Tag Archives: europe

Words I can’t mention

 

I learned a valuable lesson on LDV last week and that is that there are some words so emotionally charged that their mere mention provokes a pre-programmed response more incendiary than the sight of a cat to a Staffy. So while I wanted to talk about the Lib Dem take on populist green causes I naively opened my piece with a discussion of the F-word and at that point lost my audience. I won’t make the mistake of stepping on that particular land mine again, you know the one I mean, the issue of vulpine persecution, Basil Brush meets the Hound of the Baskervilles?

Another topical tantrum trigger, one that is splitting Corbyn’s Labour party this week is the T-word – Neptune’s toasting fork (7 letters). No, I can’t say it for fear of unleashing a figurative Armageddon on the terrors of the real thing and blowing any chance of getting to the punch line.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Baroness Ros Scott writes…Up for the new challenge

Liberals from across Europe have been meeting in Budapest for the annual Congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe,  including a sizeable delegation of Lib Dems led by Party President Sal Brinton.

ALDE has 55 member parties from across the continent,  49 members of the European Parliament, 5  European Commissioners and 7 Prime Ministers. There’s also a local government group in the shape of Committee of the Regions, and a network of Liberal Mayors.

A recent decision to trial an individual membership scheme has gone from strength to strength, with over 1,500 joining up already.

On Saturday, after a intense campaign, I was lucky enough, and honoured, to be elected as one of the new Vice-Presidents of ALDE,  which means serving as a member of governing body, the Bureau.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

The EU already gives us more than anti-Europeans are promising

Inside the EU we have better access to the European marketplace than we could ever have outside. And the clout of such a massive bloc means we strike better trade deals now than we ever could on our own.

For years anti-Europeans have churned out stories about Brussels banning schoolchildren from eating yoghurt and the Queen from appearing on our passports. More recently they latched onto immigration, with Brexiteers offering up conflicting numbers of how many millions of foreigners are on their way.

With the referendum approaching however the time has come for them to stop complaining and start explaining. What assurances can they give, for instance, to people in Swindon who earn a living building cars for Honda? How secure are their jobs going to be if trade barriers go back up?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Russia, ISIS, globalisation and the EU – Norman and Tim answer foreign affairs questions

LDV recently put some questions on foreign affairs to the two leadership contenders. Here are their responses.

1. Can you summarise in around 100 words what a liberal foreign policy looks like in your view?

Tim Farron:

Liberals are proud and passionate internationalists because we believe in the rights of all people – no matter what they look like, what they believe or where they are – to live in peace, free from poverty, ignorance and conformity. We understand that only by working with other countries through strong international institutions can we make that a reality and build a fairer, greener, freer world.

It is in neither Britain’s interests nor the world’s to close ourselves off, but also that intervention abroad must be rooted in international law, decided through international institutions and clearly justified on humanitarian grounds.

Norman Lamb:

Our Party is proudly internationalist. Our leaders have often been lone voices, Paddy demanding rights for British citizens from Hong Kong, Charles opposing the Iraq War, Nick in taking on Nigel Farage‎

I share these courageous liberal values‎. Liberal values are universal – they do not respect borders.

For me Britain should play a global role and prompt Europe to do more for peace, in tackling poverty and climate change, and in standing up to oppression.

We must also be able to defend those who need our protection, our allies, and ourselves. Enduring adequate funding for our armed forces means debating Trident’s future when our world is far more threatened by terrorists and cyber attacks than by nuclear war, and pursuing reform to make sure our forces are effective and efficient.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 22 Comments

Opinion: 200 years on from Waterloo: democracy not dictators, unity not barriers, peace not war.

WaterlooThis week’s 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo is a reminder of how far Europe has come.

At Waterloo, 65,000 men were killed or wounded in one day.  In contrast, we have now had 70 years without war in Europe.  Long may peace continue.

We enjoy secure peace partly because every country in Europe now has an elected government. There are no more monarchs or dictators seeking out war for vanity or power. Most importantly, we have the European Parliament where modern opportunities and problems, which cross old national borders, can be discussed by MEPs we elect rather than fought over by armies.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

ALDE Party Council preview: remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue…

Whilst most of you will either be at your count (and good luck to you all!) or sitting in front of a television set or a computer watching the results come in, your correspondent will be in a hotel room in Oslo. Yes, it’s time once again for liberals from across Europe to gather and tell the British how sorry they are for the result/share the love and tell us things will get better/express surprise at how well we did (delete as appropriate). And despite exhaustion and uncertainty, a small, depleted and wholly male delegation will be there to fly the Liberal Democrat flag.

So, what are we there for, apart from the joy of discovering that a second mortgage is required to buy a beer?

Council will be opened with a speech from the Prime Minister of Norway… who isn’t a member of our host party, Venstre, but is leader of the Conservative Party. That said, the ruling minority coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress Party has a confidence and supply arrangement with Venstre and the Christian Democrats in the Storting to ensure its survival (and you thought that British politics was complex?).

The agenda for Council itself is unlikely to generate much excitement, although the membership application from the Liberal Party of Gibraltar is a welcome one, especially given their performance in the European Parliamentary election last year (the Liberal Democrat list – Gibraltar is part of the South West England region – gained 66% of the vote). There will also be a rationalisation of the Slovenes, as three of the five member parties there are expected to disaffiliate (they have, effectively, ceased to exist).

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Opinion: L’Europe : le chien qui n’aboie pas*

 

* Europe: the dog that doesn’t bark

At the East Midlands Liberal Democrat conference in February Sal Brinton’s advice was not to make Europe a campaign issue. Subsequent events have proved her right.  My agent urges caution as UKIP did well in this constituency in the European elections. Ed Milliband ran it up the flagpole at the start of the short campaign by pointing out how destabilising a referendum would be for business, but but no-one saluted. Tony Blair mentioned it and had a similar non-response. On the doorsteps it’s barely figured. A handful of people have voiced strong anxiety over UKIP and been delighted when I say I’m their opposite: as many have said they are voting UKIP and slammed the door.

Even in the torrent of emails from 38degrees (and similar), the only thing even vaguely connecting to the EU has been TTIP,  where the anxieties are far from reality.

Yet  globalisation is moving quickly.  The single market was formed to increase our competitiveness on the world stage (also the primary reason for TTIP), and the associated changes to the institutions of the European Union were to ensure democratic control — directly through the European Parliament, and indirectly though national governments.

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGeoff Bell 31st May - 10:19am
    A number of responses above requested more information. Please see under 'Update' above, 'a background paper' which outlines a possible format for a 'Public Democracy'....
  • User Avatartheakes 31st May - 10:09am
    We need to be asking why the Reamin campaign has been so poor lacking in passion. More worryingly should we not be asking by the...
  • User Avatarexpats 31st May - 10:07am
    TonyH 31st May '16 - 9:48am.......The single biggest lesson of the UK coalition 2010-15 is that policy ‘wins and losses’ don’t matter a damn to...
  • User AvatarTonyH 31st May - 9:48am
    The single biggest lesson of the UK coalition 2010-15 is that policy 'wins and losses' don't matter a damn to voters: what's much more important...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 31st May - 2:31am
    I think this is a strange article. I remember the days when Conservatives used to talk about giving people equal opportunities. This meant that everyone...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 31st May - 1:45am
    Lauren Keith Very good article , well done. Eddie Agree with you on new and more tangible policies, not on the leadership.Tim is here to...