Articles contributed from various sources...

James Heappey MP

House of Commons

London
SW1A 0AA

6 Mar 2019

Brexit - a Last Chance

Dear Mr Heappey,

It seems that the votes in parliament next week are the last chance for members to vote for what is best for the future of the country.

I know you have felt that you must obey the orders of your constituency; no matter how ill-informed they were, how narrow the margin in Wells and ignoring the possibility that some might just have changed their minds in the last two years.

Please cast your votes in the coming week so as to be seen against all forms of leaving the European Union. Do this, not against your party, not against your constituency but for your country and for your ability to look your children in the eye and explain you gave them the chance to live and love in Europe.

yours sincerely,

a letter to the Prime Minister

Theresa May MP

Prime Minister

House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

3 Feb 2019

What are you up to?

Dear Prime Minister,

Let me get this straight. The referendum was advisory and won on a slender margin.

You think it is best  to remain in Europe

"I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union." Theresa May, 25th April 2016

Parliament wishes to remain in Europe

 All pretty obvious - but the latest is "You've got a Leave population and a Remain parliament." Liam Fox, 20th January 2019

 The people wish to remain in Europe.

 56% of those who expressed an opinion would vote remain in a second referendum. YouGov poll, 16th January 2019

 I don't believe it's beyond doubt that The Queen wishes to remain.

That hat at the opening of parliament…

And yet you pursue a plan that by all accounts will be disastrous for jobs, national security and certainly be of no benefit to the conservative party.

What the hell are you up to?

Yours, etc

a letter to my MP and all leaders of political parties

James Heappey MP

House of Commons

London
SW1A 0A

31 Jan 2019

Serving the Nation

I have a proposal. It's fairly radical but I urge you to read the letter in full before throwing it in the anti-Brexit pile for processing "later".

Brexit issues are taking up a lot of parliamentary time. I sense your frustration at not being able to progress other matters that impinge more directly on the constituents you were elected to represent and serve.

Cutting to the chase, my proposal is cancel Brexit.

Now that all leaders are talking, I propose that the government and all parties acknowledge that Brexit - and the time and money it is taking to implement it - is not in the nation's interest: threats to trade, the Union, food security and many other risks have been thoroughly voiced. I propose that, with the agreement of all parties, the government cancels Article 50. A further concord might be that all leaders could agree to leave Brexit politicising and campaigning until the next General Election.

An important point on voter perception: one might argue that to revoke Article 50 and cancel the whole Brexit fiasco would doubtless upset the 52% of voters who voted to leave. However, in a YouGov poll of 16th January 2019 it is reported that the leave intention is now 44%. The percentage of the population who would feel outrage at the revocation of Article 50 is now falling. The specific figures for your constituency are not known to me. The point is that the government would be alienating a minority of voters by remaining in the European union.

In the referendum campaign, you were a remainer (correct me if I'm wrong), Theresa May campaigned to remain and your party's manifesto of 2015 stated "We say yes to a family of nation states, all part of a European Union." The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, SNP and the wider groupings of Northern Ireland and Scotland were also pro-remain.

You will see that I have copied this letter to many others in the hope that it might spark a conversation between those referenced. I feel it's time to put a quick stop to this madness in a way that will cause no material harm to the nation by crashing out of Europe but still leave the door open to leaving the European Union by the more conventional method of implementing policy in a party's manifesto after a General Election

I urge you to give this serious thought and discuss it with your fellow members of parliament.

Yours, etc

 

cc:
Rt Hon Theresa May, Prime Minister and leader Conservative Party
Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, leader Labour Party
Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable, leader, Liberal Democrats
Rt Hon Ian Blackford, leader SNP
Rt Hon Nigel Dodds, leader DUP
Caroline Lucas, leader Green Party
Liz Saville Roberts, leader Plaid Cymru

- - - - - - -

A quick update:
three weeks later only one person has replied. Thank you Caroline Lucas.

a letter to my MP

James Heappey MP

House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

28 Jan 2019

Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE)

 

I'm reading "Would You Kill The Fat Man?" at the moment. A fascinating study of ethical dilemmas and morality. The title refers to the problem of whether one should kill one person to save five other lives.

I expect you're familiar with DDE after your time in the army so I apologise for re-stating how DDE is used to consider an act with an effect and a concomitant effect:

  • the act considered independently of its harmful effects is not in itself wrong
  • the agent intends the good and does not intend the harm either as means or end, though the individual may foresee the harm
  • there is no way to achieve the good without causing the harmful effects
  • the harmful effects are not disproportionately large relative to the good being sought

For those unfamiliar with DDE, Edmonds gives the following concise use of DDE in a military scenario. Again, my apologies that this is nothing new to you but the numbered points will be useful later on (and maybe a help to others reading this letter)

The justifiability of targeting a particular military installation illustrates how the DDE can be applied. If it is legitimate to hit an installation with foreseen collateral damage then, according to the DDE, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Hitting this installation must not in itself be wrong.
  2. Hitting the installation must be the intended act, and the collateral damage must not be intended.
  3. It must be impossible to hit the military installation without causing the collateral damage.
  4. The badness of the collateral damage must not be disproportionate to the good that will result from hitting the installation.

And so to the issue of membership of the European Union. Your support for the action of leaving the European Union is not inherently wrong. As you know I disagree with your party's motivation for leaving: taking an advisory poll won through illegal campaigning on such a narrow margin does not best server the reputation of the Conservative Party.
(Item 1)

It would appear that the Conservative party did not foresee the harm likely caused in so many ways: loss of jobs, loss of involvement in Galileo, loss of free movement, collapse of the Union through Irish border issues, potential Scottish Independence, increased vulnerability of Gibraltar, collapse of the pound, etc. Or if not foreseen, I hope the damage was unintended! (Item 2)

Sadly, it seems impossible to leave the European Union without causing the damage. (Item 3)

So we must now consider whether the damage caused by the act is disproportionate compared to the good.

Much of the damage of the act of leaving the European Union, cited above, can be waved away by the promise of a brighter future out of Europe (We can build strong trading relationships within ten years, etc, etc) but I would argue that the the ten years of damage is disproportionate to the good (as yet disproven) that might result. And in any case, the official line of taking back control of something we already had is disingenuous sloganeering.

I know security is important to you. Britain's position as a global power goes beyond projecting military power across the globe but extends to the role we play in the UN, NATO, the Commonwealth and, most importantly at this time, the European Union.

I do not believe that the act of leaving the European Union can be justified on the grounds of the disproportionate damage being caused to the country. (Item 4)

The latest cry of the party seems to be a call to democratic principles, honouring the "mandate" of the 17.4 million who expressed voted to leave. This while denying those who call for a Second (democratic) Referendum. Ploughing on without a second referendum on the deal proposed needs a separate analysis according to the above points of DDE but this letter seems to have gone on a little longer than I had hoped.

In the parodied words of so many incomplete articles: I shall leave the morality of pandering to the 52% for party political gain to the exclusion of the 48% and the concomitant consequences thereby generated as homework for the student.

Yours, etc