Category Archives: LibLink

For highlighting articles by Lib Dems that have appeared elsewhere in the media.

LibLink: Catherine Bearder MEP: Playing hardball on Brexit will only weaken Britain’s position, not strengthen it

From today, Britain becomes an outsider to the EU. We start to negotiate our exit with the other 27 member states. What emerges cannot possibly be as good as we have now. The cost of leaving and its effect on our children’s future is going to be substantial. How much that is remains to be seen. Much will depend on how the Government approaches the negotiations and the Article 50 letter doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. If you want to inspire goodwill, you have to throw some into the mix. Instead, the letter, if you read between the lines, is a bit of an ultimatum on security.

That is not going to go down very well in Brussels and nor should it, really.

Catherine Bearder has written an open letter to the Prime Minister. She knows exactly what she’s talking about because she knows Brussels. Doing the ultimatum stuff and throwing your weight around isn’t going to work.

Prime Minister, please reconsider your hard line – you have failed to answer some of the most pertinent of questions about this process and that fills so many of us with dread.

As one of the UK’s directly elected members of the European Parliament I can tell you that your approach has been met with incredulity by our partners across the Union. My friends and colleagues cannot understand the stance you have taken and your hard-nosed approach before the negotiations have even begun.

They are not only saddened at losing a friend but they are worried about Brexit hitting them and their countries in their pockets, and concerned about nationalist elements in their own countries.

But their main priority is keeping the EU together, stopping the tide of nationalism and preventing Brexit from stealing the next two years on the EU’s agenda.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: British voters must have the final say on the Brexit deal

In today’s Guardian, Tim Farron sets out the case for the people to decide in a referendum whether they wish to accept the terms of Brexit or remain in the EU after all.

He sets out what Theresa May is up to:

Theresa May’s tactic is clear: to accuse anyone who dares question her headlong, blindfold charge towards hard Brexit of being democracy deniers. This despite it looking increasingly likely that the result of her reckless, divisive Brexit will be to leave the single market and not reduce immigration – the very opposite of what Brexiteers pitched to the people.

Then he sets out the case for a referendum on the deal:

It was May’s choice to plumb for the hardest and most divisive Brexit, taking us out of the single market before she has even tried to negotiate. That’s why we believe the people should have the final say. Someone will: it will either be politicians or the people. If the people decide they don’t like the deal on offer, they should have the option to remain in the European Union.

This is simply too big to trust to politicians. May wants to hijack David Cameron’s mandate from the general election to deliver hard Brexit. Meanwhile, the recent tough talk from Keir Starmer won’t hide Labour’s feeble deeds: voting for Brexit, failing to stick up for the right of EU nationals to remain, and even now only really threatening to abstain rather than vote against the final deal. I have heard of loyal opposition, but this is craven.

And he points out that the outcome is likely to be far from what people voted for – and that’s going to be the fault of blinkered ministers:

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LibLink: Edward McMillan-Scott: Letter from a disunited kingdom

Former Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott ahs written an open letter to his former Brussels colleagues explaining from a pro-EU British perspective what the hell is going on over here.

As you all know, what started as former prime minister David Cameron’s attempt to pacify the UKIP tendency within the Conservative party – the reason I left it – has resulted in the dominance of that group in the Theresa May administration, and their determination to push for a hard Brexit – and as soon as possible. Do not underestimate their determination to sever all ties with the EU at whatever cost to the UK: they are ideologues, mostly inspired by what they believe is Thatcherism, but in reality in many ways resembles 1930s political extremism.

As a lifelong pro-European, with 30 years as an MEP, the last ten as a Vice-President, I know most of the key players on both sides of the argument in Britain, and many of the EU politicians too. I urge you to ignore the ideologues and listen to the silent majority: in a recent poll, 56 per cent said they do not want Theresa May’s Hard Brexit.

Today I am one of many in the UK campaigning not just for the British parliament to have a meaningful role in all the stages ahead and also for an “outcome” referendum if and when the negotiations produce an agreement.

So why did Leave win?

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Nick Clegg struggles to be polite about the government’s self-deluded piffle

Nick Clegg, blistering in the Standard, warns that the government is condemned to break its Brexit promises.

Recalling promises of a stronger trading position, the continuation of the benefits of membership, no hard border with Ireland (never mind Scotland), less red tape, taking back control – never mind the £350 million; Nick warns of an impending reckoning.

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LibLink: Jo Swinson: if we lose focus, progress on gender equality can easily be lost

Jo Swinson has written a piece for the Huffington Post as part of their “All women everywhere” series in which she warns that progress on gender equality is under threat.

The chairman of Tesco’s board may feel that white men making up three quarters of his board constitutes being an “endangered species” but Jo sees the progress she made as a minister being eroded:

With the efforts of Vince Cable, Lord Davies, Helena Morrissey and many others we drove women’s representation in FTSE boardrooms up to record levels, yet Egon Zehnder found that the proportion of women appointed to Boards in 2016 actually decreased. The Equality & Human Rights Commission finding last year that 54,000 women a year lose their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination is shocking in itself, but even more so when you consider that this figure has almost doubled since 2005.

In all the metrics about how many years it will take to achieve gender equality in any given field we are used to depressingly distant dates like 2067 or 2095. For women in technology the answer to when equality will be achieved if current trends continue is never.

Some men, she remarks, see a tiny number of women in power as a threat. She wrote this before the Tesco Chairman’s comments so clearly proved her point but she cited the usual social media whinging about International Women’s Day:

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LibLink: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez: I don’t want my 3 sons to grow up in a world where girls feel second rate

Another Lib Dem woman who inspires many – in fact, she makes a mission of Inspiring Women is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez.

She has written for the Telegraph about the need for men and women to work together to make life better for the next generation of boys and girls.

She outlines the threats to hard-won progress:

In the US, President Donald Trump is putting into question women’s reproductive rights; in Russia, laws are being considered to decriminalise some aspects of domestic violence.

Just last week, a Polish MEP declared that women should earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent.” Breitbart, the right-wing website pioneered by Steve Bannon, now Trump’s chief strategist, has claimed that birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. And so on.

Women still suffer from society’s expectations:

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Liblink: Greg Mulholland MP on business rates for pubs and restaurants

Greg Mulholland writes in Politics Home on how pubs up and down the country are being unfairly hit by business rate revaluation.

Pubs are, of course, businesses and need to pay their share of tax. Yet when research for the British Beer and Pub Association shows that pubs are paying 2.8% of the entire business rate bill, whilst only generating 0.5% of business turnover, the plain unfairness of the current system towards pubs is laid bare. The revaluation will further this disadvantage, with pubs and restaurants receiving a 15% and 23% increase in rateable value respectively, being the only sector

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