Jo: Our children deserve better than Brexit Britain

British people don’t often take to the streets in massive numbers. And when they do it twice in six months, you would hope that those who represent them at any level take note.

750,000 in October. Estimates of a million today. From Wick to Cornwall and pretty much everywhere in between.

You would think that if there was a real desperation to leave, there would be another million supporting that cause. But there isn’t. Nigel Farage was surrounded by a couple of dozen people on Sky News.

In contrast, apparently there are still some people to leave Park Lane after the march has finished and dispersed after many speeches in Parliament Square.

Our Deputy Leader Jo Swinson delivered a speech. It is brilliant to see her do so with baby Gabriel in his sling.

Earlier she had spoken to Sky News:

Our former  Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey spoke about how important it was to be part of European efforts to tackle climate change.

This is one of my favourite pictures of the day:


One important thing to take from today, though. It wasn’t just a million remoaners talking to each other and getting high listening to Ode to Joy.

Liberal Democrats were out all over the country knocking on doors. I was out and about in Edinburgh West where I was told on every doorstep that people didn’t want to leave the EU and they liked what we were saying on this.

We are getting noticed and people are liking what they hear from us.

There was an action day across Scotland and across England, campaigning was going on for local elections, too.

The last few days have shown that people really don’t want Brexit. Again. The Government cannot rely on that fragile mandate from 23 June 2016.


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

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Helen Dudden 23rd Mar '19 - 6:04pm

    After today, I’m never going to vote again. Lots all interest in politics, it’s all about the EU.
    How about suicides and knife crime, the pollution levels in the city of Bath, the NHS, asbestos in school buildings!
    These things are not important. So many people I’ve spoken with have the same attitude.

  • @Helen, it’s because we care about these things we can’t let the country fall off the Brexit cliff, paralysing our ability to deal with what’s important, and sucking funding from public services.

    Although if you are one of the people calling for all existing asbestos containing materials to be removed from schools by some arbitrary deadline for the sake of it, then I disagree. There’s absolutely no public health justification, and the costs would be huge, denying funding for schemes and services that actually benefit our children.

  • Helen Dudden 23rd Mar '19 - 6:52pm

    That’s not true in some cases. How about young suicides, the NHS, knife crime.
    We all had the chance to vote, we did, and it was leave!
    So every time there is a vote on some thing if someone objects,no do it again.
    No I won’t bother, my country is up the creek without a paddle. I’ve put with antisemitism, and the rubbish that goes with it.

  • Mick Taylor 23rd Mar '19 - 7:16pm

    That’s a shame Helen. Brexit affects everything you care about and which, incidentally Lib Dems care about. If we leave, we will be poorer and that means there will be less money for the NHS, fighting knife crime, stopping suicides and tackling pollution.
    If people like you drop out, then politics will be poorer for it.

  • Mick Taylor 23rd Mar '19 - 7:17pm

    Oh, and by the way Helen, I won’t put up with anti-semitism. As the son of a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, anti semitism is totally unacceptable as is any form of racism and sexism.
    Stay with us Helen. Your issues are also ours

  • Helen Dudden 23rd Mar '19 - 8:34pm

    I dropped of the radar, ages ago. Failure of the Brussels 11a, that incidentally, I made comments to the EUROPEAN Union on this law. The Hague Convention meeting of Judges.
    I know the failings from personal experience.
    But, this frees me from negative politics, where comments are cheap to those who wished to down me, because of my belief.
    I actually care about those who suffer with severe mental health issue’s, and no longer are able to live their lives. I have watched one of my grandchildren come close to that end. My heart and sincere thoughts goes to the family’s of so many who have died through knife crime. I long to see a healthier NHS, as I listened to a passage from Torah today, out of confusion comes order.
    As a new week starts, I hope that many other areas will see the confusion become order.

  • Bruce Milton 23rd Mar '19 - 9:06pm

    Helen so many of your concerns are Lib Dem concerns and like so many things it’s not the concern that divides people it is the route to resolution.
    I so wish that the tirade of Brexit news and politics would come to an end so as you correctly state that there are so many important issues to resolve.
    I believe like so many that leaving the EU will have always taken years to resolve and that is why I was and Remain so keen to Exit Brexit and in so doing speedily get back to politics that makes a difference to everyone driving the changes in U.K. & EU that will help resolve the disollusionment I felt many leaver voters made there decision on.
    I wish we were talking about all the areas you have voiced, I also regrettably feel that giving people a say on the next steps is one of the routes to sorting out some of your concerns that needs to be taken.
    I think if anything demonstrates your great message ‘Out of confusion comes order’ surely is that today’s March represents a focusing and coming together of minds that I hope will bring the order.
    All best wishes to you and your family.

  • Helen,
    You voted to let Nelly the Brexit elephant dance. Well dance she did and pushed every other concern out of the window. No party is able to raise any other issues, because the government and media are staring at Brexit Nelly and the fear paralyses them. By voting to release Nelly from the bottle, you effectively voted for nothing else to get done, bit late to complain about that now.

  • There’s the imaginary Brexit, which simply is a minor administrative detail that Those In The Know can doubtless figure out, and which will have the salutary effect of pushing Those Absurd Eurocrats out of Our Business, while leaving everything else Exactly The Same.

    It’s a pretty story to read to a four-year-old child.

    Unfortunately, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Real Brexit, which is a horror story definitely unfit for the young, and which, far from being a minor detail, actually touches (and taints) everything.

    Today millions of people are waking up to the true cost of Brexit. There’s no excuse for being asleep any longer.

  • An impassioned speech by Ed Davey which definitely puts him ahead in the leadership stakes. Climate change and fracking is a very important issue as well as knife crime and all crime, the NHS, transport, the economy, trade and jobs as well as social care. It’s good to see the Lib Dems are continuing to campaign on these issues but are often ignored by the media when they choose to speak about them just like the number of regeneration projects to help deprived areas like where I live, which will lose all funding when the ESF monies cease.

  • Helen Dudden 23rd Mar '19 - 10:17pm

    I, like many voted as our democracy allows. I still like the idea, and support it fully.
    It’s the Government, arguing and trying to get as many political points across.
    I see no elephant, I see many who wish their own views added to the present disaster. It is a disaster.
    I really only care about those who need support, it’s a crying shame no one is trying to help.

  • Helen,
    If you can’t see the elephant if Brexit crushing all other issues, then for you a state of puzzlement will be your default state.

  • Helen, Did you actually click on the Ed Davey speech above? He doesn’t really talk about Brexit as a EU issue. He talks about climate change and about peace. Two fairly big issues, I’d say. And that’s the point: we are not campaigning against Brexit just because we are pro-EU (though we are). It’s about peace, and the environment, and jobs, and the economy, and fighting crime.
    Stop voting if you want to, but be clear that the rest of us do care about the issues you are talking about, and many more. And that is exactly why we are trying to stop this epic catastrophe that will impact on every one of those other issues, making them even worse and harder to solve. You may take a different view on Brexit – I respect that. But please don’t tell us we don’t care about pollution. knife crime and the rest. The people marching today were thinking about all those issues – as Ed’s speech shows.

  • I don’t see how pushing ahead with continuing to implement a vote that we now know to be fraudulent in any way protects democracy.

    As far as I’m concerned, rewarding those who cheat at elections is far more damaging to trust in the system than refusing to let us have a confirmation vote based on a realistic deal, not the blank cheque previously offered.

  • Arnold Kiel 24th Mar '19 - 7:57am


    have you ever wondered about the real motives of Rees-Mogg, Raab, Fox, Davis, Murdoch, Dacre, Redwood, Paterson, or Hannan? You might have followed not them but Farage, Johnson, or Gove, who have no consistent concept but supported Brexit just out of career-tactics. But the former have a plan, and they will set the post-Brexit agenda:

    Americanise the UK. They have long understood that long-term, only the smart city-types in London will create substantial value and wealth by successfully serving a global market. The rest of the country is going downhill: the residual industry is foreign-owned and run; it will continue to lose jobs as long as it lasts at all. Agriculture and fisheries are economically irrelevant, employ few people, and depend on a constant flow of subsidies. The remainder are people in low-skill, low value-added service sectors like retail, hospitality, transport, etc. They increasingly lose the capacity to support themselves. They contribute very little to the tax-take, but require lots of public services in the form of state-employees: doctors, teachers, nurses, policemen, social workers, etc.

    Our leading Brexiters are not stupid, and they have made a choice: they do not want to throw an ever greater share of public funds, coming from ever higher taxes on the rich, on this increasingly destitute majority. This is a structural Labour-majority which, under halfway decent Labour leadership, would always manifest itself. So what can our Brexiters do against that? The same thing US Republicans successfully do against the Democrats (another structural majority):

    1. Poison their brains with an alternative narrative: identity (AKA sovereignty, or control)
    2. Deprive the Government of funds, so that the occasional Labour-government can do nothing (I have left out Corbyn as a Brexit-motivator for a reason: his model has no chance)
    3. Voter suppression: erode the majority’s perception of empowerment, keep FPTP, introduce voter identification/registration, fundamentally disengage them from the societal discourse, erode public safety (consider knife-crime the British equivalent of US gun-laws): people struggling to survive don’t vote.

    This is what you voted for, and I am really sorry you missed it. Had you done just a little research on the history of these people, you could have known though.

  • Arnold Kiel 24th Mar '19 - 8:04am


    out of anger, I forgot my conclusion: EU membership is the key obstacle these smart Brexiters must remove to realise their dream of a US-Republican UK.

  • Andrew McCaig 24th Mar '19 - 8:11am

    Yes, very inspiring from Ed Davey.
    We do have to accept though that we got next to zero publicity from the march yesterday, so really it is up to us to let people know locally what we stand for (somewhat complicated where I live by the fact that half our local election votes come from Leavers)

  • What our present crisis shows has nothing to do with the EU but everything to do with the failure of the British political system. It is time for recognition that the U.K. is run by the U.K. government. And we now know these means the U.K. Prime minister not the U.K. parliament.
    Where is our democracy?

  • John Marriott 24th Mar '19 - 8:49am

    And doesn’t baby Gabriel deserve something better than mum shouting in his ear as she delivered her speech. Couldn’t dad have held him for a while? Or am I just too sensitive? It looked an impressive match and rally, though.

  • John Marriott
    Offering advice on other people’s child care is treading on some of the thinnest ice imaginable. However looking back over the decades I have vague recollections of at least one of my children doing far too much shouting in my ear!

  • Nonconformistradical 24th Mar '19 - 9:24am

    “I don’t see how pushing ahead with continuing to implement a vote that we now know to be fraudulent in any way protects democracy. ”

    Seconded 100%

  • Nonconformistradical 24th Mar '19 - 9:36am

    “have you ever wondered about the real motives of Rees-Mogg, Raab, Fox, Davis, Murdoch, Dacre, Redwood, Paterson, or Hannan? You might have followed not them but Farage, Johnson, or Gove, who have no consistent concept but supported Brexit just out of career-tactics. But the former have a plan, and they will set the post-Brexit agenda:

    Americanise the UK.”

    My thoughts precisely. Are we going to end up with a similar relationship to the US as has its existing unincoprorated organised territory Puerto Rico?

  • John Marriott 24th Mar '19 - 9:43am

    @Richard Allanach
    Good point. After 34 years at the chalk face I think I learned a bit about how to talk to youngsters. The problem with most politicians is that they have never really been exposed to a room of 10 year olds, let alone 15 year olds. The first thing you do is choose words that are readily understandable, preferably fairly short and avoid acronyms. Then, don’t be afraid to repeat what you have said, several times if necessary, to get across what you are trying to teach. If you watch a lot of programmes like ‘Bing’, as I have been doing with my grandchildren in the last few years, you will notice that a summary at the end of each episode plays an important rôle. My problem was always that, when I was speaking in committee rooms and council chambers (which I did a fair amount of during my thirty years as a councillor) I unfortunately carried on doing this with ‘consenting adults’, which clearly annoyed some people, as, rather like Neil Kinnock, I preferred to use twenty five words when probably half a dozen would have been sufficient, in adult company at least. Old habits died hard, as they say, to which some LDV contributors clearly testify!

  • Helen Dudden 24th Mar '19 - 9:57am

    I agree, hardly the place for a mother and child.
    Politics is lost. I view with total horror the infighting in Westminster. I’ve been several times on the subject of Human Rights, and Children’s Law.
    Ive been involved in International Law within the EUROPEAN Union personally, for many years, on the subject of International Child Abduction and Non Returns. Some countries, are most certainly poor performers in this area.
    I think there is little to be added other than, my experience left me wanting to see justice. My experience left me knowing that somethings you can’t change, and that should not be the case if we are unified.
    If there had been a different result and improvement, then my ideas would have changed too.
    It feels positive, that I will never vote again, in the coming elections for council or Westminster. The right for women to vote has lost it’s ideals for me. I think I’m far from on my own.
    Here, I’ve let off steam, but quite frankly it only matters, that the suffering of others, is not being considered, with compassion and understanding.

  • Richard Underhill 24th Mar '19 - 10:19am

    Helen Dudden 23rd Mar ’19 – 6:52pm
    “We all had the chance to vote, we did, and it was leave!”
    Not “all”. In the 2014 referendum in Scotland David Cameron allowed electors aged 16 and 17 to vote.
    British citizens living in the EU are still complaining that they were not allowed to vote (foolish of Cameron). They are not all rich. Some are now skint and wanting to come home to use the NHS.
    Maltese and Cypriots were allowed to vote, but other EU citizens living in the UK were note allowed to vote, however long they had lived here, however strong their UK ties were.
    Irish were allowed to vote. Does Theresa May not know this? She is a former Home Secretary.

  • Nonconformistradical 24th Mar '19 - 10:30am

    @Helen Dudden
    “I agree, hardly the place for a mother and child.”

    But being a mother with a child is a very normal situation – one which is all too often ignored by many of the political elite. Are you willing to see that normal situation continue to be ignored by many politicians (such as Rees-Mogg who is on record as saying he’s never even changed one of his 6 kids’ nappies)?

    “It feels positive, that I will never vote again, in the coming elections for council or Westminster.”

    Isn’t that what the Brexiteers want? That they can continue to peddle the lies which they peddled during the referendum campaign – only in the confidence of less dissent if fewer people bother to vote?

  • John Chandler 24th Mar '19 - 10:41am

    Brexit was the pet project of a small group of people with a specific agenda, and that agenda definitely wasn’t about solving the real problems that face society. The EC/EU was made the scapegoat for government failings, and the greed of some of the “elites”. There was no way to make Brexit a reality by selling the real, selfish reasons to the general public, so it was pitched as a cure all for everything that ails the UK – even though the cure could never be delivered.

    Helen, by giving up your vote you let them win. The people who sold you Brexit couldn’t care less about fixing the problems in this country, and they would be more than happy for more and more people to throw up their hands and say “voting does nothing, I won’t bother again”.

    Parties like the Lib Dems (and I admit I am biased) want to fix those problems, but to do that we need people to vote. Something like 22% of registered voters did not vote in the last election – enough to significantly change the election result. The two main parties rely on voter apathy to keep their duopoly, there’s no real incentive for them to radically improve people’s lives.

  • Ah yes the many employment choices offered to the young through EU membership. Everything from turnip picker to barista to unpaid internships and the exciting world of flexible working hours otherwise known a zero hour contracts. Other benefits include overpriced housing, increased competition and for the lucky .5% (half of one percent in ye olde language) there is always the Erasmus program.

  • @Helen, are we to presume you voted for a Brexit Britain where the wider public are to be protected from the upsetting sight of seeing a woman with her baby out in public?

    Zero hours contracts have nothing to do with the EU, and definitely won’t be ditched if we leave. We’ve been told that leaving the EU will give us more opportunities in the rest of the world. It costs very little to travel to many parts of the EU if you plan it right, and getting summer work in a hotel in Germany is a valuable experience that doesn’t require wealthy parents. Do you really think that getting a summer job in the US will suddenly become much easier for someone from a council estate?

  • David Becket 24th Mar '19 - 11:22am

    Once again we are ignored. The Observer, whose views on Brexit are close to ours, mentions many politicians from Michael Heseltine to Jess Phillips, but not a single Lib Dem. We were not included among those who have emerged with our heads held high.
    It is partly our fault. We do not look an inspiring party and our Press Releases are too many and too boring.
    Ed Davey made some good points on climate change, though I am not convinced we need a middle aged white male with strong connections to the coalition as leader. He did however point the way forward if we end up having an EU election. Let us make it a campaign for a green Europe

  • Fiona 24th Mar ’19 – 11:18am………@Helen, are we to presume you voted for a Brexit Britain where the wider public are to be protected from the upsetting sight of seeing a woman with her baby out in public?……..

    That is not what she said! Twisting her views to ridicule her is not the way forward.

    The country was almost equally split and pretending that the vote of ‘Leavers’ is worth less than those of ‘Remainers’ merely hardens attitudes. There were exaggerations and out right lies on both sides., that is the past. The future needs the conciliation, consultation and acceptance of the reality of where we are NOW (attributes that many on both sides fail to show).

    As for the political understanding of ten year olds?????

  • expats,

    there were NO “out right lies” on the remain-side, only on the leave-side. Actually, the leave-side did not employ a single true statement. This is NOT “the past”, it causes immeasurable damage now and in the future to millions of people. It is therefore unreasonable to ask remainers to display “conciliation, consultation and acceptance of the reality of where we are NOW” .

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Mar '19 - 1:43pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,
    The argument that is frequently thrown at me, relates to George Osborne’s threat that if there was a vote to leave, he would have to hold a budget with cuts and tax rises almost immediately.

  • Paul Barker 24th Mar '19 - 1:48pm

    My Daughter now works for The European Space Agency & has a very nice “little” flat. The whole of my Council flat in Peckham would fit in her living room.

    She was effectively “Head-Hunted” for the job while doing an “Unpaid” Internship at The European Southern Observatory. Her expenses for that were more than she got for some of the actual jobs she had here.
    She has been to several meetings called the inform UK citizens about what Brexit will mean for them & the consensus is that no-one has any idea. It all depends on how much of a mess “Our” government makes of the next series of negotiations.
    My Daughter didn’t go to a “Good” school or have any advantages. Europe has been great for her.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    Dont forget he also saida vote to leave we would see a year long recession and from 500,000 to 800,000 job losses.

    But Remainers did not tell any lies did they….

  • Helen Dudden 24th Mar '19 - 2:30pm

    Expats. I would be more concerned, if, as I have been, insulted because of what I believe.
    If, you believe in what’s happening or not happening in the EU, that’s up to the individual.
    As a grandmother, I most certainly would like to feel my family were not part of my comments or involvement in anything I’ve done on Human Rights, they are my personal life.

  • marcstevens 24th Mar '19 - 2:40pm

    0 hours contracts have got nothing to do with the EU, if you go to other EU countries you’ll notice they don’t use them. They were brought in here not in the EU. Also it’s not just the young who are employed on them but older people too. Nearly all those things in your post are determined by national government policy not the EU. More lies from the leave brigade and their ilk.

  • Chris Williams 24th Mar '19 - 2:55pm

    marcstevens. Wrong. Simply Google the proposition.

  • marcstevens 24th Mar '19 - 4:22pm

    No it isn’t wrong, it’s a fact that most EU countries outlaw 0 hours contracts, heavily restrict them, or don’t see them widely used, except in the UK. How do you justify their use over here without the same employment rights afforded to others? And older people are employed on them as I know people who are so that isn’t ‘wrong’ either.

  • Helen Dudden 24th Mar ’19 – 2:30pm……………..Expats. I would be more concerned, if, as I have been, insulted because of what I believe………….

    Helen, I am an unapologetic Remainer but, sometimes, I get angry at the attitude of those who voted the same way as I.

    We all made a decision based on what we thought was best for the future. ‘Leave’ won and it is up to those of us who believe ‘Remain’ is best to argue our point in a respectful and logical manner; insults are counter productive.
    Nick Clegg went into a ‘head to head’ with Farage and came out, on both occasions, second best. This party bears a responsibility for giving Farage the ‘cloak of statesmanship’ in winning such an argument. Will this party admit it?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Mar '19 - 4:54pm

    Very positive march but echo the comments , this party gets no publicity, the BBC especially indefensible.

    Is it that the spokespeople lack appeal or cannot do well to reach the public?

    Jo Swinson in saying what she did to kids as young, was very demoralising for them and would not go down at all in a way the voters would see as other than overblown.

    The reactions to the revelations about our other and thus far my preferred leadership candidate , are evidently open to charges of double standards and the agenda that Jo as deputy and for years, has constantly promoted , too many are, on issues.

    Brexit compromise is needed, Chuka and co said that before , even Anna Soubry,and May didn’t, nor did this party, in these years.

    We need unity and everybody can see that the country is divided and putting one case only does not unify, however we might think to shout loud does.

    I think we need to address the causes far better, with the concerns people have.

  • Alex Macfie 24th Mar '19 - 4:56pm


    “This party bears a responsibility for giving Farage the ‘cloak of statesmanship’ in winning such an argument. Will this party admit it?”

    Well I, for one, have long argued that the Clegg-Farage ‘head to head’ debates during the 2014 Euro election were a massive mistake, and not only because they validated Farage’s framing of the EU debate. Clegg should never have been debating with Farage, in fact he should not have been heading the 2014 Euro election campaign at all, because he was the Westminster leader in a Coalition government, and MEPs were not bound by the Coalition Agreement. Also whether the UK should be in or out of the EU is a domestic issue, nothing to do with MEPs, who legislate for the EU as a whole. We should have been talking about what our MEPs had been doing in the European Parliament to promote and enact undiluted Lib Dem policy, independent of the Coalition at Westminster.
    I hope that if we get to fight a European Parliamentary election this year, we shall fight not just a positive campaign, but one based on the actual issues that are decided in the European Parliament for the EU as a whole, and promotes our specifically Liberal vision of the EU.

  • Chris Williams 24th Mar '19 - 5:30pm

    marcstevens. Now it’s ‘most’ EU countries. I did not ‘justify’ them and nor did I make any comment on the age or indeed any other characteristic of those on zero hour contracts
    Your comment is wrong.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Mar '19 - 5:47pm

    @ John Marriott, @ Richard Allanach,

    Today’s guardian has a video of the people’s vote march with interviews with some participants. Amongst those giving their opinions is a dear little child who offered the point that if she wanted a Kinder egg is might cost £1 but if we had Brexit it might cost £10.

    ‘Peoples Vote March: Up close with anti -brexit protesters at the biggest ever demo- video’

    Perhaps the Liberal Democrats should be arguing for the voting age to be lowered to Primary School age!

    Seriously, I cannot understand why adults would want to induce anxiety in children who have neither the cognitive and emotional development , nor the power to alter matters that make them anxious.

    I hope her parents are stockpiling Kinder eggs.

  • David Becket 24th Mar '19 - 6:04pm

    Jo has not done her leadership hopes any good, children should be kept out of this. I could not trust her judgement.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    I absolutely reject your patronising attitude to our fellow citizens – even if they are young.

    I learnt an early lesson in politics and economics as a child when the price of my mars bar went up by 1p immediately after the Tories put VAT up!

    I was an avid viewer of Nationwide, Panoroma, Weekend World as a child. And we are blessed in this country with the excellent Newsround explaining things for children. And those days we were frightened – may be even more by nuclear Armageddon and annihilation from AIDS!

    It IS empowering to discuss and be political active and take action at a young age. It is one of my regrets that I didn’t join the Lib Dems (well the Alliance then) and become political active until I was an adult.

    I saw some excellent interviews with children from yesterday’s march. Frankly overall children often talk a lot more sense than adults whatever their political views on Brexit or anything else.

    Given the adults have made such a success of things – not! I say send the MPs back to the kindergarten where they belong and put the children in charge! They will undoubtedly make a better job of it.

    And don’t worry any Brexiteers worried about seeing children on yesterday’s march (and I know they should be down the mine or up a chimney where no doubt Rees-Mogg will be sending them soon to earn a crust for an impoverished nation) – children normally react against the politics of their parents when they become teenagers!

  • Talking down to the young—or indeed to any group of people one suspects of being less educated or informed—does no good, leaves people unable and eventually unwilling to grow mentally and learn, and reduces the true complexities of an issue to something trivial.

    That’s why we ended up with a Leave victory. People talked down to the voters and never bothered to explain the true complexities of the issues. People who had never had their brains challenged were accustomed to thinking in the simplest, most monochrome terms: Out Good, In Bad. The proper response to oversimplifications is not to sink to the same level.

  • Arnold Kiel 24th Mar '19 - 6:54pm

    matt, Jayne Mansfield,

    Osbourne, as most other economic forecasters, made the mistake of assuming a immediate drop in consumer confidence after the vote. His assumptions concerning investment and Sterling were right. He did not expect voters to be as complacent with their spending as they were with their vote. In the scenario he envisioned, a fiscal reaction would have been required, given his budget targets. He was wrong (but not lying), and his successor relaxed, rather than stuck to these targets.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Mar '19 - 7:38pm

    @ Michael1,
    Perhaps as someone who who has studied psychology and has a PGCE which included studying the work of Piaget and others, I am mindful of the need for age appropriate information.

    I am also, extremely mindful of the growing problem of anxiety disorders in young children and young people. If you think it appropriate to apologise to young children for Brexit, so be it. I will stick to giving children who have no control over Brexit, realistic messages of hope. Because that is what as an adult, I do.

  • Helen Dudden 24th Mar '19 - 8:11pm

    I agree with the above post. Children can only cope with certain things, in a simple way. During my input to law, we learnt how children’s learning, can be damaged by stressful situations like Child Abduction and Non Returns in child contact cases. The brain fails to develop in the understood way.
    I’m in a Power Chair, my great granddaughter of 5 years old sits in my chair, it becomes nothing to fear.
    By the way, that’s why the EU should be more informed on the workings of family law!

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Mar '19 - 8:20pm

    @ David 1,
    We had a leave victory not because ‘we’ talked down to people, but because we didn’t keep our mouths shut and listen.

    We had a leave vote because all the things that are now being used to argue for remain, actually were taking place before the Brexit vote, Thatcherite economics, a destruction of the NHS and the welfare state , decent jobs, affordable housing, that even she would not have dared to implement.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Mar '19 - 8:28pm

    @ Helen Dudden,
    I have followed your struggles and I hope that in Michael 1’s terms I am not being patronising when I say, keep fighting Helen.

    For an evidence based party the Liberal Democrats seem to have a blind spot when it comes to evidence.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    I appreciate the point.

    I don’t feel that I was any less cognitively able to deal with the finer points of the PSBR at 8 or 10 than I am now. Indeed as the brain cells die off may be better then!

    My view is that UK will be worse off with Brexit – we are already seeing two key industries for Britain – car manufacturing and financial services shipping jobs abroad. 9 out of 10 doctors say the NHS will suffer. So, yes I am sorry to everyone in Britain – young and old that they will suffer greater ill health and less good employment.

    A far better message to young people is it’s within your power to shape things politically. March! Vote! Sign Petitions! Lobby your neighbours! Write leaflets! Tweet! Contact your MP! Set up your own group – whether pro or anti-Brexit That gives people hope – young or old – that you can shape events seemingly outside your control by coming together with your fellow citizens. And indeed it is the ONLY thing that has ever changed anything! It’s helplessness that’s anxiety inducing.

    I am a little sceptical whether there is growing anxiety in children. May be, may be not. We always think nostalgically our childhood was a simpler happier time. Today’s children will too!

    My childhood was full of big political anxieties. I remember thinking the launch of the first Sky TV satellite probably wouldn’t happen in a few years’ time from then because we would probably have been nuked! Today’s political threats are fairly mild by comparison!

    Of course parents and other adults want to explain things in understandable terms and put things in context and they are not necessarily as dramatic as can sometimes be portrayed. But I don’t feel that watching news and current affairs and newspapers from aged about 8 scarred me – indeed if anything the opposite.

    A key thing is to develop independent minds in everyone including the young that don’t take just one point of view and seek out opposing views and question everything whether physics or politics. We need someone to work out which of the 10 interpretations of quantum physics is correct and what dark matter and dark energy is – let alone sort out our political problems! And parents, educators and the media should encourage that whether someone is 3 or 103. And I do try and read the Daily Express website – as well as the Guardian!

  • When I hear people talk about “age-appropriate information” I start to wonder exactly who it is who claims the right to decide which information is appropriate to which age. And if they can decide how to ration information according to age, then they can equally well do it according to class or race or gender: and for a great part of history that’s exactly what they did do.

    We live in a time when access to information is the greatest index of political empowerment. And for those who dislike the spread of power beyond a certain closed class, the easiest way to maintain their power is to restrict information and to spread disinformation. This is modern warfare. This is what’s going on all around the planet.

    The liberal response to disinformation is and always should be more and better information: that is, education. But you don’t educate people by saying “Oh, they’re too stupid to understand things, I guess we’ll have to feed them sound bites and slogans.” People — and especially young people, crave information. But if they’re starved of it, if they can’t get it, they’ll go after any fictitious source of pseudo-information that they can get. And that’s why it’s so important to start training peoplel to access good, reliable information as young as possible. Teach people; and more that, teach them to teach themselves and each other. The brutal weakness of every education system is a lack of faith in people’s willingness to learn. The heart of liberalism is believing that people want to learn and to make better decisions. Closing one’s mind, refusing to entertain alternative possibilities, reflexive dogmatism, holding on to ideas that have long since proved useless is what illiberal thinking feeds on.

  • David-1

    Hear! Hear!

    Very good post!

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Mar '19 - 9:41pm

    @ Michael 1, @ David 1,
    Sorry, I thought you were an evidenced based party,

    My mistake.

  • Helen Dudden,
    I get it. My roots are Jewish and Romany. We don’t all see “Europe” as a big noble ideal. To my folks it was something you left , not something you aspired to!. Just try not to give in to despair.

  • It is depressing how poor the likely candidates for leader are.

    I do not doubt Jo’s commitment or integrity, but I just don’t think her messaging or demeanour is right for reconnecting with the very voters the party desperately needs back. Layla Moran surely cannot be a candidate given recent revelations (her candidacy as an MP even must be open to question now). Ed Davey, whilst clearly a bright man, is unlikely to inspire voters back to the Lib Dems or lead a major revival in ambitious policy programmes.

    A takeover by the TIG looks ever more likely at this rate.

  • Matt (bristol) 25th Mar '19 - 8:20am

    Frustrated how a thread about the peoples’ vote match is being infected by sniping and backbiting about the leadership contest.

  • Mick Taylor 25th Mar '19 - 8:29am

    Dear me, Michael, is being human and admitting you’re less than perfect now to be a disqualification from being an MP?
    Shame on those contributors who think taking your baby to a rally is somehow being an unfit mother. My daughter was there as well with her 10 month old son.
    This is male chauvinism at its worst. Bet you wouldn’t say the same if a man did it!
    As far as candidates for leader is concerned, we are where we are, but perhaps it shouldn’t be being discussed on this thread. Whoever becomes leader will do the best job they can. The sad truth is that LibDems don’t want to be led. They want someone to blame when things go wrong.

  • @ Michael 1, @ David 1,….Please could you explain how 8 and 10 year olds should be considered as ‘responsible’ whilst a group of 15 yo’s who joined ISIS should not?

  • Mick Taylor 25th Mar '19 - 8:32am

    Glenn. The EU is the best guarantee that history won’t repeat itself and that the persecution of minorities that saw your folks and my mother come here. The EU is primarily a political construct. The economics is the means to make it work.

  • John Marriott 25th Mar '19 - 9:25am

    I guess I started this particular ‘tangent’ that has morphed into a debate on when to talk ‘adult’ to young people. Some of you may be familiar with the Wordsworth quote from his poem on Tintern Abbey; ‘The child is father of the man’. You can believe the theory if you want to . Who knows what a young baby is thinking? No, Mr Taylor, I wouldn’t dream of insinuating that your daughter is an ‘unfit’ mother for taking her baby to the rally. I remember taking my younger son as a three year old with me when I was gathering signatures in a local shopping centre for a petition I was running. What I did express concerns about was young Gabriel being made to have his eardrums bombarded with political rhetoric.

    As for ‘talking down’ to youngsters, as expressed by ‘Michael 1’ and others, all I would say is that I learned in over thirty years of teaching (and not always in the English language) to choose my words carefully and appropriately, which is probably not always the case when dealing with adults!

  • @expats

    There are a number of issues. Clearly we – correctly IMHO have different ages of responsibility. You can drink alcohol at 5. The age of criminal responsibility is 10. You can fight in wars, have sex, marry at 16. Drive an HGV at 21.

    Women of course were for a long time denied a role in political activity – voting, being an MP etc. This did not mean that they were subject to criminal prosecution. So we as a society differentiate between these things.

    Leaving aside the debate on voting age which we have had on LDV and will no doubt have again, people who engage in potentially criminal activity and are older than 10 are subject to the criminal law. But minors are not subject to the full force of the law.

    But that does mean we should ban them from all political discourse and access to civil society. They can work, run businesses (subject to some restrictions), pay taxes and they should be allowed as full as possible access to “civil” political society. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that youngster should not be allowed to put their view forward or have to wait until they are 21 when we deem people responsible enough to do everything in a society.

  • Michael 1 25th Mar ’19 – 9:48am…@expats..There are a number of issues.

    You are definitely in the right party Michael, “All things to all people”. Even as a young Dorset lad I cant’t remember seeing so many ‘straw men’ in so small a space.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    Thanks for your further comment. With respect, it was a little disappointing that you simply made an assertion. I always welcome a debate and engaging with issues because I am aware that I only have an approximation to the truth and welcome getting closer!

    You make 2 points


    By definition, no one can object to “age appropriate” information. Clearly those aged 3, 6, 10, 13, 18 are all different

    The advice when writing leaflets is to aim for a reading age of about 10. So by definition we are saying that half of children – those aged 10-18 are able to engage in political debate.

    On Piaget – there is some validity. Many criticisms are also made on ages, stages and processes but it is a good framework. I remember “playing shop” at about 6, I had a savings account at about 7 and probably most children get some pocket money before 10. So I would argue that by 10 and probably well before that have a good concept of money which is actually pretty tricky and abstract!

    Most adults turn to children at some point to teach them how new technology works! And many children have detailed knowledge of some aspect with tricky abstract concepts – football, car mechanics, physics, magic tricks, computer programming – in excess of many adults.

    A key concept of Piaget is learning through doing and discovery. So participation in political processes is important.


    Again no-one is saying that children do not need reassurance from an adult sometimes. But I would suggest that political worries for previous generations was greater. In my childhood, the world was going to be nuked. And we had the ominous adverts for the Government’s AIDS leaflets. So IF children are more anxious it is not due to greater political worries.

    But anxiety stems from helplessness. And if children can shape their world that reduces it. The things that I was most frightened and worried about as a child were those that were somewhat hidden from me. Of course some things do have to be explained in appropriate and reassuring terms. But learning as a child about the distressing conditions, particularly in the past of workers and children going down mines etc. while not nice put me on the left and I think that was a good education.

  • You sometimes wonder what you need to do to convince someone of your views on something. It is their own views that are the issue. When people can’t see the other side’s point of view, it’s time to stand aside and allow someone who has that flexibility.

  • Paul Barker 25th Mar '19 - 3:42pm

    Sorry to hijack this thread & talk about The March but have any of you seen the Labour reaction ? Lots of threads attacking the March for being smug, middle class & good humoured. Some compared it unfavourably with the Yellow Vest protests in Paris, chucking rocks & setting fire to public property – that’s real protest !

  • Peter Martin 28th Mar '19 - 9:44am

    @ Jayne Mansfield, @ Matt @ Arnold Kiel,

    “The argument that is frequently thrown at me, relates to George Osborne’s threat that if there was a vote to leave, he would have to hold a budget with cuts and tax rises almost immediately.” I think he threatened higher interest rates too.

    This was obviously a lie. Unless, perhaps, George Osborne was a closet Leaver!

    Think about it. If George Osborne had expected the economy to take a significant downturn after a Leave vote, then he would also have expected to lower interest rates and increase Govt spending to try to stimulate a flagging economy.

    Only if he’d expected the economy to boom would contractionary policies, ie less spending and higher interest rates have been required to cool it down.

    BUT it would have sounded very odd to hear him ‘threaten’ lower interest rates etc if we dared to vote Leave.

  • Neil Sandison 30th Mar '19 - 10:02am

    The party has begun to reconnect with the people through the march and petition but it should be seen as a start and by no means a finish .I have met electors in recent days almost in tears feeling not only depressed but angry about the state of our politics and the craven ambition by some aspiring leaders in Labour and Tory ranks being put before their country in their quest for power at any price .
    We need a new leader as well but that leader needs to be able to communicate beyond the activists and elected members .Jo has shown she has those attributes .

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