I agree with MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Only partly of course – after all, I’m usually Lib Dem, but I agree enough to appreciate, reciprocate and echo her New Year wishes (Northumberland Gazette, December 31).
I particularly welcome her encouragement of “more spirited policy discussions with local people”.
She regularly outlines the Government line, but, rightly, is seeking alternative views from the 76 per cent who did not vote Conservative last May.
It sounds as though those who disagree with her will be safe to do so and be welcomed and considered – provided, of course, that they back their case with counter facts, alternative interpretations and logic.
Anne-Marie moved on to supporting the armed forces and then to the vote to bomb IS in Syria. I think I can understand her vote to do so, although I was part of her “50 per cent against”.
Totally coincidentally, some of my reasons are, indirectly, on display this month in Berwick Library as part of the WWI Centenary. My grandfather left an account of an army mule train he led in January 1916 in the Mesopotamian campaign.
Thirdly, I totally agree with our MP that she is not elected to echo the views of particular electors who show the greatest certainty, shout loudest or abuse most strongly. She has to exercise her judgement, thought and conscience for the benefit of the constituency and the country as a whole – and then explain herself if asked.
On Europe, I find our MP both right and wrong.
She is right to doubt the worth of Cameron’s negotiations or, as she revealingly and correctly calls them, his “demands”. They are a fig-leaf for his party convenience, one which is becoming increasingly transparent – but we won’t go there.
On the substance of Europe coming closer together, I follow Churchill and believe Anne-Marie to be wrong.
There is no “crusade” for total political integration, especially not now. That’s just fear tactics – again. Instead of that fear and “what’s in it for us?” (lots actually), come on Anne-Marie, where’s your vision for Europe?
It has been a foundation for 60 years of peace after centuries of war.
It has helped the “extraordinary political, social and economic transformation of 13 former dictatorships since 1980” (Sweeney).
It has tried to lead the way on big trans-national issues, such as climate change, controlling big business, big tax avoidance, workers’ rights.
We want those thing too.
We could both do with help so let’s get stuck in – together.
As technology and communications developed, interdependence grew.
Britain hasn’t stood alone for centuries. If it got close to being alone, it sought partners.
Partnerships need hard work, trust, practice, learning – not flouncing out.