Friday 31 March 2017

Free talk on storms - May 11

A note for your diary. I am booked to give a free talk on storms, based on my book Storm: Nature and Culture at 7.30 pm on May 11 at Highgate Library Civic and Cultural Centre, Croftdown Road, London NW5 1HB.

More details nearer the time.

Friday 24 March 2017

Friday 17 March 2017

Thursday 9 March 2017

Brexitwatch - MPs' last chance to get a say on Brexit. Write to yours.

After the House of Commons nodded through the bill to give Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit with astonishingly little dissent, the House of Lords has tried to give MPs another chance by amending the bill to give Parliament a genuine say.
On Monday, it will go back to the Commons with the UK's increasingly dictatorial unelected Prime Minister ordering that the changes be reversed. If you want to stop Parliament being bypassed, it is crucial you write to your MP NOW to demand that they stand up for the amendment and democracy.
My MP happens to be Labour's Brexit spokesperson, Sir Keir Starmer, and this is what I have written to him.
Dear Sir Keir,
When Gina Miller gave Labour MPs a chance to have a genuine say over any Brexit terms that Theresa May may negotiate, you ran a mile. 
Now the Lords have courageously given you a second chance (which Labour does not deserve.) It is vital that this time Labour supports the amendment to give Parliament a meaningful voice. 
I trust you are fighting hard for this outcome with Jeremy Corbyn. If he refuses and continues his Brexit coalition with the Tories and UKIP, I trust you will defy him and vote for the amendment, urging your colleagues to do the same.
If Labour are prepared to show some backbone for once, there is every chance of winning over enough Tory rebels to defeat our increasingly dictatorial prime minister. If Labour again refuses to oppose, you can hardly complain if Tory rebels decide there is little point in sticking their necks out.
Yours sincerely,
John Withington

Wednesday 1 March 2017

Brexitwatch - another pathetic Labour capitulation

Astonishingly Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, which campaigned to stay in the EU and most of whose supporters want to stay in the EU, ordered its members in the House of Lords, to vote against keeping the UK in the EU's Single Market.

The usual bogus 'will of the people' argument advanced by Labour to justify deserting its supporters does not apply here. Voters in the referendum were given no say on the Single Market, and throughout the campaign, Leave campaigners were falling over themselves to promise we would stay in it. Besides, at the last general election, every Tory MP was elected on a promise to keep us in the Single Market.

And the overwhelming majority of businesses and economists think leaving will do terrible damage to Britain. So even by Labour's standards, this is a bizarre decision. Below is the letter I have sent to Labour's chief whip in the House of Lords, Lord Bassam of Brighton, and to my own Labour MP.

Dear Lord Bassam,
I cannot believe that you whipped Labour peers against an amendment to make Theresa May keep us in the European Single Market.
Is Jeremy Corbyn now so terrified of UKIP that he does not realise that most Labour voters throughout the country are pro-EU? Does he not realise that leaving the Single Market will inflict enormous damage on our country, and that those who suffer most will be Labour voters? And does he not realise that his enthusiastic coalition with the Tories and UKIP ensure that when Brexit all goes horribly wrong, Labour will share the blame? What's the plan? To ensure Labour is now as comprehensively wiped out in England as it was in Scotland?
Your usual 'will of the people excuse' can't be used in this case. People were not asked their view on the Single Market in the (advisory) referendum, but virtually every MP at the last general election was elected on a promise to keep us in it, while Leave campaigners were falling over themselves to promise we would stay in it.
Labour's betrayal of its supporters will not be forgotten. For my part, I will not vote in any election for any politician or party that helps drag us out of the EU.
Yours in sorrow and anger,
John Withington