Leaving your party and getting your facts right are some of the lessons from letters this month
Letter of the month wins a copy of Brian Jones’ new book FailingIntelligence
What’s left? Leaving the Labour Party was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. Following the imposition of a woman candidate in my area for the recent parliamentary elections, I believed the Labour Party was making a big mistake which eventually cost them the seat. I really was getting sick and tired of the mistakes the Labour Party was making and was slowly losing faith in them, in particular for the war in Iraq.
So I asked myself – what next? Currently, I am looking to join a local group called Focus BARRY who put people before party politics. Surprisingly, quite a lot of people have come out in support of my decision to leave. Since leaving Labour, I have made quite a lot of new friends who have asked me what took me so long to resign. I have no regrets and I am now happier than I have ever been, becoming an independent has put a new ray of light in my life.
So what has gone wrong for Labour? They have gone too far to the right and they have left people like me alienated. At least as an independent I am now free to say and do things without facing the wrath of the whip. Because I did not fit in locally as I was a man of the left, the senior members of the local party took a dislike to me and resorted to what I believe was bullying.
I do feel more people should be brave and stand up for what they think is right and if that means leaving the party they once loved then so be it. Cllr Richard Bertin Independent Member Vale of Glamorgan Council
Statements of fact In his article Have an Unfair Reputation? (TP, Sept), Michael Meacher MP states that Syngenta’s Bt176 maize feed was responsible
Statements of fact In his article Do GM Crops Have an Unfair Reputation? (TP, Sept), Michael Meacher MP states that Syngenta’s Bt176 maize feed was responsible for the deaths of a dozen cows in Germany. He is referring to the case of Mr Glöckner, a German dairy farmer who took Syngenta to court, claiming that 12 of his cows died in 2001/2 because they were poisoned by the feed Syngenta supplied.
Glöckner’s lawsuit was investigated and dismissed by the State Court in Giessen, Hessen, Germany in March 2007. Glöckner appealed against this decision, and the appeal was rejected by the higher court in Frankfurt. The German regulatory authorities had, in December 2002, confirmed that his allegation was unfounded and untrue. This finding was confirmed again in 2009. The legal case is now closed with the German Federal Supreme Court rejecting the case last year. This was well publicised at the time and must have been known to Michael Meacher.
The claim about Bt176 maize made in Michael Meacher’s article, therefore, has no factual, legal or scientific basis. Luke Gibbs Head of public affairs (UK&I) Syngenta
Talking Europe I was interested to read your interview of Sharon Bowles (TP, Sept). You are adding great value when you provide insight about the workings of our political processes which are not otherwise visible to the public.
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As a Lib Dem supporter, I was particularly pleased to see the positive impact that Sharon is having on issues in Europe that have a significant effect on UK plc and our financial services sector. Paul Lucraft West Sussex
Hiding the truth Much is made by Eurosceptics that Brussels is more powerful than our Westminster Parliament, something borne out by your statement in your interview with Sharon Bowles: “She has far more impact on our legislation than your average Westminster politician.”
That such an assertion be made – and exist – is a fact unknown to the British public, due to EU matters
Total Politics is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the play Bloodand Gifts at the National Theatre. Tickets are valid for Monday to Friday evening performances until 2 November, subject to availability.
Theatre. Tickets are valid for Monday to Friday evening performances until 2 November, subject to
How to enter Simply email your caption to competition@totalpolitics. com with your name and address before 12/10/2010. Entries submitted after the closing date will not count.
Last month’s winner “Yeah... well, David can’t do a tie... and he said he likes Ramsay MacDonald.” Holly Senior
A pair of tickets to see Yes, PrimeMinister are on their way to you. not being properly reported by the media and shows that the UK is no longer a self-governing nation.
Consequently, that the EU, politicians and our media don’t wish us to know the truth must surely be the greatest insult to what is supposed to be a democratic nation. David Phipps Oxfordshire
Acting responsibly We live in interesting times. The ‘new politics’ has given us a Conservative minister for constitutional reform, committed to seeing a referendum on the alternative vote through Parliament (TP, Sept).
Mark Harper is going to have his work cut out. Many of his colleagues seem to have little faith in their arguments and are determined to kill the bill, while ‘reduce and equalise’ plans have energised Labour ranks.
It’s not rocket science to get this right, but both Harper and the opposition may have to learn some new lessons in compromise. There are practical problems and human costs in this bill – a five per cent rule that simply doesn’t add up, and a decision to build seats on using registered voters that could remove 3.5 million from the political map. Fair seats and a choice on fair votes are attainable, if both sides can act responsibly. Ashley Dé Electoral Reform Society
Ben Duckworth says that with so much going on, it was not hard to fill the longestever issue of Total Politics going on, it was not hard to fill the longest-
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Welcome to our conference bumper special. It wasn’t a struggle to create our biggest ever issue with so much going on. Conference season itself has an urban air this year, as the BBC’s Jon Sopel notes in his diary on the following pages. Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham are where the Big Three will base themselves to discuss moving forward after what has been a unique few months.
Inside this issue you will find our top 50 conferences quotes of all time, made both on the conference platform and, in Cherie Blair’s case, while watching a TV. If you’re after something more substantial, our 22page policy section features some of the coalition v opposition clashes in a lively post-election period. Michael Gove v Ed Balls, Andrew Lansley v Andy Burnham and more can be found in Total Focus starting on p72.
We have different generations of political stars in this issue – Shirley Williams talks to Iain Dale on p24 about her remarkable career, how she never wanted to be prime minister and her experience of being a woman in politics. At the beginning of his political journey,
we tipped Chuka Umunna as one of the top three new MPs to watch out for. In his first high-profile interview since entering Parliament, he speaks to Amber Elliott about how he still gets nervous, despite the hype. Much is expected of him in the future, but at the age of 32, he may see promotion come quickly while Labour is in opposition.
There’s a truism emerging that your chance for political high office now comes in your 40s. It’s believable when looking at Cameron, Clegg and those who choose to stand for the Labour leadership (Diane Abbott aside). Tor Clark examines the rising trend of the 40-something politician on p32.
The new MPs like Umunna have quickly become settled in the Commons chamber. Check out how they’re getting on with our report from a Commons reporter on p40. Of course, this issue also includes all our regular polling analysis, history, campaigns and life sections. With eight cabinet ministers, their shadows and many more politicians inside, it’s a whopper. Hope you enjoy.
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