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Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:14 am
During recent months I have noticed how much politics in parliament are changing. Division among political groupings is wide spread, while they struggle to get legislation onto the statute books.
Concentration on one topic, has led to divisions between and in parties and the emergence of a Central grouping of MP's who have resigned their party whip to join in with them.
It looks like some of the large parties are in danger of schism and our traditional choices between Socialist, Tory or more liberal parties are becoming blurred or even deceptive. People are defining themselves by single issue politics, instead of the greater good.
I have thought for some time that our 'first past the post' electoral system is broken and some form of proportional representation is needed, the traditional parties have resisted this, as they seen their traditional electorate vanishing in different directions. They seem resistant to change, perhaps walking into disunity and chaos with their eyes firmly shut.
Another argument deployed is that this would mean chaos with the need for coalition governments, citing countries like Italy, where you can have a different government every year or so, despite this actually being untrue.
The Tory/Liberal coalition from 2010 is cited as an example of a government who could not achieve anything, apart from the IDS benefits regime, which has damaged the fabric of our society so much and driven even working families into poverty.
I don't accept that, as much was achieved. Why not have a true, cross party coalition that brings the best from each, into governance and works for the whole of the community?
If we had such a government of national unity, would we have the current chaotic situation? Perhaps it might be difficult, but legislation would have been passed by now, and perhaps a deal with Europe might have been negotiated taking account of the needs of the whole of our country.
Many people are frustrated and no longer trust politicians, which is unfair on those individuals who have not been grabbing the head lines, but work hard for those who elected them.
I pray for peace in reconciliation in politics, both national and international, with a sincere hope that common sense will prevail.
Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:23 pm
Ernest, you might have forgotten we had a referendum that overwhelmingly rejected the idea of changing to PR from our current first-past-the-post system. I first heard of rumblings to change from our voting system when I was still at school. Little did I think people would still be talking about it when I was an OAP. Did you copy your post from our Current Affairs teacher's lesson notes ? LOL
It was nearly fifty years before the 'demand' was taken seriously enough to put it to the people.It was one of the conditions of the Liberal Democrats' joining a coalition government. We only have a referendum when there's a proposition to change the constitution. The one in Northern Ireland on the Border Issue was held in 1973 give or take a year. That was the last time it was called a plebiscite. The one in 1975 organised by Harold Wilson to ratify our Mr Heath's 1973 signing up to The Treaty of Rome 1957 was called a referendum.
I was still at school, and so were you, when I first heard Harold Wilson suggest joining the Common Market. I'd left school by the time he was elected. That makes roughly fifty-five years to my own recollection that the major parties have been divided to some extent or other over Britain's relationship with Europe. Some were glad and some were mad when they wouldn't have us. All the general public knew about what was going on in our parliament was the fifteen minute radio summary ( now about 25 minutes) "Today In Parliament" and "Yesterday In Parliament" just before The Shipping Forecast. Actual recordings were first broadcast around 1978/79 give or take a bit. My memory is deteriorating too. On TV they broadcast the sound with hand-drawn illustrations. The nation was so shocked to hear them, it was another decade before they even considered allowing televising of parliamentary proceedings.
That we know so much about what's going on now is largely thanks - if that's the right word - to the ability of TV and radio companies to tell us. It's the biggest thing since they could. When the cream of the Labour shadow cabinet went off and formed a new political party they still couldn't. This present group of breakaways is chicken feed compared with that. I can understand why people younger than me and/or go to make a cup of tea when the parliament part of the news comes on, or hitherto changed channels at the mention of 'Europe', think there's something new about party divisions.
A commentator the other day said the only part of the constitution that was working was The Queen. I don't agree : so far as I can see, Parliament is working as it should, however much unpleasantness there is. However, my A level Brit Con was many years ago and I'm jolly glad she's there. Imagine what it would be like if in the middle of all this we had to suffer an election to choose a president !
Is the present situation serious ? Yes, but it was bound to happen some time. Will it be the last we hear of it when the present storm has blown over ? Not on your nelly.
Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:54 pm
I tend to agree that the current situation is Parliament working as it should, Joyce. Things that will profoundly affect the development of our country deserve more than a passing glance by out legislators.
What I don't understand is why the vast majority of these legislators were happy to vote through Article 50, which created the countdown for departure that we've been unable to meet. All questions about what would happen with the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland were being answered with 'Oh, that will sort itself out in due course'. Well, it didn't! And the DUP, whose MPs have enabled Theresa May to run a minority government, are unsurprisingly unwilling to back a deal which doesn't give clarity on that.
People have been out demonstrating on the border this weekend, but I haven't seen much attention paid to that so far. Northern Ireland gave a majority vote for Remain, so the DUP are under an obligation to listen to those people as well.
Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 6:43 am
I suspect that Referendums are now viewed as a blunt tool, as the leave one was.
The decision made on two questions leave or stay, left out other choices which could have been included. The misinformation from both sides clearly swayed voters and it is clear that we are reaping the costs of that, now in Parliament and wider in the country.
People are unsettled, divided and often frustrated at what their elected representatives are doing, supposedly in their name. The rise of right wing extremism is worrying, because while they were an undercurrent before the referendum, they took the decision to leave as permission to commit outrages as in the case of the murder of Joe Cox demonstrates.
When the leader of a right wing organisation like Mr Robinson shares a platform to address a Leave demonstration at Parliament with Boris Johnson, what does that tell us about what is now regarded by some as acceptable and "Main Stream".
And those from the EU who live here, many married to native British people are also wondering about their future. One friend from Poland, married to a Police Officer,who happens to fill a vital nursing post in the NHS has met hostility to her being foreign from people she is trying to treat. How does that demonstrate the traditional British tolerance towards others.
Despite her marriage and job, she still has too apply for 'settled status' under the new rules for EU nationals, and is seriously wondering whether she actually wants to do so.
Parliament passed the legislation for the Referendum and as you have said, also voted to pass Article 50. They have to take responsibility for that, because they could have killed this stone dead by rejecting it. They did not.
How many British people with Irish connections are applying for Irish Passports? I understand that is numbered in the thousands. I could if I wanted to, do the same as I had a grand parent from there, but I was born here and my family goes back many generations in London and Buckinghamshire. My identity is British, but I wonder how long it will be before when I may be drawn to feel ashamed to be British.
The way we treat people who come here through the so called 'Hostile Environment" for migrants, demonstrates how we look on those migrants who come for work, for asylum and even British subjects who arrived with
the "Windrush" generation.
Parliament could change all of this, if they really wanted, but seem to be spell bound by the excitement of living in a time of chaos and holding the government to account? whatever that means?
Parliament is working? Yes, I agree. But working for who? In the main, it seems to me to be party political position is ruling the day, with those seeking a middle way, being voted down at every attempt for a consensus.
I despair and can only pray for commonsense from them.
Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:07 am
So, Parliament has narrowly passed a bill to instruct the government, off course
it still has to pass the Lords, so everything is up in the air until that process is complete and off course it needs Royal Assent.
But other moves to engage directly with Labour gives me hope that perhaps at long last the PM is willing to listen, but the tone coming from No 10 sound more like a heavy, pro-Brexit scenario.
Surely, at some stage, commonsense and cross party consensus will provide a way through? I sincerely hope so.
Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:48 am
Compromise talks between the Government and Labour have now been going on for three days. So far nothing positive has emerged. The Government says that they have made sensible proposals, while Labour says that they are not proposing to change anything, just tinkering around the edges of the political declaration.
The Foreign Secretary seems on a high with progress, while Sir Keith Starmer seems less so.
Prayers are need for them to listen carefully to each other and for both sides to be prepared to forgo party political advantage for the greater good of our divided nation.
Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:45 pm
The job the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is paid to do is to present an alternative view. On home turf in peace time he or she is under no obligation to be supportive of Her Majesty's Government : rather the reverse. As a Privy Councillor he or she is present at their meetings with The Queen and may be consulted one to one by the Prime Minister, especially on matters involving foreign countries with whom we are not at war. The latter rarely happens but convention allows for it. He or she is not required to agree with the PM.
What we really need is an offer from the EU that all sides can accept so that we don't end up with a cobbled-together compromise that erupts in trouble in a generation's time. When Parliament opens each year, Her Majesty prays that Almighty God will keep an keep an eye on their deliberations. This is certainly a time for all of us to pray the same.
Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:26 am
Praying for a good resolution of the crisis
Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:45 am
Reality is hitting home.
Talks between the two main parties go on, with some signs of progress, while the PM goes 'cap in hand' to the EU to ask for a further extension til 30 Jun 19..
Meanwhile the President of the EU proffers a helping hand of a one year extension.
Whatever happens, our predictions or hopes of an ordered exit from the EU seem ever more remote or unlikely. If we don't get an extension today, we crash out without a deal either tomorrow or in May.
For a country supposedly possessing excellent diplomatic deals, this seems a failure. We left it to the politicians to negotiate, while the civil servants, who are apparently pro-remain, are allowed to fiddle around the edges.
This failure of political and diplomatic negotiation is a shame and scandal. We have managed to alienate those from the EU living and working here and divided our population along unpleasant lines, which seems set to cause disruption to the whole political and economic progress for months, if not years to come.
I know that others feel this frustration, but hopefully it will be contained and focused on reconciliation, and not on people taking to the streets to vent spite.
Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:31 am
As Parliament resumes along with continuing talks between the two main parties, I am wondering why other large parties are shut out of this process? Surely they have something to contribute?
But the old rumblings in the Tory Party continue, with attempts and plots to oust Mrs May, have they learned nothing in the meantime, that all of this is time wasting and posturing.
My prayers continue for an injection of the Holy Spirit into the conversation and perhaps for a modicum of common sense for all involved. Many MP's want a way forward that allows for a sensible solution to be reached, that will mean compromise from all sides, in the interests of the greater good, words that seem absent from conversations so far.
Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:52 am
Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:32 am
I note that we are not really hearing much from Parliament about ongoing negotiations about the leave document, but there is lots of noise from outside Parliament, particularly from Mr Farage and his Brexit Party formed to take part in the EU elections.
In my view, this is an unwelcome development, because it causes more, not less division among the parties engaged in trying to seek a solution to the whole mess.
It is opportunistic, particularly as he will be unemployed as an MEP at the moment as the European Parliament has been disolved pending the election.
Prayers still needed for the government and opposition parties to come together and agree a compromize solution to move forward and avoid an unfortunate debacle by electing many undesirables to the European Parliament on the basis of divisive and self serving policies.
Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 6:39 am
Looked at this for the first time in a week or so.
How things change in a short period of time. We've had local elections, which seems to demonstrate that people are shouting at politicians with losses of councils and thousands of councilors for both main parties.
In the meantime the EU elections are now definitely taking place (according to the media) and we have submitted our postal votes. The list was huge, with over 30 candidates that we could vote for, but with only one vote and no transfer vote it wasn't a simple choice.
I find that the concentration in the media on the future of the Prime Minister a complete bore. She has said that she will go when the deal passes through parliament, if the members of her party are so keen on it, they just have to vote for that and they will acheive their aim, and launch us into more controversy and disunity.
The distasteful displays of senior tories parading their families in front of the media in some sort of "Beauty" contest is another sign for me of the brokeness of our political system. People vote for an individual not their whole family and putting their families and children into the media spotlight does nothing to protect their personal privacy or personal security whatsoever.
Perhaps I am being a grouch, but I am totally disilluisioned and disatisfied by the activities of those who claim to represent us, but plainly, only represent themselves, their parties (sometimes) and their personal ambition.
Prayers are needed now, more than ever for a united Parliament and a United Country
Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 11:26 am
I agree Ernie.
I think this will be looked back on as one of the saddest and lost times in the UK's political history.
What worries me more now than the outcome of Brexit is what is happening whilst we all have our eyes taken of the ball that is 'everyday life'
I fear for the NHS more than ever and it seems to me that it is being quietly and systematically dismantled alongside other public services like the courts and police and welfare.
The opportunism that is being played out will have a long lasting effect that will go beyond the effects of Brexit in the UK and I can't see ANY political party that is addressing that.
I have never known such a shambles.
Prayers for some light in all of this political darkness.
Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 8:28 am
We live in ‘interesting times’. This craziness has dragged on so long I think people are starting to ignore it - I know I am.
The problem with the EU elections is that there are many remain parties but only really one Brexit party, UKip being a spent force. So the vote will look like a ‘win’ for them. Ho-hum
Posted: Sun May 12, 2019 9:17 pm
I agree Brexit has become something of a hair vest to the Electorate. It has been draped over us for so long it is no longer itching.
When March 29th 2019 came and went without incident people sank back into disillusionment with mainstream politics. If, as looks likely, the Brexit Party attracts a large number of votes on May 23rd then the whole debate will reignite.
To what end? No one appears to know.
Has the thunder gone out of hard-line brexiters, or has the carrying out of the Referendum result become a matter of principle to a greater number?
In the present Internet age opinion polls are not reliable. 'Wait and see' have now become the watchwords to politics Worldwide.
Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 6:28 am
News this morning tells the continuing story of the Saga. Talks between the two main parties have broken down, with each side blaming the other.
Now we are faced with yet another Parliamentary vote, which might or might not pass the legislation, meanwhile the clock is ticking. Jaded commentators say that the risk of a crash out without a deal is now, more likely than ever, and parliament will not have the unity to prevent it.
I have doubts that a new referendum will do anything but make the situation worse than it is. There is time to run one, but no majority in parliament for such an event, and it seems no appetite among voters for one, despite the blandishments of those who support it.
The EU Elections this week are to proceed and more division is predicated by the opposing positions of the parties involvled. I am annoyed at continuing to receive direct mail, addressed to me with that awful man, Nigel Farage grinning inanely from photographs on the covering envelope.
We have registered our postal votes, so any such mailing is completely irrelevant to us. Considering the proximity to the actual vote, I have yet to seen any local hustings, or any people out canvasing. It seems that local parties are content to sit and mail out their circulars using the electoral rolls, but not getting onto doorsteps or street corners, in normal circumstances. Such complacency will probably be kicked into touch when they hit the poll booths.
Prayers are still needed for a unity of common purpose around the country to urge MP's and party leaders to come together in the interests of all, not their own particular positions. I can only hope and pray for this.
Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 11:59 am
Political parties, Ernest, in the form of those who put up posters, distribute leaflets, drive the elderly to the polling station, allow their front room to be used as a depot on election day, and canvass on the doorstep are only members of the voting public who volunteer to do such things. Some may be Party subscribers and volunteers ( some of whom are like church members who only take part in social and fundraising activities ) but many are only those who can be rallied to take part at election time. It's nobody's job, really.
A Party with a sitting MP might be able to afford an agent who organises the volunteers all year round but not every constituency has one.
I too have received nothing from any Party in my area this time. The reason could be not that the candidates are indifferent, but that there is nobody volunteering to join in the fun. European elections have never hitherto attracted more than a third of the electorate to bother turning out, and the irony is there may be more interest than ever this time because people are aware it may affect them. It's no longer ' "that lot in Brussels'' who don't do anything that concerns me'. I'd guess that it's too hard to recruit enough electioneering personnel because of all the goings-on associated with Brexit/Remain hostility. Even if I knew which side to take you wouldn't catch me putting a poster up in my window let alone knocking on doors.
Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 3:14 pm
Praying that Parliament finds a good way forward
Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 6:48 am
Thanks Joyce and Joe.
The PM now appears to be putting in her words "A Bold Series of Votes" based on discussions with Labour across the spectrum of options. While the cross party talks have broken down, she hopes to be able to acheive a consensus among MP's perhaps in a Free Vote scenenario, which might or might not get the vote through.
Mr Corbyn has said that Labour will oppose her proposals, if he uses the Whip on the free vote, than it is unlikely that any new proposals will end up in the bin, like those already in the bin.
I was listening to someone talking on the Radio yesterday, proposing to bring back the vote that nearly passed to remain in a limited Customs Union. Reality check is that Tories are in the main opposed to this, as well as a new vote.
I still believe that a general election will be necessary to resolve the impasse, because the current tribes of MP's patently won't agree anything, and the possibility that the EU will run out of patience by or before the October deadline and force the issue, and we will leave without a deal and have to live with the consequences of that.
In the end, all is speculation and hopes that in the end, Parliament as a body will come together in the interests of the whole country, but that is a very thin possibility, but hope we must and pray even harder.
Posted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:38 am
I hope we won't have another parliamentary general election before it's time for one. There has never been a Party who're all agreed on 'Europe' and there's not likely to be one springing up in the next year that's big enough to govern.
We need the present lot to remember the final line that's in Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne every year.It should be everybody's prayer right now.
Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 6:37 pm
There’s been a development, if one can call it that.
Britain will have a different PM following June 7th.
Question is, will he or she be able to do the thing which May couldn’t ?
What with the Leadership of the main Opposition party determined to force a General election on one side, and an EU Commission equally determined not to budge it’s position on the other, it is not possible to see such a conjuring trick ever being pulled off, (no matter who the wand is handed to).
Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 6:13 am
The result of the EU elections has been a total disaster for the Main Stream parties, with the Liberal Democrats and Green and Brexit Parties gaining hugely.
What this will mean in Parliament is now unclear, but my prayers are that those responsible in Parliament will now get their act together to provide a resolution.
Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 8:37 am
It will only affect our parliament insofar as negotiations to leave on October 31st are concerned. After that it wont make any difference.We can't expect to keep our MEPs after then. Our own MPs are not going to subject us to a general election before the due time as they'll be afraid for their seats until we've forgotten the current shambles.
Posted: Tue May 28, 2019 6:29 am
The leadership circus for the next leader of the Tory Party is underway. So far, 10 individuals have said that they will stand. I have no idea who will win through, but surely if we put the likes of Boris Johnson in power, we are heading for leave without a deal.
You might be correct about a General Election not being in their purview, as Jeremy Hunt (one of the candidates) has pointed out that leaving without a deal would be political suicide for the Tory Party.
Mr Corbyn is still keeping his powder dry on the call for many Labour activists for a confirmatory referendum, as he is intent on a General Election, which could also be electoral disaster for Labour, with the potential to allow the likes of Mr Farage to dictate the terms of a NO DEAL Brexit.
I suspect the only consolation in this whole mess was the position of the remain parties who gained a huge amount of support in the EU elections, although not enough to overcome the leave people alongside Mr Farage, who is gloating over his success, although that might not be repeated in a General Election.
More prayers for moderation and commonsense among all parliamentarians is needed, because that seems to me at the moment, the only way to prevent us leaving, without a deal with all of the consequences that implies.