ICYMI: Shirley Williams speaking on the EU at the National Liberal Club

On Monday, Shirley Williams came out of retirement to give a speech on why Britain should remain in the EU at the National Liberal Club.

The party made very good use of Facebook Live to broadcast the event – and you can watch the speech again here.

It was a very good speech. It has been widely reported that she used the occasion to say that the referendum campaign was too male dominated. From the BBC:

In a speech at the National Liberal Club, Baroness Williams said: “The EU debate has turned into a conversation between two white middle-aged gentlemen on one side and two white middle-aged gentlemen on the other.

“It is a very private debate.”

But Baroness Williams, who is backing a vote to Remain in the EU, told the BBC the conversations so far had been “dominated on both sides by people mostly talking about economics”.

“We really haven’t talked much about the prospects of peace breaking down,” she said.

“We haven’t talked much about [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.

“We haven’t talked much about the issues of nuclear proliferation and so forth.

“We’re stuck very much to comparisons between one set of figures and another set of figures which leaves the public feeling that they’re sort of in a huge confusion.”

Shirley said that it was crucial that Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green supporters went out and voted to Remain.

She said that Jeremy Corbyn should be talking about how so many other members of the European Union are much fairer societies than ours. She also talked about how the Danish EU Commissioner has been taking on the large multi-nationals and making them pay their taxes. Amazon and the like are outwith the scope of any one national government, she said, the only way to take them on was to tackle them as one of a group of nations to make them pay their way.

She also made it clear that the EU is one of the most effective forces in the world against climate change.

She also took on Michael Gove’s claims about the NHS. Our precious institution is in trouble because we don’t spend enough money on it, not because a few foreigners are treated by it. In fact, she pointed to the 135,000 NHS employees who come from abroad, keeping it functioning.

It was a typically thoughtful speech from Shirley. She outlined the dangers of Brexit, but also put forward a very positive case for the EU.

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  • Richard Underhill 25th May '16 - 1:53pm

    “Foolish to think that Turkey could just walk into (EU) membership without any sort of process.”

  • David Owen talks sense on this.

  • Jenny barnes 25th May '16 - 8:53pm

    Our precious NHS would be in a lot less trouble if we hadn’t had the Lansley reorganisation privatisation plan. Was it the good baroness who spoke in support of these policies? Or did I imagine it?

  • Richard Underhill 26th May '16 - 11:24am

    Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives is quoted as saying:
    “Staying in (Europe) is better for the NHS, it is better for women, and it is better for midwives.”

  • Richard Underhill 26th May '16 - 11:44pm

    Caroline Lucas MP was on Question Time, a former MEP for 10 years.

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