A Final Say is the only sensible option left on the table
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Set aside political differences, which way you voted and the specific issues around immigration, payments to the EU and the like, and I think few would dispute that, at the heart of what drives the appeal of Brexit to so many, is the notion of “regaining control”, of putting the decisions that matter back in the hands of our own parliament and reasserting a more local sense of democracy.
Which is all very well.
Except that the politicians have blown it. Big time.
Collectively they have proven, beyond reasonable doubt, incapable of honouring the trust or delivering on the aspirations that drove the result of the first referendum. From all parties, we have seen a failure of vision, the absence of strategy and a complete lack of collective will or wisdom; rather the usual partisan, self-serving vested interests and dogma, magnified by the failures of leadership and the deep and irreconcilable splits evident within the two major parties.
Which is why we have reached the current impasse. And why we simply have to put it back to the people.
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Would it be divisive? Yes, of course. But there isn’t a solution that won’t be. And, I would argue, it may be the only solution with the potential to promote some form of reconciliation of widely differing views over time. Remainers may not like a second vote to leave, if that were the outcome, but would have to accept that it was based on knowledge of what was on the table, not the perceived lies offered up in the first vote. Brexiteers may not like the idea of a second vote, or an outcome to stay in the EU, but would equally have to accept that the vote was based on what is actually on offer and that, in a democracy, we have a right to change our minds. And new young voters, who weren’t able to vote last time round, will feel that their voice has been heard.
In other words, it is fair!
So, to the politicians, a plague on all your houses.
Let the people decide on the basis of what is actually on offer – a second referendum is the only credible way forward.
What about the carbon footprint of ‘global Britain’?
We were all told of the urgent need to cut carbon emissions recently and that we only had 12 years to reverse the current situation before it became irreversible. There was more talk about it this morning with the summit in Poland.
If we have a hard Brexit and no longer trade with the European Economic Community what kind of an increase in carbon emissions will the UK then be responsible for, taking into account exports and imports?
What would the carbon footprint be of the proposed deals with Canada, USA, Australia, India, China and New Zealand to mention a few?
Can someone please try and quantify this aspect of the scenario and let us look at the real result of our actions?
Free school meals is one answer to food poverty
Professor Van Bueren QC is right to ask questions regarding food poverty in the UK and to raise awareness of the issue. However, I’m not sure a defined legal right to food is the answer. In her article, hospital patients and care home residents are given as potential benefactors of a new law, yet a failure to provide these groups with adequate nutrition and hydration would already lead to human rights abuses through inhumane and degrading treatment and in extreme cases a breach of the right to life, both of which exist under current European human rights laws.
I write with no solution to resolve food poverty in its entirety, however, a good start would be a government policy and adequate funding for school meals, paid for all people of school age and irrespective of parents’ means, similar to the right an inpatient has in a hospital. Such a policy would give all children at least one nutritious meal a day, and making it a universal benefit irrespective of family income would avoid offending anyone’s pride as it would become no different than accepting free education or NHS care. The policy may also lend itself to reducing child obesity.
The problem with trying to use the law to fix the issues regarding availability of food to poorer households is it would be too ambiguous and open to interpretation. Even if it could be drafted in a way that would be enforceable, the poorer people in society rarely have access to the legal representation to make the most of their legal rights, so it’s far better to use political pressure. In the meantime I, like many of your readers, will continue to donate to food banks, while acknowledging it’s an imperfect solution to a real and serious problem, and look to eminent social commentators like Professor Van Bueren and newspapers such as The Independent to continue their good work in publicising a problem that should not be an issue in 21st century Britain.
No funding crisis for the privately educated
Jo Campion finds it incredible that “a third of MPs don’t believe there is a funding crisis in our education system”. Is it not possible that said third (most no doubt Tories) are privately educated and privately educate their children, so, of course, there’s no funding crisis?
Satire is dead (not for the first time)
The picture of Dominic Raab in Tuesday’s Independent and the pictures plastered over social media of Tory MPs at food banks brings once more to mind the line “satire is dead”, first used when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Raab, one of the Bone Spur Brothers along with David Davis, who ran away from the metaphorical sound of the guns when the reality of Brexit got too close to comfort; Raab who co-wrote Britannia Unchained on the Tory right’s dream of a low tax, low wage, zero regulation tax haven where British workers, “the worst idlers in the world” according to Raab, will no longer be mollycoddled and what little remains of the state will be run for profit, not to serve the community; a country fit for Phillip Green and any passing Russian oligarch being Raab’s ultimate aim.
Raab who has supported every measure that Osborne and now Hammond introduced that contributed to the rise of food banks. Using food banks as a shoddy and cynical photo op is pretty much par for the course for Tory right-wingers like Raab. I’m just shocked Boris Johnson didn’t think of it first (I guess writing the exact same column week after week for the Telegraph is much less like hard work). Yep, it’s official, satire is dead, yet again.
When will the government wake up to the scale of poverty in the UK?
It is very worrying that the figures on poverty within working households by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation should still be considered “alarming”, as reported in Tuesday’s Independent.
This report follows closely on a string of reports that come to similar conclusions, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission report (October) and the UN report by Philip Alston (November). Both point the blame squarely at austerity and the rollout of universal credit.
The message about rapidly rising poverty, particularly affecting children and single mothers, does not seem to be reaching the general public, while the government remains in denial.
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
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