Nothing is perfect – but let’s be positive

Local MP Sally-Ann Hart, under fire by some for supporting government handling of the Ukrainian refugee crisis

Last week Rye News included a piece from our MP about Ukraine. It drew comments, mainly from the “discontented” and those in opposition. One or two comments were supportive or offered balancing views.

Why is it that a communication about the plight of the Ukrainians and what our MP has learnt or been doing, becomes an excuse for negativity or drum beating?

The irony is that most Ukrainians would welcome a democracy like ours and have gone to great lengths since 2005 to try and build just that. They are suffering unbelievably as a result of the action by Putin, although, conversely, the main effect of this has been to unify the country.

Why do people find it necessary to condemn democratically elected politicians whenever they communicate? I found our MP’s communication genuine and informative. Neither positive nor negative.  I found a lot of the comments negative for the sake of being negative simply, in some cases, because the writer supported a different political party.

Whether the MP is a member of a political party that I support or not, is irrelevant. Actually, I don’t support any political party. I do believe in democracy.

Brexit raised its head again. Whether we were in favour or against is now irrelevant. Democracy prevails and we must get on with it. It was a democratic decision by an educated electorate. There were false claims on both sides!

As far as personalities are concerned, there can be little doubt after the Brexit campaign, that people knew what Boris was like. He was subsequently elected with big majority. That’s democracy!

The idea that opposition parties are “holding the government to account” is nonsense, particularly with the current opposition. It is the electorate who finally holds any government to account.

If elected politicians of whatever political hue could click their fingers and find instant solutions, they would.  Doing things properly and legally takes time, irrespective of any political persuasion. It must sometimes feel like walking through treacle; frustrating for all of us but particularly for those in government trying to get things done.

At a local level, in Rye, Rother and East Sussex our elected representatives have to manage within tight budgets. They face conflicting demands and the need to be demonstrably accountable. They cannot click their fingers and find instant solutions.

So, the point of this “opinion” is to ask those posting comments to try to be positive, constructive and informative, and on topic!

Let us all try to understand that our local, regional and national government are trying to do their best with whatever resources they can muster. There isn’t a magic wand.

Leave the party politics points scoring to a short period prior to an election!

Image Credits: Chris Lawson and Unsplash/Daniele Franchi .


  1. Ah, what a wonderful written piece on how we should be satisfied with our lot. Be nice to our MP and be satisfied with our local representatives, they’re doing the best? ESCC Cllr. Glazier is rarely seen and is notorious for never answering emails or comments by the people he represents.
    As for Brexit, I’m hearing the same old rhetoric “ we won, you lost, get over it”.
    Utter tosh

  2. At the risk of losing a friend, I have to disagree with nearly every opinion made by Geoff, in his Tory apologist mode!
    Firstly, in this age of lies, let me correct two opinions; the 2019 election was won by Boris Johnson on the impossible pledge to ‘Get Brexit Done’. Although there was a 50 seat majority that was because FPTP, with gerrymandered constituencies, gives a misleading result, in this case the Conservatives gained 29% of the registered electorate. A fair PR system, used by nearly every democracy, would have meant a coalition on an agreed manifesto.
    Secondly Brexit isn’t ‘Done’; Johnson signed an agreement without reading it, leading to the ridiculous situation on the island of Ireland. Brexit will have to be ‘Undone’ at some stage in the future, because the UK, alone in the world, is a nonsense. The Brexit referendum was advisory, not mandatory and, being based on lies and wishful thinking, was unlawful.
    Next Ukraine, where the lies have reached epidemic proportions. Every EU member state and others outside the Union, have opened their doors wide. Little Ireland has taken more than 2,000 refugees. The UK led by Home Secretary Priti Patel, has designed a system of form filling so complex that refugees are left shuttling between Warsaw, Paris, Calais and Lille, desperately striving to supply the information, including ‘provide a recent utility bill from Ukraine!’
    I could go on, but my blood pressure will be too high.
    Finally, the reason the the County Council, Rother and Rye are short of funds for essentials like libraries, school transport, road maintenance, etc is because 12 years of Conservative government has cut essential funding, such as for Adult Social Care. In 2018 ESCC noted that having endured £175,000,000 cuts since 2010, they could only provide ‘core services’. Osborne’s idea in 2010 was to balance the books; the National Debt has instead risen to £2 trillion!
    Please editors, do not censor my opinions, they are as valid as Geoff’s.

  3. Mr Austen takes a somewhat simplistic view of democracy here, equating it to meaning that all is good and fair in this land. In fact, there are many problems with the UK’s democracy, too numerous to list in this comment. Sustainable Governance Indicators gives the country a truly mediocre 7.3 in its Quality of Democracy rating, compared to Sweden at 9.3 or Germany at 8.7, see: . A YouGov survey stated that 60% of Britons complain that they cannot freely say what they think and 34% feel they have absolutely no say when it comes to how things are run. Many feel that the UK has become less democratic, and indeed there is a lot of evidence to suggest this is the case. A glaring example is the Elections Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, which will disenfranchise around 1.7 million voters living on a low income, by introducing mandatory photo ID.
    It may well be that Mr Austen sees himself as apolitical, but that could just be that the system has served him well. If he read Sally-Ann Hart’s article and felt neutral about it, that can only be because his views largely align with hers. I disagree with him that the electorate is educated, I would say the opposite is true. I would dearly love to see critical thinking and civic responsibility taught in schools.
    I also disagree that ‘party politics points scoring’ should be limited to a short period prior to an election. That is effectively a call for Rye News to no-platform Sally-Ann Hart until then. Whatever the opinions I have about her, I do absolutely respect her right to express her views, providing her constituents can then express theirs too! Freedom of opinion and expression: there’s a positive we can still cling on to.

  4. Interesting to read others venting their spleen on Geoffs post, maybe if we had a party to take over from the lying nasty Conservative party, we could get change,sadly as there is no worthwhile opposition, better the devil we know, than the one, that’s been in the wilderness for over a decade.

  5. I find it very strange when commentators object to people questioning what their elective representatives say on the grounds that it is anti-democratic. Democracy is the rule of the people, albeit through elected representatives, and it would be a very poor democracy if people did not engage in the process by discussing what their representatives are saying and doing. Such people are not necessarily discontented or negative, and not necessarily members of other political parties. There are plenty of Conservatives who are questioning the current actions of our government – the appalling response to Ukranian refugees, the slowness to sanction those with links to Russia, even the very nature of Russian influence on the government through large donations. As regards the issue of Brexit, that is still very much with us, not of course the referendum, but the continuing after-effects. At a time when nations should be standing strongly together, Britain finds itself separated both politically and economically from Europe, which inevitably weakens its power and influence in current events.

    So no, Mr Austen, I will not quietly accept what my elected representatives do and say without comment, if I feel that they need to be called on to explain or justify their actions and words. It is an important part of their role to listen to their constituents. If we had an elected representative whose views you didn’t wholeheartedly agree with I feel sure you would expect to be allowed to have your voice heard. We are not trying to make political capital from a desperate situation, we are engaging in the democratic process.

  6. Interesting there’s no comment from John Tolhurst on Tory Cllr Glazier ? He’s normally pretty vocal on his lack of support to the town. As for our Rother Councillors, does anyone know who they are?

  7. This Opinion piece and the SAH article (not to mention previous SAH articles) just serve to highlight Rye News’ lack of direction on political issues. The justification for the SAH articles is that “they are the views of our MP” implying that they must be heard. Fair enough, but where is the balance? Surely there should be comment from other local politicians putting the other side of argument if Rye News is to be considered independent and impartial. Even better would be some reporting and questioning in a true journalistic fashion rather than just leaving it to the readers! Whatever, I do believe it’s time for Rye News to come clean on this issue.
    NB, I remain unconvinced that the SAH articles are “all her own work” and are not templates from CCO.

  8. Thank you to those who have made comments. On the whole they are informative and “on topic”.
    Steve Blattman – my piece did not say that we should be satisfied with our local representation and, by the way, I voted remain so “we” lost. That’s not utter tosh.
    Chris – you will not lose a friend. The world is full of friends who have different opinions. It would be boring if everyone felt the same. By the way, I am not a tory, never have been and never will be!
    Dominic doesn’t appear to understand the difference between simplistic and realistic. He obviously doesn’t know me because his jibes about my views are entirely misplaced. I had no privilege, other than being born to great parents in this lovely county of Sussex. I was/am lucky to live in a country where it was/is possible to progress. We worked hard. We faced the three day week and the winter of discontent. We suffered inflation of 16 to 20% when buying our first house and we suffered Thatcher in the 1980’s. My views do not, never have and are unlikely to ever align with any particular party!
    Dominic’s view that the electorate is uneducated is worrying. Does that apply to anyone who has a different view to his? Are the Russians told that the Ukrainian electorate didn’t know what they were doing?
    John T is correct. We need and deserve a better alternative. Maybe one will appear with positive and constructive policies, which include kindness and hope. Didn’t Tony Blair get elected because he offered hope?
    Judith Dean – My piece did not object to questioning what elected representatives say. That would be an infringement of free speech. Let’s just do so in positive, constructive and charitable ways. I share your views about the appalling response to Ukrainian refugees. Maybe we should be asking ourselves “why”. Maybe it is because we have an overdeveloped legal system and/or an overdeveloped bureaucracy of checks and balances? Maybe it is because there are calls for resignations if people cut corners? Maybe it is incompetence or corruption; I hope not.
    Robert Dalton – I see lots of articles, opinions and comments from people with different views. I have read articles and opinions from the supporters of different political parties. I don’t remember these generating negative and pointed comments. So maybe such comments are unnecessary.
    My opinion piece was prompted by distress at the situation in Ukraine. I have read the piece by our MP again. It appears to show genuine concern. If it was written for her by someone else, they must be very skilful.
    I hope that people will ask themselves the question “why” before rushing off in judgement. They might then be more constructive and informative and on topic.

  9. “…you will not lose a friend. The world is full of friends who have different opinions.” Thank you, Geoffrey, for the good grace with which you have responded to your critics. I admire your humility, forbearance and charitableness. We need more of it in our community and in the wider world.


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