Categories
Equality and Diversity

Antisemitism

My wife’s maiden name was Scottish, it should not have been.  Her grandfather changed the family name after World War II.  His surname was Hyman.  His father had left Russia presumably a Jew escaping the pogroms.  The reason why anything to do with antisemitism is so absolutely unacceptable is that we know where it can lead to.  You cannot separate the words from the actions, there is no such thing as harmless antisemitism.

The same can be applied to the risks and dangers of all prejudices, but it must in no way diminish the seriousness of antisemitism, and the historic realities of antisemitism.  We cannot ignore the millions who died, and the shadow this casts even today.

It is not wrong to call out any state for wrong behaviour on human rights.  Fair and proportionate comment on Israel and the Palestinian question is right.  The problem is in a world of antisemitism, we all have to tread carefully, because we know the past, and we don’t want that in our present or our future.

 

Categories
Election 2019

Voting Tactically – Friday 13th…

The biggest reason people give for not voting for me is that I won’t win, even worse people who vote for me may let the nightmare candidate in.  People fear if they vote for me then it might let in Corbyn or Boris.  It’s not about getting what you want but not getting what you don’t want.  I fully appreciate why people think that, but I want to challenge it.

Imagine it is Friday 13th.  If people vote tactically on this basis most likely Labour have won Coventry South, and most Labour people will give cheer with a sense of regret.  

Nationally, by the same token, looking at the current election predictions, the Conservatives will have a majority in Westminster.  According to the latest YouGov Poll  the Conservatives will have a 68 seat majority.  The Conservatives will have a comfortable majority to pass any legislation they want to.  Obviously opinion polls can be wrong and have a wide margin of error, but it looks like the Conservatives will win.

Coventry South return a Labour politician who will sit in opposition and fight the government.  Labour will pronounce from the left but will have no power to stop anything.  Zarah Sultana posted on 25th November regarding the UCU Strike at Warwick University, “This fight for decent pay, pensions & conditions and this election are one struggle for the entire future of higher education.

Her language is still fight and struggle.  So if Labour go into parliament with potentially 211 seats with the language of fight and struggle, the Conservatives have a majority.  Some people may enjoy the fight and the struggle but it is a fight that they will inevitably lose.  And that means we lose.

Obviously, unless you are a true Boris beleaver, Coventry South backing the Tories and giving even more power to a government that has as little respect for the British constitution and honest politics is worrying.  Boris, like Trump, may do lasting damage to his own party, and the standing of his country in the world. 

The Tories pride themselves as the party of business, though many businesses seem quite uncomfortable with this view.  Would any business be sensible to employ someone who has been sacked more than once for lying?  Trust matters,  so why employ him as your Prime Minister?

I admit me winning this constituency will be an uphill struggle, and to do so I need a lot of your help.  So you wake up on Friday 13th and I’m your new MP – you could make that possible.  

I would be in parliament engaging and building a consensus for better Britain.  Presenting sensible policies that I believe would make Coventry proud of its son.  Yes, fighting injustice because it needs to be fought, but doing so by engaging with the human being and building a consensus.   Not antagonising and belittling, this is too important for that, but working to win over the soft-Tories to oppose the most extreme measures.  Labelling every Tory or every Labour, depending on your perspective, is self-defeating.  

Building a new consensus that reminds the current political parties that they don’t own the future – you do.   I’m not just asking you to vote for me, I’m asking you to ask other people to.  Collectively the power quite literally is in your hands.

Categories
Equality and Diversity

Prejudice – Do you see this woman?

Coventry is a City of Peace and Reconciliation and it was my privilege this year to be involved in the beta-testing of the new Church of England course on Reconciliation, now called the Difference course.  

The most striking part of the course for me is the reading of the passage when “a sinful woman” comes and anoints Jesus feet (Luke 7v36-50), and the religious people all sit and think if he was a prophet he would know what kind of woman she was.  Jesus asks the question, “Do you see this woman?” 

The conclusion is that they were all blinded by their prejudice, they did not really see the woman at all.  They “knew” what she was like and therefore they did not see her at all.  The challenge is do we really see other people?  Are we curious? Are we willing to see the real people rather than just our prejudices?

It’s so easy to pigeonhole people so that we do not even see them.  Do we see and understand people who are different from us or do we just see the stereo-type?   BBC’s Why Dad Killed My Mum, reported on child sexual exploitation in Telford.  Girls were being sexually exploited and everyone could see that these were older men but people presumed that the girls were willing victims, when actually they were rape victims.  People were being non-judgemental, they thought it was a lifestyle choice, but they did not see the child and the abuse.

Britain is a divided nation, and that is because we do not see the other person’s perspective.  We spend our time with people like us, birds of a feather stick together, and therefore we do not understand others.  We mix with people who read the same newspapers, watch the same TV, share the same social media, and have the similar thoughts and feelings.  

Real encounters with people who are different from us can change our perspective, we can hear their story and learn their perspective.  We need to deliberately and consciously gather with people who are different and try to understand them.  

Politics can be divisive and tribal, and some politicians thrive on us versus them.  I listened to the audio book, The English and Their History, by Robert Tombs, one of the interesting arguments he brings is that most of the political gains were not really forced, they could have been resisted, but they were given away.  As a nation, a significant portion of the haves saw it as their Christian duty to do the right thing by those who were less fortunate than themselves.  It was not perfect, but it made a significant difference.  Even the dreaded poor laws, which were seen as harsh, were the biggest transfer of wealth from rich to poor at that time.   

We had the courage to look at others and see the differences but see that through that they are all our brothers and sisters.  We may not agree with others, but we see them as people who are interesting people, and of great worth.  

This election it is easy to see the caricatures, when we need to see the people.  If elected I commit to make it my mission to try and bring people together both in this constituency and beyond it so that they can understand each other, and find answers together.  

The work of a politician is not just to be someone who sits in parliament and debates politics but to use the office to be a force for good in the nation.

Categories
Defence Environment

The nuclear question

Nuclear weapons provide the human race with terrible power to wipe out whole cities, killing millions.  Nuclear weapons are too powerful to be controlled by any single state or military alliance.  Instead an international court should hold nuclear weapons.  

The terrible power of nuclear weapons requires a guarantee that prevents them from being used, but that power should not be that of a single state.  Only the court with due legal process should be able to authorise their use and never as a first strike.  However, any regime that fired nuclear weapons could expect that it could be subjecting itself and its citizens to the same fate.  While I hope that retribution would never be necessary, it is a terrible deterrent.  Even so, the aim would be to bring those who ordered the firing of the weapons to justice rather than killing innocent civilians.   With the threat of an impending nuclear strike hopefully people would surrender the criminals to an international court, and accept the sanction of the court.  Which might be to provide land and support to the people devastated by a nuclear strike.  

My understanding is that the Trident replacement would essentially still be an American weapon, and from a practical perspective we cannot guarantee that in the future we will always be able to trust America.  

We need to start working with other countries who believe in international legality to set up an international court that would police the world stage.   While many nations would initially resist this, it could make nation states holding their own nuclear weapons obsolete.   The way to move to peace is to guarantee international law and justice.  When the police were initially introduced in Britain they were hated and rejected, but they have come to be accepted.  We need international policing.  

If countries were prepared to work together then the cost of the nuclear deterrent could also be shared.   Britain does not require an individual deterrent, it requires international cooperation, and should work urgently to this end.    I am not proposing immediate disarmament, but instead working for international guarantees backed by intentional courts with international weapons for international peace.

I believe this is a sensible and caring response.  I would like to be able to completely remove nuclear weapons however it is not that simple.

Categories
Environment Housing

The 100 years plan for sustainable Cities (re-rebuilding Coventry)

Cities are important: hubs for business, places of culture, places to shop, work and relax.  The countryside is great to escape to, but the city is the place where most people choose to live.  How can we make cities not just more sustainable but better places to live?  The two are intrinsically linked, cities people love and are sustainable will be a success.

One of the most important factors to emphasise is that of choice.  Central planners have had visions of what a city should look like and have built places which were a dream on paper but a nightmare in reality.  Great cities have to be great for the people who live in them.  When I went to University in Glasgow someone I met from Northern Ireland had studied Woodend in Coventry in Geography, as an example of poor planning.   Redesigning the city of the future has to be a democratic process.  

After the war Coventry was rebuilt and it was rebuilt for the car, as Motofest Coventry celebrates Coventry was Car City.  However, cities are by definition places where large numbers of people live, and the application of the greenbelt around such Cities leads to successful cities becoming more dense as more people move in.  Population density requires mass transit, otherwise everyone sits in traffic jams, crawling along and creating pollution.  In the best cities it is possible to cycle, walk safely, travel by multiple forms of public transport and driving is the last resort.  Cars are not an efficient use of space or other resources.  

The question is how do you get a city like Coventry where most people travel by car to a place of express public transport arrives faster than the car and people choose to use it?

The answer is not easily.  Cities are still designed around cars with out of town shopping centres, and business parks dotted around the city.  The ideal city would have local shopping and business hubs in every part of the City joined together by express public transport.  Cities like New York have blocks and you can walk to your nearest subway and then by changing just once you can get to someone else 3 stops along and 2 stops up.  Divide your City into a grid and then ensure that throughout the grid there is fast public transport.  That might be what you would do if you were building a city from scratch but how do you retrofit an existing city that needs re-engineering?

You need a plan, a plan that is thought about and considered.  If we were living in a hundred years time what sort of city would we want to live in – knowing what we know now?  How would we locate all the facilities and amenities that make up a city, the places to work, live, shop, and socialise?

If you are building around the car then you need space for cars, space for cars to park and driving.  If your primary mode of transport is no longer the car then you need a different approach.  The future city should aim that private transport is a service you buy when you need it, rather than a vehicle you own.   The best form of buildings for mass transport is different, with cars the more dense the more you sit in a traffic jams, with public transport lots of high rise buildings in the same place can justify fast and frequent public transport and reduce the carbon footprint.

Rather than having shops in shopping centres, businesses in business parks and homes in residential areas, to maximise public transport, and ideally to stop people requiring any transport at all, the aim is to combine shops and businesses with a certain amount of housing.  Residential areas, still with some shops and facilities should be linked by fast public transport.  The aim is that the majority will live a short walk from the public transport grid and walk to their nearest stop or even to their workplace, while others may need to do the last mile by bike, on foot or if necessary car before connecting with public transport.  This would not only reduce carbon emissions but reduce travel times and remove the requirement for people to own their own car.  This will reduce costs for people and could potentially lead to people needing to work less.  Walking more will also have health benefits.

The costs of the infrastructure for express public transport is extremely expensive, even over 20 years the investment may not be justified, but over 100 years it becomes a different story.  Also putting in public transport infrastructure may mean that some buildings need to be removed to reshape the city.  Doing that quickly is very painful, if the plans can be written years ahead the city can buy the houses in the way and rent them out at a reduced rate until the time when the infrastructure needs to be built.

The first thing to do is to plan for the long-term, but then see how quickly those plans can be realised.  

Poorl housing is also an issue.  Cities need to be designed for life.  Much old housing is poorly insulated, and either requires significant investment to upgrade, or if poor quality can be replaced, but some older property is always going to be a problem.  Giving public money for private properties is sometimes necessary but not ideal.  The aim in the future should be that the a national housing scheme buys housing, upgrades it and then rents it back at affordable rents.

Planning so that people have shops nearby rather than large shops far away also means that people can shop more frequently, buying what they need and reduce waste.

Having larger offices with canteens means food can be produced on site, served on crockery than can be washed rather than in disposable containers and cut waste dramatically.  Having shops located by workplaces again gives people the option of buying fresh as required and reducing waste.  

Heating is a major form of pollution and a major cost, increasing insulation and building modern homes can transform cities.   Good publicly rented housing could enable people to be more flexible about where they live.  Many older people live in houses that are too big and unsuitable for their needs.  High quality older people’s housing close to shops properly insulated, with cheap hotel accommodation onsite for relatives and visitors to use would be transformational.   Also having older people located together means that the carers can focus on providing care rather than travelling from home to home.  This works both for the carers and the cared for.  This could also maximise the independence of older people and with facilities throughout the city enable people to stay within the same area.  

Redesigning a greener Coventry is not possible without significant change.  However, small changes like redesigning roads so that pedestrians have priority over cars and changing the way that streets are designed to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists encourage people to walk and cycle rather than get in their cars.  

This is a conversation we all need to have.  People may fundamentally disagree on some points, some people may have far better ideas, however it is a conversation that needs to happen.   We need to put people at the heart of our cities, and work together to co-create greener greater cities.

If elected I would campaign for sustainable cities and campaign for people to have that conversation. 

Categories
Wellbeing

Wellbeing for All

One issue that a local voter has raised with me is wellbeing and particularly youth wellbeing.  This is something I’m passionate about and we must do more.

There are lots of factors that impact our wellbeing, and for me the focus of politics should not be more wealth but more wellbeing.  It’s more important to be happy than to be rich, obviously riches and happiness might be what people seek but the two don’t always go together.  Increasing wellbeing should be one of the main focuses of this election.

As a parent of school age children, I am conscious of the pressures that children today are under.  When I was at school it was said that schools should not simply be exam factories, battery farming children for the world of work.  Today, children face incredible pressures not just to succeed, but from social media, as well as all the normal pressures that every child faces.

Firstly, put wellbeing at the heart of education.  I know the impact of stress in the workplace, if we can equip people to better cope with that stress then we can encourage wellness at work.  Stress not only causes absence, but it undermines people’s performance, and makes lives miserable.  We need to focus schools on wellbeing.  To put pastoral care and emotional education at the heart of our education system.  If that means that teachers mark less tests so be it.  I fully appreciate that this cannot be simply on top of the current workload for teachers.  Good universal wellbeing services and early intervention will stop bigger problems developing later on.  This needs to be not just a new mantra, but a genuine investment.

Secondly, art, music, culture and sport support wellbeing.  Culture is the glue that sticks us together and we need to embrace and celebrate those cultures.  It’s great that well off parents can afford music lessons, for their children but we need to ensure that every child can afford to learn a musical instrument.  We need to stop the retreat from art and music in schools.  I would love to have school league tables for child participation in art, music and sport.  Not just that good participation can be celebrated but to hold government accountable for putting resources where most needed. 

Thirdly, address wellbeing issues and exam grades will increase.  It is not either wellbeing or results but both.  I’m not saying that wellbeing is what is holding back every child’s performance, but for many children address the wellbeing issues and performance will increase.

Fourthly, while putting wellbeing at the heart of education should reduce pressure on specialist wellbeing services, there will still be significant demand.  Services should be properly funded so that people get the care when required, there is the same danger people deteriorate when waiting  as there is for physical health.

Fifthly, understand the impact of environmental factors.  Poor housing is bad for your physical and mental health.  Wellbeing needs to be treated holistically.  People need good public health so that they avoid toxic relationships, keep away from the danger of addictions, etc.  Wellbeing should be considered at the heart of every public policy.  

Finally, every child and every individual should be important to us.  We need a culture of respect.  We need to become a polite society again.  Politicians should start by putting their own house in order.  

 

Categories
Brexit

Brexit – Answers

Firstly, declarations of interest.  I studied for three months on the ERASMUS scheme in Florence funded by the EU.  While there I attended a few days course on the New Professionalism in Teacher Education in Europe with students and academics from across Europe.  It was summer term 1993, the time of the second referendum in Denmark on the Maastricht treaty.  We spent an evening discussing Europe and the EU, everyone in the room believed in a free and democratic Europe that cooperated for the good of its citizens, but no one was a fan of the EU.  The friendships leaves probably a deeper mark than anything else. 

On holidays when young I visited the war cemeteries of France and Germany, looking at the gravestones and reading the names on the walls.  I worry about the rise in nationalism.   We have to cooperate and trade with Europe.  However, I also understand the arguments that we are an international nation, and it is not that we are little Britain, but that Europe is too small.  

The Brexit that Boris is currently proposing is a half-way house.   We lose our voice in Europe but are still subject to its laws, and we put a line through the UK – the worst of all worlds.  It is a temporary solution, but again the economic damage of crashing out without a workable long term deal may mean that we stay in this worst of worlds for a longer time – ever heard of an extension?

If countries, including the EU, were queuing up with brilliant trade and cooperation deals I would be pro-leave.  They are not.  Boris may not worry about what will happen to ordinary people if our economy crashes, I remember Coventry in the 80s with mass unemployment.  I don’t want to leave for Ghost Town.

While we are an important trading partner with the EU, offering us a very good deal would be suicidal for the EU, others would want to leave.  Norway has been proposed as a model, but Norway is subject to EU trade rules and free movement and is estimated as currently paying net approximately 75% of the UK net contribution per head.  (https://fullfact.org/europe/norway-eu-payments/ ).  

Churchill said. “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  Offer me a genuinely better deal and I will take it.  However, it could be that our current EU is the worst deal, except when compared to the alternatives.

The last referendum was close.  If the referendum was 50 people 26 voted leave, 24 remain, except it was actually closer than that (result out of 50 was 25.9 leave 24.1 remain).  I believe the Coventry South results were even closer.  If one person switched from leave to remain, that’s one person in 50 changing their mind in a certain direction, it would have been a tie, except in reality remain would have won .  It was not an overwhelming majority.  If the campaign had been glorious I would state that we must honour the result, fair fight and all that.  However, there were some pretty big pork pies. 

So what do you do?  Another referendum now the facts are clearer?  Another referendum risks more attempts to mislead.  I propose an elected constitutional assembly (say 60 elected representatives), chaired by a judge who would fact check everything, and ensure that the truth wins.  The assembly would be able to negotiate with Europe and would free parliament to be parliament.  The final outcome would have to go to a referendum for the people to sign off.  However, if people voted for a leave deal it could get to that final deal faster.  If the people decided for remain, again that would be the democratic choice of the people. 

The right deal is more important than a quick deal.  Our futures depend on it. A fair process matters, so that people can say I may not agree with the outcome, but I agree it was fair and I accept it and unite.

So what would I vote on Brexit, if returned to parliament and offered Boris’s half-in-half-out deal? I don’t see the point in an interim deal that is worse than the current deal, lets work out the full deal and then vote on that.  Boris’s deal in the short term is Brexit in name only, it may lead to a car crash if we cannot agree a deal.

People should not be put the same question twice.  The majority have expressed the desire to leave, but the amazing trade deals for the UK queue appears to be empty.  The NHS is not going to gain an extra £350m a week.  This deal is not what people were offered in 2016, and therefore the new proposal should be put to the people.  A referendum is not ideal, but I would support it as better than nothing.  In the referendum I would campaign for calm heads and full facts.

I would like the best cooperation with Europe and our world partners, but politics is the art of the possible.  I am not going to commit to voting either way on any deal that has not yet been presented.  However, by sharing my thinking, you can see how I would make that decision.

 

Categories
Housing

Solving Britain’s Housing Crisis

Britain is suffering from a housing crisis which requires urgent action:

  • The right to have a good home is a fundamental human right.
  • Millennials spend three times more of income on housing than grandparents [i]
  • Thousands of people live in tenancies where they can be evicted with little notice.
  • The number of social houses being built at its lowest for 70 years
  • Much housing is poorly insulated causing fuel poverty and climate change
  • The average house price in 2015/16 was more than two and a half times the average in 1995/96, after adjusting for inflation. Incomes for this age group grew just a fifth in that time.[ii]
  • Every year the government pays millions in public money to private landlords which often offer poor value.
  • The problems of the housing market has sunk the whole economy into recession, and if not effectively managed will do so again.

I call for:

  • A national housing scheme bringing different bodies involving both social housing and state. People applying for housing and moving housing should be a seamless experience.
  • The scheme should borrow money to build and buy housing, it would be a safe investment.
  • People renting public housing should have the same security as people who own their own house.
  • A person who lost their job would have no fear of eviction, but could focus on finding another job.
  • Public housing should be of safe and of a high quality.
  • Housing should be run democratically with people consulted at all levels.
  • The government should implement an additional inheritance tax to help fund the housing.  People who have benefited from the substantial increases in housing over their lives can share the benefits with the next generation. 
  • Rents should be fair and reasonable. Someone who rents a property should not be worse off over their lifetime than someone who buys their own home. 
  • End the right to buy of public and social housing.
  • Housing should be as environmental sound as possible. This not only addresses climate change but fuel poverty. 
  • Housing should be built integrated with local services, public transport and green spaces.

Housing is profitable.  Government intervention in the long term would generate income for the government and reduce housing costs.  Expanding public housing is economically and environmentally sustainable, it is a no-brainer.

Public housing expansion should be integrated with a 100-year plans for sustainable Cities (more details coming soon), integrating higher density housing with business, commerce, public services and high-quality public transport – making every city a great place to live. 

Currently shopping, businesses and housing are normally segregated using land ineffectively.  By creating high density hubs of housing, business, shopping and public transport vibrant cities can make effective use of the land.  Better planning land use and public transport will create greener cities and reduce the commute.

An average large supermarket, has lots of single level parking and a large single storey building.  Using the land differently could create over the country hundreds of thousands of homes without encroaching on Greenbelt.  People should be involved in all stages of the planning process to ensure that the homes that are built are ones that people want to live in. 

Apartments are great for students, many young singles and many older people, by creating different options people who want to will be able to move out of houses other people want.   As a student and recent graduate I happily lived in a tenement in the West End of Glasgow.  When old I would be more than happy to live in an apartment over a supermarket with great public transport links.  The aim is not to create housing of last resort, but housing that your average person would be happy to live in.   Your average family could live their whole life in public housing, and feel proud of it.

It’s not all about high density.  If someone wanted to buy a house but could not get a mortgage but could afford to rent, the housing scheme could buy the house and rent it.  There is no point in building social houses at a cheap price for people to buy, because when they are sold they are no longer social houses.  Instead, houses would be built to rent. 

The scheme would step in and compulsory purchase, at a reasonable price, properties from failing private landlords and take over as landlord.  A clear legal framework would protect the rights of tenants, achieve value for the public and defend the rights of property owners.  While the right of everyone to a good house would trump the right of the private profit of the few, the state must never act in a way that is arbitrary and must balance the rights of property with the rights of all to a limited resource. 

In the countryside the housing scheme could favour local people who otherwise have to move out of the area.

Not every private landlord is bad.  When I was a student I bought a flat, my Dad guaranteed the mortgage, I offered good rates to friends and everyone won.  However, the priority for housing must be as a place for people to live.

 

[i] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/20/millennials-spend-three-times-more-of-income-on-housing-than-grandparents

 

[ii] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/uk-home-ownership-falls-more-than-eu-country-france-poland-property-market-a8501836.html

Categories
Brexit

Boris against Brexit

“For the last three-and-a-half years this country has been trapped by Brexit – like some super-green supercar blocked in the traffic. We are stuck in a rut. We have been paralysed by a broken parliament. Like Tantalus in Hades, we can see the opportunities in front of us – the luscious grapes, the refreshing stream – and yet every time we reach out to grasp them we find they are whisked away, with yet another delay, and yet another pointless parliamentary manoeuvre. ”

Boris Johnson, 5 November 2019 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/11/05/deal-oven-ready-get-brexit-done-take-country-forward/

Boris has railed against Parliament and the way that it has delayed Brexit. So obviously Boris has never voted in a way that has delayed Brexit?

Not true. Boris voted twice against the meaningful votes on Theresa May’s Brexit, and of course he has a right to, which I would not dispute.

Boris pushes the narrative that the people causing the delays are those who voted remain, but he himself has voted in ways that have not “got Brexit done.”

In the referendum in 2016 51.9% voted leave, 48.1% voted remain. Remain is a single option, but Brexit has multiple flavours. If the remain voted stayed static any Brexit deal would have to be acceptable to 95% of Brexit supporters to have an overall majority in the country.

While Brexit overall had support finding any actual deal that is popular is much more difficult. Yet to pass any actual Bill you have to make that choice, that is the challenge of getting Brexit done.

Boris attacking others for voting against Brexit and delaying Brexit, when he himself has done so, is dishonest and a fundamental attack on democracy. It is the job of parliament to scrutinise legislation and get it right.

Some argue for a second referendum to put the specific deal to the people and see if they back it. Does the real deal have support? I can see the argument for that. Politics is the art of the possible, and a second referendum would check with people that because what is possible is not what was promised, if they still want it. If parliament has to honour the will of the people then it is worth parliament asking what the people actually will.

This is not about denying Brexit but about honouring what people actually want. As a student with history the phrase the will of the people worries me. It is used by too many dictators and demagogues, who push their own agenda at great cost to the people.

Some people obviously would support whatever Brexit. The hard line Brexiters drive the narrative, but the only way to find out what Brexit people actually want is to ask the people.

The last referendum was not a glorious fact driven calm thoughtful exploration of what is best for Britain. The last referendum was driven for distortions, half-truths and emotion, and while more is known, it seems naive to me to think that the second referendum will not suffer the same fate.

Therefore, I propose the creation of an elected constitutional assembly to determine the future relationship with Europe. This would be empowered to negotiate with Europe, but would be presided over by judges who could rule the lies out of order. At the end the Constitutional Assembly would put a simple recommendation to the country, which if accepted would become law.

The ballot paper would have a second question to come into play if the first question was unsuccessful to rate in order your preferences for the other options. The least popular of these options would be eliminated until a single option had more than 50% of the votes, which would then become law.

This would take time, but it would get it right. The Conservative government has ineptly squandered the last three years without a proper plan, they blame that on others, but they are the government. That time has been wasted, and the reality is little progress. Boris’s current proposal is a half-Brexit. It removes the country from the institutions of Europe while leaving to a future day to sort what the relationship with Europe will actually look like when the interim arrangements finally finish – and it is quite possible that these will keep on being extended. Millions of jobs depend on trade with Europe, we need to get this right. An elected constitutional assembly could work towards a full Brexit, and by doing so demonstrate what Brexit would actually look like and provide people with a real informed choice.

The failed process of the Brexit referendum has divided the nation. However, an informed decision with a clear outcome through a robust and fair process, could unite the country around the process – a fair fight – even if people still fundamentally disagree with the decision.

This is too important to do badly, and it has been done, and is still being done, very very badly. Therefore, I believe a constitutional assembly is the only way.

Categories
Election 2019

Ed Manning, Independent Candidate, Coventry South

I hereby announce that I have submitted my nomination papers and paid my deposit and I am standing as an Independent Candidate in Coventry South.

Britain is in crisis, divided not just by Brexit, but by wealth and poverty and the divisions between the nations of the United Kingdom.  Crime is rising.  Ordinary working people struggle to find a home to buy or securely rent.   Politics is toxic with hatred and threats of violence.  The existing parties fail to produce the ideas and leaders the nation requires.   The Conservative Prime Minister uses inflammatory language and the courts have found that he has been misleading.  People have left the Labour Party because of extremism.  

People have lost faith in politics as a power for good.  Yet politics created housing that transformed the lives of the poor, provided the NHS for healthcare for all and education which gave people a chance to improve their lives.  Political campaigns stopped people dying in unsafe workplaces and created greater equality.  We all live by the benefit of those who stepped out, sometimes when it looked hopeless, and decided they wanted to make a difference.  If we do nothing the country will carry on becoming more divided and will go from bad to worse, while the environment is destroyed, poverty increases and our communities are weakened.  It is time for change. 

.  To sum up what I believe is required, and I can bring, it is caring and sensible.

What caring and sensible means?

  • Everyone has the right to a good house, education, healthcare and to live without fear
  • The environment is in crisis and requires action
  • Act on common sense not ideology, for instance millions were wasted on hospital PFI schemes.
  • Being prepared to pay for better when required
  • Tell the truth

My polices are out workings of that thought process, which I would use as an MP to make decisions.  I am planning to roll out policies during the campaign on issues such as creating more public housing, designing greener cities, backing the NHS, breaking the cycle of crime, supporting wellbeing for all, increasing positive political engagement and creating better politics.