“Complaining is not a strategy”: Lib Dem European Group’s new invitation to join us

LDEG (the Lib Dem European Group) is an associated organisation of the party campaigning for Britain’s role in Europe and for peace and prosperity across Europe.

The last few years have been harrowing for Liberal Democrats and pro-Europeans.  Our representation in the European Parliament reduced in 2014, a reckless Europhobic government elected in 2015 and the narrow loss of the 2016 referendum.

Things will not change if we do and say the same things we have done and said for years. Nor can we just complain or retreat into self-satisfied disdain of those whose support we failed to win or our opponents who won more support than we believe they deserve. That is not a strategy to change anything.

I am vice-chair of a new LDEG Executive elected this year.  We are determined that LDEG will play a bigger, better more effective role than it ever has in winning elections and making a difference that matters.

The first step is to build a bigger team.  We need every Lib Dem member who cares about our role in Europe to get involved and join LDEG now.

Below is an electronic preview of LDEG’s new recruitment leaflet.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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  • Alfred Motspur 8th Aug '17 - 9:02am

    I must say, I was quite surprised to read a headline in The Independent yesterday implying that the Liberal Democrats have decided to join officially an anti-Brexit protest at the Conservative party conference.

    Street rallies and protests are great and all, but this is the Liberal Democrats, which should have the professionalism and maturity fit for a party of government that is an alternative to rule under Labour or the Conservatives – especially in the era of the Corbyns and Mays. You were in national government only a little over two years ago. It would be a disaster for the Lib Dems to be relegated, in the eyes of the electorate, to a narrow-issue-platform protest party akin to the Greens.

    The party’s Brexit strategy is absolutely key to avoiding this: it should continue the quasi-academic papers which Clegg had published and in every instance seek to back up its grassroots anti-hard-Brexit campaign with a broader, intellectual approach. Cable’s recent intervention in the Daily Mail (although I found it irresponsibly divisive and not detoxifying of the debate as I hoped it would have been) was good in this respect, but I hope Cable can use his many experiences to bolster this further.

  • I hope that this LDEG approach emphasises other things than the “Britons didn’t vote to make themselves poorer” agenda. It worries me slightly that Vince is stressing the “I am an economist” line above everything else. Neglected topics, such as nature conservation (and biodiversity), weather extremes (pace Trump!) (ie climate change). These topics largely absented themselves from the referendum debate, but are immensely important to people on the ground. The idea that they have no borders, and that cooperation, politically, among neighbours, must be the way to go. The EU is the only show in town, and has an extremely big role to play across the world as an exemplar.

    Don’t neglect, either, regulation. Grenfell Tower has had a huge impact in that area – the need for proper and strong, and coordinated regulation. This is an area that has been used for many years against the EU. Seize the moment NOW! Let’s hear it for regulation!

  • Tim13 8th Aug ’17 – 9:31am: Don’t neglect, either, regulation. Grenfell Tower has had a huge impact in that area – the need for proper and strong, and coordinated regulation. This is an area that has been used for many years against the EU. Seize the moment NOW! Let’s hear it for regulation!

    Informed commentators are of the opinion that it was EU regulation which caused the Grenfell fire…

    ‘The Grenfell Tower fire would not have happened without the EU and global warming’ [July 2017] [Paywall]:

    “By 2002, however, the EU had adopted its inadequate test, incorporating it in a European standard using EN 13501. Under EU law, this became mandatory, leaving the UK’s BS 8414 as only a voluntary option.

    “The EU had also become obsessed with the need for better insulation of buildings to combat global warming, which became its only priority. All that mattered was the “thermal efficiency” of materials used for insulation, for which none was to prove better than the polyisocyanurate used in Celotex, the plastic chosen in 2014 for Grenfell.

    Fire experts across Europe have pointed out that the lack of a proper whole system test was ignoring the risk of insulation fires, not least in Germany, where there have been more than 100.


  • ‘Brexit: Grenfell Tower – blood on their hands’ [July 2017]:

    …we can take it as a given that the main (and very powerful) driver behind the Grenfell Tower refurbishment – focused almost entirely as it was on energy efficiency – was the European Union energy policy and its commitment to an energy efficiency target of 20 percent by 2020, based on 1990 levels.


    Why this so firmly puts the ball in the EU’s court is that the EU itself has created a situation where combustible material was going to be used – as a matter of necessity – to satisfy its energy efficiency demands. This is in the context where, as the Croatian team points out – there was an indissoluble link between energy performance and fire performance of buildings, when it was already known that the EU-mandated test standard was wholly inadequate.


    Putting this together, had the EU made the use of enhanced insulation in buildings conditional on the application of tougher fire tests – which was within its power to do – instead of blocking national attempts to make such testing mandatory, then one can state, without equivocation, that the Grenfell Tower fire would not have occurred. The evidence is there for those that wish to see it.

  • David Becket 8th Aug '17 - 10:56am

    I am disappointed that thread has been hijacked to a debate on Grenfell Tower.
    What is more important is the comment from Alfred Motspur re demonstrating at the Tory Party Conference. Whilst participating in major national demonstrations, such as the Iraq War, is acceptable, or even desirable, involvement with a group whose aim is to disrupt a party conference is not. Go down this dangerous path and we will regret it when other parties turn the tables on us.

  • Neil Sandison 8th Aug '17 - 11:30am

    Welcome the LDEG opening this dialogue .I cant help thinking that like the League of Nations the current unreformed EU has a short shelf life that even its own members are finding it difficult to defend as it has become increasingly autocratic with far too much power residing in the commission and council of ministers .The vision of Europe has somehow become lost in the over administration of the central control and subsidiarity has almost disappeared from the lexicon . So social liberals and democrats need to think what new liberal Europe will look like and how will rebuild the dream Europe at peace with its self and its citizens benefiting from the co-operation and partnership in an increasingly protectionist world.

  • Jeff
    Thankyou – I have read fully the articles you link to. I don’t – and didn’t – think that the EU has all the answers regarding regulation. I think that Richard North’s contention that the structure of the EU makes it more or less inevitable that such conflicts (between insulation and energy losses and fire safety) will arise, and remain unresolved. I am sorry, but why is that any more likely in a European context than in a national one?? It is clear, that with some of the most effective thermal insulation materials also being flammable, that conflicts will take place. In the case of polyisocyanurates, of course, also generating lethal cyanide containing vapour on combustion. As a sideline, I remember as a local government officer, once telling Environmental Health colleagues that I couldn’t imagine a less environmental department! That was in relation to the, as I saw it, overuse of single – use, usually plastic, items and sealing, in order to reduce bacterial contamination in various fields!

    If we as a society don’t get to grips with this, we are faced with a conflict (either we leave buildings inadequately insulated, as we have in the UK on occasion, and leave carbon emissions high, risking many lives in the long term, or we go for an approach which risks poorer fire safety standards, risking lives in the shorter term). I find it highly unreasonable to blame the EU for such an unresolved conflict (“compromise”), and it is hardly surprising that such hardline europhobes as Christopher Booker jump eagerly on this particular bandwagon!

  • I happen to agree with most of Alfred Motspur’s comments, although I think demonstrating outside rival parties’ conferences could sometimes have a role. Yes, of course they will turn the tables, but if we have the arguments, that could be good publicity!

    I cannot agree that anyone has “hi-jacked” the thread, David Becket. As I saw it, the lead article was the LDEG highlighting its “let’s do something, rather than just complaining about Brexit” strategy. My post was aimed at giving one or two examples of how we could widen the reasons for rejecting Brexit beyond the purely economic. It is arguable that the Remain Campaign last year was too focused on the economic (“Project Fear”), as was the previous “losing” TV debate between Clegg and Farage. I am warning that if Vince merely uses the same arguments – and his reminder to us all that he is an economist is not in my view a positive sign – he may well arrive at the same point. The use of a more multi-faceted approach may produce more positive attitude change.

  • I do agree with Alfred Motspur that joining an anti-brexit protest at the Conservative Party Conference is likely to be counter-Productive. The Labour party position is no different in substance to that of the Conservatives. As the headline notes ‘Complaining is not a strategy’ – the only effective strategy is cross-party working with like minded MPs that want to salvage a deal that retains our membership of the single market and customs union.

    The EU is a two-tier structure comprised of members in the Eurozone and those outside. The UK has opted out of the Euro and Schengen and negotiated a rebate largely based on a return of CAP contributions. While remaining in the EU under the existing or modified terms may be the best option available. it in no way puts the UK at the heart of the European project. We need to recognise the reality of the Eurozone and the political and fiscal integration that this requires of participating members, if we are to be able to develop a stable basis for Britain’s long-term relationship with the EU going forward.

  • David Evershed 8th Aug '17 - 6:24pm

    A reminder that Europe includes countries not in the EU.

    European countries not in the EU are Albania, Armenia. Belarus, Gibraltar, Iceland, Kosovo, Lechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vatican City.

    Plus of course the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not in the EU.

    Does the Lib Dem Europe Group only cover EU countries and EU issues?

  • Richard Underhill 8th Aug '17 - 7:07pm

    Gibraltar is not an independent country. The population has made very clear that they want to remain British, with local self government. They are currently represented in the European parliament via a constituency in the south west of England.
    Be careful with “Macedonia” it upsets Greece. They prefer to call it the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
    Belarus is a Stalinist dictatorship and might other wise be a candidate for membership with Polish support.
    Switzerland’s political system of powers devolved to cantons, a weak central government and frequent referendums on a wide variety of issues make this prosperous democracy a bit difficult to absorb, if they wanted to be full members. Their federal government worked out what the voters would support, negotiated accordingly, and got referendum results Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, but key issues are not within the agreements. They also have a market for cars without a domestic car manufacturing industry.

  • David Evershed 8th Aug ’17 – 6:24pm: European countries not in the EU are Albania, Armenia. Belarus, Gibraltar, Iceland, Kosovo, Lechtenstein, Macedonia, Norway, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vatican City.

    Plus of course the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not in the EU.

    Plus Andorra, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, and Serbia. All in the Council of Europe.

    Does the Lib Dem Europe Group only cover EU countries and EU issues?

    Good point.

  • Joe Bourke 8th Aug ’17 – 3:56pm: …the only effective strategy is cross-party working with like minded MPs that want to salvage a deal that retains our membership of the single market and customs union.

    Apart from not honouring the result of the referendum, remaining in the EEA and EU Customs Union doesn’t seem to be a realistic proposition…

    ‘Commons to vote whether to keep UK in universe’ [August 2017]:

    We are now reading that a group of Labour and Tory MPs want to force a vote “to keep the UK in EEA, at least for a transitional period”. We hate to break [it] to you, but no, you can’t stay in the EEA. After March 2019, you are a third country. You will not be in the single market. You will not be in the customs union. The EEA is a treaty between the EU, of which the UK will no longer be a member, and all but one Efta country. Sure, Theresa May could have signalled in her Article 50 letter to Donald Tusk that the intention of the UK is to negotiate EEA membership after Brexit. But she didn’t. And a parliamentary bill supported that position. The EU is basing its negotiating strategy on that letter.

  • I do love it when the Brave Brexiteers flood a thread. Firstly we have the I have a list of European countries not in the EU. What a list it is and at the risk of finishing off Tinkerbell and Co (as we all know if we do not believe in Brexit faeries will die) I think we need to examine the list.

    Firstly we have the countries that are not countries Gibraltar, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and Kosovo. Although in Kosovo’s case its complicated

    Kosovo, self-declared independent country in the Balkans region of Europe. Although the United States and most members of the European Union (EU) recognized Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, Serbia, Russia, and a significant number of other countries—including several EU members—did not.

    then we have the states that would rather like to join the EU

    The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) and Turkey are candidate countries.

    then we have the states that have expressed an interest in joining Albania, Armenia and the Ukraine.

    but what about the rest cries the brave Brexiteer, well let us see Norway and Switzerland

    This is about right. Both Norway and Switzerland keep out of some EU activities, such as the Common Agricultural Policy. But they bring many of their laws into line with EU rules, on the single market in particular. Norway incorporates single market rules as they’re made, while Switzerland accepts EU law from time to time in return for more market access.


    There are more he cries you have forgotten Belarus and the Russian Federation, very true but as neither as shining democracies and are isolated at the edge of Europe forgive me if I don’t see trying to be their new best friends as a plus; neither by the way would the EU or the USA.

    but, but there is Liechtenstein and Vatican City they are not in the EU, very true and Liechtenstein is in Schengen (as is Switzerland) and the Vatican currency is the Euro.

    Alas and alack my Brave Brexiteer such a list and all it does is to show how entangled Europe is with the EU.

  • Secondly I have a link that proves Grenfell Tower is the fault of the EU cries a Brexiteer. I also have a link which points in a different direction

    In 2014, the then housing minister (who is now the immigration minister), Brandon Lewis, rejected calls to force construction companies to fit sprinklers in the homes they built on the following grounds:

    “In our commitment to be the first Government to reduce regulation, we have introduced the one in, two out rule for regulation … Under that rule, when the Government introduce a regulation, we will identify two existing ones to be removed. The Department for Communities and Local Government has gone further and removed an even higher proportion of regulations. In that context, Members will understand why we want to exhaust all non-regulatory options before we introduce any new regulations.”

    In other words, though he accepted that sprinklers “are an effective way of controlling fires and of protecting lives and property”, to oblige builders to introduce them would conflict with the government’s deregulatory agenda. Instead, it would be left to the owners of buildings to decide how best to address the fire risk: “Those with responsibility for ensuring fire safety in their businesses, in their homes or as landlords, should and must make informed decisions on how best to manage the risks in their own properties,” Lewis said.


    but as Brandon is a born again Brexiteer I’m sure the Brexiteers will let him off. He came late to the cause but he came they will say. So it’s back to congratulating each other on your posts and wondering why the Brexit crusade seems to be disappointing the people “Have they no faith, do they not believe in faeries” chant the Brexiteers

    Britain Elects‏ @britainelects 24h24 hours ago

    On the way in which the gov. is handling the Brexit negotiations

    Approve 39% (-5)
    Disapprove 61% (+5)

    via @ORB_Int

    It would appear not, poor Tinkerbell may die as we haven’t seen anything yet.

  • Little Jackie Paper 8th Aug '17 - 10:23pm

    Alfie Motspur – I disagree with the last paragraph. In summary that is basically the Cameron approach which rested on explaining the EU better and saying, ‘buck up everyone – it’s not THAT bad.’ At the moment REMAIN argument seems to be an exercise in exhortation on economic arguments with almost no cognisance taken of why that line of thinking failed at the referendum. With respect Mr Motspur if your thinking is that what is needed is more academic papers then you need to think more deeply. The best account of the REMAIN campaign I’ve seen was here in the Guardian and it give, I think, the best précis of why economic arguments didn’t cut through:


    ‘The remainers’ warning not to gamble with economic security was failing to resonate. “Emotional fear wasn’t credible because they felt their lives were already s***,” as one senior campaign source told me.’

    Nothing’s changed – no amount of explaining the EU better will cut through in that context. That referendum vote was, to my mind, not a vote against the EU or even European integration per se. It was a vote of no confidence in the system – all of it – that has got us where we are. And the EU is absolutely a part of that system.

    It’s not a matter of explaining it better, it’s a matter of what can (should?) be done differently WITHIN the EU. I was waiting for REMAIN to answer that question at the referendum and, frankly, I’m still waiting.

    This I think was Farron’s problem. He seemed to think that the EU was self-evidently A-OK when to many people all this is is a hopelessly asymmetric arrangement. What to do about that is another question, and one that no one seems to be thinking about.

    For the record I think a Norway option is very suitable and in the long-term we may very well end up with a Europe made up of a full-blown EZ and something that looks rather like the EEA.

  • Little Jackie Paper 8th Aug '17 - 10:34pm

    Some interesting comments on enlargement here – not least in view of Juncker’s recent comments – https://euobserver.com/tickers/137187.

    The A2 enlargement/CVM was a total debacle that should never have happened, and the subsequent Croatian enlargement appeared to have learnt most lessons, much to the EU’s credit. Certainly the days of big bang enlargement look to have gone. I travel to Eastern Europe a lot – certainly they are positive about the EU, although the more starry-eyed europhoria has long-gone. After Greece and the euro the East Europeans are now certainly coming to the view that the risks in the EU are rather more than theoretical.

    However if Macron sees reopening the treaties as necessary for reforming the Eurozone then those eastern European states will have very interesting referendums within the next decade!

  • Little Jackie Paper 8th Aug '17 - 10:55pm

    Jeff – That link you put up at 7.51 states,

    ‘Another often repeated error is the assertion by some pro-Remain commentators that the EU would in the end offer a face-saving package to a recalcitrant UK: stay in the EU and get some limited sovereignty on freedom of movement. We keep on hearing this nonsense. The EU did not offer this to David Cameron, and it won’t offer it to anyone else.’

    That’s a very interesting interpretation because my reading of the renegotiation with Cameron was that the EU did budge on free movement. They appeared (on my reading) to agree to remove some third country nationals from free movement. See the document titled ‘Draft declaration of the European Commission on issues related to the abuse of the right of free movement of persons’ at


    That was actually a pretty serious concession if it had been honoured – probably more serious than the so-called emergency brake. The rules on free movement for third country nationals are crazy, but that’s for another day.

  • Jackie,

    A couple of points yes

    “Emotional fear wasn’t credible because they felt their lives were already s***,”

    is true but they where also told get rid of the EU and it will be better.

    They are not going to be very happy when actually their lives get s***er and improvement there is none. Still at least i don’t have to explain that to them, but you and the rest of the brave Brexiteers will.

    The Norway option is paying for the EU but not making the decisions. That may now be your preferred option but it certainly isn’t the option your (and it is your) brave Brexiteer leadership desire. You will get the Brexit you are given. Once the trigger is pulled there is no way back and any explanation or shouting this isn’t my sort of Brexit really doesn’t cut it or change it.

    Word of advice stick to blaming the EU. the public in general might buy that, certainly your fellow Brexiteers are trying that line, no more sun lit uplands, just the EU are punishing us.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Aug '17 - 11:22pm

    Good comments from Alfred, but , sorry, frankie, David Evershed is a regular here with Liberal Democrat credentials, s don’t dismiss him as a Brexiteer, so lightly, with others we know not very well, who are also entitled to be read.

    The Grenfell horror is such that to add to it is awful, but if obsessive targets on climate change and insulation are part of it we must face it.

    Yes a group in the party for Europe, big surprise , as if we need that emphasis even more ???!!!

  • @ Little Jackie Piper

    What I take from that Guardian article is that the referendum was lost because of the failures of the Blair, Brown and Coalition governments to provide prosperity for everyone in the UK. The rise in economic inequalities under the Thatcher government were not reversed from 1997 onwards and the austerity of the coalition just made things worse. The answer has to be ditching the economic policies which governments have pursued since the 1980s and having as our number one economic aim reducing economic inequalities within the UK back to the early 1970s levels as quickly as possible.

    And of course membership of the Eurozone would not help this, nor does the free movement of labour and other EU policies. We need to ask why we didn’t work with France and other EU nations to move away from the German model for the EU coupled with the “liberalisation” programme with its corresponding increases in economic inequalities across the EU.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Aug '17 - 7:26pm

    Fantastic posts here, Frankie! well done! And it’s interesting to hear at last from LDEG on LDV. But where were you when threads discussed what reforms might be desirable in the EU? When people wrote here about the need for more democracy and subsidiarity ? Or when I asked for some study group on EU reform, because if we were determined to stay in it, the question arose of what sort of EU we would want to be in? Or when people commented that we would never want to be in the Euro zone, or accept EU Federalism, but would be happy to stay in an outer ring with less control from Brussels? Earlier debating of the value of the EU but acceptance of its needing reform (sorry, Nick Clegg!) might even have led to us helping towards a favourable referendum result.

    So why will it be worthwhile to join you now?

  • Hi Katharine. At least someone engaged with where the original article started – about LDEG! It’s a fair question. The LDEG Chair Nick Hopkinson has in fact posted on here regularly about the EU and reform, and there have been follow-up comments.

    However, LDEG has indeed otherwise had a low profile. When the party overall was campaigning for the referendum, it would have been counter-productive to have any other LD grouping raising its profile. But LDEG members were active in referendum campaigning locally and in the national campaign steering group.

    LDEG has had a low-profile for many years. There was an assumption that everyone knows Lib Dems are pro Europe so why do we need a special group. But that was wrong and LDEG now aims to up its game.

    LDEG members held elections recently and elected brand new people as Vice Chairs (me and Antony); Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Officer and committee members. We nearly all have other responsibilities in the party, as well as “day jobs”, so there won’t be dramatic change overnight. But we are making a start.

    The aim is to make the case – in the party at first – for UK membership of the EU.

    To get news articles by email from LDEG go here: https://ldeg.org/en/subscribe-by-email. At the next available opportunity, the LDEG Executive will be proposing to reduce membership fees, in the hope of expanding membership.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Aug '17 - 12:20am

    Thanks for replying, Stephen, and I can’t disagree with your aim, of course. But it is actually 20 months since I posted a piece here entitled, How could Lib Dems influence EU reform?, and I think of the 50 comments only one appeared to be from LDEG, from Antony I seem to remember, telling me of its existence. A more memorable one, though I don’t remember his name, was from a chap who wrote that if there were really a possibility of EU reform including subsidiarity, he could support it. There was quite a lot of excitement and exchange of ideas, that December.

    I can’t imagine why people from LDEG didn’t weigh in then and move the discussion onward and lead the party forward. I haven’t been aware of Nick Hopkinson’s posts, despite my continuing interest in the subject – including writing to Nick Clegg and Catherine Bearder without response – and I would have thought that LDEG could have supplied the party in the spring of 2016 with the knowhow and commitment to a reformed EU which, if publicised, might have persuaded some of the Leave voters to think again. Well, too late now for that, but we must all fight to keep us in the game – as I have posted separately to Chris Davies.

  • jayne Mansfield 10th Aug '17 - 9:03am

    @ Tim13.
    The , we have no borders argument may not be true, but that is not what I have heard ordinary people arguing. What I have mostly heard is ‘I don’t mind people coming here to work’ or ‘people should have to have paid in before they get the same benefits as us’.

    We now know, too late after the referendum has been held, that the Government could have addressed these two quite major concerns concerning hostility to the EU free movement.

    What a pity that politicians in favour of the EU took the easy route and played the bigotry card when these concerns were raised instead of addressing the issue.

    The outcome of the EU referendum might well have been different.

    ‘Home office volunteers no data on EU on EU migrants in work’, in yesterday’s Guardian.

    Yet more evidence of incompetence from those who wanted a remain vote. Those intending to demonstrate outside the conservative conference should instead turn their anger on incompetent politicians for the outcome of the referendum.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Aug '17 - 1:00pm

    We do need to think about how we see the EU developing and how we would like to influence its development. I read that President Macron is campaigning to create a post of Eurozone finance minister, as well as lobbying to get Frenchmen in posts co-ordinating the eurogroup of finance ministers, evidently competing with Germany now for economic leadership in the zone. I am assuming that Lib Dems no longer want to be part of ‘ever-closer union’ and are happy to stay outside the Eurozone for ever? Is that our policy?

    I came across the comment I was remembering from the discussion of EU reform here 20 months ago, which is pertinent. Tynan wrote that he would love to see us ‘campaign for a reformed, looser co-operative model with both constitutional reform, greater accountability, repatriation of competencies and commitment to subsidiarity on the agenda. I could vote for that.’ If we are indeed hoping and expecting to be part of a looser group of nations in the EU but outside the Eurozone, would LDEG people agree with Tynan’s view of a better EU future?

  • Nick Hopkinson 10th Aug ’17 – 3:56pm:
    It is disappointing that many of the initial posts do not address the important issues raised by Antony Hook.

    What are the issues he raised? To me it just reads as an appeal for new members.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Aug '17 - 4:55pm

    I note you aren’t answering my queries , Nick Hopkinson, and your previous entries can’t have linked at all to the previous questions about reform, which remain unanswered. For all I knew, LDEG might just be a group of lovers of Europe who would exchange tips on places to stay and recommendations about festivals! Just what is your opinion on whether the EU needs reform, and if so, how? And what part should our country play in the EU in future if we remain in? I wish had encountered your members during the Referendum campaign, so I might have asked. The public, I’m sure, would like to know more.

  • Katharine Pindar. LDEG actively contributed to the LD manifesto for the last general election and to LD policy groups on the EU. None of us think that the EU is perfect as it currently stands. How to reform the EU is a massive issue as it involves 28 (soon to be 27 countries). Our whole party policy is that subsidiarity (a dreadful word) should be a given and that decisions should be taken at a national level or lower if that is appropriate. My own personal view is that the Commission should be downgraded to a secretariat and I was happy to promote that view during several European elections when I was a candidate in the SW region. Getting that past 27 other counties and the Commission itself is of course a small problem. If you aren’t happy with LDEG, join and give us your help……

  • Katharine Pindar 14th Aug '17 - 3:34pm

    Thanks for the reply, Kay Barnard. But LD policy groups on the EU, what were they? As an activist to stay in the EU, I feel unprepared to say to any doubtful voter what we want from the EU – even if the party accepts we don’t personally want Ever Closer Union, or to ever be part of the Euro or the Schengen area. But is that party policy, to begin with? And have we any policy on subsidiarity (as you say, dreadful word) and greater democracy in the EU, such as allowing the parliament to initiate policy?

  • Kay Barnard 14th Aug '17 - 6:12pm

    Katharine. The policy groups go on to produce the party’s policy on any issue. I was on the EU working group which produced the paper which became party policy in autumn 2013. It is available on the party website. Policy Paper 113 – Prosperous, Sustainable and Secure (2013). We certainly called for reform.

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