Revoke Article 50

Democracy is a beautiful gift.  About 3.822 million at time of writing have signed a petition “Revoke Article 50” and keep Britain in the European Union.  As the clock ticks down to a new Departure Day of 12th April, all those who believe that:

a) the 2016 Referendum was fundamentally flawed, dominated by spurious claims, false promises and Russian propaganda

b) the Brexit negotiations and Parliamentary process towards Leaving have been even worse than anybody feared, involving near-meltdown of our Parliament and a huge pile-up of issues that desperately needed resolved but for which there is no time amidst the shenanigans of “May’s deal or no deal or…”

c) “the people” have a right to change their minds – you cannot use one faulty plebiscite from nearly three years ago as carte blanche for the dog’s breakfast that has become Brexit.

d) we must find ways to make our voices heard and this petition represents a brilliant opportunity to show the strength of feeling, the earnest and sincere desire that exists across this country, to end this madness and Remain in the EU.

If not now, when? We’ve watched the politicians make such a hash of Leaving but maybe the 2016 Referendum set them up for failure.  Can you just walk away from decades of shared history and deepening integration between our economies and societies?  Did anyone clearly explain how preserving peace in Northern Ireland would lead to an indefinite backstop that seems to please no-one?

You know, one of my big regrets was not saying enough before the Brexit vote, assuming that the majority would be able to see what was clear to me that one country negotiating with a bloc of 27 would be fiendishly complex.  I thought the logic was inescapable but now I realise more than ever that we must fight against what are dangerous delusions.

Surely now we know much more and it’s time to unite and plead with our politicians to do what is best for our whole nation – from Belfast to London, Kirkwall to Penzance. Please sign the petition and do whatever you can to stop this madness: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/241584.  Imagine if 17 million signed this petition – our MPs could definitely not ignore that mother of all messages!

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MPs are not exempt from austerity

The proposals to cut the UK Parliament down in size from 650 to 600 MPs must not be abandoned.  Money has already been spent painstakingly redrawing the constituency boundaries so they are each of a similar size.  In the long term, this change would reduce costs (an expected £12.2 million saving) and why should MPs be exempt from austerity?  If the police have to tackle rising levels of crime with fewer officers, is there any justification for Labour and The Guardian’s arguments against the reform?

Yes, of course, I would like to see a more comprehensive electoral revolution with no wasted votes or safe seats but don’t let the best become an enemy of the good.  This re-adjustment has been completed fairly and impartially, so if (as predicted) Labour would lose out, they should be thinking how to appeal to a much broader range of voters, not bemoaning their lot.

There is only seating capacity in the House of Commons for 427 MPs, so even with the proposed reductions we will still have a packed Parliament.  Opponents argue that 23% of MPs will have some sort of government position and be dependent on patronage but Parliament could easily introduce a measure to limit how many of its members can work with the executive branch.  This could be tabled as an amendment to the bill, a condition for cross-party support.

There is no excuse for MPs to duck out of the unpleasant but necessary task that is cutting down Parliament to size.  This is a chance to actually make change happen, so please lobby your MP and make sure they don’t duck out.