Tag Archives: open britain

Latest Brexit poll shows that Liberal Democrats are on the right side of the argument

Back in August, I said that I couldn’t support the Open Britain organisation (the evolution of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign) because it was too enthusiastic about restrictions on free movement of people and because it wasn’t calling for a referendum on any Brexit deal.

I still can’t sign up to them for the same reasons. However, I do accept that there are areas of common ground between our organisations. This weekend they have conducted some very useful research which shows that half of Leave voters are not prepared to be a penny worse off as a result of leaving the EU.

That YouGov poll, conducted this week, also obliterates the Leave majority. When asked how they would vote if the referendum took place tomorrow, 44% said Leave and 44% said Remain. That is a dramatic reversal of fortune.

Ed Miliband writes about this in today’s Observer:

This chimes with the experience in my constituency, where seven in 10 voted to leave. Many of them were desperate for a new beginning for themselves and their families. The government will rightly be subject to an almighty backlash from Leave voters if it makes decisions that make them far poorer and leaves less money for public services. Having voted for a better future, for them this would be the ultimate betrayal.

The evidence is already there that people will be worse off after Brexit. And this isn’t just Europhile hyperbole. It’s actual government fact as we saw in the Autumn Statement.   This is where Miliband’s article is so depressing. What on earth is the problem with giving the people the chance to determine for themselves whether the final deal on offer is in line with their expectations? What could possibly be more democratic?

Let’s look at it this way. If you decide you are going to buy a house, you state your intention to do so by putting in an offer. If it is accepted, you can still pull out if you don’t like the terms of the sale. The same thing applies to Brexit. If people realise the true extent of the cost, and that the stuff they were told was “Project Fear” was actually an underestimation, then they may well choose to reconsider their decision. The You Gov research proves that.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 55 Comments

Liberal Democrats must enthusiastically occupy the clear pro EU space – nobody else will

The Liberal Democrats have historically been enthusiastically pro EU. The strength of that enthusiasm, it’s fair to say, has not always been uniform. While a small number of Liberal Democrats campaigned to leave the EU, the vast majority of us wanted to remain. That was very clear to the tens of thousands who have joined us in the aftermath of the vote to leave.

As a party during the referendum, we did more than any other to campaign for a Remain vote. That’s quite a staggering achievement given our size and resources compared to the Labour party.

However, there are signs now that the consensus is starting to develop some fault lines. Our position in the aftermath of the referendum has been very clear. We campaign to stay or go back in to the EU at the next election. We want the voters to have their say on the Brexit deal. It’s only polite, really, given that they weren’t given any indication about what it would look like before they voted.

I don’t want to over-egg this particular pudding, but it looks like our general unity as a party on this is now under threat. Many Liberal Democrats  have been very concerned to see that Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg have endorsed Open Britain, the organisation formerly known as Britain Stronger in Europe.  Open Britain accepts the referendum result as final even though they also accept that nobody knows what they actually voted for. They will not be calling for a second referendum which seems to be a bizarre and contradictory stance to me.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 93 Comments
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