Tag Archives: eu referendum

Letter to a friend: Why I’m so upset about the Referendum result

No, my friend, my lodger. I don’t ‘feel better’ this evening than I did this morning, nor will I ‘get over’ this in a couple of days. Here’s why.

I want to express, calmly but passionately, why I am so distraught about the result of the referendum. I voted remain, primarily because I was, and am, intellectually convinced it was by far the better option, but also because I am, in my very being, a European. I am not arguing in any way against the outcome of the referendum. I am confident that it was fairly conducted. However, I am not comfortable about being asked, or sometimes told, that that’s the way democracy works and I just have to come to terms with it. Here are the reasons why.

I have a French surname. I was born and raised in Jersey, to a Jersey father and English mother. I learnt to speak French quickly. All our school trips were to France, sport competitions were against neighbouring French teams and we had partnerships with French youth orchestras. I was ‘adopted’ by a French family with whom I am still in contact. France is in my blood. In my twenties I moved to live there, in Angers. I bought a flat and had three of the happiest years of my life there. I was embraced by the French, got very involved in French life and have ongoing friendships with people there too. Looking back, I’m not sure why I left, but I moved to the UK to do a second degree. Apart from my three years at music college aged 19 to 22, it was the first time I’d lived in England.

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Vince Cable writes…The birth of the 48 movement

For our party and its supporters in the country the last few years have brought one defeat after another:  local councils, devolved government, national government, AV referendum, now the EU referendum.  There is a limit to the number of times a boxer can climb back up off the floor.  What fortifies me is the adage that winners are losers who never give up.  And perhaps we should think bigger: not as a small party with an 8% core vote but the centre of gravity of a broad movement of 48% of voters who chose Remain.

The first step in responding to defeat has been to look for scapegoats: the people who led a poor and failing campaign.  Cameron has gone and (hopefully) Corbyn and Osborne are going.   But in truth the Remain campaign as a whole failed to grasp the strength of the opposing coalition: not just conservative pensioners who want the past back but the’ left behind ‘who have suffered declining living standards and public services, the Commonwealth voters who felt Europe was at their expense and many who felt this was the best way to give an unpopular and unrepresentative government a good kicking.

That is why we have to approach the result with some humility.  There is nothing to be gained by denial: crying foul. We wuz robbed, ref.  I see petitions demanding a re-run, legal challenges and appeals to parliament to ‘do something’.  Dream on.  Of course the Leave campaign was mendacious; of course the referendum shouldn’t have happened; of course parliament was negligent in not building in thresholds. But the public was clearly told by both sides that the result would be final. And there was a big turnout.  That is it..

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 101 Comments

How did our constituencies vote in the EU Referendum?

It’s obvious from the maps published after the referendum that several former Liberal Democrat seats voted remain – Cambridge, Bath, Cheltenham, Lewes and others. It’s equally obvious that plenty didn’t – all of them in Cornwall and Devon, for example. But because the results were counted and declared by local authority area, we haven’t been able to tell how individual constituencies voted – until now.

Chris Hanretty, Reader in Politics at the University of East Anglia, has tried to estimate how all the 574 Parliamentary seats in England and Wales voted (it’s a reasonable assumption that all or almost all Scottish seats voted remain). He’s taken each council area result and applied demographic factors – average age in the area, the proportion of residents with degrees, average income, etc. – which we know are strongly associated with voting leave or remain to break it down to constituency levels. He can’t be precise, of course, but his model fits reasonably well the results in the 26 local authority areas which are also parliamentary constituencies.

He expresses the result as an estimated leave vote with a prediction interval (i.e. a range of outcomes, since we can’t be precise) on either side. You can see his reasoning, and download the full spreadsheet here.

Based on his calculations, this is how all the seats Liberal Democrats won at the 2010 election break down, in descending order of the remain vote (seats we hold now are in bold):

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What does the referendum result mean?

Almost every MP and politician from Tim Farron to Nigel Farrage has been saying that we must respect the result of the EU referendum last Thursday but there is no agreement on what the result means.

The act setting up the referendum deliberately made the result advisory, leaving parliament and the government to take the final decision (unlike the AV referendum, which was binding). But what is the final decision? To articulate a vision of the UK outside the EU, something not articulated by the leave campaign during the referendum? To prepare an initial negotiating position? To allow Scotland a second independence referendum? To notify the European Council under article 50 of the EU treaties?

We should respect the result of the referendum. But I believe this only means that the new prime minister, whoever they may be, has the obligation to clarify what our new relationship with the EU should look like (recognising our weak negotiating position). No more, no less! They should then go back to the electorate, through either a general election or second referendum, to gain a mandate for their proposed approach. This second plebiscite would then give a clear choice to the electorate and happen under very different conditions. 

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

How the Lib Dems can lead after the Referendum Result

The three days following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union saw Britain’s political landscape descend into chaos. Whilst both the Conservatives and Labour have been damaged both by intra-party division, the Liberal Democrats have remained unscathed, benefitting considerably from the turmoil the vote to leave has incited.

Division is rife within the Conservatives, with the likelihood of a leader attractive to both pro-and anti-Brexiteers in serious doubt. The 16 million that voted to Remain are unlikely to heed Boris Johnson’s call to “build bridges” with a man many perceive has just chosen isolationism over unity and progress. Likewise, 17 million Leavers are unlikely to vote for Theresa May, who’s second favourite to command the leadership, as David Cameron’s resignation is symbolic of the incompatibility of a Remain captain commanding a Leave ship. Whilst it is arguable that many Leavers have switched allegiances due to the perception that they voted on the basis of intangible promises (emphasised by Nigel Farage and Iain Duncan Smith’s abandoning of the Leave campaign’s promise that £350m would be injected into the NHS), it is likely that many are disillusioned with the Conservative Party as it has become synonymous with fear mongering, fragmentation and mistrust.

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Fighting for votes at 16

In light of the recent referendum result, as a Young Liberal, I have found this result  disheartening and frustrating. Joining the party at 16 and now being 17, I have not yet been able to exercise my voice and vote in any democratic election aside from the Liberal Democrat leadership election. This matter disappoints me and,  I’m sure,  many other politically passionate 16 and 17 year olds massively.

From a personal perspective I cannot help but feel that there is an enormous need for change to cater for this currently unheard voice in politics. I and many other young people have been active  in the political landscape since the day I joined the party yet feel angry that I am not allowed to exercise my passionate views through a vote.

Young people have shouted louder than ever on the issue of the European Union and I feel unsatisfied and discouraged that David Cameron declined me and other 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote on an issue that has shifted the tectonic plates of British politics more than any other issue in recent times.

It is clear that young people favoured Remain by a landslide yet they did not get the decision they wanted. It could be argued that this is down to a lack of a voice amongst young people, but also the lack of action to energise the base of young people in the United Kingdom and galvanise their opinion on the issues that will affect their everyday lives and also their future.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

It’s time for a Constitutional Convention

We are now facing the reality of life outside the EU and with it the prospect of a new United Kingdom. With the result of the referendum so close it is essential that the path we move forward on as a country is determined by a wide range of views: those who voted in and those who voted out; the young and the old; people from the left, the right and centre; voices from all parts of the United Kingdom.

We have a chance to take this huge, albeit unwanted, change in our relationship with the world and turn it into …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJames Spackman 1st Jul - 8:43am
    Follow the link to join https://libdems.secure.force.com/LiberalDemocrats/NewMemberRegistration
  • User AvatarJames Spackman 1st Jul - 8:42am
    Take control! Get involved!
  • User AvatarPeter Davies 1st Jul - 8:19am
    If you want to fight across Great Britain, you cannot rely on local parties however well supported. We need a parallel network of campaigning teams...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 1st Jul - 8:11am
    In answer to J Dunn the question was clear about remain - I interpret it as do nothing as a result of the referendum. The...
  • User AvatarMichael Beckett 1st Jul - 7:42am
    Is 650 seats the correct expanded target? Our Sister party 'Alliance' (The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland) usually contest the 18 Northern Ireland Westminster seats,...
  • User AvatarGlenn 1st Jul - 4:25am
    Sorry I meant the Lisbon Treaty of signed in 2007 which only entered into force in 2009. Interesting that it came in so close to...