Category Archives: Europe

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

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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Labour must dump Jeremy Corbyn or lose all their Remainers

I get mailings from the optimistic Labour For a Public Vote group. Today, I wrote back. Here’s what I wrote.


Hi, Mike. Thanks for somehow finding the energy to push on with this very dispiriting task.

I have come reluctantly to the conclusion that nothing is going to change in Labour while Jeremy Corbyn is leader — that your party’s position will remain vague and spineless even while it haemhorrages support to the Lib Dems. (They look stronger now, not only due to the good local-election and Euro-election results, but because the potential remain-vote splitting of Change UK has not materialised.)

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The two big things we learned from the European election

Almost all of the UK’s European Election results are in! We don’t quite have all the results yet, but there’s enough for us to see the trends. Let’s look at the numbers and see what they tell us. Here’s the Guardian’s summary (from here):

I see two big trends here.

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Who should you vote for in the European elections?

With the European elections nearly upon us, it’s nearly time to decide how to cast our votes. Unfortunately, the choices are very complicated. A friend has asked me to lay out the options, and this post is my attempt to do so.

Hold on to your hats. This is going to get difficult.

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A letter to my Labour council candidates on why I can’t vote for them

I have just sent this email to the Labour party candidates for the local elections that are happening today.

Dear Jackie Fraser, Doug Scott and Shaun Stammers,

I will be voting today in the council elections for Mitcheldean, Ruardean and Drybrook. In the past, I have voted for Labour councillors. But I am writing today with a heavy heart to tell you that, because of the NEC’s dreadful non-decision on a Brexit policy, I cannot vote Labour in this election (nor in the forthcoming European election).

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