A little Brexit quiz…

I am now back from my blissful trip to the Highlands. Yesterday morning I woke up to this amazing view. We had enjoyed a week of mostly sunshine and some really hot days. Nine hours after this photo was taken, we were heading home in temperatures struggling to reach double figures and driving rain.

While I was away, I went out canvassing with our top of the list in Scotland Euro candidate Sheila Ritchie in Inverness. It’s great to be welcomed on to doorsteps again. Our message that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit went down exceptionally well. Labour remainers were annoyed with their own party’s ambiguous stance on Brexit and were willing to lend us their votes for this election.

This is consistent with what others are finding across the country. Conservative remainers are exasperated with the failings of their party and are switching to us.

The prospect of another, imminent independence referendum is also making some SNP leaning voters think again about backing that party.

If there was ever an election worth throwing extra effort at, this is it. We can change the direction of our country and we should all be out there as often as we can over the next month.

Let’s get behind our brilliant candidates and make this a campaign to remember. If you haven’t been canvassing since the coalition years, get out there. You will notice a big difference.

Our prospects in the European elections will be improved by a good showing in the local elections on Thursday. We need to show that momentum so if you are in an area that doesn’t have elections, please go to somewhere that does or do some phone canvassing in the next few days or knocking up on polling day.

Getting lots more Lib Dem councillors is a good end in itself, but this year we have the added incentive of putting a stop to Brexit and establishing ourselves as the best option for remainers to vote for on May 23rd.

Let’s get to it.

But while you are having your breakfast, have a bit of fun with this Brexit quiz. We went to a pub quiz in Fortrose on Thursday night and were languishing in a pretty poor last place until the final round.  That round was one of these where you can get loads of bonus points if you can predict how many questions you will get right. And if you don’t meet your target, you end up losing half your score.

The subject was Brexit in people and numbers which was a bit more up my street than Michael Caine movies and tv crime dramas which had led to our last place predicament.

We stormed from last to fourth. It turns out we could have gambled more and come third.

How many of these questions would you get right? No cheating – you are not allowed to use the internet to help you.

  1. Who is the President of the European Commission?
  2. Name two of the three Brexit secretaries we have had.
  3. To the nearest decimal place, what was the result of the 2016 referendum?
  4. Sabine Weyand is the deputy of a key player in the Brexit negotiations. Who?
  5. How much did the Deal lose by in the first Meaningful Vote?
  6. Name two of the three Conservative MPs who left the party to join the Independent Group on 20th February.
  7. Who is the Irish Prime Minister?
  8. What is Donald Tusk’s role?
  9. What post does Simon Coveney hold?
  10. Who wrote The Bad Boys of Brexit?
  11. On the morning after the referendum, Sarah Vine says that she quoted a 10 word line from a  classic 1960s to Michael Gove. What was that line?

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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 28th Apr '19 - 10:27am

    There is zero chance of the Scottish Liberal Democrats supporting independence, Martin.

    It is a terrible idea – and being out of both unions would be disastrous for us.

    At least in the Brexit negotiations, you had one party, the EU, which was consistent and united. The prospect of negotiating independence between the SNP and whichever right winger is leading the Conservatives at the time is not edifying.

  • Martin,
    Brexit should teach the SNP one lesson, that power in negotiations lies with the biggest party. Now our brave Brexiteers are being taught that lesson by the EU much to their shock, in a Scottish independence negotiation the Scottish side will be shown the same reality. The problem they have is the what remains of the UK side will be headed up by a team still whailing from the humiliation of the EU negotiations and how they will want to kick that cat to make them feel important again. The SNP will cry but the EU will save us, I rather doubt they will, they will have other priorities above a small edge of European state heading for bankruptcy.

  • Bernard Aris 28th Apr '19 - 3:10pm

    I totally agree with Caron: a Scexit after Brexit is a terrible idea.
    1) For one, the Scotish economy is in transition now North Sea Oil is petering out; and has been somewhat onesided because it was part of the Union for over 300 years;
    2) for another the massive application procedures and paperwork to re-enter the EU will absorb just about all public servants the Scotish government could muster, so even less attention can be paid to Education, Housing or the NHS (possibly losing many English employees); policy terrains with big and (for average citizens) urgent problems;
    3) third: look at wat happenend to Catalunya when in 2018 it appeared that it was splitting off. It has been a hub of entrepreneurship and trade for Spain for centuries (earlier and more industrialised than for example rural Andalusia); but now all of a sudden a wave of companies, including some high-profile ones, anounced moving their HQ’s and such to other parts of Spain. Such murmurings were also heard in the last Scotish independence referendum…

  • Peter Martin 28th Apr '19 - 4:12pm

    As the concept of “ever closer union” in the EU is increasingly put into practice it really won’t make much difference if certain nations/regions of the EU such as Scotland, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Sardinia, Corsica are declared independent.

    These would all be just changes to local government in the EU – essentially no different from splitting up the county of Yorkshire into its former Ridings. Or splitting up the state of Texas into two smaller States.

  • Bernard,
    Everything you say is factual, alas whole swathes of UK society are wedded to delusion. Whether that be the brave Brexiteers, or the Scots Nats, all dream of sun lit uplands having escaped the vile other. In the case of Peter and Glen that is the vile EU, in the case of the Scots Nats tis the vile English. Delusion alas only gets you so far, when reality bites you scream, all be it most will be screaming “Tis the fault of the vile other” while in truth it is the fault of their delusion. Hard facts are. the situation we are in is down to us, not some dark powers working to frustrate our genius.

  • Mick Taylor 28th Apr '19 - 7:02pm

    How many times do you have to be told Mr Martin that ever closer union requires unanimity by all EU countries and that any one country can veto such proposals? Perhaps it doesn’t fit your narrative, but this is at least the second time I have written this in a response to you. I think you believe that the UK won’t use the veto? But it has and has said it won’t be pushed along this road.
    You seem to think that if you repeat a falsehood again and again it somehow becomes true. Please accept the facts and move on.

  • Mick,
    Repeating a lie does work for some, because after repeating it long enough Peter truely does beleve it and struggles to see why others don’t. Lies have power and we can all fall victim to them like poor Peter. Still keep pointing it out you may prevent others going down with Peter’s syndrome.

  • Martin,
    Look at who would be leading the negotiations with Scotland and then it is simple to work out their attitude. The right wing under Johnson and co would gave no reason to be kind to Scotland and every reason to be hard on them. The Barnet subsidy would be gone, it would be all take and no give. Will the EU rush to fill the fiscal gap, not likely and Scoland will suffer. We can pretend everyone will play nice, but they won’t and hard times will roll. Put simply if the Tories can take a pound from Scotland and spend it on a potential Tory voter they will. If they can take a job from Scotland and give it to a potential Tory voter they will, begger they neighbour would be a vote winner for them..

  • Bill le Breton 29th Apr '19 - 10:26am

    I agree with Martin – I am just surprised that it has taken him until now to appreciate that the SLD had become a Unionist party.

    Incidentally, although the SLD could retain both their radicalism and their popularity whilst in Government in Scotland, the moment it became a Unionist party abandoning its radicalism and its position viz-a-viz the Tories and Labour) it became so unpopular that it lost almost all its electoral support.

    The SLD should be presently, when the UK is part of the EU, the one party in Scotland committed to Devo-Max Max Max – Martin is asking people to consider what should be its policy should a time arrive when/if the UK have left the EU. Not what its policy should be now.

  • Peter Martin 29th Apr '19 - 10:36am

    @ Mick Taylor,

    “How many times do you have to be told…. that ever closer union requires unanimity by all EU countries and that any one country can veto such proposals?”

    I’ve also answered this point numerous times.We were told this prior to the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties. There was no veto. There never is any veto. When was the last time any significant piece of European Legislation or European Treaty was stopped by the use of a veto? It’s a relic of a by-gone era. It’s only use is to allow europhiles, such as yourself, to make worthless guarantees against the UK being sucked in to the inevitable forthcoming European superstate.

    The EU cannot function if just one of the 27 or 28 countries could exercise a veto when it liked. That’s why the EU has effectively moved to qualified majority voting. Image the situation if Greece vetoed EU business in retaliation for being treated harshly, as they saw it, over some fiscal misdemeanour? There are lots of changes in the pipeline, from the way we set our clocks to the way we run our utilities and railways. Some we may like. Some we won’t. Will we veto those we don’t like? No. Of course not. It just won’t happen. The EU won’t allow it to happen.

  • @Peter Martin

    The point on treaty changes which is what is needed for ever closer union is that they require unanimity. In addition any treaty change in this country requires um.. a referendum! It would be a brave politician in the UK that would put it to a referendum. In addition there is a strong degree of euroscepticism in continental countries – the National Front (National Rally) may will win the French Euro Elections, there is AFD in Germany etc.

    As Prof Vernon Bogdanor outlines in his lectures which are on youtube the EU is a inter-governmental organisation not a supranational one.

    Ironically it was the British that pushed the most for qualified majority voting to facilitate the single market and so it didn’t get bogged down in vetoes. This was in turn massively to our advantage to enable the export to the continent in areas where we were strong such as financial services.

  • @Bill le Breton, the Scottish LibDems have always been a unionist party. You seem to think we only became anti-independence after we left the Lib/Lab coalition? I can assure you our policy has been consistently anti-independence since the party was formed in 1988 (I know because I was there).
    Also, the collapse of our electoral support here after 2010 has mirrored that of the party across the rest of the UK, and has happened for the same reason: tuition fees etc. Nothing to do with independence.

  • Peter Martin 29th Apr '19 - 1:21pm

    @ David Raw,

    “Do please remind me……. when was the veto abolished”?

    A more apposite question would be when was the power of the veto abolished? There is a good argument to say that Mrs Thatcher did the most to weaken it when she signed the Single European Act. It’s a dead duck effectively. There’s no way we can rely on the power of any supposed veto to stop the rest of the EU doing what what they want to do.

    I keep asking the question of successful uses of the veto and no-one has been able to supply any examples.

    @ Michael1,

    ” In addition any treaty change in this country requires um.. a referendum!”

    Just like we had (not!) with Lisbon and Maastricht? If there is one lesson that the British Establishment has learned it must be that there should be never again be another EU referendum once they have us safely back in the fold. The EU establishment knew that already. So, one way of another, whatever changes are made there won’t be. Whatever developments there are won’t be called Treaties. It might take a bit of doing but there’s no shortage of brainpower from the EU elite when it comes to figuring out how best to get around public objections that might thwart what they are up to.

    It’s just a pity they don’t apply some of that towards making the EU work better in everyone’s interest so they don’t have the objections in the first place!

  • Bill le Breton 29th Apr '19 - 5:04pm

    and Tony H: did our 2010 volt face on Tuition Fees affect Scotland?

  • Peter Watson 29th Apr '19 - 8:01pm

    @Bill le Breton “did our 2010 volt face on Tuition Fees affect Scotland?”
    As an aside, is it Lib Dem policy in Scotland to scrap free university tuition for Scottish and EU students and increase tuition fees in line with the system supported by the party in England?

  • @Bill – Yes we were/are federalist, but the federal layers we envision include the UK: it goes EU, UK, Scotland and local council. So we are unionist in that sense, and we’ve always been very clear on that: I’m a veteran of the constitutional arguments of the 1990s and helped write some of our policy papers back then and into the 2000s. We’ve always been pro-UK – mandated as such repeatedly by conference.
    And yes, tuition fees (and the coalition in general) did damage us in Scotland. Politics are not that different up here. Most voters in Scotland are sick of the indy arguments and vote on bread and butter issues. Our collapse in support in 2010-15 was entirely down to the same reason as that in the rest of the UK, and our recovery is happening at about the same rate. In fact I’ve no doubt our policy on staying in the UK is helping that recovery in places like O&S, East Dunbartonshire, West Edinburgh, Caithness and North East Fife, rather than hindering it.

  • @Peter Martin

    It is a legal requirement under a law passed during the coalition years – that is after Maastricht and Lisbon a new treaty has to put to a referendum in the UK (if we remain in). In addition the realpolitik is that many countries France, Germany, UK (if we remain) etc. have large Eurosceptic parties so the EU countries are highly likely not to move further for fear of gingering them up further.

  • Peter Watson 30th Apr '19 - 7:35am

    @Michael 1 “It is a legal requirement under a law passed during the coalition years – that is after Maastricht and Lisbon a new treaty has to put to a referendum in the UK (if we remain in).”
    Strictly speaking I don’t think this is true any more as that law was repealed when parliament voted to invoke article 50 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Act_2011).
    Though it now seems ironic that in 2015 Lib Dems wanted to go beyond the requirements of that law and to ensure that any referendum triggered by it should be on the big question, in or out.

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