LibLink: Nick Clegg: Finally the Brexit spell is beginning to lift: MPs are beginning to stand against it

In Nick Clegg’s latest iNews column, he says that MPs are finally starting to flex some muscle in the Brexit process. He is as bold as to say that he believes Parliament will actually save the country from its fate. Nick’s article is important because it gives those who think that our fate is inevitable a clear route map to a better future.

He says that if Parliament votes down the deal, the two year Brexit clock will stop ticking:

Next October, Brexit Secretary David Davis will present the Government’s threadbare Brexit deal to the House of Commons for approval. This is the key vote, the key moment, which will determine Britain’s future. Vote down the deal, and headlong rush towards Brexit will come to a shuddering halt. The clock counting down the minutes to Britain’s departure from the EU will stop ticking. ‘Senior officials in Brussels last week expressed their certainty that Britain can still find a place for itself within the EU’

The government, with increasing panic, insists otherwise, and will continue to repeat its threat that by rejecting a deal MPs will be voting for Britain to crash out of Europe without a deal. This is total nonsense. For a start, Britain will legally remain part of the EU.

However, should MPs, on behalf of their constituents, decide not to go ahead with Brexit then the Article 50 process will inevitably be paused. Our friends and partners across Europe won’t shrug their shoulders and simply carry on with the process. Instead the EU will reach for the pause button. This was made clear to me by senior officials in Brussels last week, who not only expressed their growing bewilderment with the government’s approach to the Brexit talks but also their certainty that Britain can find a place for itself within the EU should it choose a different path.

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WATCH: Vince Cable talking about the Brexit Bill and how it undermines Parliament

Here’s Vince talking on the Daily Politics the other day about Theresa May’s offer to EU nationals, trade and how the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form undermines democracy.

He emphasised that the British Government is in a very weak negotiating position with the EU.

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Martin Luther King: How the dream speech wasn’t planned

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It was one of the most famous speeches ever made and led to two major pieces of Civil Rights legislation in the USA.

Yet, in issue 1277 of the Big Issue, author Philip Collins tells how Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” on August 28th 1963 in The Mall, Washington DC, wasn’t planned as it happened.

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Cole-Hamilton: Children must have equal protection from assault

Well, this will probably be a controversial one as the issue over whether parents should have the right to hit their children for some peculiar reason always causes a big argument in liberal circles. My own view has always been that there are no circumstances in which it is justifiable to hit a child and that there is always a better way. Having children grow up thinking that it’s fine to hit someone smaller and defenceless to get your own way really isn’t a good look. Some children will grow up emotionally scarred from the experience of what some people …

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WATCH: Jo Swinson talking about her political comeback

Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson was on the Daily Politics this week talking about her two years out of politics after her defeat in 2015 and what motivated her to come back. She cited the threat to liberal values posed by Brexit and Trump and the unwelcome prospect of another divisive referendum on Scottish independence as the driving forces which spurred her to contest her seat again.

Watch her discusser own comeback – and whether Nick Clegg could do the same, here:

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Bickering brexiteers and teenage footballers

Nick Clegg has been telling the readers of the New Statesman all about his week.

As he attended a reception on mental health at Buckingham Palace, he remembered one of his first appearances as Lib Dem Leader at PMQs:

In the evening, I attended a reception at Buckingham Palace to support people who work in mental health, listening to a good speech by Prince William and a funny and moving one by Stephen Fry. Almost exactly ten years ago I raised mental health at Prime Minister’s Questions when Gordon Brown was at the despatch box as PM, and I was a newly elected Lib Dem leader. At the time, it was considered a “brave” thing to do – party leaders never raised mental health in the Commons. So it’s massive progress that mental health is now talked about openly in parliament, in the media, and even in Buckingham Palace. But the gap between words and deeds is huge. The taboo may have been broken, but the problems of poor mental-health provision still exist.

On a trip to Brussels, he learned something quite alarming about Brexit:

I caught up with some senior European Commission officials in Brussels, some of whom I’ve known for more than 20 years, from the time I worked there. One told me that the most striking moment in the Brexit negotiations so far was when UK officials asked whether the EU could provide Britain with “technical assistance” on how to process and transport nuclear materials, tasks presently overseen by Euratom (the European Atomic Energy Community). “Technical assistance is what the EU provides to some of the poorest countries of the world,” my friend told me. “Now the UK is asking for help like a developing nation. Wow.”

Then he went to see Hillary Clinton at the South Bank Centre and had some observations on defeat:

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Observations of an ex pat: Patriotism vs Nationalism

Patriotism: Good. Nationalism: Bad. At least that is how it reads in my political lexicon.

Patriots  love  their country. They love the land and the sky, the people, the culture, the history and the values.  If necessary, they are prepared to die for their country.

Nationalists feel all the above, but then take it a step too far. Sometimes several steps. And therein lies the problem.  Nationalists (in my political lexicon) believe that their country is better than other countries.  That it and their fellow citizens are superior to other countries and their citizens.

Sometimes that sense of superiority is applied not to national identities but to race or religion, such as White nationalists, Black nationalists or Islamic nationalists.  But whichever vehicle they use, nationalists  carry a strong sense of entitlement based on their nationality, colour or beliefs. And, if they are superior to others,  than it must follow that whomever the others are, they must be inferior.

That is why nationalism is bad.

European colonialism was bad because it was at least partly based on the belief that Europe was bringing a superior civilisation to a barbarian world. Colonialism was a form of European-wide nationalism.  In fact, much of the world that Europe viewed as barbaric had enjoyed the fruits of civilisation centuries before anything approaching civilised structures were even thought of in France, Britain or Spain.

Nazi Germany was the ultimate expression of nationalism. It encompassed race, language and culture, It claimed ultimate superiority for the German state and German race and used that assumed superiority to wage genocide and set out to subjugate the rest of the world.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMichael Cole 21st Oct - 1:11pm
    expats 20th Oct '17 - 3:02pm, I am not trying to justify Nick's actions but merely trying to understand them. His book 'Politics, between the...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Oct - 1:10pm
    Some inequality is good but it becomes obnoxious like many things in excess. The question is what is excess, how we measure it and what...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Oct - 1:06pm
    Have we ever had a policy paper on civil society; what it is, whether it is important and what we should do as a political...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 21st Oct - 12:41pm
    @Neil Sandison @Peter Hirst Losing control of your anger is almost always bad. But having no anger at all, when something is done that will...
  • User AvatarGlenn 21st Oct - 12:20pm
    Also surely the two big drivers of European colonialism were capitalism and Christianity rather nationalism. Almost the first thing colonial powers did was set up...
  • User AvatarJames 21st Oct - 12:11pm
    On BBC Wales today: A lead story about Labour's Stephen Kinnock and David Lammy criticising the lack of Welsh students being offered places at Oxbridge....