

Let’s get one thing clear too, we are the only party committed to avoiding hard brexit and putting any final deal before the people. Labour policy in this area is simply an exercise in fence-sitting. The only way the next parliament will contain strong opposition to hard brexit is if it contains the largest possible contingent of Lib Dems.

We must fight to make that happen.

 

Representative Democracy

If I had a pound for every brexiter who had called me ‘undemocratic,’ I could probably take you all out for a slap up meal (I couldn’t, because that would be classed as ‘treating’ and there are laws about that kind of thing, and rightly so). But fear not, friends as they are wrong, of course. I am a democrat with every fibre of my being, and you probably are too.

We all have the great privilege of living in a representative democracy. Every five years (or two, if you are Mrs Twisty Turny May) you have the right to vote for someone to represent you in parliament. Two years ago, my friends and neighbours chose, in their infinte wisdom, hard-line brexiter Steve Baker. That was their democratic right, of course – but he wouldn’t have had quite such an easy canter to the finish if we had a fair voting system, which is a whole other story. But win he did, and as a democrat I respect that.

One year ago, lest anyone forgot, we had an advisory referendum on the subject of our continued membership of the EU. The result of this advisory referendum was the discovery that we are bitterly divided. 51.9% to 48.1% to be precise. Not only that, if you break it down England and Wales came out in favour of leaving, whilst Scotland and Northern Ireland want to stay. You can break it down still further: London wants to stay, Sunderland wants to leave. My own constituency, Wycombe, wants to stay.

So, in a repesentative democracy, what are we to make of this? This advisory referendum raised far more questions than it answers. Well, if you were the Prime Minister who called this referendum, you might take some responsibility steering us though the mess you made, but we all know what happened there. Enter Mrs Twisty Turny May, who you may remember was a remainer, who has a road to Damascus conversion and becomes a hard line brexiter. Forget the 48%, forget Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and Wycombe. They don’t matter now. No compromises, hard brexit all the way – and to hell with the consequences.

Now apparently, we have to ‘suck it up and stop remoaning’ otherwise we are being undemocratic. Sorry, but that isn’t how democracy works. There are a variety of paths we could follow as a nation. Hard brexit is only one response to the result of the advisory referendum. Ruling out Single Market membership is economically illiterate, and ruling out the free movement of European Citizens is inhuman. Threatening to walk away with no deal, as Mrs May has done, is insane. To want what is best for our nation is responsible and right.

Which brings me nicely back to representative democracy. Those of us who don’t believe in hard brexit at any cost have been given an opportunity to elect representatives who will repesent our views. We absolutely must seize that opportunity, it may be the only chance we will get.

And nothing could be more democratic than that.

 

What a difference a week makes

I spent a tiring but invigorating day campaigning yesterday. Canvassing for one of our County Council candidates and then later taking part in a non party pro EU event, I was struck by the level of support we are getting – and where it is coming from.

Wycombe is of course in the heartland of Conservatism. The metaphors about blue rosettes and various farmyard animals are overused, but apply here. But our arch-brexiter Tory MP and his kipper-lite Chairman have succeeded in dividing their own flock.

Steve Baker was a prominent backer of Brexit, Boris and Leadsom. But Wycombe, I am proud to say, is a remain area. Local Tory Chair, Garry Heath, has made jaws drop with an article for Conservative Home suggesting a ‘purge of Tory remainers!’

Moderate Conservative supporters are horrified at how far their party has lurched to the right. Without a doubt, the UKIP tail has wagged to Tory dog. No wonder UKIP seem irrelevant now – they have succeeded in reinventing the Tory party in their own image.

I had been expecting to pick up support from moderate Labour voters scared off by Comrade Corbyn, but in fact I spent most of yesterday making friends with moderate  Conservatives who wanted to know what we believe in.

Mrs May, you are doing a sterling job!