Wednesday 7 June 2017

On the eve: my local MP writes

Andy Slaughter is one in a thousand: a politician tirelessly serving his constituency in every sphere and well beyond the call of duty. He responds to e-mails; he's out there with people every week, and reporting back in an always informative and well expressed newsletter. He's wisely concentrated on photo-opportunities in the borough with our splendid Mayor Sadiq Khan. He resigned from the Labour front bench over issues with Corbyn, and was one of the MPs who voted against the triggering of Article 50.

His latest dispatch says it all - well, about everything except the Brexit process, which sadly and reprehensibly this short campaign has not addressed, and which I know Andy thinks is as pointless as and ruinous as I do, whatever the eventual terms. I reproduce his words here and urge anyone who cares for the NHS and human rights to vote wisely tomorrow. It's no longer about left and right, it's about fair versus unjust (maybe it always was). If Corbyn were only able to carry out a fraction of what he's promised, the country would still be the better for it.

Democracy unites us - in robust debate

This has been an extraordinary election campaign.  Called by a Prime Minister who promised she would govern until 2020.  Supposed to be only about Brexit but actually about everything from the NHS to the Dementia Tax.  And disrupted by two heinous acts of terror targeted at young children in Manchester and Londoners enjoying a Saturday night out.

This was going to be a non-event election. The cynicism of calling a vote just to help your Party increase its hold on power was turning people even further away from politics.

Now I hope everyone will vote - even if it is not for me! -  to demonstrate we decide things by voicing our views not by violence.  And that terrorism cannot disrupt the way we choose who governs.

Our city and the nation have come together to reject extremism and intolerance. Mayor Sadiq Khan summed up the strength of British values in a way Donald Trump will never understand
[Slaughter campaigning with Khan before the Mayor's election pictured below]

But there is no contradiction in saying that all Parties can unite in upholding democratic values while conducting a robust debate.

Indeed this is what democracy is all about - calling out your opponents on the issues that matter.

I want Charing Cross to remain a major acute hospital, providing some of the best clinical care in the country, not be demolished and replaced by a primary care and treatment centre.

I want at least a third, preferably a half, of the thousands of new homes being built in Hammersmith & Fulham to be genuinely affordable to first-time buyers and long-term renters.

I want the UK to trade freely with the EU for the good of our economy and our social and cultural mix, not to shut ourselves off, looking for trade deals with dictatorships and unstable regimes.

I want our local schools to be fairly funded and for students to leave university without unmanageable debts.

I want pensioners to be warm and well provided for, not to be fleeced by a Dementia Tax.

And I believe our police and intelligence services, properly resourced, will keep us safe, and that scrapping our human rights laws will not.

That sounds to me like a reasonable programme for government.  A generation ago it would have just been thought of as common sense.

These are the policies Labour is putting forward.  But whether we get the chance to implement them or not, they represent the values that I will fight for if re-elected as MP for Hammersmith.

I hope I have your support on 8 June.


And maybe Mrs Mayhem should have her say, too, in the immortal re-ordering of genius Cassetteboy.

UPDATE on the day: well done, Andy - you increased your majority. And as for the general, assuming it was the students wot done it:

UPDATE (30/6) I confess I didn't even know that Andy was back on the front bench, albeit in a different role (housing), and I only do now because he's been sacked by Corbyn for supporting Chuka Umunna's proposed amendment to the Queen's Speech calling for Britain to remain within the customs union and single market. Of course he did. Top Mensch.


Susan Scheid said...

I was very glad to see your post earlier today (down in NYC for two Salonen/Met Orchestra concerts, just got back this afternoon). I've been thinking about you both a lot and wondering how you are faring and what you think. Slaughter is exactly the kind of representative all of us need, both sides of the pond, and unfortunately in too short supply. Were I in a position to do so, I'd vote for Slaughter in a heartbeat. I agree absolutely, as I'm sure you are aware, with your observation, "It's no longer about left and right, it's about fair versus unjust (maybe it always was)." We'll be paying close attention tomorrow, and hoping for the best.

David said...

It takes an American to sympathise/comment... You wouldn't believe the tidal wave of irrational hatred that's been unleashed on LinkedIn against Sadiq Khan. Actually I'm glad your dumber compatriots in Hicksville have now heard of him; no doubt it torments them that Londoners are behind him (despite ludicrous statements from the likes of S Palin that we were out on the streets after the murders shouting 'Go Trump!')

Would be interested to hear about the Salonen/Met concerts, sure they were good.

Frankly I have no hope, though the gap was closing, of Corbyn being elected, but we must hope that certain Brexit horrors lose their seats, and that Andy holds on to his (which I think is fairly certain).

Do watch Cassetteboy's latest meisterwerk if you haven't already.

Susan Scheid said...

Have just "landed" in one place long enough to listen to cassetteboy. Brilliant!

David said...

Isn't he. Consistently excellent - what a lot of work must go into that.

Exit polls predicting hung parliament - quite a surprise but we trust nothing until the results come in...

Anonymous said...

Slaughter sounds like an excellent constituency MP. I watched Cassetteboy. Good stuff. What an interesting campaign this has been - and would be made even more so with an upset set of returns tonight. (One can hope!) At least it's not been a simple victory romp for Madam Mayhem, the Trump coddler.

larrymuffin said...

Well I am watching the results and T May is not getting her majority, Boris J. already blaming her and calling for a quick replacement in 48 hours. He probably fancies himself as PM, imagine PM Boris. Corbyn is doing very well indeed.

larrymuffin said...

Well I am watching the results and T May is not getting her majority, Boris J. already blaming her and calling for a quick replacement in 48 hours. He probably fancies himself as PM, imagine PM Boris. Corbyn is doing very well indeed.

David said...

Yes, amazing, isn't it? But please, not the mini Horror Clown. Boris as PM was what we said we'd move to Scotland for. But they are seriously weakened and another general election soon might see a very different result.

Jan said...

Congratulations. Finally good news from the UK!

I am no expert but I believe the hung parliament is exactly what you need, at the moment. The MPs will have to practise the long lost art of speaking to each other, negotiating and seeking agreement. The existing Anti-Brexit voices within the Conservative Party, temporarily silenced under Mrs May, will be heard, again.

The young(er) generation spoke out!

David said...

Yes, they/it did. And given a few more weeks the results might have been even more different still. Looks like Mayhem will try to piledrive onwards, though, with NI allies as the strangest bedfellows. But she is now weaker than ever.

Susan Scheid said...

So good to wake up to good news today, and very glad, also, to get your report that Slaughter increased his majority.

David said...

I'm not the only one to feel something lighter within, and frequently I've briefly forgotten why and then remembered - this is indeed the first election/referendum news we've woken up happy to, at least re your country and ours. The French good news, of course, came to us at 8pm on each occasion.