Tag Archives: nick clegg

Nick Clegg: We need more than warm words and bromide from May

In his first few hours as our EU Spokesperson, we’ve had more sense from Nick Clegg than we’ve had from the whole government in the four awful weeks since the referendum.

Tonight he was on Radio 4’s PM programme saying that it was really important that we started to see some detail from the Government on its plans for Britain’s exit from the EU. We need, he said, a very detailed plan to extricate ourselves from the complex web of economic and legal ties between us and the EU.

He said that if the Government wanted to retain the closest possible ties with the single market, their own backbenchers would kick off.

You can listen to his interview here from about 39:30.

In a piece for the i newspaper, Nick pointed out a few discrepancies between what the Tories say they want and the likelihood of it happening without compromise:

Theresa May can’t, for example, promise that we will be able to enjoy all the benefits to our economy that full access to the world’s largest borderless single market will bring, without accepting freedom of movement in return. So which is it? What matters more – our economy and jobs or clamping down on immigration?

David Davis, Theresa May’s new Brexit minister, appears to believe the single market is just a free trade arrangement. It isn’t. Free trade means removing tariffs so that companies can trade without paying different levels of tax on the goods they buy and sell. But the single market is much more ambitious. It is about harmonising all the standards and regulations that apply to goods and services across Europe, so that companies can trade with each other on a truly level playing field.

So it’s good that someone is on the case. He sets out his own plans:

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

Nick Clegg helps children learn budgeting skills

I’m reading David Laws’ Coalition at the moment and one of the recurring themes is the drama and tribulation around virtually every budget and Autumn Statement. Pulling all the measures together involved tortuous and protracted intrigue as both coalition parties tried to advance their own policy priorities – and the Liberal Democrats usually came out on top.

So it amused me when I saw an article in his local Sheffield newspaper showing Nick practising some different but no less important budgeting skills – helping young children learn financial skills at a primary school in his constituency.

It had been a Lib Dem priority to get some sort of financial skills education on to the curriculum. The Star has the details:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg calls for general election before article 50 is activated

Nick Clegg Q&A Liverpool Spring conference 2015 Photo by Liberal Democrats

In today’s Guardian Nick Clegg has been making the case for calling an early General Election before any steps are taken towards Brexit.  He writes:

Who would have thought? The Conservative party, the party of continuity and tradition, is now the cause of the greatest constitutional crisis in modern times. The party of business is now the source of reckless economic turmoil. The natural party of government is now presiding over paralysis in Westminster and Whitehall. The party of the British bulldog spirit is now leading our great country towards rudderless introspection.

He adds:

This cannot go on. Somehow we must navigate the country through the months ahead. The government not only finds itself without leadership, it has no plan, no consensus and no clue about what it wants to do in the future. The only thing it agrees on is that the UK should leave the EU. But how, when and to what end all remain unanswered. It enjoys a mandate to quit, but no mandate as to how this should be done.

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WATCH: Nick Clegg slams “brazen, industrial-scale lies” peddled by Leave campaign

In an emotional and angry speech to Hammersmith and Fulham Liberal Democrats on Friday night, Nick Clegg set out his fury at the result of the EU Referendum. He emphasised how funders of the Leave campaign had their own interests for a low-regualation economy resulting from Brexit:

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Nick Clegg writes…Europe makes Britain great

Unlike many of our neighbours, Britain did not join the EU as a way of embracing a new, modern identity. For the Germans, French, Italians and the Benelux countries, European co-operation represented the victory of peace over war. For Spain, Greece and Portugal, membership signified the victory of democracy over fascism. For many newer members, it was about throwing off the tyranny of Soviet communism.
Not us. Joining the European Community was a pounds and pence calculation of what was good for us, done with a shrug of the shoulders and an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ acceptance that the age of empire was over.

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Nick Clegg on the Brexit Betrayal

Last Thursday,the European Movement held a “Lead not Leave” rally in Edinburgh in support of a Remain vote. Just before the event started, the news that Jo Cox had been shot came through but at that time we didn’t realise the full horror of what had happened.

All the contributions from the cross-party panel were superb. The Greens’ Sarah Beattie-Smith was passionate on women’s rights, climate change and the EU having the power to make sure multi-nationals pay their taxes.  Tory Jackson Carlaw said he’d been surprised by how much a Remain vote had come to mean to him. North East Fife SNP MP Stephen Gethins, who had been disgracefully misquoted on the Vote Leave leaflet was passionate about membership of the EU. Kezia Dugdale was warm and talked about some very practical reasons we need to stay for social justice and workers.

The final speaker was our own Nick Clegg. He was pretty stark. He talked about the reality of Brexit, waking up to discover that the Leave lot don’t know what’s happening, the Tories are immersed in a bloodbath, there’s constitutional gridlock and the economy is, frankly, down the toilet. It was one of the best speeches I’ve heard him make.

It was very different in style to his tremendous resignation speech, but no less powerful and compelling. The scenario he sets out is very plausible. He wasn’t trying to appeal to the audience. He knew that he was at an event where most people were going to be pretty passionately in favour of Remain. He wanted to address his remarks to the waverers. Your mission, dear readers, for the next few days is to play this to as many waverers as you can.

Now, the whole thing is definitely worth watching, but if you just want Nick, go to about 25:55.

I had recorded his speech (and Kezia’s) on their own. It was my first time using Periscope and to say that I screwed it up royally is an understatement. For a start, I didn’t realise you had to type in what your were broadcasting so people had a clue what the random video was.

I had  meant to embed the tweets in which they were broadcast on Thursday, but it obviously wasn’t appropriate to do so and they only last for 24 hours.

By some miracle, the recordings are still on the app, and I’d love to shove them on You Tube but I can’t work out how. If you know, please tell me.

Enjoy. The text (more or less) of Nick’s speech is under the cut but listen to it if you can. The energy of his delivery really brings it alive.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Brexit Lords have a cheek to complain about EU democracy

Nick Clegg turned to the subject of EU democracy in his Standard column this week.

He was quick to point out the irony of members of the House of Lords castigating the democracy of the EU:

With more than 800 members, the House of Lords is only second to China’s National People’s Congress in size and is about as undemocratic: unique in Europe, its members can revise and amend the laws of the land without anyone actually being elected. It is, in short, an affront to the basic democratic principle that those who make the laws of the land should be elected by those who obey the laws of the land.

Yet this obvious inconsistency appears to have escaped Lord Lawson et al when they berate the EU as “profoundly undemocratic”. I find what they do every day in the House of Lords profoundly undemocratic too.

The rest of our democracy is riddled with faults too:

Similarly, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and the other Brexit ministers appear to be entirely untroubled that they serve in a Government that garnered no more than 24 per cent of the eligible vote. Such an undemocratic outcome — wielding unchallenged power when three quarters of voters either voted for another party or didn’t vote at all — is, it seems, acceptable to these high priests of democratic virtue.

The truth is that our own democracy is in need of a complete overhaul. Westminster is hopelessly stuck in the past: MPs are not allowed to shake each other’s hands on the parliamentary estate; we can’t call each other by our names and must instead use arcane titles such as “my right honourable friend” or “the gallant and learned gentleman”. We are not allowed to clap in the Commons so we register our approval by manically guffawing and waving papers instead.

The EU has its flaws, but it’s not lack of democracy that causes the problem:

What I would never advocate, however, is that Westminster and Whitehall should be razed to the ground or that we should quit our democratic institutions altogether. Yet that is precisely what Brexiteers are inviting us to do: respond to the flaws in the EU, which are numerous, by turning our backs on it altogether.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 27th Jul - 1:13am
    I really commend Fiona , Paul , Richard , for their positive attitude while also recognising the difficult situation our party faces . I am...
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    Looking at the latest ICM opinion poll this Lib Dem attitude to those who voted Brexit doesn't seem to be helping. Labour support down to...
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    *No democrat !
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    Hillary Clinton's no liberal, no liberal and no progressive.
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    David Raw If , instead of insulting by condescention after having read , barely , but one comment , you had ever bothered to read...
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    Another Devon Lib Dem. Just to say - as Agent in the Exmouth byelection - we do sometimes campaign against inappropriately sited new housing, but...
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