Thursday, February 02, 2017

small voices in the political darkness…

So ‘Brexit Secretary’ David Davis will apparently present a White Paper later today setting out how the UK proposes to leave the EU.
I have to say that I found this week’s debate on Article 50 hugely disappointing. Yes, there were some impassioned contributions from the likes of Ken Clarke, Caroline Lucas, Heidi Alexander and a host of SNP MPs… but, with the Labour Party imposing a three-line whip in support of the government’s bill, it was all going to grind to an inevitable conclusion (our own South Bristol MP, Karin Smyth, voted in favour).
I continue to feel massively depressed and powerless to change things (despite the successes of the recent ‘people power’ demonstrations against Trump).

PollyToynbee had written a wonderfully passionate article about the Labour Opposition’s duty to the country in Tuesday’s Guardian (I don’t always agree with her views, but thought she was spot on here). Her pleas were largely ignored and the vote was passed by a huge majority.
For me, Green Party Co-Leader, Caroline Lucas, summed up the depressing situation precisely: Watching so many Labour MPs troop through the yes lobby with the Tories was truly disheartening. The Conservatives are set to benefit hugely from rushing through this vote with as little dissent as possible and it’s given them far more opportunity to morph a narrow referendum result in favour of leaving the EU into an overwhelming mandate to depart from the world’s biggest trading zone, wrecking our social and environmental protections along the way. It’s now down to MPs to work across party lines to amend this Bill and attempt to avoid the very real dangers of Britain falling off the Brexit cliff edge. As the co-leader of a party that stands for environmental, social and economic justice, I could not support a government offering no assurances to EU nationals living in Britain, threatening the funding of our public services, and planning to end of membership of the single market and customs union. In the coming weeks I’ll be standing up to this Government’s extreme Brexit plans at every stage – and doing all I can to protect our hard won environment and social protections”.part from the world’s biggest trading zone, wrecking our social and environmental protections along the way.part from the world’s biggest trading zone, wrecking our social and environmental protections along the way.

I’m sick and tired of reading about needing to “respect the will of the people”. The referendum result was NOT about giving the Tories the opportunity to impose a series of profoundly right wing measures.
AnnePerkins’s article in today’s Guardian pleads for Labour MPs to “be bold and challenge these Brexit lies”. Absolutely!
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, apparently indicated (on this morning’s “Today” programme on Radio4) that “Labour would come together as a party to shape Brexit”.
Well, about blooming time!!

Sadly, with the Labour Party’s pathetic, chaotic and depressing performance in Opposition over the past 12 months or so, the Labour Party (to my mind) is a spent force. As things stand, the Tories will be in power for the rest of my lifetime. Indeed, one of my friends posted similar thoughts on facebook this morning: “In my lifetime will there ever be a credible political opposition to the Tories?”. I think he may be right.
How utterly, utterly depressing.

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