Letters - April 20, 2017
POLITICS Moral compass was lost years agoMarjorie Nye in last week's letters in The Gazette asks has the PM lost her moral compass in arming some of the most brutal regimes around the world. well, it's been lost for years.
The problem has been the level of support given to the arms industry with PMs flying round the world to sell arms for the industry.
What major arms industry ask for they generally get. One reason is the revolving door between the public sector and business means many politicians and civil servants end up taking well paid jobs with arms companies when they leave public service.
In October 2016, BAE Systems appointed a new director of Government relations called Oliver Waghorn who a few years earlier worked for the Government advising defence secretary Liam Fox before scandal forced Fox out. These two are far from alone, the numerous former politicians,military leaders and civil servants now work in the arms trade, often getting paid a great deal for their contacts and insider knowledge of how our government works.All this business should be abolished and replaced with a proper regulation backed by law, which can stop people taking up inappropriate jobs. As recognised by regulators and organisations calling for more transparency,the arms industry is where conflicts of interests from the revolving door are most striking, particularly because government is the arms companies biggest client.When it comes to the arms industry at least,the revolving door does not just need regulating,it needs slamming shut.
Over and again the government tells us it takes its arms exports in a responsible way and operates a most robust export control ,and pigs fly. We’ve heard it time and time again, it’s what the government does that matters,not what it says.
Hong Kong, Israel, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Egypt have used weapons in conflict and to support repression, so it’s time now for something to change.
Sixties show brought back lovely memories
Recently I went to see the Solid Silver Sixties Show at Blackpool Grand Theatre featuring Vanity Fare, Wayne Fontana, Chris Montez, Dave Berry, and The Merseybeats.
For just over two hours the artists on the stage provided great live entertainment which brought back a lot of memories for near sell-out show.
The Solid Silver Sixties Show is currently in its 33rd year of touring the UK and certainly is value for money.
Clever strategy to call General Election
The Prime Minister said she wouldn’t call an early General Election, for good reasons. She has now done so for even better reasons.
Firstly, it has become apparent that the other parties and the Lords are intent on scuppering the negotiations underway to leave the EU.
She argues that they are preventing her offering to the country the Brexit deal that is best for Britain. What she didn’t mention is that some 50 Tory MPs are determined to oppose any attempts by the EU to extract important compromises if we are to get a worthwhile deal. By calling an election which will emphasise a hard Brexit, May hopes, if she wins, and significantly increases her party’s majority, to ensure that she will get Parliamentary approval to press ahead.
Two more factors influenced her decision. It has become increasingly clear that a generous ‘implementation phase’ will be needed. If she wins, she will have two more years to ensure the transition. These will prove to be invaluable.
Finally, the most recent polls indicate Labour is more than 20 points behind the Conservatives. It is in a parlous state offering little in the way of credible or robust opposition.
By supporting the early election, Corbyn, whose position as leader now hangs by a thread, has ensured that the PM will get the necessary 434 votes required by law to call an election for 8 June.
The election will not eat into our negotiating time because this will not start in earnest until late summer when the German and French elections will be over. However, it will seriously eat into the time needed for some very important and complex domestic legislation. Crucially, it will mean there will be far less time for the scrutiny of Bills.
A win for the Tories will give May a clear mandate and this makes for strong negotiators. Clear mandates limit the negotiator’s ability to make concessions and so increase their bargaining power.
The EU will find it much harder to extract concessions. It is a clever strategy.
Dr Barry Clayton
Two ways at looking at two per cent
Funny, isn’t it, how we interpret referendum results to suit our needs?
In the EU referendum, the 52 per cent majority for leaving was hailed as substantial by the Leavers, who told the Remainers that they’d better get used to it.
But when the results of the recent Turkish referendum were revealed, showing that the Prime Minister also had a majority of 52 per cent, reports in the British media described it as a very close run thing.