Letters to the leaders of contending parties in the coming General Election
The Prime Minister has called the General Election to get Brexit done, the Liberal Democrats want to get Brexit undone, Labour want us to focus on anything but Brexit, the nationalist parties primarily want their independence done, while the Greens pretend the EU is leading the way on the environment.
To Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage
The latest ‘Deal’ is merely an expensive ticket to the next phase. It is possible to reach an adequate, if not optimum, agreement but if the EU remains obdurate and Parliament backslides or prevaricates the Government must fall again. It is likely you alone are the reason we have a chance of leaving the woeful EU, please don’t be the reason we lose the opportunity. It must be clear to you from the Peterborough by-election that fielding hundreds of candidates against the Conservatives has a high risk of doing exactly that.
My suggestion is that the Brexit Party challenges every Tory candidate where it intends fielding its own candidate to state their position and commitments on the next stage of Brexit negotiations (requiring explicit answers to a few essential questions, including whether they are willing to accept leaving with no deal if necessary). Their answers should be publicly documented and publicised by canvassing, leafleting, local papers, etc. or if they don’t answer, or answer clearly, to publicise that fact. They should also ask whether the Tory candidate will guarantee a bye election if they change their stance. The BP should only stand against a Tory where the responses don’t meet minimum, acceptable criteria.
To Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn
In response to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s (crass or misunderstood) comment about occupants using common sense to escape the Grenfell Tower inferno you said, “Don’t put flammable cladding on people’s homes. That’s common sense.”
Are you aware that the building contractors were able to install that cladding because EU standards take precedence over British Standards? In this case <DIRECTIVE 2010/31/EU > meant the cladding was permitted despite our Building Research Institute proving it was a fire risk and introducing a higher standard <BS4814> – this has been adopted in China but is merely optional here.
It would be preferable to be able to impose our own standards when clear evidence proves they are necessary, especially for people’s safety. That would mean leaving the EU – common sense?
To Liberal Democrat Party leader, Jo Swinson
You have stated that the country now needs a woman Prime Minister – you. This election is about Brexit and other questions of vital importance to our citizens’ futures; addressing the historic imbalance between male and female leaders is not so important at this critical stage, although fair opportunity for all does matter to our future.
In the past 40 years we have had four male and two female Prime Ministers (which is progress). Of the latter, one had the leadership strength to make great changes, even if some were controversial. The other showed only weakness and failure, despite great dedication to her constituency work her ministerial record was poor. Gender does not determine the quality of leadership and should not determine voters’ choice.
To Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon and Plaid Cymru Party leader, Adam Price
Dear Nicola and Adam
Both of you see an opportunity for a secure, independent future for your respective nations outside the United Kingdom but within the European Union, which would look after some of the bigger, global challenges for you. The EU isn’t too keen if it upsets other member states, like Spain, which face separatist splits they are trying, ruthlessly, to resist. The UK is a fully-fledged monetary and fiscal union, for Scotland or Wales to leave this would be far tougher than Brexit. Separation will throw up very considerable problems of unknowable duration with currency, banking and borders amongst other things.
The goal of the EU is to create a proper federal union. It would be far simpler for Scotland and Wales to become federal states within a British union where the Federal Government takes control of security, monetary and some fiscal responsibilities (at least enough to justify inter-regional support); remember that it is unlikely other EU members would eagerly welcome new entrants requiring such support, otherwise Montenegro, Moldova and maybe even Turkey would long ago have joined.
Britain is over-centralised and many of its regions suffer from a lack of control over local issues and the opportunities that would allow them to compete with London. I suggest that a safer and better goal for both your parties would be to push beyond the partial devolution achieved under Blair’s government towards full federal autonomy. At least the UK police and army would not be deployed to prevent it if your countrymen and countrywomen demanded this future.
To Green Party leaders, Jonathan Bartley and Siân Berry
Dear Siân and Jonathan,
The Green Party is very committed to EU membership and yet the Union is less committed to setting and achieving green targets than the UK, despite its fine words. Germany for example is eager for more Russian gas to be imported via a new pipeline (NordStream II) and continues to burn big quantities of lignite, the dirtiest form of coal. Meanwhile Britain has more aggressive, published targets for achieving carbon neutrality than other members and often manages without using any of its diminishing number of coal-fired power stations.
It would be helpful to the electorate if you could explain by what means your party expects to bring the EU up to the standards of our country and turn its rhetoric into action.
To Conservative Party leader, Boris Johnson
You seem to be committed to Brexit but you said “I’d rather die in a ditch” than let us remain in the EU after 31st October—you didn’t, and we did remain. Now our barber won’t trust a word you say (he’s not alone). Perhaps if you’d said “I’d rather put pins in my eyes” he would have understood; it’s an English idiom, not a promise (he’s from Pakistan).
Parliament and the Supreme Court gave you no choice but if you win a majority in this election can you guarantee that we will leave the EU and all its institutions, free from its jurisdiction and to trade how and with whom we choose—or will you dissolve Parliament again if it fails to agree? This will mean repealing the Fixed-Term Parliament Act.
Have you a plan for Brexit if all else fails?