Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘democracy

Has There Ever Been A Worse UK Government Than This?

with 53 comments

I am a member of the Conservative Party – just.  My annual subscription is due and I feel physically sick at the prospect of doing anything that is supportive of the appalling collection of third and fourth rates that presently sit round the cabinet table.

The Conservative Party has Lost Its Way. We Need To Get Back To Being Tories.

We need to re-focus on our fundamental principles: individual liberty, individual responsibility, small government, free markets, evidence-based policy and a benevolent, responsible, one-nation approach.

Let’s face it, we’ve had a privileged toff, little more than a ponce on the nation, who from his position of wealth found it very easy to impose austerity on people with whom he was totally out-of-touch. Throughout his political career he vacillated and dithered on policy because he has no principles except self-advancement.  Now we have some fake Tory, an authoritarian bureaucrat with big government, nanny state instincts, daughter of a high Anglican priest stuck in some 195os delusion of what Britain is today.

Meanwhile, a socialist activist but a man with integrity, courage and vision has stolen our place.  Jeremy Corbyn provides more leadership in the UK than the entire Conservative cabinet put together.  He was magnificent at Glastonbury, seizing the hearts and minds of not just the young but the young at heart – seizing the future!  Where is the Tory alternative? There is great excitement, belief and enthusiasm for Brexit, 17.4 million people voted for it!  Where is the Conservative spokesperson passionately declaiming this?  The party has been hijacked by Remainers, determined to undermine the referendum result, interested only in the ambitions and concerns of the Westminster Elite.

When I try to talk to my MP, Sir Oliver Letwin, formerly number three in Cameron’s cabinet, although I am talking to someone a few months younger than me, I feel I am talking to my father’s generation – and to someone particularly old-fashioned and out-of-touch.  My local Conservative Party branch, charming though many of the members are, is like an episode of Last of the Summer Wine, as disconnected from the rest of the UK as Cameron is from anyone on less than £250k per annum.  At 59, I’m a youngster.

It’s outrageous really that my party has got itself into such a state with years of weak opposition, popular support for non-socialist policies and, until Corbyn, an absence of effective alternative leadership.  It’s nothing less than disastrous and unless we change now we are doomed.  The membership is old and dying.  If we don’t get a grip within five years we will be gone forever.

A Perfect Storm Of Failure, Corruption And Arrogance.

I’ve been fascinated by and active in politics since the late 1970s. Never in my lifetime have I seen such a combination of mistakes and scandalous cock-ups. Brexit has been sabotaged by dithering and delay – and I’m quite ready to believe this is a calculated deceit.  With the BBC, the bankers and the Twitterati renewing Project Fear on a daily basis, is it any wonder that the going is tough?  Cameron resigned because he said we needed a Leave supporter to take charge but instead we have a Remainer, one of the worst performing government ministers ever.  How, after six years of persistent failure at the Home Office, she became PM is beyond belief but even more incredible is that after her terrible election performance she is still in No. 10.  It is ridiculous!

The failures are all too easy to see but let’s list them to be certain that the huge scale of this crisis is understood.

Brexit – Total failure to plan, perhaps deliberately, best illustrated by the absurd spectacle, just last month, of the Home Office commissioning analysis of the economic and social contributions and costs of EU citizens in Britain.  Surely something that should have been done years ago?  Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have both proved themselves to be lacking in courage and leadership skills.  The bumptious fool Dr Liam Fox, who does seem to stick to his principles on Brexit, shames us by his foreign adventures, recently praising the murdering thug President Duterte of the Philippines as having ‘shared values’ with Britain.

NHS – Persistent deceit from ministers, including the utterly in-credible Jeremy Hunt, about how much money in real terms the health service is receiving.  Scandalous failure to keep multiple promises about mental health having parity with physical health.

Democracy – The UK’s system of government is now a joke compared to other modern democracies.  Our electoral system is primitive.  Conservative and Labour parties conspire to keep the system as it is because it keeps them both in power.  It is obvious that we should be moving towards some form of proportional representation, online voting and a radical shake-up of the House of Lords.  MPs also need to be much more accountable.  The terrible murder of Jo Cox has let too many of them off the hook that the expenses scandal put them on.  Recently they have been whining about the abuse they get online. In general they deserve it for the terrible job they are doing. Also, they get protection from the police for such abuse.  The police are useless when it’s a member of the public under attack.  We need a job description for MPs, rights for constituents and a complaints procedure with teeth.

Social policy – I am ashamed at how Conservative ministers in reality are indistinguishable from the populist caricature of the ‘arrogant, uncaring, effing Tories’.  The Grenfell Tower tragedy encapsulates everything that is wrong with the high-handed view that they take of the people who pay their wages.

Justice – After food, shelter and health what is more important than justice?  The destruction of legal aid is one of the most dreadful developments in my lifetime.  All governments delight in making more and more law but what use is it if it cannot be enforced?  There is no justice if it is not available to everyone.  I am delighted at the Supreme Court’s ruling that makes legal aid available once again for employment tribunals  Without it employment law was literally useless and thousands have been deprived of their rights.  And for his disastrous, destructive, incompetent and thoroughly nasty attitude the man who defines injustice in modern Britain is Chris Grayling.  No other minster has more disgraced our party.  He is unfit to be in government and why he remains anywhere near ministerial office is unbelievable.  No one individual better epitomises the nasty, arrogant, incompetent Tory.

Prisons – There is no greater truth than that in a free society we are defined by how we treat those we send to jail.  This is a terrible condemnation of Britain.  Our prison system is a production line for turning petty criminals into alienated, aggressive, violent repeat offenders.  There is no one who deserves the additional punishments we impose on top of deprivation of liberty.  I would make an exception for Chris Grayling who really should be made to experience a taste of his own medicine.  The Netherlands is closing prisons because it doesn’t send enough people to jail.  We should swallow our pride and copy their system exactly.

Technology – As the nation that has led the world in virtually all new technologies, we are now falling a long way behind.  The government has failed miserably to give enough priority to high speed internet.  We will never catch up now and our children and our businesses are forever disadvantaged.  Progress is hampered in development of new energy sources, transport and infrastructure by bureaucracy, endless bickering between special interest groups and weak strategic management.  The EU has magnified all these problems and prevented progress in GM foods and other technologies that are essential to our future.

Transport – With Chris Grayling at the helm and the farce that is HS2, there is no hope for a sensible transport strategy.  I simply don’t buy the argument that a slightly faster journey time between north and south will do anything to create a better future.  Train fares are ludicrously high.  The conditions commuters are expected to travel under are ridiculous.  The Southern Rail scandal is a microcosm of government incompetence and inaction.  It should have been re-nationalised at least a year ago and there should be massive fines and penalties on those responsible for the chaos, including individuals.  I see no conflict with Conservative principles in re-nationalising the whole network.  The mess that has prevailed since privatisation could not be any worse and compare us with railway networks and service on the continent for a true picture of our national shame and decay.

Environment – Technology and transport converge with environmental policy and this is a difficult, challenging area of policy.  What we need is strong leadership – no, not the empty claims of Mrs May but the real leadership of Mrs Thatcher.  Even the despicable Tony Blair showed more leadership than we have had from any current Conservative politician.  We need to take bold decisions and act on them.  Ecology and controlling pollution must be a real priority but we must not be distracted by the greeny loons and their endless prevarication and delays.  I have no objection to fracking as long as it is strictly regulated and in recent visits to Ireland I have seen how forests of wind turbines do not destroy wonderful countryside and can have their own beauty, just as we now revere Victorian aqueducts and civil engineering.  Most of all though we should racing ahead with tidal power.  As an island it has to be our future and its potential is unlimited.

Northern Ireland – I hope one of the by-products of Brexit will be a united Ireland.  There is no longer a real majority of unionists in the six counties and it only ever existed because of immigrants from Scotland.  The UK’s shameful history in Ireland places a heavy obligation on us.  We are one and the same people and the damage inflicted by the English Parliament on our neighbours must be put right.  We are far closer to the Irish than we are to the French, the Dutch or the Belgians.  As independent nations, with Ulster properly restored, we could be closer than ever and if Ireland wishes to remain in the EU, we should respect that.

Drugs Policy – No policy better demonstrates the incompetence, prejudice, cowardice and corruption of government ministers from all parties. Deaths from drug overdose have reached an all time high. There has been an explosion in highly toxic new psychoactive substances and the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 has increased harms, deaths, associated crime and potency, exactly as was predicted, warnings the government chose to ignore.  The government has refused to consider or take any expert advice on introducing legal access to medical cannabis, something that virtually all other modern democracies are moving forward on. Its continuing policy on cannabis defies scientific evidence and real-life experience from places where reform has been implemented.  It also supports the criminal market, encourages street dealing, dangerous hidden cannabis farms and the production of poor quality, low-CBD, so-called ‘skunk’ cannabis.

Defence – A catalogue of cock-ups, dullards in charge and weak, indecisive leadership.  In my view we should cancel the renewal of Trident and  spend more on conventional weapons and defence measures which we may actually have to use.  We should retain some battlefield nuclear weapons but invest more in our soldiers and their technology. We should also look after them far better when they leave the service

Foreign Affairs – The UK is the world superpower in ‘soft power’.  Our culture, language, history give us more influence than any other nation and we should be proud to exercise it. We should have the courage to stand for our principles, independently of the USA and Europe.  The £12 billion we give in international aid is far too much when there is real poverty at home but even if we halved the present budget we would still lead the world.  We are responsible for the injustice perpetrated on the Palestinian people when we facilitated the seizure of their land in the 1940s.  We should be standing up to Israel which has become an out-of-control monster.  We created it and we must take responsibility for bringing it to order and helping it to live alongside its neighbours respectfully.  Its conduct is unacceptable and we should be pursuing war crimes prosecutions against Netanyahu and many of his cronies.

Housing – The housing crisis needs a courageous, radical solution, not the pathetic, sticking plaster gimmicks and gestures that is all we have had for 50 years.  Massive investment in social housing would create jobs and boost the economy all round.  We shouldn’t hesitate.  We shouldn’t fear a dramatic fall in house prices caused by massive extra supply. We have to get real and government must stop shirking its responsibility for a strategic role that only it can fill.

Boris is the only one with a brain

I have not yet decided whether I shall renew my membership.  I’m not even sure if there is any future in the UK for me.  Brexit was a great opportunity which has been sabotaged, perhaps fatally.  Britain may well become a tourist destination, fascinating for the way such a small nation led the world for centuries.  We are being led by weak, ineffectual, self-serving, out-of-touch and out-of date politicians.  As the Conservative Party is dying, it is dragging Britain down with it.

The Miserable Matter Of The Mayor Of Bridport. Prejudice, Lies And Cover Up.

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ros kayes mayor
Ros Kayes is a Liberal Democrat councillor and was made Mayor of Bridport in May 2016.

my FB libDEm resigI resigned from the Liberal Democrats just before the EU referendum because I believed the position the party adopted was a betrayal of fundamental values of liberalism and democracy.  I think it was a perfectly respectable position to take to vote remain and there were questionable tactics on both sides during the campaign. However, the bitter, abusive response to the result by many people, particularly Liberal Democrats, has been quite terrible.

Ros Kayes’ behaviour has been shocking. Even worse, she has been dishonest and has tried to cover up her foolish remarks.

She published this comment on Facebook during 23rd June 2016, the day of the referendum:

ros kayes prejudice

I responded that this was an act of prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, totally against all Liberal Democrat values and was exactly the reason I had resigned.  In return I received these responses:

ros kayes prejudice 2

 

ros kayes prejudice 3

I have written to Ros, politely asking her to clarify what “unsavoury posts in the last few weeks” and what “unpleasant email to a party member”?  I have no idea what she is talking about and I fear she has invented these angry ripostes.

Anyway, I would have let it lie there until I received a phone call from Rachel Stretton a reporter from the Dorset Echo.

Rachel said she was calling me about a lot of complaints the newspaper had received about Ros Kayes’ Facebook posts concerning the referendum.  I told her how shocked I was at what I’d seen and she told me about a post containing bad language which, at the time. I had not seen. We ended the conversation with me confirming that Ros Kayes’ behaviour had been the final straw in my resigning membership of the party.

I then discovered the very foolish, childish use of foul language that Roz Kayes had published.

ros kayes prejudice 4

 

I posted on Facebook about what had happened and there was quite a response.  However, I thought it was probably time to let it go.  A lot of people were very upset by the result of the referendum.  I would have been if it had gone the other way.  I think in such circumstances you do have to allow people some leeway.  Many people had been up all night, most had probably been drinking as well.  A few injudicious remarks are inevitable from tired, emotional and upset human beings!

But next thing I received a message from Rachel Stretton backpedalling as fast as she could about what she had asked when she called me.  I was astonished at this! What had spooked the Dorset Echo?  Rachel now said “We have not received any complaints about the behaviour of anyone in the run-up to the referendum. Apologies for any confusion.”

Well hang on a minute, why did she call me in the first place then?  I didn’t even know about use of the ‘F’ word until she told me and she quite definitely approached me about comments related to the referendum.

Rachel then messaged me to say: “I do of course understand if you wish to change any comment you made in light of this. Again for clarification, Ros has made a statement saying her account was hacked and this, private post, was made public inadvertently.”

What?!!  There’s no other way to put this, the Dorset Echo seemed to be involved in helping Ros Kayes to cover up her behaviour. And then I saw the ridiculous article published in the newspaper “Bridport mayor Ros Kayes responds to Facebook post criticism”.

This article is nothing less than insult to the readers of the Dorset Echo and it is a shameful attempt to deceive the electorate.  Not only is Ros Kayes telling lies but the Dorset Echo is assisting her!  This is a stitch up between a local politician and a local newspaper.  There is only one word for it – corruption.  In fact I think the greatest shame is on the newspaper.  So much for a free, independent press.  There are very grave questions to be answered by the editor and I cannot imagine that local businesses will want to be advertising in a paper that is involved in a shabby, corrupt cover-up of a politician’s misdeeds. he story about privacy settings is a story of Ros Kayes own incompetence but the story about her account being hacked is a brazen, bare-faced lie.

Nevertheless, my interest waned again. I was now beginning to learn that Ros Kayes does have an excellent reputation for good work in the community.  I have myself been subject to online attack and trolling which caused me great distress and had a real effect on  my mental health.  There are some very cruel, very spiteful people who use social media to abuse and harass for no reason other than their own perverted self-gratification.  The one comfort I had is that when I was under attack I knew it was all based on lies.  In this instance, Ros Kayes was the one telling porkies, she was responsible for causing the furore and she is tee occupier of a significant public office, one that even comes with official regalia and privileges. There does have to be some accountability.

However, I really didn’t want to take it any further.  This woman obviously does good work and if she’s made one bad mistake, I didn’t want to be vengeful or unkind about it.

Then Ros Kayes responded to my email about her claims of me making “unsavoury posts” and sending an “unpleasant email“.  (She had by now already blocked me on Facebook and Twitter). Oh dear!

My “unsavoury post” (there was only one now apparently) was this one “Why I Am Resigning From the Liberal Democrats“.  Judge for yourself whether there is anything unsavoury about it. My “unpleasant email” was an email about my change of address which I had already notified the party of, which I explained and wrote “So I don’t really know what else I could be expected to do!”. Not very unpleasant in my book.

Ros also wrote: “I certainly don’t think all Brexit voters are racist – many had perfectly sensible reasons for making the decision they did. And my post did not say that all Brexit voters were racist, simply raised fears about the ones that were.”.

So, once again I was ready to let it go. Perhaps it was one error and it could be overlooked.  I was now firmly of the opinion that the more serious matter was the Dorset Echo’s corrupt involvement in a cover up.

And then today, I was provided with a copy of a letter Ros Kayes had published in the Bridport News.

ros kayes letter
This is terrible.

“I fear this election [sic] will be won by those who revel in bigotry. I despair at the number of voters saying ‘I’m not racist but…’ then utter words from the lexicon of Adolf Hitler”

“Please don’t let our country’s future be decided by racist, liars and bigots.”

This is truly terrible. Absolutely unforgivable words from any public figure or politician, particularly one who has the audacity to call  herself a ‘Liberal Democrat’.

Such ignorant generalisations from Ms Kayes are every bit as prejudiced and discriminatory as racism. She is a terrible, terrible hypocrite.

So, despite really trying very hard to pull back from this, in the end I decided that I had to publish this story in full.

I expect Ros Kayes to resign. There seems to be a valid case that perhaps she could stay on as a councillor but her position as Mayor is untenable.

As for the Dorset Echo, this is still the far more serious issue of a corrupt, underhand cover up of a politician’s dishonesty.  It will almost certainly try to bury this story entirely now. Diarmuid Macdonagh, the editor, should do the honourable thing and explain himself.  If he doesn’t, I shall be making a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

Tim Farron Has Now Put The Loony back in LibDem.

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farron lecturing
I resigned my membership shortly before the referendum because I think the LibDem position was a betrayal of values of liberalism and democracy.

ros kayes prejudice

The final straw was my local LibDem leader, Ros Kayes, Mayor of Bridport, saying “Shameful to see the ignorance and racism in the UK population”. I have seen far too much disgusting, prejudicial, discriminatory abuse from LibDem members who have forgotten what the party stands for.

Farron’s response to the referendum result, not as direct as Ros Kayes’, implies that everyone who voted leave is ‘intolerant, closed-hearted, pessimistic and inward looking’.  His strategy is a disgusting, hate-filled attempt to subvert democracy.

If the LibDems have one talent above all others it is self-destruction. This time it may well be suicide.

Written by Peter Reynolds

June 26, 2016 at 10:54 am

This Is Why The Liberal Democrats Are In Terminal Decline.

with 3 comments

farron angry

Tim Farron has led the Liberal Democrats in the opposite direction from liberalism and democracy. This man and many members of the party are angry, resentful and bitter. Why?  This is democracy!

libdem we are the 48Farron’s words are an outrageous, hate-filled, prejudicial, discriminatory slur on 17 million voters who chose leave.

We are not all ‘intolerant, closed-hearted, pessimistic and inward looking’!

Many of us chose leave for fundamental principles of self-determination and democracy. These should be core Liberal Democrat values but it seems no longer. Instead the leadership wanted us to subsume to an unelected, unaccountable superstate run by a privileged oligarchy.

Farron is a huge liability to this party. We need a new leader who knows what being a Liberal Democrat means and who doesn’t sound off with abusive rants because he doesn’t get his own way.

Written by Peter Reynolds

June 25, 2016 at 7:42 am

Responsibility For This Hate-Filled Campaign Lies With Cameron’s ‘Project Fear’.

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jo cox flowers

Jo Cox is a martyr to British democracy.  Why have we had taken from us one who was clearly so worthy when so much of Parliament is comprised of the venal and self-serving? Many MPs will not even meet their constituents if they do not like the questions they have to ask. I have too much experience of MPs refusing to meet or assist their constituents who need access to medicinal cannabis.  Some are cowards who avoid controversial issues and disrespect their constituents’ views.  Jo Cox was  the very opposite and we must hope that some good comes from her sacrifice.

I saw my own MP, Oliver Letwin, just a couple of weeks ago and I wandered into this picturesque folly on the side of a church in Beaminster and there he was, no security, no entourage, not even a friendly bobby on the door.  He saw me through the window and called me in.  Is such informality, such casual access to a senior government minister, to be lost, even in deepest, rural Dorset?

Oaf

Oaf

We have no reliable information yet on the killer’s motivation but I see that has not stopped almost instantaneous and divisive speculation.  What is certain though is that the febrile atmosphere of this referendum campaign has brought more tension and division into our society than I have seen before.

I said this to Oliver when I met him.  His response was that this is democracy and the very nature of a referendum.  That is true but I do believe that the tactics used on both sides of this campaign have engendered far too much hate in Britain. For many this has caused great fear and confusion, particularly for the feeble minded or those that are easily led and can have their emotions inflamed by rhetoric.

The disgusting behaviour of the stinking-rich oaf Bob Geldof, abusing hard working and courageous British fishermen who have seen their livelihood devastated by the EU.  The vile UKIP poster of a queue of migrants released just a hour or so before Jo’s murder.  Nigel Farage is greatly to be admired for his determined and principled work but this poster is a mistake and inflames racial tension.

farage migrant poster

Inflammatory

Most of all though,  I blame this almost hysterical upsurge in hatred on Cameron’s Project Fear. He and Osborne told people we would be alright if we left the EU and everything would be be OK, we could make our decision without fear that either choice would be a catastrophic mistake.  Immediately though they have engaged in a campaign of terrorism, predicting chaos, disaster and mayhem if we vote to leave. Osborne’s scaremongering about a post-Brexit emergency budget was the nadir of Project Fear. He has stepped so far over the line that he will never command the trust of the British people again.

I have already submitted my postal vote and it is #VoteLeave.  I know it is the opposite of what Jo Cox would have voted but I pay tribute to her as a politician who stood for democracy and, in my view, that is what this referendum is about.  It’s not ‘…about the economy, stupid.’  Neither is it about immigration. It’s about self-determination and being governed by people we elect, not faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats.

Project Fear

Project Fear

A House of Commons full of MPs with the sincerity and good faith of Jo Cox would be my ideal. I believe that is what we should work towards, not abdicating our responsibility to some out-of-touch superstate, not led into servitude by a self-serving, elite of privileged politicians who rely on fear and scaremongering and try to intimidate us into a vote that is not freely chosen.

34 Years Ago, 255 British Soldiers Gave Their Lives For The Principle Of Self-Determination.

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falklands-war

Will You Betray Their Gallantry By Surrendering

That Principle To The EU?

I’m for Brexit and it’s nothing to do with immigration, benefits, the economy, xenophobia or any of the abusive allegations made by the remainers, it’s about fundamental principles of self-determination and democracy.

 

Written by Peter Reynolds

May 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Extremist Attack On Freedom Renders Cameron And May Unfit To Be Ministers Of The Crown.

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may cameron

Even before Theresa May delivers another speech of hatred, prejudice and bile at the Tory Party conference, the dreadful news is out.  Cameron himself has trailed it and blatantly, unashamedly, these two oppressors of British democracy plan to restrict our freedom of speech and thought in a way never before contemplated.

Cameron explicitly states that it is not just about committing or inciting violence, it is about holding “extremist views”.  All that the Home Secretary has to have is “reasonable suspicion” that people hold views she does not agree with or dislikes and she may lock them up.

This must be stopped. It is the greatest ever betrayal of the British people and Cameron and May have demonstrated conclusively that they are not fit to be in government.  They are hoist on their own petard for their ideas are as extremist as any other and if such legislation is introduced, they should be the first to be arrested and charged

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 30, 2014 at 10:16 am