Author Archives: Giles Goodall

Giles Goodall is a Lib Dem European Parliamentary Candidate for South East England.

The EU referendum puts our free movement rights at risk. Everyone affected must have a vote

One of the most positive aspects of the #LibDemFightback since May has been the enthusiasm among our influx of new members to fight for a Yes vote in the forthcoming EU referendum.  A recent survey found this was their number one reason (quoted by 84%) for joining the party. With the government gearing up for a vote as early as June next year, there is no doubt that Liberal Democrats must play a central role, both in the campaign and – crucially – the passage of the Referendum Bill, which defines the question, timetable, and franchise.

Incredibly though, the government looks set on excluding from the referendum the very people whose lives will be most directly affected by the result. Britain is now home to around 2.4 million citizens from other EU countries – who are, incidentally, among those who contribute most to our economy and society. Meanwhile, an estimated 2.2 million British citizens live in other EU countries. Both groups owe their residence to the free movement rights which stem directly from EU citizenship – yet under current plans, neither will have an automatic say in the referendum which will determine where they are allowed to live and work.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 62 Comments

Opinion: EU court gives lie to Cameron’s free movement scaremongering

It’s probably fair to say that the European Court of Justice is unused to tabloid adulation. But this week’s ruling in Luxembourg on the case of a jobless Romanian woman in Germany led even the arch-anti-EU Daily Express to hail ‘a rare outbreak of common sense’.

The judgement by the EU’s highest court that the right to free movement does not equate to a right to free access to benefits was warmly welcomed all round, including in Germany – which has higher rates of migration than the UK. Even David Cameron called it ‘good news’.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 11 Comments

Opinion: On immigration, let’s keep out of this race to the bottom

If there’s one area of political debate where perception triumphs over reality, it’s immigration. While the public rate it as the number one issue facing Britain, it tumbles to 12th place when they’re asked what concerns them most at a personal level, behind the more pressing issues of pensions, health and household finances.

This is the ‘disconnect’ between what people hear about in our debate on immigration – fanned by political opportunists and their media allies – and the reality they experience in their daily lives. It’s the doorstep charge of “well there are just too many of them,

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 66 Comments

Opinion: Liberalism and tolerance win the Eurovision Song Contest

Conchita Wurst, Mario Soldo-2208There’ll no doubt be a lot of the usual ‘why do they hate us’ headlines in the UK following our disappointing showing in last night’s Eurovision Song Contest. 17th place was indeed below par for one our strongest songs in years and a polished performance on the night by 27-year old Mollie Smitten-Downes.

But such introspection – rather typically for Britain on matters European – misses the bigger point. Far more interesting was the winner: a gay, bearded transvestite from Austria called Conchita

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 22 Comments

Opinion: Why I joined the Lib Dems 20 years ago – and am still proud to be one

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKNext month marks my 20th anniversary as a Liberal Democrat. Could it really be that I’ve spent two decades – and my entire adult life – as a member of Britain’s (still) third party? And more to the point (as some friends would no doubt ask me), why?

I signed up in the dying days of John Major’s government, shortly before we won our first ever MEPs at the 1994 European elections – as well as the first …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 51 Comments

Opinion: Lib Dems help end roaming charges, UKIP back higher phone bills

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 18.00.12Another week, another success for Lib Dems in the European Parliament. This week it was hammering the final nails into the coffin of mobile roaming charges in Europe. From the end of next year, the extra fees for using your mobile phone in another EU country – already reduced significantly in recent years – will be scrapped entirely.

It’s another practical, common sense measure which means good news for consumers – despite resistance from the telecoms sector.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Opinion: It’s official – Lib Dems are “most successful and influential” in Europe

Europe Day - European Union - Some rights reserved by Niccolò CarantiAhead of the second EU debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage this evening, a timely new report has found that Liberal Democrats are the most influential British party in the European Parliament.

The analysis of MEPs’ voting records from VoteWatch Europe over the past five years by think tank Policy Network, finds that Liberal Democrats are the “most successful coalition partner” in the European Parliament and “have played a central role in policy-making in both Westminster and Brussels.”

As …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments
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