How Not To Dodge A Hard Question...
Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2016 at 16:28
While I have fought against the Labour Party my entire political life, I have also respected the party, many of its politicians and some of its principles. I believe that our system of parliamentary democracy requires a strong opposition to bring about good government.
It was therefore tragic and quite embarrassing to witness the Shadow Foreign Secretary appear on Sky News over the weekend. Unable to name either the French Foreign Minister or the South Korean President, Emily Thornberry was shown to have a poor grasp of her brief.
What did she do? Accept she had been caught out and take it graciously? No, for Thornberry is a Corbynista and they never seem to accept any blame for any failings. She accused the presenter of being ‘sexist’ for daring to ask her basic questions about her brief.
Before any keyboard warriors on Twitter get their undergarments in a twist I’ll admit I probably couldn’t have named the two people mentioned off the top of my head on a Sunday morning. But I’m not the Shadow Foreign Secretary aiming to present myself as member of a government in waiting.
What’s worse is that there is still a huge amount of sexism about in Westminster and much of the rest of the country. It needs to be called out wherever we find it. But to just use a knee-jerk accusation of sexism as a disguise for basic ignorance of your brief is to de-value the term.
The Labour Party was once the party of Barbara Castle, fighting very real injustice for women and I, as a Tory, am still thankful for their work. How a once-great party could fall so quickly from Barbara Castle to Emily ‘White Van’ Thornberry is astonishing and deeply sad.
On a different note, my office is still getting requests from constituents for the tours of ‘Big Ben’ offered by the parliamentary authorities. Unfortunately these are now fully booked until December, when the Elizabeth Tower closes for lengthy renovation. While I can’t for the time being arrange tours of the tower, I will very happily arrange tours for constituents of the rest of the Palace.
My Times Red Box Article on Brexit
Posted Tuesday, 6 September 2016 at 15:58
In Parliament yesterday, David Davis took to the dispatch box for the first time since 1996 to explain what Brexit means to those who felt that the phrase, ‘Brexit means Brexit,’ had run its course.
‘It means leaving the European Union,’ he explained to the most zealous of europhile MPs still attempting to mount an attack.
It is worth noting that since June 23rd, we have seen an increase in car sales, a record increase in manufacturing industry growth and countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Speaker of the US Congress all pressing for free trade deals. Maybe they understand our desire to take control of our own borders, keep our streets safe, make our own laws and our elected government decide how British tax payers money is spent? A bit like they do.
The process of establishing the framework within which we trigger article 50 and repeal the European Communities Act will take a little time. Not a lot. Polls are telling us that the public would rather we got it right, than rushed and got it wrong.
If some still cannot believe in Britain and our ability to innovate and achieve, they should listen to the Japanese Ambassador who said that he had not met a single company that did not think Britain was the best place in Europe to do business. Not one.
The fact is that Britain had become damaged, subsumed by the priorities, interests and demands of the twenty seven member states of the European Union.
Our goal should now be to look outwards and trade with the rest of the world. We must negotiate access to the single market as other countries have done, not membership. Trade agreements are based on mutual benefits to both countries, not just on one side. No European country is committed to self harm. They want to do business with us as much as we do with them, but without the ties, which presently bind us and prevent us from doing deals elsewhere.
There must be areas where policy will exist in harmony, develop and amend, such as environmental policy, security and foreign affairs. Brexit doesn’t mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is about securing the very best deal for Britain.
This summer, our best athletes travelled to Brazil to show the world just how great Britain is by beating every other EU country on the leader board and proudly flew home wearing a stash of medals. Those amateur athletes knew exactly what they could achieve.
No MP should demand the right to a vote on the final Brexit agreement and dilute the outcome. MPs who assume to do so, believe themselves to be the professional politicians who know better. Seventeen and a half million Brits voted for Brexit. They didn’t need David Davis to explain to them what Brexit means. They know what we can achieve. We are merely the people’s representatives. We had our own vote on June 23rd and the people have told us, get on with it.
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