Reminder: Christmas Competition – deadline Monday

To celebrate and get in the mood for the festive season I thought that we could have a writing competition.  As many of you (on average at least 4,500 members visit the Lib Dem Voice site every day) write articles, read them or comment I propose a Christmas Article Competition.

The proposed Competition Rules are:

  • An Article should not be more than 550 words;
  • The article in each of the specified areas will be jointly judged by representatives identified as experts in that area by Lib Dem Voice and Lib Dem editors;
  • The starting date for the competition starts as of 28th November to 17th December;
  • The title of your article for the competition should start with the words “Competition: … followed by the title of your article”

Basic criteria when assessing each article will be:

  • The originality of the article;
  • That the article is within the stipulated maximise length required (550 words);
  • Generally, how well has the article presented its argument on the subject matter;
  • We will only accept one submission for each subject area per person (as stated below);
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14 December 2018 – today’s press release

Curiously, only one press release today, so without further ado…

‘Nebulous’ is but one word to describe the PM

Responding to the Prime Minister’s press conference, held after EU leaders withdrew sections of its draft conclusions, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Having watched the Prime Minister’s botched attempt to negotiate with EU leaders, people up and down the country will be more concerned by Brexit than ever before.

To come before EU leaders without any documented proposals is galling. Calling the Prime Minister ‘nebulous’ is just one word to describe her.

Brexit will make people poorer and reduce

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Could the Scottish Tories back a #peoplesvote?

The Scottish Tories could be about to back a People’s Vote says the New Statesman’s Chris Deerin. 

He cites a “prominent” Conservative MSP as saying:

“When I look at what’s going on down south, I feel appalled and embarrassed,” one prominent MSP tells me. “I hate the English party. I’m horrified at the support for no deal being expressed by party members. I’ve stopped reading ConservativeHome.”

And they might back a second referendum if it is clear that Mrs May’s deal can’t get through Parliament:

Senior Scottish Tories believe the UK is on a trajectory to crash out of the EU without a deal, and that this could be fatal for the unity of the United Kingdom. I understand that they will back any measure that prevents no deal, and could publicly express support for a second referendum – if May’s deal can’t pass parliament – as early as next week. I’m told both Davidson and her stand-in Jackson Carlaw are signed up to this position. “No deal would be disastrous and jeopardise the union so we will reluctantly have to go back to the country and ask them,” says a source.

With Theresa May’s days already being numbered, the prospect of an ultra-Brexiteer as leader is not an endearing thought to her party north of the border:

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Courage Calls…

A few weeks ago I was invited by Christine Jardine MP to visit Westminster as her #AskHerToStand delegate. The event was to commemorate the centenary of the Qualification of Women Act, a defining moment in British politics when women were allowed to stand for parliament for the first time.

As Christine’s delegate, I think I won the Golden Ticket. Where some guests were only able to spend five minutes with their MP, I was welcomed for the entire day. Christine and her assistant, David Evans, were generous with their time and insight despite having to navigate an ever-changing diary. Filing copy for the Corstorphine Grapevine was sandwiched between an emergency debate on Yemen and PMQ’s. Christine joined me in the audience at an #AskHerToStand event, but quickly realised that there wasn’t a Lib Dem MP on the panel. She nipped out to get us a drink and when I looked up she’d joined the stage! She never misses a beat in representing her constituents or the Lib Dems.

My trip to London was exactly one year after I made the decision to join the party. It was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time, but for many people joining a political party is a scary thing and I was one of them. 

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Federal Policy Committee report – 12 December 2018

FPC had a full and varied last meeting before Christmas on Wednesday night.

We started with a broad overview of the overall financial implications of our policy platform: our priorities for spending and how we would find the resources to pay for them. This ranged widely over a number of areas including spending on welfare and health. We had a particularly good discussion of the best way of supporting education. We also reviewed our various tax proposals, with the 1p on income tax for health as the headline commitment, and also drawing together various other proposals on tax recently approved by conference.

Next up was the motion and paper on Race Equality which we will be proposing to spring conference. This has some excellent analysis and proposals to tackle the deep and difficult issues in this area, and will be published with the agenda for spring conference. Many thanks to Merlene Emerson and the working group who have developed these.

We had a useful conversation with Paul Noblet, the chair of the working group A Fairer Share for All, ranging widely over the territory of this group. The group has taken evidence on and is discussing various proposals to help the least well off, both through the benefits and tax system and other ways. It will publish a consultation paper on its proposals before spring conference.

We had a brief but useful discussion with Mike Tuffrey – who co-chaired the policy working group that wrote the Good Jobs, Better Businesses, Stronger Communities paper – about some work he is supporting to look at the big economic questions facing the country, including the challenges of new technology, the relationship between business and society, and what the role of the state in the economy should be. This is at an early stage but it it is hoped that in due course there will be some proposals to contribute, that take the ideas in the original policy paper further forward.

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Brexit in British and World evolution

This article was due to appear in September when I asked for a second referendum, but I delayed it as I thought at the time that it would appear as purely academic. Political reflection has evolved since then.

The Prime Minister repeats endlessly her political mantra that Brexit will bring a brighter future and happy tomorrows. The student of history knows how costly any secession or independence can be, with usually an array of sweat, tears and too often blood, even with the best plans. This was precisely the sense of my question to FM Nicola Sturgeon at the RSA recently: ‘If Scotland would be independent, have you made any plans to project the country in the future?’ To alert her of the dangers of such program more than know about them. Matthew Taylor, who moderated, said ‘Very big question’ then turning to her ‘I suspect the answer is ‘yes’’!. She of course replied ‘Yes, is the answer to that question….’. Mrs May, to whom I pointed out I could ask the same question for Brexit, would have equally said ‘yes’. As a member of a family who has helped reformed two states, Egypt (1920’s) and Brazil (1958), and created one republic from scratch – the First Republic of Armenia (1918-20) – I will humbly point out that any such project is a costly adventure no matter how well prepared you are and even if you are on the ‘right side of history’ to quote Mr Obama during his inaugural speech

It is on the latter point I wish to dwell. World history, including the European one, has a flow and some like Lord Heseltine, see it very well. President Roosevelt once formulated it with the vocabulary of his time: ‘You can delay the development of civilisation, but you cannot stop it’. The world, whether one likes or not, tends towards unity even if this is in the future. The European idea is a step towards this unity; Brexit a delay triggered by those who consciously or unconsciously react to this global change: Open border and this free movement which Mrs May wants ended, mingling of nations at an increased pace, decentralisation of the financial world and education, etc… Even the French Prime Minister recently stated that English is the ‘Langua Franca’ of the world – a true revolution considering the onerous ‘Francophonie” program which aims to restore the influence of French in international circles.

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Christmas Competition: Taking On the Demagogues

We seem to be in an age of populists – from Brexiteers in the UK to authoritarian voices in parts of Europe and beyond, to Donald Trump in the US. Wherever there is a problem, there’s someone to blame, and it’s usually minority groups and the vulnerable – those with the quietest voices – that get blamed.

This development has potentially dangerous consequences – populist leaders fomenting an atmosphere of distrust, resentment, and hatred. At home politicians and newspapers see “traitors”, “saboteurs”, “enemies of the people” and little green men hiding under the bed. We all know where this can lead. “Ordinary”, “hard-working” people whom populists claim to represent only get to have their say once – then the barriers go up, dissent is silenced or drowned out by all-dominant official media (or government-friendly oligarchs buying media space); human rights disregarded and power abused and corrupted. Liberals, people of a broadly liberal outlook, are getting thoroughly sick of all this mean-spirited grumpiness and nastiness. Their stomach-churning rhetoric serves to remind us why we are liberals.

We cannot necessarily blame “technology” or “social media” for this malaise – populist demagoguery has driveled out of traditional outlets such as the Sun, the Mail, the Express and Fox News for decades.

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Observations of an ex pat: Wanted – Helmsman

The good ship Europa is without a helmsman, rudderless, and drifting aimlessly through the stormy seas, dangerous shoals and shark-infested waters of Brexit, immigration, a stagnating economy, Russian aggression, Chinese perfidy, American tariffs and Donald Trump’s unilateralism.

Ship Europa is in desperate need of a captain who can repair the damage and set the ship back on a course which its bickering crew can agree upon.

Traditionally, the role has fallen to the one of the two continental giants—France or Germany—and sometimes, during calm and sunny periods—the  former rivals  together. Italy and Britain have played roles as first officers, providing political ballast to one or the other would be captains. There has even been the occasional triumvirate

Well you can forget about Britain. It is too busy jumping ship and setting off in the same storm-tossed sea in a leaky dinghy with a tenth  of the cargo. As for Italy, well its far left/far right coalition is busy drilling holes in the ship’s hull. Meanwhile, the newly recruited officers from Eastern Europe are plotting mutiny.

The crew and passengers had high hopes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and perhaps even higher hopes of the young determined-speaking French President Emmanuel Macron. The problem is that the ship is constructed as a collection of nation states held together by the collective will of its citizens. It is not a single unitary political structure.

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13 December 2018 – (not just) today’s press releases

You’d think that putting the day’s piece to bed after 11.30 p.m. should cover everything. But no, the Press Teams both in London and Cardiff had one last shot in the dying moments of yesterday, so I’m including them with today’s batch. Enjoy…

  • Theresa May Must Give the People the Final Say – Welsh Lib Dems
  • PM must now change course and offer people the final say
  • Soaring numbers of children trapped in temporary accommodation is shameful
  • Welsh Lib Dems Welcome Prostate Cancer MRI Scans
  • Govt must set out plans to avoid NHS winter crisis
  • Lib Dems demand MPs holidays are cancelled to vote on Brexit
  • Cable:

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What is your leverage?

Yesterday’s phoney war over the leadership of the Conservative Party has got me thinking. The hardline Brexiters (confusing referred to in the media as just ‘Brexiteers’) sought to remove Theresa May over the desirability of the Brexit deal she has achieved with the European Union. This is not their Brexit; they are betrayed; they must show how angry they are.

But I still wonder if there was any more substance than that. Could a hardline PM have got a better deal? They claim they could, but how? The EU has made little if any concession to the UK, and their position today is much as it was before the vote. The Leavers promised us the EU would fold quickly and they were wrong, and that is their fault, not the EU’s.

Posted in Op-eds | 25 Comments

If you were PM….

An interesting quiz popped into my inbox from those nice people at Unlock Democracy.  You have to imagine that you are PM – after all, that job may well be up for grabs in the near future.

You are presented with a series of policy dilemmas – would you rather do x or y? Actually, in some cases, I was a bit “NEITHER” or “NOT QUITE LIKE THAT” or “BOTH” but that is part of the fun.

It has a serious point:

Every day decisions affecting millions are made by a handful of ministers, while the rest of us struggle to have a voice. By taking the quiz and sharing it afterwards, we can spread the word about the need to bring power closer to the people.

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What is a movement?

In the discussion – and sales talk – around the party reform proposals, people often talk of creating a movement, sometimes equated to a supporter scheme. Sometimes, as in that video, it’s presented as an alternative to a political party. There is a danger of positive language being repeated till people stop asking what it means. So what is a movement and how’s it different from a political party?

“Movement” suggests moving – towards some shared goal. Parties can do that, but you can’t have a movement for not changing things much. Movements require mass participation.

Any party can call itself a movement. In France in 1945, some traditional parties were blamed for France’s unpreparedness for the war and others for collaborating. So a new party was called the “Mouvement Republican Populaire” – People’s Republican Movement. It was organised as a traditional party with mainly unclear goals.

Parties have a defined membership, organisation at local and national levels, a leader or leaders and some process for choosing people with particular responsibilities. Movements may or may not have these things.

Many movements campaign for something narrowly defined. Consider the 19th century movements for abolition of slavery in the UK and the US. The UK movement worked through traditional parties. The US movement founded its own parties (Free Soil, then Republican). Other genuine movements include the Feminist movement, the Green movement, CND and nationalist separatist movements. Some have formed parties, others not.

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In an historic decision, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court rules that the President’s dissolution of parliament was illegal

Embed from Getty Images

This follows on from my post on November 29th.

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has just ruled unanimously that President Sirisena acted illegally when he dissolved Parliament and called early elections.

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Love, actually

A message to Theresa May & all Britons on Brexit

Here is a video column from the D66 (Dutch Social-Liberal, pro-European sister party), featuring Kees Verhoeven, our MP for European Affairs.

Hope you enjoy!

https://twitter.com/D66/status/1072408573475463168

#makelovedontBrexit

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Why “Global Britain” must be rooted in our liberal democratic values

The world has changed a lot over the past 30 years, becoming both more open and democratic and more prosperous. Well-being indicators of those most in need, especially in terms of health and education, have improved dramatically. But we still confront tremendous challenges, ranging from climate change to growing inequalities, especially within countries, and from conflict and fragility to migration. In addition, a profound dissatisfaction with liberal democracy and perceptions about the way it works has set in, not only in the developing world but also in countries that have traditionally been considered the cradles of democracy.

So despite the progress, it can often feel like we are confronting the greatest period of uncertainty and instability we have experienced since the second world war. As happened after World War II, the collective problems we face today require collective ways to address them. The United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the European Union itself, are all founded in the experience of what happens when the world fragments. Coming together to create rules-based regional and global communities was the answer in the post-War era. This is why it feels strangely anachronistic for the UK to press on with Brexit now – especially when considering that the EU has been the single most successful multilateral effort of peace- and state building and the promotion of development and prosperity we have known.

Prime Minister May launched the idea of a “Global Britain” in October 2016 to counter fears that the UK would become inward-looking after Brexit. The UK has been a powerful and influential player in the world stage, playing among other things a leading role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals. But it is also the case that the EU has been a major multiplier for UK development and foreign policy – just as the UK has been a multiplier for EU development and foreign policy – and both risk losing significant leverage. So regardless of whether Britain stays inside or leaves the EU, making “Global Britain” more than a slogan will require sustained leadership and continued investment and engagement in crucial international relationships and commitments, both with(in) the EU and beyond.

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12 December 2018 – today’s press releases

So, another day when much has happened, but little has obviously changed. It’s a bit like ‘Waiting for Godot’, in that Brexit is supposedly coming, but never actually seems to turn up…

  • Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions
  • Agreement Reached Between new First Minister and Kirsty Williams
  • Lamb: Labour’s abstention on cannabis vote ‘deeply depressing’

Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions

Responding to the reports that the Prime Minister will face a vote of confidence in her leadership, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Theresa May’s deal is a total mess and is the latest backdrop for yet another Conservative meltdown over

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The hunt for certainty

Theresa May has been telling MPs that they need to vote for her deal to give certainty.

That has always been hogwash because the Withdrawal Agreement kicks so much about our future relationship with the EU down the road as to be virtually meaningless. In fact, the very existence of the much maligned backstop is proof that it resolves very little and leaves us worse off.

But now, Theresa May’s quest to get her deal through the Commons is even more blighted. When she told Conservative MPs that she intended to step down ahead of the next election, she was probably thinking maybe sometime in 2021. The way some of her MPs, even those who supported her, are talking tonight, she’s got until March.

That adds even more uncertainty into the mix. We have no idea who will lead the negotiations shaping our future relations with the EU. Just imagine that Tory members elect Boris who thinks the chaos of no deal is just what this country needs? At least now we can revert to our membership of the EU but after March 29th we won’t have that safety net.

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PM Confidence vote – open thread

I’m going to call it now. Theresa May is going to win and win big tonight. That is not going to mean that all is peace, harmony and love in the Conservative Party. Today’s extraordinary scene between James Cleverly and Andrew Budgen showed the toxicity of the atmosphere.

Even if Theresa May was going to limp home, winning by one vote, she would stay on. Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t even have the confidence of half of his MPs and he manages it. I just hope that the Tory Remainers have extracted some concessions – maybe even a commitment to a People’s Vote – in return for their support. A convincing win would mean that she didn’t have to pander to the ERG anymore and could seek to build bridges across the House. If she’s told Tory MPs tonight that she isn’t going to contest the 2022 election and she can’t be challenged, then she has nothing to lose by going for a much softer Brexit, perhaps EEA, than she had envisaged. Whether she will take that course, because she’s not known for her flexibility, remains to be seen.

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December 12th: Today’s Announcements

 

Announcements as at 12th December

  • Lib Dems demand more action on ‘dangerous’ short prison sentences
  • ‘Gold-plated’ visa chaos shows Home Office can’t take back control
  • Cable: Conservative spat won’t resolve deepening divisions

 

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CHRISTMAS COMPETITION: LOCAL ELECTION MESSAGES FOR 2019

I for one am hopeful that we can make gains not least because the last cycle of these particular elections coincided with the last General Election and we all know how that turned out.

So what are the critical messages that Liberal Democrats must attempt to get across between now and next May?

Well, firstly the obvious one is to emphasise our commitment to community politics particularly in wards and districts where we are trying to build up support for the first time.

The slogan ‘Working all Year round not just at Election Time’ is one that sums up our approach and needs to feature prominently in our campaigns in 2019.

Our message to residents is that if they vote for a Liberal Democrat councillor, they will get a representative devoted to doing what is best for them and their area. A familiar message but one that only we as Liberals can say with conviction.

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Christmas Competition: Promoting ‘Terminally Green’

Oh, let us be, eventually, recycled,

Let us be with nature quite serene,

In a cardboard box,

To feed our hollyhocks,

Let us be quite terminally green.

 

Oh, let us be eventually recycled,

Don’t let us be like some old plastic bag,

If we should become quite ill,

Don’t put us in landfill,

We can’t be an environmental drag.

 

Oh, let us be eventually recycled,

We’ll stop this global warming in a trice,

Carbon footprints left behind?

That’s not what’s on our mind,

We want to be environmentally nice.

Posted in Op-eds and Poetry | Tagged | 3 Comments

A People’s Vote: What is the Question?

I have just attended my first anti-Brexit protest, a rally where MPs from all the main parties except the SNP called for a People’s Vote.

The call fell on sympathetic ears, but the speakers were pretty vague about the question “the people” were to answer.

Lib Dems were the first to demand that, given the impossible promises made in the Brexit campaign, once a deal had been negotiated voters should be given a chance to say whether that was a version of Brexit that they wanted, and whether, in the light of the outcome of negotiations, they wanted to change their mind on whether to leave the EU or not. Others have been slower to catch up, but it looks as if an ‘endorsing’ referendum might now be the only way forward.

In that case, what should the question(s) be?  I had assumed that “People’s Vote” with all its resources might have a preferred answer, but (presumably to hold their alliance together) their website is not yet specific.

Lib Dems are not so constrained, and we are in a position now to decide where we stand, so that we can continue to take the lead.

The apparent difficulty is that there are three possible ways forward: no deal, May’s deal, and no Brexit.

Posted in News and Op-eds | 19 Comments

Brexit: The forgotten option

Now, I am not normally the person to rush to the front of the queue offering ideas to help the conservative government bail itself out from an inevitable political meltdown. However, in a deep-felt belief that we all need to put the needs of the country before our political self-interest, I wish to suggest an option that not only offers a lifeline to Theresa May but also provides the hope for a brighter future for our country: Albania Plus.

Think about it. At a stroke, we would do away with all the problems of an advanced economy. We would phase out high-tech industries, scientific advancement and all that nasty complicated stuff associated with the ‘supply chain’. Once we stop trading as an advanced international economy, we will no longer have endless streams of imports and exports travelling the highways and byways of the country.  This will not only reduce congestion on our roads, but it will also avoid the need to turn the M20 into a lorry park. Problem solved.

In the lead up to the referendum we were told that Brixit would bring multiple benefits: improvements to the NHS, reduced immigration and we would ‘take back control’ our laws.  No more meddling by bureaucrats in Brussels!

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Christmas Competition: Why Be A Liberal Democrat?

The answer is simple: we are the only party centered on people who trust people to change their lives, their communities, and their government. This message resonates with millions, and it united the Radicals, Liberals, Social Democrats, Whigs and Peelites that form the rich tapestry and history of our party.

We trust people to know best what their conception of the good life is. We believe that consenting adults can chase their happiness – our only role is to enable them to do so and get out of the way. Whether that meant legislating for same-sex marriage so consenting adults can make choices about their lives or creating the Start-Up Loans programme, so entrepreneurs can access finance to launch their businesses and change the world – that’s where we are about.

We don’t see local authorities as administrative bodies that exist to deliver schemes agreed in Whitehall. We believe that truly local government is a way for people to take control of their communities, to shape and transform them. It is why we created City Deals giving local government powers to invest in schemes that will revitalise their areas and create badly needed jobs. It is why we made it easier to create town and parish councils – to give residents a framework through which to organise and run their towns and parishes; to bring to life the community politics that Lord Greaves and Gordon Lishman pioneered.

It was our belief in people that led the Whigs to fight for the Reform Act 1832, why the radical wing of the Liberal Party rose up to fight for the Reform Act 1867, why our movement agitated for universal suffrage, and why the SDP-Liberal Alliance continued a decades-long struggle for voting reform. It’s why the Liberal Democrats today stand as the biggest party fighting for Votes at 16 and for fairer votes. It is why we back devolution on demand – so communities can take control of services and stand on their own two feet, but only if they choose to.

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11 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Amidst the chaos that is Westminster at the moment, at least somebody was trying to do something liberal. Admittedly, it wasn’t successful, but as another step towards a more liberal drugs policy, it was certainly worth the effort. Otherwise, another day of national humiliation for our country, as Theresa May found herself child-locked into a limousine. It’s a metaphor for something, isn’t it?…

So, what has gone out in the name of the Party today…

  • Lamb: Prohibition of cannabis is causing harm across the country
  • Cable: Govt economic analysis on Brexit misleading
  • EU confirms May has no room to renegotiate Brexit
  • Lamb: It is

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So it looks like there might be a Tory leadership contest after all…..

The rumours have been circulating all evening, but if Kuenssberg and Peston are now saying it, there has to be some plausibility to the story:

Our Layla got a bit over-excited:

How very unlike the Conservative Party to embroil itself in its own self-indulgent civil war at a time of national crisis.

Of course, even if the ERG has managed to get itself sufficiently together to submit the letters and settle on a chosen candidate, maybe even one who has had a haircut recently, getting the letters in is only the first part of the job. They then have to persuade a majority of their Tory colleagues to back them to force a leadership contest. Apparently there was a huge amount of cheering coming from their meeting last night, and we can probably assume that it wasn’t because they were happy that Joe Sugg had got to the final of Strictly.

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Why a People’s Vote enhances democracy

Of course we should have a vote on the final Brexit deal. 

Because otherwise, we’re giving a free pass to the Brexit campaign of 2016 to say whatever they want, regardless of whether it’s achievable.

The Brexiteers could have promised 100% employment, free homes for everyone and class sizes of 10 if they wanted to. And then when the public voted for Brexit and none of this occurred, they could just say it’s too late. Brexit means Brexit. Anything else is frustrating the result of the referendum.

There comes a point when, if what was promised before the referendum is nothing like what has been achieved in reality, that mandate needs to be held to account. We need to know if the public support the actual Brexit which is staring them in the face – rather than the one which was pitched to them two years ago on completely different terms.

We clearly reached that point a long time ago. 

The Brexit campaign was based on a vision of Brexit which just hasn’t happened. £350 million to the NHS per week? A generous trade deal with the EU? An economically more prosperous country? None of that has happened. 

If the Leave Campaign had campaigned for May’s Brexit Deal, or for No Deal, they would clearly have lost under either circumstance. That’s why I don’t like it when people justify a People’s Vote by saying that the public have a right to change their mind. This isn’t about changing minds. This Brexit was never voted for in the first place. 

Our Prime Minister doesn’t support Brexit. Our Parliament doesn’t support Brexit. The only reason that we are pursuing this policy is because it is “what the people want”. When so much has changed since the vote in 2016, shouldn’t we at least check that this really is “what the people want”? What’s the harm – from a democratic point of view? If the public really do want this version of Brexit then they will vote for it. No one is overturning anything. The public will get their way.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 32 Comments

Reminder: Christmas Competition

To celebrate and get in the mood for the festive season I thought that we could have a writing competition.  As many of you (on average at least 4,500 members visit the Lib Dem Voice site every day) write articles, read them or comment I propose a Christmas Article Competition.

The proposed Competition Rules are:

  • An Article should not be more than 550 words;
  • The article in each of the specified areas will be jointly judged by representatives identified as experts in that area by Lib Dem Voice and Lib Dem editors;
  • The starting date for the competition starts as of 28th November to 17th December;
  • The title of your article for the competition should start with the words “Competition: … followed by the title of your article”

Basic criteria when assessing each article will be:

  • The originality of the article;
  • That the article is within the stipulated maximise length required (550 words);
  • Generally, how well has the article presented its argument on the subject matter;
  • We will only accept one submission for each subject area per person (as stated below);
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Lib Dem policy is to withdraw Article 50 if we can’t get an extension for referendum or extra negotiations

This seems to be a good moment to remind you all of the motion passed at Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton. Essentially, if we can’t get an extension for a People’s Vote, or for extra negotiating time to avoid a no deal, we think that Article 50 should be withdrawn. And the ruling from the European Court of Justice yesterday proves that it can be done.

Read, learn and inwardly digest this paragraph:

(Conference calls for)The Government to seek to extend Article 50 if required to legislate for a referendum on the deal, or to provide enough negotiating time to avoid a catastrophic no-deal scenario, and if such extension is not agreed to withdraw the Article 50 notification.

Here’s the motion in full:

Conference notes that:

A.The Conservative Government are making a mess of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party are helping them to deliver this destructive Brexit.

B.Liberal Democrats campaigned to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum and have since campaigned for the people to have the final say on the Brexit deal, including the option to remain in the EU.

C.The Treasury have stated that a no-deal Brexit could require the UK to borrow œ80 billion more by 2033, the Conservative Government have begun releasing the 84 no-deal technical notes, and the UK health sector are stockpiling medicines in case of a no-deal.

D.The Chequers plan is unworkable, rejected by both the EU and Conservative European Research Group MPs.

E.A conclusive agreement has not yet been reached on many of the issues arising from the Brexit referendum, including Government red lines, and both sides have stated that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

F.Whilst the principle of a Northern Ireland backstop has been agreed, the UK’s plan to temporarily avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland has not been agreed and there is still no agreement on a long-term solution.

G.During the transition period, which is due to end in 2020, the UK will remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.

H.The draft Withdrawal Agreement stipulated that EU citizens will have to apply for pre-settled or settled status and if they fail to do so will be at risk of deportation; Irish citizens do not have to apply but can if they choose to.

I.EU citizens, who are not Irish or Commonwealth citizens, living in the UK are excluded from voting in UK General Elections or referendums and voting rights have been left outside the scope of Brexit negotiations by the EU Commission.

J.The 2016 EU referendum gave no clear destination for Brexit, as the terms of the deal were not yet known.

Conference believes that:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 13 Comments

10 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Well, that was the day that was, wasn’t it? Or was it? Theresa May has managed to get away again, somewhat in the style of a squid, squirting ink at its attacker and making for cover in the confusion.

By avoiding a vote she seemed certain to lose, she keeps her plan alive and, perhaps, if she can keep doing that long enough, she may reason that she can eliminate other options so that, as Sherlock Holmes famously surmised, if all other options are ruled out, what remains, regardless of how unlikely it might otherwise seem, is the solution.

It needs someone

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJayne Mansfield 15th Dec - 9:46am
    @ Glenn, Sometimes when is trying to negotiate an agreement in an almost impossible situation, one sometimes has to settle for one where both sides...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 15th Dec - 9:44am
    The Brexit conundrum arises first from the fact that, of two countries next door to each other and currently closely linked through the EU, one...
  • User AvatarGlenn 15th Dec - 9:40am
    David Allen I think the EU is more Pan-European than internationalist. To me it seems to be based on the notion of a shared culture...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 15th Dec - 8:47am
    That's good to know, thank you, Joe. I will enquire about the situation locally in the spring.
  • User AvatarTom Harney 15th Dec - 8:30am
    What is needed is a positive campaign to convince people of the reality of the European Union. We are going to end up with another...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 15th Dec - 8:23am
    I was interested in the mention of English as a world language. I believe that this notion is a reason for our distorted view of...