Category Archives: Politics

What now?

There is actually something curiously liberating about having been crushed so utterly in the General Election. I don’t know who first said “It’s not the despair that kills you, it’s the hope”, but it’s very true. The UK I now live in bears so little resemblance to the country I thought I lived in, and that I loved, that I find myself now emotionally numb to the pain it’s going to put itself through — I have finally attained the ability to think of it as Somebody Else’s Problem.

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C. S. Lewis on the 2019 general election

From our old friend C. S. Lewis:

If we are going to be destroyed by a far-right government, let that government when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about politics. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

That’s got to be my strategy. Fury, denial, despair — none of these will help. Simply getting on with life just might.

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How to vote in the forthcoming election

I was at a friend’s house last night, as she said she was surprised I’d not written anything about the forthcoming General Election. When she pointed it out, I was surprised, too — but, really, the whole thing is so utterly wretched that it’s difficult to summon up any enthusiasm for.

But of course it does matter, and more than any election in my lifetime. That’s because, while normally no parliament can bind its successor, Johnson’s Tories will make a permanent break with our biggest and closest trading partner — a break that will be impossible for a subsequent parliament to mend, because it’s dependent on a third party.

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My MP seems to be running ELIZA code from the 1960s

You may remember that eleven days ago I wrote to my MP, Mark Harper:

Whatever your feelings may be about just “getting Brexit done”, you must know that this is no way to do it. I beg you at least to vote to provide Parliament with proper time to analyse the deal documents, to scrutinise an OBR report on the economic implications, and to debate them properly both in the House and in select committees.

Today, in response, I get a letter explaining that what people in the Forest of Dean want is to “get Brexit done”.

But whether that is true or not(*), it bears no relation to the actual subject of my letter, which was about giving a complex bill proper scrutiny. I even explicitly stated that whether or not we want to “get Brexit done” did not bear on my point.

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Dear Mark Harper: scrutinise the deal

Yet another letter to my MP, as the country comes apart around me.


Dear Mark,

Boris Johnson returns from Brussels with a deal that, according to the best economic assessments, will wipe 6.4% off GDP, with particularly painful effects on economically depressed areas like our own Forest of Dean.

For no compelling reason, this is being done in a tearing hurry, such that the deal is not able to undergo the scrutiny that any ordinary piece of policy would be subjected to. Clearly 48 hours is nowhere near enough to properly scrutinise documents that will profoundly affect the national identity and economy for the next 50 years.

Whatever your feelings may be about just “getting Brexit done”, you must know that this is no way to do it. I beg you at least to vote to provide Parliament with proper time to analyse the deal documents, to scrutinise an OBR report on the economic implications, and to debate them properly both in the House and in select committees.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Mike Taylor

Dear Mark Harper …

Dear Mark Harper,

Whatever your, my or anyone else’s views on Brexit, it is surely obvious to all of us that no one man should be able or allowed, in a Parliamentary democracy, to shut down Parliament for fear that it will disagree with his own personally favoured policy. It makes me ashamed of my country.

I know it is difficult for a Conservative MP to take any action against the Conservative Party. But if you have any respect for our democratic system, any concern for those you represent in the Forest of Dean, or any political integrity, you will stand — with members of other parties if necessary — against Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue Parliament for his own personal short-term advantage.

The Conservative Party has been stolen from conservatives by demogogues and would-be dictators. Take it back.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Mike Taylor
Oakleigh Farm House #F
Crooked End
Ruardean
Gloucestershire GL17 9XF


I just sent this letter to my MP using writetothem.com. It is quick and easy. I encourage you to write to your own MP.

 

Writing to my MP about no-deal Brexit and suspending Parliament

Dear Mark Harper,

I have written to you more times than either of us probably cares to remember about Brexit, which I believe is a bad deal for Britain and particularly for under-privileged areas like the Forest of Dean. But let us assume for the moment that we both accept Conservative Party policy is to press on with Brexit because of a mandate from the 2016 referendum.

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