Letter to the Nottingham Post – Time to make each vote count

IMAG0073David Briggs (5th August) tells us that the last 30-plus years of party politics has failed and partisan stuff hasn’t worked well of late. Perhaps he has a point, but is the parties or is it the system? In the 1959 General election 93% of voters plumped for the two main parties,who got 99% of the seats. In the last election the Conservatives and Labour parties won a combined vote of about 67% of votes, and got 86% of the seats (with a lower turnout too). This year we have seen the tories completely divided on Europe and the Labour party completely divided on whether their leader can actually lead. Are we best served by having politics dominated by ‘big tent’ political parties that can’t agree amongst themselves? The first-past-the-posts electoral system keeps this duopoly going, but it needn’t be like this. Surely we want more options to political issues than those put forward by just Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. If you ask a hundred people their views on a topic, you are more likely to hear a range of different perspectives. People, and their opinions, don’t fall neatly into two categories. A proportional electoral system would ensure more voices are heard and make our democracy more democratic.

Tad Jones
Valley Road
Nottingham

Letter to the Nottingham Post: Do we want a hard or a soft landing?

IMAG0001We have learned a few things since the referendum. When the leave campaign said we would be able to spend £350 million a week extra on the NHS, they didn’t mean it. Likewise, according to Daniel Hannan, those expecting zero immigration with brexit will be disappointed. The supposed scaremongering of the remain campaign appears to be more project fact than project fear. David Cameron, presumably emboldened by getting the ‘right result’ in previous referendums, took the biggest gamble of his political life and lost. We also know now that the leave campaign didn’t have a plan for what happens next. Rather than take control, we’re in a right mess.
I do believe in democracy, but if we are to respect the mandate to leave we should also respect the fact that more than sixteen million people voted to not change our relationship with our closest allies and neighbours. So what should we do? Perhaps the solution that best reflects the close result is the Norway option – to leave the EU, but to stay in the common market. In leaving we are taking a leap into the unknown, do we want a hard or a soft landing? The Treasury estimate the annual impact of brexit will be £2,600 less per household if we leave the EU, but stay in the single market. This sounds bad, but if we leave and trade under WTO rules the estimate is that we would lose £5,200 per household.
Ultimately it is for our parliament to decide to invoke article 50 as the British parliament is sovereign. It would be ironic if the institution that UKIP want to bring all our sovereignty back to, voted to exercise that sovereignty to ignore the referendum. And if Parliament had a fresher mandate than June 23rd, perhaps they would be right to do so.
Tad Jones
Valley Road
Sherwood

Letter to the Nottingham Post: Work together to find solutions

IMG-20160622-02163The Brexit campaign have had months (years really) to convince us that the EU is terribly flawed and we must leave. I’ve read the leaflets, attended debates and listened to the arguments, and it seems to me that there is no killer point that justifies leaving the EU. Brexiteers criticise the EU for a number of things, some easily refutable, but none are unresolvable. I’d much rather we stay in the biggest single market in the world and reform the institution so it works better for us.
I think the debate at its core is about sovereignty and democracy, and brexiteers have an incorrect or simplistic view of these. They say the EU is undemocratic, but we’ve had elections to the European parliament since before I was born and only democracies can be members. Decisions are made by ministers of elected governments or on votes in the parliament. They say we’ve lost our sovereignty to the EU, but the very fact that we can have a referendum on Brexit shows where sovereignty ultimately resides. Compare this with Spain refusing to allow Catalonia a referendum on independence.
My view is that the EU builds on the concept of Westphalian sovereignty rather than undermining it. We devolve some powers to Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, and to local councils. This doesn’t threaten UK sovereignty, so why should pooling our decision making (in areas where we can work well together) with our closest allies and neighbours be any different? I hope the voters will recognise that we live in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world, and that working together in institutions like the EU is a strength and not a weakness.

Tad Jones
Valley Road
Nottingham

Nottingham Liberal Democrat candidates urge a remain vote

Tony Sutton

Tony Sutton

The Liberal Democrats candidates for the Nottingham Constituencies at the last General election have called for a strong remain vote on Thursdays’ referendum.

Tony Sutton, who stood in Nottingham North in 2015 and Nottingham South in 2010, said “I think that within Europe we have a major influence on the policies and future direction of one of the most powerful group of nations in the world. Our economic prosperity and security are so closely linked with the other members that it is vital that we remain a committed and active member of the union in our own self interest and for the benefit of Europe as a whole.”

Tad Jones, candidate for Nottingham East in 2015 said “We live in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world, and working together with our closest allies and neighbours in institutions like the EU is a strength and not a weakness. The arguments for leaving the EU are flawed, and sometimes outrageous. I hope that people will not be seduced by chauvinistic claptrap, and vote to be stronger in Europe”.

To get involved with the campaign click here.