Our MP – a half term appraisal

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The tide's out on Rye's fishing fleet at Simmonds Quay - but will it come back?

There seems to be a growing trend for politicians to make claims of success in the face of at best uncertainty, but also increasingly where it is clear that the opposite is true. Current events in the presidential elections in the USA show this trend at its most extreme, and our own prime minister has proven himself not averse to rewriting reality and history.

Because this seems to be a particular characteristic of the so called “populist” movements, where conspiracy theories abound and reality is a victim, it is worrying to see our own local MP, Sally-Ann Hart, playing the same games with her constituents.

Much has already been said about her heartless response to the call for the extension during holidays of free school meals for the most needy children, and her blanket blaming of their parents for making wrong spending choices, when most do not have that luxury, particularly with the current additional financial pressures from the effects of the Covid-19 disease  – while at the same time claiming the government had already done more than enough to protect poor families.

Now her own party leader has U-turned in response to pressure from the Marcus Rashford campaign, public pressure, Labour Party calls for justice, and anger from some of his own MPs. Too late for the recent half term, but in time for the Christmas holidays. Will we hear an admission from Sally-Ann that maybe she was wrong?

What victory for fishermen? 

She has also claimed a victory for British fishermen, particularly for our own local RX fleets that have been under so much financial pressure from quotas. She claims that she has a guarantee from her government that “the 12 mile nautical zone off the coast of the UK will be sovereign to our fishing fleets, and vessels from other countries will not be allowed to fish in these waters or be given licences in the future.”

Yet negotiations with our European neighbours over the terms of Brexit are far from over, the deadline being December 31 2020, and it seems that right in the middle of seeking a deal – that will ensure that a “no deal Brexit” does not happen – is getting an agreement over fisheries. Many commentators sense that Boris could well sell our fishermen out to get a deal, knowing the potentially disastrous economic consequences of “no deal”.

And we all know how much we can trust Boris’s promises. Seems like Sally-Ann maybe hasn’t worked that one out yet. Or maybe she is also caught up in this new fashion of falsely claiming victory.

One of the great signs of hope

One of the great signs of hope throughout this most difficult of times have been the many many ways that people have stepped up to look after others – witness Rye Mutual Aid, NHS Volunteer Responders, food banks, etc.

There have been so many great examples of communities coming together and supporting the most vulnerable in their midst. But communities can only work together if honesty is at the forefront of all they do.

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .

16 COMMENTS

  1. An amusing party political broadcast claiming the moral high ground whilst ignoring the many failings of the labour party. Anti Semitism and the failure of Starmer to say a word while serving Corbyn – to say nothing of his failures as DPP. Radford is interesting. I do not recall him campaigning for Professional footballers to take a cut in their grotesque salaries so that club employees (many on minimum wage) could keep their jobs. Of course, spending other folks money has always been easy.

    As for parental responsibility. I recently heard a lady from OFSTED complaining that after the first lockdown some infants returning to school had forgotten how to use a knife and fork and some that they were potty trained. Maybe on Planet whinge Socialism that is the fault of the government on planet reality it is the parents.

    Populism? Only the extreme left can pretend that being popular is bad, oh wait a minute. Those men of the left; Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, Pol Pot all claimed a popular mandate. I suppose using the term Populist as a prerogative is an attempt to rewrite history. Rewrite History? Who’d have thought it!

  2. Hi, Michael
    All those critiques of Labour may or may not be valid, but I think the focus of the post was upon our local MP and the Govt’s performance.
    Regarding Marcus Rashford, the fact that he earns a colossal wage etc doesn’t negate his campaign to ensure disadvantaged kids eat, I think? We could have a separate discussion about the money footballers, TV presenters or politicians earn, but when somebody tries to help children, I don’t see why it should provoke such a visceral, ad hominem response. As it happens, a quick Google search shows Rashford has pledged £25k of his own money and helped raise £20m. I presume you are heartened by that?
    Re the OFSTED point, I couldn’t work out what you meant, but regarding perceptions of reality, I dare say there are folk in our own community who have a pretty grim grip on ‘reality’. We should try to help them rather than demonise them.
    Finally, just to correct a surprising misapprehension on your part, I think you’ll find that the fact the Nazis styled themselves “National Socialists” does not actually imply they were Socialists… This is a glib, nonsensical gambit created by the alt-right etc to clumsily conflate Socialism with Fascism and ultimately to attempt to discredit the contemporary left, whether they be elected US Democrats or British Labour politicians. It works best on those who don’t have a solid grasp of elementary history and whose perceptions and behaviours can therefore be warped and exploited for cynical ends. The persecution by the Hitler, Mussolini and Franco (All Fascists) of Communists, Socialists, Republicans, Trade Unionists etc provides a ready clue to the various historical allegiances, but you may or may not know that the Axis and Stalin were on opposite sides in WW2. And that our own wartime National Govt contained prominent Socialists. Fascism and Socialism shouldn’t be confused. It’s not only an insult to those who fought Fascism, but to those who were its victims.
    Ultimately, we all like to have our say. I know I do. But tribalism and ‘post-truth’ propaganda don’t help any of us. I might have had something to say about Sally Anne Hart of late, but I do know that she’s a lady who has ultimately given years to public service. Whether or not I agree with her on everything, she’s not representative of an ‘enemy camp’, nor is any politician or public servant. I think we all need to be really careful not to slip into that partisan way of thinking. It’s hugely destructive.
    Have a good weekend, Michael.

    • Both Hitler and Mussolini said they were socialists and I think they can believed. Of course that is not comfortable for today’s socialists although I note that Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot draw no ire. My point about Rashford was simply that he had not campaigned to reduce professional wages, which would (it was reported) have allowed clubs to keep on low paid workers. I would have found that impressive.

      Lastly, Hitler and Stalin were happily on the same side in WW2 and divided Poland between them. It is well documented that Stalin did not believe the Germans were going to break their pact right up to the moment they did. Perhaps in your desperation to damn Fascism you might spare a thought for those who suffered under Socialism. My wife was born in the USSR – it was not a paradise, peoples or otherwise.

      • Hi Michael,

        1. I’m baffled that you’re trying to make Marcus Rashford out to be the bad guy in this sorry saga. I’ve never heard of anyone campaigning to have their own wages reduced? Surely it’s a valid and worthy contribution to society to donate one’s own time and money to a cause one believes in?

        2. But back on the subject of this article, do you have anything to contribute on the performance (or lack thereof) of our MP?

  3. Well said Guy.

    Michael – I agree being popular is not bad, but when you present simple solutions to complex problems, as populists do, then beware. Look at Trump and his “Make America Great Again”. A simple slogan but what does it mean? He panders to a certain demographic and has made the country more divided than ever.

    Nick – I agree that Sally Ann Hart’s congratulations on fishing rights is premature. So many Johnson pledges seem to warp or vanish. I seem to recall the one where he would lay in front of the bulldozers if the new runway at Heathrow was agreed.

  4. Marcus Rashford has a long history of helping people in need even though he is only 23. In the early days of the pandemic, he was involved in a campaign where premier league footballers donated large sums to NHS charities, several million pounds if I recall rightly. Previously he has been very active in helping homeless charities and after the Manchester Arena bombing, he was involved, with teammates in visiting the injured victims, many of whom were young people who would have a boost from seeing him. I had never heard of him before his school meals campaign. I looked him up. I follow him on Twitter – he seems like a modest, unassuming young man, always praising others. He is a credit to his mum, his profession, his community and his country.

  5. Please can anyone think of something/anything positive to say about Ms Hart’s performance as MP? Apart from Ms Hart herself that is.

    Seriously, I’d like to know what positive contribution she has made.

  6. I approached Sally Ann with a specific personal issue that also impinged on the local community. I have found her nothing but attentive, interested, supportive and also action oriented.
    I have friends with staunch political views and I try to remind them that an argument with balance is always more persuasive than one driven by doctrine.

    • Hello Ben, I’m glad you have had a positive experience in your dealings with Sally Ann Hart. She sent me some useful information last year about recycling, when still a district councillor, I will grant her that.
      Personally though, I have noted her to have been rude without provocation to a friend of mine following the Rye hustings last year.
      In response to a request to challenge Dominic Cummings’ ‘eye test’ trip to Castle Barnard, she was not prepared to acknowledge that he had been on the trip.
      She has not as yet explained to us, her constituents, why she refused to attend a hustings organised by Extinction Rebellion in Hastings last year;
      Why disabled people should be paid less than the minimum wage because they do not understand money;
      Her online behaviour has been at times been unacceptable as she has appeared to endorse racist and intolerant views.
      She has not explained why she still continues to be a district councillor, when it would be usual to stand down as soon as being elected as MP.
      Like you, irrespective of political inclination, I am always open to seeing the best in people. However in the case of our current MP, I have had no first hand experience of her acting on behalf of all her constituents. Her voting pattern suggests she puts party politics ahead of local concerns, every time. Both Michael Foster and Amber Rudd prior to her would make the effort to provide helpful and clear responses to concerns raised by her constituents. It would be good if our MP could put in the same effort, in my opinion. As yet we constituents would be better served if the seat were vacant, on balance.

  7. Hello again, Michael.
    I think you’re confused by a few things. Firstly, if somebody should “damn Fascism” it doesn’t imply they are a cheerleader for Stalinism. We’ve had a nearly a century to distil and digest the consequences of WW1 the Russian Revolution, WW2, the Holocaust, Nuremberg and the establishment of the Post War international rules-based settlement. Most educated, objective people know Stalin and Hitler as two totalitarian dictators that killed millions of people. It’s not in dispute, outside of your postings here, that Hitler was a right wing dictator and Stalin was a left wing dictator. The only people who attempt to disrupt this understanding do so not to clarify or reassess, but to obfuscate and ultimately to polarise. That’s a really negative trend, and we can see the consequences of these kinds of warped and intolerant narratives in Europe, America and beyond. I believe in your right to state your beliefs, but you should expect to be called out on them if you’re going to propagate these factually incorrect, bad faith narratives.
    Now to the history : The Non-Aggression Pact was nothing to do with Nazi-Soviet ideological alignment and everything to do with Hitler’s desire to delay a war on two fronts. After 1941 Hitler and Stalin, as irreconcilable ideological enemies, fought to the death. The Soviets and Nazis did not “divide Poland between them.” But the Soviets certainly held back and let the Wehrmacht destroy the Warsaw Rising before they in turn destroyed the Wehrmacht. However, Britain, having gone to war for Poland, did have to watch powerless as it fell into the Soviet sphere of domination in 1945. That was wholly regrettable. As a closing thought, it’s recorded that many Germans in 1945 hoped forlornly that the Allies would join with them and take on the Soviets, Europe’s ‘real enemy’. Like you, perhaps, they did not appreciate that it’s feasible to find both Fascism and Stalinism as deeply abhorrent.

    • The confusion, Guy, is I fear yours. It has been a consistent practice of the left to to pretend that Hitler and his early followers never claimed to be socialists (a cursory glance at the firsts NAZI manifesto will prove they were) On the other hand finding some positive things to say about the USSR just as Nazi apologists claimed road building made up, in part, for their excesses. The fact that the Germans were welcomed, initially as liberators by the downtrodden of the soviet world is well documented.

      Of course it takes two to tango and your characterisation of the Molotov/Ribbentrop pact as a clever move by Hitler to dupe Stalin is unconvincing. The Soviets knew perfectly well what they were doing as was illustrated by their annexation of part of Poland, a fact you ignore. Your statement that the USSR did not divide Poland is factually wrong. On September 29, 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to divide control of occupied Poland roughly along the Bug River—the Germans taking everything west, the Soviets taking everything east. Much of world history has been blighted by countries deciding they had the ‘Right’ to carve up parts of it for themselves. In reality the Soviets just like the Nazis were strong proponents of that view.

      You may cling to the well worn left wing view that National Socialism was Bad and USSR, Chinese, Cambodian, North Korean Socialism was just a bit bad here and there. I disagree. Socialism was the curse of the twentieth century and resulted in the murder of millions over and above that caused by war. Murdered simply because they did not agree with a political doctrine, which like religion will brook no opposition or alternative. Indeed, the similarity between the mindless brutality of Socialism and that of the Inquisition is so clear that it raises again why humanity is seemingly incapable of learning from its history. The left’s attempts to at least partly sanitise its history is the real threat to progress and democracy.

  8. I seem to have upset the Rashford fan club. Oh well, in for a penny in for a pound. I fail to see why the observation that campaigning to cut professional wages so that basic rate employee’s jobs could be saved is contentious.

    Apparently he is to be applauded for donating £25k of his own money. Some context. That is 0.19% of his £13 million pa salary. The equivalent for someone on the average wage would be £60.50 and on the Minimum wage £34.88. Can we all have an MBE? He most certainly spends a great deal on his PR team whose latest wheeze ‘Free Books’ is nauseatingly cynical. Book donations are as old as the hills and incredibly well organised. There are many initiatives here and world wide, and of course libraries that sadly are under threat in some areas. I can think of many unsung worthy folk deserving of a gong or knighthood, they just don’t have a PR team to promote them.

  9. Michael, I’m not sure what your purpose is in propagating this theory, but I am sure that you’re a bit of a voice in the wilderness…
    Not only have you misinterpreted the ideology of the early Nazi movement, but you’re applying the misapprehension in bad faith to satisfy your political antipathies. The Nazis were a hyper-nationalist, racial suprematist right-wing movement. They were not ‘socialists’ as 99.9% of the population would understand the term.
    In 1919, the founding fathers of what would become the Nazi party deliberately expunged the term “Socialist” from their title to avoid confusion and called themselves the DAP, “The German Worker’s Party”. ‘National Socialism’ as it would become when it transformed itself into the NSDAP, was not a left wing ideology! Indeed, Hitler protested the revival of the term “Socialist”, and it was only included in the name to attract working class Germans. National Socialism and Socialism are distinct, despite the common terms. Nazism was based on the idea of collective welfare for those considered Aryan – ‘Volksgemeinschaft‘. The Nazis only disdained capitalism insofar as they perceived it to be dominated by Jewish people. Their entire raison d’etre was fighting left wing German political parties like the Social Democrats and of course the Communists. From his earliest associations with the DAP/NSDAP, Hitler railed against socialism, Bolsheviks, Communists etc etc. Don’t be confused by labels, Michael, and please don’t waste time trying to confuse others. Lastly, again, this is not a binary critique. Correcting your misunderstanding of Nazism doesn’t mean any other ideology is ‘good’.
    Have a good weekend.

    [Note from the Rye News Comments Moderator (Christopher) – despite being an interesting and informative conversation I think this may have to be the last post on this topic.
    There is always the option to send in an article to Rye News – although it is probably best if it has some local relevance]

  10. Weldone Christopher, lets try and keep political affiliations out of Rye News, the contributors to most of these posts need to send their opinions to the Guardian or times, to vent their spleens.

  11. For the moment the Guardian and The Times aren’t interested in our rather junior MP and her opinions – she is just one of many tough-talking Tory tyros trying to trump each other by catching the attention of whoever advises Johnson these days by being harder on people on benefits (and by extension their children), whilst falling into party line providing unquestioning support for the likes of former post-soviet failed regional Russian airline executive Cummings and his fantasies and, presumably, the serial (but apparently unknowing) bullying Priti Patel.
    So this is the organ for political comments about Ms Hart MP, which may or may not reveal the writer’s political views. And, of course, comments on whoever from Labour replaces her in four years and she slips into well-deserved (national) obscurity on Rother District Council, where she is keeping her council chamber seat warm by not resigning.

  12. [Moderator Note: I know I said that we were ending the conversation but then published John Tollhurst’s last comment so I am letting Guy have the very last word]

    John,
    I completely accept Christopher’s adjudication and will cease this apparently fruitless conversation.
    However, with due respect, I’d suggest my point was not only non-partisan, as it reflects settled, orthodox historical understanding, but it’s hugely, hugely relevant to Rye. To anywhere in contemporary Britain…
    Once voices in any community start to unpick settled law, settled history, settled science, settled morality, we’re headed south. Fast. What comes after the revisionism of Nazism? A reappraisal of the Holocaust? QAnon rallies in the High St? Anti-Vaccination protests outside the medical centre? Burning 5G masts?
    I appreciate the need for balance and objectivity, but there’s a point where journalistic impartiality has to concede to science, reason, law and history. Because you know what happens to those who fail to heed its lessons…

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