Why are Lib Dems trying to find common ground with Eurosceptics?

Tom Brake calls on Eurosceptic MPs to back  Parliamentary Sovereignty screams the press release from LDHQ.  What’s that all about? The Tory hardcore aren’t going to listen to a damn thing a Lib Dem says. Not while the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Basically, he’s saying to them – you spent the referendum banging on about our Parliament getting its powers back, now it’s up to you to make sure it does.

In a letter to the 21 Brexiteer signatories of this pre-ferefendum missive in the Telegraph who are still MPs, Tom says:

I am writing to you regarding the European Union Withdrawal Bill.

I am sure that we are in agreement that this Bill is of the utmost importance for the future of the UK and its relationship with the European Union. This Bill will affect a wide range of policy areas and lead to the incorporation of hundreds of pieces of EU law into UK law.

It is therefore imperative that Parliament is given full sovereignty and scrutiny over this process. This opinion is widely supported, with the Law Society stating that the Bill ‘must respect parliament’s role in making and approving changes to UK law’ and Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London, stating that the Bill ‘isn’t simply cut and paste’ for transferring EU laws to UK law.

You may remember the letter you co-wrote and signed in the Daily Telegraph on 31st January 2016 regarding parliamentary sovereignty. In this letter you stated, ‘Whatever one’s views on the EU debate, many will agree that parliamentary sovereignty should be the key focus in any renegotiations.’   I am certain therefore that you will agree with me that parliamentary sovereignty should be the key focus also when considering a Bill of such importance to our future outside the EU.  To deny the importance of parliamentary sovereignty in relation to this Bill would be hypocritical and inconsistent with your previous stance.

This Bill gives unprecedented powers to the Executive to make policy changes which would normally require primary legislation.  It provides little or no scrutiny of hundreds of EU laws that will be incorporated into UK laws by way of secondary legislation. It even grants powers in the Bill to modify the Act.  Put simply, this Bill, which is so riddled with legal uncertainty and draconian powers, drives a coach and horses through parliamentary sovereignty.

Therefore I hope that you will join me, if not in opposing the Bill, at least in seeking to moderate its more extreme aspects and impacts on parliamentary sovereignty.

Specifically, will you support amendments which a) require government from the outset to draft primary legislation to achieve any policy changes, b) mandate the use of the super affirmative procedure for any secondary legislation which does anything other than simply transpose EU law into UK law and c) block powers in the Bill which grant the Government what can only be described as emergency powers to legislate for any crucial omissions in the original legislation?

I look forward to hearing your concerns about the EU Withdrawal Bill, your proposed course of action and your support for these amendments.

Tom Brake MP
Lib Dem Brexit Spokesman

Speaking about the letter, Tom said:

For years Brexiteers have told us how much they care about parliamentary sovereignty. Now is their chance to prove it.

As it stands, this bill would drive a coach and horses through parliamentary sovereignty, giving the government sweeping powers to rewrite whole swathes of British law.

MPs from all parties must resist this unprecedented power grab and ensure any future policy changes are agreed by Parliament, from environmental protections to employment law.

We may disagree on Europe, but surely eurosceptics can agree that giving such draconian powers to the executive would be deeply damaging to British democracy.

Now, it wouldn’t take many of the Brexiteers to support what Tom is saying to ensure that changes are made to the Repeal Bill but I doubt that is really the point.

The 21 recipients of the letter are probably going to file it in the shredder at the first opportunity. The real audience is those people who were taken in by the promises made by the Leave campaign about sovereignty and highlighting how the reality is so very different. It’s not just about the impact on the economy, it’s about showing that the “take back control” mantra is anything but. Giving untrammelled power to Ministers is actually a worse situation than decisions being made by the 28 member states and being ratified by our Parliament.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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36 Comments

  • Yes, Caron, and this is what “UKIP – style” politicians (Blukip, in Nick Clegg’s apparently short-lived term, that is including hyper-nationalist Tories) seem to be about. They are “unitarists”, seeming to believe in democratic power lying at ONE level, and ONE level only. They don’t like Councils or lower democratic levels having any power or say, in the same way as they don’t like supranational bodies having say. I haven’t quite identified the reason why this is so, but bearing in mind many seem to be “poujadiste” style small business people, it could be something to do with making their own dealings with public bodies simpler and more easy to influence.

  • Peter Martin 3rd Sep '17 - 5:02pm

    What’s the underlying argument here? It is, if I understand it correctly, that the referendum result showed that we want Parliamentary sovereignty restored.

    And to demonstrate it has been fully restored we need to allow the current intake of Parliamentarians to give it all away again?

  • Richard Underhill 3rd Sep '17 - 5:03pm

    A speech at a Liberal Democrat conference by Shirley Williams urging us to read Schumacher’s ‘Small is beautiful’ caused me to buy it for £3.99 in paperback, published in the UK in 1973 and looking forwards to 1984. He quotes several philosophers of whom I have at least heard, such as Bertrand Russell.
    Ortega y Gasset deduced that
    “life is a drama that exists between necessity and freedom”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Ortega_y_Gasset,
    so I can only read this book when our computer is available and working, which is a restriction on my freedom.

  • Peter Martin
    It was rather difficult to take “Parliamentary Sovereignty” terribly seriously as a reason for the referendum vote (unless you deduce that it is an absolute consistency of bias within our UK media and written sources available over the years about matters EU). There has been a Commons (and a Lords) Committee devoted to scrutiny and comment on European Parliamentary business and EU Directives etc, which past reports have shown, in the case of the Commons Committee anyway, has been inadequately used and attended. That also chimes with the UKIP approach to European Parliamentary business, ie attend as little as possible, and pay as little serious attention as possible, just make generalised and often unfair criticism

  • Some press releases are best just forgotten.

  • @Peter Martin – “What’s the underlying argument here? “

    A good question, Peter. I’m a little irritated that the LibDems don’t come out with it and thus communicate clearly with the media and electorate.

    The issue is the European Union Withdrawal Bill does two things: The first is fairly non-controversial: Cut-and-paste existing EU law into UK statute law. The second is where the controversy is, namely the procedure by which UK law is subsequently amended. Here T.May’s Executive are proposing to use “Henry VIII powers” – namely law is made by ministerial decree, and only examined by Parliament, if Parliament tables an annulment motion within some specified timebox, hence most of the time the revisions will become law without being scrutinised by either the HoC or the HoL.

    Given a key part of Brexit was all about reclaiming the ‘Sovereignty’ of Westminster and the ‘supremacy’ of Parliament, I would expect any Brexiteer, including Nigel Farage to be up in arms about the Executive’s blatant trampling on Parliamentary supremacy…

    I thus hope the LibDem’s call a spade a spade and thus communicate in a way that the electorate, including those who voted Leave, can understand and side with.

  • Roland

    The cut and paste re-badging of EU law into UK law, is of course, the simpler end of required modification towards UK independence. The fear, “Henry VIII powers dilemma”, is that a Tory government could, ride roughshod over amendments that have not been properly scrutinized by our elected representatives, and in the process undermining hard won freedoms and environmental considerations.

    As a leaver I must acknowledge that risk as real. My simple (short), answer is, please ‘trust the voter’.
    You say : “I would expect any Brexiteer, including Nigel Farage to be up in arms about the Executive’s blatant trampling on Parliamentary supremacy…”
    Yes, and I’m sure that Nigel Farage would replace ‘Parliamentary supremacy’ with ‘voter supremacy’, and with very good reason.

    Fact – This Tory government has found to its cost that it does not command the power to govern, in the way it believed it did.
    It is reasonable to assume then, that this Tory government which ran its hubristic election into a muddy ditch on the back of a ‘dementia tax’ and re-introducing fox hunting has learned its lesson, and is not going to mess around with primary freedoms hard won over decades, and risk voter dissent (yet again)?

    If you want further evidence to allay your fears, I give you a piece of history.
    Rightly or wrongly, Churchill is credited as having won the 2nd World war, and of course he ran, and expected approval from voters for forming a government in 1945. It didn’t happen.

    As with the Churchill ‘1945 rejection’, I’m not convinced the Tories of today, will be rewarded for a successful Brexit with a sure fire win in 2022. I sense several things.
    1. UK voters have already ‘factored in’ and accepted a Post Brexit scenario.
    2. UK voters will be ‘all ears’ to any British political party which can give policy advantage to British interests, in a Post Brexit scenario beyond 2022.
    3. That political party which proves capable and worthy, of moving beyond Brexit may actually, not yet exist?.

  • OK then Sheila, traditionally I have been all in favour of “trusting the voters” – people power, if you like, but how do you deal with the issue of lack of realism, largely engendered by fantasy politics espoused by the largely anti EU press – another example going on now is the Mail’s ludicrous and damaging campaign against aid to countries and people much poorer than your average?

    Most “expert” opinion has it that EU withdrawal will be profoundly damaging, in multiple ways, but primarily to the supposed “beneficiaries”, the British people, and even more so to the less privileged among us. How do you deal with the likelihood that spending a great deal of time and effort first enacting Brexit, then ameliorating its effects, is incompatible with your suggestion of a political party “moving beyond Brexit”, and presumably improving people’s lot in some way?

    Michel Barnier (and many others in Europe and elsewhere, including many of us here in Britain) frankly lose patience with this unreality – it is also frustrating to hear those who seem to have given up on the fight, to, apparently, save Britain from itself. It’s nuts.

  • @Sheila – I assume you said all that with a straight face?
    I note, previously on LDV you have called for the removal of unelected peers and other reforms to make our system of government more ‘democratic’, yet here you are saying that it is okay for T.May to effectively restore the monarchy! Well actually to behave more like Napoleon.

    Fact – This Tory government has found to its cost that it does not command the power to govern, in the way it believed it did.
    What a shame, someone in the Tory party obviously overlooked a rather obvious problem: whilst effectively 1-in-3 voters voted ‘Leave’, for the Tory party to win at Westminster it also needs the votes of the other 2-in-3 voters.

    As the Coalition demonstrated this Tory government has more than enough seats to govern, just not in the dictatorial way it wants to and has behaved in since T.May took over. That is good for democracy.

    So if as you say the Tory party really has “learned its lesson”, then please explain why it has need to resort to the use of “Henry VIII powers”. The UK is a mature democracy not a tinpot dictatorship… Also remember much of this rewrite will occur post 2022, under governments formed by other parties and hence at what point can the rewrite be said to have been completed?

  • Malcolm Todd 5th Sep '17 - 12:38pm

    Roland 5th Sep ’17 – 11:40am
    “please explain why it has need to resort to the use of ‘Henry VIII powers’.”
    Simply because the vast amount of primary legislation that would be required would swamp parliament. I do think they should use “affirmative procedure” instruments by default, or at least as applied to a much wider set of regulations than are detailed in the Bill; but the idea that every consequential twiddle to existing EU-derived regulation must be enacted by new primary legislation is just unrealistic. It will be hard enough even this way.

    Also remember much of this rewrite will occur post 2022, under governments formed by other parties
    Actually, no. The Bill contains a cut-off point of two years after “exit day” – in other words, March 2021 (assuming no delay in Art. 50 process). So anything that hasn’t been tidied up by then will indeed require fresh legislation.

  • @Malcolm
    “Simply because the vast amount of primary legislation that would be required would swamp parliament.”
    So what? remember T.May wanted Brexit and got Parliament to vote for it – surely they understand what would be involved… 🙂

    All proposed changes should get Parliamentary scrutiny and ratification. Yes the workload will potentially be large, but the process needs to be fully above board and open to public scrutiny.

    Thanks for the point about the cut-off date. I get the distinct feeling that this date will somehow play a part in our post-Brexit negotiations – potentially they won’t start until after this date, as it is only then “the dust will have settled” on Brexit…

  • remember T.May wanted Brexit

    No, she didn’t; she was part of the Remain campaign.

  • Formally, Dav, and of course formerly.

  • Riccardo Sallustio 5th Sep '17 - 5:36pm

    There is a very interesting paper published by the Hansard Society today (https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/blog/a-parliamentary-scrutiny-solution-for-the-eu-withdrawal-bill). It is quite a technical document aimed at lawyers and provides some interesting and clever solutions. What the Bill requires is a monstrous exercise of secondary legislation that no Government should do without proper scrutiny and direction from Parliament. Having said that, the only “reason” why the Government could be submitting such an unacceptable Bill is that of the March 2019 deadline, which is, however, self-imposed and it is therefore not a valid justification. Politically, I feel that the Lib Dems under no circumstances should vote in favour of a Bill providing for any delegation of power whatsoever to ministers (who incidentally have demonstrated in the last year or so an unmatchable incompetence) unless a new effective system of scrutiny is in place and Parliament is given sufficient time to assess the impact and check consistency with the principles set out in Section 3 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, with the EU principles that are intended to be introduced in English law and with any withdrawal agreement. Time pressure in a parliamentary democracy is not an excuse for Government to introduce unconstitutional or incorrect legislation. If there is no sufficient time, HMG should simply revoke the Article 50 notice to enable Parliament to work on it. There are provisions which are fit for a dictatorship such as the ability of the ministers to change the Act (section 9(2)), the definition of exit day and the ministers’ ability to repeal by regulation the Acts set out in Schedule 9 (even before the exit day and possibly retrospectively). The simple fact that a Bill includes these provisions to start with it is enough to place no trust in the Government and in the individuals proposing or supporting it. Any MP or Peer voting for something like this would not only be delegating legislation but would be delegating its constitutional role.

  • Riccardo Sallustio 5th Sep '17 - 5:37pm

    On a separate point, I despise those who say that we should “move beyond Brexit”. I see no Brexit in the horizon but only a humiliating show of third-ranking politicians in power or sitting on the opposition benches mocking judges or whipping MPs having different views, ignoring the rule of law, having no competence in conducting international negotiations, having no knowledge of basic EU law concepts such as internal market, FTAs, etc., considering something constitutionally advisory as binding, incapable of reading Supreme Court decisions and failing willfully to disclose to the public the impact papers they have commissioned. Moving beyond Brexit implies acceptance of all of the above. I am sure no true Lib Dem accepts any of the above because this would be in breach of liberal democratic ideals, hence we will not move beyond Brexit.

  • Arnold Kiel 5th Sep '17 - 5:46pm

    Riccardo Sallustio,

    where have you been all these months? Now I know what I have been missing. Keep it up, please!

  • Peter Martin 5th Sep '17 - 8:18pm

    @ Riccardo Sallustio

    hence we will not move beyond Brexit.

    You’ll have to at some point. The next General Election could be as late as 2022 when the situation will be very different.

    Suppose Brexit turns out to be just as disastrous as you predicted. What sort of policies are you going to run with?

    Are you going to say its isn’t at all your fault, you never thought that Brexit was a good idea, and its all going to get even worse in the next 5 years even if the Lib Dems get elected into Govt? I can’t see that being a winning message.

  • Riccardo Sallustio 5th Sep '17 - 10:39pm

    I wouldn’t bet money that the next General Election will be held in 2022: we have a minority government and the negotiations with the EU could well fail at the next round leaving us with a cliff-edge Brexit. At that stage the situation may become pretty messy and nasty and my guess is that we will vote again in a few months.

    Even if there is no election then, the parties would be campaigning constantly waiting for an imminent election, Labour and Tory would probably have a number of defections and Parliament would spend its time overseeing legislation enacted following the Withdrawal Act (without effectively doing anything else). We will go through interesting times as our party may have changed name by then and merged with one or both factions which have left the other two parties. It would be pretty boring with the Conservatives claiming that the solution for the crisis is deregulation and the Labour arguing for currency devaluation, high property taxes and nationalisation. However, there is no clear majority to implement brave structural policies and the recession kicks in. In that scenario, the blaming game will become more popular than football so we wouldn’t be alone complaining and everybody will forget who said what in 2016 and 2017. To tackle the serious economic situation we would need extreme policies. At that stage we will propose to rejoin the EU together with Euro and no rebates.

  • Ricardo
    At that stage you would have zero chance of being elected. This is thing about politicos. They always forget that they have to get elected to do anything and so invent scenarios that will do it for them. A mass change in public opinion. a change in the electoral system and so on. The Lib Dems have around 7% in a FPTP electoral system that is not going to change any time soon. Realistically, re-joining the EU isn’t going to happen, certainly not with the single currency or ever closer union because neither of the main parties would take it to the electorate, would almost certainly lose if they did and the Lib Dems do not have a electoral base.

  • Riccardo Sallustio 6th Sep '17 - 2:15pm

    @Glenn
    The scenario I was envisaging would be indeed the worst possible one for the Lib Dems, but it is a plausible one. Seeking to be elected in a situation of serious political, constitutional and economic crisis requires bold policies, vision, ability to implement structural policies and outstanding individuals. Due to the FPTP electoral system and a society which will be even more polarised, I agree that the chances of being elected will be minimal. This is why we need to stop Brexit from happening. If it happens, we would need a magician. I am only a lawyer, unfortunately….

  • Riccardo Sallustio

    “I despise those who say that we should “move beyond Brexit”.

    Your loathing of a citizen’s democratic right to say ‘No thanks’ to an unwanted EU institution is duly noted.

    “If it [Brexit] happens, we would need a magician.”

    Bullying, belittling, scorn and scaremongering, have all been poured over a Leavers legitimate right to choose the way they did, but you’re right, they haven’t yet tried the skills of the Magic Circle. Maybe you can help them on that one?
    But whilst you seethe with disapproval, and search Yellow pages for a conjurer to upturn democracy, I still believe that ‘move beyond Brexit’, is the [now], accepted reality for most British citizens today?
    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe your magical hand-waving illusion and ‘Abracadabra’, is exactly what is needed to ‘levitate’ Lib Dem vote share above 7.4% ?

  • Arnold Kiel 6th Sep '17 - 5:39pm

    How do you move beyond something that is 0% thought through, 0% understood in its real consequences for millions of already and increasingly struggling people, and 0% done? Carrying this out is madness, “moving beyond” is beyond madness.

  • Arnold Kiel
    “Carrying this out is madness, “moving beyond” is beyond madness.”

    So you keep telling us Arnold.

    I’ve just got back from a mid-week Aldi shop. The place is full of shoppers with cash. The quality of food is halfway decent. (Their steaks are to die for!). The price is right and good value. The tills can’t open and close fast enough. They have 3ft tall posters advertising decently paid Aldi jobs for young people (of all nationalities!) eager to work hard. They are opening new Aldi stores faster than you can blink. There is no sign that Aldi are troubled by a ‘cliff edge’ Brexit. Indeed, Matthew Barnes, chief of Aldi UK writes, (This is Money- March 2017), ‘‘We’re a hell of a lot more British than we’ve ever been”

    The Aldi Company made a £300 million UK investment decision 4 months after the Brexit referendum result. And to cap it all they are a German company based in Essen.

    Maybe Aldi have studied the inevitable ‘beyond Brexit world’ and thought, yea, O.K. we’ll have some of that post Brexit market share? Maybe in the boardroom of Aldi they are already (secretly), sending buyers to source food supplies beyond the boundaries of the notorious EU single market ‘protection racket’ known as CAP?

    Then again, maybe Aldi simply didn’t get the Arnold Kiel memo to the British, entitled ‘Surrender unconditionally to EU unelected supremacy now, and beat the rush’?
    Please Arnold, calm your nerves, and don’t be a worry-guts about our future post Brexit. We know you care deeply, but trust us, we’ll work something out.

  • Katharine Pindar 6th Sep '17 - 7:48pm

    Sheila Gee, Aldi is doing well because people’s standard of living has declined and they need to find the cheapest good food they can, except when they have to resort to food banks as many in desperation do. Please open your eyes to what is really happening in this country as a result of government austerity and now Brexit-related price rises.

    I am delighted to read Riccardo Sallustio’s superb declaration of what MPs should do with the EU Withdrawal Bill, and I hope all progressive MPs will follow his guidance. Yes, Riccardo and Arnold, there are plenty of us who do realise that Brexit is a great act of national self-harm, and that we must persuade the country within the next eighteen months that it can and must be stopped.

  • Riccardo Sallustio 7th Sep '17 - 12:29am

    Katharine and Arnold, thanks

    Here is a good blog addressing why remainers shouldn’t support Brexit and why the “trust us, we’ll work something out” message doesn’t work: http://chrisgreybrexitblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/why-remainers-shouldnt-get-behind-brexit.html?m=1

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Sep '17 - 9:22am

    It was refreshing to read that blog, thanks, Riccardo, because it was summing up what many of us have written on LDV month after month, combatting the fierce denunciations of the Brexiteers which Chris Grey so neatly shows cover up their denial of responsibility for the great harm of Brexit. Now, however, I am hoping that you will make sure that your legal advice on the passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill through Parliament is known to our parliamentarians, so that they may work with others to ensure that there is prolonged and effective scrutiny of the Bill, however long it takes.

  • Riccardo Sallustio 7th Sep '17 - 1:02pm

    Will do at the conference. Possibly Caron, who monitors the blog, can show the thread to Tom

  • Peter Hirst 7th Sep '17 - 4:44pm

    There’s a realm of agreement here with soft Brexiteers. Parliamentary sovereignty, what’s best for the long-term interests of the UK and the farce of a referendum that puts the will of the people back decades.

  • Peter Martin 7th Sep '17 - 6:11pm

    If the future for the UK is as dire as many think why is the yield on 10 yr Gilts less than 1%? We’ll have sunk without trace well before then by all “reasonable” accounts.

    Why don’t people save their money in euros or dollars instead? Why lend money to the UK? The interest rates in the US and EU can’t be much less but even at 0% surely their bonds would be a much safer option.

  • Arnold Kiel 8th Sep '17 - 12:36am

    Peter Martin,

    the Gilt market is, despite massive UK-debt and deficits, rather small compared to eur or USD. Institutional investors need some GBP-assets, and interest rates are low everywhere, especially in the investment grade area. A downgrade (not below investment grade, though) will come, just wait.

    Private investors cannot take advantage of GBP-depreciation for two reasons: 1. it happened too quickly on June 24, 2016, and 2. UK banks offer ridiculous FX-rates to their retail customers (one of the many ways in which the financial sector extracts wealth from hard-working people). Therefore, converting GBP to eur and back kills too much of the return a GBP-seller could have achieved on paper.

  • Arnold Kiel 8th Sep '17 - 10:26am

    Sheila Gee,

    Katharine thankfully already addressed your misinterpretation of Aldi’s success. I would add that also betting-shops, pay-day-lenders, gold-buyers, Poundland and pawnbrokers are booming.

    The starkly contrasting strength of language and substance in your posts continues to amaze me, but that is of course up to you. But please quote me correctly: I never did or would write “EU unelected supremacy”. This is your colorful (and never substantiated) language, and you should be correct about what are your and what are my words.

    I do admit to having used the terms “unconditional surrender” which is quite intentionally of debateable taste, but I believe I have at least tried to substantiate my point. In a nutshell: The UK has, outside central London, no own business model. All economic dynamic (including London) is foreign-derived.

    You seem to be content that “we’ll work something out”. Well, I take the liberty to continue to worry about this charming Kingdom of dreamers like you. In 30 years of campaigning, after deciding on a referendum, during the related campaign, after winning, after the cabinet reshuffle, until triggering Article 50, during the election campaign, and thereafter, leavers never ever thought beyond step 1 of Brexit. We all continue to be totally in the dark about their steps 2-100. Are you really fine with that? What is still needed to shake your confidence that the UK is on the right course, because it “will work something out”?

  • Sheila Gee 6th Sep ’17 – 7:20pm……………… calm your nerves, and don’t be a worry-guts about our future post Brexit. We know you care deeply, but trust us, we’ll work something out……………

    I know the government seem to long for a return to Dickensian times but your post is breathtakingly ‘Micawberesque’…….
    Like him we are lurching from crisis to crisis. His, “Welcome poverty, welcome misery, welcome houselessness, welcome hunger, rags, tempest, and beggary! Mutual confidence will sustain us to the end!” could have been written with ‘Brexit’ in mind…

    I know things worked out well for him in the end but, prophetically, NOT in the UK…

  • Katharine / Arnold

    “Aldi is doing well because people’s standard of living has declined and they need to find the cheapest good food they can, except when they have to resort to food banks as many in desperation do.”
    “Katharine thankfully already addressed your misinterpretation of Aldi’s success.”

    I too was once of the mind, that only Waitrose, or at a pinch Tesco will do. Just wondering if either of you has actually been to an Aldi store? Of course you must wear a disguise, plus dark glasses, just in case you are spotted, but try it. The first thing you notice is that the Aldi car park is littered with some very expensive cars. Inside Aldi is a broad mix of people, a lot of whom are very well dressed. I may be making a leap of assumption here, but frankly none of them look to be one pay cheque away from needing a foodbank?
    Might I respectfully advise that you learn the lesson I graciously did, which is that a Waitrose minded pretentiousness, is the enemy of value for money?

    expats / Arnold

    “I know the government seem to long for a return to Dickensian times but your post is breathtakingly ‘Micawberesque’……”
    “The starkly contrasting strength of language and substance in your posts continues to amaze me”

    I find nothing worse that wading through a comment of ‘bone dry’ text which might well contain some fact, but has nothing ‘appetizing’ for an otherwise enquiring mind. As a result I admit to injecting into my comments a level of skittish humour with a hint of irony, just to keep the reader alert, interested, and hopefully a tad entertained. Though I may push the humour boundaries, I feel that I do successfully get across the point(s) that I am intending to make. That said, I apologize that my subliminal humour can’t accommodate all tastes, nor always translate as effectively for everyone, as it was intended.

    P.S. I highly recommend an Aldi’s New Zealand grass fed steak, with fresh salad, and a bottle of their Bushland Shiraz. 

  • nigel hunter 8th Sep '17 - 3:19pm

    Fair dinkum for an apoadean bottle of booze. oops, and steak. Yes peoples standards of living have declined but some will not admit to it . Others will take advantage of it.

  • Sheila Gee 8th Sep ’17 – 3:04pm….. As a result I admit to injecting into my comments a level of skittish humour with a hint of irony, just to keep the reader alert, interested, and hopefully a tad entertained…..

    Sheila, I thought my, ‘Dickensian’ analogy did complied with most of that…

  • Katharine Pindar 8th Sep '17 - 4:06pm

    Sheila, you are amazing. The poorest among us won’t be buying steak and wine at all, from Aldi or anywhere else. Of course I’ve been to my local Aldi several times, and many people of all kinds are shopping there because of the bargains to be had, compared with the Co-op or Sainsburies, and because it’s in the centre of town unlike Tesco and Morrisons. We don’t have a Waitrose in these parts. We do have a flourishing food bank, which keeps us informed what are the latest supplies needed. Tubs for donations in Sainsburies, churches’ collections and so on try to keep up with demand, but I noticed there was an especial appeal in the summer holidays, when the children were at home.

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