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elaine smith
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Erika: An true opposition is a party that can demonstrate that it can govern sensibly, honestly and in the interests of all of the people, not just those who vote for it and offer a genuine choice for voters. In Mr Farage’s case, he has never, in my view as a UK voter, demonstrated that he has a genuine, long (or even medium) term plan for the country. Personally, I am pleased about Brexit and it was Mr Farage who forced the referendum, mainly because Mr Cameron was worried about losing Conservative voters to UKIP. This was Mr Cameron’s big mistake which then he and Mr Osborne (the Chancellor) compounded by scare tactics. I am a Conservative voter (though I vote Democrat in the US presidential elections in which I am allowed a vote by virtue of having dual nationality) but I believe that opposition is important for both sides. For the party in government, it keeps them on their toes (hopefully!) and for the opposition, it means that they must regularly challenge the governing party whilst honing a platform that ought to make them capable of governing should they win an election. Unfortunately, right now, Mr Corbyn, supported by the Momentum Movement, has gone off the rails. He has lost, overwhelmingly, a vote of no confidence amongst his PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) and, therefore, cannot rely on their support (cf the Trident vote). Instead of standing down, he is forcing another leadership election, the second within the last 12 months. In the course of this, Angela Eagle stood down in favour of Owen Smith. Neither are to my taste but Ms Eagle has had a brick thrown through her constituency office and has had death threats on social media which is totally unacceptable. A number of Labour women MPs have been advised by the police to be extremely careful. And this, is sadly, what supporters of Mr Corbyn have wrought. Not, in any way, a proper opposition and this is a serious issue for parliamentary democracy.

These are strange times on both sides of The Pond. The strong disaffection of the voters in both the US and UK is producing characters who, frankly, frighten and worry me. Mr Trump has captured the Republican nomination – something I never thought would happen 6 months ago. Equally, I never thought that an old-school socialist like Mr Corbyn (reportedly a gentle, polite and sensitive man) could be supported by the sometimes, frankly, vicious Momentum Movement and go along with their tactics. He’s such a throw-back that it’s (almost!) comical. Though I cry while laughing at both him and Mr Trump. Mrs Clinton, a hypocrite of the first rank, also worries me and I am still trying to decide whether to grab a sick bag, plug my ears, hold my nose, cover my eyes, put my conscience on the back burner and vote for her or abstain. Probably the former as there is, in this case, for me for the reasons above, there is not really a decent opposition to her in the US election and Mr Trump needs to be defeated lest he be elected and takes office without the first genuine idea about how to govern the US.