So a week has passed since the Referendum and, to be absolutely honest, we are no nearer working out if we should trigger Article 50 of the European Treaty or not, whether once they have been selected, the new Tory PM should call a General Election to secure their mandate or not, whether the Labour Party’s MPs is going to depose Corbyn or not or, in the event of a Brexit, the Scottish Government will trigger a second Referendum of their own to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom and into the EU. Even UKIP seem to be on the cusp of expelling its only MP because he has had the temerity to disagree with Farage.
There seem to be two certainties in British Politics at the moment, firstly that we are in for a few months of uncertainty as to what will happen over the possibility of Brexit and secondly that there is only one national party that has a leader the party is united behind, only one party that is clear on what should happen next and only one party with the courage to stand up and say what needs to be said.
The Liberal Democrats under Tim Farron have shown the principled leadership needed at a time of crisis. While respecting the result of the Referendum and those that voted to leave the EU, we also recognise that the Leave campaign sold the British public a false prospectus, full of misinformation, and downright lies, which is now unravelling. It would be a dereliction of our duty to the British public is we did not carry on pointing out the perils of Brexit and demanding a General Election before triggering Article 50.
One effect of the vote to leave the EU which is disturbing is the rise in anti-immigrant abuse both vocal & physical. The attack on the Polish Community Centre in West London is especially disturbing to me as it is in the area I grew up in. The Polish community there dates back to the Second World War when many Polish airmen contributed to the war effort (there is a famous memorial to their contribution next to RAF Northolt) and were not able to return home after the war.
I am sure most people will join me in condemn this hatred towards people who have come to live and contribute to society here. This makes the headline story in the Worksop Guardian this week “IMMIGRATION: LET’S MANN UP” (sorry not up on their website yet) all the more disturbing. I have written a letter in response which I hope will be published in next week’s edition but, given the Worksop Guardian’s record on publishing letters from me, I am not hopeful.
I am reminded of the lines Martin Niemöller, a German pastor wrote just after World War Two
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
If we substitute in immigrants, for one of these categories, then the danger in the current wave of anti-immigrant hatred, and especially when some in the establishment continue to (falsely) blame immigration for problems in our county, become apparent. We all must stand up and raise our voice against it.
Finally, a few words on the current problems in the Labour Party.
I am fed up with the cowards who make up most of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
If they want rid of Corbyn, do the deed and trigger a leadership election or simply shut up and let him get on with his job.
To me, as an outsider, it seems that they want Corbyn to go but don’t want to be seen to push him out. Instead, all they are doing by dragging the attempted coup out interminably is making the Labour Party a laughing stock and showing that it is unfit to be an opposition let alone a government.
We need a strong voice in Parliament and out of it to oppose the Tory party, especially at a time when they look to be ready to elect a new leader who will take the party even further to the right. If Labour are not up to the job (and the evidence is that they are not) then it fall to the Lib Dems to to do it.