A chance to choose to #exitfromBrexit

The EU Withdrawal Bill finishes its Committee stage in the House of Commons today and for Liberal Democrats the emphasis will be on our amendment calling for a referendum on the final deal.

Most of us baulk at the idea of another referendum, especially those of us who have been through two horrible and divisive referenda in the last three years as it is. Referenda are not an efficient tool to resolve complex issues and, as we have seen, can be manipulated by populists with an agenda.  However, the only chance we have of getting out of this mess is to have another referendum. If a decision was made by referendum, if it is going to be superseded, it has to be by the same method, an equal playing field.

In the last couple of days, we’ve been encouraged to tweet and email Jeremy Corbyn. I’m sure the people asking us to do this aren’t naive enough to think that Jeremy Corbyn is going to change his mind on the back of a few tweets from Lib Dems, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. He certainly can’t pretend that it wasn’t raised with him and he’ll have to be held accountable for the decision he has made. People need to know who will stand up for their right to choose.

Vince Cable challenged Labour to show that they have a backbone on this:

The Liberal Democrats have taken a strong and consistent line on Brexit – everyone knows where we stand. The Labour leadership has been weak.

But we’re giving them the opportunity to allow the public to have a vote on whatever deal the Conservatives accept from Brussels. This vote would include the option of an Exit from Brexit.

Labour’s frontbench should listen to Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, who seems to be itching to admit that the people deserve their say.

He also told the SNP to support the amendment:

There is growing evidence that the British public wants a say on any final deal with the EU, including the option of an exit from Brexit. Moreover, the Scottish people voted to remain in the EU, so their elected representatives in Parliament really must push for a popular vote.

Which is why the SNP’s Westminster party must show some backbone and support our amendment. Nicola Sturgeon herself has said a public vote would be ‘irresistible’ in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit that would see the UK crash out of the EU and that the people have a ‘right to look at the outcome’ if there is a deal.

But she must go further and back the Liberal Democrat call for a referendum on any Brexit deal. The Conservatives’ have botched Brexit so far and the last thing the SNP should be doing is allowing the Conservative right to secure an economically damaging hard Brexit.

Public support for a referendum on the deal is growing with half of respondents to a Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday backing the idea.

If Labour and the SNP fail to back the Lib Dem amendment tonight, it seems that they will be firmly on the wrong side of pubic opinion.

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

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  • Maggie Ledra 20th Dec '17 - 9:04am

    And they won’t be able to claim they care about the will of the people

  • Richard Underhill 20th Dec '17 - 9:12am

    Labour’s shadow home secretary said that “the key issue is jobs”. Fine so vote for it.

  • “This vote would include the option of an Exit from Brexit.”

    So how would that work in practice.

    I don’t agree with another referendum in the first place, but if we were to have one, surely the question has to be asked
    Do you wish to accept the deal negotiated
    Do you wish to leave and reject the deal and resort to WTO

    This seems to be adding a 3rd option do you wish to exit from Brexit

    You cant have multiple choice options in a referendum ballot.

  • David Evans 20th Dec '17 - 9:32am

    matt. Yes you can.

    I worry that you just don’t want one.

  • @David Evans

    “I worry you don’t want one”

    Your right, I don’t agree with another referendum. I think leave will win it, were there to be another one, but that is besides the point.
    But for a 2nd referendum is o have any legitimacy, it would have to be on the same basis as the last one.
    Remain on the terms negitiated
    Leave the European Union

    People were shouting about legitimacy when the vote was 52-48
    if we had a vote on 3 questions
    (1) accept the deal negotiated
    (2) Reject the Deal and resort to WTO
    (3) Exit from Brexit

    and the vote break down was
    (1) 32 %
    (2) 35%

    So on 35% of the vote we left the EU without a Deal. Remainers would be going nuts saying it lacked legitimacy because it did not have over 50% of the votes, then there would be calls about those who did not vote and lumping their figures in with those who never voted for this either.
    A 3 way referendum question does not work

  • Matt

    First preference, second preference is easy enough.

  • John Barrett 20th Dec '17 - 10:02am

    Would it not be more honest to admit that the official party line is actually – that the party disagrees with the result of the referendum and so it will oppose any referendum result, now or in the future, which takes us out of the EU, regardless of what the public votes for.

    There are some of us in the party who think that, after a referendum result, the honest way forward is to accept the result and move on. Taking opposite stands on a second referendum because the result is something the party did not support, is unlikely to win the support of those looking for a party of principle.

    In the Scottish Independence Referendum, we accepted the result not to leave the UK and the party strongly opposes another referendum on that issue, saying that the people have spoken and we must accept their decision, but in the EU Referendum the party line is the exact opposite. The people have spoken but we do not accept what they have said.

    Arguing over the honesty of each campaign, (when both campaigns clearly failed the honesty test) or claiming that people were misled, racist thick or ill-educated does not help sway those people towards the second referendum case currently being promoted by the party.

    With regards to any deal negotiated by the UK government, is it now the case that the party would prefer no deal or at least a really bad deal?, as the party line is to support rejection of whatever deal is negotiated and then to claim that this shows that the people want to remain in the EU.

  • John Barrett 20th Dec ’17 – 10:02am…………Would it not be more honest to admit that the official party line is actually – that the party disagrees with the result of the referendum and so it will oppose any referendum result, now or in the future, which takes us out of the EU, regardless of what the public votes for……….

    Exactly! Which is why I, as a remainer, want the FINAL say on the deal to be taken in the proper place; the HoC…

  • The assumption seems to be that we’d win a referendum on the deal. I’ve met enough fatalist remainers who think we ought to respect the result of the 2016 one to seriously doubt that.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 20th Dec '17 - 10:39am

    @ Barry Long, the problem with first, second, third preference is that both remainers & leavers would choose leaving under the terms agreed as their second preference. This would give this option the majority, which neither side would actually want.

  • Labour will not move on this question for several months yet. They will want to be sure they are expressing the confirmed views of the public. At the moment we do not know if that BMG poll is an outliner, sure there has been a trend in the Remain direction but a 10% lead, it is a bit early to say that is the situation. I hope it is, but we need to be less excitable, bit like looking at local by elections in the round and curbing our exhilerating headlines.

  • Bigger news from the States I would suggest. The Democrat has been declarwed the winner by 1 vote in the Virginia Senate extra election, means the Senate is now tied 50–50.
    Republican had been the first winner by 10!!! Several recounts and now Democrat by 1, watch out for court proceedings etc?
    Trying to find out the total turnout, would be pretty big, being a Senate seat, wow 1 vote!!

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 20th Dec '17 - 10:51am

    Jennie, in all fairness it isn’t being “fatalist” to say that we should respect the result of a referendum that the Lib Dems once called for, and which all Lib Dem MPs but one, voted in favour of holding – it’s just respecting democracy, and being true to the bit in the preamble to the Lib Dem constitution about “sovereignty rests with the people”. But if the party do not respect the result of the 2016 one, it’s true that it’s a bit ironic that the party’s main policy, now, should be to call for another one – with the implication that this one, unlike the 2016 one, will be respected and accepted as the final word!

  • Sorry, it grieves me to say it, but I’m afraid the obsession with Brexit is in danger of effectively performing a lobotomy on any other thinking about any other policy…….

    A simple example. Who attended the Grenfell Memorial Service last week….. Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and ………. ????????…….. from the Liberal Democrats ?.
    Vince, a London MP, was, I understand in Ireland discussing, yes, you’ve guessed it –

    These things do get noticed.

  • I honestly do not remember the last time the Lib Dems were on a serious news bulletin or program where they were not there to talk about brexit.

    We are turning into a parody, caricature of a party. A reverse-UKIP. A complete and utter irrelevance when it comes to the things that people actually give a damn about day to day- the NHS, Schools, Crime. And saying “Brexit impacts those things” does not cut it I am afraid, as our flatlining national polls show.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland: That’s not what democracy means though. Democracy means continuous challenge, so people can change their mind any time. Therefore, if we must have referendums, then if there is enough evidence that voters have changed their minds since the last one, then it is democratically legitimate to rerun it. No-one would suggest that at the next election we should vote Conservative out of respect for the last election result. The same should apply to referendums. No one vote should ever be the “final word” on anything — that is simply not how democracy works.

  • David Raw you bemoan the fact that Brexit consumes and overwhelms everything else, strangely enough so do i. Yet even though we both bemoan it the fact is it will overwhelm everything tomorrow as well. The fact is until Nelly stops dancing any other problem that raises it’s head will be trampled as Nelly foxtrots over them. People raise an issue but it can’t be dealt with because Brexit may change things, or we have no time because of Brexit or Brexit will fix it. It’s a bit like being in a disaster, yes other issues arise but trying to avoid being pulverised by the oncoming disaster takes all your time (well it might not take yours or even mine but it’s certainly taking all of the governments).

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 20th Dec '17 - 2:51pm

    Alex, I wasn’t suggesting that the referendum should be a “final word” – there obviously could be a referendum in a few years on whether we should apply to rejoin the EU. I used the phrase “the final word” because it is ironic that the “referendum on the deal” is being spoken of by some Lib Dems as if *it* should be the final word – but then what if that referendum was for Remain, and then a short time later there was evidence that a majority again wanted to Leave…
    Of course no election result is set in stone for ever. How long should a result be considered valid? My feeling is that it should be valid long enough for it not only to be implemented, but for the results of its implementation to be put to the test, and for the public to form an opinion on whether they still think it was a good idea or not. ie the EU referendum should be valid until we have left the EU, and there has been sufficient time for the public to judge whether Brexit was a success or not.

  • @Catherine Jane Crosland

    Absolutely spot on

    What some Liberal Democrats and indeed remainers are hoping to achieve here is to make sure that the EU offers the UK the worse possible deal in the hope that the UK Electorate will then vote to reject the deal and stay in the EU. Obviously that will be the tactics used by the EU as well.
    Vince Cable has said that Liberal Democrats would vote to exit from Brexit no matter what the deal is.

    If there were to be another referendum, it would have to be on exactly the same terms as the last one.
    You can not have multiple choices and you can not change it into an Alternative Vote.

    Remainers were screaming last time round that the result was undemocratic because it should have required an enhanced majority+
    Imagine the hysteria if we had a referendum with 3 or 4 choices and Leave the EU without a deal won on 35% or even 28% of the vote, there really would be mass hysteria resulting in an NHS Crisis.

    Meanwhile back in the real world
    Temperatures are plummeting, Thousands are living hungry and homeless on the streets, families are struggling to feed their children.
    But that’s ok, you just carry on with your blinkered view of the EU, nothing else is more important that that, fill those shopping trollies with all sorts of lovely goodies and over the festivities relish in your conversations with friends colleagues and on how we must stop Brexit at all costs…..

  • @matt “Remainers were screaming last time round that the result was undemocratic because it should have required an enhanced majority+”

    We shouldn’t forget that it was Leave supporters, who shortly before the 2016 referendum had tabled the e-petition that attracted over 4m signatures calling for a second referendum on “more democratic” terms than the 1975 and 2016 referendums…

  • Remainers may find it emotionally satisfying to call for another referendum but is it wise or statesman like? At the very least, it’s hardly a good look for a party with ‘Democrats’ in the name to bluntly reject a referendum before there’s clear evidence of a change in the polls.

    Have Lib Dems forgotten how to campaign so that their best idea is beg other parties to fall into line with their wishes? Why not instead make the political ‘weather’ with a proper campaign; the way Brexit negotiations have gone so far there is plenty of low-hanging fruit. Just two examples.

    1) Commission independent impact assessments. I imagine bodies like the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders would be happy to oblige. By my reading, the car manufacturers are very worried and it would give them a voice without needing to put their head over the parapet.

    And the beauty is, because Davis with astonishing incompetence hasn’t commissioned studies, he would have no ammunition to refute any such assessments.

    2) Ask hard questions about customs. On Brexit we will jump from ~50 million customs clearances/year to somewhere between 250 – 400m (estimates vary). None of the software, the trained staff or even the lorry parks exist. Extra paperwork will cost ~£48 for each consignment.

    How much does Davis think it will cost to put all this in place pronto? How will he persuade France to build a comparable infrastructure at Calais – equally quickly and at vast expense. What does he assess the total added paperwork cost to be?

    The point is clear: much of the ‘case for Brexit’ is based on no more than slogans and hand-waving and will evaporate like morning dew if subjected to a little heat.

  • Katharine Pindar 20th Dec '17 - 6:49pm

    Good ideas, Gordon, to campaign with commissioned impact assessments and asking hard questions about customs. We should get on with campaigning, because as Michael BG worked out, it should be possible to hold a referendum before the end of March 2019 provided preparations begin next August. I’m asking my own local party to get thousands of European Movement-originated leaflets (there’s a good one entitled EXIT BREXIT) and challenge members to distribute them in their own neighbourhoods, as a start.

    As frankie says, Brexit eats up time and resources and prevents concentration on other issues, but it’s entirely unfair, Matt, to accuse us of ignoring them. I recall that the commitments in our Manifesto for undoing welfare cuts were more generous than the Labour Party’s, and there is real commitment in the party both in Parliament and the country to work towards reversing rising inequality and preventing worsening child poverty, with practical help where it can be given as well – such as David Raw’s work for his local food bank.

  • David Allen 20th Dec '17 - 6:51pm

    So – following Gordon’s comments – how about this for a policy line:

    We believe the vote to Leave was a massive mistake. We are delighted to see that opinion polls now consistently show that a majority of the public, albeit a small majority, now share our view that it was a mistake.

    We believe that Britain’s economy and international role will be appallingly damaged, probably for generations to come, if Brexit is allowed to proceed. However, we think that it will be very difficult for Parliament, acting on its own, to stop Brexit. Labour talk about holding a crucial vote in Parliament, but when it comes to the crunch, will they be brave enough to face down the Brexiteers when they accuse Labour of “defying the will of the people?” Labour don’t seem brave enough to punch their way out of a paper bag!

    That’s why we believe that if Brexit is to be stopped, it should be stopped because the public have voted in a new referendum on the final deal, and voted to reject the proposed Brexit deal.

    That’s why we are calling for a referendum on the final deal. But that’s not all we are calling for. We also have a second proposal – which seeks to be fair and reasonable to all sides – on how Britain should decide the way forward.

    We accept that a referendum is a serious matter. It cannot be undertaken lightly. It must not be undertaken simply because the side which narrowly lost last time would like to have another throw of the dice. It should only be undertaken if there is clear evidence that opinion has changed.

    Currently, reputable opinion polls show that some 50-55% of the voting public would now prefer to Remain in the EU. This is too small a notional majority to justify a new referendum. If the opinion polls were to stay at this level when the final “deal” has been worked out, then we would agree that our request for a second referendum should be turned down.

    If however there is clear polling evidence by that time that 60% or more of the voting public would prefer to Remain, then we consider that the case for a second referendum would become incontrovertible. It would be the utter negation of democracy for a Government simply to proceed with Brexit under such circumstances.

    We therefore call on the Prime Minister to accept, now and by public statement, that in such circumstances, the Government will either resign, or withdraw from Brexit, or else hold a referendum on the proposed Brexit “deal”.

  • @Katherine
    ” but it’s entirely unfair, Matt, to accuse us of ignoring them”

    I do not believe it to be unfair at all.

    For evidence look to this months articles to LDV

    Since December 1st there has been 2 articles on poverty
    1 entitled Period Poverty received just 2 comments
    1 entitled Sanctuary in parliament about refugees and asylum seekers living destitute conditions in the Uk received just 2 Comments

    another thread about social homes received 10 comments

    This last week the Governments own independent report in to PIP was scathing on the DWP and the whole system. Where are the articles about this on LDV? None

    It is Christmas, a time of year when many are over indulging, where are the articles on the rising uses of foodbanks????

    I think it is perfectly fair for me to say that you are ignoring these issues because you are so obsessed about stopping Brexit.

  • meant to say it is Christmas and a time of year when many of us will over indulge whilst at the same time, thousands are rough sleeping on the streets in bitterly cold conditions, struggling families are choosing between heat or eat and providing for their kids? Where are the articles about the plight of foodbanks which are struggling with record levels of demand?
    I can’t see any…
    If that is not ignoring issues, I dont know what is

  • Yeovil Yokel 20th Dec '17 - 7:40pm

    David Raw 20/12/17 11:09am – Have you seen Vince’s video on homelessness, just released? Any mediocre politician can turn up to a memorial service – but it takes a person possessing broad human qualities to, on the one hand, try and understand the plight of the homelessness for themselves, and, on the other hand, appreciate the vital importance of actively engaging with with our nearest European neighbours. May and Corbyn are focussed on playing parochial power games within the Westminster bubble and seem oblivious to the growing crisis within so many areas of British life.
    Yes, Brexit IS critical for all of us; no, senior Lib Dem politicians are not obsessed by the subject to the exclusion of all else; and furthermore Vince didn’t mention it once in his video – happy now?

  • Jayne mansfield 20th Dec '17 - 7:55pm

    @ Yeovil Yokel,

    Perhaps Dr Alinn- Khan in her role of Accident and Emergency doctor, doesn’t need to visit an homelessness shelter to understand the plight of the homeless.

  • @ Yeovil Yokel. I see Damien Green has gone – it couldn’t possibly be a cunning plan to distract attention from the Lib Dem’s call for a second referendum could it ? Of course not.

    Vince Cable’s email ? Yes indeed, I have seen it. As a member, I received the email today. Glad to see he is showing an interest and some concern.

    It would be good if he came up with some policy proposals though – and maybe expressed some regret for voting for the housing benefit cap which, according to Shelter, has increased homelessness since it was introduced in 2014. As the Chair of a Food Bank I can tell you that since Universal Credit (voted for in the Coalition) was introduced in my area I have seen a near 50% increase in demand for emergency food supplies. Until we get a bit of Mea Culpa I can’t see any prospect of a significant recovery in support for the party.

    PS. Didn’t the MP for Yeovil have something to do with these issues as well ?. Did you ever question him about it ?

  • paul barker 20th Dec '17 - 9:28pm

    Over on the Political Betting site is a repeat of Polling from earlier in the year on what Leave Voters Really, Really Want, in order the list goes :
    Hanging, Corporal Punishment for Children, Blue Passports & Incandescent Light Bulbs, I may have missed some items but Im not making any of that up.

  • Jayne mansfield 20th Dec '17 - 9:41pm

    @ Paul Barker,
    In what way does your post add to the positive argument for remaining in the EU ?

  • @Paul Barker

    Care to be transparent and tell us what percentage of remainers also wanted those things as well??

  • Yeovil Yokel 20th Dec '17 - 9:59pm

    David Raw, re. David Laws/Universal Credit: before my time, I’m afraid – age-wise I’m a bit of an Oldie, membership-wise I’m a bit of a Newbie. I did move to the constituency when Paddy was still the MP and he was very hands-on, touring the mean streets of Yeovil at night with the local bobbies or vicar – including the incident which has entered local folklore when he single-handedly disarmed & floored a knife-wielding racist thug. Vince’s strengths lie in a slightly different direction. I take your point about the Coalition legacy, but if we’re comparing Cable, May (or the alternatives), or Corbyn it’s surely a question of going with the lesser by far of three evils?

  • I was initially somewhat sceptical about another referendum but am coming round to it. The staggering fact is that 18 months after the referendum the Govt has no real vision of what Brexit will look like. (Neither has the Labour Party for that matter.) How on earth could people make an informed judgment on the implications of leaving the EU 18 months ago if we still don’t know now? At least at the end of the negotiations (deal or no-deal) we’ll all be in a much better position to judge what Brexit is going to look like. Only if the compromise position of staying in the SM and CU would I feel that another referendum is no longer justified.

  • For the peoples benefit, I will do it for you Paul

    Out of 810 people who voted REMAIN
    162 of them wanted a return to death penalty
    113 of them wanted Corporal Punishment in schools
    130 wanted Dark Blue Passports

    Now like Jayne says above, what on earth does any of that do for the calls for a 2nd referendum and Exit from Brexit

    Trying to portray leavers in a certain light failed miserably last time, seems like lessons have not be learned.

  • Is this cricket? 🙂

    1. H of C agrees a referendum.
    2. UK voters made a decision to leave the EU, despite calamitous predictions if they did.
    3. Those who vote out are asked to vote again, before the first referendum decision has been fulfilled: ie leaving the EU.

  • Matt,
    focusing on the divide in British Politics is exactly what Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University is doing in the academic analysis of the referendum and the last general election voting patterns.
    “….whether someone was “left-wing” or “right-wing” made virtually no difference to how they voted in the EU referendum.
    Rather, that ballot was marked by a division between social liberals and social conservatives—that is, between those who are comfortable living in a socially, ethnically and linguistically diverse society and those who place greater emphasis on the need for social cohesion and adherence to common rules and practices. Social liberals tended to vote Remain, social conservatives for Leave.
    This division between social liberals and social conservatives has never been entirely absent from Britain’s electoral politics. The Liberal Democrats have always been relatively successful amongst social liberals, while, more recently, Ukip advanced most amongst social conservatives.
    But so far as the two main parties are concerned, it has hitherto been very much a secondary argument—the Conservatives did a little better amongst social conservatives, Labour amongst social liberals, but the differences were much smaller than those between those on the left and those on the right.
    However, in precipitating the election in June, in order to secure a mandate for her vision of Brexit, the prime minister ensured that this second dimension of British politics became more important, cutting across the familiar divide between left and right.
    As a paper published on the WhatUKThinks:EU website today shows, despite the apparent reluctance of both the Conservatives and of Labour to define their stance on Brexit too closely during the election campaign in June, the Conservatives gained votes amongst Leave voters while it lost them amongst Remain supporters. Meanwhile, although Labour gained some ground amongst Leave supporters, it made a much bigger advance amongst those who voted Remain.
    As a result, the distinction between social liberals and social conservatives was much more in evidence in how people voted in June. Nearly three-fifths of social conservatives voted Conservative, but no more than a quarter or so of social liberals did so. Meanwhile, at least half of social liberals voted Labour while no more than a third of social conservatives backed Jeremy Corbyn’s party.
    True, the distinction between left and right did not disappear. Those on the left were around three times more likely than those on the right to vote Labour—while those on the right were about three times more likely than those on the left to vote Conservative..
    ..the increased importance of the division between social liberals and social conservatives does mean that both the Conservatives and Labour are now having to ride two ideological horses at once. And in both cases this ride is potentially decidedly uncomfortable.”

  • Katharine Pindar 21st Dec '17 - 12:20am

    @Matt. There is little point in writing pieces on this site about what is obvious, such as that food banks are facing increasing demand, and that poverty is rising as the standard of living falls and the benefit squeeze goes on. The dire reports come from the charities, such as CPAG and Shelter and from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and are deplored in comments here. To be continually repeating sad statistics could be seen as self-indulgent when we are not in government, and nor do I think it helpful to recall some insufficient responses of our ministers in the Coalition. We continually consider how to improve policies for social justice, and our parliamentarians do what they can – impeded by Brexit, as all our law-makers are.

    What I object to is your failure to consider why we hate Brexit. Do you think there is something in it for us, as you almost seem to imply? No, we hate Brexit because it is a ruinous policy for our country, reducing our international standing and power to do good in the world, and inflicting further hardship on the poorest and most helpless of our society. We are to be reduced, diminished, shamed and ridiculed, and our leaders instead of shouting NO! at the top of their voices cravenly go along with this self-delusion of the self-engrossed and self-interested. This is my country which I love, I am appalled at this gross act of self-harm, and I urge my beloved party to put first this absolute need to stop it, with all the strength that we can command.

  • @ Matt

    I agree if there is a referendum “on the deal” it can’t be by Alternative Vote with more than two options. The question has to be set by the MPs with a majority in the House of Commons. I don’t understand why this Conservative government would hold a referendum on the deal vs WTO rules. It is generally accepted that the majority of MPs voted Remain, therefore the only reason these MPs would vote for a referendum would be if they felt the deal was unacceptable (it can’t be worse than no deal) and the reason for having a referendum would be to check that the British public were still happy to leave the EU on the deal negotiated. I can’t see the government proposing a referendum on the deal vs WTO rules and I can’t see the Brexitter hard liners having a majority for it either.

    @ Jennie
    “The assumption seems to be that we’d win a referendum on the deal.”

    It is an assumption held by many Liberal Democrats (and it seems to be held by Caron). However, it is not held by me. I assume a referendum could only be won if the EU gave us better terms than they offered to Cameron. We as a party need to recognise this and campaign in the EU for such an offer to be ready by the end of 2018 for a referendum being held on Thursday 21st March 2019.

  • @Katharine Pindar 21st Dec ’17 – 12:20am
    “There is little point in writing pieces on this site”

    Well then you should not be offended when people accuse you of not doing anything about other issues apart from Brexit.

    How do you expect anyone else to come over to Liberal Democrats and vote for you, if they do not know where you stand on certain issues (apart from Brexit)?

    Most members of the General Public do not read manifestos.

    When issues arise in the national news, like for instance the recent independent report on PIP and it’s failings. People who are affected by this and their families will more than likely do a google search on it. If Liberal Democrats want to show people that they were acting and speaking up for these people and had policies addressing it then there should be an article on LDV about it which would come up in a google search.
    The same on Universal Credits, Many families will be facing a terrible Xmas with no money because of failings in the system. If they were to search about this online, what recent articles are going to come up on LDV????

    Anyone who does stumble on to LDV will just find article after article with the words Brexit in the Title or within 2 sentences of the article.

    So you need to take it on the chin when someone fairly criticises you for ignoring other political issues .

    “What I object to is your failure to consider why we hate Brexit. Do you think there is something in it for us, as you almost seem to imply?”
    No I fully understand why you don’t like it. What I don’t understand though is why you are so hostile towards people who voted leave even towards members and voters in your own party who are also FOR Brexit, I have heard stories of members being told that they are not welcome in their local parties anymore,
    Ofcourse the Party would not go so far to actually boot someone out because someone supported Brexit as they would not want the bad publicity, but the way some Brexiters are being treated in the party is akin to how some Jehover Witnesses are treated when they are dis-fellowship from the religion, shunned and ignored and that to my mind is terrible illiberal and undemocratic

  • David Franks 21st Dec '17 - 11:51am

    According to a Times Higher Education Supplement poll published yesterday 55% of students think Labour policy is to stay in the EU – it isn’t. 32% of students think Labour policy is to leave but stay in the single market – it isn’t. We still have work to do!!

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 21st Dec '17 - 12:31pm

    Matt, I absolutely agree. For the past eighteen months now, ever since the referendum result, the majority of articles on Lib Dem Voice have been about Brexit, with the same arguments repeated over and over again, and with increasing intolerance towards anyone who supported Leave, or who just wants to respect the result of the referendum. Obviously there have been articles about other subjects too, but as you mentioned earlier, these, unfortunately, seem to get fewer comments.
    In fact there was much less focus on the EU on Lib Dem Voice immediately *before* the referendum. And there was much more tolerance of people who were Eurosceptic. I remember shortly before the referendum, Lib Dem Voice published an article by Anne Cremin, putting “The Liberal case for Leave”, and although obviously many people disagreed with her viewpoint, the tone of comments was very friendly. And I don’t remember there ever being any suggestion at that time that the result of the referendum should not be implemented, whatever it might be.
    You are quite right in saying that there should be more articles about the injustices in our society, for example the fact that so many people – in a wealthy country – depend on foodbanks.
    Too often it seems to be argued that everything will be perfect if we just stay in the EU. Which clearly cannot be the case, for we are in the EU now, and yet there are terrible injustices in our society that the EU does little or nothing to prevent.
    We need to remember that liberalism is first and foremost about trying to build a society in which no-one is “enslaved by poverty, conformity or ignorance”.

  • Jayne mansfield 21st Dec '17 - 12:41pm

    @ Matt,
    I enjoy reading your posts and those of Glen.

    Last week I persuaded someone who voted leave that remain was the better option. The difference between the tradesperson I persuaded and yourself and Glen, was that he did not have a very strong view either way. In fact, he raised the subject of Brexit, saying, ‘I don’t know about you but I don’t think that this Brexit will make much difference either way’. This gave me the opening to tell him what it will mean to my family, one Polish, two working in the EU on fixed term contracts, and what they tell me it will mean for the country.

    This person has been my ‘go to’ man for decades, he has cost me a fortune in mugs of tea and paid hours of chat, and he is a thoroughly decent salt of the earth man. Like a large proportion of the population , he didn’t really know what to make of Brexit but has a clearer idea now. ( I voted remain in much the same state of ignorance).

    Why the posters on here continue putting such effort into trying to persuade individuals like Glen and yourself, intelligent individuals, who have reached a firm view that Brexit offers the best option for the future of the country, rather than concentrating on those who are more likely to change their minds, puzzles me.

    It is great to see how strong you are in your views. I want to see people change their mind, because I now feel more strongly about Brexit, but have reached a different conclusion to you.

    I hope you have a great Christmas.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Dec '17 - 12:46pm


    Exactly as many of us are saying and feeling, you do so here.

    We need to become more open as a party , to being agit prop for sensible and radical , all at once.

    The airwaves full of talk of lack of mainstream common sense and compassionate policy all , however expressed Brexit or never.

    The idea that either side of this supposed divide s one thing only is as insulting as thinking all in a party take the exact position.

    Ann Cremin left because she was in a party that on that issue replaced unity with an overblown sense of unanimity.

    We need unity in diversity.

  • Jayne mansfield 21st Dec '17 - 12:51pm

    @ Catherine Jane Crosland,
    Over the years I have read so many of your posts that I find myself in agreement with, it seems superfluous to comment.

    As someone who believes that democracy is the best form of bad government, I have had to come to terms with the fact that my view of democracy in relation to the Brexit vote and that of the Liberal Democrat party are not one and the same.

  • Having gone through the comments here and elsewhere, I think what is important is that Parliament gets to meaningfully debate whatever deal T.May negotiates. what this means is that the final deal can to some extent be a pick-and-mix: if we permit this then the EU will do that etc. Hence Parliament gets to decide on the hardness/softness of Brexit within the negotiated constraints.

    Whilst a second referendum on Brexit might be a nice idea, I suggest the evidence indicates the second referendum would again be plagued by lies on both sides and emotive rhetoric; which as we know leave seems to have the more persuasive storytellers. Hence I don’t really support a second referendum on the Brexit deal, as it would seem to simply provide the opportunity for a second outing of divisive thoughts and opinions.

    However, I think we can and should remember what Leave was originally all about, namely Parliament seemingly passing sovereignty to the EU ie. an organisation outside of the UK. Prior to the wagon train being hijacked by the ardent anti-EU brigade, we seemed to have reached an agreement between the major political parties (Cons/Labour/LibDems ) and the electorate that no further transfer of sovereignty (to the EU) would occur without the British people having a say in a referendum. I suggest that now is the time to enshrine this in written law. Yes, laws can be overturned – just as it took several attempts to get various Kings to accept that Magna Carta, wasn’t a one off but something they should work within.

  • Peter Hirst 21st Dec '17 - 1:06pm

    One issue that is overlooked in this debate is that of unity. To thrive as a country in these turbulent times, will be easier if we are more united than we at present whatever the result. Granted, we are never going to get 100% agreement on constitutional issues such as Brexit. However, with another vote better conducted and with a wider franchise, we have a better chance of feeling more content and respecting the result whatever it is. More generally, I think well conducted referenda on important issues actually results in a more united country as the process itself is unifying.

  • @Jayne Mansfield
    “I enjoy reading your posts and those of Glen”
    Thank you for your comments; it is nice to still be welcomed by some with whom we can still respectfully disagree with.
    I confess that I am a staunch Brexiter and I do not think that anything will ever change that view, that’s because i believe everything about the Eu is wrong and it is incapable of change.
    I look to the extremely high unemployment levels across Europe, especially Youth Unemployment as of August 2017
    43.3% in Greece
    38.7 % in spain
    35.1% in Italy
    26.3% in Cyprus
    The list goes on and on.
    I see masses of families being broken apart and young adults having to leave their countries to go look for work not because they want to leave their families, communities and support structures but because they have no choice. Do I ever think that is a wonderful thing, absolutely not. Destitution see’s them leaving their home lands to come and pack bananas in a UK Factory or Pick Asparagus in the fields, washing cars on the side of the road. But that is ok, as long as us more affluent Brits can get jobs in their countries working in teaching, financial services etc and we can retire freely to their warmer climates. To be clear, I am not saying that eu workers only work in those industries in the UK, I know the valuable work that EU migrants do in other sectors NHS, Social Care etc. I am merely making a point that, I very much doubt you see many UK workers going to Greece to work in olive fields
    I see countries like Greece absolutely on their knees and unable to pull themselves out of it because of the Euro and being hammered by the EU and Germany.
    Then there is the strain on UK services, lack of social housing, high rents, strains on the NHS. It is not racist to say that high levels of immigration has put strains on this, it is just being honest.
    When I come to my conclusions about the EU and how to vote, I did not do so just because of what is best for me and my family, I did so on the basis I what I thought was best for future generations. With a lovely future sister in law from Latvia whom I adore, as someone who would benefit themselves medically by freedom of movement and moving to a warmer EU country, I could have voted selfishly for remain, but believe wholeheartedly that would have been the wrong thing to do.
    Thank you again Jane for your polite and welcoming engagement

  • nvelope2003 21st Dec '17 - 5:52pm

    Matt: Why are you so sure that the deplorable unemployment figures you quote are entirely the result of EU membership ? There are all sorts of reasons, such as high levels of corruption and mismanagement in some countries.

    Why would people from the UK go to work in Greek olive fields when until recently even the Greeks were reluctant to do this ? In Italy and Spain much unemployment is created by the cheap labour of the huge influx of non European immigrants.

  • @ Matt – “I believe everything about the EU is wrong and it is incapable of change.” (Comment 21st @ 1:26 pm)

    I’m slightly more optimistic. I have argued for reform since the Maastricht Treaty was signed 25 years ago. I think there’s a lot wrong (not ‘everything’) and that change will have to be forced on the Eurocrats. As such strategy and timing are everything.

    I still voted Remain because I see no evidence that those behind Brexit have any meaningful understanding of international trade, nor of the interlinked nature of the UK economy nor indeed of its desperate underlying weakness. Add dire negotiating skills and the failure to do homework or think anything through and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    For example which other countries are we supposed to export to – the US? China? India? All are run by economic nationalists who won’t be pushovers – and if we’re desperate they hold the advantage.

    What and how much will have to change that Britain suddenly becomes an export powerhouse? That’s something it’s not been for a very long time – a problem that no government has solved.

    Then again which firms will lead the charge? I’ve just been Christmas shopping and very, very little is made in Britain. One of the keys in most sectors is a big home market giving economies of scale. The EU, for all its many faults, gives us that. Without it, will even the few remaining British-owned companies like Rolls Royce be able to survive long?

    The Eurozone is going to implode or explode (at any rate something bad) because of the constitutional mistakes baked into it (a particularly toxic subset of the mistakes baked into the full EU) but I don’t know how or when that will happen.

    I suspect it won’t be too long now and that’s the time to strike with a ‘Plan B’ ready to roll but the Lib Dem establishment just doesn’t get it. Nick Clegg’s latest book is ‘How to Stop Brexit (and Make Britain Great Again)’. “Great Again”??? When was that ever true for David Raw’s foodbank customers (as opposed to those born with a silver spoon)?

    I submit that, horribly flawed though it is, the EU is not in fact the main source of our problems (given that we aren’t in the euro) but only a convenient fall-guy.

  • Katharine Pindar 21st Dec '17 - 7:40pm

    Jayne, you are right, it is the ordinary people we need to be talking to, and I like you do so, and find much agreement.
    But the reason for the preponderant number of articles on this site about Brexit is because it is the overriding issue of the day, and because we have now only a little over a year to persuade sufficient people to defeat it. As Gordon proposed, we need to be out there campaigning, and I trust we will be in the New Year.

    Matt, can I at least persuade you that ‘its failings’ does not need an apostrophe? 🙂 Otherwise I know you are unpersuadable, and I believe wrong-headed and ill-informed (for instance on growth in the rest of the EU), but let me at least point out the illogicality of writing that most people don’t read manifestos, but suggesting that they will look in vain for our policies on line. If they look on line they will find the summary of our policies on the party website, the natural place to look for them, and in the manifesto. We passed an emergency motion on Universal Credit at our September Conference/ and are strong on issues of social justice, on the need to end the benefit freeze and do more to help the people driven to rely on the food banks.

    Inflation is hitting the poorest, and ordinary working people see their standard of living worsening more now as a result of the weak pound and increasing food and petrol prices. These problems will increase if Brexit goes ahead. I don’t dislike it, I deplore and hate it, as I wrote. Are you doing anything to help our hard-pressed people?

  • @Katharine Pindar

    “but let me at least point out the illogicality of writing that most people don’t read manifestos, but suggesting that they will look in vain for our policies on line. ”

    Clearly you did not read my post correctly.

    I made reference to the lack of articles regarding anything other than Brexit since the 1st December.
    Now regarding real major issues that have been hitting the headlines this month
    Poverty, Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments. These are issues that are effecting many families right now and they are in the headline right now.
    Someone who is affected by delayed payments to their universal Credit this xmas, if they are to do a google search on the matter, don’t you you think it would be beneficial to the party if LDV had an article about PIP that was showing up in the search feeds or twitter feeds. If you want to win people over you need to be wining them over NOW, not waiting till there is an election campaign and then stuffing untold of leaflets through the door telling people we stand for this or we stand for that, because by then it is to late and most people will call bull and say where were you when it mattered and I needed you.
    That was the point I was trying to make.
    But you are so blind sighted by stopping Brexit you just cannot see it.

    “Are you doing anything to help our hard-pressed people?”
    Yes, I do what I can, I donate regularly to food banks, we also have a rule in our family that whatever we spend on the most expensive gift to someone, we have to donate half the amount again to a chosen charity, this year we chose Giving Tree that provides Christmas kids to families fleeing domestic violence.
    I also engage in forums like this when I am able to physically and mentally to and raise awareness for issues that I care about.
    I do what I can.

  • Matt,

    The government is obsessed with Brexit. while they can’t think about anything else none of the issues you are concerned about will get more than a quick glance. You may bewail that fact, but it is a fact and I’m afraid by voting for Brexit you voted for Brexit to consume our life for years, if not decades to come. Now you can scream look at this or look at that or even squirrel, at best you’ll get the government to glance away from Nelly as she dances the Brexit Foxtrot but a glance is all it will be.

  • matt

    Don’t know how you feel about it, but I’m frankly a ‘tad’ annoyed, that you have had to effectively ‘justify your existence’ on these threads not just once, but twice in the space of three days !

    Yeovil – Inappropriately asked, how you had so much time to make so many comments?
    And then, if that wasn’t offensive enough,
    Katharine – Inappropriately asked “Are you doing anything to help our hard-pressed people?”

    I suppose looking on the bright side, we can conclude that your cogent ‘leave’ arguments have left some remainers so ‘high & dry’, and frankly bereft of any convincing response, that they have unwittingly ditched any social grace they might previously have had, and decided to make it personal.
    Your thoughtfulness shines through your writing Matt, so please try not to fall into their vacuous ‘justification trap’. Your leave arguments are clearly well researched and stand up to scrutiny, and that alone is more than sufficient justification.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Dec '17 - 10:13pm

    Gordon – Two points. First, exports aren’t the UK’s problem. The UK is still one of the largest exporters in the world. The problem in this picture is not the lack of exports, rather that we still have a whacking great trade deficit DESPITE the exports performance. Note that this situation arose well prior to the referendum.

    Second – ‘I submit that, horribly flawed though it is, the EU is not in fact the main source of our problems (given that we aren’t in the euro) but only a convenient fall-guy.’ I have considerable sympathy for that. However it does not follow from there that the fall-guy is necessarily right. In effect the EU has been in the vanguard in the pursuit of the open agenda. Yes, national politicians have not pushed back (until recently at least). But the EU simply has failed to recognise that its brand of open is very simply not doing a lot of people any favours. Again what to do about it is another matter, but nothing I’ve seen from the EU institutions suggests to me that they even understand the problems that are very real.

    Do I blame the EU for all the ills of the UK? No – certainly not. But that does not mean that I could walk up to a ballot paper and vote for More Of The Same.

  • @ nvelope2003

    Lots of the unemployment in Greece, Italy and Spain is because of factors that derive from their use of the Euro. Firstly they can’t devalue their currently; secondly the Eurozone is run for the benefit of Germany, who set the rules; and thirdly these countries can’t use Keynesian fiscal policies to stimulate their economies. They are in a lose, lose, lose situation all because they use the Euro. A single currency always causes problems for the poorer areas. This is why there are pressures in the UK for people to move to London and South-east England, which our government tries to counter to a certain extent by having regional policies to stimulate the poorer regions.

    The setting up of the Eurozone and its rules are a huge reason why nobody should have any confidence in the EU and its ever closer union. Another is its failure to recognise that it needs to reduce economic push factors of economic migration across the EU. A third is its failure to recognise how unpopular it is. A fourth was its failure to provide Cameron with enough changes to persuade the British public to stay in the EU. The problem for us is we don’t have solutions to these issues that we have persuaded the EU to implement. I don’t think we are even trying to come up with them or persuade the EU to do so.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 22nd Dec '17 - 5:34am

    Matt, I’m sorry I didn’t reply before to your reply to me on another thread. I was so sorry to hear that you had had some bad health recently, but I’m so glad that you are now feeling well enough to play an active part on Lib Dem Voice again. You have so much to give to Lib Dem Voice, ensuring that discussions of Brexit are not one sided, and reminding us of all the other issues, besides Brexit, that we should be discussing.
    I suppose it is up to those of us who would like to see articles on subjects other than Brexit, to write them ourselves. You wrote a very moving article a few months ago about changes to PIP, based on your own experiences. I’m hoping that you may write more articles soon, when you feel ready to do so 🙂

  • Two facts about Brexit
    Voting for it was always the pigs in the poke option. The Tories are going to deliver the Brexit they can negotiate with the EU and not your own personal Brexit.
    Two, Brexit was always going to overwhelm other issues and bemoaning the fact the government has no time or desire to address other issues is just an unfortunate fact.
    Now if knowing these facts you would still have voted to leave please don’t complain you are not getting your personal Brexit or the government is neglecting your other intrests, you won enjoy the consequences.

  • @Sheila Gee
    Thank you for your kind words.
    All I ever try to do is engage people in constructive debate and try to at least get some people from the remain side of the argument to see and acknowledge that there are merits to leaves arguments and to not just dismiss everything out of some blinkered view for the EU. I know that task is not easy, kind of like wheelbarrow, hard to push and very easy to upset lol.

    @Michael BG
    Agree with your post, wish I could be so articulate as you, though please do be careful about talking in such terms about Germany, you will have Arnold Kiel choking on his Christmas Dumplings (Just playfully pulling your leg Arnold ) 😉

    I am borrowing Michael BG comment to you as my response

    @Catherine Jane Crosland
    Thanks again.
    I was thinking about writing another article in the New Year on the state of mental health services and the impossible task of accessing appropriate treatment on the NHS

    “ Brexit was always going to overwhelm other issues and bemoaning the fact the government has no time or desire to address other issues is just an unfortunate fact.”
    I think you’re a little confused, It is you that have been making suggestions for months in your various comments on this forum that leavers are complaining about how the Government has been neglecting other issues (though I have seen no such evidence of complaint from leavers about the Government) It has been pointed out to you, that you as an opposition party, you are negating your responsibility for not holding the government to account because of your obsession with brexit to the cost of all others.

    It was a very clever attempt by you at trying to twist things around.

  • Jayne mansfield 22nd Dec '17 - 10:22am

    @ Shiela Gee,
    I am sure Matt can speak for himself. He is no “snowflake’.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Dec '17 - 10:28am

    It is an interesting idea, Matt, that people living hard lives, may be googling to find what political support there may be, and looking to LDV for that. Hmm. However, thank you for explaining yourself more, what you wish to contribute here. It was in comments of yours such as that of 7.23 on the 20th when you suggested that Lib Dems don’t care about the serious problems people have, when you seemed to occupy the moral high ground and look down on us, that was when I felt indignant on behalf of the hard-working and sincerely caring members of my party. Just because they, and I, haven’t written rather futile pieces deploring the inadequate help for the poorest doesn’t mean that we don’t care: on the contrary, we try to help in many other ways. Still, I understand now where you are coming from.

    I was aware, of course, of your health issues, because you had told us of them before, and I had in fact noted with some concern your absence in earlier months and was glad when you reappeared. But I know you do not want special consideration because of those issues. It was good to hear about your family’s effort for charity at Christmas, and indeed that you have a family. I wish you a happy family Christmas. I know there are often issues in families which can make Christmas difficult in some ways, but on the other hand it is the season when those without families feel the loss, and can be lonely. We all try and reach out to help, in our various ways.

  • @Jayne mansfield

    “He is no “snowflake’.”
    How very true, I am more like a hail stone, I come down with thud, can be inconvenient, I do not stay around for long, but eventually do come back.

    Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas 🙂

  • @Katharine Pindar

    “It is an interesting idea, Matt”

    Thank you, that’s all I was really trying to point out to you. That when there are major headlines, like at the beginning of the month when it was all over the news about Universal Credit and how new claimants would not receive any money before Christmas, these where major story headlines covered by most media outlets. Now if somebody who was / is affected by this, searched on Google (not seeking political support) just for more information LDV should have been all over this. There should have been articles addressing the issue and setting out what the parties position is and what they are doing to hold the Government to account, so the moment someone did a google search for let’s say “Universal credit no money by Christmas” LDV would be showing up in the search results.
    It is not just LDV should be doing this, but the Labour Party equivalent.
    Like I said, it is no good waiting until Election time to shove untold leaflets through people’s doors to get your message across and letting people know where you stand on issues, it is normally to late by then to change people’s opinions if they feel you were not standing up for them when it really mattered to them.

    I acknowledge that Brexit is very important issue for this party, but surely even you can admit that other very important issues have been sidelined more than they should have done by the lack of articles on anything other than brexit on this forum over the last 18 months or so? And the the odd thing is, is there anything new and constructive actually being said in the weekly multiple articles, or is it a case of copy and paste but put in a different order???

    The other reason I was pointing this out to you was because. Frankie and others constantly insinuate that leavers are complaining about these issues not being dealt with by Government ( though I have actually seen no evidence of leavers complaining about this ) but it is used as tool / argument by remainers to say “this is all your fault brave brexiters this is what you voted for” So if they are going to make these insinuations about Brexiteers, it is only right that it be challenged

    Although I am sure there will be many more times that we disagree with one another over the coming weeks, I wish you and your loved one’s a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

  • Matt,
    Just look at the newspapers and TV, day in day out top news item Brexit. Now the Lib Dems don’t run the press or TV so that shows what the most important issue is. If like Mr Corbyn we did our best to mention anything but Brexit do you think it would disappear, because even with his best help it hasn’t and won’t. Brexit consumes all, an unpalative truth but a truth none the less.
    I’d love to be able to concentrate on the NHS, poverty, law and order and other domestic matters, unfortunately people voted for Brexit and at that point everything else was trampled by Nelly doing the Brexit Foxtrot. It never could be other than that and crying It’s all the fault of a small party that’s against it is just abrogating responsibility.

    To conclude Brexit is the brave Brexiteers baby, you all need to take responsibility and stop blaming those that didn’t want it and had no hand (or anything else) in conceiving it.

  • I just want to add one thing further to drive home the point I was trying to make, I do apologise and I do not wish to drive you all batty and I just know that I am going to get caught in a comment flood that is going to drive me batty for the rest of the day lol.

    You may recall earlier in the year that the Government passed legislation without consulting parliament and made changes to Personal Independence Payments to deny some people access to the mobility component who suffered from mental health conditions and psychological distress. Opposition parties try to stop this by submitting a prayer motion but failed.
    Yesterday the high court ruled that changes to legislation are discriminatory against those with mental health. The Government has vowed to appeal the decision.

    This is a huge indictment on Theresa May and her Government, especially considering her claims about social justice.
    Where is the article on LDV about this?
    There are potentially 166,000 PIP claimaints who are directly affected by this, then there are their friends and family all potential voters who Liberal Democrats and Labour for that matter need to win over at the next election.

    You should be taking to opportunity to reach out to these people today, when the stories are fresh in the headlines and they are more than likely to be looking online, because believe me they will remember. You should not be waiting for the campaign season to start because by then, for some, it would be to late to reach them

  • So now we have it. Our problems are all the fault of the Germans who despite being defeated in two world wars (which they were largely responsible for) have rebuilt there economy and are now the dominant power in Western Europe which I is what we tried to prevent by going to war. Instead of deploring their hard work and determination would it not be more wise to try to emulate them ? But we are British and want to be a “sovereign state” with a shiny blue passport and carry on making our own mistakes with a huge aircraft carrier without any aircraft to put on it which leaks in water.
    If we cannot compete with the Germans how on earth will we thrive unless we invite 10 million Singaporeans to come here and stop opposition parties winning for the next 50 years ?
    The Euro was probably a mistake for the weaker economies and enfeebled Britain wisely declined to join but it was a single currency which helped the USA to become the world’s greatest power. We are in a struggle with a virtually fascist dictatorship called Russia and the remaining parliamentary democracies need to stick together. Russia is determined that the EU will not continue because it will not be in its interest.

    We have had peace in Western Europe for over 72 years and we should not do anything which could endanger it.

  • Michael BG – I agree.

    LJP – My underlying concern is our industrial base. I think it’s dangerously weak in ways the raw trade statistics don’t illuminate yet Brexit amounts to asking it to do a handbrake turn whether through more exports or through import substitution. That may work but I fear too many companies aren’t up to the challenge and I see no evidence that Whitehall has the intellectual or organisational capacity to support the wrenching changes that would be required in most of the Brexit scenarios.

    In other words it’s a big gamble on probably very bad odds, uncomfortably like putting one’s head into the crocodile’s mouth. For me, making industry stronger and Whitehall more effective should be policy priorities as we would then have more degrees of freedom.

    On the ‘fall-guy’ point I completely agree with you. The EU is set on a path that cannot possibly succeed and is very obviously and unforgivably doing an immense amount of harm but remains blind to the issues as far as I can see.

    But what really gets me is the stance of the Lib Dems vs the EU. How does a party that theoretically believes in devolution, empowering people and communities etc. get sucked (suckered?) into supporting without reservation – acting as unpaid PR agents for even – a direction of travel that’s explicitly towards ‘Ever Greater Union’ in the clear sense of a European superstate with single currency and all? And how does it so insouciantly ignore the 30% or so of its members who voted Leave?

    I really don’t get that. Can anyone explain it? Whatever the reason(s) it needs to change.

  • Alex Macfie 22nd Dec '17 - 2:30pm

    @Catherine Jane Crosland: You say that the referendum result “should be valid long enough for it not only to be implemented, but for the results of its implementation to be put to the test, and for the public to form an opinion on whether they still think it was a good idea or not.” First of all, this is a completely subjective criterion: who exactly decides whether the implementation has been sufficiently tested? Brixiteers are always going to say that paradise is just around the corner, and we just have to wait a little longer for the good effects to happen. It is also inconsistent with what happens after other votes. An elected government does not have the opportunity to put its manifesto into practice if there is a snap election and it is defeated. By your logic, any government should not have to face an election and its policies should not be opposed until it has had an opportunity to implement them and they have been “tested”. Imagine how that would have worked with respect to, say, the Poll Tax. Should the opposition have waved it through on the basis that it was the flagship policy of the democratically elected government and to oppose it would therefore have been undemocratic? And should the protestors against it have been treated as “saboteurs” for opposing the policy of the democratically elected government? Of course not. That is not what happened; the opposition opposed it from the beginning, and got it abolished soon after its implementation, arguably before it had been fully tested.
    The government faces democratic opposition as soon as it is voted into power. The same thing should happen after a referendum. Your argument would be (slightly) more valid if there had been a fully charted roadmap for Brexit before the referendum, but there wasn’t. Given that Brexit was an undefined “wish” in an advisory referendum, there is no valid reason why campaigners should be expected to self-censor in the name of “respect for democracy”. Saying that people should not campaign against government policy is fundamentally undemocratic, and it is particularly offensive for “democracy” to be given as the rationale for such censorship.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Dec '17 - 3:18pm

    The problems caused by the roll-out of Universal Credit caused an emergency motion at the Liberal Democrat Conference in September, Matt, and since have been raised by our Parliamentarians. We back this up with local concern and action as far as we can: I personally am in touch with one person locally who has been much affected, whom Rebecca our Town and County Councillor and I met when canvassing last month. We do not roll out leaflets at elections, we call on people and ask how they are doing, and we write Focuses and deliver them frequently. You are pinning everything on LDV, which is flattering to the site – and I am addicted to the site – but I doubt if it impinges much on people in need.

    I repeat, that I was upset with you because of your attack on Lib Dem activists. You wrote on the 20th at 3.15 pm, ” Temperatures are plummetting. Thousands are living hungry and homeless on the streets, families are struggling to feed their children. But that’s ok, you just carry on with your blinkered view of the EU, nothing else is more important than that, fill those shopping trollies with all sorts of lovely goodies and over the festivities relish in your conversation with friends and colleagues how we must top Brexit at all costs.” That is extremely insulting to Liberal Democrat activists, so I would be glad it you would apologise for it.

  • @Katharine Pindar

    Your refusal to even attempt to understand or even acknowledge where I am coming from makes it pretty pointless me even responding to you further in relation to this point at least. Maybe the problem is with me and I am not articulating myself properly

    “That is extremely insulting to Liberal Democrat activists, so I would be glad it you would apologise for it.”
    Sorry to frustrate you but, No, I will not, I believe I was fairly justified in my comments as I was talking about the lack of articles on anything other than Brexit on this forum . The evidence speaks for itself.
    I never said anything about local parties, individuals or activists, I have only been talking about Liberal Democrats online presence to these issues.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Dec '17 - 4:48pm


    I like your comments and attitude to issues even when disagreeing too.

    I wrote two articles recently.

    One on my creative orientation and thinking with regard to attempting to get a project moving, which you can read, the article is called when politics is personal, your input is worth my letting you know.

    The other was calling for this party to come to terms with Brexit and move the aim to developing a liberal and democratic one. For Liberal, independent voices, read both through the search bar.

    You should take part more , we need all voices.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Dec '17 - 5:02pm

    The quote speaks for itself, Matt, and I will leave it to others to judge privately whether it angered them as it did me and deserved an apology. One other quote of yours before I abandon this interchange: ” All I ever do is try to engage people in constructive debate.” Perhaps you are trying, but you are conspicuously failing, as you have failed to notice the way Remainers such as myself have regularly acknowledged the strength of the Leave arguments on this site, and seen no deep divide. I did myself also acknowledge your position in my previous comment, but your denial of that means there is nothing more to say except goodbye to you, and, yes, we should continue to write about the welfare deficiencies that are so deeply affecting many people.

    Lorenzo, I was pleased to read that a vending machine containing essential items for rough sleepers – who will be given a special key card to access it – has been invented and installed in the Broadmarsh shopping centre in Nottingham. Apparently it dispenses water, fresh fruit, energy bars, sandwiches, toothbrushes, antibacterial lotion and socks! This is clearly going to take a lot of work to keep readily stocked. As with food banks, it is a sticking-plaster: homeless people need shelter, as food-bank recipients need sufficient income to buy food at supermarkets for themselves, but meantime good people work to supply the deficiencies of national and local provision. What do your local Lib Dems think of this? The inventor of the machine, Huzaifah Khaled, reportedly next wants to install one in central Manchester. What a splendid enterprise!

  • @Lorenzo Cherin
    Thank you for your comments and I will most certainly have a read through your articles this evening, they look very thought provoking.
    I always read with intrigue what you have to say

    @Katharine Pindar
    There are many times that I have felt indignant on here over the last 18 months.
    As one of those “Brave Brexiteers” do you have any idea how offensive it is when I hear people say things like Brexiters are, less educated , Ignorant selfish or racist, or that we are wilfully destroying this country.
    To constantly read insinuations that us brexiteers are actually regretful of our vote but we are too stubborn and pig ignorant to admit it, so we carry on regardless.
    Do you realise how insulting it is to hear people constantly remark that us leavers live on cloud cukoo land and are out there with the fairies and pixies ( Yes they are politely saying we are insane) and yes I do take offence to that.
    Now I cannot attribute any of those comments to you directly and I do not believe you would be so bold to make those sort of comments personally, however, you have been amused and indeed spoken of your amusement by certain individuals who repeatedly trots out those sort of lines. I call that aiding and abetting in my rules.

    Do you wish to offer an apology?

  • @Lorenzo Cherin
    Thank you for your comments and I will most certainly have a read through your articles this evening, they look very thought provoking. I always read with intrigue what you have to say.
    @Katharine Pindar
    There are many times that I have felt indignant on here over the last 18 months.
    As one of those “Brave Brexiteers” do you have any idea how offensive it is when I hear people say things like Brexiters are, less educated , Ignorant selfish or racist, or that we are wilfully destroying this country.
    Do you realise how insulting it is to hear people constantly remark that leavers live on cloud cukoo land and are out there with the fairies and pixies ( Yes they are politely saying we are insane) and yes I do take offense to that.
    Now I cannot attribute to you yourself making any of those sort of comments, and I do not believe you would be so bold to make those sort of comments personally, however, you have been amused and indeed spoken of your amusement by certain individuals who repeatedly trots out those sort of lines. I call that out as encouraging and calling for more
    Do you wish to offer an apology?

  • Jayne mansfield 22nd Dec '17 - 7:22pm

    @ Matt,
    After reading your post, I typed ‘Labour Party Universal Credit’ and then ‘ Labour Party PIP’, into google. I then found information on the Party’s views on the matter and what they intend to do. I suspect that if you type in Liberal Party and the subject you are interested in, the same would apply.

    LDV is a discussion site where Liberal Democrats discuss what is important to them. There are Liberal Democrats on here on here who are critical of the constant focus on Brexit seemingly to the exclusion of other topics. But discussion and action are entirely different things

    I find the discussions on here interesting and thought provoking, but I am more interested in what the Parties are going to do about the issues you raise, ones that are extremely important to me. I am already quite clear where I stand on the issues. I just need to check out the party that will be most likely to implement the policies that will overturn the vicious policies of this vicious, incompetent, Tory government.

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Dec '17 - 10:40pm

    Gordon, I am interested in your views above, about the weakness of our industrial base, and the big gamble that the country must take if Brexit goes through. You agree with Michael BG on the problems of the Eurozone, but I want to take up here your statement that you can’t understand the position of our party “in supporting without reservation a direction of travel that’s explicitly towards Ever Greater Union…”

    I think you make a very important point there, because though I don’t think the party does support this, it hasn’t made it clear enough, and the public can’t be sure about it. Only today I heard someone on the radio refer to Herr Schultz’s demand for progress to be made towards a Federal States of Europe, and though this isn’t likely to happen, any public conviction arising that it could is likely to be a major stumbling block in developing more support for staying in the EU. We need to be stating clearly as a party that we do not support that direction of travel, and if remaining in the EU will insist that we stay in an outer ring of non-Eurozone states, and back a more democratic less centralised system. Given the pressures for change and difficulties within the EU itself, this did not seem previously a vital question; but with powerful voices now reiterating the demand, resistance to it must indeed become a pressing matter, and not only for our party.

  • Peter Martin 22nd Dec '17 - 11:53pm

    @ Katharine @ Gordon,

    We used to have a strong industrial base. Two major things happened to weaken it – starting around 1980. Firstly there was the discovery/development of North Sea Gas and Oil. Later the UK economy started to be dominated by the finance sector. Both caused large influxes of foreign money into the UK economy, which pushed up the value of the pound, rendering large sections of UK manufacturing uncompetitive.

    The UK wasn’t the first to ‘suffer’ from the distorting effect of an influx of money in this way. Economists had noticed the same effect in Holland some years previously and named the phenomena “Dutch Disease”.

    The remedy is relatively straightforward. Government should:

    1) Have an exchange rate policy. The ‘higher the better’ for the pound is not good for manufacturing industry.
    2) Establish an Industrial Enterprise Bank to channel investment in the right direction.
    3) Treat the finance sector as a service sector to the rest of the UK economy and not consider it an end in itself. In other words move away from what economists like Michael Hudson term the F.I.R.E. (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) economy.

    It will take a time but if that is what people want then the sooner a start is made the better.

  • Peter Martin 23rd Dec '17 - 12:07am

    @ Katharine,

    The EU has to move rapidly to become a USE for its own survival. “Ever closer union” isn’t just an aspiration. It has to happen otherwise the contradictions inherent in having 19 countries share a single currency, plus having the rest align their currencies, will tear it apart. This was always the plan from the start. I don’t think you can find a single economist who was taken in by suggestions that sharing a currency was ever about making it a little more convenient for international trade and travellers.

    I wouldn’t normally quote Milton Friedman. But he was a smart enough cookie. He knew what the euro was all about right from the start.

    “The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe.”

    He also knew that it was a dangerous experiment and sounded due warning that it could all be highly counterproductive.


  • @ Katharine Pindar

    I didn’t like you asking Matt what he is doing to help hard-pressed people. I expect he didn’t object to it as much as I did. In the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world, it should not be down to charity and individuals “to help hard-pressed people”, it should be down to the state to ensure no one in the UK is so hard pressed that they need charity.

    @ Matt

    Thank you for saying my last comment was articulate and using it to reply to nvelope2003, even if you thought my comment “secondly the Eurozone is run for the benefit of Germany, who set the rules;” might have been an exaggerate. I will happily accept that the rules are not set by Germany alone, but they are based on German economics – ordoliberal with its emphasis on controlling inflation, rather than using fiscal measures to control unemployment and the restrictions on what national governments can do to assist their poorest regions.

    Do you have any internet links for the breakdown of the split between goods and services exported to the different countries as I think you wrote that the trade deals the EU makes harms our service sector exports?

    In defence of LDV, (not something I normally do) it is not an official site and the team of people who are the daily editors have their own interests which are reflected in the articles they write. Also they can’t publish articles on topics they don’t receive articles on. I have counted 97 “articles” on LDV so far this month, of which I think 24 are about Brexit. Other topics include Liberal Society and Christianity, Faith and Liberalism, World Aids Day, Period Poverty, State Pension Inequality for Women (WASPI), the Path to Electoral Recovery for the Party, Sexual Harassment and Safe Places, Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Railways, Social Housing, the Party of Business, Israel and Palestine, BAME Shortlists, Scotland’s Budget, Inflation, Land Value Capture, English Party Reorganisation, Digital Personal Information and the Power of Digital Companies, Lords Reform, Real-term Cuts to Police Funding, Automation, and my own Economic Policy for 2022 and Beyond 9 https://www.libdemvoice.org/an-economic-policy-for-2022-and-beyond-56076.html).

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Dec '17 - 9:41am

    Peter, those are two really informative, useful comments. I don’t see why, though, since the EU has staggered on for some years with the problems of the Eurozone, they can’t go on doing so, finding some corrective measures for themselves short of a USE.

    However, I need to turn my attention elsewhere this morning. I must go to our local poor town, Workington, to fill a shopping trolley with all sorts of lovely goodies for Christmas, and remember to stop by the Big Issue seller to tell him that he’s got a great opportunity there in his chats to start persuading the passers-by about the evils of Brexit. Then I must come home and phone the friends I haven’t got to yet – that’ll be the couple where he is facing cancer treatment – to make sure they are fully briefed on how we must stop Brexit. Better write some notes for myself too, ready for the speech I can make about it during the Christmas Day dinner for elderly disabled people in Workington, excellent captive audience there! No problem if I haven’t time to eat much myself, of course, plenty of lovely goodies to enjoy later at home. The great work must go on! Happy Christmas, fellow strugglers!

  • @@Lorenzo Cherin

    I did try to reply to you yesterday but for some reason my comments are stuck in the Ether
    Thank you for your comments and I will most certainly have a read through your articles this evening, they look very thought provoking. I always read with intrigue what you have to say.

    @Katharine Pindar
    There are many times that I have felt irked on here over the last 18 months.
    As one of those “Brave Brexiteers” do you have any idea how offensive it is when I keep hearing people say things like Brexiters are, less educated , Ignorant selfish or xenophobic, or that we are wilfully destroying this country.
    To constantly be told that we are living in fairy land with unicorns and Tinkerbells, yes that is the politest way possible of saying that we are not right in the head.
    I cannot attribute you yourself to making any of those comments, however, you have been amused and indeed spoken of your amusement by certain people who repeatedly rolls out those sort of lines. I would call that encouraging and cajoling for more of the same.

    I wish you well on arduous journey today on this cold winter morning for spreading cheer, goodwill and charity, maybe the gesture only requires and act of kindness and love though rather than adding a political undertone to it?

  • Peter Martin 23rd Dec '17 - 11:24am


    Good Luck with your shopping. Workington isn’t too far away from Lancaster so I’m aware of the social problems in the area. I’m sure we’d agree on nearly everything except Brexit. You could be right, and there could be an economic theory out there, somewhere, which explains how to resolve the problems of a wide scale currency sharing. That would be a start – but I’m unaware of anything suitable. Then, as always, theory has to be put into practice. That can be difficult enough but when you don’t even have a theory it can be just about impossible.

    I don’t think the option of “staggering along” is a good one. The system is just too rigid. If France, for example, has a 1% higher rate of inflation than Germany it isn’t that noticeable over a short period. But after a couple of decades it is very noticeable. Not a lot can be done about it. The obvious thing to do might be to decree that prices and wages have all to be reduced by 20%. But, even if that were possible, that just increases everyone’s debt levels in real terms. Falling wages and prices are also likely to increase levels of recession/depression. Why spend anything now when you know you can get it cheaper in a few months’ time? There is really no subsititution for currency adjustments, if we want separate countries to carry on being separate.

    I can appreciate the disappointment behind your “evils of Brexit” comment. If you really think that and want the UK to remain I’d say you also need to either campaign for the EU to go back to freely floating separate currencies or join together to be a USE along the lines of the USA. Leaving economic theory aside, just pick a model that functions properly, somewhere in the world, and work to build the EU around that.

  • @ Katharine A joyful and peaceful Christmas to you.

  • @ Peter Martin and Katharine Pindar

    The stresses of the Eurozone are such that something has to be done, it can’t carry on as it is. Assuming that no country using the Euro wants to give it up to have its own currency then the whole economic area has to be run for the poorest areas or huge amounts of assistance need to be provided for the poorest regions. We can see this in the UK. The economy is run for London and South-east England and other regions are poorer, therefore the government has regional development policies to stimulate the regional economies and in the past had incentives to businesses to set up in poorer regions. This is what the Eurozone needs to do. It could without greater political union, scrape the stability pact, stop the European Central Bank controlling inflation for the benefit of Germany and allow inflation in Germany to rise, put in place mechanisms to increase investment in businesses in the poorer regions by the European Central bank and the Eurozone banking system, give incentives to businesses to setup in the poorer regions and most importantly get Germany to accept the need that southern Europe needs economic assistance greater than it gave to East Germany after unification.

  • nvelope2003 23rd Dec '17 - 4:44pm

    Matt: I do not think Brexiteers are ignorant or less educated. Many of them have had the best education money can buy. Most of them seem rather sentimental about Britain’s past and the blue passport and have unrealistic notions of our history as a trading nation. Until the 1950s we had a vast navy which we used to make sure other nations could not export their goods to our own colonies and dependencies. America forced us to close down the empire so that they could take our trade away. The Navy now seems to consist of a huge aircraft carrier which leaks in water and has no aircraft on it.

    People support the side that suits their particular interest. If you are not in the EU and wish to export to it because you own factories in the Far East then you would not want us to stay in it and if you think your wages have been kept down by immigration from the EU likewise. Those British whose trade is with the EU will want us to stay in it. Some people have rather narrow views of the meaning of the word sovereignty and seem to think we can become like they imagined we were before the world wars. It is not going to happen but there will be opportunities. The problem is that before 1973 we seemed incapable of seizing them so what has changed ?

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Dec '17 - 9:38pm

    @ Peter Martin and Michael BG. It does seem if your analyses are right that the Eurozone will need to change its policies considerably to be successful. I take it that you are still of that mind even though economic growth is increasing in the area now and youth unemployment is decreasing. I am glad that Michael sees ways forward for its progress without need for a United States of Europe, and can only hope that your suggestions are solutions which may occur to Germany and the central command of the EU. It remains a concern to me that our party should declare the policy of USE completely unacceptable. If you were to formulate a policy proposal for our party spring conference, Michael, which included the possible steps of reform you recommend to the EU, others could take it forward for you.

    On the dispute I have had with Matt, above, Michael, I accept that it is not desirable to ask personal questions. However, Matt himself had made a personal reference (to his future sister-in-law, I think it was), has been open in the past about his personal problems, and he was perfectly at liberty to refuse to answer me then. The context was that I had been greatly angered by his unreasonable attacks on activists campaigning for the cause that matters so very much, staying in the EU. He made exaggerated accusations of them denigrating Leavers, and repeated assertions (which you have answered well) that activists are using LDV mostly to combat Brexit while ignoring the social problems around us. He appeared to take a moral high ground without entitlement to it, and I am actually glad that sensitive editing at one point modified my expression of anger to him, while leaving in my indignation and my passion about the harm quitting the EU is doing to our country. This argument is now at an end, but I am not here allowed space to ask you what I would like to know, your prescription for Britain’s own productivity and growth, in view of the IMF bleak forecast.

  • @Katharine Pindar
    “On the dispute I have had with Matt, above, Michael, I accept that it is not desirable to ask personal questions. However, Matt himself had made a personal reference (to his future sister-in-law, I think it was), has been open in the past about his “personal problems””
    Let me guess this straight, because I mentioned in a post that I have a future sister in law from Latvia, because I have written articles on LDV about my “personal problems” on Sexual Abuse and written articles about mental health and welfare benefits, because I shared these personal details at a time of my chosen that’s justification for you to question me on what I do for those less fortunate than myself? I don’t think so and may I suggest you revaluate your thinking
    “ He appeared to take a moral high ground without entitlement to it”
    I dispute that, I am not the one in the habit of going out of my way to tell people what I do for others, I don’t need my back stroking and there is not a condescending bone in my body…

    Anyway, I am now disappointed in myself that I have allowed this to get personal and sunk to levels of who is the most irked by it all. It is not constructive and it is not what these forums are for.
    I look forward to getting back to some constructive debate and hopefully reading some intelligent and intriguing arguments for the EU and why we should remain a member. Christmas is a time for miracles, you never know I might be persuaded to believe….

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Dec '17 - 11:57pm

    @ David Raw. Thanks, David, I really appreciate that. LDV comments have now the power, unfortunately, to take me from highs to lows within a few days – but luckily, the reverse is also true. It’s the people that do it, of course, for someone like me and in my position. and some matter to me more than others. So you are giving me here a nice start to real Christmas, which will now take over for a couple of enjoyable days. I hope all is very well with you and family, and that you have a great Christmas yourself.

  • @ nvelope2003

    I don’t think the USA forced us to give up our Empire. I think that we had accepted self-determination in 1919 and by 1945 accepted that it applied to everyone across our Empire not just the descendants of white settlers. Our position as the greatest trading nation was in decline at least from the 1870s with the rise of the USA and Germany. In our history it was only for a very short period of time (1932-37) that we practiced Imperial Preference.

    However, a bit like you I find it strange that those advocating Brexit don’t remember (or know about) our trade problems in the 1970s and don’t state how our being out of the EU will produce a different outcome from the one we achieved in the 1970s.

    @ Katharine Pindar

    There are still huge economic differences across the Eurozone from over 150% of the average to under 75% of the average, so yes I still think the Eurozone is not being run in a way to make it stable and long lasting. I am not sure that most Liberal Democrats support my vision for the EU. In our 2008 policy paper on the EU (No. 87) we supported the “Stability and Growth Pact” and the European Central Bank’s tough anti-inflation policies. Also I have never had one of my Federal Conference motions accepted by Conference Committee for debate.

    As I said I expect that Matt didn’t object to your question as much as I did.

  • @Michael BG
    23rd Dec ’17 – 12:14am

    Sorry I am not replying to you sooner, It seems a lot of comments are getting stuck in the Ether and then getting released on mass, sometimes I don’t notice a comment previously held back hitting the forum and when I do, I have already over commentated on other threads and have to pace myself lol

    “secondly the Eurozone is run for the benefit of Germany, who set the rules;” might have been an exaggerate. I will happily accept that the rules are not set by Germany alone, but they are based on German economics –”

    Oh you miss understand, I am in full agreement with you, my comment was just having a little play with Arnold.

    “Do you have any internet links for the breakdown of the split between goods and services exported to the different countries as I think you wrote that the trade deals the EU makes harms our service sector exports?”
    I really need to get into the habit of logging every page I read so I can refer back to it later, I will find it. The source I read was more along the lines of when the EU does negotiate trade deals, it leaves out so much of services and finances which leaves in place a lot of Non Tariff Barriers, my brain is still pickled right now lol so i will find it later and get back to you so we can explore these points further if you wish.

    “As I said I expect that Matt didn’t object to your question as much as I did.”
    Oh yes I did very much object to it, I just tried to hide it first.

    I did submit an article myself about the recent high court case that the Government lost in relation to their changes to pip legislation being unlawful and discriminatory. I never got a response from LDV, but I appreciate that it is a very busy time of year for everybody and people have lives and commitments oiuutside LDV

  • There I go again, commentating before I read my e-mails and checked LDV to see if the article had been published.

    So sorry Caron and thank you for publishing the article 🙂

  • Peter Martin 24th Dec '17 - 10:16am

    @ Katharine Pindar,

    There are policies that can be adopted to make the EZ work better than it does without going as far as implementing a U.S.E. Recently the ECB has been engaging, some would say indulging, in rounds of QE which has had the beneficial effect of reducing interest rates. This is likely to be the cause of recent improvement in EZ growth rates and some reduction in unemployment. The ECB is, however, running out of bonds to buy from third party holders and it is doubtful if Germany would put up with the National Central Banks and/or National Treasuries openly creating new ones for direct sale to the ECB.

    Probably that would be useful, though, as would some relaxation in the rules of the Stability and Growth pact. At least it would buy some extra time for a longer term solution. The problem, as ever, is Germany. Emmanuel Macron knows what needs to happen. Or at least he did before he was elected. But he also knows that he faces powerful opposition.


  • Katharine Pindar 24th Dec '17 - 11:11am

    Thanks, Peter, it’s good to know that the EZ has found a way of improving its working, and that there could be other useful developments short of the drastic change of becoming a United States of Europe. I don’t begin to understand the details of that, but am glad it is possible. My concern now is that the party should make it plain that it does not support a USE, and that if Britain remains in the EU would help to ensure that it does not happen. I suppose in fact as Britain is such an important state in the EU, our remaining in, opposed to the idea, would itself inhibit it.

    It would be good if the economic suggestions of informed people such as yourself and Michael BG could be brought to the next party Conference in March, since 2018 is really the decisive year.

    Speaking personally before I get on with Christmas sociability, carol singing and enjoyment, this debate has been painful for me, and I am glad it is over in a personal sense – and that Matt’s article on PIP has appeared. Peace be with you all, and apologies to those offended by my putting a question which, although it did not have to be answered, did offend, so was a misjudgement by me. In this season of love and goodwill, I genuinely wish you all a happy Christmas.

  • Jayne mansfield 24th Dec '17 - 11:48am

    @ Katharine Pindar,
    I wish you a joyous and peaceful Christmas, as I do to all.

    I struggle to be completely content surrounded by my family in a warm, loving environment, when my own happiness and joy of family at this time is a stark reminder of those less fortunate than I.

    We must all, in our own way, try harder to change this in 2018.

    Merry Christmas.

  • Peter Martin 24th Dec '17 - 10:59pm


    You might be better inviting people like Emmanuel Macron and Mark Rutte (Dutch PM) to outline their respective visions of the EU at your next party conference. Macron is a Federalist, Rutte favours the status quo.


    I can understand why the status quo might seem a better option, but it locks the EU into an unstable economic situation by separating national governments from their currencies and so removing their fiscal space for economic policy adjustments. Emmanuel Macron knows that. I think he’d agree with me that whatever measures the ECB might be pushing through at the moment are at best palliative and can only be considered a way of buying a little extra time.

    So it’s probably better for keen Remainers to hear it from someone who is genuinely pro-EU. Mark Rutte would need to be challenged on why Emmanuel Macron has got it wrong. I don’t believe he has.

  • Peter Martin 25th Dec '17 - 12:31pm

    Just opened my first Christmas present to find its “Five Escape Brexit Island” !


    I’ll let you know if induces a change of mind!

    A Merry Christmas to all!

  • Andrew Tampion 26th Dec '17 - 7:46am

    The problem with David Allen’s suggestion of waiting until a significant proportion of the electorate favours staying in the EU before calling for a referendum on the deal is what do you do if in few years time public opinion swings the other way again and the Eurosceptics call for a further referendum.
    As Catherine Jane Crosland has wisely said the result of the referendum should be put into effect if in a few years time it doesn’t work out or public opinion shifts then the matter can be looked at again.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Dec '17 - 4:53pm

    @ Jayne mansfield. Emerging from a peaceful and delightful Christmas, Jayne (thank you for your good wishes) your comment of the 24th, which I have only just read, sent me looking through my Dictionary of Quotations, because you sparked a vague memory from Keats. I think I have found it, though this doesn’t tell me which poem it is from:
    ‘None can usurp this height,’ return’d that shade
    ‘But those to whom the miseries of the world
    Are misery, and will not let them rest.’
    That was true of the person who inspired me to join the Liberal Democrats so many years ago, and is true I believe of many, perhaps most, of our party faithful. (Think of Tim Farron, with his concern for the homeless and the refugees.) Without reaching that height, I like you have retained a certain unease in my rich and happy holiday, indeed life. We all have the frustration of having so little power to help. We need the party in government, but at least for the moment let us fight this Brexit, which is so reducing Britain’s status and power in the world that our country will sadly be less able to do good unless it is stemmed.

    Peter Martin, I hope you have had a merry Christmas helped by your entertaining book! But don’t advise us to buy from Amazon, but rather from local independent book shops – I don’t know where you are based – we have an excellent one at any rate in Cockermouth.

  • It’s Keats ‘The Fall of Hyperion’, Katharine. Thank Bradford Grammar for that back in 1958 !!! Sticks in the mind because,

    a) there was a Gresley designed A3 loco (Flying Scotsman class) named ‘Hyperion’ which frequented Leeds

    and b) the loco was named after a still living stud thoroughbred racehorse (unbeaten 1933 Derby and St Leger winner). It was the most successful stud stallion of the age. You can thank my dear old Dad for that. He didn’t bet (Methodist) but loved horses and said they were the most beautiful creatures on God’s earth. He managed to talk us into the Newmarket stables to see Hyperion (when we weren’t cheering on HTAFC).

    c) In Greek mythology Hyperion was the Greek God of Heavenly light – one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia, but I prefer the loco and the horse.

    Dim and distant childhood memories of a so called classical education – but nice to think about Dad again. Happy New Year when it comes !!!

    PS Be nice if our twelve MPs became Titans.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Dec '17 - 11:09pm

    Lovely references, thank you very much, David! I actually thought it was in Hyperion myself, and glanced through its three parts in my mother’s school-prize volume of Keats, but failed to spot it. Pleased to know about the loco and the race-horse! But don’t wish for our valiant dozen to become Titans – remember they were all felled and replaced…:}

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