Author Archives: Catherine Bearder MEP

100 Days to go to secure our place in Europe

There are now just 100 days to secure Britain’s place in Europe. There is so much at stake. If we leave, the country faces a future of uncertainty, isolation and diminished influence in the world. If we stay we will secure opportunity, prosperity and security for future generations and we can lead the way in shaping a better, more liberal Europe.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Government U-turns on EU flood funding in victory for Lib Dems

As many of you know Tim Farron and I have been fighting for months to persuade the government to apply for EU solidarity funding for flood victims. The European Commission had confirmed to me last December that this money was there for the taking, so it was flabbergasting that the government had so far refused to apply on the flimsy grounds that it would not offer immediate help (an application takes a few months to process). The real reason I suspect was that the government was worried about upsetting its eurosceptic backbenchers by asking for help from the rest of Europe in a time of need.

So it came as something of a shock to find out today that finally the Conservatives have U-turned and will be making a last-minute application. This is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats, who have been piling the pressure on the government on this issue from day one. And of course it is fantastic news for the communities across the North of England and Scotland whose lives were turned upside-down by the floods and who will finally get the additional funding they deserve.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Nominate a hard-working local activist or councillor for a Europe leader award

I am encouraging Lib Dem members to help me nominate a hard-working local activist or councillor for the Europe-wide Local Leader award.

Last year I was delighted when two of my nominations, Andrew Nesbitt from Scotland and David Tutt from Eastbourne made it through to the final round. I was hugely proud that David went on to win the prize for “Achievement in Government”.  I know that we have lots of talented people working hard on their communities, so do let me know so I can nominate them.

The Liberal group in Europe (ALDE) are offering a variety of awards for exceptional local representatives of European liberal parties. The award categories on offer are:

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Our best weapons against terrorism are unity, tolerance and compassion

Last Friday’s sickening Paris attacks shocked us all. They weren’t just attacks on France, but attacks on our shared values and way of life. Seeing such horrific tragedy being inflicted on a city that so many of us associate with joy, love and freedom has been deeply upsetting. At the same time, it has been profoundly moving to see the courage and resilience of the French people and the solidarity shown with them from around the world, including in the UK.

When emotions run high, it is important that our responses are made with great care and with a cool head. Most of all, we must remember that the central aim of these attacks was to sow division and conflict in our societies.

Provoking resentment against refugees and Muslims, as is being done by the likes of the Daily Mail with its despicable cartoon likening refugees to rats, is exactly what these terrorists want. This fosters a cycle of prejudice and hatred, playing into the hands of the far right and extremists across Europe. We as Liberals must not fall into this trap, but fight it at every turn.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Europe is about more than the economy, it’s about opportunity

Catherine Bearder with Liberal Youth members October 2015At the official launch of the Stronger In Campaign on Monday it was great to see such a huge range of people, of all ages and from all walks of life, prepared to work together to secure Britain’s place in Europe. The board of the campaign represents all sections of society – students, the arts, business and trade unions – and almost half its members are women. This couldn’t contrast more with the male, pale and stale line-ups of the Vote Leave and Leave EU campaigns.

The challenge now for Stronger In will be to translate such a broad base of support into a coherent and positive message. We don’t just need to win over undecided voters, we need to make sure those who are broadly in favour of remaining in Europe turn up to cast their vote and play an active role in the campaign. Young people in particular are historically the least likely to vote, but the latest polls show 83% of them want to stay in the EU. They probably won’t get passionate about dry economic facts on the impact of Brexit on trade and investment. We need to develop a powerful and uplifting narrative about why Britain’s future in Europe matters to them and their everyday lives.

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Catherine Bearder MEP speaks… Britain after Brexit

Bearder Oxford UnionCatherine delivered the following speech to the Oxford Union, painting a picture of what life would be like after Brexit.

I want to take you to a land, not so far away. Close your eyes and think of Britain after Brexit.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged | 14 Comments

Catherine Bearder MEP writes…Why Tim Farron is the right person to rebuild the Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats have taken an electoral pounding over the last five years. When we entered coalition government in 2010 it gave us the opportunity to put Liberal Democrat policies into practice for the first time in generations.  We tempered the excesses of the Tories, as is becoming increasingly clear as the new government adopts a frightening, hard right-wing agenda. For this we have paid a heavy price. The loss of so many brilliant and hard-working councillors, MPs and MEPs means we will have to spend time rebuilding and reorganising the party from the bottom up.

It seemed we were so busy being in government that we forgot to remind ourselves and our voters just exactly what it is we stand for. We talked about what we had blocked the Tories from doing, but not enough about what drives us – those values and ethical beliefs that brought us all into politics. Our new leader will need to do that.  He will need to take the liberal values we espouse in our constitution and convey them to the electorate. He will have to energise the grassroots, inspire a new generation of activists and get people back out on the doorsteps, making the case for why we need a strong Liberal voice in British politics.

I believe that Tim Farron is the best man for that task. Tim is a stalwart campaigner and a passionate, inspiring communicator. He has all the skills, vision and drive to reach out to our existing members, all those who have recently joined and those who will join when they know how important it is to have Liberal Democrats defending the values that we hold dear.

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  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 30th Jun - 11:12am
    How you really make decisions: Horizon BBC4 30/6/2016 9pm British Summer Time.
  • User AvatarSteamdrivenandy 30th Jun - 10:55am
    I completely agree that the EU has acted as a stabiliser clipping the wings of Conservative government in a similar way that LibDems did in...
  • User Avatarexpats 30th Jun - 10:46am
    Glenn 29th Jun '16 - 2:06pm...Expats, I never voted to put the Great back into Britain or to take back control, whatever any of that...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 30th Jun - 10:37am
    Pat who agreed to the expenditure of millions on modern art works to decorate the halls of power? Who agreed to hundreds of millions of...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 30th Jun - 10:19am
    Pat But the rich and powerful will try and probably succeed in finding a way to rerun the referendum and ‘take back (their) control’ of...
  • User AvatarGlenn 30th Jun - 10:08am
    Matthew and Al I don't want to get into a big debate on immigration. I would say look at a map and look at the...