Two things on twitter this morning have given me a bit of optimism. However before the good news there is the awful news. I am very disappointed that all 16 Sussex MPs appear to have voted for a General Election that the country did not need and could not afford. As I wrote yesterday had Theresa May called an election in the Autumn to gain a mandate, I would have supported her call (albeit hoping for a change in Government). Had she judged the time to be right to hold one next month, it would at least have saved the country money compared to what we now face. The timing is also potentially very frustrating in at least one Manchester constituency that is holding a by-election next month following the death of Gerald Kaufman. However 16 Sussex MPs and another 506 MPs from other parts of the UK have all heeded Mrs May’s call. In her call for support for her decision she said: “We are determined to bring stability to the United Kingdom for the long term and that’s what this election will be about – leadership and stability. The decision facing the country will be clear. I will be campaigning for strong and stable leadership in the national interest with me as Prime Minister and I will be asking for the public’s support to continue to deliver my plan for a stronger Britain, to lead the country for the next five years and to give the certainty and stability that we need.”
I know I am not alone in finding such words deeply hypocritical in the way in which this election was called and in the fact that Mrs May is ducking and diving regarding matters such as televised debates. She explained to Nick Robinson on Radio 4 yesterday morning that she would not participate in such events, preferring to meet the public and campaign face to face, yet she has now agreed to participate in a Question Time style interview and refused to answer questions or to meet with anyone other than banner waving Conservatives at the launch of her General Election Campaign on her visit to Bolton yesterday.
However now for the good news.
I am really thrilled to read that Jack Monroe has decided to stand and announced her priorities in terms of policies (none of which are a surprise) but not named a party. She has pledged she will “do the best for the most people”, with priorities including healthcare, services for people with disabilities, living standards, jobs and decent homes. I hope she has the confidence to stand as an Independent and that this new Parliament gains a number of new faces from outside of conventional political parties.
One of the people I follow on twitter and facebook has been a long standing member of the Conservative Party until now, she describes herself as an activist and was also a former member of the Parliamentary List. She has explained why she is abandoning the party which relates to both to policies such as Brexit, the abandonment of social priorities, abhorrent treatment of vulnerable citizens through ditching DLA with inhuman JSA Sanctions and also relates to the way in which her MP, a Government Minister has treated a charity she is involved in which relates directly to his Ministerial role, delaying meetings which have now been cancelled altogether due to the election. Jane writes I will NOT be campaigning for the Conservative Party. You do not deserve my support. On twitter she explained that she agrees with me that Party politics is part of the problem, not part of the solution, but we need electoral reform if we are to see a real change.
I find the whole party beating up party debate really horrible. I agree with others on twitter that such behaviour makes them want to ignore all the parties. I am delighted that my MP will make a difference next Parliament even though she is part of a party of one MP at present. I would equally support an Independent if Caroline was not already Independent of the political mainstream. We need people who have policies they believe in, not who are wedded to party structures and priorities.