UK Election – Last Chance to Save the UK?

meAfter months of denying it would happen, Theresa May has “shocked” the nation by calling a general election. Her motivations are many. But as you go to the voting booth on June 8th, you should have only one objective: To correct the UK’s course on Brexit.

If you believe that the UK as a whole supports a hard Brexit, leaving the EU, the European legal system, the single market, the customs union, Euratom and all else. AND you believe this will make the UK a richer, safer, happier place, then fair enough, vote for the Conservative party. If not, then this election may be your last chance to Continue reading

The Uk’s Brexit Train Wreck, An Update

Next week, the House of Lords will start the crucial phase of its review of the #brexitbill, where it determines how or whether to amend the law. This will be a fervent time, with the typical hyperbolae coming from the Leave camp, and stress aplenty. Many have played down the chances of the Lords doing something heroic, but I am more optimistic. And even if they don’t succeed, the battle is not lost.

First, why should we put more confidence in the Lords to do the right thing? In short, amending this bill is exactly what they exist for. They are not considering to block the passage of the bill, simply to ensure it carries the rights and obligations of democratic process. Their unelected status makes them the right body to conduct this work, which the directly elected Commons felt unable to do (notwithstanding that many Leave voters likely trusted that their MPs would provide a reality backstop).

The main argument that the Lords won’t be up to the task is that their chamber risks being reformed if they obstruct a swift and hard Brexit. But writing-in a better end-of-negotiation approval process is far from obstructing Brexit. And more important, the Lords are not likely so easily cowed. Much as the judges were made of stern enough stuff not to bow to a few newspaper headlines, so too, the Lords – we must assume – grasp their institutional powers, responsibilities and obligations.

So, I trust that the Lords will do enough to prise open the bill and insert a little reality. Many in the Cabinet would actually welcome such an intervention. And that brings us to the second point. Even if the Lords do bend the knee to their directly elected peers, even if the bill sails through into law free of amendment, all is not lost. For we are on the side of reason, fairness and history. We are neither lying nor exaggerating when we say that Brexit is a ridiculous idea, guaranteed to unleash economic turmoil. No self-interested politician – the PM included – will let a bad deal go through without at least granting MPs the chance to dismiss it. They simply pretend otherwise in a hopeless effort to secure negotiating ground.

In short, I believe the Lords are made of stern enough stuff. But if I’m wrong, then we still fall back on the MPs being selfish enough to trust that Brexit will be reversible before the final deal is signed. Keep lobbying, marching and making the voice of reason heard!

Why I Stopped Worrying About Trump

Me in France 3The unthinkable has come to pass, Donald Trump is president elect of the US. The world is in shock and America’s socially liberal society is reeling in confusion, how could this happen, what does it mean and what hope is there for the future?

I flagged Mr Trump as a serious concern relatively early in the election cycle, hearing populist noise that diametrically conflicts with my own beliefs and values. Yet, now that he is elected I find myself oddly sanguine about the situation, let me explain why. Continue reading

Hopes & Fears in the Time of Trump

Me in France 3So, the impossible happened. It is not only socially liberal society that imagined Donald was unelectable, it is also Donald himself. How many times did he say that the system was rigged against him? It could be argued that by winning he proved the system isn’t rigged, so he no longer needs to govern. But let’s assume he will. How is this going to work out? Let’s consider some hopes and fears. Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

 

Me in France 3Dear Prime Minister

In the wake of the High Court’s decision against the government this week, I write to express my concern about the state of British society, and your lack of determined leadership at this troubled time.

The vote to Leave was always going to bring social conflict. The emotive nature of the subject and binary nature of the outcome assured this. Even if the win had been clearer, or the vote fairer, Brexit would still have been a tinder box. Your caution over the issue suggests that you Continue reading

Much Ado About Brexit

meIt’s more than 100 days since the UK voted to leave the EU, and finally some information is starting to emerge about how the government envisages such a process.

For NHS workers, car companies, financial services groups, telecoms companies, millions of Europeans in Britain, millions of Brits in Europe, scientists, farmers and more, it is a bleak situation. The government appears committed and “hard Brexit” looks an increasingly probably solution. But as is usual in politics, not everything is as it seems, and there are plenty of reasons for the 73% of the UK population that didn’t vote to leave to remain hopeful. This post outlines some of what is going on, and some reasons for optimism. Continue reading

On Brexit Economics

Untitled1It comes to my attention that the media is reporting that the UK economy is doing well post Brexit. I’d like to address this point, because misunderstanding the economic situation tips the scales against the urgent need to block the UK’s departure from the world’s largest trading block.

Is the economy doing fine? In short, no. The Bank of England has cut rates to a new record low and resumed quantitative easing. Mark Carney has forecast at least 250k job losses.

So what’s the beef? Continue reading

Open Letter to UK’s Next Prime Minister

Me in France 3Dear Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom

As you well know, last month 17.4 million British citizens, 52% of those registered, voted to leave the EU. At the same time, however, 29 million registered voters didn’t choose to leave. The UK is said to be the mother of all democracies, so the rules of the referendum must hold, and one of you, as the future prime minister, will be charged with taking the UK out of the EU.

For some this is a great relief, for others an equally great tragedy. Opinion is sharply divided. But more than that, the path forward Continue reading

Dear Prime Minister

Me in France 3Dear Prime Minister

In the wake of the vote to leave the European Union, one of the few courses of action open to people is to write to their MP. But millions of us don’t have this option, so I am writing today on behalf of British nationals dispersed across Europe and the world.

Not being UK residents, we were denied a voice in the vote over the UK’s membership of the EU. An injustice that adds insult to injury, as we find ourselves among the most immediately exposed to the consequences of the decision. Yet, our concern runs deeper. Continue reading