In this blog I will be giving my political opinions on both issues at home and abroad.
I will also focus on the issues that affect the people of Ipswich and in particular those who live in Rushmere Ward.
I will also try and give an insight to how I will be campaigning in Rushmere and Ipswich as we fight against the savage cuts imposed by this Tory Government
As we seem now to be in an era of populist leaders- those
who will say whatever they think voters want to hear to get elected- with Trump
at the head of this march to chaos we must remember this is no new craze –
others have done so in the past – others have combined the populist theme with
also finding a scapegoat for the problems we find ourselves in. Hitler is
remembered for blaming the problems of Germany on the Jews and others but he
also appealed to the normal German with his populist polices in particular his
desire to give everyone work and to make being German something to be proud of
again after the fall out from their defeat in 1918.
Closer to home, UKIP and Lib Dems have used populist policies
– the Lib Dems of course came unstuck after promoting ‘no tuition fees’ then
finding themselves have to put them up. UKIP combine populist policies plus
blaming all our problems on Europe (and Europeans).
Just saying whatever the public want to hear does not always
work, UKIP helped get us out of Europe but they still have little power in the
country and have actually seen a loss of council seats since the Brexit vote.
Lib Dems gained council seats by saying whatever the public want to hear- more
often than not appealing to NIMBYS rather than promoting a ‘liberal’ manifesto.
This helped then gain council seats but never saw them increase their number of
MPs. They now tell people by voting for them we can end up back in the EU where
in fact they know they will never be in a position to see us ignore the Brexit
Talking of Brexit, those who wanted out of Europe told the
public what they wanted to hear- more jobs money to be spent on the NHS,
control on immigration where in fact they knew that in fact most of those
claims were lies.
In my own Labour Party, Corbyn is happy to tell members what
they want to hear but seems to ignore the fact those who we aim to represent do
not want to hear that. Some claim this is one of the great things about him that
he will not follow the populist line but in fact he is- saying to members what they
want to hear, ensuring he will stay as leader, never having to go against his
principles but in fact it will see us move further away from ever being in
position to implement the changes that are needed to make this country fairer.
Trump is a worry and part of chain of events that also
includes the Brexit vote and the rise of Marine Le Pen in France.We need to stand up against those who wish to
blame others- we need to protest but is a rally enough?
Real change can only come by being in position to force
through changes, it is right to protest against Trump coming to the UK but
better to have a Labour Government in power so the invite would not have come
in the first place. It is right to protest about the way Israel seems powerless
to stop illegal settlements springing up in Arab villages but it would be
better to offer solutions that would help set up a position where Arabs and
Israelis can live side by side in peace.
It is acceptable to protest about some of the actions of the
USA and the west but you then can’t ignore the actions of states like Russia. You
can march against the way the Saudi Government are acting in Yemen but you also
need to attack Russia for their support of the Syrian regime.
A rally can send a strong message to someone, it can show
that people are not willing to stand aside when a wrong is potted but a rally,
a protest must also come with a solution, with a policy that can work. We must
also understand why a populist policy we do not agree with is popular.
Having a rally with a large attendance does not mean your
view is right. UKIP, Trump, Pro Brexit, anti-Trump, Stop the War, (and Corbyn) can
attract thousands to a rally but does it represent what the electorate want to
hear or does it offer a solution, an alternative way- a way that appeals to
all, not just those at the rally.
Hitler was the master of the political rally, playing not on
only people fears but also pushing a populist view of the world. This weekend I
was in Nuremberg, the Nazi rally grounds still stand as a stark reminder of
what he said and what he id. You can spend all day in the Documentation Centre,
leaning how Hitler used the public to gain power and then keep it. The part
that Nuremberg played in promoting Hitler and the Nazi cause.
Nazi Party Congress Building
To stand on the saluting Dias above the Zeppelin Fields it
is hard to imagine how Hitler felt when he faced 150.000 people who all believed
in what he said.
The Zeppelin Field, Nuremberg
I have never been a fan of a political rally – to me you are
speaking to the converted or appealing to the masses with lies and half-truths –
a better way to make change is to talk to people, one on one, in small groups,
to allow debate, to question and be questioned. Can you remember Trump ever answering
questions? I am sure you can now work out that most of what the pro Brexit politicians
said was lies, even the Corbyn rallies ever saw him answer questions from members-
he just said what they wanted to hear.
For me rallies are for cult leaders, debates are for
politicians. It is right to march, to protest but do with a solution, with a
better option to offer. Consequences of when a cult goes wrong
Politicians often have to do what is unpopular, close a crèche,
make people unemployed, tell the truth about immigration or crime – admit there
are problems we can’t solve straight away. That is true politics, telling the
public things they do not want to hear- being able to do that and still be elected
and trusted is a sign of real politician a real leader. Trouble is many
politicians are happier to tell the public what they want to hear. The Nazi Rally grounds - today
Many people were concerned about Trump becoming President of the USA, but it is still a shock that how bad things already seem.
His decision to ban refugees from the US and then to introduce a 'Muslim' ban from certain Middle East countries is both shocking and dangerous and to many of us disgusting.
No surprise that the Labour Party have spoken out against Trump with Yvette Cooper sending a letter to the Prime Minister that fully explains many of our fears and concerns.
Some expected such actions by Trump but not many would have predicted that our own Prime Minister would find it so hard to criticise the actions of Trump and add to the fact that she was so keen to fly to Washington to meet him and then offer him a State Visit to the UK - What does she not get about 'he is not welcome here'? His visit could see major protests and put the Queen, our Police force and many others put in a very difficult position. It actually would be hard to think of any country where Trump would be currently welcome (maybe Russia!)
It has been pleasing to see some Tory MPs not only condemn Trump but also be critical of Theresa May, the South Cambridgeshire MP, Heidi Allen has been very vocal in showing her disgust in the way Mrs May has acted.
But here in Suffolk - our Tory MPs have been silent, not only in attacking Trump over his deplorable actions but also silent in their criticism of Teresa May.
Wonder if Ben Gummer, Dr Poulter or Ms Coffey will use their local paper columns to condemn the actions of Trump and the embarrassing way Mrs May refused to condemn him? Guess we are more likely to get a second article about choral music
This week in his local paper column our Tory MP for Ipswich, Ben Gummer used his weekly page to tell Ipswich residents about how important choral music is.
Now there is nothing wrong with any politician using their column to talk about non political topics but very surprising to do so in the week where the NHS teeters on the edge of complete collapse, the lack of funding of social care does not help the NHS cause (Mr Gummer has ministerial influence over social care) the Prime Minister choosing hard Brexit (Ben Gummer was a 'remainer') and in America, Mr Trump becomes President.
Ipswich Labour - talking about the NHS rather than choral music.
So many reasons that you thought his 'Star' column this week would be about politics, but maybe he has no answers? Ashamed of the state of the NHS? Does not want to remind people he wanted us to stay in the EU?
Or is this an example of Tory complacency, thinking Labour no longer provide a strong opposition - if that is what they think they may have a problem. Labour are not as united as we should be, we do have major internal issues but it was obvious yesterday when campaigning in Ipswich that Labour are still the party trusted most to protect the NHS. Also evident that in Ipswich, the Labour run council is respected for doing a good job with limited funding whilst the Tory run County Council are seen to not acre about Ipswich or its residents.
So Mr Gummer be as complacent as you want, but do not think the public have any faith in you or your party protecting the NHS - but I am sure they are now happy they are more informed about choral music!
Next Wednesday I will be walking back to Ipswich from Felixstowe 16 miles may not seem much of a challenge. Last year for the military veterans charity, 'Walking with the Wounded' I walked part of the 'Essex Way' at night, on my own - no roads (over 60 miles).
It nearly killed me! I fell in a bog up to my waist after an hour and when I finished 20 hours later, I was shattered. So a shorter distance this time seemed a better option but a challenge was still needed - so I am carrying a fridge on my back!!
Now this is not that original as it has become a bit of charity fund raising ritual in the Royal Green Jackets, I remember Steve Wilson walking from London to Cambridge in 1981 (I think the year is right) and then Joey Byrne walked from Southampton to Winchester and only this year Garry Collins did the Birmingham half marathon with a fridge in his back - so it is not original.
But I still hope to raise £500 ( now aiming for £1,000 after reaching first target) for this worthwhile charity - 'Walking with the Wounded' is doing a great job for veterans and it is also close to my heart as the charity not only has links with the Royal Green Jackets but as they are Norfolk based, a number of their projects involve working with veterans in Suffolk.
This week the people of Ipswich remembered the fallen
From the service at Ipswich war Cemetery, involving Primary School children from Ipswich to the showing of the play, The Wipers Times' at the New Wolsey to the Sunday service at the Ipswich Cenotaph - where we saw one of the biggest crowds in years.