Solidarity with Ukraine
On the anniversary of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we remember the enormous bravery, sacrifices and suffering of the people of Ukraine.
Since that terrible day a year ago, Ukraine has astonished the world with its strength, determination and singular will to beat back the tide of tyranny and oppression. In the days leading up to the invasion, the threat of war loomed large; a terrible shadow that had not been seen since 1945, fell over Eastern Europe. Russia seemed to all the world an unstoppable force.
But what was meant to be a Blitzkrieg, with Ukraine conquered in the space of a few days, turned into a fierce war of attrition. Zelensky not only survived the assassination attempts on his life, he rallied his people around him, stating he needed ‘ammunition, not a ride’. Act after act of bravery in the face of mortal danger is symbolic of the Ukrainian war effort.
365 days later, Putin is failing. Up to 1000 Russian tanks have been destroyed or captured. The Ministry of Defence has reported that up to 60,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. He has been forced to enlist murderers and rapists into his hit squad, The Wagner Group, to replenish the growing list of casualties.
All this evil and ruin must be laid at Putin’s feet. The West must continue to stand with Ukraine and eventually hold him accountable for his crimes.
The West must continue to stand with Ukraine and eventually hold him accountable for his crimes.
Because of Putin’s actions, Russia has become a pariah state, isolated, alone and slowly running out of equipment, ammunition and manpower. We cannot know how or when this terrible conflict will end, but one thing is certain; Ukraine must prevail.
International partners must remain united in condemning Putin's aggression on Ukraine. We must continue to offer strong political, financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and impose hard-hitting sanctions against Russia and those complicit in the war. This is the only way we all stay safe.
Brexit Gordian knot
At a secretive cross-party summit of prominent members of the government, opposition and private sector at Ditchley Park gathered to debate and seek to address the problems that Brexit has created.
It was an astonishing, but welcome display of compromise, with both Leavers and Remainers acknowledging that although Brexit is a fact, it is not working and is dragging the country down. Remainers such as David Lammy and Peter Mandelson sat down with Leavers such as Michael Gove and Michael Howard, to answer the eternally complex question: How to address Brexit problems?
The economic and private sector heavyweights in attendance - Oliver Robbins, Chairman of Goldman Sachs, John Symonds, Chairman GlaxoSmithKline and Tom Scholar, the ex-Permanent Secretary of the Treasury illustrated the seriousness of the summit. It appeared that for the first time in a very long time, the interests of the nation were being put first and the Brexit elephant in the room was being seen. That the compelling evidence of Brexit damage could no longer be ignored. A 4% drop in GDP, a strained relationship with our European trading partners, the Northern Ireland Protocol threatening peace in Ireland and the ability to form a government and an increasingly unattractive economic environment for foreign investment.
It was agreed that for Britain to outgrow its post-Brexit slump, Britain must adopt a practical approach through negotiation and goodwill with our European partners, rather than carry down the path of political gameplaying and hollow promises. The political establishment was edging towards reality.
The opinion paper ‘Addressing Brexit Problems’ commissioned by Gina Miller for True & Fair could not be more prescient. The Paper took the political, legal and factual reality as its starting point. Brexit has happened. But what has happened to the UK as a result of Brexit? Is the identifiable damage that is being caused to many sectors of the UK – to British citizens and to the British economy – simply the unfortunate but inevitable consequence of the historic political choice made by the British people in the 2016 referendum?
The Addressing Brexit Problems paper argues that damage is not inevitable. The British people did not vote to be worse off when they voted for Brexit. Many of the adverse consequences – in terms of prosperity, opportunity, security, and (in short) jobs – result from government choices about the nature of the UK’s future relations with the EU. "If pragmatic good sense were to replace purist ideology, many of the current problems would, to a significant extent, be capable of remedy."
Like the Ditchley Park summit, the True & Fair Party believes that compromise, goodwill and negotiation is the only way forward. We must reduce trade barriers with the EU, allow free movement to fulfil workforce shortages, and gain access to schemes and databases that will help the UK’s prosperity, security and peace.
PM Sunak appears to be coming around to this idea and championing pragmatism, but can they persuade his MPs to support him? Like David Cameron and Theresa May before him, it seems that Sunak has negotiated a deal his own troops will seek to destroy and create yet another Brexit impasse.
Boris is Back!
The mischief maker in chief is back to haunt another PM and the Conservative Party. Ultimately, we all knew that he would never be satisfied with the backbenches and that his attempts at returning were inevitable. If chaos was his objective, he certainly succeeded.
Northern Ireland was always going to be a constitutional square peg in a round hole. The reality of Brexit was that there has to be a border. The question was did they just not know this, did they know but not care, or was it deliberate?
We now know from an ERG member, Mark Francois’s book that there was a secret backroom deal done with Boris Johnson. The deal was that they vote through Johnson’s paper-thin ‘oven-ready deal’ on the understanding that the Northern Ireland Protocol would not be adhered to and would be renegotiated.
We know from the DUP that Boris Johnson has been holding secret talks with the ERG and DUP to help resolve the Brexit crisis in Northern Ireland. By help, Mr Johnson means pushing for the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill (NIP Bill) to pass “give the Government that extra bit of leverage and negotiations”. In July 2022 Gina Miller wrote an article in the Guardian explaining the democratic dangers buried in the NIP Bill.
The reality on the ground for most of Northern Ireland’s citizens is positive as their economy is prospering. Economic analysis explicitly credited Northern Ireland’s continued access to barrier-free trade with the 27-nation EU as a key driver. That picture is reinforced by monthly reports from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, which has documented a string of record-high trade figures between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland since the January 2021 launch of post-Brexit trade rules.
What is damaging is the burden and barriers for UK businesses. Sunak’s new Northern Ireland Protocol Deal would result in a ‘red lane,’ and ‘green lane’ system, with the red lane imposed for merchandise headed for Ireland and EU markets, while the green lane would be imposed for merchandise headed only for Northern Ireland Irish ports, with minimal tariffs and barriers. But Johnson and his merry band of Brexiters – which include the ERG and DUP – do not want a pragmatic solution: too much political point scoring can be had from prolonging faux wars.
Johnson will no doubt continue to cause trouble for Sunak, and the blue-on-blue battling will increase. Two days ago, there were warnings that up to 100 Conservative MPs would resign over Sunak’s new deal. Johnson’s intervention on the deal, saying that the government should not abandon his legislation is not a passing comment from a concerned commentator; it’s the beginning of Johnson’s coup against Sunak. There is little doubt that actors like Johnson and Truss can smell blood and are circling like vultures in the vain hope that they have a chance of returning to Number 10.
Game of Fives
Both Sunak and Starmer appear to be in the same mindset of playing doubles in a political game of Fives. Both are using disturbing populist language, with Starmer quoting both Tony Blair’s 'tough on crime' mantra and Boris Johnson’s promise to 'take back control' in his speech. In the unveiled five missions Labour Party document, they promise to devolve power away from Westminster, avoiding 'growth where London races ahead and the rest of our country stagnates.' It also suggests new statutory obligations for ministers to report to Parliament and replacing some Cabinet committees with 'delivery-focused cross-cutting mission boards.'
These are encouraging messages, but it’s the detail that will count as we approach a general election. The elephants in the room for Labour remain Brexit and proportional representation.
As with all parties, True & Fair is hard at work on our Reset & Rebuild Manifesto with input from experts, academics, practitioners and users in specific policy areas, with the three core policies at the heart of our agenda being cleaning up politics, modernising our democracy and fighting corruption.
National Liberal Club
On Wednesday 15th of February, the True & Fair Party held its first major members and supporters event at the National Liberal Club. With 90 attendees and 43 online, it was an energising evening. Gina Miller’s passion – in her speech and during the Q&A session, spoke to all, as did the comradery of everyone – a collective consciousness who are desperate for a country they can once again be proud of. For competency, compassion and common-sense in politics and our political class.
Watch Gina’s speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koRnusFJxnM
February 25th, 2023- Green Belt Demonstration, Epsom
Members of the True & Fair Team will be joining other demonstrators at a protest to protect the local greenbelt. For us, this is both a national and local issue that we feel passionate about.
Women in Art and Business- Moving the Dial
Gina Miller will be taking part in a panel at the Institute of Directors – alongside Jane Platt CBE, Hellen Whittaker FMGP, Vanessa Dal Busco, Chair of IoD Glass Ceiling Group and Kate Maestri. The event will take place on March 27th.
Gina appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show on Wednesday alongside Luciana Berger and Richard Tice, discussing Voter ID, asylum applications, Corbyn vs Starmer and strikes.
Click here to view a clip.
Have a great weekend,
The True & Fair Team