Category Archives: News

In defence of the “second referendum”

When Farron announced that we were pushing for another referendum on Europe, I agreed with those who accused the Lib Dems of ignoring democracy because we didn’t like the result. While I still sympathise with these criticisms, I have eventually come around to the party’s position. Or at least – I think that there is a strong principled case for it (I still have some practical questions).

This case is based on accountability. Election results are not the be all and end all of democracy, they are part of a wider process. In a General Election, this process involves political parties making their case to the British people, and the public choosing which party they like best. Crucially, the people then judge how well that party has followed through with their promises, and hold them to account at the next election (as we know only too well in the Lib Dems).

Of course, I understand that you can’t have referendums every five years, but there still has to be some mechanism of accountability to make a vote democratically viable.  Otherwise, campaigners can just say whatever they think will get people to vote for them, whether it’s achievable or not. The alleged “£350 million for the NHS” was the most infamous case of this, but Leave campaigners also hedged their bets wildly on the single market – much more significantly in my view. The Remain camp lied too (Osborne said that he would introduce an emergency budget after Brexit, Cameron said that he would stay on as Prime Minister) but as we lost anyway, these lies aren’t as pressing from a democratic perspective, as we know they didn’t change the result. 

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Observations of an Ex Pat: Brexit goes nuclear

The EU is worried about losing their American nuclear umbrella.

The UK is worried about losing their European market and their seat at the European top table.

Britain has nuclear weapons. The EU has markets. Is there a fit?

If so, the result could be a tectonic strategic shift with far-reaching political repercussions.

My sources say there is enough of a fit for Prime Minister Theresa May to be thinking of offering to extend the British deterrent to EU countries in return for Brexit concessions.  This is most likely to be in cooperation with the French.

The reaction of the strategic eggheads ranges from “not incredible” to “logical,” to “totally unrealistic” and then “utterly crass” with a lot of “no comments” thrown in for good measure.

No comment was what the British Ministry of Defence said. No reply was all I could elicit from The Foreign Office and Downing Street. But The Department  for  Exiting the European Union, was more forthcoming. It referred me to Mrs May’s 18 January  Brexit strategy speech in which she said: 

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Yet another Liberal Democrat GAIN from the Conservatives

Congratulations to Peter Pilkington, elected to West Somerset District Council with an amazing gain from the Conservatives last night. In a ward that we didn’t stand in last time.

There was another good increase in vote share from a standing start in Herefordshire:

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Flying our flags – @timfarron and @libdems at Conference

Tim Farron has shown British politics the meaning of political leadership. On Brexit, his fight for the public to be allowed a further say and against ultra-Brexit that no-one voted for has been bold.  In contrast, the leader of the supposed official opposition has dithered.  The unelected Prime Minister pursues a course she herself described as a catastrophe.

Too much of our future is falling under the Brexit axe, which people were reassured by the Leave campaign would not happen.

So, straight after business in the conference hall was concluded on Saturday, Tim Farron was able to join a large group of EU …

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Video – Farron: Those who attack us hate our freedom, our peaceful democracy, our love of country

Courtesy of the Lib Dem Facebook page, here is Tim Farron’s response to the prime minister’s Commons statement earlier today:

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Tim Farron’s statement on Westminster attack

I was reflecting on this a couple of hours after the awful events started to unfold this afternoon. On a daily basis, the highest concentration of people I care about in terms of sheer numbers is in and around the Palace of Westminster. From parliamentarians and staff to my friends and colleagues in LDHQ across the road.

I love that part of London. If I’m down for a meeting, I’ll often wander around Parliament Square, soaking up the atmosphere, watching tourists try to get the right angle for their photo to get Big Ben in, thinking of all the people in …

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Jackie Pearcey writes… Why Galloway just boosted the Lib Dems chances in Gorton

I am no big fan of George Galloway. His comments that rape allegations against Julian Assange were nothing but “bad sexual etiquette” and his attacks against his female opponent at the 2015 general election showed he is not only a hard left, Brexit-supporting political dinosaur, but has deeply disturbing views towards women. Meanwhile his political approach, based on dividing communities instead of bringing them together, is the polar opposite of that of the Liberal Democrats. So I’m looking forward to taking on his controversial views head on in the campaign ahead. I am confident that the people of Manchester Gorton, a diverse and tolerant area where people from all over the world run along well together, will firmly reject Galloway’s divisive politics.

But there can be no doubt that Galloway’s decision to run does boost our chances. He may have no chance of winning, but he will no doubt take away votes directly from Labour. That leaves us, as the only party able to beat Labour here, in an even stronger position. And it seems the bookies agree, with the odds being slashed that we could pull off a stunning victory here in Manchester Gorton from 9 to 1 at the start of the campaign to just 5 to 1.

We have been strong here in the past, with Lib Dem councillors in every ward over the last 11 years. There is a real possibility that we could achieve something incredible. But to do that, I need your help. So wherever you are, please do get involved, whether it’s delivering leaflets or making a few calls. People in Manchester are sick and tired of being neglected by the Labour-run city council and let down by this Conservative Brexit government. They deserve a party that will stand up for them, both locally and nationally, and ensure their voice is heard.

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