War and referendums

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Christopher Coverdale, tax refuser

Once again the time has come to hold our political leaders to account in the polling booth for the quality of their performance.  Our votes on May 7 will show whether we approve or disapprove of the actions of Amber Rudd and the Coalition Government over the past five years.

So what principles will I take into account when making my decision?

For me the issue which overrides all others is war.  The decision whether or not to wage war and deliberately cause the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children is the most important decision an MP ever has to make.

Between 1997 and 2010, under three successive Labour Governments, Britain took part in five wars in which at least 1.2 million adults and 500,000 children died.  Since the Coalition Government came to power, there have been four further opportunities in Parliament to vote for or against war.

Under our outdated, corrupt political system, we the people have no say on whether or not to wage war, but we do have a say on whether or not to re-elect warmongers.  If MPs are re-elected by their constituents in a general election, then they will naturally assume that they have our support.  So now this election gives us the opportunity to show the political parties whether we support or reject their decisions to wage war and kill innocent men, women and children.

But before I make my decision, I need to check whether I can trust a candidate even though I can’t trust their party or their leader.  Are any of the contenders in our constituency of Hastings and Rye willing to promise – on oath – to disobey the orders of their party whips and vote against war? If so, they stay in the running for my vote.

Direct democracy

The second issue that is important to me in this election is direct democracy.  Will the candidates or their party support a change in the way laws and policy decisions are made in Britain? In a true democracy the people make the rules and the Government implements them. In Britain the opposite is the case. The Prime Minister makes the decisions and forces Parliament to support them and taxpayers to pay for them. This is dictatorship not democracy.

In future we must ensure that no laws are adopted without the people’s vote in a referendum. The public – not the Government – must decide which laws to adopt and which to repeal.  So if a candidate or their political party promises to introduce direct democracy, to pursue the People’s Agenda for Change and to introduce law making by referendum, then they’re in the running for my vote.

Currently the candidate who ticks all my boxes is Jake Bowers of the Green Party. He seems to be intelligent, likeable and trustworthy and if he is willing to promise, if he gets the job, to end Britain’s involvement in war, introduce direct democracy and pursue the People’s Agenda, then he’ll stay at the top of my list. But with two weeks to go there is still time to change my mind if the other candidates change theirs.

It is a question that should be put to all the candidates at the hustings in St Mary’s, Rye, on Thursday April 30. All the candidates have been invited. They need to be put on the spot.

Photo: Amanda Ward