Labour MPs stick two fingers up to their Leave voting constituents

When MPs vote against a Bill at third reading in the House of Commons, they are attempting to press the nuclear button. A vote at third reading is the final vote. A vote against it is a vote to destroy the Bill. Oppositions, of course, regularly vote to destroy Bills that they dislike at third reading, however, when it comes to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which cleared its Commons stages yesterday, many of the Labour MPs who voted against were doing so in full opposition to the majority of their constituents wishes.

I am not saying that this Bill is perfect – I don’t think that any Bill that seeks to transfer powers back from the EU in such a short timescale ever could be. Many MPs are concerned that too much power will be transferred to the Government, however, those same MPs didn’t bat an eyelid when numerous powers were being transferred from the UK to Brussels. It is the worst type of hypocrisy. 

But this Bill is essential. If the opposition had won the day, we would have been in a complete mess. Even poorer, rushed legislation would have had to be enacted, or (which I am sure those MPs voting against really want) Brexit would have been delayed or even reversed if the delays went on long enough. Continue reading “Labour MPs stick two fingers up to their Leave voting constituents”

An omnishambles of a cabinet reshuffle once again paints May as weak and wobbly

If the Prime Minister had had a clear plan and had executed it properly, yesterday’s reshuffle would not have been the media disaster that it is this morning. It terms of personnel changes, her options were always going to be limited. In November and December, she lost three cabinet in ministers in quick succession, and yesterday a further three (Sir Patrick McLoughlin, James Brokenshire, and Justine Greening) left the Government. Sir Patrick was expected; James Brokenshire was a sad departure and I send my good wishes to him for a speedy recovery; and Justine Greening simply isn’t up to the job of a cabinet minister. I am sure that she is a nice person (I have never met her), but I have never regarded her as competent, nor is she a good media performer.

Removing the Chancellor was always going to be tricky. If she had fired him, he would have created more trouble for her on the backbenches. If she had tried to keep him in the cabinet, she would have had to offer him another senior position or he would have resigned. That would have meant moving Boris or Amber Rudd. But where to? And if Boris had left the Government, he would have been a thorn in May’s side.

It was all too complicated, and for a Prime Minister who already lacks authority, it was never going to happen. Continue reading “An omnishambles of a cabinet reshuffle once again paints May as weak and wobbly”

Brexit is too important an issue to leave in the hands of May

We should just come out and say it: Theresa May is a dead woman walking. She is unsuited to the role of Prime Minister. She is a weak leader; she doesn’t possess any meaningful leadership skills. She also doesn’t have a political brain. She is leading a Government that limps from one crisis to another. It’s directionless and can’t get the job done. Every time you think she is about to take control and show “strong and stable” leadership, the wheels come off again.

I have said on a number of occasions that if she can make it to Christmas, she will make it to 29 March 2019 – the date we are supposed to be leaving the European Union. As the weeks and months have passed by, it has looked more likely that she will make it to Christmas, but after the events of this week, that is looking increasingly unlikely. Continue reading “Brexit is too important an issue to leave in the hands of May”

Votes at 16? For many reasons the answer has to be NO

During the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, I remember seeing images of two schoolchildren entering a polling station. A boy and a girl, both in their school uniforms, were about to cast their ballots. I have never been in favour of votes at 16, but if there had ever been a smidgen of doubt in my mind, it was obliterated looking at those images. It didn’t look or feel right. Schoolchildren are by their very definition not adults, and only adults should be allowed to vote.

The boy and girl in question had to attend school later that morning. If they had not, their parents could, and probably would, have been fined. The law states that they are not responsible enough to purchase alcohol or tobacco. The law also states that they are not responsible enough to get a tattoo, book a session on a sunbed, or drive a car. Continue reading “Votes at 16? For many reasons the answer has to be NO”

COMMENT: Scrapping EU vaping laws would improve health and boost the economy

The following article of mine was published on Brexit Central on Sunday 23 July 2017.

The e-cigarette market was, until recently, perhaps the closest thing we had to a genuine free market. A relative lack of regulation, compared to what it is now, allowed the market to innovate in ways we seldom see. As the vast majority of those using e-cigarettes are either current or former smokers, the innovations also have huge health benefits. According to the Royal College of Physicians, e-cigarettes are at least 95 per cent safer than combustible tobacco, and Public Health England has acknowledged that they are the number one quit aid in the country. This is a success story, so you would think that the urge to regulate them out of existence would be resisted. Sadly not, and the worst culprit is the European Union. Continue reading “COMMENT: Scrapping EU vaping laws would improve health and boost the economy”