Tag Archives: eu referendum

This is how to respect the referendum result

I am frequently told that, as a “Remoaner” I must “respect” the result of the referendum. It seems to me that I am not being asked to respect it so much as to fetishise it.

Actually, I do respect it. I respect it for what it was – an advisory vote won by a wafer thin majority based on a mountain of lies.

Then, because I say that, I am criticised (virulently quite often) for being undemocratic and for not respecting the will of the people. And many people who did not vote Leave, and do not want to leave, seem to have accepted the line that the vote has happened and they must “respect” it.

But democracy is so much more than a single vote.

Generally speaking electoral votes stand, even if the majority is unsatisfactory. But that is premised on two conditions.  The first is that the voters get a chance regularly to change their minds. The second is that the voters were – at least relatively – well informed about the subject of their vote. All sides make their offers clear, and the media do a proper job of examining their claims.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 163 Comments

Just when you thought it couldn’t get more complicated

Yesterday I posted a tongue in cheek tweet:

Leavers will obviously be happy with the outcome, because it restores sovereignty to Parliament, which is what they campaigned for.

It is never a good idea to use irony in social media, especially as it now appears that Stephen Phillips, a Leaver, is leaving Parliament to protest about the Government’s approach to the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty.

If this is correct then it shows that he is a principled Leaver and that he understands that the issue of Parliamentary sovereignty covers all issues – not just Brexit.

I would like to have been able to post …

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A voice for the voiceless

I had written a speech for the European motion at conference, and I wanted to share it with you all:

I was going to tell you about how angry I was.

I was going to talk about how the Leave campaign lied, how they cheated, how they preyed on fear, and how fear won.

I was going to demand we take action.

I was going to implore you to stand fast in your support for internationalism and your support for Britain’s membership of the EU.

But then I remembered that it isn’t just about us, that it isn’t just about the 16 million people who voted for an open and tolerant nation.

It is about our friends and neighbours, the 3 million EU nationals who live and work with us in Britain who never had a voice during the referendum.

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Migrants: Welcome and fear

Recently I was out with some Bishop’s Stortford Liberal Democrats, gathering signatures on a petition for citizens of other EU nations currently in the UK to be allowed to remain in the UK. In a few hours we gathered just over 250 signatures on a not-that-busy street. Some were delighted to sign. Some were relieved that we were not taking the opposite position. Some said their businesses would struggle without people from other parts of the EU.

More worrying was the small minority who disagreed, loudly wanting foreigners to “go home”. A prize for confusion goes to the person who said that, and then added that she wanted to retire to France.

Then came an apparently-xenophobic attack on two Poles in Harlow and Theresa May’s assertion that curbing immigration will take priority over access to the single market in Brexit talks. She must know this is unrealistic: freedom of movement is one of the pillars of the single market and Switzerland’s access to EU programmes was curtailed after they sought to restrict migration.

The sense of farce is heightened by a survey from British Future saying that only a third of people think the government will meet its immigration targets over the next five years and a claim from Boris Johnson that people didn’t vote Leave because of immigration.

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WATCH: Nick Clegg on the rise of populist parties and READ his paper on European trade

Nick Clegg is everywhere in the media at the moment as he publicises his book which is published next week.

Tonight he was on Channel 4 News talking about the challenge to reasonable, moderate politics posed by populists parties who use the politics of fear and blame.

Watch the interview below:


He linked this to the fact that Parliament may have to leave the Palace of Westminster while repairs are carried out to this. He reckons leaving the “rat-infested, asbestos ridden” place might help to drag our democracy into the 21st century.

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Catherine Bearder MEP writes: Churchill and Mandela would have been with us on the March for Europe

As thousands of Brits marched across the uk to show their support for our continued EU membership relationship I was with Liberal Democrat president Sal Brinton, past MEP Sarah Ludford and many other activists, PPCs, councillors, new and old members and others who wanted to be with the Liberal Democrats in our fight to get the best for our country post the referendum result.

The organisers were initially determined not to allow any elected political speakers on to the platform.  It seems the phrase ‘cross party’ had again been confused with ‘no party’, despite the speakers from the world of entertainment and media clearly having political affiliations.  However, sense and justice prevailed and I was allowed to speak to the assembled crowds.  It seemed only fair as the Liberal Democrats formed a major part of the March, and for that I must say thank you to Kelly-Marie Blundell and her team for organising us all and making sure our voice is heard across the country.

This then is the gist of what I said….

For every one who is marching to day, not just here in London, but right across the country, there are hundreds who are not on a march, but are with us in spirit.  They know as you do that this campaign was fought on lies and untruths and the question was simplistic.  The result cannot therefore be allowed to stand.  Reasons for voters supporting leave were varied, and we now know that what they were asked to vote on – Brexit – is a total unknown.  No one knows what it is.  Even the Brexiteers still don’t know what they want.

So many people and European flags flying is good to see, but there are two other people in this square with us who would be joining us if they could, one is Winston Churchill, the other is Nelson Mandela.  They both recognised that working together across borders is the best way to deliver peace and prosperity for all. They would be horrified to think there is a possibility of the UK leaving the best and biggest club on the planet.   We have to do all we can to stop that, and if we can’t we must make sure that we get the best deal possible – and then put that deal to the voters in the UK.

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What the Electoral Reform Society Report on the Referendum missed out

Recently, the Electoral Reform Society published its report on the EU Referendum. It’s an interesting read.

It’s main recommendations include:

  • greater pre-legislative scrutiny of a Referendum Bill
  • a more deliberative approach
  • a body which can rule on the veracity of claims

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, ERS conducted a poll to find out the key influencers of  and perceptions about the campaign.

This graphic, showing where people got their information from, sums up how well the Leave campaign hit its target market and how completely rubbish the Remain campaign was.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 27 Comments
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Recent Comments

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  • User Avatarfrankie 21st Aug - 9:41pm
    Peter, We have decided on Brexit, I think that is a game changer and will be looking with interest on the figures going forward. you...
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    Agreed it's not good teaching all children at a certain pace: too fast for some, too slow for others. But this isn't a new concept...
  • User AvatarYellowSubmarine 21st Aug - 8:47pm
    Katharine Pindar 20th Aug '17 - 10:05pm What enjoyable reading – Yellow Submarine sunk by series of depth charges. Not so fast there me hearties,...
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