Norman

Some years ago I heard Michael Palin being described as ‘the nicest man in England’ and he may well have been given an award to that effect. At the time I thought yes I can see that, you can’t think of Palin doing anything but good.

But in politics few people are thought of as being nice, yet one man stands out for me – Norman Lamb MP. Now don’t get me wrong, like many other Remainers, I have struggled with Norman’s struggles over whether he would back a Brexit Deal. His agonising over Johnson’s deal, which from an economic assessment perspective was worse even than May’s deal, befuddled many of us. Why on earth was Norman drawn to the deal in any way? Sadly, some folks frustration with this lovely man boiled over and things were said about him which clearly hurt.

We say we want MP’s who are independent thinkers and who don’t just slavishly follow the party line but when we then see such MP’s in action, particularly when they are drawn to supporting/not supporting a cause which means a lot to us, we get upset.

Former Lib Dem MP for Southport John Pugh

Locally, the former MP for Southport John Pugh could be said to have approached his time in politics with an independent mind and at times he caused frustration in Liberal ranks for that independence of mind. The problem with being a Liberal MP is that Lib Dem supporters expect those MP’s to have libertarian views about every subject, but of course we are all flawed so sometimes a Liberal MP will come up with a stance which makes other Liberals stand up and shout at them.

But back to Norman Lamb because other than his agonising over Brexit deals which virtually no other Liberal could get their head around he really is the kind of person anyone would want for their MP. His work to raise the profile of metal health issues whilst being an MP has been tremendous and it’s clearly such a big matter to him that he will be continuing to campaign for those less fortunate after he steps down from Parliament at the December General Election. Indeed, he’s already set up a mental health charitable trust primed with a significant amount of his own money to get it going.

I met Norman when he visited Liverpool in 2017 and he really is the kind of person who has time to talk with people. He’s pictured above with my daughter Jen. Here’s a link back to my previous posting about that visit to Liverpool:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/10/21/norman-lamb-the-mp-who-gives-voice-to-mental-health-issues/

MP’s like Norman are sadly few and far between with so many of them being sheep following the crowd and/or their party. What we need are more independently minded MP’s who despite driving us mad when they, in our view, go off the rails on a particular matter are actually sound, decent and will stick two fingers up to the political charlatans rather than fall in behind them.

Norman Lamb MP

By the way what is Palin’s flaw, he must have one?

PS. I’m presently Reading Palin’s 2018 book ‘Erebus – the story of a ship’, it is as you might expect a great read.

Brexit – May V Corbyn – It’s actually not a party political matter

The British media see things in a rather black and white way and often things can be like that. However, in politics especially at the moment, things are actually many shades of grey. Just look at this article from the BBC website about how many Conservative Brexit factions there are:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46386172

And of course, Labour is also split. Their leadership is Brexit leaning it’s just that they want a different deal to the one that May has negotiated. Corbyn, of course, has always been anti-EU. However, lots of Labour MP’s are pro-EU and anti-Brexit although with many Labour constituency party organisations being dominated by Momentum those MP’s hardly ever speak out for fear of being deselected for opposing Jeremy’s view.

So a May V Corbyn debate is actually pointless as fundamentally they both want the same thing i.e. to leave the EU except that Corbyn says he can negotiate a different deal to the one May has come up with.

One leading commentator said this of the proposed debate, which sums up the situation perfectly:-

Mike Galsworthy – ‘As far as I’m concerned… A May-Corbyn debate on Brexit is going to be like watching two flat-earthers arguing over who can explain gravity better’

My point is this, any sensible debate should actually be between May and a representative of the cross-party People’s Vote Campaign. Personally, I’m not bothered who that representative should be but here are a few suggestions – Sarah Wollaston MP, Vince Cable MP, Alastair Campbell, Caroline Lucas MP. I think I would probably plump for Campbell.

Surely no one wants a no deal scenario other than complete Brexit nutters so the real choice in the ridiculous situation the UK now finds itself is between May’s deal and Remain.

However, there could be a point in having Corbyn in the TV debate too so that he has an opportunity to explain how different his deal with the EU would look and how he would achieve it. We get it that Corbyn and the Labour leadership feel they can negotiate a different, even a better deal, than May has done but where will the differences be? We need to see Labour’s Brexit Deal detail or indeed have Corbyn exposed for not having a real alternative at all.

That May’s deal is rubbish seems to be a given across Brexteers and Remainers so staying in the EU is the only really sensible alternative to it unless Corbyn can clearly show why and how his Brexit deal would be better than staying in the EU. If Corbyn can show his Brexit would be better for jobs, the economy, the NHS etc. than staying in the EU then his next step would have to be to get Article 50 extended whilst he wins a General Election and then delivers his deal. A tough ask indeed because he would also have to show why the EU would back his alternative.

With thanks to Roy Connell for thew lead to this posting.