richard pierce

richard pierce

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

Dan

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,

Richard

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.

6 October 2018

Of Gender and of Soul

I've just finished reading I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, and it's raised some interesting questions for me, or realisations, which I just need to write about. And if I, in this, don't adhere to the current uses of the words gender, sex, etc, please forgive me.

My brief review, just penned and uploaded via my smartphone:

Weird, wonderful, confusing, illuminating. This is as much a novel as a reading list, as much a transcribed piece of performance art as an art catalogue, and as much a cry from the heart as a call to arms. The message throughout is that patriarchalism is not dead, and that the striving for equality will never end and never be easy. Does love transcend gender politics or subvert them, or does it demand the surrender of the self by one party or the other but never both? Read and ponder.

But there's more, much more, to it than that, to where it's led my mind. It confirms to me what I've thought for a long time, which is that it's not the nature of our physicality (or our gender, if you prefer) which determines what we feel and how we react to the actions of others, but our soul, or, if you prefer a somewhat less spiritual word, our essence, or to become even more secular, our thoughts. I suppose people might say I'm writing about personality traits rather than gender or soul, but I think this goes deeper than that.

Thus, when people encounter us physically, they immediately think of us as a man or a woman, categorise us into the expectations that come with that perception, and expect us to act according to those expectations. Men = hard, women = soft I suppose is the crassest and simplest of ways to characterise those expectations. And that's how the patriarchy expects us to behave and be categorised, with no exceptions, and that's how people have been educated for far too long, and that's why evil people still rule this planet, and why most of us, of whatever faith or none, laugh at the expression the meek shall inherit the earth.

Whenever I describe myself as a zeta male, it's because I haven't been able to come up with some other rational description, and because, I guess, this again fits in with that patriarchal compartmentalising of people according to their gender. And this is where I'm coming back to I Love Dick, the main focus of which is how women have been silenced in the worlds of art and literature. I don't think it's physical women who have been silenced, not physical men who have had the upper hand. I think it's female souls which have been silenced, and male souls which have shouted the loudest.

To get personal, I am avowedly heterosexual, but this zeta maleness I keep talk about is actually the fact that I have a female soul, a soul which would rather fight using words rather than swords, a soul which would rather love and be loved than hate and be hated, which would rather be compassionate than ruthless. And those with male souls, and whatever bodies those souls might inhabit, are those who seek to oppress those of us who are peace makers, love makers, natural empathisers and consolers, unilateral disarmamentists. This is not to say we female souls can't be competitive, but it's a competitiveness which doesn't have deadly edges. This is not to say that we female souls can't be mean and horrible and thoughtless, because all humans can be like that.

But this is to say that having a female soul goes deeper than personality, deeper than what we've got between our legs, means more than the purely physical in a world increasingly guided by the physical, by the need for instant gratification, by the greed of the rich male souls that rule and have ever ruled, the male souls which unendingly and unerringly damage and torture the female soul from run-of-the-mill households to world politics. Just witness Trump and Kavanaugh, May and Johnson, Brexit and MAGA, and endless incidents of domestic violence, physical and emotional.

The female voice is still crying out to be heard, and it is indeed a cry from the heart as well as a call to arms.

25 August 2018

First-World Slavery - Of Human Bondage

Does anyone remember the days before Sunday opening? Or the time when nothing happened on Sundays? Or when certain large supermarkets were closed even on Monday mornings? Or those days when we couldn't get hold of our service providers at all at the weekend? No? I'm showing my age, obviously.

We have become so used to having access to everything all the time that we don't spend any time thinking about the effects of our constant needs on the people who have to traipse to work on those days when we have lie-ins, when we're at leisure, when we're the ones taking a deep breath because our week is over, because we're at rest. We take it for granted that we can call insurers, on-line vendors, can quickly jump into the car to make a forgotten shop, have everything available to us all the time. It's an insidious thing, this, and although I might call it a First World problem, it goes deeper than that.

We like to think of ourselves as activists, as folk who strive to make the lot better of those in the Third World who have to slave in sweatshops, pride ourselves on our ethically-correct way of living, but we forget that what we do at home actually just makes everything worse for those we think we're protecting.

There are employers, many employers, in the UK, who stay open on Saturdays and Sundays, who don't announce the shifts for their workers any more than five weeks ahead, who make their people work on bank holidays and Sundays, and I'm not talking about the wonderful emergency services on whom we all rely. How often have you phoned in a complaint to a service provider on a Sunday or bank holiday without even thinking about it? We all go on about modern slavery in the context of poor people being imprisoned in grubby cellars and rooms, and not allowed to see the light of day, and forced to do unspeakable things behind the walls of silence, but have we ever thought about those people in air-conditioned offices, on a Sunday afternoon, sitting there fielding phone calls from irate enjoyers of leisure just so that we don't have to arrange our working days to have ten minutes of free time to make our arrangements?

It's time we looked ourselves in the eye and realised that what we're doing is allowing rich people to get even richer by employing people on minimum wage or zero hour contracts, or just shit money, to pander to our affectations, to pander to those of us who have regular working weeks. It's time we called for call centres to operate only 9 to 5 on week days and to be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. It's time we demanded that supermarkets and DIY chains close on those days, too. Because we're allowing people's lives to be put into disarray, to be messed up, to be led by opportunistic forces that are anything but forces for the good. And, in the same vein, we should fight for night shifts to be made illegal, for working people to be allowed as much leisure time as those who think they work for a living but just sit behind desks pushing pens and crunching spreadsheets.

Just think about how many more people would need to be employed on proper contracts, not zero-hour contracts if we did do this. Just think about how many people's lives would better, how many people might actually be able to enjoy normal lives, fulfilled love lives, decent hours of sleep, and be able to plan their lives and spend time with their children if we did this. And imagine how this might cascade on to the Third World sweatshops and call centres. The world might even become a better place.

25 May 2018

27 - Sculptures

Sculptures.
The now world, the new world,
Assigns a commercial possibility
To each anniversary,
And not the precious metals of love
Forged in the flames of time.

The wood creaks under the passing of it.

Colours.
The world now has faded them
In the wind beneath the fluttering banners.
The material is irrelevant,
The untouchable the real language
Of staying together.
They are still bright in my eyes.

The wood has been bleached under our feet.

Images.
Our analogue prints,
Our digital legacies,
They will all be outdated
When we’re dancing in the clouds.
Our days are history as we live them,
Before we understand them.

Calendar pages torn away too late to be real time.

Breath.
I listen to your sleep every night
When my eyes won’t close.
Your breaths mark my destiny.
Without them I am too alone.
They slip through my fingers,
Those untouched hours.

Sometimes, emptiness is best.

Memories.
A life-time of markers.
We forget too many of them
In the bustle of new ones.
Here, on the sofa, our hands
Meet in the middle,
A centre of gravity
For our many worlds.

For M
R, 25/05/2018