Be optimistic post Brexit

The best thing you can do for your country now is to be optimistic about the opportunities ahead. This nation does its very best when dealing with a problem and working out a solution. A trading nation, an outward looking people, both hallmarks of the UK for many years, with no sign of our zeal for global trade and responsibility to be a global force for good diminished. We should not allow those who can only see doom and gloom to dominate the discussion of the way ahead, instead, we should listen most to those who principally see opportunity as the brightest future, and will strive tirelessly to achieve and negotiate excellent outcomes for Britain, the remaining EU and indeed our worldwide trading partners.

Nor should we forget our responsibility to othersÖ The UK has had a proud record of achievement in providing foreign aid, and getting involved on the ground in situations that are desperate. We are no stranger to difficult situations, providing leadership, resources, direction and real hope to many. In such ways, Britain has remained Great, and that same spirit to engage with the difficult decisions, create positive change, and tackle major directional changes is exactly what is required now on our own shores.

As Liberal Democrats, we have an opportunity at conference to consider our response and create policy that protects the principles we hold dear whether the UK is in or out of EU. In my view, campaigning to rejoin the EU would be a mistake and be out of step with many of those who are looking for a party to vote for post UKIP, however we should be very active in promoting a pro ‘working together’ agenda as we have for many years. We should reach out to our contacts and continue to display what is bright and good about the UK, its people, its businesses and its future.

I know many of my colleagues within the Liberal Democrats are still stunned and hurting from the result of the referendum. It must be very painful for those who have worked for a pro EU agenda for many years to see that work seemingly come to nothing, yet in the last 40 years this nation has been irrevocably changed. Our years within the EU will leave an indelible mark and will shape our expectations for generations to come, of working together with our European neighbours whatever the political position. From my perspective it simply isn’t about which countries need each other, it is instead a deep desire, a want, to work and trade with each other, which will remind us through the negotiation phases to create good outcomes for all the nations concerned.

So take heart.

Take some comfort that though the Remain campaign didn’t manage to present the buoyant picture of the EU many of you believe, the years of working together won’t be undone simply by treaty dismemberment. There are though, many battles ahead. We now need to look forward to shaping the future, winning concessions, arguing for a vision of the UK that is as inclusive as possible. We too must mobilise ourselves like the Tories are doing now. Though you feel a great disaster has occurred, there is no time for mourning.

The country needs us now. Our constituents need us now. They simply want to know what we’re going to do. Let’s regain our focus, and use the passion with which I observed many within our party argue for Remain, to fight for the very best interests of our great nation and her people.

* Robert Mason is a Liberal Democrat member from Derby.

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53 Comments

  • Britain’s future has been destroyed by the internal stupidity of a ruling party which cares about nothing but the jockeying for position of its own MPs. Calls to ‘move on’ and demands that we talk up Britain’s future really don’t help.

    By pretending that the situation is not absolutely dire, all we’d be doing is letting the bunch of idiotic self-serving liars who created this mess off the hook. It’s time to fight back, with all our energies, not accept the damage they’ve done and try to look happy about it.

  • You’ve not really given me any reasons to be optimistic other than what the Leave campaign had already trundled out – this country is great, it can be again, we do well in a crisis, etc etc. And we probably do, and those things may prove true in the coming years – not months – if the whole situation is well managed. But I don’t have any more confidence than I did a month ago that it will be well-managed, and I don’t feel I have reason to be optimistic. So yeah – until article 50 is triggered, I’m going to continue to argue the toss, because 52% is not a ‘clear defeat’ in any world I know.

  • Oh dear – my advice is get out while you can Robert. The Lib Dems have been taken over by a `happy clappy sectarian and his warrior friends` who brook no dissension from their hyper-europeanistic outlook. For them the EU = liberal modernity and they have neither the imagination nor the will to seek its values in variant setups.

    I’ve already left the party. Outside local politics, where the party has a rosy future, I can see no future nationally if it fails to understand that Brexit is Brexit.

  • David Evershed 15th Jul '16 - 12:29pm

    Liberals have traditionally been in favour of free trade between countries because of the competitive benefits it brings to consumers and businesses alike.

    The EU is very much a protectionist organisation, putting up duty tariffs and customs barriers against trade with non EU countries.

    Liberals have traditionally been anti authoritarian and in favour of devolving power as far as possible to the level closest to the community. The EU is very much a centralist, authoritarian organisation which ignores its own subsidiarity rules.

    So on the key Liberal principles of free trade with the 80% of the world not in the EU and on localism, exit from the EU is very much the right way forward for the Lib Dem party.

    The only reason I can see for Lib Dems having supported staying in the EU has been to have a back door way of imposing hoped for EU socialism on the non socialist UK. Instead we can now seek liberal freedoms for individuals and businesses in the Uk and beyond without the constraints of the EU.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jul '16 - 12:33pm

    This is a positive contribution that seems to me to be a welcome relief on here but just look at the response!

    The sort of comment of the above type , talk of our country having a future destroyed , absolute morose nonsense !

    If you love this country you do so for its values and they shall thrive in the EU or out !

  • Peter Watson 15th Jul '16 - 12:58pm

    @Frank “52% is not a ‘clear defeat’ in any world I know.”
    In England it was 53.4%. In five English regions it was more than 55%.
    I am bitterly disappointed by the reaction of many on the Remain side, particularly Lib Dems who trumpet liberalism and democracy in the name of the party. I’m not surprised though since it is the continuation of what was a dismally negative campaign before the referendum.
    However much we might not like the result, there was a strong vote against remaining in the EU. Blaming Brexit lies is no good: more than 17 million people know what their lives are like in the EU and believe it could be better (or no worse) outside. Rather than illiberally dismissing their concerns and undemocratically ignoring their votes, having failed to address the problems or lack of benefits that these people perceived before the referendum, perhaps it is not too late to do so now.

  • @David Evershed – “Liberals have traditionally been in favour of free trade between countries because of the competitive benefits it brings to consumers and businesses alike.”

    I think it’s also worth remembering that classical liberals supported free trade as they believed it promoted peace between nations.

    “The EU is very much a protectionist organisation, putting up duty tariffs and customs barriers against trade with non EU countries.”

    I don’t believe that’s true. Free trade is not the normal default position in the absence of a free trade agreement or zone. Application of tariffs and customs controls is the norm. This was the case within Europe into the 50s before the European Coal and Steel Community was formed. The EU and it’s predecessors abolished tariffs and customs controls between it’s members, but has it ever introduced tariffs applied to non-EU countries that did not already exist between that country and any given member state before it joined the EU?

    And the EU has, or is negotiating, free trade agreements with a lot of countries:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_free_trade_agreements

  • Please, please, avoid using the term “post Brexit”. Brexit has not yet happened, and may never happen. Britain remains a member of the EU for the foreseeable future.

    What his author is proposing is that the Liberal Democrats deceive the electorate. We will pretend that we will fight the next general election on a platform of keeping Britain in the EU just long enough to recruit a few new members and for Tim to get some positive news coverage, but once the fuss dies down we will do a volte face and join the leavers. Tuition fees revisited.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jul '16 - 1:10pm

    Jane

    You have left our party when actually we need your view

    Peter Watson

    You make a good point but what do you make of Tim and his approach ?

  • We’re leaving the EU now, no point complaining, we better make the best of it.
    We’re in a Tory led coalition now, no point complaining, better make the best of it.
    We’re in a war with Iraq now, no point complaining, better make the best of it.

  • @D McKay

    +1 (assuming you were being sarcastic!)

    Fighting on after losing at the polls is what we Lib Dems do. If we didn’t, we’d have ceased to exist many, many years ago…….

  • Robert Mason 15th Jul '16 - 1:47pm

    @D Mckay, pithy your comment is, with respect I disagree. We did under Charles Kennedy stand up and voice opposition to the war in Iraq. On that issue, we were mostly united in position. We were however deeply split on whether coalition with the Tory’s was a good thing, but what principally damaged us in my view was our inability to negotiate better on the *one thing* that mattered to a large part of our support, tuition fees.

    On the Brexit issue, we are in grave danger of repeating the tuition fees mistake, and not just being out of touch, but being far behind other parties who are responding to the issue and now focusing efforts on new battle lines. — we can, of course, fight all we want on an existing battle field, but if the enemy or issue has moved on you’re only sparring with yourselves.

    @Peter Watson: While I embrace collaborative working and trading with our neighbours near and far, I have struggled to understand how a party that promotes every more local, democratic accountability can be happy with the ‘ever so distant’ legislative environment of the EU. To me the most liberal, the most democratic route ahead is for nation states to determine how they want to live and be governed? Personally, I would use the same argument for Scotland, if it wished, though I can see many more reasons for Scotland to remain with the rest of the UK than I can Northern Ireland or indeed for the UK to remain in EU.

    But ultimately my post is not about the merits of brexit, it is about refocussing our efforts and for me I agree that crying foul of alleged brexit lies does us no good at all but it seems we’d rather focus our efforts on competing with Labour and the Tory’s to pick up disaffected remainers, than going directly after the leavers who currently have no party to vote for other than UKIP? even as a numbers game, this seems total madness to me, as I think the new joiner figures clearly show… UKIP, and Labour are a mess and we’re only growing by 15000? We’re focussed in the wrong direction, and Tim’s unilateral policy for us to campaign on rejoining will hurt us in areas (like my own ward) where there is very strong anti-eu/pro brexit feeling.

  • Stevan Rose 15th Jul '16 - 1:51pm

    Well said Robert and Lorenzo. Not sure I want to be part of an organisation that sulks for the next 10 years and whinges on and on about how we were robbed of victory by having not rigged the vote with thresholds, by Brexit lies when Remain told some whoppers too, and by leaders of other parties and their internal agendas. Fact is we should have won by a landslide but we failed to convince enough people to go into a polling station and vote to Remain. And that “we” includes this party and it’s membership too. It’s done, let’s make a strong case to get a mandate to rejoin and in the meantime fight for the best possible deal. This is not the end of the world, other wealthy countries survive extremely well outside the EU and so can we. I wish we had a different outcome but we haven’t and we must work with what we’ve got.

  • Alex Thomas 15th Jul '16 - 1:57pm

    Sorry Brexiteers but it is obvious that a decision such as should we leave the EU should not be put to the general public in a yes/no vote. It is beyond simplistic to do this and we have made a mockery of democracy. I have plenty of colleagues around Europe and all have said that their countries would not consider such a referendum because they know that the general public, on balance, are not in a position to make this decision.

    With regards to the madate, it was 52% on the night. Since then my company has see European orders (on which we depend) plummet to almost zero. I have already seen people I work with lose their jobs as a direct result of Brexit. I would guess the mandate is rather less now as the reality kicks in and more jobs are lost. It was always clear to me that a huge part of our success has been as an English speaking gateway to Europe. That is why multinationals set up here. This has now gone. How on earth can this not have a massive negative impact on the economy ? Arguments against the EU of course have SOME validity, but were grossly exagerrated for popular support. Sorry if that is democracy – it sucks.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jul '16 - 2:00pm

    Stevan Rose

    When I sometimes feel that Bright Blue and the liberal Tories might eventually be the only positive contribution to liberalism , along comes one of this party talking sense , what a fellow you are !

  • David Evans 15th Jul '16 - 2:08pm

    Robert, you say “other parties are responding to the issue and now focusing efforts on new battle lines. — we can, of course, fight all we want on an existing battle field, but if the enemy or issue has moved on you’re only sparring with yourselves.”

    Yes the other parties are focussing efforts on new battle lines, but I don’t think it is proven at all that people in general are.

    I believe, but can’t prove, that a lot of people think that the battle line still needs to be stay/leave and if we clearly pitch for that we can win a lot of support. However if we desert that battle line, there will be no-one standing for it (except the SNP in Scotland, maybe Plaid & someone in Ulster) and more people will gradually lose faith in politicians again.

    We need some serious judgement applying, backed up by some serious door knocking and listening to voters. It is that sort of bold decision not to be cowed by the two big parties that just could get us moving significantly in the right direction. It did with Iraq. It can do again.

  • Alex Thomas 15th Jul '16 - 2:26pm

    Last comment: I can confirm what David Evans has said above. I have never voted Lib Dem before but this referendum has completely changed my view. If Lib Dems push forward with a “Stay in Europe” policy they will definitely get my and millions of other Remain votes.

  • @ Robert Mason

    Number crunching;

    46% of UK population oppose Iraq invasion (source Yougov) – Lib Dems correct to oppose
    48% of UK population oppose Brexit – Lib Dems wrong to oppose?

    59% of Lib Dem members believe MPs should stick to pledge regardless (source LibDemVoice) – matters to our support
    70% of Lib Dem voters back remain (source Ashcroft) – doesn’t matter to our support?

  • Lorenzo: plenty of Lib Dems (especially Orange ones) “get it”: https://www.facebook.com/DrMarkWright/posts/10153829506615208

  • nvelope2003 15th Jul '16 - 3:18pm

    A factory owner who depended on remaining in the EU for his business told the BBC that despite this almost all his employees voted to leave because they did not want so many immigrants coming here and they confirmed that to the BBC. What will those employees do if he has to close his business ? Presumably the work will go elsewhere either to be done by potential immigrants or other ones coming here. It does not seem to make sense.

    Only places like the US or China with vast resources and armed forces can be truly sovereign in any meaningful sense

    Cornwall and Wales voted to leave despite receiving substantial grants from the EU, though the Cornish seem to be having second thoughts judging by recent Liberal Democrat gains in local by elections.

  • Sue Sutherland 15th Jul '16 - 3:23pm

    Robert I think it would help all of us who read LDV if you could give us your take on why so many people in your ward are anti EU. I think we as a party should be seeking to understand why millions voted to destroy the status quo when it is normally so difficult to bring about change, then we can start to work on policies which take their views into account.

  • I’m sorry but this article is selling the same fairy dust and unicorns the leave campaign were peddling.

    The author is a leaver, fine, that’s his prerogative – but it’s time for a reality check.

    The single market is the single greatest free trade agreement on the planet, nothing comes even close. The EU is based on international co-operation on a scale not seen anywhere else. Yes it’s deeply flawed and yes it needs reform, but if it is smashed up do we really think something better will arise in its place.

    The cold hard reality is – leave sold an impossible dream based on conflicting objectives and in the end focused on immigrant bashing under a near facist campaign. The damage done to our society in terms of the dismissal of experts as corrupt, the fear of the other, collusion of the press and the peddling of cheap lies and easy slogans to win campaigns may go far beyond the economic damage. It’s supposed to be in our constitution that no-one should be enslaved by ignorance, well ignorance I’m afraid won the day. I’m sure some people had valid, well thought out reasons for leaving but many others were given fabricated issues they had never previously cared about as temporary reasons to hate something they never really understood.

    If we don’t fight this, how can liberals fight any campaign ever again? Do we also need to resort to cheap sloganeering and easy answers to get traction?

    I would ask the author to look at our constitution, look at how the campaign was run, and ask himself how he can square the 2

  • Robert Mason 15th Jul '16 - 4:35pm

    @David Evans: You may be right, but I don’t see much evidence of that where I am.

    @Dmckay: I think it may matter that all the political parties except UKIP and half the Tories are pro Remain. — that doesn’t give the Electorate much to chose from.

    @Alex Thomas: And you may also be right (and I’m sure lots of Lib Dems hope you are..) If we are the only party offering re-entry (or NO Brexit, assuming that’s an option by the time of the General Election) then that may be a vote winner for some.. but I suspect given the scant timetable details laid out already, by 2020, we’re well on our way, if not already out, and going ‘backwards’ from there may seem to many as anything but progressive, liberal, beneficial or certain.

  • Robert Mason 15th Jul '16 - 5:18pm

    @Sue There isn’t sufficient space to give you a full answer to your question:
    For many its jobs.. They have seen their take home pay stagnate or fall.
    For others its :
    – their community: They’ve seen it change as new nationalities have moved in, smartening up houses in their area, decreasing satisfaction in ‘their lot’.
    – racism
    – they’ve seen health services degrade. A mixture of hard to get appointments, Medical staff they can’t easily understand and lower standard of ‘care’ when they do get appointments (particularly in things like dental appointments)
    – ‘deferred issues’ : Litter, bins, more homelessness, street begging, petty crimes.
    – seeing local services like swimming pools and community centres close. They’re seeing Austerity bite and they believe they haven’t caused the problem, but are paying for it.
    – believing money being spent on people who are ‘not in it together’ as they’ve been told.. especially those from other nations, who seem to be succeeding, when their own life expectations are seemingly diminishing.

    In short, many people in my area want things to improve.. they blame the EU, immigration, the government and local councillors for how things are andThey want change.. They feel if they don’t do something radical things will get worse and worse.. They are worried about their pension, their family safety and jobs for their children and grandchildren. They are concerned there aren’t big businesses in the UK and that lower skilled positions are disappearing. They are embarrassed and upset that people in their family and neighbouts are having to go to food banks… It makes them worried they will be next.

    There’s more I can say, but the word count doesn’t allow..
    Perhaps your area is different.. but that’s what its like in mine. There is simply no interest in taking on EU problems, EU legislation, EU citizens when the problems we have ‘at home’ are seemingly as severe as they are and being seemingly ignored by the national and local government.

  • Phil Beesley 15th Jul '16 - 5:18pm

    @Tony Smith: “I’m sorry but this article is selling the same fairy dust and unicorns the leave campaign were peddling.
    The author is a leaver, fine, that’s his prerogative – but it’s time for a reality check.”

    Sadly, Remainers have been sniffing the fairy dust powder too. If we’re going, EEA or EFTA aren’t going to be nice places to reside.

    We, UK, will never get the same deal that we attained as members of the EU. UK won a funding rebate that amazed other countries. If we are just part of the EEA or EFTA, like Norway or Switzerland, we will be at the undesirable end of the stick.

    I’m a Euro sceptic who voted Remain.

    These things will take a long time to work out; assuming that anyone works them out.

  • Christopher Haigh 15th Jul '16 - 5:44pm

    @Robert. I know you are trying to be optimistic and think of Britain as a great country. I also see some economic liberals are rejoicing at the prospect of life controlled by the World Trade Organisation. However this is a neoliberal institution with a secret government intent on destroying workers rights and regulations in favour of cheapest prices. The problems outlined in your last post are only going to get worse for us in my opinion.

  • Robert Mason 15th Jul '16 - 5:47pm

    @Tony Smith: Unfortunately I believe that inherent in your view is the very problem we need to address as a nation. It was not the campaign that won/lost it (beyond leave selling hope, and remain suggesting ‘it’s not that bad’ – missing the point entirely that for many, it really is bad enough).. it is exactly that for many communities, the last 40 years hasn’t been the success promised… their living standards (even as salaries for many have risen) have fallen. For many people the EU has never been understood, never been relevant, and never done any good — despite what it may have actually done. Meanwhile, the UK (for them) hasn’t improved, is getting worse, and something needed to be done…

  • Robert Mason 15th Jul '16 - 5:53pm

    @Christopher Haigh: So you agree, then I think, that the problems people are facing as I’ve outlined are not limited to people in my ward? — so to Sue’s point (which was the reason for listing them) what we need now are policies to address how we will fix them. in my view, membership of the EU (or not) isn’t the magic bullet when many have seen their life worsen while being members of the EU.. its a tough sell, especially when considering the EU’s unwillingness to reform and that as far as I can see, unless there is a successful legal challenge, a massive Tory revolt or 12 by-elections won by non Tory’s, we are heading towards Brexit.

    And to put the question in context.. if we were already post-brexit.. faced with these economic and social challenges… are we really saying that membership of the EU, in its current state, facing the problems its facing now, would be the flagship policy on which we’d fight an election?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jul ’16 – 12:33pm…………………..If you love this country you do so for its values and they shall thrive in the EU or out !…………..

    If we were thriving in the EU why did we need a referendum?

  • Robert Mason writes:

    “and that as far as I can see, unless there is a successful legal challenge, a massive Tory revolt or 12 by-elections won by non Tory’s, we are heading towards Brexit.”

    So the Tory government is going to take no notice of its own wealthy supporters, the City, big business, the Americans, and almost all the experts? Perhaps you will remind me when that last happened.

  • Peter Watson 15th Jul '16 - 8:26pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin “what do you make of Tim and his approach ?”
    I don’t know the details, but I believe that it is a commitment to fight the next election promising to re-enter the EU. Seeking a democratic mandate seems more principled than simply ignoring the result of the referendum. but I think it is politically naive to make a commitment like that almost 4 years before the most likely election date.
    A restatement of the party’s commitment to the benefits of EU membership would allow more flexibility, e.g. supporting EEA membership, but doing that now would look like the “grubby little compromise” of AV. The party’s position also risks prolonging economic instability, in contrast to the justifications of going into coalition with the Tories.

  • Stevan Rose 15th Jul '16 - 8:32pm

    “well ignorance I’m afraid won the day.”

    Tony, people are not ignorant because they disagree with your opinion, and that’s all it is. If the party takes that attitude I can’t see any hope for us. Can’t see that supported by the constitution.

    All bar 27 countries in the world survive without being EU members, some very well. Are the Norwegians, Swiss, and Icelanders all ignorant? Ignorance did not win the day. Lies did not win the day. A failure of Remain to come up with credible solutions to genuine issues, like uncontrolled migration in the absence of adequate infrastructure and services, lost the day. We can only fight to remain or rejoin on the basis of solutions to those issues.

    I’m a Europhile, voted Remain.

  • Sue Sutherland 15th Jul '16 - 9:10pm

    Thank you very much Robert. I found your list very moving. When I was last able to be very active in politics it was back in the 80s and 90s when I saw the post war consensus together with our industrial heartlands being destroyed by Thatcher and later on New Labour who did little to sort out the problems. I was a Chair of Housing so I worked with tenants quite closely, giving them small area budgets and later on setting up a tenant participation structure in the housing association that took over, so my knowledge isn’t up to date. However, Austerity has affected disabled friends of mine, so I have some idea of how problems have been exacerbated over recent times.
    When Thatcher was elected Tory leader many were afraid she would polarise our country and sadly this has indeed happened. All the reasons you give for people voting leave shows how far apart the lives of people in deprived areas are from those who are part of the liberal elite. However, I would like to see us carry on putting a positive case for the EU, but not an uncritical one, and only if we simultaneously argue for changes within our country which will deal with many of the problems you cite.

  • Christopher Haigh 15th Jul '16 - 9:12pm

    @Robert , yes I do see all the problems that you list in your ward. These are the consequences of WTO promoted globilisation. The EU was doing its best to help post industrial devastated areas. How will small government neoliberals in the conservative party make our situation any better ?

  • Andrew McCaig 15th Jul '16 - 9:15pm

    Unfortunately, political parties have to choose sides on issues. We are the only Party apart from SNP and greens making an unequivocal stand for the EU and in particular Freedom of Movement. Since university graduates (a large and growing proportion of the population) generally support that position, we are appealing to a demographic far larger than the 8% we got last election. This demographic tends to believe in many other liberal principles. We should celebrate our emergence from total irrelevance rather than carp that we are not appealing to various groups who have never been our core support anyway!
    In this week’s by-elections many people who voted Brexit will have supported us because they like our credentials at local level. But some Remainers will have voted for us out of conviction, and that is a rare and precious thing for our Party!

  • Richard Underhill 15th Jul '16 - 9:50pm

    “Only places like the US or China with vast resources and armed forces can be truly sovereign in any meaningful sense”. No, these countries are too small to be truly sovereign. The USSR tried it under Stalin with “Socialism in one country”, but starved the Ukraine to provide hard currency. The USA has been heavily dependent on oil from the Middle East for long periods, affecting their policy towards Saudi Arabia and its neighbours. China needs raw materials from Australia and elsewhere to use in construction. The USA has trade deals with Canada and Mexico and wants others.
    A free trade deal is an oxymoron.

  • Robert Mason – thank you, thank you, thank you for an article that resonates with my feeling about the the bright future that lies ahead for the UK.
    I write this before I read the comments that follow your article. My guess is that 75% will argue against a positive vision and still harp on about a second referendum or early GE but I will be very happy to be proved wrong!

  • Pat 16th Jul ’16 – 7:54am……………….Robert Mason – thank you, thank you, thank you for an article that resonates with my feeling about the the bright future that lies ahead for the UK……………..I write this before I read the comments that follow your article. My guess is that 75% will argue against a positive vision and still harp on about a second referendum or early GE but I will be very happy to be proved wrong!…………………

    There will not be a second referendum unless, in the future, things go disastrously wrong.
    However, this “bright future that lies ahead”; where and how? I’d love more detail than the usual “taking back control”, “free to make better trade deals”, etc. These were the faerie potions sold pre-referendum but which have, if anything, become even more of a wish list….
    It also appears that the first beneficiary of the magic £350 million per week will be the ‘Trident’ programme rather than the ‘NHS’…

  • David Evans 16th Jul '16 - 9:40am

    @ Robert Mason. Thank you for your short reply, but when you say ” I don’t see much evidence of that where I am,” have you really looked very hard? As I said, we need serious door knocking to gain a clear view, not a reiteration of previously held views. Are you prepared to be bold and question your assumptions?

  • Robert Mason 16th Jul '16 - 10:47am

    @ David Evans: Of course you read my reply to Sue about what is happening on my door step.. — they are not my assumptions, but what is happening in my area.

    @ Sue: Just to point out my area does have a large amount of deprivation, but also quite some affluence.. I am fortunate to live in such a diverse ward which represents all but the super rich within its boundaries, including asylum seekers, several nationalities as well as blue collar and white collar workers, disabled folk, single parents, HMO’s, small businesses, employees or large international businesses etc etc.. truly lucky to have such a representative ward to represent. – Brexit (contrary to belief) isn’t simply a working class issue…

  • Robert Mason 16th Jul '16 - 11:00am

    @Expats: In respect of bright future:
    There have been jitters, which will settle down…

    Have you seen FTSE100? that first bell remainers rang loudly after the result… they’re not mentioning it now.. why not? because the FTSE 100 is at the highest point for over a year!
    – FTSE250 almost fully recovered..
    – New investment coming into UK.. because the pound is a little weaker
    – New trade negotiations already started from 14 new countries…
    – the £ recovering against the $,
    – rising against the Yen,
    – almost recovered against the Euro
    Some big businesses already determined to remain in Britain, including:
    – leading Manufacturer JCB,
    – Technology giant Siemens…
    – Airbus the aerospace manufacturer
    – HSBC international bank also determined to retain its HQ in UK.

    Already there are success stories and pro UK stories, if you choose to look for them.. and some things (like the reduction in research funding) isn’t actually ‘fact’ yet, just ‘indications of risk’ according to the report on Radio 4’s today program this morning..

    I strongly suspect that there will be losers as the economy is rebalanced. – indeed even when we look to reallocate funding directly rather than via the EU, there may well be some losers. It is probably unavoidable, not because the money isn’t available, but because funding priorities may have changed and some organisations may fail to apply to the correct body for funding.. (other reasons may exist too.. ). It is possible that other nations may two finger the UK in some areas as an act of demonstration.. but the risk of that (while very high at the moment) may well diminish significantly as the details of brexit emerge, and our current political partners see our resolve to still remain connected and act responsibly.. ultimately, our posture is important in assisting other nations to take a similar progressive, open posture.

    So much of our economy is based not only on certainty (as if such a thing exists) but also on confidence. imo a principle reason to deal with our emotions about the situation quickly and start looking ahead, to what we can believe is a bright future, which can only be brighter if we work for that objective rather than one that pulls the nation down. Optimism, isn’t simply an empty belief. It is a distinct influence on our actions/policies/effort.

  • Robert, I won’t look through all your ‘Great Recovery’details but…£ to $ has fallen back to 1.319 not much above its low of 1.314 and well below its pre-Brexit of 1.47…£ to Euro is at 1.19 from 1.32 pre-Brexit again not much above its low of 1.16….Hardly ALMOST recovered…

  • Robert Mason 16th Jul '16 - 12:24pm

    £ v Euro is at the same rate it was for most of 2013 and 14. only 10 points down pre referendum.

    What I was suggesting is that the future is bright and that there are some good things happening.. not that a) all the jitters have ended b) that we’re post-brexit (only post ref) c) there’s not a way to go. — but, you look only at the doom if you want… I’m looking for positivity, because that’s what we need most.

  • Hear bloody hear Robert. The reality is that we have to move on. If we are going to make any contribution to the nascent realignment of politics, we really have no choice.

  • Brexit has not actually happened yet, so predicting a rosy future based on current conditions is counting unhatched eggs — and ignoring the probability that a great many of those eggs are already spoilt.

  • David Evershed 16th Jul '16 - 3:04pm

    The EU is authoritarian and protectionist.

    The Liberal tradition is anti authoritarian and free trade.

    Having failed to reform the EU we should welcome life outside the EU.

    Over 80% of the world is outside the EU. Lets join it.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jul '16 - 3:59pm

    There is nothing sensible in tying our hands , if we really think there are votes in being the political equivalent of the kinky party , thats fine , but not a big vote winner ,as most of the populace are more , shall we call it, the political version of vanilla !

  • Robert Mason 16th Jul ’16 – 12:24pm……….£ v Euro is at the same rate it was for most of 2013 and 14. only 10 points down pre referendum……………What I was suggesting is that the future is bright and that there are some good things happening.. not that a) all the jitters have ended b) that we’re post-brexit (only post ref) c) there’s not a way to go. — but, you look only at the doom if you want… I’m looking for positivity, because that’s what we need most………….

    I voted ‘Remain’ because I believe that we would be far better off in the EU. The failure of the campaign was that the problems we would face outside were exaggerated, but that didn’t mean they weren’t real; those promoting ‘Leave’ ignored the dangers….

    Now to be told that optimism is what is needed when the rest of the world is telling us that we made the wrong choice smacks of an ostrich-like attitude….Calling ‘Problems’ ‘Challenges’ and ‘Opportunities’ is pure ‘management speech’ and I have dealt with enough contracts to know that a ‘Problem’ is still just that…..

    We need to make the best of a bad job, but phrases like “the future is bright” and “Looking for positivity”, are just phrases….

  • Dean Crofts 17th Jul '16 - 7:43am

    @RobertMason Totally agree with this post, already countries are asking if they can set up free trade deals with us, i.e Australia.

    What we now need as Lib Dems are POLICIES that will address why people voted to leave the EU, and i do not believe it was just immigration. People feel poorer.

    These POLICIES will also address why people voted to remain i.e security, opportunity, not wanting to crash the economy, and ability to travel.

    No one is speaking about POLICIES that will solve problems – re joining the EU is not going to solve all the problems we have as a nation – that is why the referendum was a farce in the first place.

    There are opportunities to get people who may vote UKIP and previously voted Labour to vote Lib Dem – we need to seize these opportunities now. This will not alienate the audience we are recruiting for re-entering the EU – only a GE which Lib Dems win will ensure that Article 50 is not invoked and we can re enter the EU with the same rules as we have now.

    Eight years of austerity, 11% in opinion polls, it is highly unlikely due to troops on the grounds and finances that the Lib Dems would win in GE within the next 12 months. Therefore our focus should be the long game of who we are as a party and how we are going to fix things destroyed by Labour and conservative governments.

  • Dean Crofts 17th Jul ’16 – 7:43am…… already countries are asking if they can set up free trade deals with us, i.e Australia……………….

    Australia ALREADY has a trade deal with UK via EU and Australia and the EU agreed in 2015 to enter into a free trade agreement. So any NEW deal will be a delayed version of what we already have…
    Australia is ‘rich’ in raw materials and food and wants to export them…However, imports COST the UK money and I’m not sure how much we can export to Australia that she can’t get cheaper from her Far Eastern NEAR neighbours….
    Finally, a potential ‘free’ market of 20m people 10,000 miles away isn’t quite the same as an existing free market of 450m people 22 miles away

    Posting such premature ‘victories’ has about the same value as reporting that the £ has ALMOST recovered against the Euro….

  • Simon Banks 18th Jul '16 - 8:56am

    Sorry, we are not an outward-looking nation. Not the English, anyway. The Leave campaign won without having anything to say about how Leave might benefit anyone not British – and for many of us, being outward-looking means thinking there are too many immigrants in a town fifty miles away.

    Our duty is to change that – and we have most young people on our side.

  • Perhaps the cheerleaders for Brexit have forgotten that Britain has never been in favour of “Free Trade” – what we had was “Imperial Preference” – a robust protectionist scheme to make sure we prospered at the expense of the world. Today, most of our industry is owned by corporations with either no loyalty to any country or a home base in another country. It is unlikely that any of them will take anything other than a very cold pragmatic look at the UK and most if not all will conclude that it is a market to sell into but not to export from. As we said before the vote, if you are not at the table you are on the table – there to be carved up as part of the menu.

  • I’m sorry, Mike, but you are historically wrong. We did have free trade. Indeed defence of free trade gave rise to the Liberal landslide in 1905 when Joe Chamberlain proposed Imperial preference. Churchill switched to the Liberals from the Tories on those grounds.

    Again, in 1923, the Liberals partly revived gaining many seats in defence of free trade when it was again threatened.

    Imperial preference was a Tory notion – much beloved of Lord Beaverbrook and his chums on the Daily Express.

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