If you want to know how out of touch some of our elected representatives are, Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull North, makes a good case study. Ms. Johnson and I have history. She used to be my MP when I lived in her constituency, and she has never liked me since I reported her to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in 2009 for mailing to constituents a residents’ survey using her taxpayer funded communications allowance. Yes, there was a survey included in the letter, but she used it as a blatant attack on the Liberal Democrats (her main opposition) who were in control of Hull City Council at the time. Unsurprisingly, she has also blocked me on Twitter, so I have only just found out today my appearance on last week’s Sunday Politics in Yorkshire & Lincolnshire appeared to have upset her.
In a tweet sent to Tim Iredale, the BBC’s Political Editor in Yorkshire & Lincolnshire, she asked:
“Why is the obscure & unelected Freedom Association represented on our regional politics programme and only 1 elected MP?”
She was informed that a Conservative MP was not available, but that it’s good to hear from a wide range of groups – not just elected MPs. Others jumped to my defence, and to one of them she said:
“Of course need to hear from all voices but politics show usually mainstream political views not fringe ones.”
So there was I representing the Leave campaign on BBC television, putting the positive case for a Leave vote, and all Ms. Johnson appears to think is because The Freedom Association is unelected we shouldn’t have a say because we are on the fringe. The insult that advocating a Leave vote is a fringe one is not really an insult to us, it’s an insult to the thousands of voters in her constituency who agree with us and profoundly disagree with her.
Diana Johnson has been Hull North’s MP since 2005. She was selected by a small group of party members on an all-women shortlist. It is a safe Labour seat, although that didn’t stop her from nearly losing it to the Liberal Democrats in 2010. She doesn’t think that other campaign groups that differ in opinion to her should have a voice, not that her Labour colleague, Melanie Onn MP had a problem debating me.
Ms. Johnson is going to get a shock in this referendum. I have probably spoken to more of her constituents on this issue than she has, and her constituents don’t fall for her scare stories and spin. They are, in a clear majority, planning to vote Leave, as are voters across the city of Hull and in large parts of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
She thinks she is better than us mere plebs; that MPs should dominate the debate; that the rest of us shouldn’t be allowed to express our opinions if she regards them as fringe views, even though The Freedom Association has run the ‘Better Off Out’ campaign for over ten years and is better qualified than most MPs to talk on EU related topics. It’s hardly surprising she is a fan of the EU, is it?