Why all the articles I’ve posted below?  Well, sometimes we do have to say something….   I’m new neither to blogging nor to politics, but I am a bit outside the profile of your average www aficionado.  Not too many bloggers as yet are women of a certain age, perhaps even matriarchs of a sort, still determinedly if reflectively progressive and using the internet to try to make their point. So I hope here to help these matters along.  And I shall call myself ~ PinkPolitika.

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Brexit Labour (Lexit) Means Lost Futures and Democratic Deficit

It seems the Labour Manifesto for the European Elections is set to be another attempt, even so late in the day, to sit on the fence.  Is this the final evidence that for too many (by no means all) in Labour high command political purity is more important than the actual graft of day-to-day compromise to win elections?

There is a great deal could be said about the failure of some of the UK Labour Party leadership (Shadow Cabinet) to demand formal investigation of alleged illegalities or even to face up to the urgent challenges of Brexit.

But the most dire aspect of all is the failure by these same people to recognise the democratic deficit which has nurtured Brexit.  We know for certain that there were serious wrong-doings on the part of the Leave campaign, yet still some MPs and some of the Labour leadership insist that we must ‘respect’ the deeply flawed EU Referendum of 2016 (more details of these flaws here and here). To accord respect in the face of such serious democratic deficits just isn’t possible.

Below is a generic version (now annotated) of the email I sent recently to several senior members of the Labour leadership, in time for them to receive it before the NEC (National Executive Committee) meeting to agree the anticipated European Elections Labour Manifesto today (30 April 2019):

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Do Young Momentum Enthusiasts Know That Jeremy Corbyn Really Wants Brexit?

In the New Statesman of 30 June Stephen Bush tells us that the position of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is of less relevance than (in Stephen’s view) the fact that most Labour MPs are pro-Brexit.   To my mind this confuses perceptions about how many Labour, and especially working class, voters have come to see and blame the European Union as an obstacle to their best interests, and the realities which most centre / left, even some Tory, MPs quietly understand but are, sadly, afraid to articulate.

Now, immediately, is the time to challenge Corbyn on his (and his close colleagues’) hostility to, and anachronistic view of, the EU.   We must insist, before the damage is irrevocable, that he comes clean about his perennial antipathy to Remain.   Most importantly, this task must be accomplished by Corbyn’s greatest admirers, the young people who have flocked to Momentum and who, along with many other Labour voters, believe Jeremy Corbyn will deliver them from Brexit….

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Brexit: Why we haven’t left the Labour Party (yet)

Main points of correspondence sent to Labour Party HQ in early February 2017 by Tony Burrage and myself (Hilary Burrage):

…   Currently we are extremely unhappy about our Labour membership – which is a great shame after some 40 years each of being in the Party. We both feel that the direction of the Party since the EU referendum has been disastrous, and every day convinces us even more strongly that our alarm is entirely justified.

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Stop #Brexit

Wnat follows below are some links to material and activists supporting #RemaIN.

I am fundamentally opposed to the UK withdrawing from the European Union. This is not simply a matter of economics (though that’s critical); it’s about the basic need for modern societies to work together progressively and closely in solving the many problems that collectively we face – including the challenges of security, migration, health, human rights, environment, food production and much else.

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Ed Miliband is concerned about immigrant workers; he should also worry about large, wealthy families and dwindling resources

Rick of Flip Chart Fairy Tales has written a very thoughtful piece about Ed Miliband’s recent speech on ‘ordinary’ people’s concerns around so-called immigrant workers.  Miliband and Rick are both absolutely right that this needs to be discussed; and also correct that if proper discussion doesn’t occur, improper (by which I mean unpleasant, unfair) commentary will fill the gap instead.

I have suggested in a response to Rick’s blogpost, however, that there’s also another dimension to be factored in, viz, population in the demographic sense, and the economic / resource demands especially of large, wealthy indigenous families.

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H.M.Government e-petition on FGM rejected

A number of us recently co-identifed as sharing very serious concerns about the continuing nightmarishly high levels of female genital mutilation (FGM or ‘cutting’) in the UK.  We therefore set about lobbying as citizens to ensure everything possible is done to bring this unthinkably grim child abuse to a halt.

The decision was made to set up an e-petition on the H.M. Government website, a website where signatories must indicate whether they are British citizens / residents – which factor we judged important, given that our demand is in effect that enough UK taxes be allocated to eradicate fully the practice of FGM in Britain. The wording of our e-petition was very carefully considered, and we also checked thoroughly that it did not duplicate any other petition on the website.

Imagine therefore our dismay that the petition has now been rejected with no apparently coherent explanation.

Is this a case, as some have suggested, of ‘protecting adult embarrassments, rather than protecting small children at risk of devastating harm’?  The full original text of the e-petition follows, along with the HMG (Cabinet Office) response; so you can decide for yourself…  But one thing is certain. There will be another attempt at this HMG e-petition very soon.

UPDATE! Please sign and forward this e-petition (for UK citizens), posted 25 June 2012 on the HM Government website:

STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM / ‘cutting’) in Britain

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM  and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you.

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Campaigning will shift the climate, to end FGM in Britain

FGM (female genital mutilation or ‘cutting’) is embarrassing for us in the mainstream of British life even to consider; but it’s excruciating and debilitating for its young victims.

This is one topic where grown-up people must not permit their queasiness to over-rule their sense of decency.  FGM, both as a procedure and as procurement (whether in the UK or elsewhere) is unequivocally illegal; but as yet no prosecutions have been secured. And this despite the chilling fact that over 20,00 babies and girls in the UK are thought to be at risk annually.  That’s over 50 every day, or 2+ an hour, and the number rising.

Politicians and others in authority may shamefacedly shy away, but enough noise from the rest of will make it easier for them to do their job, protecting defenceless small children – the two British girls and babies who every hour are not receiving the protection to which they are so fundamentally entitled.

Please sign and forward this e-petition (for UK citizens), posted 25 June 2012 on the HM Government website:

STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM / ‘cutting’) in Britain

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM  and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you.

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Age-related sexism: women candidates for council, mayor and commissioner elections?

Age-related sexism is a real obstacle to progress in getting more women to the political frontline, and it’s well time that political parties began to realise that and act upon it. The repeated failure in the UK and beyond to achieve more women in Parliament and elsewhere is a fundamental obstacle to meaningful universal suffrage.

Nonetheless, the continuing tendency is somehow to blame women themselves for not standing in sufficient numbers where there are winnable seats.  This is neither fair nor honest. Insofar as ‘fault’ is the issue, it lies rather more specifically with the present power elite (mostly male) than with ‘women’ in general.

The current belief is that ‘training’ will address the gender deficit in candidate lists, but this averts attention from some central issues.  One size does not fit all.  Inflexible programmes of induction can diminish rather than enhance the standing within their party of better experienced and qualified candidates; and this is especially true of mature women candidates entering the fray.

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FGM is a universal horror, including in Britain

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a truly dreadful topic, and we all wish there was no reason, ever, to consider it.  But there is. Whilst we in the UK see endless (and correct) concern for upholding the human rights of alleged dangerous extremists such as Abu Qatada,  we also permit without murmur hideous violence to female British minors, and sending thousands of small girls abroad every year expressly so they can be mercilessly mutilated, sometimes killed or murdered, in the name of cultural difference.

Today’s (22 April 2012) report and first leader in the Sunday Times reminds us how widespread and unspeakable – almost literally – FGM actually is, even in Britain.  Under their front page headline [paywall] “Revealed: Britain’s 100,000 mutilated women” the Sunday Times reports that a few very brave victims of this barbarism, such as the model Waris Dirie (founder of the Desert Flower Foundation), continue to speak out in the UK to demand immediate action to halt this atrocity.  But nobody does anything.

It’s estimated that in Britain about 20,000 girls are at risk of this nightmare very year.  That’s more than 50 desperately vulnerable children on any given day, and 20,000 neglected UK prosecutions annually for a very serious and especially horrific criminal offence.

Please sign and forward this e-petition (for UK citizens), posted 25 June 2012 on the HM Government website:

STOP Female Genital Mutilation (FGM / ‘cutting’) in Britain

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM   and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you.

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Regional pay: how to increase the North-South divide and weaken the ConDem coalition?

As anticipated following Chancellor George Osborne’s budget, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has now declared that ‘regional’ pay for health workers is on the agenda.

Needless to say, those in the South-East will earn more under this arrangement than colleagues further North.  This is not however ‘only’ a question of health-care inequity and the salaries of health workers.

The wider issues, such as housing, are pressing and grim.  And the political fracture points for the Conservative-LibDem coalition may soon start to reflect these tensions.

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Government ‘incompetent’? Not when it comes to DE-governance…

Increasingly, we read that the present UK government is ‘incompetent’.   But I’d suggest the Government is ‘only’ incompetent in things it reckons are fundamentally unimportant for the longer-term.

David Cameron may make the occasional attempt to appear cuddly but George Osborne really doesn’t bother.  And why? … because the fundamental intention is to raze all social / public provision and pass it on to someone else, anyone else but the government.

DE-governance is the name of the Tories’ game.  And fast is the way they want to play it.

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Personal politics; when moralising replaces civic responsibility

The big issues in UK politics are how the Government is destroying public services, in favour of provision for which it is absolutely not responsible.  De-governance as quickly as possible is the route our Conservative-dominated political leadership has chosen.

The increasing interference by those same Tories in our private lives – whether it’s direct civil liberties, or our right to determine our own fertility, or whatever – is also diverting attention from de-governance.  And the news from across the Atlantic on, e.g., a woman’s right to choose (abortion) is alarming, with reports of extraordinary demonstrations and even efforts in some states such as Virginia to legislate for ‘medical rape’ – intended to prevent women going through with abortions – and the like.

Already there’s evidence that some anti-progressive UK campaigners are taking note.

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David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts blames women for two-brains families

Well done to the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, for speaking out on climate change; he emphasises today (The Times, 25 February 2012) that ‘something real is happening’ when the ice cap starts to melt.

But did the man known as ‘Two Brains’ actually wear them both out getting to this pretty obvious conclusion?  Given that in the same Times piece he is reported as saying feminism is ‘partly to blame’ for a widening income gap, one must suppose so.

What appalling hypocrisy, coming from a Minister in a Government which is actively reducing opportunities for ‘ordinary’ women and their children.

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Britain’s railways are the worst in Europe for fares, efficiency and comfort.

Britain’s railways have been judged worst for fares, efficiency and comfort in a study of rail services in Europe.    It is estimated that the social, economic and environmental benefits of achieving a modal shift from road to rail – in terms of reduced congestion, accidents and emissions – could potentially reach £154.8bn by 2050.

But will anyone be listening, as we move into yet another phase of the Welfare Rights debacle?

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Smacking is NEVER the answer; violence begets only violence

David Lammy MP is reported to believe that working class people should be allowed to smack their children within ‘reasonable’ limits.   Whether he also believes that (in the public perception?) banning the physical chastisement of children helped fuel the 2011 Summer riots is immaterial.  On this, if he truly believes any of it, the usually admirable Mr Lammy is plain wrong. Wrong. Extraordinarily wide of the mark and much worse.

David Lammy should be campaigning, not to provide excuse for parents to hurt their offspring, but rather ceaselessly to halt all violence against children, including the horrors of FGM (female genital mutilation), which undoubtedly occurs in his constituency.  That way lies a more secure and enduring community peace.

If you have a Twitter account and would like to draw more attention to this issue, please use the hashtag   #NoFGM  and follow  @NoFGM1.  Thank you. .

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