Brexit is a war already lost

Is she or isn’t she? Since her accession, the public has been puzzled by Theresa May’s stance on Brexit. Was her lukewarm support for Remain merely self-preservation, just wanting to keep out of the fray? Was she a closet Leaver? Well now we know. The Guardian suggests that she is indeed a Remainer, but not just any old Remainer, but a Tory Remainer and so quite happy to switch sides. Paddy Ashdown summed it up in this Tweet.

But what does this tell us about the Tory mind? Well it tells me that the Conservatives are a party unencumbered by the constraints of values and principles, a party where politics is merely a game to be won or lost. Not for the Tory are there any of the questions of morality or conscience that exercise the minds of other parties. The Tory has become Nietzsche’s Übermensch, the self-mastered individual contemptuous of namby-pamby liberalism.

So how does this superman species win the approval of the electorate in order to retain political power? Simply by re-imagining the class system and pandering to populism. As Philip Hammond reveals, when it comes to border control there will be no restrictions on the ‘highly paid and highly skilled’. Only the riff raff looking for ‘entry level work’ will be turned away. And this conveniently is just what our great British riff raff want also, so it’s win-win. The hoi polloi can continue to metaphorically hit each other in the face with wooden planks for having the wrong accent, while high worth individuals can continue to enjoy the free movement lifestyle that will be denied to many of us. It’s jaundiced, it’s cynical, but the gallery is cheering.

Tim Farron is right to fight for the EU, but let’s face it, it’s a rear guard action. The fight against Brexit is a war already lost. The second referendum has long been a dead duck and Article 50 will be triggered with or without a Commons vote. Mrs May has ensured that Brexit remains a political issue rather than a question of economics, and an expectant British public has accepted this and awaits the rebirth of a nation. No amount of economic ruin will deflect the government from its purpose and the public goaded by the tabloids will do what it always does, it will blame the foreigners for the pain, and not the UK government.

The Liberal Democrats must therefore accept the inevitable and prepare a credible post-Brexit strategy. What can we realistically demand from the negotiations? What will Britain look like in 2020 and what must the party’s manifesto include going into that general election? 2020 UK is unlikely to be a place where many liberals would choose to live and will probably be a nation more divided, harsher and poorer, and this will mean our golden bird must become a lot more hawk than dove.

* Phil Aisthorpe has been a Lib Dem member since September 2015 having previously been a life-long Labour supporter. In a previous life, Phil worked as an IT planning manager and business strategy manager with a leading UK financial services organisation.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Richard Easter 27th Oct '16 - 1:27pm

    So May gave speeches to Goldman Sachs, Clegg gave speeches to Goldman Sachs and Clinton gave speeches to Goldman Sachs… we’re all in this together eh…

  • paul barker 27th Oct '16 - 1:37pm

    Superman as scary Clown or, in Boris case just not-very-funny Clown. We can beat them. I am off to Richmond Park.

  • Kim Spence-Jones 27th Oct '16 - 1:39pm

    I really don’t share your pessimism. In two years time (if the farce lasts that long) the wealth of anti-Brexit evidence will be huge, and the deal May has managed to strike will be so bad that the public will be screaming for a new referendum. Sadly, much damage will have been done in the mean time, but I can’t see any way to avoid that.

    Note: not a second referendum; we’ve already had that. Either view it as a third referendum on the EU, or more sensibly as a totally different referendum, on whether the proposed exit was really what people wanted.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th Oct '16 - 1:53pm

    If brexit is a disaster I will partly blame the EU for bullying. I won’t say “sorry EU, please forgive us, we’ll do anything even if we disagree as long as you don’t hurt us”.

    We should not have a submissive approach to the EU and the article is right that the Lib Dems need a proper brexit strategy.

    I read Nick Clegg’s strategy yesterday but the public doesn’t want what he wants. The public wants more than greater controls on migration “at least in theory”. But still, this strategy would be fine if I didn’t come with the harsh criticism against those who disagree. It won’t work electorally, of that I’m nearly certain.

  • jedibeeftrix 27th Oct '16 - 1:55pm

    The world has indeed moved on.

    Toynbee in todays guardian:

    “Second, we must protect Britain from the ideological fanatics who want to destroy our economy by taking us out of the single market, whatever damage that does. ”

    Not the eu, merely the market!

    Will libdems likewise join reality?

  • “So how does this superman species win the approval of the electorate in order to retain political power? Simply by “re-imagining the class system and pandering to populism”

    This country is still a pretty decent place to live and we have had a lot of Tory governments. They stand at 47% in the last poll I saw and the Lib Dems at 7%. Do you honestly think that the Tories only get elected by “re-imagining the class system and pandering to populism”?

  • “Not for the Tory are there any of the questions of morality or conscience that exercise the minds of other parties.”


  • Phil Aisthorpe 27th Oct '16 - 3:02pm

    Malc, I am expanding the point that politicians are increasingly displaying a high level of cynicism, that they are flexible in their policy making if they think they can win. Say anything to win and dismiss the aftermath as the ‘rough and tumble’ of politics. And when it comes to freedom of movement, this is a right granted to all EU citizens. Not a right to be held by high worth individuals and withheld from ordinary people. Hammond is proposing different classes of EU citizens with different privileges. Also, since the referendum campaign politicians have shown a high degree of flexibility when it comes to accommodating populist views. E.g. there is no evidence that immigration has disadvantaged lower paid workers and yet politicians take the view that if that’s what people believe, then change policy to reflect that and never mind the consequences.

    You are right, there is a lot of decency in the UK, but it doesn’t get heard much above the populist clamor.

  • As Philip Hammond reveals, when it comes to border control there will be no restrictions on the ‘highly paid and highly skilled’. Only the riff raff looking for ‘entry level work’ will be turned away.

    But the LibDem’s themselves don’t have clean hands in this. By constantly going on-and-on about how wonderful (mass) immigration is and effectively focusing on those on benefits/low incomes, they failed to see the hard evidence that all is not well. The evidence from the US on H-1B visas is that ‘highly paid and highly skilled’ immigrants ie. graduates, push down skilled wages by circa 20%, ie. a skilled worker currently on £40k could be earning £50k if we had better immigration control.

    I know these people aren’t ‘poor’, however we should remember that higher-rate taxpayers in general pay more in taxes than they get back and leaving more money in the pot to pay those who actually need welfare/benefits…

  • Richard Underhill 27th Oct '16 - 4:20pm

    Welcome aboard. You will find that Liberal Democrats are optimists familiar with living in difficult political situations. We tried to win the Witney by-election (8 to 1 against) and will now try to win a by-election in Richmond Park (5 to 4 on).
    The BBC Daily Politics has fallen into an illogical position by quoting short extracts from Leave campaigners and from Remain campaigners.
    It seems obvious to me that David Cameron and George Osborne were saying that leaving the EU would endanger businesses and therefore livelihoods because of the single market. The SNP called this Project Fear Again.
    There were two Leave campaigns. UKIP, then led by Nigel Farage again, wanted to damage or destroy the EU and were indifferent to achievements about unprecedented decades of peace between the member states. Having failed through representative democracy they wanted and got direct democracy, albeit without the lengthy and detailed Propositions that voters in California would see. Just Remain? Leave? on the ballot paper.
    The official leave campaign changed its mind during the campaign on the single market in order to try to align their campaigns closer to UKIP when they became persuaded of a link between tighter immigration control and trade.
    Among the leading leavers of the officially recognised campaign were the wobbly Boris Johnson (former mayor of London) and the firm but inconsistent spin doctor Michael Gove.
    As previously said democracy is a work in progress. Among the people denied a vote were millions of people with a substantial stake. These include people enfranchised for the Scottish referendum under the signature of PM David Cameron (Edinburgh Agreement) and millions of British citizens whom the current government intends to enfranchise for future elections. Large anomalies include people resident in the UK from Malta or Cyprus who were entitled to vote and millions of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etcetera who were not allowed to vote and angrily resented that fact.

  • Ethics gradient 27th Oct '16 - 5:56pm

    The article is correct

    With good economic data coming in, combined with the nissan investment and other indicators that the UK will continue to be ok through the brexit process; support for trying slow/water down/ as little change to UK-EU relationship as possible, will drain away.

    Much better as the article suggests to start formulating Lib-dem policy on how they wish to see the post 2020 relationship between the UK-EU and how the lib-dems see the role of the UK in the post 2020 global world.

    The current government must be held to account ( i am not suggesting abdicating that scrutiny), it is just the focus should move forwards to positions post leaving…. after the By election has passed. Clearly this will be run on an anti-brexit anti-zac glodsmith (his dreadful mayoral campaign ticket.

  • Christopher Lyddon 27th Oct '16 - 6:36pm

    There are plenty of parties you can join if you want all this ‘rebirth of a nation’ stuff. I joined the Libdems to fight for Britain’s place in Europe and the party’s made the right call. Even if May survives until 2020, I’ll fight to rejoin the EU.

    Richmond is our chance to show that Britain doesn’t want the tory/ukip view of the future.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Oct '16 - 6:39pm

    Phil, I agree the Tories tend to be ruthless, dishonest and unscrupulous. Another journalist, Nick Cohen in the Observer, wrote in disgust at how the ex-journalists Michael Gove and Boris Johnson had treated the Referendum campaign like a joke and misled the public which followed them with their misleading statements and outright lies – yet Teresa May made Johnson our Foreign Secretary. And we have seen much to condemn since in this Government’s stances.
    But I don’t agree with you at all about considering Brexit as a fact. We have still five months in which the country may come to realise how ruinous Brexit may be, as we become smaller in every sense, poorer and more divided. The outcry from Scotland and Northern Ireland will help a lot. So will the dawning realisation that the funds no longer to be paid to the EU, so far from supporting the NHS, are already being promised several times over, from replacing farmers’ and our poorer regions’ present EU grants to giving handouts to Nissan and other leading industries to stop them investing elsewhere. So, despite the comforting temporary economic situation, will everyone beginning to feel the pinch as prices rise and jobs are lost. If the 48% can be shown to have grown to a majority of would-be remainers by March, why should this Government, already split and weak, not be defeated and obliged to hold another election or/and referendum? It’s far too soon to give up hope of remaining in the EU, although we will probably have to negotiate some control of immigration – likely to be a great deal easier than the vast negotiations currently being contemplated.

  • Ethics gradient 27th Oct '16 - 7:10pm

    @ Katharine Pindar


    I voted to leave. My feeling is your view is more optimistic and hopeful, rather on where things are.

    I do not detect any change of heart within those who voted to leave. The idea of buyers remorse was more of a brief story rather than any solid movement. This has been shown out by the ashcroft polls. Sure, everybody felt shock at the result (nobody on either side thought it really would go the way of brexit); however after a day or two I found those who voted out were comfortable with the choice they made.

    Since then, with a lack of the world collapsing, those who decided to vote leave have been more and more shored up. I would also add that there was a significant slice of votors who wanted to vote out but vote in, as they were worried by change.

    If there was another referendum, then what i have stated above, combined with the sheer anger of those who voted out feeling that their decision had been ignored, would, I think leave to an even greater vote to leave the EU. My prediction would be somewhere around 56-58% to leave to 42-44% remain.

    I accept this is speculation on my part, but this chimes with what i find when I am out and about, listening and chatting.

    I find the country has settled down to the view that brexit was decided and the country should just get on with it. Expect a huge backlash if you pushed the idea of ignoring the result I would suggest.

  • Ethicsgradient 27th Oct '16 - 7:59pm

    Edit to my post above…. 58% to high… Let revise to 54-56% vote leave, 44-46% vote remain in a 2nd referendum

  • Lorenzo Cherin 27th Oct '16 - 8:11pm

    Phil, as someone who believes our military to be extraordinary , and war to be avoided at best , fought hard and necessarily at worst , could we have less of this jargon, on this issue. Frankly it is all getting overblown.

    We , in these two days have had the election of Naomi Long as the leader of the terrific sister party of this one , the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. Congratulations to her , she is marvellous .It goes unmentioned here on this site. That was once a horrific situation, in NI, Brexit is not in that category. We now have at long last in the view of many of us , the complete exit of Jenny Tonge, from our party . The country she courts controversy so often over, also has known horrors , Brexit is not in that state either.

  • Stevan Rose 27th Oct '16 - 8:37pm

    There are politicians in all parties, including this one, who are ruthless, dishonest and unscrupulous, economic with the truth and prone to spin. There are also good honest people of principle in all parties, whether you agree with them or not, good honest people of principle on both sides of the Brexit debate, whether you agree with them or not. We should not generalise on the morals and scruples of others based on the colour of their rosette or how they voted on the EU but show respect to all those sincere in their beliefs.

    Leave engaged in misleading campaign tactics, so, sadly, did Remain, both as bad as one another. I voted Remain but if it was re-run tomorrow there’s a more than 50-50 probability I would go Leave, mostly because I am no longer afraid of the consequences. There are lots of people who voted Remain because they believed the merchants of doom Well the sky didn’t fall in and I suspect that 48% has been dented. There’s no point in fearing Brexit, it’s going to happen, embrace it. There’s a brave new world out there to build a very bright future for this country in. I am saddened this party seems to want to talk down the country and our economy. We can and will succeed whatever the shape of Brexit. I agree with Phil that we have to accept Brexit but I am far more optimistic about what things will be like in 2020.

  • Peter Chambers 27th Oct '16 - 8:59pm

    @Kim Spence-Jones

    Well done for noting that the first referendum was long ago, and the second was this year.

    Do you think Gove, Farage et al would link to try “best out of three” ?

  • Phil Aisthorpe 27th Oct '16 - 10:00pm

    Katherine, I agree that Brexit is not yet a fact, but what would it take to change direction?
    – a straight commons vote to reject the referendum result would fail. Most MPs would vote to leave as ‘the people have spoken’.
    – Theresa May could abandon Brexit and force a general election asking for a new mandate to remain in the EU, but this is highly unlikely.
    So I think it is safe to say we are leaving the EU. The issue then turns to what kind of Brexit do we want? There may be a vote on the UK’s negotiating stance prior to triggering Article 50 but so long as the government’s position appears flexible enough to keep Tory Remainers on side, the government will win.
    Once Article 50 is triggered well then we are in the lap of the god’s and the final outcome is unknown.

  • I am a Lib Dem member and voted Remain but for those who want a second referendum I think you are “whistling or worse in the wind.” As I understand it once Article 50 is signed then leaving becomes de facto a reality. the EU is largely in the driving seat. If no agreement is reached we just leave and sign up to WTO terms. If the Government decided on a second referendum on the terms I gather it could only happen once n agreement is reached and signed, so having no practical validity.

    So let’s campaign to stay in the single market by all means, but forget the referendum.

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Oct '16 - 11:13pm


    Do you mean a “huge backlash” like us getting 42% and the rest getting 58%?? I would take that!

    But actually the polls and the much larger British Election Study show a small movement away from Leave since the referendum which would make another vote a dead heat…

    And note the the “Nissan Investment” is what they would have done anyway if we had voted Remain (such plans are not made in a few months) but without an unknown but large bribe to the car industry, which it is clear they have extracted from Saint Theresa

  • David Pearce 28th Oct '16 - 12:10am

    Even if Brexit becomes inevitable because article 50 gets submitted and is irreversible (though legal challenges still pending on that), that is not the political end of Brexit. The conservatives have chosen to support Brexit for their own reasons, not because there was a clear national result. There was not. 2/3 of voters had a clear view which way they would be better off economically, leave or remain, and 90% of those voted in the direction they thought would be the best economic outcome. This was a vote for self economic interest.

    The decision will only be changed if the public comes to believe Brexit is a mistake, and the obvious reason why it might do so is economic. It will take some convincing, because no one likes to admit they were wrong. The government right now is trying to buy economic good news, and seems to have done a deal with Nissan. Car industry subsidies are back. The beneficial effects of devaluation have arrived before the downside inflation. So it may be article 50 gets a favourable voter support. However its reckoned to be 2 years before leaving the EU would take place, and that is long enough for economic effects to become clearer. We may yet end with May signing a Brexit deal against voter wishes. Libs need to be well placed to take advantage of this. This means being heavily critical of Brexit right now.

    And if the economy goes well? Frankly libs have nothing to lose, the party must have an issue voters care about to campaign about to rehabilitate itself. 50% voted remain, which is more than voted con or lab.

  • Katharine Pindar 28th Oct '16 - 12:58am

    Hi, folks. As a counsellor I’m well aware of self-fulfilling prophesies, and I think that the more people accept that Brexit WILL happen, the more likely it will: some people will feel resigned. Ethics, I accept that you haven’t found people around you who voted to leave changing their minds, but it is early days yet, and obviously the temporary good economic news of this week will shore them up. David, you are surely right that it is economics that will change people’s minds, and the difficulty is that we need them to change before Article 50 is activated, but with a bad winter, it could happen. Phil, you are right to ask how the decision could conceivably be reversed, but I think the second suggestion you make is possible, if Teresa May is confronted with dissatisfaction and revolts on all sides – a national outcry if you like.
    Stevan, I know you care about honesty, and I do think Boris Johnson has shown himself more dishonest than most, contributing greatly to the Referendum result through his careless leadership of people who believed in him, and apparently doing it with small belief of his own but much personal ambition. I deplore the fact that he is Foreign Secretary. It’s a good thing I am unlikely ever to meet him, because I couldn’t shake his hand, and indeed to use a good old Yorkshire expression, ‘I wouldn’t pull his closet string.’

  • Ethics gradient 28th Oct '16 - 3:12am

    I think it is useful at to post up a map of how everybody voted.

    Take a really good look at it and see the great swaths of the uk who voted in a majority leave. Now imagine this had been a general election with First-past-the-post in all those constituencies. It would have been an unprecedented landside for the vote leave party (ok there is no vote leave party, a general election is fought on more than one issue and you could also throw PR into the equation).

    However the point is think about how hard it is to convince the electorate to massively change it mind, if you’d been up against Blairs Labour 1997-2001 or Thatchers Tories 1983-87. That I think is the level of change you are trying to bring about if you are trying to ge the country to change its mind on brexit. (Conservative where hammered 2001, Labour hammered 1987)

  • Agree with David Pearce above. There will be a temptation to admit defeat because of news like Nissan but the economic pain will come. (It’s also worth noting how statist and illiberal it is to offer special deals to selected private companies.) Brexit may be inevitable but at this point there’s little merit to offering a wishy-washy position like Labour’s.

  • Mark Goodrich 28th Oct '16 - 4:45am
  • Mark Goodrich 28th Oct '16 - 4:55am

    The interesting paradox is that the more the Tories push Hard Brexit, the more likely it is we will stay in the EU. A couple of ways this can happen:

    1. Tories continue to lose support as inflation rises and people get hit in the pocket. Serious splits in Govt and Remain Tories facing LD challenges drop support for Government.

    2. Alternatively, Govt keeps going and negotiates Hard Brexit. The deal will likely fail to get through the House of Commons. This then likely leads to the fall of the Government.

    In both cases, a new Govt could come in and withdraw Article 50 notification (this is likely possible both legally and politically).

    Much less likely if the Govt just went for the Norway option.

  • William Ross 28th Oct '16 - 8:00am


    Your contribution there is amazing.
    1. ” The Tories continue to lose support……..” Did I read that right? Surely not. Tory support has RISEN sharply since 23 June and there is no coherent opposition.

    2. Once Article 50 is triggered ( sorry, you are not getting to thwart the will of the people by a vote in Parliament) there is no stopping Brexit. Parliament may be able to vote against any negotiated deal at the end of two years but that just means there is no deal and this would suit me fine.

    3. Remain doom-mongers have already been proved wrong and nothing now will save them.

    Time to get real my friend.

  • Philip Knowles 28th Oct '16 - 8:45am

    The ‘will of the people’ aspect is interesting – when the BMA decision to reject the offer was announced the politicians said ‘only 39% of the doctors voted to reject it’. The result was 58% on a 68% turnout. The Brexit result was 37.4% to leave (51.9% on 72.2%).
    The Government is in disarray over Nissan and can’t agree whether they’ve given anything or not. One thing I’m sure of Nissan would NOT have decided to stay here unless they got some pretty conclusive agreements – remember that Carlos Ghosn is CEO of Renault too and Renault own 43.3% of Nissan (which is effective ownership).

  • nvelope2003 28th Oct '16 - 8:46am

    William Ross: The referendum was 4 months ago and outwardly nothing seems to have happened yet so it is simply not possible to say whether the REMAIN supporters or the LEAVE people were right. Patience please. What will you do if leaving the EU turns out to be a disaster ? People do occasionally make mistakes – well more than occasionally as they often get things wrong.

  • John Peters 28th Oct '16 - 8:58am


    Luckily we seem to have dodged World War III for the time being. Pretty pointless of stocking up on beans after all. Western political civilization seems as corrupt as it ever has so we have dodged that bullet. The recession promised by the expert economists seems to have gone AWOL as well. The emergency budget to punish pensioners for voting Leave hasn’t materialized.

  • Stephan Breban 28th Oct '16 - 12:47pm

    I’m not sure I agree, but it is a very real issue. I’d say it’s 60:40. So, we need to plan for both outcomes and we need to handle the situation. We need to focus on reality and bring it back into public consciousness.

    Boarder controls are a red herring, and we need to call that out. We can’t control non-EU immigration and so we won’t be able to control EU immigration post Brexit.

    Emerging economies are the targets for exports inside the EU or not.

    Business leaders are not evil, and we should work with them to help create well paid jobs. Inside the eU or not.

  • Robert Pinsker 28th Oct '16 - 3:06pm

    To say that the war against Brexit is already lost is defeatist – even though I acknowledge that the odds on remaining in the EU are very long indeed. This is still too important an issue to give up on. And there are times when I wonder if Teresa May’s game is more cunning than we give her credit for: make it clear to the British people that hard brexit is really the only achievable brexit in the hope that parliament will get together and stop the madness.

  • – John Peters
    The fall in the pound has cost us more than our total EU contributions over the last 40 years. Prices are already rising and we haven’t even started the process to leave. Let’s see if you’re so chipper this time next year.

  • John Peters 28th Oct '16 - 3:49pm


    That sort of ignorance explains why people vote Lib Dem!

  • Leekliberal 28th Oct '16 - 7:09pm

    @John Peters ‘That sort of ignorance explains why people vote Lib Dem!’
    You seem to be confused and I am sure would find more empathy for your ideas on the UKIP website!

  • John Littler 28th Oct '16 - 8:01pm

    Both Clinton and Trump are now opposing the USA Pacific Trade deal, with TTIP now dead and the Canadian – EU Ceta almost scotched by a Belgian regional assembly. Both left and right are now heavily suspicious of trade deals and even the famous WTO fall back terms require public services to be put to unpopular tendering.

    And if working class voters are keen not to have competition from migrant workers, why would they then want direct, tariff free competition with billions of the poorest Industrial workers in the likes of India and China, who will outwork them for $70 a month?

    They might think they want those trade deals but they wouldn’t like the likely results and the flow of capital would be away from Britain to , much lower cost production, which it is bad enough for the balance of payments already.

    So if western public opinion is now heavily suspicious of free trade deals, why is Britain suddenly about to have spurned the heavily preferential trade across 22 miles of ocean to 500bn rich people where we are already selling 44% of our exports, in order to forge new trade deals and links?

    This ill informed leap in the dark ignores the facts that most voters just do not know. Leaving aside the USA, the EU and China, the remaining just 30% of world trade is split between 127 countries, many of which already have their own regional trade deals, or are heavily corrupt, extremely poor, or with different cultures and priorities to our exporters and will be very expensive to ship to. You would be hard pushed to find any British exported goods in most of them and they are not looking to buy many either. Others have negative connotations with the UK over empire, religion, the cold war, or such as Argentina.

    In any case of the 127 countries left, the EU already offers us free trade deals with 55 of them, including quite important ones, Canada ( goods so far), S.Korea, Mexico, Singapore and Hong Kong. We will lose these when we leave the EU.

    When asked which were the most important countries or groups of countries to have a new trade deal with, LEAVE voters suggested:

  • John Littler 28th Oct '16 - 8:01pm


    Australia = 47% ( 1.6% of UK Exports & 25m popn.)
    The EU = 23% ( 44% of UK Exports & 500m popn.)

    The EU leaders are already making noises about negotiating hard, difficult positions and the UK has little more than a begging bowl when we go in there. There is nothing much the UK can offer them they want enough to trash their own rules, structures and principles and even the famed German car makers are saying that the UK is only 8% of their market and that they do not wish to annoy the other 92%.

    Of the 27 EU countries, only 2 have trade surpluses with the UK. The rest have deficits, but each has a veto and many are more interested in free movement or in gaining UK firms, to allow any suggested cosy German led deal. The Parliament also has to agree any deal.

    Meanwhile, all the EU has to say over two years is “no” to something for nothing or soft Brexit requests and the factories and finance houses will flood over the channel to benefit them.

    If we fall back to WTO terms of 10% on vehicles and 30-50% on farm produce, that is as much as or more than the profit margins on it. Growers have said they would move to the mainland and Industries are looking at doing so, while Financial services has already created a building boom in Frankfurt.

    Some say we can offer them access to security info? But we know both sides wishes this to continue come what may and the EU has it’s own security database we want access to. It is not a game changer.

    We should not accept sleep walking into this disaster and need to push for maximum European integration via the Single Market and Customs Union at every opportunity.

    We need the European workers and students and should not be trying to wreck the UK economy in order to be able to make a fake promise to reduce the just 45% of migration that comes from the EU.

  • John Littler
    Calm down man,.. you’re hyperventilating.

    If you,.. and other hysterical Remoaners are correct, I ask :
    You’re convinced that Brexit has screwed up our UK future,.. so how come there are migrants in Calais, still desperate to get into the UK,.. but there are NO migrants in Dover camps,.. desperate to get into Europe.?

    If we Leavers,.. have truly screwed up our UK economy as you suggest,.. why is the ‘migration pull’ still from France to Britain.?

  • Stevan Rose 28th Oct '16 - 9:45pm

    Trade is two ways and we import more than we export. If tariffs are imposed they will also be two ways, hindering exports both ways. But we will collect more revenue from imports than are paid on our exports. And whilst export industries may relocate abroad, manufacturers serving the UK markets will find it cheaper to relocate to the UK. Again on balance we gain more than we lose. Olive oil prices soar, rapeseed oil takes its place.

  • Mark Goodrich 28th Oct '16 - 10:34pm

    @William Ross

    Lovely of you to say that my contribution is “amazing”…. Just to be clear, I set out two possible scenarios against the suggestion that Brexit is inevitable. I am not saying that they are necessarily likely. In answer to your two points:

    1. Sure, the Tories are up in the polls compared to Cameron but down already compared to the immediate May honeymoon. In my view, the slide will continue steadliy but, again, not saying it will necessarily happen, just that it might.

    2. Your assertion that Article 50 notification isn’t backed up. Have a read of the many articles by legal commentators – they don’t agree with you.

    @John Littler – because we have low unemployment / flexible labour market.

  • David Pearce 29th Oct '16 - 7:55am

    j Dunn,
    john littler is correct. If the only response you can find to a clear summary of the dangerous situation the Uk is now in is to ask him to calm down, then we are sunk.

    I read a statistic that univeristy staff voted 90% to stay in the EU. There might be reasons for this, such as a belief that leaving the EU will cause a collapse of the success UK univerities have enjoyed throughout Europe in attracting money, staff and students. But it might be because they are best placed to analyse the real results of Brexit just as john littler has done. We are a rich nation and cannot compete with poor nations while maintaining the income level we all expect. The whole purpose of the EU is a protectionist club to defend against cheap labour and the interests of nations with different levels of development to ourselves. There is no alternative club we can join. Leaving is utterly against our economic interest.

    Ethics Gradient,
    You posted a map showing how big an area of the UK voted to leave. Just so. But the result was only a 7% victory, or a 4% swing needed to change it. Are you saying libs should not bother fighting campaigns where their opponent has a 7% or more lead? There would be no liberal party if so. Its a tiny lead.

    The public will take a lead from parties, and right now they are all agreeing that it is the right thing to leave. Some people need to get some principles and fight for them.

  • What if sufficiently people eventually get bored with the business of leaving the EU while others begin to see or even feel the pain of it all? What if some realise that voting sometimes has consequences more serious than eliminating somebody from a Big Brother house or a dancing competition? There may be hope for representative democracy yet.

  • John Littler 29th Oct '16 - 11:22am

    Mr Dunn, you have been done and so have we. That was more a sober assessment of layers of ridiculous misunderstanding, myths and huge dangers for the UK with nothing to gain.

    I hope Cable is right in his insight, in saying that Nissan must have been told that the UK will stay in the EU Customs Union ( like Turkey) in which case we will be under EU rules and will be unable to make our own trade deals.

    To Free Trade fantasists I say boo hoo. So we keep 44% of our trade on the doorstep or 500m rich consumers with comparable interests, plus the free trade deals with 55 other countries including Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.

    We cannot then do deals with Brazil ( recession, massively corrupt, in incredible debt and mostly poor), Russia ( much the same except for 2 International cities, but they are suspicious of the UK), India ( mostly incredibly poor, able to out compete UK labour many times over, corrupt and in receipt of UK aid ), China ( much like India but 247% of GDP in debt and growing slowly), or South Africa ( recession, massively corrupt, in incredible debt and mostly poor ).

    China is the most likely one of the bunch, but so far we have done less well exporting to them than little Belgium. Having a free trade deal with them would be likely to be in their favour and would only help marginally at best. Switzerland recently had to give them one way free trade for the first 15 years.

    Where else? South America? Venezuela is an inflationary basket case, Argentina is in recession and crisis and they hate the UK. Most are very small.

    Africa? South Africa is the biggest economy and that is going down and down, while the arab countries in the north are in deep trouble over low oil prices and vanishing tourism, with few other options. Most countries there are minnow economies.

    We are far better off staying in the Customs Union and preferably the Single Market too, to benefit service exports.

  • John Littler 29th Oct '16 - 11:31am

    Mr Dunn, the reason we had 7000 migrants in Calais trying to get to the UK was that they were very poor, mostly from failed states and could speak English, plus often had relatives and friends in the UK. The UK is also very good at produce endless numbers of low paid jobs and it produces a lot of media and film images of itself which sells the country around the world.

    If the interest in migrating to other countries was any measure of anything, then why do far more people wish to go to Germany and Sweden, which totals about 1.3m over a couple of years and far more over the past decade.

    The answer is that those countries offer probably better housing, better benefits, better quality work, plus training and are generally less xenophobic than about 1/3 of the UK population.

  • David Pearce
    “I read a statistic that univeristy staff voted 90% to stay in the EU. There might be reasons for this,…”
    Yes,.. it’s called foreign cash. Who can blame Uni lecturers for wanting to improve their salaries and final salary pension pots.? But what is ‘juicy’ for their pension pots, is not necessarily ‘juicy’, for the long term interests of the UK.
    You have also avoided the main point, about direction of migration travel between the UK and Europe.? If Brexit proves to be such a disaster, as we keep being told it is, by ‘experts’, we must surely expect an exodus of talent.? Get back to me when that happens.?
    “The public will take a lead from parties,…”
    No they won’t,..the zeitgeist is away from establishment centric, ‘we know best’ career politicians. Actually, for political parties to start listening to the public, would be a vast improvement right now.?

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Oct '16 - 8:15pm

    @ JDunn,
    I think you should do your homework.

    I could tel you how much the higher education sector raised for our economy thanks to being a magnet of excellence for overseas students, but why should I encourage laziness. rather than a bit of effort and self directed learning on your part.

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Oct '16 - 8:19pm

    ….. and before you comment, yes, I know tell has two ‘l’ s.

  • J Dunn 29th Oct ’16 – 7:49pm…….You have also avoided the main point, about direction of migration travel between the UK and Europe.? If Brexit proves to be such a disaster, as we keep being told it is, by ‘experts’, we must surely expect an exodus of talent.? Get back to me when that happens.?

    Try….From BBC 6th October 2016…GB demand for Irish passports doubles post-Brexit vote…

    I don’t imagine those applying are among the lower earners of our society…

  • “The fight against Brexit is a war already lost.”

    Exactly! The war was lost when the UK voted to Leave in June. The Lib Dems must unequivocally accept the UK will leave the EU – and take part on constructive debate on securing a Softer rather than Harder Brexit.

  • What worries me is that most Lib Dems seem to want a post Brexit Britain to fail so that they can say, “I told you so”. This kind of attitude is not going to get people to vote for you.

  • Martin – I don’t think that comment is fair. I would guess that the majority of active Liberal Democrats have children/grandchildren or other family members who might be around in decades to come. Why would we want to see economic or other hardship befall them just so that we could say “I told you so” with regard to Brexit? I am old enough to have lived in much harder times than now, and I don’t want that for my children and grandchildren, but sadly I am nonetheless convinced that Brexit is going to be a disaster for the United Kingdom.

  • No they won’t,..the zeitgeist is away from establishment centric, ‘we know best’ career politicians. Actually, for political parties to start listening to the public, would be a vast improvement right now.?

    I must have a few screws loose, as I find this statement wryly amusing, as the leave campaign seem to be very happy for these ” ‘we know best’ career politicians” to decide just what exactly does ‘brexit’ mean – in private between themselves, and for them to bypass Parliament and go ahead and implement that interpretation of the ‘Brexit’ dream.

    The laugh is that the best form of Brexit is to actually remain within the EU and act as the catalyst for change from within – sorry Brexit fans, the referendum didn’t commit the government to the when or how of Brexit. Invoke Article 50 and we step outside the tent and can only put our viewpoint across by prior appointment.

  • John Littler 31st Oct '16 - 4:20pm

    Roland what you mean by “we know best” career politicians, just means one set of politicians you do not like, to be replaced by another set you do like, which are mostly ex public school, often Oxbridge, posh accents, rich, often from the finance sector, professions or rich families.

    The letter being the Leave politicians who carried off the most spectacular bunch of lies to be believed, then often retracted or wiped off web sites the day after the stupid, advisory vote.

  • If anybody else talks about Free Trade like it’s Father Christmas, I am going to explode.
    Free trade can be a race to the bottom. Yes I know the economic theory about allocation of resources but it’s really hard to get a 50 year old steel worker to move into research on cell biology. If we have a free trade deal with China or India you can kiss goodbye to the steel industry in this country along with many others. Tariff barriers are there to balance social welfare against the nature of multinationals and global capitalism. Last week was a classic. Not that it was reported in this country in this way but the EU chose to listen to the concerns (social welfare) of less than 1% of its population before signing Cita where as the British government just about stopped Nissan (multinational) taking its investment abroad until it got its pockets lined. The EU is powerful enough to say to multinationals ‘if you want to do business here, you play by our rules’. It is ironic and sad that the first female prime minister of this country took a wrecking ball to the industrial base of this country and it will be the fate of second to finish the job. Think its called the glass cliff.

  • David Allen 31st Oct '16 - 6:04pm

    There is only one good reason to throw in the towel over Brexit, and that is, because you want to make quite sure that Brexit happens. That is what many people do want. And they rightly fear that it might very well not happen. So they want to close down the debate. Why the heck should we help them do that?

    Brexit is gradually unravelling. Our forced devaluation should of course be seen as a massive failure – as devaluation has always been seen in the past – and its bad side is gradually becoming clearer. The contradictions involved in a deal for Nissan which isn’t a deal for all business are becoming embarassing. Juncker has told us we can’t expect a deal as quick as Canada’s seven years. All these points are gradually beginning to make buyer’s remorse grow.

    The big change will come if and when the polls shift to a clear lead for Remain. It may, of course, never happen. But if it does – and Richmond Park could be the catalyst – then we may see a stampede of politicians following Farron, Blair and Clarke to repudiate that advisory vote and demand parliament sees sense. That is what the Brexiteers are scared of. Don’t let’s give them succour.

  • Neil Sandison 1st Nov '16 - 8:21pm

    Brexit is already boring the public and the longer the debate goes on the more irritated they will become with politicians regardless of which side of the arguement they are on .This is unfortunate for Theresa May because the public will soon believe she is an unelected prime minister with no personal mandate running a zombie government in a zombie parliament so tied up in Brexit and negotiations that key issues like a stagnant housing market ,incomplete government guidance to local councils ,and a deteriorating health and social care sector will change the agenda .The impact of a falling pound and rising inflation will begin to take its toll on jobs and the economy .
    Liberal Democrats will need a stronge message to cut through those debates.

  • John Littler 2nd Nov '16 - 11:42am

    Neil is probably correct about the public getting bored on Brexit. Many will think that the pain of it has happened and that things will just continue as they are used to.

    They need to be reminded that it is not yet started and that the pain and disruption is nearly all to come. The pound has fallen 18% in response to a future likely worsenning of the economy and Britain’s relative position in the world economy.

    The government flailings on dealing with Brexit should be pointed out often and they will into extreme unpopularity within the next year.

  • @ John Littler “Neil is probably correct about the public getting bored on Brexit. The government flailings on dealing with Brexit should be pointed out often and they will into extreme unpopularity within the next year”. Flailings, Failings ??

    Watched PMQ’s just now. It produced a dreadfully inept performance by Teresa May. Corbyn did OK, but still unable to follow through on issues he ought to be strong on. Again, no Lib Dem question………… a Lib Dem vacuuum !!!! Time to write to Mr. Speaker to protest.

    CONCLUSION : We risk becoming a one trick pony on Brexit and immigration. There is an urgent need to work out detailed policies across the whole range of issues – all with a radical critique of modern society to get away from the Cameron lite legacy of the coalition years . If we don’t do this soon, Labour will get a new leader (probably Jarvis or Starmer) by 2020 and our destination will be the dustbin of history.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Katharine Pindar
    Martin, the social contract applies to everyone in our society. It is the understood but not laid down principle of mutual responsibility between the citizen an...
  • Katharine Pindar
    In decrying the economic approaches of the Tory governments of the last decade, Liz Truss is on shaky ground, not least in that she has been a minister herself ...
  • Roland
    It is perhaps significant that China has taken to describing itself as a “near Arctic” power. Looking at the history of the specific transactions an...
  • Gordon Lishman
    One-off consultations need to be part of a wider process of involving in communities in taking and using the power to influence all the matters that affect them...
  • Martin
    Much as I respect William Wallace and many of his points, I must take issue with his appeal to a ‘social contract’. It is a fundamentally illiberal concept...