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BREXIT: Criticism is too vague

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It would appear that in the weekly column Window on Westminster, MPs Alan Campbell and Mary Glindon have been gifted an open and unopposed forum from which to criticise the Conservative government.

Since both MPs frequently espouse the value of democracy, I feel sure that neither of them will object to my taking them to task over their recent observations on Brexit.

Alan Campbell’s comment on December 28 regarding the government’s lack of clarity is mere conjecture; the government’s non-conciliatory approach has effectively secured agreement with the EU on the three key issues at the centre of the first phase of Brexit talks and has allowed discussions to move onto trade.

Mr Campbell’s concern for the future of our fishing industry post the Common Fisheries Policy is also unfounded. It is obvious that the government will want the best possible outcome, but to reveal its final position at this stage will do nothing but jeopardise that aim.

Furthermore, there is nothing to suggest that the final settlement will not receive the same positive response by the fishing community as Michael Gove’s CAP replacement has received from the farming community.

Mr Campbell’s implied pessimism contrasts markedly with the results of the latest YouGov State of the Nation poll in which more than half of the respondents were upbeat about jobs, house prices and their personal financial situation in the coming year.

Mary Glindon’s Brexit commentary is, at best, entertaining. Her vision of a deal that ‘suits our collective interest on jobs, trade, public services and easy movement’ is a vision that few who voted for Brexit would question, but these are mere words – a wish list – to placate the Labour voter.

Whereas both MPs are full of criticism, neither has proffered realistic suggestions as to how their party would implement their idealistic aspirations. Why? Because Labour Party policy since the referendum has become increasingly obscure and contradictory.

Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer appear to have teetered their way along the tightrope of indecision, ambiguity and the volte-face, fearful that they should fall foul of the vagaries of their own electorate. I think that they fail to proffer responsible, realistic aspiration – they want the impossible.

Such implausibility is a privilege available only to those in opposition and characteristic of a party of protest, not one of government.

Add Tony Blair’s divisive stance and little wonder that our local MPs are only able to offer vague, idealistic words of criticism and nothing of substance, despite, I feel sure, being so well intentioned.

Finally, may I respectfully remind Mary Glindon, who on December 21 was so scathing of the Conservative performance over the last 20 years, that 2017 was the third General Election in a row that Labour has failed to win power at Westminster.

C Johnston

Tynemouth