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An anonymous Labour MP writes, Copied from a friend on FB, not a public post so quoting in full

Secret diary of an MP. TLDR: 'I feel completely helpless, humiliated and frightened, the democratic process is breaking down.'

I am a Labour MP who voted Remain, representing a constituency that voted heavily to Leave. I'm torn in two. I want to be accountable, I want to be involved, but I sit uselessly and helplessly, trapped in a Commons that's falling to pieces at a time of national crisis. This diary is my silent scream.

I'm one of the 650. We'll all get the blame when the ship sinks, but in truth you might as well have put a dead cat in there instead of me; it would have had as much of a role as I've had in the Brexit discussions. Want to know what that feels like? It's embarrassing, humiliating and hugely, overwhelmingly frustrating.
At a time of looming disaster, there's this awful feeling of paralysis. The regional whip told me at the weekend that I'd need to be in Westminster all this week. We don't know when the votes are coming, what the votes will be or what our position is, but we know we need you there. In other words, we know nothing. But for yet another week, all my constituency engagements have been cancelled.

We're not alone. Most Tory MPs know nothing. Right now it feels like most of the cabinet knows nothing. It's all about one woman, the prime minister, and she's in a bunker so deep that no one can reach her.

I sought out some Tory mates last week. They're very senior in the party. I wanted them to tell me that despite appearances to the contrary, Theresa May was actually a fantastic poker player, that great minds were being consulted and the country was in safe hands. Back came no reassurance whatsoever. Her master plan, it seems, is to survive until the next day. If that doesn't fill you with terror, nothing will.

Where's Labour in all this? It has no voice and no seat at the table. If we were a strong opposition, we'd be challenging a lot more effectively and we probably wouldn't have tumbled into this black hole quite so quickly. We'd have seen it coming and done something about it.

We're not strong on this because we're so divided. Jeremy's completely ambivalent. Len McCluskey is really, really against a second referendum but most of the shadow cabinet are Londoners and want a People's Vote. Jeremy tries to appease both sides, so we've never really had a clear position, nor been open about what that is. Keir Starmer's doing a fabulous job but he's not in the party's top tier of decision-making, so the door gets shut on him as much as it does on everyone else.

You end up with the absurdity of a government with the lowest approval rating for years that's still neck and neck with Labour in the opinion polls. When you're chatting with Tories they'll say, "It's amazing, we just do one f***-up after another. This government's a total disaster and yet every time we screw up you lot save us by coming out and doing something worse." It's extraordinary, but it's true.

When I set off for the Commons today, it felt a bit like leaving for war or the funeral of a close relative. Friends texted to wish me luck. People at the station came up and said I should keep going, that this is survivable. I'm not so sure. I feel darkness and impotence and dread.

And it's all so utterly exhausting, which is really weird because physically, obviously, you're not doing anything, and intellectually you're not doing anything because you're not involved in any of the negotiations. It's more a spiritual weariness and it comes from a sense of foreboding, guilt and helplessness.

What's so frustrating is that I know I could contribute. If they let me, I could work on this. If they gave me a role, I'd work until I dropped down dead to try to get the best outcome for this country. Instead you sit there, waiting, in a constant state of anxiety. Because any moment now, something else might go wrong and make things even worse. It's on my watch but what can I do? Bugger all.

The terrifying truth is that the democratic structures we all put our faith in have turned out to be made of sand. Yes, I'm an MP. There are hundreds of us here this week. We're supposed to be taking decisions that will affect our country for generations to come but you know what? Right now I don't even feel like a tiny cog in this machine. Most of us here are as bewildered as everyone outside the Commons. That's truly frightening.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 26th, 2019 at 10:03:42 PM EST
This rant is a long cry of despair at his/her perceived helplessness and inability to make a contribution, but you get no sense of what s/he would actually do if s/he did have the power to implement a particular policy.

He voted Remain (and doesn't seem to have changed his mind) but represents a constituency that voted heavily in favour of leave. But in the UK's system of parliamentary sovereignty it his responsibility to lead - not to slavishly follow a policy he believes to be wrong - even if it means s/he will be voted out at the next election.

Being and MP isn't meant to be an easy ride. You have to make tough choices, build support for them, and ultimately accept the verdict of your party members and constituents on your performance. People can respect you even if they disagree with you if they think you have an arguable case, are putting your argument well, and have the integrity to be open and honest about it.

So I don't buy this excuse for ineffectuality. As an MP s/he has a far greater opportunity than most people to build support and alliances for his/her policy choices  and to show leadership.

If s/he is being no more effective than a dead cat s/he should resign and make way for someone better able to make use of the opportunities being an MP provides him/her.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 26th, 2019 at 11:30:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm reminded of two Edmund Burke quotes:

  1. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

  2. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
by rifek on Wed Mar 27th, 2019 at 12:04:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or as Tusk might put it, "hell has a special place for those who but whinge and whine, when they should have a plan for dealing with the issues which confront them..."

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 27th, 2019 at 12:18:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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