Author Archives: David Hopps

Brexit related divisiveness mars school exchange visit

Three Spanish Exchange students have descended on our home this week. Full of fun, responsive and impeccably mannered, it has been a pleasure to have them around. About parts of their experience in England, though, it is impossible to be so complimentary.

Their looks of bemusement have grown ever stronger during the week as the farcical events surrounding Gibraltar have unfolded.

Firstly, they watched in amazement as a former Tory leader – not a rogue backbencher, a former leader – envisaged a situation in which Britain would sent a Task Force, Union Jacks waving and bugles blowing, to defend the future of the island.

Walking round the supermarket, they stumbled across the front page of The Sun with its headline “Up Yours Senors”, although I suppose we should be mildly relieved that the paper fell short of calling for all-out war.

If they go back to the supermarket today, they can check out the Daily Mail with its tale of how a “Tiny Royal Navy patrol vessel chases giant Spanish gunboat out of British waters.”

Two newspapers which have done so much damage to the culture of the nation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 11 Comments

The Lib Dems need answers, not just anger

Well, you have to hand it to the Tories. When it comes to brazen reinvention in an attempt to hold on to power there is nobody quite like them.

The Tories have rarely been more on message at an annual conference. “A Country That Works for Everyone” was not just in every camera shot but in every speech, whether it was Amber Rudd (yes, that one-time Remain campaigner) insisting companies employ more British workers or Angela Leadsom, in surely the most curious environment speech in British political history, imagining a future of happy youngsters breathing in rural British air as they reconnected with rural communities.

Combine lip service to a vague industrial strategy to benefit all hard-working Britons with some populist and reactionary thinking drawn from the lexicon of some – even many – of the 52% who voted for Brexit. Job done.

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

In protecting the liberal age, the charge of elitism must be avoided

There is a sense that if an election happens at any time in the next year, it will be fought out as much on values as economic policy. The argument is no longer just about fairness and equality. It is also about a philosophy of life.

Fears that the liberal age is now under threat both from Right and Left has the potential to galvanise those who have previously taken our liberal traditions for granted. The #libdemfightback has the potential to happen.

Identifying the 48% Remain voters as fertile ground for the Liberal Democrats was a fast and valid response, not just a sound political gambit for a party polling so low but one that was true to the party’s internationalist values.

Remain voters are desperate to embrace a coherent narrative and the liberal attitudes held by many of them will only turn into Lib Dem votes if that narrative is provided.

But that should only be the beginning. The Lib Dems must also respond powerfully and clearly to the illiberal, isolationist and anti-elite sentiment that lay behind Brexit.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , and | 23 Comments
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