Tag Archives: nigel farage

I Remain

Remainers are terribly bad losers, so we are told. Repeatedly. 

I confess I hoped that, had the vote been to Remain, we would have seen the last of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson and they would have disappeared from public life. I never once, in even my wildest dreams, thought it would actually happen (those are not actually my wildest dreams but this is a family blog). In fact a tiny piece of me would have been a bit disappointed had Farage packed it in. That is hardly a hallmark of commitment to the cause.

It would not have been an affront to democracy for UKIP to carry on; to carry on campaigning for what they believe in, for a withdrawal from the EU and for controls on immigration. This would not be to ignore the Referendum, it would not be the antithesis of democracy. In fact it would have promoted democracy. Opposition to the majority view, opposition to Government policy is vital to keep the public informed and to keep the policiticans honest (reasonably so). 

As time moved on I would not expect every change made by the EU to have been meekly accepted. I would expect to see and hear Eurosceptics be true to their beliefs and point out the failings of the EU at every opportunity. 

So why do Remainers have to be good little boys and girls? Victorian boys and girls at that, seen but not heard. Repeatedly I see and hear Remainers, who are only expressing reasonable views, being told to shut up. Many seem to be of the view that the Referendum was the definitive and last word on the subject. It very much is not. 

I am not calling for or suggesting a second referendum. The course of action that the referendum set is the course that the country should follow but there is a long road to travel. Despite the headlines, we remain members of the EU. We have not given notice to quit and we have not begun to address the legislation withdrawal requires. Remainers are entitled to have and express a view about the nature of our changed relationship with the EU. Being on the losing side is not a gagging order. Inevitably that view is going to include a repetition of arguments tendered in advance of the referendum. The answer is not “you’ve said that once and lost”. The debate still continues. 

So, I believe access to the single market is vital. I said so prior to the referendum and continue to say so now. Boris Johnson seems to agree with me. Someone with a contrary view is entitled to express that view, but not to try to shut down my view because I was one of the 48% and not the 52%. 

We also need to recognise that the referendum is not law. It is advisory. I stress, it should be followed by the Government. I am afraid it has not locked us into that course of action. This process will take time. There will be many a bump in the road. Circumstances may change, particularly economic factors. 

As a Remainer I will make my case for what should happen. I will continue to make my case for the benefits of the EU. I will do so to persuade others who may have a different view. Where appropriate I will point out the lies that were told to mislead people into voting one way or the other. I will argue for why what is happening is wrong. 

The first step towards unity is not shouting people down, it is listening, engaging and debating. That is the conversation that the nation needs to have. And a conversation has to have more than one voice. 

Long Live the King

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader has convinced me on one thing – UKIP have got it spot on. 

Yes you read that correctly. I am not talking about everything they stand for. Not their stance on Europe or immigration. Not their stance on their other policies, which can perhaps be summarised as being anti-Europe and anti-immigration with everything else being adjuncts to those two complaints. 

They may, however, have got it right that there is a section of society, a section that is more mainstream than ever before, which has grown tired of the “Westminister Bubble”. More particularly there exists a significant proportion of the population which has grown tired of soundbites and perfect suits, tired of lots of blame but no answers and, perhaps most significantly, tired of austerity. 

And so the ordinary membership of the Labour Party has voted for a man that the Parliamentary Labour Party nominated out of some for of largesse, clothed in aspirations of a wider debate. And they elected him by a landslide, a landslide that cannot be accounted for by a few Greens and mischief makers joining to vote for the joke candidate. 

How I wish this was the tremor in a political earthquake. A shift in the way that politics is done so that Ministers are held to account for their actions. A world in which the first words out of any politicians lips are not “well they didn’t do it much better when they were in power.”  A political scene where doing good according to strong principle is more important than just being electable. 

There we have the rub. This is not going to be a change to the way politics work. The Conservative Party are going to be too canny for that. There is little prospect they will allow the swivel eyed loons to elect their leader and shape their party. Sadly that means a conservative (with a deliberately small ‘c’) public may well only be left with one safe, comfortable, familiar party. And that will win them the next election. 

I hope I am wrong. I hope Jeremy and Nigel form an unlikely alliance that awakes political conscience. At the very least, if the Labour Party become a party of protest, the Government may have a less comfortable time of it in the coming months.