Now it’s your turn. Today voters decide who should represent us in the next Parliament.
I have had my say, so I will write about something unconnected to the UK election this morning.
Last week Mr Trump announced he was pulling the USA out of the Paris climate Agreement of 2015. This met with substantial protest from governments around the world. Mrs Merkel and the EU were especially vocal in condemning his action.
The Paris Agreement laid down two things. It set out voluntary targets for reductions of CO2 by the advanced country signatories, and allowed developing countries more latitude on their targets as growth often comes with more energy consumption. It established a Green Climate Fund for the advanced nations to make substantial payments to the developing world to help fund their investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Mr Obama was particularly proud of the decision, and is very critical of his successor.
Mr Trump argued that the USA is expected to pay too much, and the others have not done enough. He argued that far from limiting coal and carbon dioxide it would shift coal production from the USA to China. He argued that the costs were severe on the USA, with large losses in prospect for coal and wider industry, whilst the gain in total carbon dioxide reduced worldwide would be small.
I am giving you the chance to write about Mr Trump and his critics on this important subject, knowing you will write about what you want to.
Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU read more
The Liberal Democrats could not be clearer. They dislike Brexit. They are not reconciled to the decision of Uk voters, and are offering a second referendum on Brexit were they to be able to influence government. They have said they will likely campaign for Remain again in such a referendum.
The Lib Dems have issued leaflets with “Want to stop a disastrous Hard Brexit? ” on the front, and a message from their Leader “demanding” a second referendum on the second page. They have campaigned to turn this General Election into a second referendum on Brexit by urging all who want to try to reverse the referendum decision to vote for them to secure another vote. They are wrong to suggest their opponents want a disastrous Brexit. No party wants a disastrous Brexit. Realists accept membership of the single market is not on offer for a non EU state. The issue is mutual access, not membership.
If the polls are right and they come well behind the two leading parties we will be able to conclude that most voters now accept the verdict of the referendum and wish a new government to get on and implement it in the best way possible. Many people think the UK would look silly and place itself in a very weak position if two years after telling our partners we were leaving we wanted to change our mind and tried to get old terms of membership back.
One of my few cherished memorabilia of past Liberal Democrat campaigns is their leaflet saying “It’s time for a real referendum on Europe”. Issued when Conservatives were trying to stop the Lisbon Treaty , Lib Dems then declined to help us get a vote on that but recommended an In/Out vote. Conservatives offered just such a vote after Lisbon had gone through, when the Lib Dems changed their mind again and did not support. They stated quite clearly in that original leaflet “Only a real referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU will let the people decide our country’s future. ”
Brave words. What a pity that when we gave the people that decision and they made it, Lib Dems then decided they knew better than the voters and demand we do it all over again. Funny idea of democracy.
They now claim that the referendum was advisory – though the government wrote to every household saying voters would decide. They go on to claim Leave voters were conned by arguments over the money. That cannot be true, given the endless complaints they made about the figures throughout the referendum campaign, seeking to put across their view of the amounts in dispute.
Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG 40 1 XU read more
The polls and the debate show the election has come down to a simple choice. Do you want a Conservative government, or a coalition led by Jeremy Corbyn seeking to implement much of the Labour Manifesto with help from the Greens, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Welsh Nationalists and other parties who share some of Labour’s policy agenda? Polls may be wrong, and people may change their minds in the last couple of days, but any other outcome in terms of likely government looks remote.
Both front running parties accept the verdict of the people in the referendum and will get on with implementing Brexit. Both accept we cannot belong to the single market and customs union given the stance of the rest of the EU and the need for the UK to open up many positive new trade relationships with countries outside the EU. Both parties want the best possible access to the EU market and accept we need to offer similar privileged access to our market to secure it. Both parties want to reassure all EU citizens living in the UK and all UK citizens living in the EU that they are free to stay. Both accept that there are various collaborations, joint policies and working arrangements that we wish to continue with the EU.
The difference between the two is over how to secure these shared objectives. The Conservatives will not offer a legally binding guarantee to all EU citizens here until we have the same for our citizens in the EU. Labour favours the unilateral approach. The Conservatives say a bad deal is worse than no deal, and are prepared to walk away if only a bad deal is on offer. Labour is insistent on wanting a deal and has not been prepared to say it would walk away. The question is therefore a simple one. Which is the negotiating strategy more likely to succeed in securing a good deal for both the UK and the EU? Anyone with any experience of negotiating is likely to agree that the Conservative strategy gives the UK a strong hand. The Labour position gives us a weak hand. Why wouldn’t the rest of the EU decline to offer a sensible deal, expecting the UK under Mr Corbyn to pay almost any price to secure our very limited negotiating objectives about access to the market and security of people. These are things that they need to offer to secure the same for themselves, but they would of course try to extract a higher price from a weak negotiator.
Both major parties say they wish to keep the UK secure. Mr Corbyn has been required for the time being to accept the purchase of replacement submarines to keep the nuclear deterrent at sea as the Conservative government is doing. He however has undermined the whole point of the deterrent by refusing to state that he would ever use it in extreme circumstances. If dangerous enemies in the future think the deterrent would never be used we have no deterrent and we are wasting a lot of money on the weapons and subs. Mr Corbyn has a history of voting against measures designed to deal with terrorist attacks on the UK. The Prime Minister has made clear her wish to strengthen the UK’s defences against extremists who commit mass murder on our streets.
Mr Corbyn has a hugely expensive programme which he wishes to pay for by taxing companies and the rich more, and by borrowing a bit more. It is unlikely he would be able to collect the extra revenue he seeks from companies. The present government has been able to collect a lot more from companies by lowering the rate and making the UK a more attractive place for business to invest and employ people. A big rise in the tax rate might have the opposite effect. In the 1970s when Labour last tried high taxes on the rich and companies we had a brain drain and severe economic problems. Later Labour governments kept individual tax rates down below today’s level, whilst they faced less aggressive corporate tax competition than today from other countries.
So my conclusion is simple. If like me you want a Conservative government then you have to vote for one. A vote for any other party is a vote for a coalition led by Mr Corbyn. Such a coalition would do economic damage and be a weak negotiator with the EU.
Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1 XU read more
I welcome the appointment of Councillor David Lee to the important role of setting out plans for future development in Wokingham Borough and for the highways and other transport links this will require. Many people are concerned about the current pace… read more
I wish to live in a tolerant society, where we settle our differences through argument, debate and votes. I do not wish to make windows into men’s souls. All should be free to practice their own religion, adopt their own belief system, or to exempt themselves from religious activity. All that we ask is that people who live in our society accept our basic belief in freedom and respect the freedoms of others.
We also all have to accept the democratic constraints on our freedom placed by lawmakers we have elected and laws we consent to. Where we do not like the laws we obey them for the time being and campaign for their repeal or amendment. We outlaw violence of one against another. We make illegal any attempt by force to impede another’s freedom of belief and speech. We set rules we must all obey to ban speech which can turn people to violence and hatred.
The recent mass murders in Manchester and London have made some people angry as well as worried. All of us who want to uphold our democracy are united in condemning the actions of the murderers and their assistants and tutors if they had any. Hate speech against those who had nothing to do with the atrocities and share our loathing of the murders makes things worse.
I am being urged by some to ask the government to take stronger action. There is no doubt that the government will continue to improve and strengthen its response to extremist violence. The Prime Minister spoke for the many yesterday when she said ŵe must confront the extremist ideology that fuels these crimes and must strengthen our response. We may need more people in Intelligence, monitoring individuals who arouse suspicions, and following up leads and information passed to the authorities by others. It may be that better use could be made of information collected at our borders, as we should be alarmed by individuals who go to places abroad with terrorist training camps, if we have reason to worry about the individuals intentions anyway. We need to ask how an asylum seeker from a dangerous country to whom we have granted asylum feels free to journey back to that very country that he said would damage him. Has he abused our hospitality and kindness if he goes back there? There does need to be better controls over the dissemination of terrorist techniques and incitements to murder.
There are no simple or cheap solutions to rooting out terrorists from our midst. Some were born here. Some have come here more recently, but were not known as potential terrorists when they arrived. If they are known then of course they should be banned from entry. We wish to live in an open and free society, where we welcome in tourists, friends and family for visits without too much hassle. We want our universities to offer courses to foreign students, our companies to have extensive business links with overseas markets and company personnel. I do not wish to live in an armed camp, closed to the world, because of the risks of terrorism. Our best ally for safety lies in ourselves, reporting and assisting the authorities where there are grounds for suspicion. The Intelligence services have a big task to perform, and will I am sure be strengthened further. We need to ask all men and women of good will, especially those in education and in contact with those who are exploring these evil beliefs to be ever vigilant and concerned for the safety of the wider community.
Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU read more