Dear Anna by Chris Tregenza

The fall-out from Darren Henry’s rather misguided thoughts on foodbanks is still making the news, with the video passing 1.5m views on Twitter alone. On the same day Boris Johnson was so adamant not to look at the human cost of NHS austerity he stole a journalist’s phone, its not a good look for the party well beyond that describes by Theresa May in 2002.

Yet we will turn out attention to a former Tory who many assumed would be the key anti-Brexit candidate in Broxtowe. Our reporter Chris Tregenza was one of those, yet in this piece explains why things have chaged:

Dear Anna

By Chris Tregenza

Dear Anna,

In 2016 my concept of politics was torn apart. Everything I took for granted about our democracy and the basic decency of British people was upended when the voters decided to pursue an extremist agenda. That was the day I became politically active, determined to do whatever was in my power to prevent the perversion of Brexit.

Anna Soubry, by Chris Tregenza

This has led me on a strange political path as I organised hustings, co-ordinated local campaign groups and spent many cold and wet hours campaigning on the streets of Nottinghamshire. I’ve been snowed on with Revolutionary Marxists, sheltered under the golfing umbrellas of Conservative party members and shared suncream with Green party candidates.

Many of those hours have been stood next to you on People’s Vote stalls. I’ve seen you respond with dignity to abuse and talk with passion about the EU to people of all political stripes. In parliament, your speeches have been some of the most eloquent of the remain cause. While your willingness to speak truth unto power in your own party has been a true example of Churchill’s “Country, constituency, party” mantra.

No one has been a better example for the remain cause and UK democracy than yourself but I won’t be voting for you.

I want to vote for you. Your actions, sacrifices and commitment deserve my vote as a remainer. However only a small number of voters, maybe 5-10%, are deciding their vote on Brexit alone. This by itself is not enough to get you elected. To win, you need large scale defection from the Tories and Labour yet this is not happening at a national or local level.

Going into this election I expected to vote for you. In our political system independent candidates face immense problems getting elected but I thought you could do it. Your personal determination, your oratory and experience all gave you a fighting chance. Yet as the campaign progressed the fates have not been kind. The Boris-bias of the media, Labour’s Brexit strategy finally becoming clear and the failure of the Lib-Dem surge have all hurt your chances.

Since the election has been called I’ve been talking to people in Broxtowe every day – party activists, ordinary voters and those alienated by traditional party politics. Few have expressed a willingness to vote for you. All of the polling, national and local, shows you considerably behind both Labour and the Conservatives.

My doubts about Greg Marshall are similar to your own and should he be elected, all Broxtowe will get is a loyal servant to the party machine. However Labour is now firmly behind a second referendum with an option to remain. There’s no doubt that elements within Labour will fight to subvert this commitment but that is a battle for another day.

If Boris gets a majority, the remain cause is dead. We won’t get a second referendum and instead we will plunge into the worst possible Brexit. Stopping Boris on the 12th is the only way forward for remain.

Anna, you deserve better than this. Never have I been prouder of a local MP then watching you demolish the lies of leavers in the House of Commons but elections are all about winning. As a remainer I must do whatever I can to stop Boris and stop Brexit. In Broxtowe, only Labour have a chance of beating the Conservatives.

That is why I will be voting for Greg Marshall.


Chris Tregenza

7 thoughts on “Dear Anna by Chris Tregenza

  1. Michael Rose says:

    My sincere feelings exactly.
    I want to Vote Anna to have a powerful Remain voice in Westminster.
    I want to vote Green because we have 11 years to stop the Climate Emergency.
    However, voting Greg is my duty.
    If there is a hung Parliament, hang on for a Spring election.
    If there’s a Tory majority, Lord help us all.

  2. Rick says:

    Well said Chris. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I too thought I might vote for Anna for exactly the reasons you state and for the same reasons as you but there is the worry that, at heart, Anna is a Tory whereas I am a life long Labour voter, albeit with concerns about the party leadership. Thus, in the end, my (postal) vote has gone to Greg as the only option to keep Boris out.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. Katherine says:

    A real shame and totally the wrong decision. You know better than most that we are on a long and painful journey that will not end on 12 December. After that we will need honourable, courageous MPs to keep on battling against the extremes on left and right.
    All you are doing is giving extra succour to the extreme candidate on the left.
    All you will be doing is splitting the remain vote and perhaps letting the hapless Tory candidate in.
    All you will be doing is risking our precious seat in Parliament by giving it to a man with no track record for standing up for truth and decency.
    I hope you are not filled with regret in the weeks, months and years that follow.
    Wishing you well.

  4. Ry Lander says:

    Many in the Borough do not agree with you – but we are the extremists, obviously. The pomposity and pious attitudes on both sides has got us where we are today. Then we argue about the bunch of candidates that we are offered for the great borough – our collective argument should be that they are all pitiful, not worthy – and will be so in Westminster.
    And the 11 years to Armageddon mantra that has sprung up over the last year or so – I thought decades ago we were facing mass extinction from a modern ice age, then SARS, bird flu, the millennium bug, I am amazed I am still here 🙂 11 years ?? Well best get the party started – don’t forget, once you are gone you should be long passed caring. Happy Christmas.

  5. Paul says:

    I am a Broxtowe constituent and I worked my socks off in Beeston and Stapleford for Remain in 2016. I, too, was waiting to see how local polling etc went before deciding who to vote for. Never Tory, probably Labour (largely because their 2017 campaign was electrifying and because the now Lab-Lib coalition on the council is doing so much to repair Conservative wrongs.) That said, I could have been easily persuaded to vote Anna. Anna is unpopular with leavers, for obvious reasons; therefore my enemy’s enemy is my friend, or whatever the paraphrase of Churchill is. If she stood the best shot to prevent a BoJo Pro-Trump hardbrexiteer getting elected, then so be it, peg on nose, and vote for what’s best overall.
    However, Anna has continued to act as she did when she was a Tory. She hasn’t sought to build many bridges, instead attacking the people whose votes she needs – including some local Lib Dem friends. She acts as if she has a God-given right to every remain voter’s loyalty. She doesn’t automatically deserve that loyalty, and her remain stance doesn’t automatically give her a free pass when it comes to considering her record in parliament and her record locally. She needs to earn the vote, rather than demand it. She needed to demonstrate both remorse for austerity (non forthcoming) and proof that she would be a better MP as an Independent than she ever was a Tory. (she hasn’t).
    I won’t rehearse the details (they’re easily verified), but just to summarise Anna’s record – nationally, Anna was (and is) pro fracking; was central to the privatisation of the NHS and sell off of Royal Mail (and still says it was good economics); Anna went on TV and radio, several times, to justify austerity and defend the worst of what the Tories did (seemingly tone deaf to reduced living standards of tens of thousands). She was a powerful player in the coalition government, with roles in health and business. She shares responsibility for the pain the Tories caused (including having no plan for if the referendum was lost). Had she shown any remorse for the savage destruction of lives and communities caused by those policies, then maybe, maybe, I could countenance putting her Remain credentials above all other considerations – and ignore her history. But, no. As a Labour/LibDem/Green floating voter, she offers nothing to the floating voter beyond more divisiveness and more ego.
    I am fully on board with Labour here. The austerity and privatisation agenda that Anna implemented has hurt us locally. We got the worst local government settlement, meaning the council struggled to enact Tory cuts. Anna has fallen short as a local MP, several times. She has taken Broxtowe for granted and it appears that this GE campaign is more of the same – indeed, to summarise – rather than trying to persuade people to vote for her, she demands their vote. I’m sorry Anna, but no more. We have a chance to elect a local MP that knows all about the area’s issues and is invested in representing us, the constituents, working for what’s best for constituency rather than what’s best for themselves.
    The fact that the polls, local bookies odds, and impartial tactical voting sites put Anna a long way back in third confirms the failure of her campaign. Where there was an opportunity to build bridges and forge conversation across party lines, she has stoked division. It’s time that Broxtowe had an MP that put Broxtowe first, and the fact that person has pledged to fight the Remain cause again (as he did, in 2016) makes my decision to support Labour a quite simple one. I’ll be urging all my undecided friends to vote for Greg.

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