Cable causes controversy over Uyghurs comments

Our beloved former leader Sir Vince Cable took to a new right wing tv news channel last night to have a pint with Nigel Farage.

During that interview he basically said that we shouldn’t call the brutality that the Chinese authorities are inflicting on to the Uyghur population genocide. He said:

“The use of the word genocide is not right here. There is terrible human rights abuse in many countries of minorities and China is one of them and they have abused those minorities for sure but calling it genocide is hyping the language.”

I wonder if he would consider that Amnesty International were “hyping the language” in their report last month in which they described China’s treatment of the Uyghurs as “crimes against humanity.” Over 160 pages, they outlined horrific human rights abuses:

Agnes Callanard, Amnesty’s Secretary General said:

Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities face crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations that threaten to erase their religious and cultural identities.

“It should shock the conscience of humanity that massive numbers of people have been subjected to brainwashing, torture and other degrading treatment in internment camps, while millions more live in fear amid a vast surveillance apparatus.”

In February, the BBC reported on allegations of systematic rape in detention camps:

Tursunay Ziawudun, who fled Xinjiang after her release and is now in the US, said women were removed from the cells “every night” and raped by one or more masked Chinese men. She said she was tortured and later gang-raped on three occasions, each time by two or three men.

Earlier this year, the US Government described the treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide in its annual report on global human rights practices:

Genocide and crimes against humanity occurred during the year against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. These crimes were continuing and include: the arbitrary imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty of more than one million civilians; forced sterilization, coerced abortions, and more restrictive application of China’s birth control policies; rape; torture of a large number of those arbitrarily detained; forced labor; and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement.

With that sort of evidence, it’s not hard to see why Vince’s comments have provoked some controversy in the party, even from a senior MP.

Alistair Carmichael said on Twitter that while Vince was a long standing colleague whose views he valued, on this he was wrong:

Other members and party bodies criticised his comment too:

I am not impressed with Vince’s comments.  I am also sure he could find better things to do on a Monday evening than sit supping beer with Farage. I mean, there’s always Love Island to watch if he’s fed up of the Olympics.

I hope that he will reflect on them and the body of international evidence which outlines the actions of the Chinese Government. If Amnesty and the US Government aren’t mincing their words, neither should we.

The best thing that we can do, though, is to share the evidence so that people understand what the Uyghurs are going through. Donate to organisations who are trying to help them, for example here. Share Amnesty’s reports. And write to your MP to ask them to get the Government to put pressure on the Chinese Government.

International pressure does work with them. They’ll kick back against criticism but they will back off a bit if they are continually pushed.

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

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37 Comments

  • Vince Cable set out his thoughts in a recent Independent article https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/china-communist-party-uighur-human-rights-b1873952.html?r=53736 in which he writes “China’s considerable achievements certainly do not include meeting the human rights standards regarded as acceptable in the West. A league table drawn up by the NGO Freedom House has China near the bottom (though not quite as bad as Saudi Arabia with whom we happily trade and to whom we sell arms in large quantities).”
    This paper reviews the evidence in some detail https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YKvyVzFEmpFiWSHPVgAAb_eVQJ4rL0K8/view and concludes:
    “…current Western discussions about Xinjiang look as much like a political project as an analytical endeavour. With China now such an emotive topic for many in the West, the chances of a more rational and objective discussion of Xinjiang look slim. But the authors hope that this paper may at least encourage the resumption of normal critical discussion about this most important of topics.”
    Vince has a valid point with respect to the legal charge of ‘Genocide’ for what are widely reported human rights abuses in China and in some cases outright state crimes. Human rights abuses and state crimes occur not not just in Xinjiang, but also in Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong. As Vince writes “It is unlikely to help this process to accuse the Chinese of crimes comparable to those of the Nazis, on the basis of questionable evidence.” It is better to stick to the facts and keep the language precise. Not repeat Boris Johnson’s mistake with his comments on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliife.
    I would endorse Caron’s comment above “The best thing that we can do, though, is to share the evidence so that people understand what the Uyghurs are going through. “

  • George Thomas 27th Jul '21 - 2:39pm

    It’s ironic that Vince’s point is to be careful with the wording being used but has allowed himself to be clipped by Farage with any nuance of argument seen in The Independent lost. One would have thought a politician of this experience would know better and adapted the message if he wanted to.

    As I said at the time of The Independent article on here: good luck to any LD criticising the government for rise in child poverty going forward when having a former leader downplay genocide on this basis. “It doesn’t matter because it only meets the technical definition, stop over hyping” could now be fed back to the party in response to any concerns about children going hungry.

    Is there a term to describe a politician making themselves the story to draw focus away from a government’s bad press? Is there a term when doing it on behalf of a government of a different country?

  • Brad Barrows 27th Jul '21 - 2:51pm

    Homicide, Suicide, Fratricide and Genocide are all words that refer to types of killing, be it of other individuals, yourself, a brother or ‘a people’ (from the Greek ‘genos’). Vince is absolutely correct to draw a distinction between the murder of millions of Jews by the nazis and what is being done today in China.

  • It does seem monumentally unwise to get in any kind of definition pedantry on this kind of subject, especially on that particular platform.

    What we do know is that it’s utterly awful, and the cruelty and tragedy is not lessened for those involved when people who don’t have special insight into what has happened allow themselves to get caught up in academic debates on the most appropriate wording for what’s happening to them.

    Whatever we do call it, it’s wrong. It needs to be challenged loud and clear at every opportunity.

  • John McHugo 27th Jul '21 - 6:17pm

    I think people can make up their own minds by looking at the definition of genocide in Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the ICC https://www.icc-cpi.int/resource-library/documents/rs-eng.pdf . It defines genocide as any of six acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical (sic), racial or religious group.”

    One of these six is “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

    On this basis, I would have thought China’s actions against the Uyghurs do amount to genocide, and that Alistair Carmichael is therefore right, and Vince is wrong.

  • I agree with @Martin. My first reaction was what the hell is VC doing on that dreadful channel with that dreadful man?? I hope he reflects that this was not a wise move and should not be repeated.
    On what he said about China, I disagree with him. But those calling for him to be expelled or even suspended from the party should take a deep breath or two. It’s called having an opinion. This is an open, democratic party – we are not monolithic, and I hope we never will be. The way to respond is to engage, and explain why he is wrong.
    I’m pleased that the official party spokesman has done that; party policy is what it is; VC adds a further layer of cement to his ‘these days’ reputation as a bit of a maverick; we move on.

  • Paul Barker 27th Jul '21 - 6:55pm

    Labour suspended a former Leader for being soft on Antisemitism, a courageous action for which they didnt get enough praise.
    Cable should be suspended from any Party positions he holds & should be told to make it clear that he does not represent Our Party on this. If he wont do that then Expulsion should be on the cards. Its not as if this has come out of the blue, Cables politics have been moving away from Liberalism for Years.
    This is a question of whether Our Party has any guts, if we dont display some courage about this then we deserve to be replaced.

  • Brad Barrows 27th Jul ’21 – 2:51pm….Why does anyone need to believe that ‘genocide isn’t genocide’ unless it equals the ‘murder of millions of Jews by the nazis’..That crime is unique in modern history and coined a ‘new’ description “THE holocaust’…

    Genocide…the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. Which part of China’s actions are outside that definition?

    I doubt if Paddy Ashdown would have accepted your defence of Vince Cable’s words. After all, he was a witness for the prosecution of Milošević (who faced 66 counts of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes). I also doubt that Paddy would have required ‘holocaust equivalence’ in his definition..

  • John Littler 27th Jul '21 - 7:26pm

    I have huge respect for Vince, but he should not be appearing on that badly failing far right mouthpiece. Nor was he correct on the extent of Chinese horrors and ethnic cleansing.

  • John Marriott 27th Jul '21 - 7:27pm

    I see the righteous brigade is at it again! Vince Cable was a former Labour councillor and came to the Lib Dems via the SDP. He was never a ‘true liberal’. One might raise an eyebrow at his decision to appear with Farage. However, his definition of genocide may not be that wide of the mark.

    He’s probably more guilty of a lack of judgement more than anything else.

  • Brad Barrows 27th Jul '21 - 7:30pm

    @Paul Barker
    Is this the new ‘Liberal’ line? Dare to articulate the reasonable proposition that what the Chinese government is doing amounts to Crimes Against Humanity rather than Genocide and run the risk of being threatened with expulsion?

    Any other policy issues you want covered by this line? Maybe those who support unilateral nuclear disarmament will be next?

  • Steve Trevethan 27th Jul '21 - 7:45pm

    In which ways might the sufferings of a fellow human be mitigated by the official classification of that abuse?
    Might it be more helpful if we were to vociferously oppose every example of government facilitated cruelty, irrespective of whether the perpetrating government is in the group of « Western Nations «  or not?
    What might be the similarities and differences between the Chinese treatment of the Uyghurs and our treatment of the Lybians?

  • John Shoesmith 27th Jul '21 - 7:54pm

    What the Chinese are doing is horrible, whatever you call it. However all our words are just hot air when we are buying more and more goods from them and making them richer and more powerful. China has now replaced Germany as the country we import most from. Our imports from the undemocratic state of China rose by 66% from the start of 2018 to the first quarter of 2021, while our imports from the democratic liberal state of Germany fell by a quarter over the same period.

    The value of our imports from China in the first quarter of 2021 was £16.9Bn, which is far more than we spend on defence. That’s a huge cash flow into China, which may mean that they don’t take our tut-tutting about their crimes terribly seriously.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/25/uk-trade-with-eu-falls-by-23-in-first-quarter-as-brexit-and-covid-hit

  • Zachary Barker 27th Jul '21 - 8:44pm

    “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”

    Is very specific on defining what acts of genocide are:

    “Article II

    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;

    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

    This seems to have very clear parallels to what is happening to the Uighurs.

  • Jason Conner 27th Jul '21 - 8:46pm

    I think Vince is entitled to express his view on this issue whether or not others agree or disagree. As for appearing on a platform with Farage, other party leaders have done this whether on Question Time or elsewhere. Vince appeared on Farage’s LBC show when he had one and challenged Farage very effectively on his anti EU views. He was subjected to some nasty ageism from other parties and even on here. So sometimes even if you disagree with him, I think he deserves a break. After all he’s not advocating Davey’s privatising agenda. Well said John Marriott, I see the illiberal lynch mob are out in force on here.

  • Oh, dear. As a member of Amnesty, with much regret, I have to say this is very far from being the case of a glorious summer being made by this son of York.

  • Timothy J Oliver 27th Jul '21 - 10:05pm

    Playing semantic parlour games whilst the Uighur people are being detained, tortured, forcibly sterilised and more – whilst their culture is being literally bulldozed off the face of the planet – is both revolting and wrong. If we cannot call the Chinese states systemic attempts to eliminate the Uighur people “genocide”, or would rather engage in a hearty chin-stroking game of “well what term might we use” when this crime carries on before our eyes – why bother engage in politics at all? This is an injustice on an industrial scale, and efforts to try and fudge that a bit with petty squabbles over terminology do nothing to advance our cause.

    On freedom – yes, you have freedom of speech. We also have freedom of association – I think there is a clear case to ask why the party would want to be associated with someone going soft on a genocidal dictatorship so publicly. Freedom of speech does not simply mean we shrug our shoulders and move on; there are clearly things we expect members of our party to believe and do, and I would hope that genocide constitutes a red line. Else, again, why bother?

  • It’s interesting that you cite a 160 page Amnesty report which doesn’t actually use the term ‘genocide’ either, as an argument against what Vince Cable said. It’s also notable that none of the tweets included are those from certain members loudly calling for Vince Cable to be expelled from the party and slagging off anybody who dares try and defend his right to articulate an opinion.

    The independent Uyghur Tribunal is currently investigating China’s alleged Genocide and crimes against humanity (it’s own words). I suspect it will conclude that a genocide is being committed.

    Cable’s view – which is not one I entirely agree with, nor do I think it’s one he is making very well – is essentially that whilst China is committing human rights abuses, he doesn’t think the threshold for ‘Genocide’ has been met (it isn’t a fringe viewpoint, regardless of what the UN definition is), and that from an international relations perspective China still needs to be engaged with so ‘shouting at China’ as he put it in an Independent article might be counterproductive.

    Which I think is the point that is being missed by some of those criticising him – fair play that this LDV article does draw back to it – but attacking Vince Cable isn’t going to do anything to help the Uyghur people or to change China’s behaviour. Silencing people we think are wrong instead of arguing against the substance of what they’ve actually said (and not misrepresenting it entirely as a few have done) just means that nobody actually learns anything.

  • John Marriott 28th Jul '21 - 8:13am

    Hand wringing and lamentations might have more impact if we all boycotted Chinese manufactured goods. There’s a fat chance of that happening, is there? Attacking Sir Vince may make some purists feel good; but, as ‘Alexander’ write, it won’t change China’s behaviour one iota. Truth be told, some have clearly never like Sir Vince in the first place.

  • Cllr Fran Oborski 28th Jul '21 - 8:40am

    I am deeply disappointed at Vince appearing to be an apologist for a deeply unpleasant in humane Chinese Government who have also broken their legal commitments on Hongkong but I am absolutely disgusted at his willingness to appear on a failing nasty right wing TV Channel and give credibility to Farage! I simply do not believe that any Liberal Democrat or indeed any Liberal minded person should ever give the oxygen of publicity to that vile individual.

  • I would very much support the idea of having an ethical foreign policy. We do indeed need to discuss what, if anything, we need to do about countries which are practising genocide in one form or another. Or which are practising serious human rights abuses.
    Is it right to separate trade from concern about human rights?
    In the case of China we have known about their actions in Tibet for many years. We have watched them build a railway, and more recently a second railway, at fabulous expense into Tibet.
    Is it not time that we worked out what we should do in these situations?

  • Rif Winfield 28th Jul '21 - 12:16pm

    I am not going to offer any comment on Vince Cable’s appearance on a platform with Nigel Farage except to say I consider it a misjudgment. I did not personally listen to this broadcast, so I cannot comment on its content and context. Clearly we have to have discourse with people who do not share Liberal views (such as on Question Time) but every public appearance has to take account on the likely way in which such an appearance will be taken by members of the public, including the extend to which Liberal views are likely to be misrepresented.
    However misjudgement is not the same as abandonment of Liberal opinions, and by our own definitions of Liberalism we should welcome the discussion of pluralistic views. I particularly deplore the suggestion of expulsion for those whose remarks we disagree with, provided they do not indicate abandonment of long-help Liberal views – and I do not accept that Vince has abandoned his attitudes.

  • Rif Winfield 28th Jul '21 - 12:17pm

    The question as to whether the Chinese practices in Xinjiang (or for that matter in Tibet or Hong Kong) constitute genocide are a matter of the legal interpretation of that word. It is clear that some people wish to extend the term to any systematic abuse of human rights, but we have to evaluate whether the term is correct in its current legal form, as set out in the Convention. Please look at the history of the term, since the word “genocide” was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944 (doubtless there were many occurences which merited the use of the term in the centuries preceding the Holocaust, but we cannot apply the word retrospectively).
    I note that Amnesty, in their comprehensive report on China’s horrific and abusive mistreatment of the Uigher population, carefully avoids the ise of the word ‘genocide’ and I suspect that this was behind Vince’s remark. Certainly this has amounted to a massive attack on the human rights of the Uigher minority, but does in meet the criteria stated by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Certainly it comes very close to a breach of Article 2, and in my own opinion (given the fact that so much of this treatment is still being concealed by the Chinese authorities) the term is likely applicable, and the condemnation of Chinese actions by the Liberal Democrats (and, to be fair, by people of all parties in the UK and elsewhere) is correct and should be continued. But please do not let us get hung up on a single word! Concerted and consistent action to end this abuse and mis-treatment is far more important than philology.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Jul '21 - 1:38pm

    I think Sir Vince Cable, like Tony Blair, talks sense and tripe, both!

    I would not expel them, either of these two.

    Corbyn was not expelled. And he did his harm as leader and then did not admit it as his suspension makes it drag on, he could end it by an apology.

    Cable has done no harm as leader to any peoples, ethnic minority or majority. He ought to be free to remain a member and speak his mind.

    Even as here when he talks tripe! And on a show of a person who often talks thus!!!!!!!

  • Our treatment of refugees and “illegal” immigrants also comes to mind. Also children in children’s homes and Barnardo’s children to Australia. Vince has done a good job getting it to our attention in this pick and choose policy party

  • primroseleague 28th Jul '21 - 2:55pm

    totally agree with Cllr Fran Oborski.

    As an aside, there cant be two of them with that name – so what a wonderful surprise. It was Cllr Oborski and her late husband who modelled what being a councillor was for me growing up (for both the Liberal Democrats and Liberal Party – Wyre Forest being a long hold-out of the latter).

    It was reflecting on their brand of pavement politics that brought me to the LibDems a couple of months ago at the age of 40. Glad to know she’s still carrying on! Though I’m a way away from the Wyre Forest these days!

  • Hannah Giovanna Daws 28th Jul '21 - 5:20pm

    Ends up being a question of how to define a state’s actions – one for students of international politics. The problem ends up being “it’s wrong to call it genocide” equates to “it’s not happening/it’s not really bad” in the quote-based media, which is not Cable’s view.

    It being or not being genocide isn’t cut-and-dry just because it is extremely hard to prove it conclusively and it’s extremely hard to walk back from without losing face – ergo Cable ends up having the right thought (ramping up damning language vs China leaves precious little room for diplomacy) but has not managed to convey the view adequately to the point where it is not extremely easy to misread as denialism.

    If the West had an isolationist approach to China, heavy use of anti-Chinese language makes sense. Our approach is intended to be constructive – ergo a concept of appeasing the Chinese government with the hopes the leadership can be moved to be constructive and eventually liberalise.

    What the west is actually doing is to be economically constructive and politically isolationist, and this plays the game the authoritarians who run China want to play. This is why they’re in the ascendant, and is why they can get away with monstrous actions against their own citizens on the regular.

  • We should not use the term cultural genocide lightly without recognising that once confirmed there is a responsibility to protect. Raphael Lemkin, who first coined the term, genocide, in 1944 in his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, says, “By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of an ethnic group … Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation.
    It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups…”
    In China’s case, there is 70+ years of irrefutable evidence that this is precisely what has been inflicted on Tibetans and now mounting accounts that cultural genocide is being repeated in Xinjiang.
    The issue is what to do about it. Caron ends her article saying “International pressure does work with them. They’ll kick back against criticism but they will back off a bit if they are continually pushed.” Maybe, but is easing off a bit the objective or is the upholding of the UN convention on human rights what is needed? (China is a party to the Convention and holds a seat on the Human rights council).
    Nick Cohen in an observer piece explains why the West cannot count on the support of Muslim states https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/04/why-do-muslim-states-stay-silent-over-chinas-uighur-brutality.
    After Rwanda and Yugoslavia, the Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing emerged as an important global principle since the adoption of the UN World Summit Outcome Document in 2005.
    The last time the West engaged in open conflict with China was in the Korean war where the United Nations undertook what President Truman called a police action at the time.

  • I’m not convinced Vince is right here but many of his critics are wrong.

    Genocide is something specific and should not be used as a generic term for human rights abuses. We have used “crimes against humanity” as a wider term and that is much more expansive, it doen’t sound as if Vince objects to that term.

    Against Vince is the fact that there are deaths being caused, the issue of rape and the separation of Uyghur families, forced sterilisations and compulsory abortions. These collectively could (depending on levels) constitute genocide.

    However, there are a great many ways you can be inhuman and not be committing genocide. Depending on how it is done:
    • torture;
    • other physical abuse;
    • arbitrary detainment;
    • forced labour;
    • restrictions on freedom of religion or belief;
    • restrictions on freedom of expression; and
    • restrictions on freedom of movement;
    Are not automatically genocide, but are humans rights abuses that are completely unacceptable and should be of great concern.

    All genocides are human rights abuses, not all human rights abuses are genocide.

    I note some consider it “definition pedantry” or “semantic parlour games” to want to be sure you correctly describe what is happening. But you dilute descriptive terms at your peril when over used they lose their usefulness to express concern when they are happening. As for suggesting people should be precise in descriptions is being an “apologist” is simply ridiculous.

    The reality is that everyone should object to crimes against humanity which everyone seem to agree are occurring, so on that basis the issue needs attention but with accuracy. As Alexander above expresses, the extent of the different abuses is being looked at and there may be judgement made of genocide based upon evidence.

  • If we’re not careful discussion on the word ‘genocide’ can be reduced to an old medieval scholastic debate on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The point is the treatment of the Uyghars by the Chinese Government is completely unacceptable in a civilised world. It is reminiscent of some of the worst aspects of apartheid and it is clear what a Liberal response should be.

    When I was a Young Liberal back in the 1960’s we had a distinctive response to apartheid. It was second nature to Liberals then and I remember sitting outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square through the night alongside the late Eric Lubbock MP to protest at the death sentence then faced by Nelson Mandela.

    Going further back, despite all the chopping and changes of Liberal/Lib Dem policies over the years, one constant golden thread of principle has come down to us through the ages : that ofcHuman Rights. It was expressed eloquently by Gladstone in Dalkeith in the Midlothian campaign back in 1879.
    “Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember that the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own”.
    W.E. Gladstone, The Forester’s Hall, Dalkeith. 26 November, 1879.

    I hope in the cool of day Sir Vincent will reflect on it and have what my Dad used to call, “a bl..dy good think about it”.

  • The Economist report from last year gives a good indication of the root of the issues in Xinjiang https://www.economist.com/china/2020/01/09/many-han-chinese-dont-mind-the-gulag-for-their-uighur-neighbours and the ethnic clashes in 2009. The hostility between the local Han Chinese and Uighurs is quite reminiscent of the clashes between Rohingya Muslims and Buddists in Burma.
    The Beijing government is clearly going to quell any violent protest whether it emanates from the Uighur or Han community. That makes the kind of delicate diplomatic engagement with the Chinese Communist Party that Vince Cable is advocating the only practical alternative to some kind of cold war political isolation, bar a Yugoslavia type military intervention to create a safe haven in this part of China.

  • John Marriott 30th Jul '21 - 10:10am

    If the argument is about genocide (the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group) then, from what I have seen and read in the media, that is not what the Chinese government appears to be doing. Rather like in Tibet its aim appears to be more like indoctrination, even subjugation, which, to our western eyes, is just as abhorrent, if less deadly.

    How we get the Chinese to change course is anyone’s guess. Unless we boycott Chinese made goods and hit them in the pocket where it really hurts, there’s precious little that we can do. For those who advocate a political response via the United Nations, for example, I’m thinking of 1935, Abyssinia, Italy and the League of Nations. Another toothless tiger?

  • Whilst I don’t agree with Vince’s comments, he’s entitled to his opinion. As for appearing on GB News. One of our Scottish MSP’s was on it at length recently to talk about euthanasia with Alistair Stewart. And Alistair Carmichael was on the station being interviewed about our by-election win. So he’s not the only Lib Dem to appear on GBNews. I do wonder though if many of you have watched it??! It’s Ropey in terms of presentation and technicals and yes it does cover views across the spectrum but apart from wooton and farage I’d hardly describe it as wall to wall right wing. There are some thought provoking and very balanced discussions especially around free sspeech. So may be give it a watch first before caricaturing it. It’s far from perfect and not my first choice of tv channel but it doesn’t quite live up to the myths

  • Ashley 30th Jul ’21 – 12:00pm:
    I do wonder though if many of you have watched [GBNews]??!

    I suspect, to paraphrase the famous Guinness advert, they’ve never tried it because they don’t like it.

    Farage is a remarkably good presenter: even handed and respectful even where, as here, the format is adversarial. Far better than most presenters who’ve been doing the job for years.

    As for Sir Vince’s comments, I’d be rather more worried that he couldn’t remember what was voted for in the Referendum.

    ‘Nigel Farage Talking Pints with Sir Vince Cable, former leader of Lib Dems’:

  • John Marriott 31st Jul '21 - 7:53am

    Sir Vince might have been forgetful; but he appeared to hold his own with Nigel on the pints. In fact, neither seemed to down very much. It reminded me of a current affairs show on West German TV broadcast every Sunday morning in the 1970s called “Frühschoppen’, where four foreign correspondents were quizzed by a presenter and offered copious amounts of wine and cigarettes. Mind you, Nigel has/had a German wife, doesn’t/didn’t he? Perhaps that’s where the idea came from.

  • John Marriott 31st Jul '21 - 8:01am

    Incidentally, the ‘host’ of that West German show, one Werner Höfer, like Nigel, had rather an interesting and controversial past (in Höfer’s case under the Nazis) and was eventually forced to retire after certain remarks he made.

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    @Peter Martin. One successful by-election camapign in the London commuter belt is not the best model for a national strategy. Liberals do best in elections w...