richard pierce

richard pierce

12 February 2019

RIP Gordon Banks - the goalkeepers' union


It’s always like this.
The last line of defence,
The final cliché.
We are the ones who suffer.

Even in victory,
Each weakness, misjudgement,
Is sentenced a callous on our selves,
And in defeat
Ours is the honour called to task.

We are the guardians of the grail,
Keepers of spirit and soul,
The mysteries of the game,
Always carrying guilt and glory
In our bootbag.

30 January 2019

Why Your YES Vote Matters - In Plain English


Planning applications go to the Parish Council and Mid-Suffolk District Council (MSDC).
The Parish Council makes recommendations on planning applications.
MSDC is not legally obliged to act on the recommendations of the Parish Council.
MSDC is under great pressure from central government to build lots of houses.
There are many landowners who wish to build houses in this uncontrolled way.
MSDC will likely approve many of these developments even if locals oppose them, and even if the Parish Council recommends they shouldn't be built.
The village receives a maximum 15% of the Community Infrastructure Levy.

NO Vote

The above continues to apply, with the resulting rapid expansion of the village with no real regard for the view of villagers, nor with a regard to the increased load on road, sewage, doctors' surgery (to name but a few).

Some misguided soul has (probably illegally) defaced a planning application opposite Doggetts saying that if you vote No, the planning application will not go forward. This is untrue. The above current situation will still apply.


If the referendum decides YES, the Neighbourhood Development Plan comes into effect immediately.
MSDC will be legally obliged to adhere to the Neighbourhood Development Plan, and will not be able to approve any big housing developments not in the plan.
Any planning applications which have not yet been assessed or approved will be decided on the terms of the Neighbourhood Development Plan.
The village will directly receive 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy.

By voting yes, you guarantee sustainable housing development, increased income for the village. You decide the future of the village for the next twenty years.


28 January 2019

Stradbroke Neighbourhood Plan Referendum - Private Profit or Public Benefit?

Before we're asked to take part in the People's Vote (and yes, it will come), there's another referendum where we're being asked to answer the question I've asked above. And it's on Thursday 31st January 2019 at Stradbroke Community Centre, with polling open from 7am to 10pm.

You've seen me write before in opposition to untenable and frankly destructive planning applications (all past articles on this), and on my support for the current Neighbourhood Plan, because I believe that sustainable gradual housing development is better than rapid uncontrolled housing development which will put impossible pressures on Stradbroke's amenities and infrastructure, not least the doctors' surgery and the roads.

As we have seen in the past, many of the planning applications have been put in by those seeking entirely to profit from them even if it's to the detriment of the village. Many of these applications have even gone so far as to include affordable housing to increase the likelihood of Mid-Suffolk District Council (MSDC) passing them, only, once approved, to remove in its entirety the affordable housing from the plans. Make of that what you will - I call it corruption and self-interest.

MSDC is under huge pressure from central government to find land supply for at least the next five years, in other words to find places for people to buy houses because the populations continues to expand. Without a Neighbourhod Plan, these houses could be built any old where if MSDC approves them (which they will, under pressure from government, estate agents, and landowners). With a Neighbourhood Plan, MSDC can only approve houses on the sites in the Stradbroke Neighbourhood Plan, sites which have been voted on and approved by those who went to the various consultation events on the Neighbourhood Plan, and those who went to the trouble of reading the Neighbourhood Plan online and commenting online. The selected sites have been selected by consensus. If you vote for the Neighbourhood Plan in the referendum on 31st January, you will have put this village in control of it own destiny, in control of the pace and intensity of development, and MSDC will have to follow your instructions, your Neighbourhood Plan.

Unfortunately, there is a group of "concerned residents" in Stradbroke who are opposed to this Neighbourhood Plan, who this time have managed to find space on their misleading (and probably illegal) leaflet to put their names on it as the fonts of all knowledge (sic; inside joke; add Spartacus to that), and are calling people to an information meeting on either Tuesday or Wednesday before the referendum (supposedly an open meeting). I think there is a deliberate intention there to obfuscate and confuse Stradbroke residents. Please remember this is the group which put out a poison pen letter of a leaflet in April 2018 which met with the disapproval of almost the entire public meeting at which it was discussed. These people have no interest in democracy.

The referendum on 31st January 2019 is a simple majority vote referendum. This means that every vote counts. This means that your YES vote could be the winning vote. And when you're thinking of how to vote ask yourself what you really want. And take a walk down Neaves Lane and then multiply the mess down there by 14.

NO TO THE PLAN = PRIVATE PROFIT (and not into your pocket either) AND CHAOS

16 November 2018

#PeoplesVote response to my letter from Daniel Poulter MP

Finally, more than three weeks after I wrote to him about a #peoplesvote, my constituency MP, Daniel Poulter, got back to me. His response is followed by my immediate response to him. Read and weep.

Dear Mr Pierce-Saunderson,

Many thanks for your e-mails, and my sincere apologies for not responding sooner.

The Conservatives won the 2015 election with a clear pledge to hold an in-out referendum, and then delivered on that pledge.  The voters were then promised that the outcome would be respected and implemented.  Indeed, in the follow-up election in 2017, 84% of voters opted for parties that pledged to respect the result and leave the single market and customs union.

Politicians are criticised enough for not keeping promises.  It is therefore important that the government do what they have pledged to do and leave the EU.  While there are clearly many who would like to see the result reversed, and would welcome another referendum, I cannot support that view.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the EU membership we had is no longer on offer.  Having given our notice, the EU would be likely to exact very different conditions on our re-joining, including an end to our opt-outs, possible membership of the euro, and much higher contributions to the EU budget – without our rebate.  There is therefore no real option to remain, but only to go back in on different, less favourable terms.

This must be borne in mind alongside the general loss of faith in politicians and the reputation in our democracy that would come from holding another referendum, and the divisive nature of any such vote. 

I appreciate this is not the answer you were seeking, but hope it gives you an idea of my views on the subject.

Thanks again for your e-mail and my apologies for not responding sooner.

With best wishes


My response:

Dear Dan,

Thanks for finally getting back to me.

Unfortunately, your email doesn’t actually address any of my concerns, and indeed reads just like a formulaic rather than individual response to one of your constituents.

In fact, some of your statements are plain erroneous, I’m afraid to say. Nor do they address the issue that the referendum was “won” illegally, for which some of Leave’s main backers are now under investigation. These are really issues you and your party in government should be investigating with the greatest urgency rather than, as I said in my very first email, putting political pressure on the Metropolitan Police to investigate this electoral fraud. The fact that the Prime Minister has not denied that she refused to investigate Mr Banks when his activities were first brought to her attention some years ago throws this issue into stark relief, and makes the legal status of the referendum even more questionable.

As for your statement that the government pledged to respect the result of the referendum, it had no legal base on which to make this statement. Decisive (rather than advisory) referenda on what are essentially constitutional changes usually carry with them the requirement for a suer-majority of at least 66% of those who voted. This did not occur.

Thanks for calling the election in 2017 a follow-up election. Although a People’s Vote is not a follow-up referendum but rather a first referendum on the terms of Brexit (rather than a referendum on a very ill-defined and lied-about exit from the EU), your use of the terms puts the lie to politicians from both parties claiming that another referendum is unnecessary. Surely, using those parameters and definitions, a general election just over two years after the previous one would be similarly unnecessary. People are entitled to change their minds, and a significant number of people have changed their minds, and to progress down the route of a Brexit without allowing people to voice their views on the new deal would be denying the “will of the people” rather than carring out the “will of the people.”

As far as the result of that election is concerned, it is a common trope amongst Leave politicians to claim that 84% of voters supported Leave parties. At that point, the Labour Party’s position was even more unclear than it is now, and in fact the result could be interpreted in many differing ways, one of them being that Leavers voted Tory and Remainers voted Labour (and you cannot argue this is not so after having quoted a totally spurious statistic yourself). For the sake of clarity and completeness, I did actually say on BBC Radio today that as a life-long Labour voter I would not be voting Labour again unless they explicitly came out against Brexit and backed Remain.

Your comment about the EU membership we had no longer being on offer is also entirely incorrect. We have not yet left the EU. There are legal opinions that Article 50 can be wirthdrawn, wlthough the government is attempting to hide this fact from the public. As you know, Court of Session in Scotland recently heard the UK Government’s attempt to stop the Court of Justice of the European Union making a ruling on the revocability of Article 50, and denied that attempt. The UK government, your party in other words, continues to block publication of its application and papers on this case, thereby keeping even its own MPs in the dark, as well as the public. So your argument doesn’t hold water.

Lastly, as far as the general loss in faith of politicians you mention is concerned, I think blinkered and dogmatic responses like yours to a non-party-political concern of a constituent, responses in fact to a situation which endangers not just the lives of those in poverty, but the entire economics of the UK, as well as threatening the breakup of the Union, go a very long way to deepening that lack of faith.

Best regards,


27 October 2018

#PeoplesVote Letter to my MP Daniel Poulter

I sent this to my MP Daniel Poulter by email on 22nd October. I have not yet received a response, perhaps not unsurprisingly. We are being cheated on all fronts.

"Dear Dan,

Unfortunately, I can’t make your Stradbroke surgery as I’ll be in London working. However, I wanted to outline here why I would have come to see you, and it concerns Brexit.

I have to say that I disagree entirely with you regarding Brexit. The referendum was only ever intended to be advisory; that’s what the legislation for the referendum stated, and it was made clear in Parliament that advisory was entirely the nature of the referendum. It is a blatant lie to say it was anything but advisory. Similarly, the catchphrase “the will of the people” which is being trotted out by Brexiters of any colur is entirely infactual, considering the disenfranchisement of British people living abroad, and, more significantly, not enfranchising the generation which would be most affected by Brexit, namely those aged between 16 and 18 when the referendum took place. This all leaves to one side the fact that Vote Leave have been shown to have broken the law, something which the Metropolitan Police seem desperate not to investigate because of “political sensitivities,” which I read as political interference and pressure.

Add to this the fact that the current government has entirely mismanaged negotiations with the EU, has brought no sensible solutions to the impasse about the island of Ireland, and doesn’t even seem to have started discussing the issue of Gibraltar. Furthermore, it is obvious that the UK’s standing in international politics has been severely weakened by the government’s negotiating tactics and servitude to populism and an illegal corrupted referendum. The reality is that the UK has become totally and utterly undermined by this Brexit process, financially politically and morally, and that the best move forwards would be to withdraw Article 50, and to try to reform any issues the UK has with the EU from within not from without.

The People’s Vote March on Saturday made it very clear that the will of the people is in fact to have a referendum on any final deal, including an option to remain. This is not a second referendum, this is a public vote on the terms of a deal, not on a question for which no details were clearly given at the time of the 2016 advisory referendum.

I would urge you, seriously, to consider your position as my constituency MP, and to move away from backing any kind of Brexit to a position which at least supports the rights of your consitituents to have a final say on Brexit, and which, ultimately would uphold the sovereignty of Parliament, not undermine it like the current Prime Minister and her government are attempting to.

I very much look forward to receiving a non-formulaic response from you which acknowledges the right of all the people in the UK and all British people abroad to a democratic process.

Yours sincerely ..."

Let's see what response comes, if any at all. In fact, if none is here soon, I may just have to start writing at least one email and hardcopy letter a day to Dr Dan.