1000 new members join Lib Dems as Farron says “We will keep the vision of an open, optimistic, hopeful Britain alive”

So I still haven’t gone to bed yet. I feel just about alive. There seems little point in sleeping now as I need to get up at 4:30 tomorrow morning to catch a flight to London for Federal Executive where we have a whole day of constitutional amendments ahead of us. I suspect we may mention the Referendum result as well. Just a bit.

“I’m for the 16 million, the 48%” said Tim Farron in a speech on the referendum result. By 1pm,1000 people had joined the party, reminiscent of the surge last year.

Tim’s speech was heartfelt and hopeful. He was furious about the way the campaign had been fought, so divisive and deceitful. He understood the concerns of those disengaged people who had voted for Leave but he also empathised with young people, who had voted for Remain in huge numbers but “whose future had been taken away by older generations” who had enjoyed the benefits of greater European integration.

He also announced that 1000 new members had joined the Lib Dems today.

You can watch the speech here on the party’s Facebook page. It darned well made me cry. Up until seeing it, I had been shocked. This tugged at the heartstrings. .

I am devastated and I am angry. Today we woke to a deeply divided country.

Nigel Farage’s vision for Britain has won this vote, but it is not a vision I accept.

An institution that we built, that delivered peace, that promoted equality, kept us safe and opened the doors of opportunity, will no longer play part of Britain’s future.

With this vote, the very fabric of our country has changed.

The whole fabric of Europe has been changed.

 

Even though the vote was close, the majority of British people want us to leave.

But we refuse to give up on our beliefs.

Our fight for an open, optimistic, hopeful, diverse and tolerant Britain is needed now more than ever.

Together we will continue to make the case for Britain’s future with Europe, a future millions of people have voted for.

Together we cannot afford to let that vision die.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to stand and fight for a better kind of Britain than the one painted by the leave campaign.

If you are as angry and heartbroken as I am, I need you to join us today.

As Gladstone said almost 130 years ago – ‘We are part of the community of Europe, and must do our duty as such.’

Hope and optimism, openness and tolerance, cooperation and togetherness can succeed.

We must not let this vote allow our country to turn to division, isolation and decline.

 

Fellow Liberal Democrats, your efforts, in every corner of Britain, have been incredible, and I am immensely proud of the role you have played in this campaign.

As Charles Kennedy said, this party – our family – has Europe in its DNA.

I am a northerner, I am English, I am British and I am a European. I am proud of all four, and I am not alone.

It has been a privilege for me to lead people so committed to our internationalist values and united behind a vision of Britain that is tolerant, outward-looking and compassionate.

While others sat on their hands, you guys pulled a shift in every community in Britain. I am proud of you.

For years we have been told we have had to hide our vision on Europe.

Today we stand alongside millions of people who share in that vision.

16M people.
Those people share our values, our belief and our ambition for Britain.

 

What stands out to me more than anything, is the great injustice to future generations.

It looks like younger voters voted to remain at a staggering margin – almost three-quarters wanting to stay in.

Their future has been taken away by older generations.

What a tragedy that older voters, the people who have been able to benefit from European integration, have removed the opportunity for those coming behind them.

 

So, Boris, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage. You’ve got your wish. Britain is out.

Now, what do you intend to do with it?

Simple catch phrases, bluff and bluster no longer cut it.

What do you say to the millions of Europeans who have made Britain their home?

What do you say to the millions of Britons who livelihoods are on the line?

You must look those people in the eye, and tell them what you can offer.

Overnight, sterling has plummeted
£120 billion was wiped off the market in the first 10 minutes
Our banks are now more precarious
People’s pensions are at risk

In a matter of moments we are no longer the 5th largest economy in the world, we’re sixth, behind France, and falling.

We are at serious risk that last night’s vote will inflict damage to our economy that can’t be undone.

Economics isn’t about numbers on a spreadsheet it’s about people, people’s homes, jobs, livelihoods – now all put at risk.

 

For decades, politicians on all sides have pointed the finger of blame at Europe.

Lies and invented claims were left unchallenged.

No wonder that the British people don’t trust it, and don’t believe it.

And when the PM backed remain, after a career of criticising Europe, it should be no surprise that no one trusted or believed him either.

Successive Prime Ministers – Conservative and Labour –allowed the myth to grow that ‘Europe’ interferes in our sovereignty in ways it never has.

Even when you consider the referendum itself, it only came about because it was politically expedient for David Cameron to hide from the European issue before the general election.

This vote has been a collective howl of frustration – at the political class, at big business, at a global elite.

This was not a vote on the European Union alone.

Years of frustration, dissatisfaction and people feeling ignored have been building to this point.

Too often the European Union has been used as a distraction from failures in government.

The pressures on our schools, the pressures on our hospitals and GP surgeries, the pressures on our infrastructure are problems made in Westminster, in our own Parliament, by British politicians.

The insecurities from zero hours contracts, the housing crisis, the desertion of the industrial north, the expenses scandals and the banking crisis, these are all problems made in Westminster.

No wonder people feel ignored and neglected by politics.

They have seen their living standards falling further and further behind the rest of society.

They are angry.

They are right to feel angry.

I share that anger.

But Nigel Farage is not the answer.

 

12 months ago David Cameron had the best result of his career. Today, the worst.

I was honoured to share a platform with the Prime Minster on this campaign, but this result, this self-inflicted wound, will be his legacy.

There have been many things I did not agree with the Prime Minister on, but I must thank him for his stewardship of the country and for the way he took the very bold move to create a Coalition Government in 2010. It was an incredible act of bi-partisan cooperation.

The result of the referendum has left him with no choice. In this immediate period, the Government must act quickly to steady the economy, reassure the markets, and immediately set a new course.

Greater instability will lead to job uncertainty, falling investment, and greater pressure on public services.

There is no doubt this is going to be an incredibly testing, difficult and fractious time.

David Cameron has become the latest Conservative leader to fall victim to his party’s dangerous obsession with Europe. The Conservative’s political manoeuvring has taken our country to the brink, and today we have toppled over the edge.

And what he does with this moment is pivotal.

He is right not to invoke Article 50 immediately, but to take time to set out a constructive vision of our relationship with Europe.

People on both sides of this debate must be brought together to set the course for how we leave.

There is no doubt this is going to be an incredibly testing, difficult and fractious time.

There were some genuinely amazing cross party moments in this campaign.

I really enjoyed standing alongside some of this country’s greatest progressive politicians.

But with politicians of all parties working together, one of the things that stood out in this campaign, was Jeremy Corbyn’s bizarre refusal to share a platform in the face of the greatest challenge our country was faced in a generation.

I have stood alongside Gordon Brown, Harriet Harman, Chukka Umuna, Andy Burnham and Sadiq Kahn.

Great progressive Labour politicians that I admire – forced to campaign with their hands tied behind their back because of short sighted demands from their Leader’s office.

Where was the leader of that party?

Even when the future of our country depended on him, he could not bring himself to reach across the aisle.

When the call went out for help, Jeremy Corbyn refused to answer.

The once-proud working class Labour vote has abandoned Corbyn in droves.

Great Labour cities have been driven into the arms of UKIP and Nigel Farage.

It is clearer than ever that Jermyn Corbyn has more concern for his own position in his own party, rather than his country.

 

This has been a brutal campaign.

Tempers ran high, allegations were flung, and animosity crept into friendships.

Today I stand for the 48%. I stand for the 16 million.

Because I believe that we are instinctively an optimistic, hopeful country.

We are diverse, welcoming and open-hearted.

In this spirit we must move forward.

In this campaign we stood together against campaigns that sought to stoke bitterness and English nationalism.

Together, our progressive unity must not now be allowed to fade away.

Our liberal, progressive values are true British values and we must fight so hard to ensure they remain at the forefront of our politics.

 

In many ways this referendum has shown how our politics is broken

There is a very black cloud hanging over our country, but under that cloud, under the narrow painful defeat, there is a silver lining.

Because for the last few weeks I have stood alongside progressives, in Labour, Greens, SNP even Conservatives. It felt so much like there was more that united us than divided us.

We must not allow this unity to fade away.

When other parties are divided and wounded, I will reach out.

I am proud of the campaign that my party has run.

Positive, energetic and hopeful.

That’s the sort of party we are, and that is my offer to the country. It is my offer to all people who share our values.

I can offer you a home for a new modern breed of politics – liberal, hopeful, international, rational – driven by real British values.

Positive about Europe, furious with those who led us to this disaster. Determined that we will not walk away from this fight.

Together we can lay foundations for a better Britain.

Together we can heal the rifts of a divisive and negative campaign.

Be proud that you’re one of the 48%. The 16 million.

Help us build a better, more effective and more representative politics.

Help us fight for real British values at home and abroad.

Show our fellow Europeans that Britain is a good neighbour. Is proud to be a European country. Is proud to lead.

So join us.

Already, today, a thousand new members have joined the Liberal Democrats in a spontaneous act of those who refuse to allow Farage’s vision of a bitter Britain to win.

They want a better Britain.

If you share their anger, if you share my anger, join us, and join us now.

16 million people. 48%. In need of a voice.

A politics of hope and optimism.

We will not give up.

You must not give up.

Join us.

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

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28 Comments

  • Good stuff. Need a lot more of this, also we need to focus on policies maybe not so purely Liberal as in the past and get on a wavelength with those in the Urban areas who ignored Labour last night. There is an opportunity. We need new headline policies agreed at the Party conference, policies that will attract attention and connect with those who feel disconnected. Otherwise a new Labour leader will beat us to it. Some will not like them, but we have to survive and move forward as a party, the very poor result at Windsor Sunninghill last night is another warning. We need to go with the flow a bit more and be less precious.

  • Tony Greaves 24th Jun '16 - 2:25pm

    We should say straight away that we do not accept this and will start a campaign to stay or rejoin the EU. It will be scorned at first but after a few months we will be leading a new movement.

    Our colleagues in Scotland should also join the call for a new independence referendum to be triggered if and when leaving the EU is decided.

    Meanwhile are they really bailing out the banks to the tune of ANOTHER £250billion?

    Tony Greaves

  • I suspect after the tuition fees debacle, it will to say the least will be a uphill task getting many young voters to vote lib dem, for a long long long time.

  • Tony, There is absolutely NO chance of a re-run….We, as a party, speak for a tiny proportion of the electorate; the idea that we can lead a resurgent ‘Remain’ campaign is absurd …The ‘Brexit’ alliance played on the basest fears of a disenchanted electorate and won; In many areas of the UK the ‘blame the immigrant’ card trumped common sense…There is no chance of a rethink in the forseeable future
    Sadly, the die is cast and we must work for the best deal we can get outside the EU…

  • David Evans 24th Jun '16 - 3:17pm

    I agree with Tony on this. Britain needs a resurgent Liberal Democratic party desperately but we can’t do it with the current approach of ‘just go on being good Liberals and deliver your leaflets’. We need something that will gain us real media exposure and having failed to make an impression on changing leader and likewise on bombing Syria, this is probably the only horse left in town.

    It will take effort and courage and skill, but it will raise our profile no end and I hope Tim’s and his advisors will pick up on this.

  • Bernard Aris 24th Jun '16 - 3:27pm

    I too agree with Tony. Good to hear from him again.

    I hope that many young people hollidaying or already studying /working on the continent this summer will create flash mobs in front of town halls in for example The Hague (Holland), and simulate a mass request for foreign citizenship, shouting “Boris made us do it! Gove doesn’t want us to become experts!”.
    The old geezers in the Brexit camp (grey-haired Farage is proud to still remember the 1975 Referendum; and fifth columnist Corbyn isn’t a spring chicken either) and grandparents all over the UK should be shown what they voted for.
    Who will pay their pensions and social secirity when they drive out the striving, ambitious, cosmopolitan and talented youth? Who will protect the labour rights and social contract British workers have enjoyed since the TUC conference gave Jacques Delors, the man of the Maastricht Treaty, a standing ovation? The Premier League will be duller without foreign trainers like Louis van Gaal doing their heavily accented lingustic improvisations at press conferences; UKIP voted for both “death and the gladiolas”… The Premier League’s warning against voting Leave wasn’t for nothing…

    D66 will plead in the Dutch parliament next monday night for a prompt and rapid start of the Article 50 procedure; we don’t trust it when Boris Johnson pleads for delaying the implementation of what he himself willfully brought about.

  • paul barker 24th Jun '16 - 3:28pm

    It seems that some who voted Leave are already having regrets, many voted for Brexit beleiving that it wouldnt happen or that nothing much would change. There is every chance of millions of voters changing their minds now they are faced with reality.
    We are a small Party but we are united when both Tories & Labour are split, there is every chance of our reaching out to the 48% as The SNP did to their 45%, we can do this.

  • For once, I agree with Tony.

  • The Lib Dems and the Labour party keep saying how many new members they are signing up, but the voters don’t seem to trust either of you. You still wheel out Clegg – refusing to believe the public detest him – and the Labour party offers voters Jeremy Corbyn. If they had been on the leave side remain may have won. The left and centre left have never been weaker – lots of activists but very few voters.

  • Alasdair Brooks 24th Jun '16 - 3:58pm

    I’m one of those new members. I joined this morning.

    Technically I’m a rejoin; but despite remaining a loyal party voter (and recently a regular lurker on this site), I hadn’t been an actual member since the 1990s.

    I was devastated by last night’s result; left in total despair. The 2015 GE election result was bad enough, but on some level I could rationalise that as part of the normal ebb and flow of politics. Last night convinced me that I can’t afford to be complacent anymore. Perhaps this is going to sound trite, but over the last year I seem to have lost the United Kingdom I believed in; but I can stand up and be counted over the values I still believe in.

    As to the issue at hand, there’s nothing we can do to change the result in the short term. If a reversal of Brexit does ever become feasible, it’s likely at least 20 years away; it’s not just an issue of the British public (or the English and Welsh public, depending on other potential ramifications of this result) changing its mind, we also have a very long road ahead convincing our European partners to re-engage with and trust us again after this. But engaging with the 48% who voted Remain, including the many voters who distrust the likely Johnson/Gove/May-led cabinet we’re about to have, who are desperately disappointed by Corbyn’s referendum role, and who reject the right wing populism of UKIP… that’s something we can and should be doing.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Jun '16 - 4:01pm

    Three cheers for Tim!!!

    As for Tony Greaves above , I have never read anything more unrealistic and out of touch ,listen to Willie Rennie , to the new members, a message of hope despite the result , a moderate stance , a measured approach.

    We cannot ignore or rewrite this result . We can offer a view of the future that does not ignore it.

  • Conor Clarke 24th Jun '16 - 4:04pm

    Of course, a resurgent campaign to Remain has no legs. That ship has sailed.

    However, we should be fighting tooth and bloody nail for an early general election BEFORE Article 50 is invoked and the 2 year clock starts.

  • Like Alasdair Brooks above, I’m one of the new members today. (well, I did deliver some leaflets in the early 2000s, but apart from that) I won’t restate Alasdair’s cogent post other than to say “me too, mate” to all of it.

  • Bill le Breton 24th Jun '16 - 5:03pm

    I am in Brussels. There is a General Strike. The Eurozone is a disaster zone, especially for the poor.

    It is forgotten that Britain started the end of the Great Depression when it was the first country to leave the Gold Standard. It recovered quickly. Every country that then left the Gold Standard – the the US next – started to recover. The last to leave the Gold Standard – France – was the last to recover. The Eurozone is the C21st Gold Standard and even those not in the Euro are linked to its deflationary effects. Hence our weak recovery.

    Why is no one here talking about the attractions of being a member of the European Economic Area? All the freedoms of the single market. Plus greater sovereignty for Westminster.

    When we retain our membership of the EEA others will join us there too. There could be an EU with members able to join together in a political union with their single currency. But those countries for whom the German exchange rate of the Euro is inappropriate would be free to once again control their own currencies, their own interest rates, their own exchange rates and begin their recovery as soon as they do so.

    A recovering Europe would mean a recovering UK. And Scotland won’t win a referendum on a platform of joining the EU and the Euro when it would be largely bankrupt.

    And finally – really – did no one in the upper echelons of the party even bother to game plan a Leave win? Unbelievable that the former chief whip writes an article asking ‘what next?’

  • David Evans 24th Jun '16 - 5:08pm

    Lorenzo, as far as the British population are concerned, it is the Lib Dems who are out of touch and unrealistic. Even with the support of Big Business, Cameron, Corbyn, Sturgeon etc, on the one issue that is a touchstone for most Lib Dems, we lost again and in truth our contribution was hardly noticed.

    In the may elections we fell to being the fifth party in London, having been overtaken by Greens and UKIP. Likewise in Wales we are fifth where Plaid and UKIP are ahead, in Scotland we are just fourth and in most of England we are almost entirely dependent on our councillor base which in itself is down to a third of its size pre coalition.

    Over the last six years in Europe we have lost all but one of our MEPs, in Scotland all but one of our MPs, and in Wales all but one of our AMs and all but one of our MPs.

    Do you really believe that “a moderate stance , a measured approach” will do anything to get us out of this mess?

  • I left due to the policy to bomb Syria. This isnt totally unconnected with the referendum result. Bombing supported by Labour and the Lib Dems has created more refugees and in turn those ref were used by Remain. I dont yet see a pressing reason to rejoin the Lib Dems. The profile in the campaign was minimal. Corbyn left a vacuum and a lot of territory the Lib Dems could have colonised was left bare. Could I have done more as an individual or as part of a party like the Lib Dems? Ill never know, I have less time for politics now as I have a kid with a medical condition to manage. If the Lib Dems want folk like me to rejoin they will have to be more forceful in the media.

  • “The once-proud working class Labour vote has abandoned Corbyn in droves. Great Labour cities have been driven into the arms of UKIP and Nigel Farage.”

    We’re told that Corbyn wasn’t trying, and caused Labour voters to desert in droves. Yet 68% of Labour voters voted Remain.

    Meanwhile the Europhile Lib Dems with their Europhile leader only persuaded 71% of their voters to vote Remain. And Tim Farron blames Corbyn for the result?

    On probably the most earth-shattering day in politics I’ll ever see, the figures I’ve quoted above still seem remarkable.

  • Tony G is right – but I fear the Lib Dems as a whole are too ‘nice/centralist’, not wishing to upset anyone. This could be the chance for the Lib Dems to rediscover their Liberal radical roots…….. but then again……………..

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Jun '16 - 8:08pm

    ‘ Great Labour cities have been driven into the arms of UKIP and Nigel Farage’.

    Nobody drove anyone into the arms of UKIP and Nigel Farage, they went of their own free will and now they must face the consequences. ( Sadly, so must we).

    Already Boris Johnson and Daniel Hannan are softening people up regarding the need for free movement of people. Nigel Farage has already quibbled about whether the money ‘saved’, by leaving the EU would be spent on the NHS, something he says he would not have promised.

    It is too late for buyers regret, but it will be interesting to see how those Brexiteers who have so comprehensively pulled the wool over the eyes of the electorate, are going to maintain the deceit that featured in so much of the Brexit campaign.

    I struggle to understand how the position we now find ourselves in as a country can be attributed to Jeremy Corbyn. As with Tim Farron, the media has failed to give Corbyn an opportunity to make his voice heard. On occasion, when it is, I find I am in agreement with some of the things he says. He seems to be something we should treasure after this bruising campaign, an honest and principled politician.

  • There is no reason why their can’t be another referendum on the terms negotiated by Boris, (it was after all his suggestion) the idea that the Lib Dems have to play by the rules (when their aren’t any) is misplaced. Leave never accepted 1976 as the final word, neither should we accept 2016. Yes we have to be practical but if people change their minds, then we (the people) should be able to change the decision. WE did after Munich in 1938 for example.

  • and of course the Liberal Democrats used to do quite well in cities until a certain leader

  • Bill le Breton 24th Jun '16 - 9:27pm

    As I warned here a couple of nights ago. Labour lost 30% of its vote in Scotland between the 2010 and 2015 elections.

    They could well now have lost 30% of the vote across our nations to either UKIP or Johnson. We of course may have lost 30% of our 8% remaining support. Given that a BoJo Conservative Government could now repatriate much of its vote lost to UKIP, he was the real ‘darling’ of the leavers as was shown at that last big Question Time, and that would mean a landslide win for him at the next election.

    We have to speak up, not against this decision, that will only help Johnson et al. We have to campaign for the EEA solution as a matter of urgency. The third way.

  • Neil Sandison 25th Jun '16 - 9:19am

    It is now time to build a new social liberal coalition .A brexit led conservative government will drag us back to the 1980s .We cant trust Labour to lead that coalition they are now unimportant in Scotland and increasingly being replaced by UKIP in their heartlands in the north and parts of the south increasingly isolated into minor city states elsewhere . A new social liberal grouping must emerge from brexit that taps into the more pluralist on line community and promotes social liberal values .We have many battles ahead on employment and environmental rights, Should we allow or encourage Scotland and Northern Ireland to apply for some form of continued membership of the EU without breaking up the UK . a federal solution ?. Some needs to lead this debate why not the Liberal Democrats.

  • @Jayne
    “Already Boris Johnson and Daniel Hannan are softening people up regarding the need for free movement of people.”

    They are, but it’s hard to see how they could accept truly free movement when it’s pretty obvious that was one of the main aspects of the EU the people voted against.

    What happens with regard to Switzerland is of importance here. Their electorate voted to impose EU immigration quotas and the Swiss government has made it clear that they are obliged to implement this by next February. Up to now, the EU has refused to negotiate on this – partly because they didn’t want to offer the Swiss anything that they might then be expected to offer the UK. Thursday’s vote may simply entrench the EU in this view; but on the other hand, there is growing concern among EU leaders that the UK’s exit could trigger a domino effect unless free movement is reformed, so this may force them to offer concessions to the Swiss (and then, presumably, to us).

    Delaying Article 50 until October could be helpful in this regard, because once we start exit negotiations, the Swiss are concerned that the EU simply won’t have the inclination to spend much time negotiating with them.

    Incidentally, I just saw Miriam Gonzalez on BBC Breakfast. She has changed her job title to “Trade Lawyer” and was informing viewers of the services her legal firm could offer to big companies who now have to deal with the fallout from the referendum.

  • Dr David Hill 25th Jun '16 - 10:15pm

    No.

    For the United Kingdom has nothing in the long-term to fear from Brexit. For according to extensive global research by Japan (MITI) in the 1980s and Germany in the 1990s concerning the basic seeds of economic dynamism and whose thinking at the fundamental level has created the modern world, Britain leads the world by a mile. Indeed according to the Japanese and Germans, 53% and 54% respectfully.

    Therefore the UK has only to release this currently untapped gold-mine of creativity, and where we will lead the world in 20-years time. I just hope that the new independent government listens this time unlike the Blair government. For they have to listen to the people this time and invest in them, as the British people hold the secret and not just the scientists.

    ‘Why the ‘Innovation Chain’ is so Important for the Future World and Why things have to Change for Humanity’- http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/why-innovation-chain-is-so-important.html

  • -Dr David Hill
    Why exactly do we need to cut ourselves off from our most important markets in order to tap ” the currently untapped gold-mine of creativity”?

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Jun '16 - 11:46am

    @Stuart,
    See Daniel Hannan’s comments to Evan Davies.

    The Leave campaigns promises are unravelling quicker than a ball of wool in a basket of kittens.

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