THE recent birth of The Independent Group at Westminster is frequently compared to the formation of the SDP in 1981.
The new Parliamentary gathering would be better studying the performance of the Lincoln Democratic Labour Association formed by Dick Taverne who won a sensational by-election in that city on March 1, 1973.
The by-election was won by Mr Taverne gaining 58.2 per cent of the poll on a strongly pro-European campaign.
Dick Taverne had been de-selected by a then increasingly left-wing dominated local Labour Party.
A strong grassroots local party was formed and a brilliant campaign was won which incorporated many people who were new to politics.
The losing Labour Party had been supported by prominent big names of that time. The presence of Denis Healey, Barbara Castle, Tony Benn and Michael Foot amongst others made little impression on the Lincoln electorate.
The then “new politics” went on to have remarkable local government success winning 47 elections, controlling Lincoln City Council from 1974-78 and electing the first woman leader of the local authority in 1975. A 28 per cent rate reduction in 1976 and the saving of the local theatre were just two of its achievements.
Without a national base and a national name outside of Lincoln, it was inevitable that the brave breakthrough in Lincoln would not succeed and the last councillor lost his seat nine months before the SDP was formed.
The state of British politics is far worse in 2019 than was the background to the Lincoln by-election.
The new Independent Group will have to ensure they can gain the support of a country which is weary of the Brexit politics.
The early polls seem to indicate they can move forward but, along with other smaller parties, they must avoid the pitfalls that the SDP sadly failed to overcome.
From: David Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.
DON’T MPs see the permanent damage they are inflicting on the country and politics?
The Tories should hire a room and lock in every MP until some form of agreement is reached, Theresa May to be then instructed to notify the EU and Parliament that this is the Government’s policy and is to be implemented.
Time is short, but no extension to the deadline date of March 29 should be sought as it will only be filled with more waffle and posturing. As the time starts running out, there will be panic on both sides of the Channel and common sense could possibly concentrate minds.
If a general election is called, I would doubt that 50 per cent of current MPs would get re-elected and fringe parties would emerge.
Does Parliament want such anarchy? Every MP must search their heart and souls to obtain a sensible outcome and possibly remember the outcome of the last referendum!
Disbelief at rise in threats
From: Brian H Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.
I READ with disbelief the social media post which appeared to condone threats to MPs who are deemed not to be carrying out “the will of the people in their respective constituencies” (The Yorkshire Post, March 6).
One respected MP has already lost her life and several others have admitted to living in fear in the increasingly scary political climate.
Like everyone else, MPs are flawed but someone has to do the job. It is unreasonable to expect conscience not to create anomalies in a politician’s broad agenda: there will always be issues which cross party lines.
In any event the constituents who voted them in can vote them out. If we are not careful, we shall bring about a reign of terror which will only deter good, able people from entering politics.
From: Roger Crossley, Fall View, Silkstone, Barnsley.
WITH regard to the speech by John Bercow on threats to MPs (The Yorkshire Post, March 6), I have to say that, whilst I wholeheartedly agree with his sentiments on this issue, I question his use of certain expressions, especially from a man in his position.
Most notably the use of the word ‘period’, which is obviously poached from the USA. What on earth is the Speaker doing using that expression and what does it tell us about him, and the ego-charged environment that he operates in?
Let’s hear it for the carers
From: Mr M Payne, Mirfield.
WE hear too much of the bad things in society and not enough about the people who dedicate their lives to looking after the sick, elderly and children 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and from all walks of life (The Yorkshire Post, March 6 and 7).
They ought to be the highest paid in the land. We have the best medical service in the world. Altogether I have had six operations, I have prostrate cancer and macular degeneration of my eyes. Could you put it in all the papers that people should not be afraid of going into hospital because they will receive the best possible care?
From: Jarvis Browning, Main Street, Fadmoor, York.
THERE was a time when the heather was cut and bailed up, to be sold on. What’s happened to that? I think we should go back to that method, which would be a lot better for the environment.
When I came back into Ryedale from Sutton Bank on one of their burning days, thick dark smog hugged the surrounding moorland.
No wonder folks have breathing problems.