Sunday, 26 June 2016

Post Brexit

We must accept the democratic choice of the people.

Even if they regret it. Even if the campaigns were based on lies. We must move forwards together.

Several things need to happen for the British public to accept a second referendum and a subsequent remain vote:

1) We wait

We have to be patient for the Conservatives to elect a new leader. That will take until October/November.

2) That leader must be Brexit neutral

For a second referendum to happen, significant changes to the EU need to happen. We are currently holding the EU to ransom. We have a golden opportunity to use our mandate from 51.9% of referendum voters to renegotiate our terms and conditions. I do not mean a petty argument over Immigrant benefits but a very serious negotiation over the electability of our EU presidents, the commission and anything else Vote Leave campaigned for. If they do not accept our terms, we evoke Article 50 and Leave. It is then the EU that has actively forced us to leave as we at least made an effort to remain. If these conditions are met, it would be a significant enough change to the EU to trigger a second referendum.

The question is, which leader, if any, would be liberal enough to engage in such discussions and actively try to remain, but simultaneously be serious enough to evoke Article 50 if the negotiations broke down? Who would have the clout to stay sufficiently sat on the fence this whole time? Someone who had previous experience with similar talks in Ireland perhaps. Someone who will be looked upon favourably in a few weeks after the Chilcot report is released. Someone who can change their mind depending on whether their party or there supporters said so.

The only person who could negotiate this is Jeremy Corbyn.

For him to do this, he needs Theresa May as Conservative Party leader. Doing this would split the Tories towards UKIP, as Nigel Farage is seen by working class Brexit voters as the only man to deliver on the promise of starting Article 50 straight away. Therefore, we require...

3) A general election

This can only happen in two ways. Either there is a vote of no confidence in the government and they cannot regain that confidence within 14 days. This is unlikely to happen, now that David Cameron has resigned. The more likely chance is that two thirds of the House of Commons votes for it. Given that there are two leadership battles happening at once between the UK's two biggest parties, this will have to happen fast. There would need to be sufficient public support for it, possibly through a petition. If this happens in the next few weeks, it wouldn't give much thinking time for Boris to prepare his case for PM. This might result in early leadership victories for Theresa May, a more stable option, as well as Caroline Lucas / Jonathan Bartley for the Greens. Labour wouldn't have time to complete a coup against Corbyn and he stays on as Labour leader. This is where a little tactical nouse is in order.

4) Rainbow Coalition

The right will inevitably be split. UKIP will believe they have the working class support to take on the rich Conservative snobs in their heartlands. This next bit is VITAL.

The left must unite. They must unanimously decide to not stand against each other in areas that are marginal, such as Portsmouth South. Lost by the Lib Dems due to a fracture between them and Labour, if Labour don't stand, there is a chance seats like these can be won back. So long as they support the other in a different constituency.

If this ensures a rainbow coalition, I'm confident that Corbyn could lead a Labour / Lib Dem / Green EU renegotiation. Both sides would work in favour of keeping us in the EU and could deliver sufficient bargaining power to deliver the real changes to the EU that are necessary. If they disagree, other countries will follow.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Why the Remain campaign has already won

I made some notes a few weeks ago about how I would dissect the argument for Brexit. Here it is below:

Of course there is now no point in saying all of this. It felt for a week or so Brexit had it in their grasp, people had made up their minds about taking back control and restoring Britain to it's former glory. No reasonable, rational, intelligent argument could possibly sway anyone that right wing to believe in expert opinions, the endless analysis, the number of business leaders, world leaders and financial institutions that are imploring you to remain.

Ironically, there is only one FACT in this entire campaign you need to listen to.

Jo Cox MP was murdered by a right wing fundamentalist who this morning in court declared his name was 'death to traitors, freedom for Britain'.

Nobody wants to associate themselves with that level of hate. Nobody in their right minds would dare dream of wishing this upon anyone. There is a distinct difference between the coverage of Lee Rigby's murderer, a black man, having 'blood on his hands and hate in his eyes', but Jo Cox's murderer was a 'timid gardener' with mental health issues. This is EXACTLY the institutional racism we should all be uniting against. And no, it didn't come from the EU. It came from our beloved right wing media. Any vaguely intelligent human being knows not to read the S*n, repost B**tain F**st statuses or parade in public with an EDL cap on. That's the right wing nationalist starter kit right there.

But even now, there are many people undecided, many of which will decide at the polling station, maybe even guess which way to go. I've said for a while that they are the people that will decide this election. If you are one of these voters, I have to ask you the question:

Will you, the undecided voter, come June 23rd, decide to stand side by side, with the right wing views of a murderer who was willing to kill a mother of two in the name of their extremist beliefs? The same beliefs that have seen N**el F***ge stand in front of campaign posters earily reminiscent to early Nazi immigration propaganda?

Over on the left, we are more welcoming. Friendlier. We accept you regardless of who you are. We don't build barriers because we're scared, we celebrate our differences, our diversity. It is more British that any Leave campaigner will ever be.

Every war veteran, sat in their trench, by the first year of fighting, will want nothing more than to see their loved ones again. They would give anything to have the peace in Europe we have now. Many paid the ultimate price for it.

I will not turn my back on those people now. I am united with our cousins across the mainland. The people we liberated from 70 years ago from the same right wing fascism we see in our newspapers today.

I fear losing my country... to right wing fundamentalists.
I fear losing control... to a Tory / UKIP government.
I fear losing our democracy... when it has voted for the most insane decision in a generation.

Come June 23rd, when all is said and done, the undecided voters will only be left with one all empowering option. To unite. To inspire. To give hope to the people of Syria. To mark that day as the day that Britain returns from the darkness of hatred and bigotry, and in to the light. To step forward, to lead a better Europe, a reformed Europe, in to an era of joy and prosperity.

Come June 23rd, we will conquer our fears and fight for what is right.

Come June 23rd, we will remain as one.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Hare Hatch Sheeplands Garden Centre

As I am a candidate for next week's Wokingham Borough Election, I woke up yesterday to a 2 page letter from Gill at Hare Hatch, explaining a petition from 10,000 customers asking for planning permission on their site to expand their business on the Green Belt; asking for opinions and support on the matter.

Within an hour I was on 'the Floral Mile', a stretch of yellow Rapeseed fields against a blue sky, teeming with horticultural business. I parked up and rudely interrupted Andy from his lunch. He runs the site and briefly explained the history of it to me since it was bought in the 90s. According to him, there has been £1000s spent on an ongoing feud with the council, ranging from Green Belt issues to EU regulations, with the garden centre being open to compromise.

As Andy showed me around, we came up to Santa's Grotto area with a real life nativity stable, with all proceeds going to charity. Eventually, we got distracted by plants I can't remember the name of and I ended up buying some Potato and Broccoli cuttings. At the till, we bumped in to Brian, who writes for a local paper, to which I gave him a quote and a quick photo.

As Brian went to meet up with a photographer, Andy continued to show me some of the offending areas of the site, now left derelict. We went up to the owner's house on site, and saw how eco friendly they were, almost acting as Caretakers for the 8 acre property. As we walked through a Cactus greenhouse, Andy stopped and pointed out how one greenhouse could be used but the one next to it couldn't. There seemed no logical reason why it couldn't be used. Isn't planting more plants on the green belt a good thing?

As we walked back up to meet the photographer, I was left to chat to Gill, who sent the original letter. It became immediately obvious that having spoken to them each individually, they all shared the same view on the planning permission problem - one of frustration. They seemed to not even know themselves what Wokingham Borough Council are objecting to, given that other garden centres do exactly the same as they do on the other side of the road but with planning permission.

On a table just outside the café is the petition. 10,000 unique signatures and counting, a majority of which have been collected in store by customers. Before I duly signed and returned to the café for more tea, a woman representing a housing group came to support the petition and was happy to give Brian a few words. We were then joined by Brian and Andy again as we sat down to discuss other things the company does. Andy spoke about how they have brought several other businesses on site to save them from close, such as a fish stall, a pet shop and a gift shop. They have welcomed over 100 teens for work experience with open arms. They used to get schools in to educate children on site, teaching them how bees only drink from running water and how to grow their own plants. This now cannot be done as that part of the site is left derelict. Mums and their kids walked through about 3pm to go out to the play area. I'm told pensioners gather in the café regularly for 'knit and natter' sessions as a way of getting out the house and meeting people. They raise £10,000 a year for charity and turn over £1m with 100 staff. I asked if anyone from the council has ever visited the site and in the 2 decades they've been there; they were able to name about 5 that had.

4 teas down Andy had to leave suddenly. We found out on exit that he had been handed an injunction there and then, the details of which I do not know of.

It seemed as I forgot the way home that these people knew what they were talking about, experts in their field, giving advice, people you could trust with the Green Belt. They were friendly, informative, community minded, charitable people that Wokingham Borough Council ought to be promoting. The smaller business taking on the national competitor across the street. The companies that employ locally, source their produce from down the road and properly pay their taxes.

To have brought about this problem in the first place, Wokingham Borough council should apologise for their relentless efforts to stunt the growth of a respectable, local green business they claim to represent. Secondly, they should meet one final time with Andy and the owners to settle this dispute with a resolution both sides can agree on once and for all.

Otherwise, the customers of Hare Hatch Sheeplands know where to vote.

David Robert Worley @ Green Party