I’ll stick with the Libdems thanks, look at Labour…

Labour’s internal problems are their problem to sort, not mine although indirectly it affects us all.

Labour whether we like it, or not is the Official Opposition. It is their role to hold the Government of the day to account.

I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t take sides with their internal struggle, that is a matter for their Party, NEC, members etc. but the situation as I see it is a stalemate of calamatous proportions.

Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader by the membership and has a mandate for the role. His, and thus the members who elected him, believe in the politics of the Labour roots (subjective) and not in the centralist politics of say Blair. As I have previously written, I believe Blair took the New Labour to the centre ground as he saw that was the only way to unseat the Tories in the 90’s, and won. It appears that the majority of PLP and some members believe that the Blair type model is what would be required still to make Labour appeal to the electorate (it could also be a factor that most of those MP’s joined Labour in the Blair years) and that the direction of Corbyn is not condusive to that and hence have lost confidence. Corbyn is sticking to his principles that he believes in, as do the members etc. that back him and believe that as Labour MP’s the PLP should do too. They obviously don’t agree.

The problem for them, is that both sides are probably right, or wrong. What the Labour Party needs to decide is which is the right course for itself to take, it can’t be both. It will either have to split, or one side will have to cede, whichever way it may be messy.

The problem for the country is that whilst they have their internal struggles there is no effective Official Opposition. Yes Jeremy Corbyn can stand at the dispatch box at PMQ’s etc. but with the PLP in tatters it is hardly holding the Government to account. The Tories appeared to have split, had a leadership contest, such as it was, reformed together again and didn’t take any damage from Labour at all. That is not a criticism of Corbyn, but of the Labour Party as a whole.

Some may scoff and point to me as a Liberal Democrat, using the usual line of being finished, only having 8 MP’s etc. (Actually the Party is on the rise thanks, 4 by-election wins this week alone and a rising membership, up 17,500+ since referendum). The LD’s is the party of my choice. I don’t agree with everything, who does, but on the whole the Party fits my political beliefs. I have stuck with them (initially Liberal) since the 70’s as a follower, not as a member, or activist at that time and watched it grow and suffer over the years. What I do have is pride, I am proud to be part of the Liberal Democrat family.

Why Liberal Democrat I am often asked? 

Many reasons actually. My parents always voted that way, though that was actually not a major factor. Whilst in my teens I observed the area I lived in changing between Labour and Tory with all the swings that brought with it. The labourites always seemed (this was a long time ago) to be brash and bullish, the Tories above their station and acting as if they were above everyone else’s too, the Liberals seemed to be willing to listen and had their feet on the ground (may be because of the size of the party). On this basis and the fact that I was never one to do populist I opted for Liberal. Labour was too far left for me. I remember once starting to read Arguments for Socialism by Tony Benn. I read two chapters and stopped, I didn’t agree with his views, so wasn’t for me. The Conservatives too far right. I did look interestingly at the SDP in the early 80’s and guess I got best of both when the parties merged. The more I looked at what LD’s and the other party’s stood, and still stand for, the more I knew I had chosen right for me. This is true especially today when I see what is happening in all the other parties. I’m glad I made the right choice and would encourage others to join the Liberal Democrats too.

Back to the present situation, I can understand why Labour members on both sides are positioning themselves as they are, in no way condone the bullying and violence, but understand. I hope they find their Karma and soon for the good of the Country.

p.s At the next General Election, remember this year, remember that the Coalition wasn’t bad after all (look what the Tories did when left to their own devices), remember what Labour is like at present and vote Liberal Democrat, I will.

The Implosion of British Politics…

Implosion:  To collapse, to explode inwards. Also, to fail miserably at something.

The political spectrum is something which has always facinated me. How people can hold such diverse views and believe they hold the moral high ground etc. is interesting. I do not condone extreme views but we have to accept they exist.

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, but I have never been a fan of Tony Blair, or David Cameron. What they did to UK politics though was quite clever (as an overview). Tony Blair realised that to hold left wing views would not appeal to a large swathe of the British public, so realigned New Labour towards the centre, thus gaining more support and ousting the Tory encumbents. David Cameron, with the help of Nick Clegg, did much the same with the Torys. Both had and have their critics within their party’s. Labour faithful wanted to move back to the left and Tory right demanded they be heard.

Whether you agree with the Coalition, or not, what it did do was pin the Torys down to not lurching to the right during that Government, much to the consternation of many. If you don’t believe me look at where they are headed now.

What has now happened is that their legacies (Cameron’s still being in the death throws) have caused an implosion in British politics. It has effectively hit the centre and rebounded out to the extremes. Labour has under Jeremy Corbyn shifted back towards the left where the majority of unions and supporters feel more comfortable and the Torys with a little  help from UKIP appear to have given in to the Right wing of their party.

I make no comment on what those views could lead to, but it shouldn’t take you long with Google to find out (if you don’t already know).

As a Libdem (you knew it was coming) I am comfortable in my just left of centre ground, we are consistent, sometimes for the wrong reasons some would say, and although the party is a broad church our views don’t waiver, you know what you get, we champion equality for all, people’s rights etc. I know that we have a long way to go to challenge one of the two, but now is the time for us to show that we are the party that hasn’t been affected by the implosion of the others, time for us to stand near the centre and offer the alternative to the left wing right wing politics that the UK is moving towards, time for #libdemfightback

So which definition of implosion applies: to collapse, explode inwards, or fail miserably? Arguably all three! 

I guess there will be trouble ahead, but myself and fellow LibDem’s will be there when you want us, as usual (or you could of course join us, if you haven’t already…)

My view and my part in EU referendum

With four days to go until probably the biggest vote in the modern history of the UK, I have decided to reflect on the campaign to date.

What the electorate needed was facts, pure and simple, facts that would make the case for in, or out of the EU. What they got was posturing and overblown statistics (we all know you can make statistics appear to say what you want them to).

In a General Election, Party’s produce manifestos, lists of targets they would like to achieve in the administration, should they be elected. As the referendum is not party specific and therefore although both gave us ‘statistics’ they were designed to persuade the electorate, some of which by fear.

On the street we have been trying to make a reasoned case for staying in the EU, there have been some who have listened to the argument and I do hope that we have at least played a small part in dispelling the statistical myths. There are some however who are akin to lemmings,  blind in their goal of making the UK great again whilst heading for the proverbial cliff and unable to digest any information that would deviate them from that path. I do hope the electorate save them on Thursday.

Thrown into the mix is people’s distrust of politicians. We are apparently all in it for ourselves, looking after our cushy little number, most not realising how much family life we sacrifice to serve the public at large in a quest to make a difference in our community. In my mind this makes it stranger, that those that favour Vote Leave would believe Messrs Gove, IDS, Johnson et al when they spout off about giving money to the NHS etc. I was actually told yesterday that MP’s are twisting the facts to save the jobs that they would lose if we Brexit! The person at the time trying to say that all overblown statistics were absolutely right and that I was mad to try and refute them, I should “crawl back under my Tory rock”.

It’s at this point that I feel like Winston Smith, the guy in 1984, trying to change minds and a system that has become so ingrained and coming up against the same problem every time, people that appear to have been brainwashed by a clever campaign of overblown statistics showing that utopia is an EU free Britain. In reality it’s probably more like the Wizard of Oz where the yellow brick road ends disappointingly with a false facade instead of a brave new world.

In this campaign I have made new friends, from all Party’s that will last beyond this vote. I have also learned that I am rather good at photobombing. The referendum may be the most serious decision we make and we treat it as such, but you also have to have fun sometimes to carry you along the journey.

Whatever the outcome on Thursday, I shall continue my quest for fairness, openness and equality, for what is right for my community and constituents therein.

I’m voting to stay IN, are you?

That title probably won’t come as any surprise to most of you…

Everyone has an opinion on the EU. Some are informed, some sadly aren’t. The majority of people, in my experience believe that the European Court of Human Rights IS part of the EU, it isn’t. Hence coming out of EU won’t affect their decisions at all. See http://www.britishinfluence.org/britain_s_human_rights_law:

It was Winston Churchill who in 1948 advocated a European ‘Charter of Human Rights’ in direct response to the abject horrors of the Nazi regime and the Second World War. British lawyers primarily drafted what was later to become the European Convention. The UK was the first country to sign up to the Convention, and leaving it would end over 60 years of being legally bound by this first international treaty on Human Rights.

Including Britain, there are 47 countries that have agreed to the Convention, which provides civil and political rights for all citizens.  Soon the European Union itself is destined to become the 48th signatory to the Convention.

Under the Convention, individuals, or groups of people, or one or more countries, can petition the international ‘European Court of Human Rights’ in Strasbourg, France, to give judgments or advisory opinions on alleged breaches of civic and political rights by nation states. From 2000, the Labour government brought into law the Human Rights Act. This allows alleged breaches of the Convention to be heard in UK courts, but still retaining the right to petition the higher international court in Strasbourg.

My MP would say I/we are scaremongering for worrying about industries in the Yeovil/South Somerset area, but actually I believe it IS a worry and we do well to consider it when voting on EU. Something about Nero fiddling and Rome burning springs to mind. There are now quite a few businesses that rely on trade with EU partners, what would happen if we left EU, would they still get the same deal, or have to pay duties on top of original costs?

An argument I have heard on the streets is that of course they will still trade without restriction… So lets look at that argument. The rest of the EU and partners such as Norway are going to let us deal with EU countries at the same cost without levees as they do, but we wont pay into it and they will? That is just not going to happen. Of course they will want to trade, but at what price?

There is a lot of information out there. More than I can fit on one page, or even link to.

Please be informed and use your vote, those who want OUT will and we may all suffer the consequences if unchecked…



Religious views, political views, or just human

Religion and Politics together?

It is and would be impossible to separate religion and politics. Personally religion throws up so many doubts and questions that appear to have no answers, I find I cannot follow any faith whole heartedly, so I choose not to. I will join in with others services, on occasion, celebrate their faith and events with them.
If others believe, I have no problem with that whatsoever, everyone is entitled to their beliefs.

What I do believe religions teach us in whatever form, faith etc. is being human. I don’t have to follow a faith to be taught this, but if others do then fine.

To elaborate, teachings tell us that we are all the same, that we should look after each other, that we shouldn’t do something to someone we wouldn’t want done to us, that there are some things that we shouldn’t do as they are wrong, we shouldn’t steal and that none of us is perfect, we all make mistakes. It also teaches us that when we are down, don’t give up.
The list goes on.

As a Liberal Democrat, I recognise all those things in myself and others. Apply those to the preamble and it fits there too. So there is a correlation between politics and religion. The two can sit together, but don’t particularly need to.

Historically our society was built on and around the church, as was Royalty and Government, it will be a long time before that fades if it ever does and natural process will dictate that.

To return to the present debate. Are we all sinners? In my translated form above this question is; Is anyone perfect?

Of course we aren’t, nobody is perfect.

Should we single out minorities and point the finger at them as being sinful (are they perfect?), I.e LGBT? Of course not we are all human beings built the same, feel the same love etc and should have the same chances in life. Yes any one who is LGBT is a sinner, as is every human being, which is normal, so no need to single anyone out.

As a Country we have a long way to go with acceptance and tolerance of minorities, we still haven’t mastered sexual equality, race equality etc. properly.
That doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

In politics we all believe that our stance is right, whether left, right, or centre and make judgements from that position, we look at the facts, look at the perceived outcome and make a decision. If somebody chooses to use religion as their conscience, as part of the facts, then fine, that is part of their personal judgment process. I may disagree, or not, with their decision, but they are entitled to that opinion and how they arrived at it.

So to conclude, we are all sinners (nobody is perfect), we are built in the same image, we all have feelings.

But. We are all different too. Welcome to politics, welcome to religion, welcome to the human race!

Can we now get back to our politics, the preamble and sorting out the mess this Government is undoubtably going to cause for some people in society. There are people out there who need us, need our help and need our Focus (pun intended).

In Tribute to Tony Fife…

Yesterday I had the honour of attending Tony’s funeral at St John’s Church in Yeovil, with fellow councillors from Yeovil East Ward (Tony Lock, David Recardo, Manny Roper and Phil Chandler), the Mayor and Mayoress, ex Mayors, Liberal Democrat members, council leaders, SSDC councillors and officers, local businessmen etc. etc. the list goes on and is too numerous to mention. I also joined the family, friends and councillors from Yeovil East afterwards at Rose and Crown in Trent to raise a glass in Tony’s honour.Tony Fifes funeral

Tony stood down as a District Councillor in May 2015 having represented Yeovil East Ward since May 1983 – 32 years continuous service. With Yeovil Town Council he was a councillor for 33 years, two of which he served as Mayor.
He was respected by all and represented Yeovil in everything he did. At the funeral kind words with high respect were sent from David Laws (read by Cllr Tony Lock), Paddy Ashdown, who gave the reading, also spoke highly of Tony. Carol Kavanagh also gave her personal reflection.
It also shows great respect that there were at least a hundred people  (maybe more) outside South Somerset District Council paying their respects as the funeral procession passed by the Brympton Way offices.
“The funeral was held at 2 p.m. on a Friday at Tony’s request, to hold up the traffic on a Friday for one last time.”
From Western Gazette: Mrs Knight said: “What started his political career was the news that Queensway was going to be built through Yeovil. The plans included knocking down two houses to make way for the road, and one of them was ours. It was then he met with Paddy Ashdown, who noticed his vociferous nature invited him to join the campaign.”Read more: http://www.westerngazette.co.uk/TONY-FIFE-Daughters-pay-tribute-vociferous-Yeovil/story-26759483-detail/story.html#ixzz3euti8BzP
For myself, being fairly new to politics in Yeovil, I never really got to know Tony as others did, but in dealings with him in East Ward branch meetings, when he was well enough to attend, he came across as someone who knew what was needed and how to achieve it and wasn’t afraid to say so.
Since being selected to represent the people of Yeovil East at the last election, filling the seat vacated by Tony due to illness, I am proud to be selected for and looking forward to the challenge ahead. Tony’s passing has added to my ambition in the task, although I have been advised, by Tricia, Tony’s partner, to do my own thing, be myself etc. I feel more pride and determination than ever to take up what I perceive as Tony’s legacy, to go in pursuit of getting the best for Yeovil and making my voice heard, although I will cede to Tricia’s wishes and do things my own way.

R.I.P Tony it was good to know you, if only briefly…

Condolences to the family on your loss, our thoughts are with you…
Donations in the memory of Tony for a sofa bed in the Jean King Suite at Yeatman Hospital, Sherborne may be sent ℅ Clive Wakely, cheques payable to A J Wakely and Sons to the following address:A J Wakely and Sons Funeral Directors 33 Sparrow Road Yeovil BA21 4BT