Claire took part in a panel discussion for Al-Jazeera on who will win the general election. She noted that many people are prepared to hold their noses and vote for the Conservatives because they are tired of parliament blocking Brexit. But, she adds, this is a thoroughly unsatisfactory situation given that Boris Johnson’s negotiated Withdrawal Agreement is still a long way from a proper Brexit and that Johnson is regarded as untrustworthy.
Claire joined Adam Bolton for the All Out Politics Welsh general election debate on Sky News, alongside representatives from the main parties in Wales. She profoundly criticised the remain parties, Labour in particular, for advocating a second referendum and demonising those who voted leave.
Claire also highlighted the problem of trust in modern politics and the fact that the two main parties have long taken their constituents for granted. She argues that it is imperative that politicians actually earn the trust of the electorate and remember that they are the servants of the people instead of lecturing them.
In a new short film made by the Financial Times, Claire is featured as one of a group of people that are shaking up British politics.
‘Brexit has thrown it all up in the air because that went beyond left and right and the political parties haven’t known how to react to a major political decision that didn’t fall along party lines’, says Claire.
‘You can see there’s a disruption going on and we don’t know where it’s going to land… To argue against disruption on the grounds that [the old politics] worked misunderstands that for many people, it didn’t.’
Watch the full video here.
Claire took part in a new show, The Debate, produced by students at the University of Salford. The first topic was Brexit and Claire pointed out how, quite to the astonishment of many politicians who were worried about a low turnout, voters in the EU referendum were engaged and took the issue very seriously. Whatever the reasons for calling the referendum and the queries over the referendum question, Claire noted, politicians thought it would result in a vote to Remain and the issue would be settled. The electorate had other ideas.
Claire’s fellow guests are Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady and former Lib Dem MP and opposition leader on Manchester City Council, John Leech.
On Thursday 7 November, Claire attacked the attempts by the EU to force member states to take back those who have rejected Western civilisation and values. She argues that while the refusal to take back jihadis and their children is an act of moral cowardice by national governments, it should be the people of each country to decide, through public debate, what should be done.
In the European Parliament on Wednesday 6 November, Claire had an exchange with Michalis Chrisochoidis, the Greek minister for citizens’ protection. Claire pointed out that while there are calls for solidarity with migrants, that sense of fellow feeling has been undermined by the way responsibility has been outsourced to the Turkish government. This has been used by Prime Minister Erdogan as justification for invading part of Syria, creating further refugees. Perhaps, Claire wonders, the reason people are fleeing Turkey’s camps is because of the EU policy of integration into Turkish society, a society where journalists and academics are being locked up for criticising the government.
In the European Parliament on Wednesday 6 November, Claire spoke against attempts to regulate the media. She noted that the mainstream media is often caught up in a ‘bubble’ and is insensitive to trends and developments beyond that bubble. As a result, mainstream outlets were caught by surprise by the vote to leave the EU in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in America. Often, non-mainstream media is the only way we find out about important news. For example, coverage of the gilets jaunes in France has been sparse in the UK mainstream media, and alternative news sources are vital.
On Wednesday 6 November, Claire argued in the European Parliament that laws on hate speech are a threat to free speech. She used as an example the way that some feminists have been attacked by trans activists. By allowing free speech to be undermined in this manner, she continues, the EU is undermining a vitally important Enlightenment principle: to allow free speech and debate to determine the best way forward for society.
Claire discussed Brexit with Jane Garvey, making the point that the central issue was democracy, rather than whether the economy might or might not suffer as a result of leaving the EU. She criticised the idea that Leavers didn’t know what they were voting for and stressed the importance of honouring the referendum result.
She was delighted to receive messages of support from listeners afterwards.
Hi Claire, it was really great to hear you talking on the Brexit subject on Woman’s Hour today… We just never hear enough sensible, balanced perspectives such as yours and see how Jane hectored you for it. People only every talk about the short-term costs of Brexit, never the risk of long term being part of the EU. I could go on and on… and I voted to remain in the end… it was a difficult choice, and I think partly in the end I was frightened by leaving, but my heart is definitely with a sovereign UK, and I am very concerned about how this democratic collapse has played out. It’s one person, one vote. If you have a referendum, you have to deliver the result.
Dr Alan Smith, Norfolk
Dear Claire, I have just listened to your interview with Jane Garvey on Woman’s Hour. Rather than just shout at the radio, I am writing to thank you for pointing out that Brexit is to many of us who voted for it primarily an issue of democracy and accountability and not economics. I couldn’t agree more, and one of the interviewees who preceded you made exactly that point. Best regards,
Listen to the full item, including the interview, here:
With Boris Johnson losing vote after vote in the Commons, and Jeremy Corbyn disagreeing with Tom Watson on Labour’s Brexit policy, Claire joined Adam Boulton and Aaron Bastani of Novara Media to discuss what next for Brexit. Should these issues be thrashed out in the courts or are these political matters, not legal ones?
Listen to the full show here.