Tag Archives: eu

Want to stay an EU citizen? Now is the time to start lobbying for it

It has come sooner than we might have thought. But the first crunch parliamentary vote on Brexit is about to take place. Not in Westminster, but 200 miles to the east, in Brussels. And the British press is waking up to it.

Splashed across the front page of Saturday’s edition of The Times is the news that Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian MEP who leads the Liberal group in the European Parliament, backs the idea of offering EU citizenship directly to Brits who want it post-Brexit. The Guardian and others have reported on it too (if you don’t have access through the paywall).

I first blogged about this idea last month, and wrote about it here in Lib Dem Voice earlier this month after learning that another Liberal MEP, Luxembourg’s Charles Goerens, had started to push for it.

Brexit might not yet happen, but on 8 December MEPs on the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee will cast the first votes on whether Brits might be able to opt back in to the EU as individuals in the event that it does.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 38 Comments

The new revolutionaries threaten our constitution

Yesterday evening I gave an interview to BBC local radio about the High Court judgement. It emerged that the station had been receiving emails from listeners saying it was time to take to the streets to protest.

It would have been easy to dismiss the emails as hysteria from a few right wing extremists but this morning’s tabloids clearly show that the British constitution is under attack from much of the traditional right.

The Daily Mail never ceases, of course, to push the boundaries of the unacceptable, as it has consistently since the 1930s. Today’s headline has the three judges (wigged, of course, but that it how they like to be photographed) over the headline ‘Enemies of the People’.

The Sun attacks the plaintiff as part of a ‘loaded foreign elite’. The Telegraph, which can know better, has ‘The Judges versus the people’.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 71 Comments

Is sovereignty just another source of likely disappointment for the Brexiteers?

Whilst there is a suspicion amongst the more ardent Remain supporter that Brexit was simply about immigration, there were those who claimed that, by voting to leave the European Union, we could reclaim our sovereignty, taking back control, as they put it.

Now, I’m in a sense relaxed about that, in that if that was their genuine wish, then it is at least philosophically consistent. Yes, the question of cost was never really discussed – like the Scottish independence campaign, the supposed benefits were in the headlines, the price in minuscule type, if it was ever mentioned at all. Fair enough, one might suppose – there is yet to be the political salesman that raises the relative drawbacks of their product.

But the problem is that sovereignty is a concept that, in a complex, inter-related world, is becoming increasingly blurred. Do nation states have the ability to “take back control” any more?

In his recent Ditchley Lecture, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke of the increasingly complex nature of jurisdiction, noting that the United States has signed more than 800 international agreements, most of which defer supervision of some element of our lives to transnational, unelected, unaccountable bodies – the internet being the most universal of its type – yet which go virtually unnoticed by the general public.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged | 39 Comments

Party members massively endorse Farron’s call for referendum on Brexit deal

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. 741 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

So, here are the results of the Brexit jury.

We broke our readers in gently by asking them how they voted in the Referendum. The result will surprise nobody:

Remain: 94.06%

Leave:        5.94%

We wanted to gauge feeling in the party towards the elements of Tim Farron’s Plan for Europe:

First of all, we asked if members supported the call for a parliamentary vote on invoking Article 50. A staggering 86.41% were in favour and 13.59% were opposed.

The idea of a referendum on the final Brexit deal has been closely debated on Lib Dem Voice, but party members gave a whopping endorsement to the plan with 77.18% of respondents in favour and 22.82% against.

Finally, we asked what sort of arrangement people would like with the EU and the single market if we did end up leaving. An overwhelming majority, 79.16%, favoured the Norwegian style option with free movement of people and access to the single market. 

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Migration myths and unravelling of Brexit promises

The recent increase in hate crimes against Eastern Europeans in the UK has rightly been met with condemnation from across the political spectrum. Some dismiss this is a post-referendum spasm which will quickly ebb away. I fear that may not be the case and the Brexit decision may cause long-term damage to community cohesion and open a Pandora’s box of nasty populist politics. Let me explain why.

Brexiteer leaders – Farage, Fox, Johnson – made promises which are already unravelling. They told voters that leaving the EU would lead to better NHS services, improved job prospects and smaller class sizes. Those promises were largely based on migration myths which, unfortunately, many people believed.

Voters were promised that leaving the EU would lead to an improved NHS. Migrants were (wrongly) blamed as a drain on scarce NHS resources and that the UK cash contribution to the EU would be redirected to the NHS.

The reality is that the NHS is struggling because people are living longer, but often with multiple medical conditions and there has been a huge increase in conditions resulting from lifestyle choices. Neither of these is related to migration – these are home-grown problems – so leaving the EU will not resolve them and may make matters worse as it could discourage medical professionals from coming to work in the UK. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

Introducing the new hate figure for the tabloid press…

The European Parliament has appointed its lead negotiator for the Brexit discussions. And it’s someone well known to Liberal Democrats. He announced it on his Twitter this afternoon:

The BBC has this to say about his appointment:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron: The Lib Dems will fight Brexit. Labour is not doing its job

Tim Farron is popping up everywhere today. You’d think that this was co-ordinatd or something.

He’s written for us about his plan for Britain and Europe. He was on Good Morning Britain before dawn, Radio 5 Live, the Today programme.

He’s also gone and pitched a massive great marquee on Labour’s lawn in this article for the Guardian.

Labour, he says, are all over the place.

For Labour, it is still deciding whether it’s even a pro-European party. Owen Smith has made clear he wants it to be, but Jeremy Corbyn’s ambivalence was plain for all to see in the referendum campaign, and he has already made clear he wants to see the Brexit process get underway.

If they can’t or won’t hold the Government to account in the way that is required, the Liberal Democrats will. And if you think that’s unlikely, you might want to look back to the last session of the Scottish Parliament where it was the wee Lib Dem group that scored most forced changes in SNP government policy. Don’t ever underestimate us:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGlenn 6th Dec - 2:23am
    If you ask me, and since you don't I'll answer anyway, if the pro EU case is that strong upon leaving the electorate will eventually...
  • User AvatarTynan 6th Dec - 1:47am
    Does anyone think that if Scotland or leave had won, that their liberal ideals would be supporting a further referendum within the timescale/s now being...
  • User AvatarTynan 6th Dec - 1:38am
    More heat than light on both sides here. I think the problem is that the government, and opposition never thought they would lose, therefore there...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 6th Dec - 12:50am
    Paul, Good on you and the Chesterfield team. I will get down one more time if I can.
  • User AvatarAl 6th Dec - 12:28am
    Interesting article but the arguments in it equally apply to the 2014 referendum. Indeed they apply even more so because Brexit fundamentally changes the situation...
  • User AvatarStephen Johnson 6th Dec - 12:12am
    It was most unfortunate that the Referendum so poorly planned. Half of us don’t want to be in the EU. Half of us do. What...