Tag Archives: brexit

Reversing Brexit

Once out, the pin can’t be put back in. Or can it?

Yes it can, so long as the strike lever has not been released. And that is the position we are in with Brexit. In theory, article 50 can be revoked if we act fast, but the clock is ticking. And According to both Emmanuel Macron and Alastair Campbell, editor of the New European, we have little time left. At some point, the EU will go into full self-protective mode and focus on performing a clean amputation. In grenade terms, the strike lever will have been released and the explosion will be inevitable.

That is why we have to move swiftly. According to Campbell, the time window after our August holidays will be slim. “When the political season resumes, we had better have got our act together”, he writes, ”or else this thing is happening”.

There are formidable difficulties facing us. Though we see tantalising signs of a national change of heart, a lot of energy has built up behind the Brexit juggernaut which means that simply aborting it is well nigh impossible.

Disarming the grenade

Brexit has been aptly described as an act of national self-harm, and self harm has a considerable cathartic value. It is like a wave which rears up before crashing and dissipating its energy on the beach. Anyone who has ever been distressed enough to think of harming themself will tell you that it is not much use being told “forget it, and just carry on as normal”.

Posted in News | 9 Comments

The Press Pack: A round-up of Lib Dem media comments – 22 August 2017

Here’s a roundup of  media comments made by Lib Dem parliamentarians and spokespeople today.

GP numbers

Norman Lamb slammed the Government for failing to deliver more GPs:

The government’s promise to recruit 5,000 more GPs by 2020 lies in tatters, with fewer GPs now than when this pledge was first made.

“The pitiful increase we have seen in recent months is nowhere near enough to cope with rising patient demand.

“This failure to recruit enough doctors will inevitably have a damaging impact on the ability of patients to access the healthcare they need.

“We are already close to breaking point, with people in many parts of the country struggling to get appointments with their GP.

“More doctors are urgently needed to guarantee a fully-staffed NHS that provides everyone with the care they need.

Swinson criticises UK support for Trump Afghanistan move

The government didn’t really get round to condemning Donald Trump’s appalling remarks in the wake of Charlottesville, but they were quick off the mark to support him sending more troops to Afghanistan. Jo Swinson said:

For once, sense seems to have prevailed in the White House.

“But to succeed in Afghanistan will require winning the hearts and minds of its people and working closely with neighbouring countries.

“On that front, Donald Trump has already done untold damage through his proposed refugee ban, Islamophobic comments and cack-handed approach to foreign affairs.

“The government’s rapid statement of support for Trump today contrasts with its failure to swiftly condemn his divisive views and actions in the past.

“Simply pouring more troops into Afghanistan will not work without a broader strategy involving careful diplomacy and redoubled efforts to build a stable government.”

Even Brussels must be tired of this waffle

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

Brexit: We can’t gamble with our futures

Week by week the countdown to March 2019 looms closer. The chances of stopping a disastrous hard Brexit are slim, but there is a small window of opportunity if we go about it in the right way.

As Vince Cable and Nick Clegg emphasise, it all rests on building a coalition of moderates with the courage to break out of the extreme Brexit groupthink. This means that we need a Brexit position which is decisive, but also respects those who are resigned to the prospect of Brexit – for now – and reaches out. A clear majority of constituencies voted for Brexit, so for Parliament to block it, or at least soften it, we are going to need to bring people together.

That is why I’m very concerned by the motion being proposed for Autumn Conference, in which it is being suggested that we should play an all-or-nothing game of Russian roulette with people’s livelihoods. The motion suggests that we should retreat into stubborn rejection of the referendum, without securing a clear mandate against Brexit. The tide is slowly turning against a hard Brexit, but time is running out to stop it all together. That should still be our main aim, but it would be an act of gross neglect to take a gamble on suddenly halting Brexit in its tracks and lose.

That’s why we must consider very carefully how we would feel waking up in Hard Brexit Britain in 2019. With investment receding and jobs in freefall, our idealism and anti-Brexit fervour would be in vain. I know I would be thinking about what could have been. We could have had a soft Brexit. We could even have stopped it all. This could all have been less painful.

Even if you endorse this anti-Brexit gamble with our economy, you have to ask how best we can realistically build a coalition to stop Brexit. Surely the answer isn’t to retreat into introverted Europhilia, but to reach out to those sceptical about Brexit and make the case? If the tide of public opinion turns, this is how we stop Brexit – by giving the people the final say in a referendum. This is a realistic and democratic position which can appeal to ‘Releavers’ and soft Leavers alike once the dangers of Brexit become clearer.

Posted in Op-eds | 40 Comments

Brake: Cabinet can’t even agree amongst themselves, let alone win concessions from EU

Now that David Davis is re-opening the EU talks timetable again, Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake has this to say on the paucity of the Government’s performance in the EU negotiations:

David Davis promised us ‘the row of the summer’ over the Brexit timetable, only to capitulate weeks later to the EU’s preferred timetable after a disastrous general election for his party which vastly undermined their negotiating position.

To be now, a couple of months down the line, trying to reopen the issue reeks of desperation at an approaching economic storm and a cabinet who don’t have a clue.

Constant reports of cabinet spats show our government cannot even agree a position between themselves, let alone win concessions from EU negotiating teams in our country’s best interests.

Davis certainly seems to be picking fights on simplistic binary issues to hide the enormous complexity of Brexit and the disaster it is likely to bring for our businesses, our economy and, consequently, for our poorest.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 46 Comments

Patriotism, Brexit and the clamour for reform

It’s been over a year since the EU referendum and months since the snap General Election. The Remain/Leave debate trundles on and the constant repetition of key messages from each side of the debate now largely falls on deaf ears. On most topics each campaign and their primary spokespersons still maintain positions in absolute opposition with minimal evidence of concession. There is little to no debate, simply rhetoric. In my experience it’s often been an impersonal, fear based, economic argument for Remain or an emotional but limited argument for Leave. We deserve better from both. Why should we, as the British people, settle for absolutes on both sides that so greatly lack imagination? 

Our different forms of patriotism need to find common ground and I believe it’s possible to do so. Our Government and their opposition have both given up on their belief in the benefits of European Single Market membership so we need centrists to hold them to account. At the same time we must acknowledge that there are issues with accountability and sovereignty in the EU that need to be discussed and addressed in detail. Above all we should loudly refute the idea that there isn’t a common ground for most people across the Brexit debate.

It strikes me that we demand so little of our Government. Perhaps this is because of a lack of faith in politics. Given recent developments it feels that Brexit lacks any real ambition and has become a face-saving exercise for the Government. What’s worse is that Brexit has become a distraction from other important work the Government needs to focus on.  The general election highlighted the public’s desire for other substantive reforms – reforms to address the inequality in our nation and demands to ease austerity. Also, crucially, I think it helped highlight a lack of direction. We’re one of the financial centres of the globe, a trade, industrial, and tech giant – but what’s our goal? What are we driving towards? It is this lack of direction and purpose that I feel helped fuel the Leave campaign, opening the door for a damaging nationalist sentiment.

Posted in Op-eds | 44 Comments

No, Vince Cable will not be launching new anti-Brexit party with former Mail Political Editor

You do have to wonder if the @jameschappers Twitter account is a parody or has been taken over by the Brexiteers who are tweeting from some holiday bar for fun. It’s doing some seriously weird stuff at the moment, including suggesting that Vince Cable is going to be launching Chapman’s new anti Brexit Party on 9th September. Seriously.

No, he isn’t. It is that simple.

Jim Waterson of Buzzfeed has chapter and verse:

He quotes a Liberal Democrat spokesperson as saying:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 32 Comments

Vince’s six questions for David Davis on the customs union

Vince Cable has set out six questions the Government must answer after the “constructive ambiguity” in its document published yesterday told us not a huge amount. The questions seem designed to reveal whether the government’s position is actually based on any evidence about the impact of its options or whether the options are just a fig leaf to cover up the deep divisions in the Cabinet.

Vince said:

The government is offering two ways forward but won’t tell us which it prefers. That’s no doubt because cabinet ministers can’t even agree amongst themselves.

These plans are more concerned with papering over the cracks within the Conservative party than protecting our economy.

All those industries that depend on membership of the customs union, from the car industry to aerospace, still have no clear idea what is coming down the track.

All they know is that instead of jumping off a cliff in 18 months, the government now wants to do so in a few years’ time.

The government must come clean over the real costs of these plans for British businesses and consumers.

And on to the six questions:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 8 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPsi 24th Aug - 9:42am
    This is becoming a silly season staple. Not sure why. I’m sure there are other dumb ideas Sarah Noble “these sorts of accommodations can’t exist...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 24th Aug - 9:40am
    Shirley Williams MP wrote about an experience in a crowded voting lobby in the Commons. Other female MPs had suffered the same thing, but high...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 24th Aug - 9:32am
    David Raw: On-train catering is generally run at a loss; while the market for sales is captive it is also rather small with a limited...
  • User Avatarrobin bennett 24th Aug - 9:26am
    The EU in the past has found a way of accommodating anti EU electorates in Ireland and Denmark. Bill Fowler suggests one initiative. Another would...
  • User Avatarfrankie 24th Aug - 8:37am
    Homeless people are always likely to look for some way to escape their situation they are in. The temptation to escape the world they live...
  • User AvatarJane Reed 24th Aug - 8:28am
    I absolutely agree with Caron. Thank you for this article. In particular I think the following is a real possible problem; Apart from anything else,...