Roger Putnam’s current letter in the Whitehaven News:
We are about to elect a government, not a President!
I recently received a remarkable personal election letter from our Prime Minister Mrs May. In this she set out her claim to deliver so-called ‘strong and stable leadership’, but made no mention of the party which she leads. I can find no reference at all in this letter to the term ‘Conservative’.
This letter is the nearest any British party leader in my memory has come to requesting quasi-presidential powers, and not those appropriate to a democratic party leader answerable to parliament. Traditionally, the Prime Minister of Britain has been seen as ‘the first among equals’ and not the single arbiter of our national future.
The fact is that the next government cannot be solely concerned with the future relationship of Britain with Europe. We need to be wary of allowing a Conservative leader with a five year mandate to continue a programme which will further undermine the coherence and effectiveness of our education system, continue with the mismanagement of our precious NHS, ignore the needs of young people, and persist with the privatisation of key public services, such as prisons and probation, which should clearly remain in the public sector. Voters should realise the ongoing damage that presenting the Tories with a large majority will cause to our economy and to our communities, especially in needy areas.
What is more, Mrs May and her present Brexit team show few of the skills of negotiation needed to deal with the Brexit question. Her autocratic approach, so evident in her letter, is almost bound to secure a bad deal in leaving the European Union.
This momentous Brexit decision seems to me to be wholly mis-guided. It is not far-fetched but highly likely that it will lead to the acrimonious break-up of the UK, the further collapse of the exchange rate with consequent price inflation, and the departure of major companies and financial institutions to other locations in Europe if we continue on the present course. Surely we all, and especially the young, should have the final say. This momentous decision should certainly not be left to the judgement of the presidential Mrs May!
West Cumbria Liberal Democrats
‘Bower Bank’ Irton
Cumbria CA19 1TD
Tel. 019467 23361