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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,465

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Whilst Theresa May took on a poisoned chalice with the job...

...she failed to stand up to far right and the fantasists on her own side and has taken this country to the brink of meltdown. Her handling of the project to leave the EU has been very poor indeed.

Easily the worst Prime Minister of my lifetime, and probably even worse than Lord North!

I won't be celebrating her demise because the Conservative Party does not appear to be about to elect anyone who would be an improvement.

Tribalism is part of human nature everywhere

However, as someone who lives in a Northern City and has previously lived in the Home Counties and an (admittedly gentrifying) old coal mining area, I can assure you that for the most part Northern Cities are nowhere near as bad for political tribalism as elsewhere in Britain. I used to live down in Essex for example and much of Essex is tribally right wing.

Tribalism has become a major factor in British politics of late. And it's had an entirely negative effect. Too many people out there voting on the basis of spitefulness towards other groups in society instead of who has the best policies.

3 options for Remainers

Liberal Democrats and Greens both have good lead candidates from the city where I live. I know which of the two I will be voting for.

I'm not impressed by the lead candidate for Change / TIG in the region where I live (Yorkshire and the Humber). One of the candidates on their list has just been voted out of the council ward where I live. In spite of having been a longstanding Sheffield councilor he only polled 102 votes!

Labour's policy on the EU is poor, the Tories are abysmal and the less said about the rest the better quite frankly. I wouldn't even describe the Brexshitters as the "WTO lot" as none of them appear to understand what applying for membership of the WTO actually entails.

When I visited Edinburgh last year...

.it became obvious that Remain is a huge cause north of the Tweed. I'm a staunch unionist, but the SNP don't concern me nearly as much as bad Westminster politicians who purport to support the union whilst totally undermining it by totally ignoring Scottish concerns.

Good news and bad news in Sheffield

Liberal Democrats and Greens took seats off Labour in Sheffield. The ward I live in went Liberal Democrat, which I am pleased about as the new councillor is pretty good to be honest.

The outgoing councillor stood for Change UK / TIG and only got 102 votes. The National Front also stood in my ward and only got 36 votes.

The bad news is the the local "independent" group won big on the parish council. This lot are not independent but a front for the far right. And they will cock things up badly at parish council level.

Local elections on Thursday 2 May

It's that time of year when local elections are due. This year we have local elections in many areas of the country.

As always, please feel free to tell us about what local elections are due in your local area, who is standing in your area, which party controls your local council and what are the big issues affecting local politics in your area.


I moved inside Sheffield's boundaries last year, so I have elections for Sheffield City council due this year, as well as parish council elections. Labour have a large majority on Sheffield council, but there are also a fair few Liberal Democrats and Greens. No Tories on Sheffield council, which is no bad thing if you ask me.

The big local issues are the local plan, which the council appear to be sitting on until after the election and the ongoing issues with the PFI contract with Amey Plc for road maintenance, which has been very controversial due to cost and also Amey's fondness for tree felling in spite of many objections from residents of the affected areas.

In the ward where I live the Labour councilor who was up for re-election has quit Labour. He is the husband of the local MP Angela Smith, who has recently defected to The Independent Group. After being initially selected as the Labour candidate without a fuss there then followed attempts to unselect him on a technicality, on account of his being in possession of an offensive wife.


I haven't had a single leaflet from Labour since I moved, possibly because they are so focused on internal shenanigans. I have had a couple from the Liberal Democrats though.

As far as the parish council elections go, the main issue there is the presence of a small group of "independent" parish councillors who are essentially a front for the far right. They make a lot of noise at meetings but don't get anything done. Their platform is about as bad as it's possible to get at parish council elections.

Interestingly I did meet a few parish councillors a few weeks ago and raised an issue relating to a street near me. Their response was that they hadn't had any complaints about this matter for a number of years. The moral of the story is that you need to make complaints if you want to get things done!

So, what's happening in your local area?

Anna Soubry isn't the only one thinking about this

This was also posted by a former top civil servant at the Treasury


My response on Twitter was as follows

Whilst this idea has merits, it would be very very difficult indeed with both main parties being extremely tribalist and selfish at present.

Just look at Corbyn flouncing out of a meeting because he didn't want to breathe the same air as Chuka Umunna this week for an example of this.

And that's before we get onto the whole matter of Ramsey MacDonald and the National Government of the 1930's (still an extremely sore point for Labour) or the Lib Dem's experiences of coalition with the Tories.

My MP is one of those quitting Labour

I live in Penistone & Stocksbridge, so my MP is Angela Smith.

She's been one of the very few Labour MP's who've been any good on the disastrous project to leave the EU. However, she's a staunch Blairite, firmly on the right wing of Labour. She's pro-fracking and has links to the water industry. Angela Smith has been openly critical of Corbyn and Momentum, which has lead to her getting a vote of no confidence from Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP.

I fully sympathise with her decision to quit Labour. That party is a total mess. However, she's already made a gaffe about people with a "funny tinge" which has been seized on by Corbynites. She's also very tribal indeed and is known for being personally vitriolic towards members ofthe UK's established centrist party (the Liberal Democrats) which will no doubt cause her problems further down the line because the new Independent Group needs all the allies it can get.

Interestingly, it seems that her husband is staying in Labour (despite being as right wing and anti-Corbyn / Momentum as she is) and is up for re-election to Sheffield Council in May. That could be very awkward indeed for all concerned as the Liberal Democrats are targeting that ward.

So many mistakes have been made that it's difficult to know where to start

The government refused to tell the public the difficult truths about the process to leave the EU, which allowed the hardline Brexshitter charlatans like Jacob Rees-Mogg to run rings around them and box them into a corner.

Theresa May set hopelessly impractical red lines for the negotiation.

Article 50 was triggered without preparation or due diligence. The Chequers plan may have been a lame duck of a proposal, but it should have been produced before triggering Article 50, not towards the end of the process. This is probably the part that angers me the most about all this, and there is a LOT to be angry about.

A snap election was called, which backfired on the government due to the Conservative election campaign being dreadful. This made the government reliant on the DUP, who make the likes of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage look rational in comparison. The involvement of the DUP is an ongoing obstacle to the Irish border issue being resolved, which is one of the major parts of this that people on this side of the Irish sea really don't grasp.

Britain was a deeply divided naton following the referendum. Instead of seeking to heal the wounds the government has exacerbated the problem by going out of it's way to silence and demonise dissenting "remoaner" voices, and appease the hardliners. Worst of all this is the way that experts and people such as expat groups who could have provided a constructive approach have been sidelined. Feeding the hardliners delusions has ensured that it has become impossible to pass a withdrawal agreement. It has also hugely entrenched the divisions in this country.

A good opposition party holding the government to account would have spurred the government to take a better approach to all this, but Labour under Corbyn have failed to do this for fear of losing the OAP vote in Northern England. Labour's pronouncements on the subject have in fact at times been every bit as tribal and delusional as the sort of rubbish being spouted by Tory hardliners.

In summary, a "least worst" EU withdrawal could have been agreed if the government had done a good job of preparing and taking stock of the facts. But we have the worst government since the days of George III and politicians acting in ways that would result in dismissal in any other profession. Bad politicians putting their own selfish desires above the needs of the country have created a major constitutional crisis, which is also heading towards a major economic and social crisis for this country.

I've moved constituencies recently.....

...and my current and previous MP's are against the deal for diametrically opposed reasons.

My current MP is Labour's Angela Smith, who is one of the more pro EU Labour MP's and opposed triggering Article 50 (quite possibly the best moment of her political career and quite courageous for an MP in a marginal constituency that voted by a large margin to leave the EU) She is a supporter of a referendum on the deal and highly unlikely to support the government.

Before that I was in the North East Derbyshire constituency with a recently elected Conservative MP called Lee Rowley who is an ERG group follower of Jacob Rees Mogg. He is publicly opposed to the deal and has already sent a letter of no confidence in Theresa May to the 1922 committee.

What can we learn from this? Whilst the deal may be the best we can get thanks to Theresa May's red lines, ultimately it doesn't make anyone on either side of the fence happy. What a mess the government has made of all this!
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