14 May 2019 – today’s press release

Corbyn a friend to Tories, not to Remainers

The Liberal Democrats today unveiled an election poster slamming Jeremy Corbyn for spending time helping the Tories deliver Brexit rather than doing anything to Stop Brexit.

According to analysis of the parliamentary record by the Liberal Democrats, the Labour party whipped either to abstain or to vote with the Conservative Government on a total of 29 key Brexit votes.

The poster, launched by Liberal Democrat MPs Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, comes as the Labour party descended into another row over its Brexit position.

Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey said:

The single biggest issue people are concerned about at these European elections is the mess and chaos Brexit will cause.

Despite being just days before poll, the Labour leadership is still caught in infighting over whether the party stands for Remainers or not. The hard truth is this; Jeremy Corbyn has aided and abetted this Tory Brexit mess. Corbyn is a friend to the Tories, not Remainers.

Every vote for his Labour party is a vote for Brexit. The choice is therefore clear. If you want to stop Brexit then vote for the strongest remain party – the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson said:

The Liberal Democrats are familiar recipients of accusations of fence-sitting, but I’d like to take this chance to officially crown Jeremy Corbyn as champion of that particular past-time in this Parliament.

The Labour Party have committed to sitting on the fence on Brexit with such ferocity that when the cross-party talks finally end, I can only assume that their frontbench will have to take a leave of absence in order to remove the enormous number of splinters they’ll have acquired in their collective backsides.

I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats stand in stark contrast, standing unambigiously as the party who wants to stop Brexit. So if you want to stop Brexit too, don’t waste your vote on the Labour party’s Brexit fudge, vote for the Liberal Democrats on 23rd May and help us to deliver a People’s Vote with the option of remaining in the EU.

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  • John Marriott 15th May '19 - 6:57am

    No, Ms Swindon, it should read “The Labour Party HAS”. Lib Dems might be plural; but ‘party’ is singular. The same for ‘their’, which should be ‘its’. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I’m afraid.

  • John Marriott 15th May '19 - 7:03am

    Oops. sorry, Jo, that should, of course, be ‘SwinSon ‘ (bloody predictive text!). As I used to say to my students; “Always check your work carefully before handing it in”. Mind you, I have been retired for twenty years!

    I like the poster, by the way; but, will it convince remainers to vote Lib Dem rather than Change UK, or Green in a rather crowded field?

  • Jeremy Corbyn is a friend to the Lib Dem’s let hope he keeps up the good work! 🙂

  • Tom Watson tries to persuade the Remain voters to support Labour, but who’s the leader of the Labour party, Watson or Corbyn? Which one should we believe represents the ambiguous policy of Labour on Brexit?

  • @John Marriott

    I hate to be nit-picking (but then I guess you are!) but the Oxford Dictionaries website says: “In British English it’s absolutely fine to treat most collective nouns as either singular or plural – you can say my husband’s family is very religious or my husband’s family are very religious.”


    As an aside, personally, I tend also to prefer English endings for plural endings rather than Latin or Greek ones – referendums rather than referenda – although obviously both are acceptable. I think Fowler’s Usage of Modern English suggests mostly English endings. Referendums in this country are, for example, held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 – rather than Referenda . However, mediums and media are, of course, two different things – even if both are charlatans who often claim to be able to predict the future which they normally singularly fail to do!

    Then, of course, we could get on to the difference between zeugma and syllepsis…. 🙂 !!!!

  • John Marriott 15th May '19 - 1:00pm

    @Michael 1
    Sorry; but I do not agree. You can quote whom you like. Party, family, committee, etc are singular nouns in my book, so they therefore require a singular verb, in this case, the third person singular. You certainly wouldn’t get away with it in a language like German, for example.

    As for ‘nit picking’, you love it really, don’t you? I may be old fashioned; but it appalls me how the English language has been highjacked in the cause of ‘progress’. You only have to dip into social media to find such classic examples as “he should of known better” or “I would like to pay anually”. Were I a real pedant I would be asking what happened to the subjunctive in English.

  • “Were I a real pedant I would be asking what happened to the subjunctive in English.”

    There’s an easy answer to that if you want a subjunctive political example, John…… If only the Lib Dems hadn’t joined the Coalition……….. you know the rest.

  • chris moore 15th May '19 - 1:55pm

    John Marriott 15th May ’19 – 1:00pm
    @Michael 1
    Sorry; but I do not agree. You can quote whom you like. Party, family, committee, etc are singular nouns in my book, so they therefore require a singular verb, in this case, the third person singular. You certainly wouldn’t get away with it in a language like German, for example.

    The majority of collective nouns can take a singular or plural verb.

    You may have your personal preference, but that doesn’t change correct usage. The Oxford Dictionary is one authoritative source. You could also consult any standard Englsih grammar. They will tell you the same.

    German usage is not a guide to English usage. it is a different language.

  • John Marriott 15th May '19 - 4:12pm

    @Chris Moore
    “German usage is not a guide to English usage. It is a different language”. Well I never! Now, wait a minute, I did spend a good bit of my life trying to teach it to often unwilling students so I ought to have known that. But thanks for putting me right anyway.
    @Michael 1
    I’ve checked your reference and note that it refers specifically to ‘police’. Now, as with ‘children’ or ‘sheep’, I grant you that the use of a singular verb with these nouns would be incorrect, which makes English such a fascinating language to study and to learn.

    By the way, what was this thread supposed to be about? I need to get out more!

  • @John Marriott
    Thanks for your comments.

    1. If I ‘m being nit-picking then you are.
    2. As has been pointed out the Oxford English Dictionary is probably the most definitive guide you can get to British English usage.
    3. that it refers specifically to ‘police’

    No. It specifically says that the police are an exception to the rule that you can use plural or singular verbs interchangeably with a collective noun that is nominally singular.

    I’d suggest the following guidelines:
    1. If there’s a particular modifier adopt the appropriate verb
    2. Try to avoid “clumsy” expressions
    3. In most, say 80%, of cases plural & singular verbs can be used interchangeably.
    4. There is a preference for singular when you are highlighting the collective nature of a unit, plural when you are stressing the individual nature.
    5. Don’t mix & match in a sentence.

    e.g. on 1: “An army marches on its stomach” rather than the plural.

    On 2: The congregation are wearing hats. But you might say the congregation is wearing hats this week because the Bishop is taking the service – highlighting the collective nature.

    I’ve looked up what H W Fowler wrote in his 1926 edition (so not recent) of his Dictionary of Modern Usage of English (prob. the most cited & respected guide to English usage).

    “Nouns of multitude. Such words… may stand either for a single entity or for the individuals who comprise it… They are treated as singular or plural at discretion… The cabinet is divided is better… The cabinet are agreed is better… But… the decision… is often a difficult business. In general… while there is a better & a worse in the matter, there is seldom a right & wrong, & any attempt to elaborate rules would be waste labour. Failure to abide by the choice when made [between singular & plural in the same sentence] can only be called insults to the reader. A waiter might as well serve one on a dirty plate…”

    Examining the sentence. “has” would be slightly preferable to “have”. I think the second half is best in the plural as one thinks of individuals getting splinters in their backsides – given that, Fowler would say start in the plural.

    You’re right we should both get out more!!!


    Fowler is at https://openlibrary.org/books/OL6692565M/A_dictionary_of_modern_English_usage . You have to create an account to “borrow” it (under Numbers – 6 entry)

  • John Marriott 16th May '19 - 9:34am

    @Michael 1
    It’s nice to know that pedantry is alive and well and available on LDV!

    As far as I am concerned, it’s still ‘the Committee/Cabinet/Party/Government etc IS’ and no amount of selective fact regurgitation is going to convince me otherwise. It’s a bit like Brexit, isn’t it?

    Just one point, finally. By your logic, you could therefore write; “An army march on their stomach”. I think not. Surely if you put the indefinite article in front of the noun it can’t be anything else but singular? It’s pretty clear that you have your view and I have mine. Perhaps we should spare our LDV colleagues further frustration by calling a halt to this particular ‘argument’.

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