As Masked Intruders Set Fire to Hong Kong’s Epoch Times Printing Press, what is it about free speech that totalitarians hate the most? Answers from Liu Xiaobo, Mala Yousafzai, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Terry Pratchett, Abraham Lincoln, Immanuel Kant, and Nelson Mandela… And the New York Times on the incarceration of 1 million Uighurs “This Is Not Dystopian Fiction. This Is China.”


What is it about free speech that totalitarians hate the most?: Masked Intruders Set Fire to Hong Kong Epoch Times Printing Press


This Is Not Dystopian Fiction. This Is China.

The New York Times – International Edition
November 20, 2019 Wednesday

Byline: The Editorial Board
Communist leaders engage in modern-day totalitarian brainwashing, bizarre lies and industrial-level indoctrination
to suppress Muslims.
“Ying shou jin shou” – “Round up everyone who should be rounded up.”
The echo of “1984,” “Brave New World” or “Fahrenheit 451” is unmistakable. But this is not dystopian fiction. It’s a real bureaucratic directive prepared by the Chinese leadership, drawing on a series of secret speeches by Xi Jinping, China’s authoritarian leader, on dealing ruthlessly with Muslims who show “symptoms” of religious
There’s nothing theoretical about it: Based on these diktats, hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims in the western Xinjiang region have been rounded up in internment camps to undergo months or years of indoctrination intended to mold them into secular and loyal followers of the Communist Party.
This modern-day totalitarian brainwashing is revealed in a remarkable trove of documents leaked to The New York Times by an anonymous Chinese official.

The existence of these re-education camps has been known for some time, but nothing before had offered so lucid a glimpse into the thinking of China’s bosses under the fist of Mr. Xi, from the obsessive determination to stamp out the “virus” of unauthorized thought to cynical preparations for the pushback to come, including how to deal with questions from students returning to empty homes and untended farms.
The latter script is eerily Orwellian: Should students ask whether their missing parents had committed a crime, they are to be told no, “it is just that their thinking has been infected by unhealthy thoughts. Freedom is only possible when this ‘virus’ in their thinking is eradicated and they are in good health.”
That someone from within the unforgiving, secretive Chinese leadership would take the enormous risk of leaking 403 pages of internal documents to a Western newspaper is in itself amazing, especially since the documents include an 11-page report summarizing the party’s investigation into the activities of Wang Yongzhi, an official who was supposed to manage a district where Uighur militants had staged a violent attack but who eventually developed misgivings about the mass detention facilities he had built. “He refused,” said the report, “to round up everyone who should be rounded up.” After September 2017, Mr. Wang disappeared from public view.
It becomes clear from the documents that Mr. Xi is far more concerned by any challenge to the Communist Party’s image of strength than foreign reaction. Already in May 2014 he told a leadership conference, “Don’t be afraid if hostile forces whine, or if hostile forces malign the image of Xinjiang.” Accordingly, the Chinese government made
no effort to deny the leaked documents, but rather portrayed the crackdown in Xinjiang as a major success against terrorism and accused The Times of smearing China’s “antiterrorism and de-extremism capabilities.” 
What the documents really reveal is not an effective antiterrorism campaign, but rather the paranoia of totalitarian leaders who demand total fealty in thought and deed and recognize no method of control other than coercion and fear.

Mr. Xi and other top government officials reveal in these papers a conviction that the Soviet Union collapsed because of ideological laxity and spineless leadership, and a top security official attributed terrorist attacks in Britain to the British government’s “excessive emphasis on ‘human rights above security.'”

And Mr. Xi argued that new technology must be part of the broad campaign of surveillance and intelligence-gathering to root out dissidence in Uighur society, anticipating Beijing’s deployment of facial recognition, genetic testing and big data in Xinjiang. 
Whoever leaked these revealing documents obviously disagreed and had the courage to do something about it. His or her brave action is a cry to the world.
International outrage could turn that into a wake-up call for China’s leaders, despite their totalitarian swagger, if the world begins to see them as pariahs, not just trading partners. The whistle-blower, and the untold thousands of Chinese Muslims suffering under the yoke of Mr. Xi, deserve that.
Follow @privacyproject on Twitter and The New York Times Opinion Section on


Will the UK Government act when its own employees are ‘tortured’? The fate of Simon Cheng graphically illustrates why people in Hong Kong are so fearful of Chinese Communism. Reports from The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, and Washington Post

Will the UK Government act when its own employees are ‘tortured’?


Commenting on the case of Simon Cheng, the former employee of the UK Consulate in Hong Kong, who says he was tortured by the Chinese authorities, Lord Alton, Vice Chair of the Westminster Friends of Hong Kong, said:

The details of what Mr Cheng says happened to him are heartbreaking and extraordinary: a kidnapping and a forced confession obtained by brutal torture. This demands a far stronger response from the British Government than a quiet word with the Chinese Ambassador. Surely it is now time for the Foreign Secretary to declare that the Sino-British Joint Declaration is being violated by Beijing, and that China is in breach of international law. The UK Government must match the resolve that US lawmakers showed last night and begin immediately preparing targeted sanctions, while offering asylum to those seeking to escape the iron grip of dictatorship like Simon Cheng. That is the least we can do, frankly.”

The fate of Simon Cheng graphically illustrates why people in Hong Kong are so fearful of Chinese Communism.

A spokesperson for Stand with Hong Kong, a pro-democracy group, said:

“We’re struggling to understand if the UK Government has a red line in regards to Hong Kong. Despite overt and deteriorating transgressions by China against “one country, two systems”, the Government seems bogged down in technicalities and unable to respond to another breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Is this the best the UK Government can do when its own consular staff are tortured? Simon has a British National (Overseas) passport, which further highlights the lack of protection such a class of nationality offers. We need concrete action like British citizenship rights to support those suffering under the yolk of Beijing’s torture apparatus.”

According to media reports, “following [the BBC] interview, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has summoned the Chinese ambassador.” Mr Cheng “was asked to resign from his post, although UK sources say he was provided with support, including a two-year working visa for the UK” — but not offered citizenship or even a path to it in the UK. (1)

Last night, the US Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act which lays out a process for the US President to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on those who are found to be knowingly responsible for threatened or carried out arbitrary detention, torture, forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong, or other violations of internationally recognized human rights.(2)

From the Daily Telegraph


Hong Kong: articles from the Washington Post


The Post’s View: Hong Kong is on the brink of breakdown



The Post’s View: China is wrecking Hong Kong’s ideals. And it only has itself to blame.



Parjanya Christian Holtz: ‘It is a war here now’



Josh Rogin: Trump and McConnell are failing the people of Hong Kong



Joshua Wong: China can silence me. But it can’t silence Hong Kong’s movement.


Fred Hiatt: While Trump stands by, the world’s tyrants are trying to make the world safe for dictatorship

URGENT – What is happening at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University is truly shocking…..UK POLITICIANS CALL ON HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE CARRIE LAM TO ACT TO PREVENT LOSS OF LIFE AT HONG KONG’S POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY. Lord Hogan Howe urges no use of ” lethal force because it can only make the situation worse… Unless life is at risk hold back.” Letter is sent to Carrie Lam reminding her of her duty to prevent the use of lethal force. John Bercow – former Commons Speaker – adds his voice. Plus Other Views including an article by Nathan Law

Sunday 17 November 2019

What is happening at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University is truly shocking

What are Carrie Lam and her puppet Government think of? The last time Beijing ordered force to be used against young pro democracy campaigners it led to the massacre of 10,000 people in Tiananmen Square. Violence begets violence and isn’t an alternative to finding consensual ways forward.

Carrie Lam

This is to acknowledge receipt of your message…. Thank you.

Chief Executive’s Office





British Parliamentarians and a former Foreign Secretary have issued an appeal today to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam, urging her to use her authority to order the Hong Kong Police Force to show restraint in its response to protests at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University.

The crisis escalated at Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University today and fears have grown that police are poised to use lethal force against students. Journalists and first-aiders have reportedly been arrested and students are trapped inside the university unable to escape.

Speaking on Sunday afternoon, the former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a Patron of Hong Kong Watch, said: “Hong Kong’s Chief Executive has the responsibility to do everything possible to prevent a massacre. She must order the police to exercise restraint and not to use live ammunition or other forms of lethal force. A bloodbath on a Hong Kong campus would be devastating for Hong Kong as a whole. I also urge those students who have engaged in violence to stop. I condemn violence on all sides and I call on both sides to show restraint and pull back from the brink.”

Baroness Bennett, Co-Chair of the Westminster Friends of Hong Kong, said: “I am seeing all over social media and in emails directed to me appeals for international support. The Chief Executive has control over lethal force that is being directed at demonstrators who are seeking the right to democracy and self-determination that they are supposed to be guaranteed by the Joint Declaration. Carrie Lam’s responsibility is to de-escalate the situation, not inflame it further. I call on her to do that, and the British Government to use all of its channels to seek that outcome.”

Lord Alton of Liverpool, also a Patron of Hong Kong Watch and Vice-Chairman of Westminster Friends of Hong Kong, said: “Hong Kong is at a critical juncture tonight. Bloodshed must be avoided. I join calls to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam to take immediate action to prevent a tragedy. I do not condone the violence on the part of some of the students, but equally it is important to understand that the disproportionate police brutality and cynical, manipulative, provocation by agents provocateurs is what has brought Hong Kong to this crisis point. I urge Hong Kong’s authorities not to escalate the crisis further, but rather to de-escalate it and seek ways to address the protesters’ grievances rather than respond to them with force.”

For further information please contact: Johnny Patterson, Director of Hong Kong Watch, email


Lord (Bernard) Hogan Howe – London’s former Metropolitan Police Commissioner:

“Reports that police in Hong Kong are armed with live ammunition and approaching the sit-ins is alarming. I urge the police to not use lethal force because it can only make the situation worse. Unless life is at risk hold back.”


The former Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who hosted the launch of Hong Kong Watch two years ago, said:

“I have had the privilege of meeting several of the very brave pro-democracy activists, of different generations, from Hong Kong and am inspired by their courage and dignity. The erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong over recent years has spiralled out of control in recent months, and I join appeals to Carrie Lam to do her duty to protect the lives of Hong Kong citizens, especially young people, and prevent loss of life. I do not condone the violence on the part of a small minority of protesters, but I believe Hong Kong people have a right to live in freedom, with dignity, basic human rights and without fear, and for that reason I urge the Hong Kong government to order the police to exercise restraint.”

Also see:



Other Views: 

Hong Kong protest: how does this end?


By Nathan Law – HK is standing up to Beijing: can the world do so too?


A really important piece by lawyer Audrey Eu:


Pastors and protest:


Joshua Wong’s latest piece –


On the brink:


Plus this with the Tibetan representative:


And this report from a lady in Hong Kong:


I am writing to get your attention that the Hong Kong Police Force invaded the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on November 17 and 18, 2019.  They fired tear gas non-stop to students.  Here is the picture:


The police used excessive violence to beat up students on campus.  Here are the pictures:


Besides students, the police also arrested doctors, nurses and EMT so that no one could save the injured students.  Here are the pictures:


The following day (November 18, 2019) a lot of civilians went to the university to save students; however, they were arrested by the police before arriving at the university.  Here is the picture:





As Red Army Soldiers Take To Hong Kong’s Streets- For The First Time – What’s this clash of competing ideologies and beliefs all about? China: The View from Over the Wall

As Red Army Soldiers Take To Hong Kong’s Streets For The First Time: What’s this clash of competing ideologies and beliefs all about? China: The View from Over the Wall


Also see:

hong kong army presence

Saturday November 16th 2019:
We know from the history of conflicts such as Northern Ireland that the presence of troops on the streets can only end in more bloodshed. I urge the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to de-escalate tensions and restore democracy and the rule of law. This goes against Hong Kong’s legal framework and will not help restore peace, which we all want to see.   –   David (Lord) Alton, Vice Chair of the Westminster Friends of Hong Kong

Deployment of Chinese troops in Hong Kong a “significant escalation” and “breach of Basic Law of Hong Kong”

Commenting on the deployment of Chinese PLA troops on the streets of Hong Kong for the first time during the five months of pro-democracy protests,

John Song, a spokesperson for Stand with Hong Kong, a pro-democracy group, said:

“We have seen five months of police brutality towards protestors, and now we are seeing Chinese troops being deployed in a breach of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. This is a significant escalation when the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities should be trying to calm things, meet our demands and restore the rule of law. This attempt to normalise the deployment of the PLA will strike fear into the hearts of ordinary citizens. This will not end well.”




The View from Over the Wall


The Great Wall of China – nearly 3,000 years old –  can teach us a lot about Xi Jinping’s twenty first century China. 


Whilst visiting it, my guide reminded me that the Wall is sometimes called “the longest cemetery in the world”: 400,000 of the million conscripted labourers died in its construction.


The Great Wall consists of connecting trenches, watchtowers, barracks and fortresses. It was a military construct to defend the capital: Beijing. 


However, it didn’t, keep out Genghis Khan and his Mongols – and there were other successful breaches too. But it did create a psychological barrier between Chinese civilisation and the hostile barbarism to the north.


Today, President Xi Jinping loves to talk about building new walls to create a hermetically sealed Chinese State.


Having declared himself President for Life, and increasingly mocked as “the Emperor”,  he says he wants China to be ideologically pure – encased by walls  and gates and, through which, a network of roads can transport food and raw materials, armies and  weapons, from dependent, mortgaged, vassal States.


Xi’s imperial inspiration is not drawn from the Ming Dynasty but is of a piece with Mao Tse Tung,  China’s last Emperor, ( who described the West as “running dogs”; “Monsters” who “shall be destroyed”).

Like Mao, Xi is a hard-line Communist, countenancing no opposition.


His hatred of difference and dissent is  why the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan are so fearful that their own vibrant way of life will no long be tolerated in Xi’s walled up China.


They know where Mao’s ideological  hatred of difference and plurality led.


According to the historian, Frank Dikötter,  the Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward makes Mao the greatest “mass murderer in world history.”


You could argue that Mao’s actions were simply of a  piece with the phenomenal disregard for human life that occurred during the construction of the Great Wall. But even by those brutal standards the scale of Mao’s crimes is horrifying: systematic torture, starvation and the mass killing of an estimated 45 million people who were worked, starved, or beaten to death, with a third of their homes destroyed. 


Mao calculated that it was a small price to pay to achieve his ideological objectives of building Communist China.

Frank Dikötter

In “Mao’s Great Famine; The Story of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe”  Dikötter describes a “staggering degree of violence” and asserts  that Mao’s atrocities rank “alongside the gulags and the Holocaust as one of the three greatest events of the 20th century…. It was like Pol Pot’s genocide multiplied 20 times over.” 


He describes how a child caught stealing a potato was tied up and thrown into a pond; how parents were forced to bury their children alive; how people were forced to work naked in the middle of winter; how, when the elderly or sick were no longer able to work they were starved to death.


Some were able to escape – and even make it to a little oasis of freedom called Hong Kong.


Memories are not so short that families don’t remember from what they escaped or, indeed, what might be visited on them again.


President Xi works from the same playbook as Mao. Just ask the Uighurs.

In 2017 he ordered officials to erect a “Great Wall of Steel” around the western region of Xinjiang.


En route to Tibet I visited Western China – home to the Turkic-speaking and a largely Muslim Uighur minority.


Instead of seeing, as I did, the beauty of different ethnicities and races, different religions and traditions, Xi has decreed that they must be re-educated, brainwashed, intimidated, and reprogrammed. 


The notorious and ruthless Communist overseer, Chen Quanguo – China’s Heinrich Mueller – was brought from Tibet to implement it.


At the recent launch of the Coalition for Genocide Response, at Westminster, we heard from a Uighur doctor about the disappearance of 100,000 Uighurs and his fear that, like Falun Gung practitioners, their corpses may have been plundered for organs. 


An independent tribunal, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, concluded that there is “incontrovertible evidence” that the State has collaborated in forced organ harvesting in China. 

According to the Uighur doctor, the motivation in desecrating  and digging up over 40 Uighur cemeteries, with corpses and bones thrown to the vultures, is not simply to destroyed identity, and to use the dead to intimidate the living. 


It is also to destroy evidence. 


 He says that these expanding cemeteries were used to bury plundered cadavers and digging them up now is an attempt to eradicate the evidence of mass atrocities.


The Genocide Coalition heard about Tursunay Ziyawudun a 41-year-old Uighur woman from Kunes County. She has described rape, abuse and widespread sterilisation in Xinjiang’s re-education camps.

Tursunay Ziyawudun

Ms.Ziyawudun says, the Communist authorities regularly ‘took women to the hospital and operated on them so that they no longer could have children or forced them to take medicine” to prevent them from reproducing.


In a chilling testament she says: “ Their methods of torture were always different, but a common practice was to tie you up on a metal chair during interrogation. They cut off our hair, after pulling it through the bars of our cell, including that of elderly women. We were all handcuffed, shackled, and frequently called out for interrogation. The screaming, pleading, crying, is still in my head.”


Looking over the wall at the mass incarceration of Uighurs, the people of Hong Kong recall their own stories.


They know about China’s churches that were desecrated, looted, and turned into storerooms and factories – two of which I visited in Shanghai 30 years ago.


Hong Kongers – many of whom are  Buddhist or Christian – are well aware that the  assault on religion in China today is the most systematic since the lethal cultural revolution when believers were incarcerated, tortured, some burnt alive, some sent to labour camps.


The Communists publicly paraded believers through cities and towns and forced then to wear cylindrical hats detailing their crime of belief.

Tibet self immolation

Hong Kongers know about the self-immolation of despairing Buddhist monks. They know about the demolition of Christian churches and Marian shrines. Unlike the Vatican, they remember how Bishop Kung was incarcerated for 30 years.

Cardinal Kung 2jpgCardinal Kung 1


And how ironic that Hong Kong’ Carrie Lam, who has presided over unspeakable violence, is a Catholic.


Having peered over the wall, and seen this same relentless and shocking ideology, incapable of respecting difference, coming their way in the armoured vehicles and tanks of the Red Army, and soldiers cleverly camouflaged in the uniforms of the once proud Hong Kong Police Force, it is incredible that we have the temerity to wonder why the  people in Hong Kong take to the streets.


Yet, while the geese are waking Hong Kong’s  citadel we in the West drowsily slumber and fall asleep at out posts – wishing away what Hong Kong has seen all too clearly.


What thought was given, what due diligence was done, before UK local authorities and the National Health Service bought more than 1.3 million surveillance cameras from Hikvision a Chinese  CCTV company?  


Hikvision has been advertising cameras that racially profile Uighur Muslims, providing surveillance equipment in Xinxiang. 


When it comes to China, we seem to think that money is all that matters: just business as usual. Contracts signed in other people’s blood.


Having, this week, been offered over £1 billion to hand over British Steel to China; having this week discovered that the BBC have produced a promotional video in support of Huawei’s bid to take over our telecommunications industry; having been alerted to endless examples of Chinese attempts to buy up our universities and colleges; is it too much to hope that the UK might wake up to some harsh realities?


Probably not. 


Why not sell them Buckingham Palace, Ascot, Wimbledon and Lords, while we are at it? 


Perhaps we already have.


In addition to incarcerating his people behind a hideous wall of  Communist conformity Xi has been erecting one other Wall.

In 2013 Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee published a scathing report on Huawei’s potential infiltration of GCHQ and our intelligence and security operations. 


China’s history of cyber-attacks is an essential element of their relentless campaign to build a wall against the flow of information. 


Xi’s “cyber sovereignty” is also designed to open a window into every aspect of what they see as a lazy and indifferent, hedonistic, liberal West.


Before Xi came to power the internet began to offer a space for Chinese citizens to explore their ideas and beliefs and to become familiar with friends across the world.


Now, China is home to the biggest censorship operation in the world.


Xi’s Great Firewall  – and now his “Great Cannon” and ”Golden Shield” replace information as well as blocking it.


In defiance of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – which promises citizens the opportunity to access information and news – what Xi boasts is the Great Firewall.

Article 19

Happily, many smart Chinese people know their way around the wall.

and make mock of the Emperor. 


They tell you that  Xi’s phrases “strong nation” and “wall nation” share a phonetic pronunciation in Chinese (qiangguo); that trying to build these new cyber walls simply demonstrate weakness.


But that doesn’t stop China from trying.


Harvard estimates that 448 million  comments on social media are tampered with every year. It is said the State employs 2 million people to do this.


Ultimately, Xi will have to come to terms with the real world of Hong Kong, the real world of Taiwan – both of which illustrate the great country China could be if Mao and the Cultural Revolution had not intervened; if bridges had been built rather than walls.


On its new trajectory, China’s dream – to be an alternative America – is turning into a nightmare, for itself and for its neighbours.  


President Xi should understand that being a father  of the “Great Firewall” will never endear him to a rising generation who want China to be one of the world’s great nations, not a walled-up prisoner of its own narrow ideology. 


They will simply come to openly despise him. 


And that generation have never forgotten or forgiven the Communist Party’s massacre of 10,000 young pro-democracy campaigners in Tiananmen Square, thirty years ago. 

As they see their university campuses turned into battlefields, Hong Kong remembers Tiananmen, too.


Yes, you can try and build a wall, but people will look over it, they will tunnel underneath it; they will undermine its foundations;  and they will find ways around it.


Berlin had a wall, and look what happened to that. That’s the human spirit.

This is the real point of the bravery of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement; the real point of the protests; the real point of why the west needs to stop sitting on top of the wall and come down on the side of those who stand with us and believe in our values, our interests, and our security. 


That’s why Hong Kong’s stand is like the Alamo – a battle that may be lost, but a war which was ultimately won. 


And don’t underestimate the faithful and brave  people of Hong Kong.


Our great English Bard created the character of Tom Snout, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.


In a play within the play Tom plays the part of the wall which separates Pyramus and Thisbe. The two lovers whisper to one another through Snout’s fingers – which represent a gap in the wall.


Is it too much to hope that like those lovers, we might do the same?



stand with hong kong

Remembering Mrs.Hudson

Remembering Mrs. Hudson.
It seemed serendipitous at lunchtime today to be at be in the heart of the constituency which I once represented in the House of Commons.
Just as I was taking my seat in Holy Trinity church in Liverpool’s Wavertree district, to say farewell to Mrs.Pat Hudson, nominations were closing at Liverpool’s Municipal Buildings for all those wishing to contest the General Election on December 12th.
Mrs.Hudson knew a thing or two about elections – living as she did, at the heart of Liverpool’s Church Ward and the Mossley Hill constituency – always proud to do the opposite of surrounding neighbourhoods.
Mrs.Hudson, as you will see from the photograph, had a love of sunflowers. And sunflowers were much in evidence today.
One of my favourite painters is Vincent Van Gogh who said that sunflowers represented “gratitude.” 
Years ago, I had visited the wonderful Van Gogh museum, whose curator says “The sunflower is a very strong and sturdy plant. It’s not elegant and refined. Van Gogh called it the ‘rustic sunflower. It has the roughness and unpolishedness of the real countryside, and that’s what he felt strongly about.” 
Mrs.Hudson did not live in the countryside but in the city – but she would have liked that description of the sunflower because she had no time for fripperies and polishedness. And she gave her family and all who knew her great reason for gratitude.
Pat’s life spanned the best part of the last 100 years – and she was born into a world experiencing the greatest of poverty. She was married on the steps of the sanctuary where today she was being carried to her place of rest. She was born in 1927 – the same year as Eartha Kitt, one of whose most famous songs was an “Old Fashioned Girl”.
I don’t think Pat would have minded if she had been descried as being a little old fashioned – in as much as she believed that respect, tolerance, conscience and courtesy all mattered – and she brought her boys up to believe the same.
Today, there is so much ego and vain gloriousness in politics – perhaps there has to be, especially in the world of Twitter and immediate, often intemperate, and ill considered, vituperative comment. 
Thank goodness for the delay mechanism of old fashioned Focus newsletters, off-set litho printing machines that covered you in ink, and the encumbrances that made you think about what you should say. And Pat was always ready to deliver those by the thousand.
Candidates now strut their stuff, make wholly unbelievable promises, say it before they can reconsider, and pledge their undying loyalty to constituents they probably will avoid seeing until the next time they want their votes.
But once they disappear – like snow off a roof – it’s people like Mrs. Hudson who are the grit that keeps our democracy functioning.
Earlier this year we buried her husband, Bob. 
They and their children, Martin and Adrian, were one of those families who kept me grounded and reminded me that the greatest honour – earned and not bestowed – is being elected to serve as a Member of Parliament.
In his remarks today, Martin recalled that his mother unfailingly baked a cake for me at every election – and Adrian followed in her footsteps with a cake which he specifically baked for her farewell today.
Martin recalled that, when I was first elected to Parliament, some superannuated bureaucrat had the temerity (and rank stupidity) to try and stop Mrs. Hudson from entering St. George’s Hall for the counting of the votes in my Parliamentary by-election. 
She berated him, reminded him that she was a Liverpool ratepayer, and that he had no right to stop her entering Liverpool’s finest civic building. 
By the end, and no doubt quaking, he wisely gave her admission.
Year after year, in countless elections, Mrs. Hudson willingly opened her home as a committee room, delivering  leaflets, and encouraging her family to knock on endless doors.
Throughout his clever detective novels, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle provided a Mrs.Hudson to look after Sherlock Holmes. 
In his characteristically supercilious way, Holmes said of his Mrs.Hudson: “Her cuisine is a little limited, but she has a good idea of breakfast.” 
Speaking for myself, and maybe for other old-fashioned independent-minnded Liberal candidates, our Mrs.Hudson provided endless nourishment and encouragement – worthy of Egon Ronay  and never tired of telling us to keep looking for the votes that won elections.
She was the perfect cake maker and the perfect grass roots supporter – who keep self-important candidates mindful of their limitations while always encouraging them to do better.
Democracy would not function, and it works, because of people like Mrs. Hudson – and today’s elitist out of touch political classes should never forget it. 
As they deposit their papers to stand in next month’s elections let them remember, as I do, with respect and affection, the many Mrs.Hudsons who knock second rate politicians into the shade.
May she rest in peace.

Hong Kong Universities Turned Into A War Zone. Can you hear the people sing? Will you come and stand with me?

Can you hear the people sing? Will you come and stand with me? Can You Now Hear Them Weep As They Watch Hong Kong’s Universities  Turned Into A War Zone



And, in Cantonese…  

Watching the Tiananmen-style assault on Hong Kong universities and their students I looked again at a postcard I recently received from a student in Hong Kong. 


It included some words from the Les Misérables classic refrain “Do you Hear the people sing?” with a postscript “Is there a world you long to see?Will you come and stand with me?”

Do you hear the people sing 1

It’s not just about a future world which Hong Kongers wants to see: it’s about their familiar world which they are seeing destroyed.


A lady wrote to me last night to express her despair: The Hong Kong I remember used to filled with laughter and prosperity. Now it is replaced with tears, blood, anger and despair. Even so, we love this place we call home”.


A student emailed me from one of the universities to say: the intensity last night was a completely new level when the firing of tear gas has been literally non-stop; I later realized that the HKPolice fired more than 1000 tg overnight. I don’t know how to describe the suffocating-ness, the burning-ness in eyes and on skin, the screams out of injured and fear; It had to be a hell. Yes it was a hell, …in front of us were students hit by rubber bullets, in their eyes, in their heads, in their chests…




One of Asia’s truly great cities, a free city, is now under de facto martial law, convulsed by previously unimaginable scenes.


Three months ago, inspired by Jean Valjean and the students in Les Mis, some Hong Kong school children, during their morning Assembly sang the plea to stand against oppression and dictatorship – instead of singing the National Anthem.

do you hear the people sing 2

In its characteristically authoritarian, heavy-handed, way, China responded by removing the song from music platforms.


Like most of the counter-productive things that authoritarians do, it simply helped to further popularise the song – into Cantonese and Taiwanese. The most popular version is translated as “Asking Who That Hasn’t Spoken Out” (問誰未發聲)? 



It’s a question for our Government but perhaps, even more so, for the Leader of the Labour Party. On the election trail he found find time to express solidarity with Evo Morales, Bolivia’s ousted Marxist leader, but where was his voice in expressing support for Hong Kong as it stands bravely against Beijing’s variant strand of Marxism? 


As one of the two signatories to the international 1984 Treaty guaranteeing Hong Kong’s autonomy, the rule of law and independent judiciary, human rights and basic freedoms, that is a question which the unheard people of Hong Kong have every right to ask the U.K. 


Those whose voices have been muted and who have failed to stand with Hong Kong should think very carefully about what is at stake.


Think of Chow Tze Lok who is now dead – because of tear gas, batons and police blockade – one of thousands subjected to police brutality.


Think of the boy shot with a live round at close range by the police – his life still hangs in the balance.


Think of the 3 million who, since June, have demonstrated peacefully, and the more than three thousand who have been arrested: one third of them under the age of 16 whilst most of them are university students. 


Think of the unexplained deaths and unexplained suicides – more than fifty by some accounts, including a 15 year old.


Think of Carrie Lam’s obduracy, her craven submission to her puppeteers in Beijing, her Emergency Regulations, her multiple court injunctions and a de facto curfew, all aimed at stifling the voices of Hong Kong’s law abiding, freedom loving people.


Students will converge on Lam’s old College at Cambridge this weekend calling for Wolfson to remove her Honorary Fellowship. 


What better message to send to Hong Kong’s university students trapped and under siege in their Hong Kong campuses – that their British counterparts have heard their voices?


The U.K. Government should go further and reconsider her family’s citizenship rights. It must hold to account those who last night in Hong Kong university campuses shot 1000 tear gas canisters and severely injured more than 60 students.


Think, too, of the collusion with the triads, local gangs, agents provocateurs and hired henchmen, attempting to intimidate, provoke and provide a pretext for martial law, deferral of elections, and Red Army suppression.


Think of the bravery of young leaders like Joshua Wong – who was recently nominated for the Westminster Award for Human Rights, Human Life and Human Dignify and who has been told this week that he is to receive it.



I was privileged to chair a meeting for Joshua at Westminster, where he extolled his commitment to democracy, the rule of law, nonviolent protest, human rights and democracy.  


At least some at Westminster have understood that the best response to Joshua’s disqualification as an election candidate, and being jailed for promoting democracy, is for him to be honoured by people who share his values.


Carrie Lam – with an 82% disapproval rating – unapologetically regards young people like Joshua as “having no stake in the society” adamantly insisting that she will not “make concessions” to the pro democracy advocates.  Her description of them as “enemies of the people” was disturbing and insensitive at best and deeply offensive at worst.


Beijing’s rubber-stamp politicians and their police openly demonise these fine young people calling them “cockroaches” and saying that they must be “crushed”. A police superintendent, Mr. Vasco Willams, disparagingly and disgracefully called an unconscious first aider detainee a “yellow object”.


So who are we with? Carrie Lam and Communism or Joshua Wong and liberal democracy? Evo Morales or the pro-democracy campaigners of Hong Kong?


Commenting this week, on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the philosopher, Roger Scruton, reminded us that in some circles the “charm” of tyrannical Communist authoritarianism, “has been barely diminished by its enormous legacy of human suffering.”


But in reflecting on the stand which the people of Eastern Europe successfully took three decades ago, he concluded that “the oppressors had set out to control things, and the people had at last said no.”


Now, as Hong Kong defiantly says no to the abandonment of “two systems, one country” and its replacement with “one system, one party”  we must do more than listen to the people sing and be willing to take a stand with them.






.Previous Posts …

To read the recent House of Lords debate on Hong Kong, go to:

Also see Joshua Wong’s letter from his time in prison …

Why We Are All Hong Kongers Now –  On November 9th – The Day On Which The Berlin Wall Fell – Recall that Dictatorships And One Party States Can Have Their Day

Muslim Uighurs forced To Give DNA Samples in Re-education Centres to which 1 million people have been reportedly sent – February 2019.


Protestant church dynamited

Organ Transplants and Human Rights Abuses in China – Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Martin Elliott report the findings of “The Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China”


Also see:

Ben Rogers and Johnny Patteson in TIME –  and  Cambridge University’s Varsity publication  

The Adam Smith Institute’s Matt Kilcoyne wrote this for Telegraph: –




As Berlin celebrates the fall of the Wall and the end of Communist dictatorship, pro democracy campaigners in Hong Kong face fatal violence. We are all Hong Kongers Now 🇹🇼 🇭🇰



We are all Hong Kongers Now 🇹🇼 🇭🇰
In the heart of Taiwan’s capital city, at the offices of Taiwan’s Foundation for Democracy, there is a piece of stone that should give encouragement to the beleaguered people of Hong Kong and the anxious people of Taiwan.
It is part of the Berlin Wall – a wall erected by an authoritarian Communist regime intent on imprisoning it own people and keeping out democracy, the rule of law, free speech and religious and political freedom.
In June 1963 President John F. Kennedy famously declared his solidarity with Berliners when he said “Ich bin ein Berliner”.
Today we must show the same international solidarity with Hong Kong and Taiwan – whose freedoms are under systematic attack.
These brave people- and those who oppress them – should recall that what seemed like a never ending Cold War dramatically ended as a result of defiant courage. For 28 years families were torn apart and a city cruelly divided – with young people shot dead when they attempted to scale the wall or to escape to freedom.
The wall divided an entire nation for a generation but its fall came unexpectedly and far more rapidly than any of us had dared hope. Today Berlin is a whole city again – diverse, democratic, plural.
When, on 9th of November we remember the day that wall fell, we should mark it by personal, community, and Government actions that underline our unflinching belief in democratic values and our determination to stand with those in the Far East seeking democracy and reform
We are all Hong Kongers and Taiwanese Now 🇹🇼 🇭🇰
We are all Hong Kongers Now
An important article posted by Hong Kong Watch which UK universities should take seriously. Academic freedom and free speech are vital pillars of education. Chinese Communism would demolish both pillars and replace intellectual curiosity with indoctrination and brainwashing. Just ask a Uighur Muslim.




Speech from the Rathaus Schöneberg by John F. Kennedy, June 26, 1963. Duration 9:01; “Ich bin ein Berliner” first appears at 1:57, then again at 8:43.
Also see the comparison between Hong Kong’s struggle and Gandhi’s Salt March…

What is South Korea thinking of by repatriating refugees to the North? It would have been like sending people back over the Berlin Wall to their certain death.

What is South Korea thinking of by repatriating refugees to the North? It would have been like sending people back over the Berlin Wall to their certain death.

A very bad decision by South Korea – and one which violates their obligations to refugees. They have probably written the death sentence of these poor people.


Statement of South Korea’s Deportation two North Korean Escapees

British-North Korean Community

The British-North Korean Community is deeply concerned about the first deportation of two North Koreans by South Korea since the 1953 Korean War Armistice. 


The South Korean government, on Thursday 7 November, deported two North Korean escapees to North Korea, a country that has been condemned by the United Nations as having committed systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.


This is the first time the South Korean government has sent North Koreans back against their will. In doing so, South Korea has undermined its national Constitution, which recognizes all North Koreans as citizens of South Korea, granting them the right to live in the South and be protected by its legal system.


“Since North Koreans are Korean nationals they are under the jurisdiction of South Korea, so the government is obliged to let them stand in our courts,” stressed Kim Jae-won, a member of South Korean Parliament and chairman of the National Assembly Budget Committee, to Prime Minister Lee Nak-Yeon. 


There were no legal procedures for these two North Koreans deportation.


“There is no doubt that the two deportees have been returned to a place where they face no due process, harsh punishment, torture, and almost-certain execution,” says Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.  


After their boat was seized by the South Korean navy on Saturday, November 2, the two fishermen reportedly requested resettlement in South Korea. 


After an investigation which lasted for only three days, the government of South Korea sent the two back to North Korea, saying that its investigators had determined that the men had killed 16 of their crewmates prior to escaping. 


Ministry of Unification spokesman Lee Sang-min stated that the two fishermen were “heinous criminals” who did not deserve recognition as refugees under applicable international law. 


Nonetheless, there is no evidence or allegation of these fishermen were murderers. Even if they were murders, they could still be protected from refoulement to a country where they would be tortured or executed, since South Korea is a signatory country (9 January 1995) to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.


“The claim that the two escapees killed 16 crewmates, is bizarre,” says Scarlatoiu.


Moreover, the North Koreans were on South Korean soil and deserved the protection of South Korea’s legal system, whilst South Korean nationality law declares: “North Korean citizens are also recognised as South Korean nationals,” which can find more information about at:


South Korea does NOT recognise North Koreans as refugees, and never has. But under the South Korean constitution, North Korean citizens who flee to South Korea automatically become South Korean citizens.


There is no such legal agreement or any extradition treaty between Pyongyang and Seoul. Nor there is a precedent for the extradition of people to North Korea, as the jurisdiction has no rule of law.


This deportation of the two North Korean fishermen therefore raises major concerns for all the North Koreans (34,000) living in South Korea. 


If this case supports a future extradition agreement between North and South Korea, many North Korean refugees in Seoul, who fled in search of freedom of expression, speech, faith, opportunity, dignity, security and food, will be forced to repatriate from North Korea’s request of criminals. 


But North Korea regards all North Korean escapees are ‘human scum’ and ‘betrayers of a socialist nation’ – making all of them criminals.


The deportation of the two North Korean fishermen creates serious moral, ethical, and legal concerns that the international community, organisations and friends of Korea should call attention to. 


The South Korean government must follow the international obligations of human rights norms and principles. “The result of a cursory investigation, this deportation is contrary to obligations assumed by South Korea under human rights instruments including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Scarlatoiu says.


International Solidarity

British-North Korean Community 



세계 있는 탈북자분들과 저의를 지지호소하는 세계모든분들에게 청원

BritishNorth Korean Community

2019 11 7 한민국에서는 자유찾아 목숨걸고 독재국가를 떠나온 젊은 2명의 (22, 23) 북한청년들을 판문점을 통해북한으로 추방하는 사건이 있었습니다. 한국에서 북한으로 북송시키는 경우는 거의 전례가 없는 case입니다. 지금까지 중국이나다른나라들에서 강제로 탈북민들을 강제 북송해서 교화서나 수용소에 감금되었어도 한국에서 북송되었다는 소식은 자체가 놀라움이고, 동시에 한국에 정착하는 탈북민들한테는 많은 두려움 상시시키고 있습니다.

북송원인은 일단은 한국정부 발표에서: “선장의 지속적인 가혹해위에 불만을 품은 이들 두명이 선장을 포함해 16명의 동료선원들을 잔인하게 살해였기때문이라고 설명하고 있습니다. 그럼에도 불구하고 뚜렷한 증거하나도 남지 않은 애매모호한 사건으로많은 질문들을 남기고 있습니다.

당시 김재원 국회 예산결산특별위원장은 이낙연 국무총리에게:북한 주민도 우리나라 국민이고, 현재 (북한도 우리)관할이기때문에 정부는 이들을 우리나라 법정에 세워 처벌해야 의무가 있다라고 강조하였습니다. 그럼에도 불구하고 이들의 북송은 너무신속하고 빨리 처리되었니다.

남한과 북한사이에는범죄인도조약이나 범죄인 인도  관련한법적인 근거가 습니다. – 근래에 일어나는 홍콩데모가 경우인데:범죄인 인도법 개정안 반대해서 많은 시민들이 중국정부와 홍콩자치정부를 상대로 힘든 싸움을 하고 있습니다. 이법안이 나올경우 많은 홍콩인들이나 또는 중국독재정부를 향해 싸우고 있는 중국 홍콩인권운동가들이 중국에 요구로 인해서 추방되어야 하기 때문입니다 현재 북한이탈주민법은 테러 국제형사범죄, 살인 중대한 범죄자난 위장 탈북자들도 법의 보호 대상으로 인정하고 있지만 그와 동시에북한으로 추방한다는부분도명시하고 있지 않습니다.

여러분 이번사건으로해서 범죄인 인도법 개정안이 자연적으로구성 북한 말하는 범죄자이기 때문에 추방되어야 한다 북한을 탈출한 우리모두가 추방되어야 할것입니다. 북한당국은 탈북민들을 보고인간 쓰레기또는나라를 배신한 배신자라고 범죄인으로 취급하고 있습니다. 그렇다면 대한민국땅안에있는 3 4천여명의 모든 탈북민들다 범죄인이고 이들 두명이 7일날 추방된것 처럼 범죄인으로써 북한으로 추방되어야 것입니다. 북한으로 추방되 일어날 일들은 우리모두가 알고 있고:구금, 구타, 고문, 수용소, 또는 생화학무기의 생체실험대상으로 사용될것입니다.

스탠튼 변호사 말합니다: 이들을 북한으로 돌려보냄으로써 한국정부는 법적인 절차 없고, 고문이 일상화된 북한의 사법제도를적법하다고 용인한 것입니다. (무죄 추정 원칙에 따라) 재판을 통해 판결을 받기전까지는 절대 이들을 살인자라고 추정해서도 안되면, 인도적인 처우를 해야 한다는 말입니다.”

Greg Scarlatoiu (그레그 스칼라튜) 사무총장은 말합니다: 이들이 한국에 망명을 신청했다는 이유만으로도 북한에 돌려보내지면사형에 처해질 있다며, 망명을 신청한 북한 주민은 어떤 경우에도, 절대 송환되어서는 안된다고 강조합니다.

여러분들의 단합된 목소리와 지지가 어느때보다도 필요한 시점입니다. 범죄인도조약이나 범죄인 인도 관련법들이 북한과 남한사이에는 존재 없고 형성되어도 안되는 부분이라고생각하고 여러분들에게 단결적인 호소를 하고 있습니다. 왜냐하면 조건으로 해서 죄없고 정치.종교.인권. 배고픔의 자유를찾아 북한을 탈출한 탈북민들이 죽어가야하기 때문입니다. 어떤경우에 불법적인 강제 북송이 일어나서는 안됩니다.

한국과 북한사이에 범죄인도조약 송환법이 형성되지 않고 강제추방이 안되도록 영국에 있는 North Korea Community 앞에 설것이고 국제 사회에 알릴것입니다.

많은 탈북, 한국인, 세계의 분들이 동참해주시기를 호소합니다.

With many thanks and appreciation,

BritishNorth Korean Community

Why, in the General Election, I hope people back Frank Field – the right honourable and brave Member of Parliament for Birkenhead

If you want to do something worthwhile in this General Election go and lend a hand to Frank Field – who has served as the right honourable and brave Member of Parliament for Birkenhead – fighting against a Labour Party that has sought to hound him out of office. It tells you everything you need to know about contemporary ideology-driven, conscience-hating, intolerant British politics.
This is what I wrote about Frank in September 2018 when the comrades were sharpening their knives:
I hope that the good people of Birkenhead get behind their former MP  and back principle against intolerance.
Frank Field – the right honourable and brave Member of Parliament for Birkenhead


1983 - with Bishop David Shepard, Archbishop Derek Worlock, Frank Field MP, Lynda Chalker MP - Hungry For Change Protest-9001

1987: Bishop David Sheppard, Frank Field MP (Birkenhead), David Alton MP (Liverpool Mossley Hill), Lynda Chalker MP (Wallasey) and Archbishop Derek Worlock – at a rally against world poverty held at Liverpool Pier Head.  

Frank Field sought the Labour nomination for the 1979 Liverpool Edge Hill by election. He didn’t get it. Another of my potential opponents was Ann Widdecombe, who expressed interest in the Conservative nomination. 

Frank Field 3

In retrospect, I am very glad that neither secured their parties’ nominations – bruising by-election campaigns don’t always endear you to your opponents. 


In any event, both went on to become formidable and respected parliamentarians – MPs who rapidly established reputations as principled and diligent.


Five weeks after that Liverpool by-election,  Frank became, in the General Election which folowed, the MP for Birkenhead – sometimes called the one-eyed city by Liverpudlians (reputedly because only one face of its clock tower was visible from the Liverpool  side of the Mersey).

Frank stood in the tradition of his immediate predecessor, Edmund Dell, who had been MP since 1964 but who resigned his seat in 1979, increasingly disillusioned by Labour’s drift to the Left; and its hostility to free markets and competition. He later joined the SDP.


Another of Frank’s predecessors was the Liberal MP, Graham White, first elected to Parliament in the 1920s, and who, in 1945, was one of the MPs who visited Buchenwald concentration camp. He worked closely with the Independent MP, Eleanor Rathbone, in opposing antisemiism and in championing Jewish refugees.

In words that might have been written about Frank Field, Graham White’s parliamentary colleague Sir Percy Harris described him as “disinterested, with a fine sense of duty and a varied knowledge of every kind of social problem, he was a mine of information and always ready to step into the breach.”


For Frank Field, too, public duty,  conscience, constituents, and country, are the red meat of politics. But he also understands the importance of being loyal to a Party – at least until it attempts to subvert your conscience or requires you to act in ways that are inimical to your beliefs. Loyalty and blind allegiance are two entirely different things.


I always listen to Frank Field’s point of view – even when I disagree – because I know that his case will have been carefully and intelligently shaped. I especially admire Frank’s work on poverty, social justice and the strengthening of families and communities. 

Throughout the 198Os Liverpool and Birkenhead became redouts of Labour’s Militant Tendency. Michael Foot described Militant as termites gnawing away at the foundations of the Labour Party. 

Throughout that period Frank’s voice was one of sanity – and was overwhelmingly supported by his constituents.

Frank Field 4

Yet, during those years his constituency Labour Party endlessly tried to deselect him as an MP – forcing him to spend a hige amount of time and energy fighting them – time which could have been better used on so many other causes.

Meanwhile,  in Liverpool, Militant Labour turned the city into a seething cauldron of resentment and chaos; organising crippling protests and demonstrations, sending dismissal notices to thousands of local government employees: impeding the city’s regeneration and entrenching poverty and unemployment. 

Happily, Liverpool and Birkenhead both came through that era of riots, bankruptcy, and antediluvian class warfare – but they might as well turn Birkenhead’s clock back thirty years, if Frank Field is unsupported in his courageous stand.


Frank Field’s battles against motions of no confidence; attempts to undermine him as MP; and the outrageous antisemitism and racism which he has fought against all his life, all have much wider significance than one man’s undoubted bravery.

 Just watch this – with both eyes open- and you will get a glimpse of what awaits our country if such intolerance and hate mongering is permitted to succeed.


1987 With Bishop David Shepard, Archbishop Derek Worlock, Lynda Chalker MP, Frank Field MP - Oxfam Hungry for Change Protest -96

1987:  Frank Field MP (Birkenhead), David Alton MP (Liverpool Mossley Hill), Lynda Chalker MP (Wallasey),Bishop David Sheppard and Archbishop Derek Worlock – at a rally against world poverty held at Liverpool Pier Head.  







A Parliament of Errors Which Could Now Hang The Country – General Election 2019

houses of parliament on red wednesday

A Parliament Of Errors

It’s probably just as well to have a long memory in such a depressing political season.

Since Simon de Montfort and the Barons first challenged the absolute power of the monarch, in 1265, there have been plenty of bad Parliaments

Consider the Long Parliament of 1640-60 and which included the beheading of a king and a civil war.

The Long Parliament immediately followed the pantomime Parliament, the Short Parliament, which met for just three weeks in 164O – following the non sitting of Parliament which, in the absence of our contemporary Supreme Court, hadn’t met for a staggering 11 years.

But Boris Johnson needn’t study the seventeenth century for precedents (or ideas!).

In February 1974 I contested my first General Election. I was in my early twenties. On the back of a three day week and endless strikes, Ted Heath called the election on the single issue slogan of “who runs the country?”

The answer came back: “not you”, but not really anyone else.

We ended up with  a hung Parliament – the first since 1929.

Harold Wilson made modest gains but was short of an overall majority. And that was in an age when politics and parties were far less fractured than today.

By October 1974,  Parliament was dissolved and we were in the middle of another General Election followed by a weak Parliament which finally collapsed in a vote of no confidence ( the day before I was elected in a by-election ).

Fast forward to 2019.

If the Conservatives and the Brext Party fight one another across the country they will split their vote and give us another hung Parliament – and potentially give Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street.

If, on the other hand, they reach an electoral accommodation (with Brexit mainly fighting Northern Labour seats but giving Conservatives a clear run elsewhere ) and, with the Centre and Left fighting one another, it will be more like 1983.

In that General Election, the Lib/SDP Alliance and Labour received a combined half of the popular vote- but, having fought one another, and under the vagaries of the first past the post system, gave the Conservatives an overall majority.

So, at the end of this desultory Parliament of Errors we now have an Election of Errors with a potential outcome that the electorate never intended.  Whichever  side makes the signal error of failing to unite will hand victory to the other. And if neither side unites they will hang the country.