If MPs want to fix the system, they should find an alternative to the two main parties
Please send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
In his letter yesterday Gavin Turner asks why Chuka Umunna and his like-minded Labour Party members, along with Tory Remainers, don’t leave their parties. It seems to me the issue lies within our broken two-party system.
Different factions of both of the main parties have wildly different ideals and beliefs. However, they would rather fight for control within, because success doing so guarantees power. If they followed their ideals, we would have at least two parties formed from within the Conservatives and two from within Labour. We are only in this mess because David Cameron decided to tackle his internal issue with the Brexit referendum.
I find it surprising that two and half years on from the Brexit referendum a centrist party has not coalesced to fight the anti-European views of the extremes in both the Conservative Party and Labour. It is an outcome that I for one would like to see.
Be brave MPs, follow your beliefs and we may be able to change the status quo because in my humble opinion, the current model is broken.
Politicians should be held accountable
The outstanding thing, in my mind, that the current constitution in this country allows, is for politicians to be unaccountable for their actions. There are obviously parliamentary committees to look into the actions of politicians and there is judicial review.
In my view Cameron should be reeled in and exposed in a court of law and punished for his actions. Punishment is a good deterrent, I think.
Pro-EU voters should abandon Corbyn once and for all
Your editorial yesterday hits the nail on the head. As far as I can infer, Labour is approaching Brexit as something of an opportunistic game, a way of getting one up on the shambles of the divided Tory government.
Jeremy Corbyn is a long-standing Europhobe who frankly detests everything the globalist EU stands for – although, I admit, his anti-EU beliefs somewhat pale in comparison to his love for anti-western forces. Indeed, on the EU, unlike on Russia, Venezuela and Hamas, Jeremy Corbyn is trying to appeal to everyone with his jargon. In Highgate, he emphasises Labour’s “preference” for “a customs union”, indicating a softish Brexit (that’s also impossible). In Hartlepool, however, he attempts to underline Labour’s upholding of the “will of the people” – that vacuous, irritating phrase.
Indeed, it’s all dangerous political manoeuvring for Corbyn and Momentum. Judging by the behaviour of the far-left Labour leadership, they’re excited by a chaotic Brexit that they can then blame entirely on the Tories, despite Labour’s own role in its materialisation.
If top Labour figures were in any way pro-European, in any way listening to their pro-EU members and voters, in any way truthful about their desires to prevent a bad Brexit that’ll hurt their voters, they’d already have called for a people’s vote, as their own conference demanded they do, after attempts to call a general election failed. But no, Corbyn’s letter to Theresa May this week didn’t mention a people’s vote; it didn’t mention remaining in the single market. Instead, it continued to laud the fantasy politics of pushing for “a customs union”.
The Labour Party is almost as to blame for Brexit as the Tories. It’s abdicated its role as the opposition party by allowing a catastrophic Brexit to occur. Pro-EU voters must take their votes elsewhere and, additionally, help push for an end to Corbyn’s shameful leadership of Labour.
Christopher Chope is a disgrace to the Conservative Party
Very good piece by Tom Peck on Christopher Chope, and how he has “Choped” yet another bill designed to – surprise, surprise – protect women. This is kryptonite to Chope, it seems. Pointing out his hypocrisy in objecting to bills that won’t personally affect him, while supporting bills that will is not exactly a shock but useful to highlight what kind of man he really is.
But while arcane parliamentary procedures certainly help him and his equally noxious chum Philip Davies to play their games and highlight their personal inadequacy while promoting their self-importance, it is their party that enables them.
As Peck also highlighted Chope (and Davies) are little men who add nothing to taking this country forward but succeed, with these stunts, in bringing parliament as a whole into disrepute.
But this doesn’t need to be the case. If the Tory leadership genuinely found Chope’s behaviour objectionable then withdraw the whip, select another candidate to represent the Conservatives and hold a by-election. What a great message that would send. I appreciate that this is unlikely but a party that comes up with the Malthouse compromise, and sends Theresa May off to Europe chasing unicorns like a shop-soiled Don Quixote with mythical beasts substituted for windmills, has shown there’s little it’s not beyond the absurd.
If we really want to be ethical, we should just stop shopping altogether
In Sirena Bergman’s piece on ethical fashion, one suggestion for embracing a more sustainable approach was missed – buy less. If you want to reduce the impact your buying habits have on the planet, this is the only certain tactic. In other respects, the piece did highlight the enormous complexity involved in such decisions, but also showed how nearly impossible it is to navigate this complexity when we don’t really understand all the technical aspects of the products, supply chain and economics involved.
We throw around terms like ethical, natural, chemical and sustainable without properly understanding what they mean, and the article did contain some errors. For example, it highlights silk, linen and bamboo as more sustainable fibres but harvesting silk causes the death of the silkworm part way through its lifecycle, bamboo (essentially identical to viscose rayon) involves some fairly hostile chemicals to turn it into a textile fibre and if you like white linen, this needs some quite robust chemicals to achieve.
The majority of modern dyes are better than their vegetable alternatives; they are increasingly designed to be applied with as little water, at lower temperatures and as short a dye cycle as possible; they are also designed to stay attached to the fabrics for longer so you are less likely to want to replace items that have faded.
In contrast, vegetable colourants often need enormous amounts of water to apply evenly, still need toxic chemicals to get them into the fibre and will look faded more quickly. Recycled leather and hides sourced from the meat industry are different things entirely.
On the face of it, sourcing locally seems a great ethical choice: lower carbon footprint and not exploiting cheap labour are cited as obvious benefits. However, we have to recognise that any fashion item will involve a global source somewhere – we don’t grow cotton in the the UK and we don’t manufacture enough fabrics here to sustain the fashion trade completely.
Similarly, using a low-cost source overseas might have less obvious benefits; fibres and fabric manufacture are increasingly automated but garment manufacture is more profitable – perhaps you believe in the idea of transformative capitalism, in which case keep as much of the supply value in the developing countries rather than shipping the high margin operations here.
This article is the first I’ve read outside specialist publications that tries to show how difficult these decisions are and is admirable for that but it also shows how easy it is to take wrong decisions if you don’t consider the whole picture.
There’s still reason for optimism
Thank you for your pieces on Andrew Moffat. While it is shocking and deeply disappointing that people to this day can think that homophobia and exclusion is acceptable, he stands out as an exceptional and brave human being, teaching inclusion and promoting tolerance. Two commodities in dire deficit these days.