Why we need a People’s Vote and talk of a General Election is just a cynical distraction.

Before we start, “I want to be very clear about this”, nobody is suggesting ignoring the 2016 referendum result.

The world has moved on, we have far more information. It is entirely appropriate to ask people whether they are still of the same mind.

Theresa May asked the electorate to confirm who they wanted to govern the country after barely 2 years. Nobody said that ignored the previous election result, or that it was undemocratic. Tory MPs wanted a vote on who is their leader after 2 1/2 years, and had one.

Democracy is not something that happens every 5 years, or every 41 years in the case of the referendum, it is a system which should regulate how our country is governed every single day.

Indeed in recent time, on more than one occasion we have had to fight to be democratically governed, against a government seemingly intent behaving as a Theresa May dictatorship.

Those who propose fighting a General Election on the basis of Theresa May’s flawed deal versus membership of the EU are being disingenuous, as are those who are seeking to take advantage of the government’s Brexit incompetence to force a General Election in an attempt to gain the keys to No 10.

There has never been a party that has campaigned on EU membership as its sole manifesto issue. A manifesto is expected to contain a whole set of statements on policy and objectives that address the issues of the day, statements which with luck will not be mutually exclusive.

In any event, both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May stick to the dogmatic and largely meaningless mantra of “Brexit is Brexit”, and insist that the referendum result from 2 and a half years ago must be followed, apparently regardless of the damage to the UK and its citizens and residents.

EC/EU membership has divided all parties to a greater or lesser extent since the early ’60s.

In the 1975 referendum on continuing to be an EC/EU member, as in the 2016 referendum, the debate and campaign crossed party lines. As someone who listened to both, I have to say the 1975 debate/campaign was conducted to a far higher standard by both sides.

A General Election is a vote on which party is best able to deal with the multitude of issues facing the country (currently, for example, NHS funding, curbing of excessive influence of those who have most money, climate change, social care, social division, growing the economy, housing, Trident) over a five year period.

A referendum on a single issue such as membership of the EU is a fundamental matter that has consequences for peoples’ whole lifetimes, and those of their descendants.

Those consequences are not just the damage to the UK’s economy, the effect on UK citizens resident in EU27 countries or the effect on EU27 citizens resident in the UK.

There are direct and significant consequences, ignored by the UK’s politicians, the EU and the leaders of almost all the UK expatriate groups, for millions of UK residents with property, financial, business and family interests in EU27 countries.

These are the Millions in the Margins who have been “thrown under the bus” as an expedient solution for dealing with, or rather ignoring, people’s rights and obligations established by 45+ years of membership of the EU.

We now have so much more information on the actual, practical consequences of deciding to stop being a member of the EU than we had 2-3 years ago.

It is only reasonable to ask the electorate to confirm which of the options they want Parliament to take: Theresa May’s deal, or for the UK to continue as a member of the EU. It seems clear that the only opinion with a clear-cut majority is that No-Deal is completely unacceptable.

Dominic Grieve makes the arguments for a People’s Vote forcibly in his forward to Roads Not Yet Explored – Routes to a Final Say which sets out ways that this can be brought about.

Once we have settled the issue of Brexit, which is dividing the parties and the country, we can have a national debate and an eventual General Election to decide on the government best able to deliver what is best for our country on the multitude of hugely important issues being ignored by the current government.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (please click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, Meaningful Vote, NoDeal, What Is Best For Our Country | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Brexit, It’s no good harking back, what is best for our country NOW?

It’s no good harking back…

Were we told that our country would be better off outside the EU, that we could establish a new world position at the drop of a hat, that we could write our own ticket to exit the EU? Yes to all.

Was this all moonshine, is it all in the past, do we need to move on? Yes to all.

We need to channel our inner Dr Phil and say something like, “It is what it is, and the only time is now.”

There may have been lies, misdemeanours and (maybe) misunderstandings, but the important thing is what to do NOW.

Here are some suggestions:

Now we (kind of) know what leaving the EU means, even if it’s so complicated that no one (truly no one) understands all the ins and outs, we should consider the consequences for us, our workmates, families, friends and neighbours, and the economy, prospects and future of our country;

We should inform and support our MPs – that means tell them our views, and that we rely on them to do what is best for our country;

Political circumstances have put our Parliament in an almost impossible situation, so we should press for another referendum – if the last one was democratic, why wouldn’t another one be equally so? TM’s snap election last year apparently wasn’t undemocratic, so what’s the difference?

We should do all we can to make sure that everyone eligible to vote is properly registered to do so where they now live. This may be particularly important for younger people who are more likely to have relocated in the last couple of years. Perhaps you could contact your local schools, colleges, universities, employment agencies to alert people to the necessity for registration?

But just as importantly, we really shouldn’t hark back. Who did what, for what reason, in 2016 in relation to the referendum is HISTORY. Anybody reading this now has over 2 years more experience and information to draw on. As the old saying goes, it’s not where we came from, but where we’re going, that counts.

This issue has been so very deeply divisive. Building bridges is important, or at least not making the canyons any wider. What’s imperative is that we work together to get the best outcome for our country.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, What Is Best For Our Country | Tagged , , ,

When you have nothing to say for yourself, spread stories about your opponents

Theresa May’s government is actually verbally bankrupt, as well as morally bankrupt and much shorter of the readies than it needed to be.

We’re getting the usual stuff about what they’re “very clear about” (yawn), but there’s nothing new, nothing real.

So what are they doing? They’re trying to talk about their opponents in a derogatory fashion, so as to draw attention away from their own disarray.

Jeremy Corbyn said in Parliament that Theresa May was a “silly woman”, did he? According to lip-reading experts, he didn’t (though it would have been hard to disagree with him). Apparently, what he said was that the Conservatives opposite were “silly people”. Nobody disputes the “silly” bit, it would appear. The accusations about reducing proceedings to pantomime are equally hard to refute.

But trying to get us to think that Jeremy Corbyn insulted Theresa May personally is good distraction … look, bright and shiny!

Amber Rudd also pitched in about how she doesn’t like European-style hugs. I understand that Ms Rudd is (according to the credits in “Four Weddings…”) an authority on proper behaviour in UK posh circles, but she clearly doesn’t understand social behaviour in Europe.

Nor, it would appear, has she taken advice. Hell, even I could have told her, and I’m no expert. Here’s what you do to avoid hugs: you hold out your right hand and proffer your cheek, then the other one – for the avoidance of doubt, those on your face. This will signal “no hugging”. You can still appear pleased to meet someone if you do the cheek-kissing properly.

But there’s no news in taking advice and being prepared, is there? Well, the Brexit proceedings had already told us that!

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

 

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, Political Integrity, What Is Best For Our Country | Tagged , , ,

Demagogues arrive quietly, wrapped in a flag, anyone who disagrees is a threat to democracy.

In the 1930’s Huey Long, US Senator 1932-1935, is reputed to have said that if the nationalistic authoritarianism rampant in some European countries arrived in the USA “It would come wrapped in the flag claiming to be a saviour of democracy”.

That is just as applicable today in the UK as it was in the USA then, if anybody doubts this to be true consider the following:

UK Prime Minister, 13th June 2018

“I am absolutely clear that I cannot countenance parliament being able to overturn the will of the British people.”

German Minister of Propaganda, 28th September 1933

“There is no possibility for parliamentary interference to obliterate and render ineffective the execution of the nation’s will.”

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Brexit, Democracy, Political Integrity, What Is Best For Our Country | Tagged , | Leave a comment

In The Deep Mid-Winter Jeremy Corbyn joins Theresa May hunting Unicorns and Rainbows

As we traverse the winter solstice and head toward the Christmas/New Year break, we can spot Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May out together, hunting for rainbows and unicorns.

It has long been know that Theresa May is an enthusiastic participant in this mythical sport, but views on Jeremy Corbyn’s participation have until now been largely speculation, based on observations of him indulging in fence-sitting rather than fence-jumping.

They are both after a super-unicorn – an 11th hour capture somewhere in the vicinity of Brussels.

Of course, the more rational among us do actually know that unicorns exist only in myth, and have certainly not been seen around Brussels, or indeed anywhere else in the known world, since time immemorial.

While Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn indulge their Walter Mitty fantasies, others that they represent are faced with the reality of much more meagre fare, this Christmas and for a long time to come.

This holiday season there is both more and less optimism than there was this time last year.

Reasonable people know quite clearly what is Best for Our Country despite the undemocratic and dogmatic statements that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn spout in a manner reminiscent of 1930s dictators.

We hope and believe that wiser council will prevail and the UK will not be dragged down a path that compromises its heritage, principles and democracy.

Time for us all to draw breath, close the doors on the world for a few days and enjoy the festive season, very best wishes from all of us.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Brexit | Tagged

A vote of no confidence in the Government is not as simple as it sounds.

There has been a lot of talk about Labour forcing a Commons vote of no-confidence.

The no-confidence motion that Jeremey Corbyn has tabled is largely symbolic. The government doesn’t have to provide time for it to be debated and the motion won’t, of itself, trigger a General Election or force Theresa May to resign.

If it is debated and passes, Theresa May’s authority will be reduced, but as her authority already seems to be around zero, will that make any difference?

Tabling a vote of no-confidence in the government is another thing.

However, what that has meant since 2011, when the Fixed Term Parliament Act received Royal Assent, is very different to what it meant in the past.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act was introduced to provide a more stable parliamentary environment for a coalition government. As a consequence it also protects a minority government. It also removed the prerogative that the Monarch had, on advice from the Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament and call a General Election.

The no-confidence procedure was significantly modified by the introduction of the FTP Act:

  1. A vote of no-confidence in the government, using the form of words prescribed in the FTP Act, has to be passed;
  2. If a confidence motion, again using a prescribed form of words, has not been passed within 14 days of the no-confidence vote, Parliament is dissolved and a General Election is called.

What does the Fixed Term Parliament Act say must happen after the no-confidence vote and ahead of a confidence vote held in following 14 days?

The House of Commons Public Admin & Constitutional Affairs Committee says it is not defined.

https://houseofcommons.shorthandstories.com/pacac-no-confidence-motions-FTPA/index.html

The Act provides no guidance on what happens during the 14-day period following a FTP Act no-confidence motion being passed. The Clerk of the House says that what happens during this period is a matter of politics, and not of procedure.

The 14 days allow time for confidence in the government to be re-established. Whether through a change in personnel, policy or party is a matter for the political process.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmpubadm/1813/181309.htm

It is possible that the DUP and/or the ERG could vote against the government in the no-confidence vote and then, having extracted commitments from the government, support the government in the confidence vote.

So it doesn’t look as if a Commons no-confidence vote will unlock the door to No 10 in the short term.

A People’s Vote on what is Best for Our Country may well be the surest way to secure those elusive keys.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, The People's Challenge, What Is Best For Our Country, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , ,

Theresa May’s rainbows and unicorns

In her speech on 9th January 2017, i.e. nearly 2 years ago, at the Charity Commission annual meeting, the Prime Minister promised that her government would have a “comprehensive, wide-ranging plan” to split from the EU.

“A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared; where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules; and where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.”

“I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks. I will talk more about our plans for economic reform, our plans to build a Global Britain and our ambitions to build a more united country.”

OMG, how time has eroded these statements – I can hear Prof Brian Cox explaining entropy!

From the top:

“comprehensive, wide-ranging plan” is now clearly risible. There was no plan at all, and the sorry result is not her government’s plan but Theresa May’s so-called solution – an attempt to placate all camps in her party. This has not attracted support from anyone except loyal Tories supporting the party (literally at any cost) and those who value their political careers more than the good of the country;

“A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared…” now looks more like “we’re all poorer (cost of living, sorry state of the exchange rate of the pound, inflation…) and our shared opportunities have diminished even before Brexit has actually happened (businesses and financial markets closing down or moving away from the UK, even food crops rotting in UK fields)”;

“…where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules…” – one word, “Windrush”;

“…where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.” How long have you got? Loss of freedom of movement, uncertainty about UK citizens’ business interests and property in EU27 countries, recognition of UK professional qualifications in the EU27, ease of working (whether temporarily or permanently) in the EU27, threat to easy accumulation of pension rights acquired throughout the EU27…

“I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks.” No! Over time, less and less has been said about this Utopian fantasy. For good reason: because that’s exactly what it was. UK citizens were being promised something that was undeliverable, and we now have a clear idea of what the outcome of the “plan” would be – more dystopian than Utopian.

How much worse it is, even at its best, than EU membership. It would cost dearly, leave us subject to many rules but with no voice in the decision-making process, abdicating our key role in the development and future of Europe. And for what?

Brexit, before it’s even happened, has dealt body blows to our beleaguered NHS, farmers who grow our food, people whose work it is to keep us safe, employment prospects all over the country as well as losing us institutions and organisations that contribute to our national prestige (EU Youth Orchestra, EU drug approval body…).

“…our ambitions to build a more united country.” Even when she said this, it was clear that Brexit was dividing the country, not uniting it.

The situation for Scotland (which clearly voted to remain, and had been made promises at the time of its own independence referendum about what continued membership of the UK would mean), for Northern Ireland (where a peace achieved after centuries of conflict and bloodshed is now threatened by the let’s-try-to-placate-everyone “solution” being proposed), and even for friends, neighbours and families divided on the issue – all these show the “ambitions” as the hogwash they are.

And then of course there are the EU27 citizens, who in fact are net contributors to the UK economy and have skills we are already missing, who are leaving the UK because they’re being made to feel unwelcome.

Plus there are the UK citizens who live in Gibraltar, of course. The situation with Spain has been delicate for decades, and they have been sold down the river because their circumstances just don’t fit in with the “plan”.

This also applies to any number of other UK citizens (no one knows how many), whether with personal or business interests in the EU27, resident there or with plans to be so. There are many ramifications to their situations which are just too varied and inconvenient for the negotiators on either side to deal with. These people are going to be losing rights without even the courtesy of this being acknowledged.

In 2016, nobody warned that it would be like this. Leaving the EU was supposed to be as easy as pie, new trade deals in a heartbeat, the whole of the rest of the world at the UK’s feet…

What’s being offered is nothing like what people voted for in 2016. And as TM herself is so fond of saying, “I want to be very clear about this”: it is an offer. We do not have to accept it. It’s now time to have a vote on what’s on offer… or not on offer. And the options to be voted on must be based on What is Best for Our Country a question which must include an option to continue to be a member of the EU.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Brexit, Meaningful Vote | Tagged ,