Thursday, 4 July 2019

My Times letter on 'Brexiteer petulance'


The behaviour of the Brexit Party MEPs (report, Jul 3) shames the majority of British people who, whether they voted Leave or Remain, regard civility as one of our greatest strengths as a nation. For those of us who continue to believe that membership of the EU is the best option for our country this childish behaviour will spur us on to campaign with civility, determination and strength of purpose.

John Slinger

Thursday, 23 May 2019

My Rugby Observer letter: why, after 27 years in Labour, I'm now backing Change UK in order to change UK politics


I was a Labour Party activist for 27 years, and stood as a local election candidate several times here in Rugby.

I resigned from Labour in February because the party’s leadership, front bench, NEC and membership is now dominated by the hard left and is not therefore capable of representing the interests of the vast majority of voters in our community, who abhor ideological extremes and seek the ‘three Ps’ of pragmatic, principled and progressive government.

I am now actively supporting Change UK, because they are providing a credible new vehicle to achieve these aims. Their Charter for Remain is clear about providing an alternative “based on the values which we know matter to the British people: a strong economy, our country playing a leading role in the world, protecting our environment, investing in our public services and building a vibrant, healthy democracy where we campaign for our beliefs with decency and respect.”

In a few short weeks Change UK have shown much to their credit: complete honesty and clarity about their Brexit policy of seeking a People’s Vote and supporting Remain; attracting support from across the parties including from former Labour and Tory ministers; taking on Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party; and proposing to change the way in which politics is conducted beyond Brexit. This contrasts markedly with the Conservatives and Labour.

If Rugby voters feel politically homeless, want a fresh start that is devoid of the vested interests of the other main parties, and agree with their clear policy on the EU, I recommend that they consider supporting Change UK in the European Parliament elections and beyond.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger
[Online here.]

Saturday, 4 May 2019

My Times letter calling for boots and boats not nukes


Max Hastings is right that “sustaining a deterrent on the scale of Trident represents an unaffordable big willy gesture in a nation of our status”. As he says, no one credible “can come up with a credible scenario for its use, or threat of use.”

There are many moral objections to nuclear weapons and the replacement of our system but perhaps the practical reasons hold more sway. If Britain wishes to project its power, defend its interests, uphold its commitment to alliances, protect civilians from egregious human rights violations and assist in humanitarian disasters, we need more soldiers, surface ships and aircraft. The strong, robust and patriotic position is to divert resources away from nukes and redeploy them to bolster our conventional forces, which sorely need the investment.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger

Friday, 19 April 2019

My Times letter on how Change UK are doing well, despite the narrative to the contrary


You claim that “the polling was less positive for Change UK” (Brexit: Nigel Farage’s party surges into European poll lead, 18 April).

Yet polling at 8 per cent is actually a good result, given that it has only been in existence for eight and a half weeks, has only just constituted as a party, has not selected its European election candidates and has not yet launched its campaign.

Perhaps more relevant, however, is that Change UK do not receive the wall-to-wall coverage that Mr Farage benefits from across the media, including numerous appearances as a talking head on all political programming.

Making any claims about Change UK’s chances at this stage is premature. The media and chattering class seem desperate to have a simple narrative: triumph for Mr Farage and little space for the emergence of a new, confident and credible centrist party that threatens to displace the major parties.

Just as Apple became the biggest company in the world, Change UK may yet disrupt UK politics in a significant way that commentators cannot comprehend, so wedded are they to the old structures.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger

Thursday, 28 March 2019

My Times letter on automatic speed limiters

Sir, The squawking from opponents of automatic speed limiters is reminiscent of the opprobrium heaped on the Labour transport minister Barbara Castle when she introduced speed limits and seatbelts. Tens of thousands of people alive today, and hundreds of thousands who have escaped being maimed due to road safety interventions are testament to this.
John Slinger

Online at The Times here.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

My Times letter: ‘Stale Britannia’ and a second referendum

Sir, Clare Foges is right to warn about how the project of the Brexiteers has created not “the grandeur and global reach of our past” but “echoes of past failures”. Remainers have long warned of this and offered a way out via a People’s Vote, but this suggestion has been traduced as undemocratic.

In our first-past-the-post system the winner takes all. So it is time for those who voted Leave, those who are seeking to implement Brexit, and most notably those who led the Leave campaign, to accept responsibility for the consequences that are about to befall us, whether for good or ill.

John Slinger
Online here.

Monday, 31 December 2018

My Times letter on our broken politics and wishing United for Change well in seeking to break the mould


News that a new political party will be launched in 2019 ("Centre party hopes to win power with volunteer army", Dec 29) is welcome.

The dominance of the two old parties simply reflects the lack of a credible alternative and our unfair voting system, not widespread popular support for their policies.

The system that allows this complacency to persist, and the two parties that are its chief beneficiaries, must be challenged democratically.

it is to be hoped that United for Change and others can break the mould and give millions of politically homeless people in the centre ground a credible vehicle through which to improve society in pragmatic ways.

Even if such an endeavour fails in the short term, it will expose the status quo for what it is: a system designed for the 19th century.

John Slinger

View online at The Times here.