Radical politics does not wait for change to come – it demands change now. There is nothing radical about waiting for Brexit chaos and then seeking to gain tactically from it.
The country desperately needs a left-wing government with a bold agenda. But first we must give the people a say over this disastrous Tory Brexit. If we fail, the left will be complicit in a project we neither want nor support – and progressive politics could face a fatal setback.
Brexit is the vehicle the right has chosen to deliver their destructive vision. Its biggest cheerleaders are an extreme elite who want to cut the state to the bone and slash protections for workers, trade unions and the environment. They want to asset-strip the NHS and sell it off for parts. They will sacrifice food, hygiene and environmental standards to achieve a trade deal with Trump’s America. History will not look kindly on anyone who stood by and allowed them to win.
That is why Labour’s policy, agreed at its conference in September, was so important. It effectively made clear that Labour will vote against any Tory Brexit deal, seek a general election and then, failing that, campaign for a public vote. This was a huge step forward.
Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party has brought hope back to British politics. Only the left can build a more equal, just society – and a more democratic one. Having agreed on the principle of giving the public a final say on any Brexit deal, Labour should now go further and begin making the case for it.
Those who will suffer the worst consequences of this right-wing project deserve a voice. Letting the people decide on their future is the only approach to Brexit which is consistent with the radical and democratic vision we all share.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary
Ann Pettifor, economist
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
David Lammy MP
Michael Mansfield QC
Paul Hilder, co-founder of Crowdpac and 38 Degrees
Julie Ward MEP
Zoe Williams, journalist
Alena Ivanova, Momentum activist
Michael Chessum, national organiser, Another Europe is Possible
Marina Prentoulis, Another Europe is Possible
Niccolo Milanese, director, European Alternatives
Paul Mackney, former general secretary of the UCU
Neil Faulkner, archaeologist and historian
Mohammed Ateek, Syrian academic and activist
Hugh Lanning, former general secretary of the PCS
Luke Cooper, senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin and convenor of Another Europe is Possible
Nick Dearden, human rights activist
Salman Shaheen, chair of Labour group, Hounslow Council
Behind the times
Like millions of others I have always held Theresa May’s government in contempt.
Looks like the House of Commons just caught up with us.
Jenny’s right – we need tech tailored to the needs of the elderly
I am responding to Jenny Eclair’s splendid article on ageing and the very real problems associated with simple things.
Loads of older people get “dry-eye syndrome” which is distressing but very easily treated if one can get the bottle of drops open. These screw-top bottles and jars which are supposed to be helpful and easy are just not.
Arthritis is a common complaint in the elderly and once in one’s fingers I defy anyone to open a bottle. Just holding the thing can be painful and as for screwing the top off, just forget it. I have resorted to attempting to cut the top off in desperation. Fortunately I have a husband who still has quite good fingers so we manage. There are so many fiddly things in our world today but to continue using these screw-tops on necessary medicines is absurd. All that is needed is some joined up thinking. Most drops are used by older people, lots of older people get arthritis in their fingers, so therefore we must change the design on bottles.
I am almost 74 and, apart from awful arthritis, mainly OK and quite able to use my iPad or a laptop without trouble. However, the generation before me did not use computers while still at work. I do know a number of women over 80 who are quite competent with computers. Most I know use a computer to write or talk to grandchildren and to take and store photographs. It does depend on people’s hobbies and interests. So not all older people are the same when it comes to a computer.
Note to Jenny – get your mother to join the local University of the Third Age (U3A) once she has recovered. You should find details online and she will find people to help her to use Google in an informal, relaxed environment where everyone is over 60 at least. I do hope she recovers quickly from her operation and is back doing normal things again.
Thanks so much for highlighting this very simple but annoying fact.
A difficult conundrum for Final Say: how to split the ballot paper
I admire Sean O’Grady’s optimism regarding the inevitability of a second referendum; although it’s not outside the realms of possibility, I’m more doubtful the final agreement will be taken back to the public for a final say. However, hypothetically considering what the potential question ought to be does highlight a further thorny issue for the government if they are forced into a referendum. As his article highlights, there is unlikely to be much agreement regarding what should be asked.
The difficulty for Brexiteers is a lot of them are critical of the negotiated agreement Ms May has brought back from Brussels, but at the same time no sensible Leaver will argue for two Leave options and one Remain on the ballot paper as it will split the Leave vote and automatically give the Remain campaign the victory.
Furthermore, we could be left in a position where the total votes cast for the two Leave options totals more than the total votes for Remain, leaving Brexiteers feeling disenfranchised and they will argue the voting public have still given a mandate to leave the EU, albeit the referendum hasn’t provided an answer as to how. Perhaps we could flip a euro?
Final Say? Let’s just cancel Brexit altogether
I attended the march calling for a people’s vote and found it a hugely uplifting experience to see so many members of the public marching peacefully together. Personally, I wanted to send a loud message to our politicians that their grandstanding, self-serving and narcissistic behaviour has been unforgivable and the Brexit negotiations shambolic.
However, I now feel a second referendum is not the answer. If there are a majority of MPs in the house who believe Theresa May’s deal is bad and a no deal would be catastrophic, then, as our representatives, they should have the courage of their convictions, demand that Article 50 is revoked and ensure the UK stays in the EU.
Throwing the decision back to the people in a second referendum because they cannot decide is simply cowardice dressed up as democracy. MPs, do what you are paid for and act in the national interest. Meanwhile, David Cameron, hang your head in shame.
Have I misunderstood something? I had the idea that the very first duty of an elected government is to protect – in the sense of defence, and also in the sense of making the best choices in the best interests of the electorate. In the face of the overwhelming evidence presented, and the damages to the economy already clearly visible, revoking Article 50 appears to me to be the prudent choice I would expect a government to make on my behalf. Why then do we have all this fudge about it not being what the people voted for, or it will damage trust in democracy?
If, by analogy, the UK ship was running too close to dangerous rocks, such as to be a concern for safety, I might reasonably expect the captain to change course and act in the best interest of ship, crew and passengers. As for destroying trust in the democratic process, I don’t think anyone would argue that the antics of the entire Brexit fiasco has outperformed all expectations if only in that respect. “Brexit. Hear this. Cut engines. Steer 180 degrees. Revoke 50. Steady the wash!” Why am I feeling like I need to spell this out?
Burley in Wharfedale