Sunday 27 January 2019

Brexitwatch: stop the 'no deal' madness. Write to your MP

So now it seems a no deal Brexit will mean not just food and medicine shortages, but also possibly martial law. It is time to stop the madness. Write to your MP NOW and get them to back Yvette Cooper's amendment to rule out no deal (It will be voted on on Tuesday 29 January.) This is what I have sent to mine who happens to be Labour's Brexit spokesperson, Sir Keir Starmer.

Dear Sir Keir,
So now a 'no deal' Brexit will mean not only food and medicine shortages but also possible martial law. The Brexit foolishness has now escalated to insanity. MPs can stop the madness by supporting Yvette Cooper's amendment, and I trust that you and all Labour MPs will be voting for it. Even if you're a Brexiter, there can be no excuse for inflicting no deal on the country.
I trust Labout will also be voting against Theresa May's blind Brexit when it resurfaces - tell her again! And I trust that Labour will also oppose the delusional Tory amendment that presumes to order the EU to get rid of the Irish backstop.
I am still waiting for action to be taken against Kate Hoey and the rest of the UKIP fifth column in Labour's ranks. When Owen Smith was thought to have sounded too enthusiastic about a People's Vote, Jeremy Corbyn sacked him in short order. What picture do you think it paints of Labour when Hoey and the Brexit fanatics are allowed to defy party policy time and time again with impunity?
Yours sincerely,
John Withington

Saturday 26 January 2019

Brexitwatch: Moment of truth. Brexit has no mandate - write to Theresa May

So Theresa May wants to bring the country together. IF she really means this, she needs to stop lying and recognise that Brexit has NO MANDATE. We all need to write to her at

 This is what I have sent:

If you really want to bring the country together, the first thing you need to do is stop lying. I watched your speech outside No 10 the other day, and after hearing 3 lies in about the first 40 seconds, I gave up. There was no point in listening to any more.
1. The ‘people’ did not ‘instruct’ you to leave the EU. As the law, and your deputy Mr Liddington made crystal clear – the referendum was ADVISORY and non-binding. It offered bad advice which will damage the UK and you and all other MPs have a duty to reject it. Anyway what about the 16 million who voted against Brexit, do you consider them not to be ‘people’? Leaving the EU is YOUR decision.
2. The referendum was won by lies, cheating and law-breaking. In any proper democracy, the result would have been declared null and void long ago. But you don’t seem to care.

3. As you point out, the only Brexits now available are your blind Brexit ‘deal’ and no deal. Neither was voted on in the referendum, and judging from how rude different Brexiters are about both, it is plain that both would have been heavily defeated by Remain. So there is no mandate for any possible Brexit. It’s time to start putting the UK first and stopping Brexit.

Thursday 24 January 2019

Diary Date - Valentine's Day Centenarians talk

Reaktion Books v kindly giving a mention to my Valentine's Day talk on 100 year olds in North London:

Monday 14 January 2019

Brexitwatch: vote down May's deal

So a month after Theresa May promised to put her 'deal' before parliament, tomorrow the vote is finally going to happen. The delay has been a blatant attempt to simply run down the clock and deny MPs their democratic rights.

It is a disgraceful way for a prime minister behave. All MPs should vote against her deal. So write to yours and demand they do. This is what I have sent to mine, who happens to be Labour's Brexit spokesperson, Sir Keir Starmer:

Dear Sir Keir,
On 29 June, you promised me that Labour would oppose Theresa May's 'deal' unless it satisfied all six of Labour's tests. As it does not, I assume that you and every Labour MP will be voting against it.
If any Labour MPs decide to vote for it and throw a lifeline to this disgraceful 'government', I trust they will be expelled from the party. Such conduct would be inexcusable.
I also trust that if May's 'deal' is defeated, Labour will move IMMEDIATELY to meaningful action. The best course would be to revoke Article 50, and then leave Brexit-supporting MPs to get together to see if they can agree an approach to leaving the EU, while the rest of the country gets on with its life. If ever they do manage to agree anything, that could then be put before parliament, the government, and, if necessary, the people, to decide whether it is something that is worth proceeding with BEFORE it is put to the EU.
If Labour does not have the stomach for that, the next best option would be a referendum on May's deal or Remain, and if even that it is a step too far, I suppose you could try for a general election, though I do not see how you can win over enough Tory rebels to secure that.
By the way, did you see the latest YouGov poll in 'The Times'?
In spite of their shambolic performance, it gives the Tories a 6 point lead over Labour. Backing Brexit isn't working! You need to change before it's too late.

Friday 11 January 2019

Brexitwatch: a letter to the Speaker

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has now joined judges, Remainers, MPs who ask difficult questions about Brexit, the EU and others among those demonised as 'Enemies of the People' by our extreme right-wing tabloids. His crime? He allowed MPs a vote on a matter of crucial national importance.

I have written to Mr Bercow at and to express my thanks, and to ask him to please carry on exercising his courage and wisdom on behalf of MPs' democratic rights in the weeks to come. He could become a very important figure as more sensible MPs try to halt the Brexit disaster.

This is what I said to him:

Dear Mr Bercow,
Thank you for standing up for democracy at this time of great national crisis and in the face of a bullying minority government that seems completely devoid of concern for the national interest.
The prime minister's pulling of the 'meaningful vote' in December was one of the most cynical acts of contempt for parliament that I can recall in my lifetime, which goes back almost as far as World War Two.
You will, of course, face vitriol and vilification for doing the right thing, but your courage and wisdom will be needed to help us many times in the weeks ahead.
Thank you again and good luck,
John Withington

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Brexitwatch: don't let Theresa May run the clock down. Another crucial vote

Thanks to an amendment from Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, parliament now has a chance to put an end to Theresa May's strategy of running down the clock until MPs have no alternative but to accept her rotten 'deal'.

It means that if her 'deal' is defeated, she will have to come to parliament with a Plan B in 3 days:-

The vote is this afternoon. So write to, facebook, tweet your MP NOW. This is what I have sent to mine, Sir Keir Starmer:

Dear Sir Keir,
Thank you for supporting Yvette Cooper's amendment. I trust that you and all Labour MPs will now be supporting Dominic Grieve's amendment to ensure that Theresa May is not allowed to waste any more time or money if her 'deal' is voted down.
I also trust that any Labour MP who decides to back this incompetent and discredited government will face severe disciplinary action.
btw why weren't you doing this morning's interview on the 'Today' programme? Barry Gardiner always comes over as completely evasive and must lose dozens of votes for Labour every time he opens his mouth.
Yours sincerely,
John Withington

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Brexitwatch: get your MP to try to stop 'no deal'

Any Brexit is damaging, but a 'no deal' departure would be disastrous. An amendment to try and stop 'no deal' is being voted on in Parliament this afternoon, sponsored by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative MP Nicky Morgan.

Contact your MP and ask them to vote for it. This is what I have sent to mine, who happens to be Labour's Brexit spokesperson, Sir Keir Starmer:

Dear Sir Keir,
I trust you and all Labour MPs will be supporting Yvette Cooper's amendment to help prevent a disastrous 'no deal' Brexit.
MPs are running out of places to hide, and those politicians and parties who do not make every effort to spare the UK the damage that Brexit will cause are likely to find themselves judged very harshly.
Yours sincerely and Happy New Year,
John Withington

Sunday 6 January 2019

Brexitwatch: the question every MP should be asking themself

There are some honourable exceptions, but the performance of most MPs during the Brexit shambles - the worst political crisis in the UK since World War Two - has been shameful.

Among the items on the charge sheet:-

1. Never bothering to have a proper debate on the implications of the 2016 referendum result
2. Pretending that an advisory, non-binding referendum was binding and giving it a status equivalent to the word of God.
3. Deliberately ignoring the fact that the referendum was won by lies, cheating and law-breaking.
4. Voting to trigger Article 50 when it was plain that Theresa May's government did not have (and still does not have) the faintest idea what it wanted.

For the last two and a half years, most MPs have fecklessly kicked the can down the road, but now they are nearly out of road. Now every MP needs to look in the mirror and ask themself this question:

Do I really want to be remembered for knowingly damaging jobs, public services, businesses, people's savings and pensions, and the UK's standing in the world because I did not have the guts to tell the British people the truth: that Brexit is a terrible mistake and must be stopped immediately?

Good luck getting the right answer.