Thursday, 10 November 2011

MP with the courage of his convictions

WE PAY their wages, entrust them with billions of our money to run the country yet they ignore us.

I’m talking about our political leaders whose notorious deafness hit new heights recently when it appeared that some MPs might be getting hearing aids or even trying to listen to their constituents about a referendum on the EU.

Naturally leaders couldn’t tolerate troops such as South Dorset Tory MP Richard Drax displaying signs that they might have a mind of their own, so they openly instructed all MPs of all parties to vote against a motion calling for a public vote on the UK’s place in the EU.

The whole House of Commons debate had been sparked by a petition signed by more than 100,000 people, hardly a promising advert for the future when so many people’s wishes can be so blatantly stifled.

So what are Cameron, Clegg and Milliband frightened of?

Well, if they represent the people then surely the approach they adopt for the country should reflect what most people want and the only way to identify that is through a public vote on the issue.

But the fact of the matter is that the three main party leaders have an approach which reflects their views not necessarily those of the country.

They’re petrified that if they give the public a mouthpiece then millions will vote to come out of the EU which will overrule a handful of power brokers keeping us in that increasingly subservient existence.

The cold hard fact is that if the big three felt they were representing the people then they wouldn’t mind a vote and they certainly wouldn’t have issued such a severe anti-referendum instruction to MPs which had panic written all over it.

Fortunately our own MP Richard Drax displayed a different version of Churchill’s famous gesture to Cameron & Co and defiantly opted to vote in favour of a Bill offering three choices for Britain’s future EU participation including staying, leaving and renegotiating membership.

He correctly said that this was “a matter far more important than party politics” and that trading with the EU was one thing but being ruled by it was quite another.

Just for the record, Parliament currently has 650 MPs and, when the dust from leaders threatening MPs had settled, only 111 including Richard Drax had the courage to vote for asking the public’s view.

The best comment came in a political forum posted by one frustrated writer who asked what could possibly be done to get a referendum when so many ordinary people wanted one but were told by a few politicians that it “wasn’t the right time”.

So perhaps democracy isn’t quite as alive and well as Cameron, Clegg and Milliband would have us believe and that representation of the populace is rather a case where all politicians’ views are equal but some are more equal than others.

THANK God November 5th is over...well nearly. Explosive celebrations at all hours of the night began in my area of town as early as October 19th, a full 17 days ahead of Guy Fawkes’ official date.

Strong language erupted from under my bed clothes for night after night as fireworks went off at any time right up to 3am and, if I was hacked off with having my sleep disturbed, I’m pretty sure that parents with young children woken by the bangs would be even angrier.

No one expects fireworks let off solely on November 5th – that’s asking too much of human nature – but the whole celebration seems to have become blurred and we’ve had fireworks still exploding days after the official event. Enough is enough.

Just banking in the rain

ANY major branch of any major bank worth the name claims to offer its customers the last word in financial advice and cash accessibility... but it’s a different story with smaller branches.

I was out and about in my traditional holiday weather – torrential rain – when I ran short of cash and dived into a little branch of HSBC just as the heavens opened.

I had with me not just identification but the correct bank card yet this still wasn’t enough. I was politely but firmly informed that if I wanted to withdraw money from my account then I would need a bank book to enable me to do so in the dry.

As I didn’t have a bank book with me, the teller coolly told me that I could still use my card to withdraw money from my account... from a hole in the wall machine outside in teeming rain where increasing numbers of people could be seen trying to buy boats.

So I had no choice but to go out in to stygian conditions, fumbling with my card and the machine keyboard with one hand while using the other to hold my umbrella so as much water as possible could be made to trickle down my neck.

It was at this point that I realised HSBC might stand for horribly soaked bank customer and that the branch clearly had room for improvement.

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