Brexit deal open thread….Lib Dems react

I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal and it looks like, thus far at least, I’ve been proven right. The thing is, Tories love power. They feel entitled to power. When they have it, even if they are trashing the place, they are not going to give it up. So they grit their teeth and put up with a deal we know that they hate.

The deal is by its very nature worse than the deal we have at the moment. For sure, the EU needs its backside kicking in many ways, but then so does our own governance. Let’s face it, we have a whole house full of unelected people, with special places reserved for the leaders of one denomination of one religion.  We allow governments elected on barely a third of the vote virtually unchecked power.

We have been leaders in the EU. We have helped form the rules. We’re giving up all that to take what we’re given. In what universe is that taking back control? It’s like we’ve gone into a restaurant and ordered a roast beef with all the trimmings and been given a heap of tripe.

Lib Dems have been reacting to the news tonight. Vince picked up on two little words in the PM’s statement – no Brexit, which she said was a possibility.

The crucial change is that the Prime Minister and the Government have admitted for the first time that the choice for the country is not just between this bad deal or ‘no deal’.  Instead, ‘No Brexit’ is a very real possibility.

“It is time to return this issue to the country, and give people the option to Remain.

 

Willie Rennie pointed out the chaos in the Tory Party:

This Conservative Government is in total chaos. The veneer of unity in the cabinet will not secure unity in the country, parliament or even their own party.

This deal will not satisfy anyone regardless of whether they voted leave or remain. Instead Brexit will hurt the pockets of ordinary people and leave the UK weakened.

Theresa May has a chance to steer the UK away from the cliff edge. She should call a People’s Vote and give the public the power to choose what happens next.

And here’s the detail of the agreement published by the EU.

Earlier, Christine Jardine made the case for a People’s Vote on the BBC News Channel. If you bought a house, she said, and found out it had all sorts of structural problems, you would back out of the deal, she said.

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

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29 Comments

  • I must admit the raving of the Brexiteers brought a smile to my lips. Reality is a hard task master and they are learning a hard lesson. All the assurances about the

    Liam Fox: EU trade deal after Brexit should be ‘easiest in history’ to get

    International trade secretary tells Today programme the government is not making contingency plans for leaving without deal

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jul/20/liam-fox-uk-eu-trade-deal-after-brexit-easiest-human-history

    They need us more than we need them. European politicians must listen to their own workers.

    https://twitter.com/nigel_farage/status/877897331831709697?lang=en

    Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit has been ridiculed by European ministers after he told Italy it would have to offer tariff-free trade in order to sell its prosecco in the UK.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/nov/16/european-ministers-boris-johnson-prosecco-claim-brexit

    Proved to be worth nothing. The Pied Piper Fantasist’s, with an over blown sense of self worth dragged the country to a national humiliation. They may very well still drag us over the cliff but at the bottom lies a world of pain and even more humiliation. How did it come to this, well blaming the EU for the failings of our own politicians would be my guess. The small silver lining is by the end you would have to be rather dense not to have worked out the issue is with our political set up and not the EU, but then again…….

  • paul barker 14th Nov '18 - 9:53pm

    Westminster is knee-deep in Rumours & Plots, the Brexiteers might just talk themselves into a Leadership Challenge. Even the Labour Brexit supporters have managed to split among themselves.
    At some point The Real World will intervene as Business & Consumers begin to realise that a “No Deal” may actually happen.

  • Paul,

    I hope you are right but remember

    “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that.”

    There are still a legion of Brexiteers who believe that if only we had their “Own personal Brexit, everything would be totally spiffing”. Other Brexiteers will twist and turn and sign up to anything that has Brexit on it in a desperate attempt to say “Look Brexit happened, it wasn’t too bad, I told you I was right and that I’m no fool”. Their self-worth cannot take the hit of being wrong. A natural reaction we have all done it, but as we tend to realise (all be it much later on the whole) a fool is what we look to other people when we continue claiming black is white to sooth our intellects.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Nov '18 - 10:48pm

    Hold the phone, cancel the plane, stop the traffic An article by the editor says the EU needs it’s backside k…k…ki….c

    I dreamt it?!

  • Christine is very good in this interview. No running down the interviewer’s rabbit holes, just clear, unashamed, principled and pro-EU.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Nov '18 - 12:11am

    We get it Martin, that you are very pro EU and Remain . But really, every organisation should be accountable with some scrutiny. Are you of the view that the leaders of this Union are so very different to the government of this country or your county or borough, they do nor could, any wrong?

    How about that the accounts were not signed of for about a decade? Or that when it promotes peace it says it wants an army to prove it’s members would not fight each other? Or that it persists with talk of The United States of Europe, while several member states are, as you show, in the embrace of far right or left and some, Italy, for starters, want less European integration, not any more?!

    Caron, in my view does here something this party and much of the leadership should. It is called being even handed. We are not the EU Right Or Wrong or Cannot Do Any Wrong Democrats. We are supposed to be Liberal, you, as an eloquent proponent know it is not Liberal to all sing from the same hymn sheet at once.

    If we could have had an EU that does not push from the centre, or one or two countries do that even as others do not, we could have not had Brexit. Constructive and regular critism or reflection is good, for governance at every level.

  • I am still waiting to hear what precisely the party wants to happen now. In other words what exactly is the party’s policy? Little things like showing a clarity about where we are as a European Union now. What policies we would like the EU to adopt. What exactly would be the wording of any referendum be? How would the process be controlled? Little things like the money which seems to flow around the world to influence public opinion.
    For most people in the country the party is not a real player in the present debate. I would imagine that most people do not have the time to listen to the non news that I listened to yesterday evening. Is this really the way to run a country?
    Will the next stage of the LibDem journey towards a policy will be to suggest a registered supporters scheme for the EU!?

  • We have clarity on what we want next – uniquely among British political parties. And that’s to Remain. Well expressed by Christine Jardine in that clip.

    Clearly there are faults in the EU just as there are in our system of UK government as Caron says. But personally I am clear just as we are more prosperous in a UK single market of 60 million rather than just our own little counties or cities so we are more prosperous in a single market of 500 million. And being more prosperous means less poverty and better public services.

    I would respectfully suggest that now is not the time to get to bogged down in the reforms we would like to see to the EU if we were to Remain or in the exact details of a referendum.

    As to the Lib Dems being a “player”. I think that if there was a by-election in a Tory seat in a reasonably Remain area we would win and our poll rating would take off. Clearly we are at the frustrating point that we were at in the early ’70s or ’90s when that by-election is yet to happen. But we are seeing some green shoots – hundreds joining us, a modest improvement in our opinion poll rating. We can encourage that by the usual Lib Dem methods of leaflets, knocking on doors and encouraging people to join us. For Remainers it is all they have got so we owe it to them.

  • Daniel Walker 15th Nov '18 - 8:09am

    @Lorenzo “How about that the accounts were not signed of for about a decade? Or that when it promotes peace it says it wants an army to prove it’s members would not fight each other? Or that it persists with talk of The United States of Europe, while several member states are, as you show, in the embrace of far right or left and some, Italy, for starters, want less European integration, not any more?!”

    Lorenzo, you are falling into the UKIP trap, I’m afraid. There are senior figures in the EU who want deeper integration, an EU army, etc. But as all of those things require treaty change, they would require unanimity, which as you correctly observe, they do not have – and it is not just the UK opposed, the Nordics and much of Eastern Europe are of the same mind.

    And the EU has always signed off on its accounts, just sometimes with caveats; notably the threshold for the caveats is 2%; which I note is less than the UK’s error rate in benefit system; under the same criteria, that would also constitute “Not free of material error”, and therefore would not be “signed off”. I am not an accountant, but given the involvement of humans, I would expect an error rate of a few percent for a large organisation is fairly normal.

  • Peter Martin 15th Nov '18 - 9:15am

    “I predicted on Facebook this morning that there would be few if any resignations in the wake of the Brexit deal…”

    So far we have Dominic Raab and Shailesh Vara. That won’t be the end of it. My guess is that Esther McVey will be next.

    It’s all over for TM.

  • Richard Underhill 15th Nov '18 - 9:36am

    Daniel Walker:
    At the moment the EU does not control what goes on in the member states, except in extreme situations. Italian ministers have in the past been proud of their ability to achieve flexibility, but that happy state may not continue.

  • >It’s all over for TM.
    Then the best thing she can do for the country is to withdraw the UK’s Article 50 notice of intention to withdraw, sit back and let the Conservative party tear itself apart…

  • Esther McVey has resigned

  • John Marriott 15th Nov '18 - 10:03am

    Interesting that Raaab resigned based on his dislike of a deal that he had a major hand in negotiating. Interesting also that all the ‘experts’ paraded before us on yesterday’s ‘Newsnight’ thought the deal had some merit and that the EU had made significant concessions.

    You know, even if we do get a ‘People’s Vote’ (aka EU Referendum #3), I can still see the vote being pretty close either way. It’s about time that both sides accepted that nobody is likely to get their cake and eat it. Anna Soubry is now advocating a ‘Government of National Unity’, which has a fat chance of succeeding, unfortunately, in the present febrile climate at Westminster. Also, whatever comes out if this shambles, it’s about time that we faced a few possible assumptions:

    1. Around 26% of the electorate failed to vote in the 2016 Referendum. That means that around 37% voted to leave and around 36% voted to remain (+/- 2%).
    2. You could argue that, if most of that 26% didn’t care either way, staying in the EU wasn’t a problem for them.
    3. You therefore have a significant majority who, come hell or high water, want out. I reckon that could easily apply to a lot of citizens in the other 27 EU member states as well.

    So, surely any sensible person would think that some kind of compromise solution made sense, which, to some extent, the present ‘deal’ represents, not that, on current form, it’s likely to get very far. As Caron Lindsay remarked elsewhere, the EU does need its backside kicking “in many ways” as do a few politicians over here as well. ‘Martin’ asks in what aspect. Well, here’s a few for starters:

    1. Stop trotting off from Brussels to Strasbourg every month.
    2. Look at Federalism in a more pragmatic way.
    3. Recognise the diversity of your member states and applaud it.
    4. Change the ‘Free Movement of People’ into the ‘Free Movement of Labour’.
    5. Stop talking about a ‘European Army’ and, for those states that are members, pay your agreed contribution to NATO now, while encouraging those that are not members to join.
    6. Get a proper grip on your budget.

  • David Becket 15th Nov '18 - 11:44am

    @Roland
    Yes, this country is not in a fit state to proceed with a decision of this magnitude. The only statesman like option is to withdraw article 50 and then for the country to work out a way forward. It is likely to lead to a second referendum, but that must be run under much tighter control than the last one. We lack statesmen(women). May’s main objective is the survival of the Conservative party, and Corbyn, who has shown no leadership qualities, is only interested in promoting his socialist dream, by any means.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Nov '18 - 12:45pm

    Daniel

    I have not fallen into a UKIP trap, I share the criticism of the worst of the EU with the best of mainstream critics like Lord Owen, the late Tony Benn and even supporters of staying in, who are not in the grip of Europhile sentiment and I heart EU posters. A flawed and meddlesome organisation like all are, we do not need to destroy them, but desperately to change them. Unlike Nick” keep things as they are” Clegg

  • One of the most striking aspects of this whole saga is the way that independent Eire’s interests have been central to the EU negotiating position throughout while Scotland’s interests have been totally disregarded and disparaged by an incompetent UK government on a power grab.

    The time is fast approaching for a Scottish People’s vote on the terms of the UK union with an option to withdraw.

  • John Marriott 15th Nov '18 - 1:21pm

    There’s a significant mistake in #3 of my ‘assumptions’. That ‘significant majority’ should have read ‘significant MINORITY’.

    I’ve just spent an uncomfortable hour or so watching the goings on in the House of Commons. It’s pretty clear that the ‘deal’ that superficially attracted me hasn’t got a snowflake’s chance in hell of getting through. At the least they have GOT to ask the EU to suspend Article 50 while someone bangs a few heads together!

  • paul barker 15th Nov '18 - 3:43pm

    The Real World has begun to comment on The Westminster farce, The Pound has already fallen about 1.5%, unless that is quickly reversed it will add to inflation. The Stock Markets aer nervous but if things get worse that could turn to panic.
    There could be a NO Confidence Vote on May, early next week common assumption until today was that she would win easily but that seems to be shifting. What happens if she loses ? The Conservative Election for a New Leader would take 2 or 3 Months. “Normally” there would be a “Neutral” Interim Leader but how can The PM be Neutral about The May Deal ?
    Then theres the Meaningful Vote early next Month….

  • The latest poll regarding May’s ‘deal’ shows….
    Support – 19% ….Oppose – 42%….Don’t know – 39%

    Still May keeps on about ‘the will of the people’..Strange how the ‘will of the people’ was sacrosanct in 2016, but in 2018…?

  • Peter Watson 15th Nov '18 - 5:19pm

    @expats “The latest poll regarding May’s ‘deal’ shows….Support – 19% ….Oppose – 42%….Don’t know – 39%”
    I’m quite surprised by those figures.
    I don’t know the basis of this poll, but one might expect a “core” of at least 48% to oppose the deal (any deal!) simply because they want to remain in the EU. It suggests that there is as much division and uncertainty over Brexit as ever, and that the result of another referendum (or even the desire for one) is not a foregone conclusion.

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Nov '18 - 7:37pm

    Hi expats,
    I have not been able to follow political developments of late given all that is going on in my life. So goodbye healthy, middle class, educated privilege and hello the real world.

    I am amazed that so many in the poll have already felt able to reach a firm decision on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. Might they, on the whole, just be people who readily absorb the biases of the media and opinions they are exposed to? That Mrs May’s negotiations would lead to a poor settlement has been the predominant argument of an unlikely alliance of people of all political persuasions for some time. Might that be the reason why so many oppose?

    I find the ‘don’t knows’ both honest and comforting. Maybe they are the ones who are putting some thought into whether this is the best outcome given the 2016 vote.

    I am still uncertain that if there was another referendum, there would be a significant change in how the electorate voted.

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Nov '18 - 10:47pm

    Dear David Raw,
    Thank you so much.

    I have been fortunate, as someone who has had atrial fibrillation for many years, a possible stroke was always a concern, but I have survived , and have no significant, lasting physical or cognitive impairment.

    I am so grateful to everyone who oversaw my recovery, especially the voluntary groups. They are the unsung hero/ heroines of our society. I would recommend the stroke association website to anyone wishing to know the up to date evidence on stroke , its consequences, and evidence- based recovery strategies for stroke survivors.

    We learn from every experience in life.

    I hope you are keeping well too.

  • Jayne, May I add my best wishes for your continuing recovery.

    Regarding your, “I am amazed that so many in the poll have already felt able to reach a firm decision on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. Might they, on the whole, just be people who readily absorb the biases of the media and opinions they are exposed to? That Mrs May’s negotiations would lead to a poor settlement has been the predominant argument of an unlikely alliance of people of all political persuasions for some time. Might that be the reason why so many oppose?”

    I believe that over the last two years our country has become more and more ‘polarised’ in our perception of Brexit. Neither those of us who believe that the best deal is to remain, nor those who believe that ‘out means out’, are satisfied; hence the high disapproval figure.
    However,as for the 39% (who don’t know); perhaps, among those who are ‘thoughtful’ there are many of those 30% who didn’t vote in the referendum and those who have become just ‘anaesthetised’ after constant exposure to the whole thing?

    And, as for,”I am still uncertain that if there was another referendum, there would be a significant change in how the electorate voted.”…

    Me, too! Among my friends and acquaintances I don’t know many who have changed their view.

  • Rob Parsons 16th Nov '18 - 9:59am

    Whatever happens will displease some large body of the population. That does not sway me in the slightest in my belief about what the right thing to do is. That is a two step process a) to stay in the EU b) to fix what is wrong with this country that has led to so many people being so dissatisfied and so ill informed.

    That does not mean that I think leave voters are stupid, by the way, far from it. I do believe that many intelligent people have been misled by a very clever, deliberate and mischievous campaign, sustained over twnety years or more by the neoliberal right wing that wants to have us out of the EU so that they can control us better. Sounds like a conspiracy theory when put like that, but look at the lies and misinformation spread by the Mail, the Express and other right wing papers. And Boris Johnson, well… liar supreme.

    While not many people are changing their minds, some are, the polls are changing. Some people who did not vote last time would vote this time. There is enough to sway the vote significantly, and a vote won fairly by a small majority would be legitimate for me.

  • Three brief points.
    1. Gove is just poseur. If he is going to resign, he juts get on with it.
    2. Whilst there may not be much change in the view of those who voted last time there are factors mitigating in favour of remain. Some elderly leavers have died, young people who didn’t vote last time have a real incentive to vote next time and some young people who were too young to vote last time will be able to next time.
    3. A successful outcome of a people’s vote is by no means certain. If the remain campaign tries a repeat of 2016 they will lose. What is required is a relentlessly positive campaign about the benefits to the UK of staying in, not dire predictions of what will happen if we leave.

  • Peter Watson 16th Nov '18 - 5:40pm

    @expats “The latest poll regarding May’s ‘deal’ shows…. Support – 19% ….Oppose – 42%….Don’t know – 39%”
    Another poll published today (carried out yesterday) by Survation for the Daily Mail (https://www.survation.com/public-surveyed-on-the-draft-government-withdrawal-agreement/) shows for Mrs. May’s deal: 49% oppose, 27% support, 18% neither, 6% don’t know. That’s more like what I would expect, though I’m still a little surprised that the “oppose” figure is not greater.
    The same poll suggests that in a 3 way referendum: Deal 16%, No Deal 28%, Remain 43%, Don’t Know 13%. Again, I’m a little surprised by the low remain share.
    Obviously it’s just one poll, it was carried out on a very tumultuous day, and I’ve not looked at the underlying data, but it suggests that people are still not changing their mind about whether or not the UK should remain in the EU.
    This emphasises the importance of Mick Taylor’s final point which bears repeating: “A successful outcome of a people’s vote is by no means certain. If the remain campaign tries a repeat of 2016 they will lose. What is required is a relentlessly positive campaign about the benefits to the UK of staying in, not dire predictions of what will happen if we leave.”

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