Thursday 22 August 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'Lib Dems can help bring back balance to UK politics'

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Photo: Reuters/Peter Nicholls
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Photo: Reuters/Peter Nicholls
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

As a keen observer of the UK and the sad tribulations of the Brexit mess, I have a proposal and political slogan to suggest which might help in the longer term as I don’t believe the Brexit vote was really about Europe.

When I look at the historical balance of the Conservative and Labour parties, I am struck by the lack of balance today. In the past, these parties represented the central political balance in the UK, with membership of the Tory party at one stage being three million.

Likewise, the Labour party was dominated by trade unions, again with millions of members. This meant those parties’ leaders had to espouse centrist views and policies to win the support of the people who elected them.

I think of the leaders of those parties standing on the centre of the democratic see-saw, trying to maintain balance with extremists jumping up and down on each end. These leaders were grappling with each other, yes, but not fundamentally trying to throw the others off the democratic see-saw.

Compare that to today: I see political parties of relatively tiny membership, with the Conservatives having only 160,000 and the Labour movement before the Jeremy Corbyn surge also with sub-200,000 numbers. This has allowed a power grab by opportunists to take over both parties with their own jumping up and down but no centrist views.

So a suggested way forward, or at least an opportunity to grab the balanced centre with a slogan, step forward Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats and the slogan “Restore the Balance”, engaging in a huge membership-building campaign, not making Brexit a central theme but instead driving towards restoring the political balance in the UK and restoring people’s hopes and dreams.

Brian Grogan

Foxrock, Dublin 18

Put our money into State bonds to transform economy

There has been much discussion on the poor return from money held in savings and deposit accounts – banks unbelievably don’t want the money and may levy a charge for the service – and on how to plan and invest for inevitable expenses like third-level education.

Ireland State Savings offer bonds for 10, five or two years, with a return of 15pc, 5pc and 2pc respectively, for a minimum investment of €50 and absolutely risk free.

If the reputed €90bn on deposit in Ireland was transferred into such bonds this could offset almost half of our national debt of €200bn and the saving on interest could go to pay down the remaining debt, provided the bonds and interest saved were specifically designated for this purpose.

The slogans used by Franklin D Roosevelt to sell war bonds after the bombing of Pearl Harbour were “back the attack” and “now all together”.

Think of Brexit as our Pearl Harbour. Leo Varadkar and Paschal Donohoe should be in the media every day to push these bonds, which I suspect many are unaware of, and which could transform our finances overnight.

Michael Foley

Rathmines, Dublin 6

We can’t have our public service cake and eat it

I read Jason O’Mahony’s article about our national conundrum about public services and taxes with great interest.

I agree our hypocrisy in expecting the taxes of Texas and social welfare of the Scandinavian countries is not conducive to a grown-up discussion about our political economy.

Patrick Rogers

Address with Editor

Good luck to all waiting for their Leaving Cert results

In 1969, 50 years ago, I received my Leaving Certificate results in the post. Today is an anxious time for you all. May I wish you all every success. We will light a candle for you.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Greens MP’s cabinet plan simply lacks credibility

Rummaging for relevance, the increasingly ridiculous Caroline Lucas – the Greens’ only MP and until recently one of the few British parliamentarians with a shred of credibility – proposes a woman-only “emergency cabinet”.

She says: “I believe women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises, are able to reach out to those they disagree with and co-operate to find solutions.”

Oh yes, because Theresa May proved such a rip-roaring success, didn’t she? A record number of ministerial resignations, wasn’t it? No surprise, considering her dirty trick in revoking the Windrush generation’s passports when home secretary and ensuring as PM her successor Amber Rudd took the blame. So much for sisterhood!

Even Dianne Abbott dismisses it as “a back-door national government”, too polite to note Lucas’s parcel of rogues happens to be all-white. I wouldn’t trust Lucas to put together a two-piece jigsaw, never mind a cabinet.

Mark Boyle

Renfrewshire, Scotland

Irish Independent

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