Opinion Letters

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'MP being forced to delay C-section shows how low UK politics has sunk'

Determined: Labour MP Tulip Siddiq attended parliament in a wheelchair for the vote. Photo: Getty Images
Determined: Labour MP Tulip Siddiq attended parliament in a wheelchair for the vote. Photo: Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Commentators have said that Theresa May's defeat in her Brexit deal is humiliating.

What should be more humiliating for the British people is that their current existential crisis led to a nine-month pregnant MP being wheeled around the voting lobbies at Westminster Palace.

The Labour MP, Tulip Siddiq, has delayed her caesarean section by two days as she was not afforded the confidence or did not trust in the pairing arrangements in the House of Commons.

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These were breached when the Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, who was on maternity leave, saw her Tory "pair" partner go ahead and vote. Thoroughly disgraceful behaviour.

The Speaker called for the whips to approve a proxy for Ms Siddiq, but such is the toxicity at Westminster this reasonable call fell on deaf ears.

So on this historic occasion, with the world watching on, this is the spectacle we were greeted with.

What hope do the British people have if this is the behaviour of those they elect to represent them?

Our bunch of parliamentarians may be questionable, but at least they respect a modicum of decorum and common decency.

Killian Brennan

Malahide Road, Dublin 17


Compromise on freedom of movement is unlawful

Signing the Withdrawal Agreement with the compromised freedom of movement right will be unlawful. If only certain EU citizens can settle and work in the UK, then only certain exports from the UK can be acceptable in the EU single market.

Buying one's way into the single market and trampling on the rights of its citizens can never be acceptable. The EU is founded on the principle that its citizens can move to any EU country as easy as Londoners can move from Camden to Hackney. The treaties do not permit discrimination on racial, ethnic or nationality grounds, therefore nothing can be added to them that violates this principle, however pragmatic it may appear. If the commission cannot respect the rule of law, it should resign.

Michael McPhillips

Ballymun, Dublin 9


UK governance is stacked in favour of the wealthy

Brexit is but a sideshow when it comes to the deepest problems facing Britain. Take a look at the undemocratic nature of the House of Lords. Members are not elected, they are drawn from the nobility (peerage), honours which can only be bestowed by the British monarch. The numbers should send a shiver up every British person's spine: members of House of Lords = 790; elected by the people = 0; hereditary peers = 92; female hereditary peers = one; dukes = four; bishops (Church of England) = 26; countries with bicameral system in which the upper house is larger than lower house = one (UK).

In 1909, the People's Budget was proposed by the Liberal government in Britain to bring in new and unprecedented taxes on the lands and incomes of Britain's wealthy classes and to fund new social welfare programmes. It passed the House of Commons in 1909 but was blocked by the House of Lords for a year. The People's Budget was championed by the liberals David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, who was then president of the Board of Trade. The pair were known as the "Terrible Twins".

If ever you needed proof that the system of governance in Britain is stacked in favour of the wealthy and titled, here it is.

Alison Hackett

Dún Laoghaire, Dublin


Holding a second Brexit vote puts democracy first

Throughout the entire Brexit debate, the most ridiculous and politically pompous argument put forward is that to hold a second referendum on Brexit would be a betrayal of the democratic process. Rubbish. In effect this argument means that even if, with the wisdom of hindsight, you begin to fear you have made a disastrous decision, you cannot revisit it and perhaps change your mind.

Brendan Casserly

Bishopstown, Co Cork


Constant bullying of the Church is disgraceful

I would like to add my 'hear hear' to that wonderful letter by Hugh Duffy in your paper on January 15 and Michael Kelly's article on January 11.

The relentless, negative, inaccurate and lazy scapegoating of our priests and nuns in the media is a scandal in itself.

Enough is enough; the Church is not to blame for all our ills. As long as we continue to brainwash our nation into believing this, we will never be a progressive, civilised society. Give gratitude where it's due and quit deflecting our attention from the real cause of our problems. It's too convenient to blame the only institution that dealt with our hard cases; it was the only one clearing up the mess left behind by negligent policies.

The constant bullying of the religious, most of whom gave their whole lives to helping others, makes this farcical and self-righteous posturing all the more disgraceful. They are invariably old and unable to defend themselves.

Stop dragging us all down with this negative agenda and lift our spirits for a change by recounting the amazing and inspirational religious who toil selflessly around the globe. For the sake of our mental health, please plug this elephant-sized drainpipe once and for all.

P O Keeffe

Address with editor


We must protect children from junk food marketing

The Irish Heart Foundation welcomes your editorial: 'Ireland needs a new resolve in the battle against obesity' (Irish Independent, January 10). We welcome discussion on combating obesity and particularly the role the daily bombardment of junk food marketing plays in damaging our children's health.

We know there is a causal link between junk food marketing and child obesity and yet there are no consequences for brands that use micro-targeting tactics to entice young people to over-consume.

While the Government should be commended for the sugar sweetened drinks tax, we are disappointed none of the €16.5m in additional tax revenue has been invested in tackling obesity. How do we test progress? A good start would be by the implementation of the recommendations of November's joint committee on children and youth affairs report on tackling childhood obesity - including increased protections from junk food marketing on TV and online.

Helena O'Donnell

Advocacy officer, Irish Heart Foundation

Irish Independent

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