Jo Swinson on “What’s next?”

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Use the arrows above to see a slide show of today’s People’s Vote march

After today’s historic session in parliament, which has extended PM Johnson’s unblemished record of defeats, Jo Swinson has written to party members with the following summary:

After today’s votes, the fight to stop Brexit continues.

Hundreds of thousands of people are marching outside Parliament, where I’ve just finished voting, to demand a final say.

After today’s votes, Boris Johnson must obey the law and send a letter asking for Article 50 to be extended.

We will use that extra time to secure a People’s Vote, to keep Britain in the European Union and to reject this awful deal.

Boris Johnson’s deal will damage our economy, undermine the NHS and public services, remove vital workers’ rights and reduces environmental standards.

When this deal comes back to Parliament, what needs to happen next is clear. We need a People’s Vote, with the option to remain in the EU.

The next few days will be crucial – and we need all Remainers united and fighting to stop Brexit.

For three years, your support, passion and dedication have powered our movement.

That we’re still in the European Union and that Brexit still hasn’t happened, is thanks to you.

I’m sure you’re tired and angry after three years of this chaos (I know I am) – but we have to we keep up the fight.

Together, I know we can stop Brexit, once and for all.

You can join the Lib Dem campaign to stop Brexit here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Ross McLean 19th Oct '19 - 7:46pm

    Jared O’Mara apparently turned up in Parliament today. I’m going to say something I never thought I’d say, but well done him. He obviously thought – like everyone else – that today would be the big vote and he wanted to vote against the deal. In the end he voted for Letwin. We know that very single vote matters in the HoC at the moment. It can’t have been easy for him to show up and be crowded in and out of the lobbies with MPs and the media. I haven’t changed my mind about all the awful things he has done. But at least he did the right thing here – the difficult thing in his case. He should get a little bit of credit for that.

  • Yes, I echo that

  • My son lives and votes in Sheffield Hallam. He rang up to say that he was recovering from the shock of discovering that he had some representation in Parliament.

  • This is lovely but the reality is Boris May have the votes to get this deal through. At this point there are only 2 ways I can think of to stop him. One is to use an amendment to ask parliament to back Mays deal in preference to Boris deal. I think this could fly with Labour Leave MPs getting on board. The consequence of selecting this deal would then be to rule out any other deal by law. Then Mays deal would have to be passed but the chances of attaching a referendum to it would be higher. Alternative a GE would follow

  • So Boris sent the letter as set out by the legislation but he did not “sign” the letter as that was not in the instructions.
    Whether this will carry any weight or not I have no idea but you do have to lol.

    It does appear that the french are not inclined to vote for an extension according to Macron’s office.

    I think the remainers are playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse here, they want to avoid a no deal brexit at all costs and yet that might be exactly what it gets if its strategy backfires an extension is not granted and the clock clicks down.

  • David Becket 19th Oct '19 - 10:27pm

    With Oliver Letwin indicating that he would vote for the Boris deal once the legal issues were cleared it is likely that it will eventually pass. We could well see our opportunity slipping away from us, the latest polls are not so good. I hope our leadership has plan B ready.

  • “We could well see our opportunity slipping away from us”

    I suspect that ship has already sailed. The opportunity was over the summer but we (the opposition generally) couldn’t get our ducks in a row for a VONC. Whether it’s next week or next month, it seems inevitable that the Johnson deal will pass and I would be amazed if there was support for a referendum caveat. Even if we get a referendum on this deal, if you have the Government of the day throwing its might behind a ‘leave’ campaign against a range of disparate remain voices (and a Labour party that still wants to sit on the fence), I can only see one result there.

    Realistically the new battle ground is whether we extend the transition period or not, and what sort of future relationship we want with the EU. Johnson has drawn his lines in the sand on that score. Where do we stand?

    On the plus side, we can perhaps lead the charge to rejoin/align closely to the EU/join the EEA, without having to defend ourselves against a charge of not respecting the first referendum (and it might help avoid the hypocrisy of wanting a 2nd EU referendum whilst opposing a 2nd Scots referendum).

  • Like David Becket I hope our leaders have thought through what we do if Boris’ deal gets through. He is in any case, likely to be stronger now among leavers and conservative-minded people if only because he has defied his opponents and negotiated a new deal with the EU. People love a winner.
    That this is a worse deal will not matter to these people; they might be convinced by the Brexit party and not support Boris. In a GE, that may be one hope in some of our constituencies, but where Labour put up a remain candidate should we consider not standing if that means the Tory cannot win ? On the other hand, will that put off loads of soft Conservatives from voting for us there or in other constituencies ? Or even will it put moderate Conservatives off us for the next elections, just as supporting the Tory government put off soft Labour voters for a long time ? DIFFICULT.

  • Dilettante Eye 19th Oct '19 - 11:37pm

    A couple of days ago I wrote:

    “Boris might well write the extension request letter, and might even comply with his Scottish Court assurances by sending the letter (unsigned).
    But he cannot possibly validate it as an official request, by signing it.”

    That seems to have happened tonight ‘as per the text of the Benn Act‘, exactly as I said.
    So Boris has fully complied with the text of the Benn Act, but he couldn’t sign the extension request letter because to sign it would mean him breaking the law.

  • Matt,
    The ERG want a hard Brexit, Depeffle has promised them that. Now I know a Depeffle promise is like a pie crust made to be broken, but so far the ERG has got it’s way. So please stop saying ” You are playing a dangerous game” we have been in the middle of a ” dangerous game” since you and your ilk voted to leave. This situation was caused by you, not me, so screaming ” Danger Frankie” doesn’t change the fact you decided to open a very dangerous Pandora’s box. Your mess, not mine and any consequences will have your signature written all over it, well yours and 17.4 million others.

  • Frankie

    Would you mind calling Boris Johnson by his real name please.

  • @frankie

    I will not stop saying you’re playing a game because that is exactly what you and your party are doing. The one thing that you want to stop at all costs is a no deal brexit, but that is exactly what is at risk of happening because of all these delays and shenanigans which could backfire spectacularly and we end up with no deal Bexit by default as the clock ticked down and that would be entirely at your own fault.

    You had chances to get behind VONC and get Boris out but opposition parties could not work together to get behind Corbyn. With 11 days till Brexit there is no time for a VONC now.
    What other options are open to you? With certainty that they will not fail?

    You need to stop throwing all that fairy dust about frankie, your clouding your judgement and become a little delirious

  • Certainly Gary J it is Alexander. So your choice Depfeffle or Alexander, or do you want me to use his stage name?

    His full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

  • What next?
    More dithering and more nonsense from a parliament scared of the electorate. Effectively, a remain heavy parliament is annoying voters in the UK and the EU with their refusal to give up. I truly hope the EU says no to more extensions and end Remainers delusional belief their moral omnipotence.

  • Bless Matt did you miss this

    ERG been told that if they back the deal Johnson goes for the hardest possible Brexit – Canada Dry minus level playing field – if EU against it no deal is back on

    I know you are struggling with the reality you voted for this, but trying to blame the people who didn’t vote for it and don’t want it is just gaslighting and not very good gaslighting at that.

  • John Marriott 20th Oct '19 - 8:06am

    @David Le Grice
    Could the GNU still be alive? Yes, table a Confidence Motion, especially if the EU turns down an extension. However, do you really want to trigger a General Election under a FPTP lottery at this point in time? Why not try to form a Unity Government first? Whatever you do you had better be quick. If Rees Mogg is right and the Deal vote returns next week and is finally approved, how would it look then if some people just took their bat and ball home?

  • My priority above all others is to stay in the European Union. The EU is unique in international organisations in that it is democratic. The nations collectively decide the policies and the Parliament has a scrutiny role.
    We should be directing our energies into how we can build systems which will be able to involve all the people of Europe in decision making. At least than we would have a chance of discussing rationally the challenges of environmental degradation.
    A starting point is to look at the possibilities of the internet in this. Perhaps the time to look at it as a public utility.

  • Denis Loretto 20th Oct '19 - 8:19am

    If as seems now tragically likely the Johnson deal is passed and as in this thread remainers say “we should have gone for a VONC” it must be understood that this was ruled out by the insistence by Corbyn and his acolytes that only he could lead the interim government. It has been clear all along that (possibly with one or two exceptions) rebel or sacked Tories would never accept this. Even the prospect of it would probably have sunk the VONC itself.

  • Andrew McCaig 20th Oct '19 - 8:54am

    Norman Lamb made a typically cogent intervention during Keir Starmer’s summar of all the bad things about the Johnson deal yesterday, pointing out the asymmetry in Northern Ireland which is all in favour of the Nationalist Community. One person who voted against the Letwin amendment but will vote with the DUP against the deal is Kate Hoey. Any Tory who calls themself a Unionist should do the same, and deal may yet fail in the Commons.
    At that point in the order of play yesterday determined by the Speaker, a vote on a referendum would have occurred. This still might offer a better chance of defeating Brexit than a GE in current circumstances, although the path would require some big compromises, not least on our side. The SNP are desperate for a GE before Salmondgate comes to court in January, which may defeat this course of action as well.

    With the DUP unlikely to support the government a VONC may succeed now where it would not have done in September. Perhaps with the letter sent Labour will move it and it will now succeed. Labour’s policy of renegotiating a deal looks pathetic now, and I fear a big Tory win (in seats) is very likely. Voters want this over with.

  • David Evans 20th Oct '19 - 8:58am

    Dennis Loretto – It may be comforting for our own self image to say that it was Corbyn’s fault because most of the rebel Tories would not vote for him. Some also say that not all of his party would vote for him.

    However, this is probably true for all potential leaders of a GNU at the moment and if we are to stop Boris Johnson and his an ERG style no deal disaster, all those who refused to compromise further will be equally to blame. This will be true for Tory Rebels, Labour MPs, TIG and all its fragments, Nationalists, Greens and Lib Dems.

    When you lose a battle as fundamental as this, it is mere self justification to say “It wasn’t my fault. The others wouldn’t agree with our choice of general.”

  • When faced with a disaster like Brexit you are faced with two choices, laugh or cry. Well crying does appeal but thankfully we have the antics of our Brexi’s and Lexi’s to bring comedy to the proceedings. They twist and turn, claim black is white, blame everybody but themselves for the mess we are in and the desire to be respected and loved ouses from every pore. Dealing then is very much like dealing with toddlers, they so want their precious but have no idea what it is or what they can do with it.

  • Barry Lofty 20th Oct '19 - 9:55am

    From the very start of this Brexit debacle the Brexiteers having never shown any diplomacy or any recognition of the millions who voted to remain, just reaching out and recognising how split the country was a deal could have been reached that everyone could have supported, even if reluctantly, but the far right of the Tory party saw their chance to take over their party with the result that we witness today.
    For the record my name for Boris Johnson is far worse than Depeffle!!

  • @David Evans

    Fundamentally the problem for Remain is that there is a (slim) majority of Leavers in Parliament. The only successes by Remain so far have been in preventing “no deal” or getting an extension to do so – the only reason we haven’t left already is that the Leavers (including most of the Tory rebels hoped for by the “GNU” idea!) haven’t agreed on the details. It’s pointless for the Remain parties to blame each other for “doing it wrong” since they’re well short of a majority even when they do all vote together.

    As it becomes clearer that circumstances might lead to us not leaving at all – by-elections leading to more Remainers elected, Con->LD defections, etc. – the Leavers have generally become more willing to compromise on the specifics, on the grounds that they can always be adjusted later.

    So long as Johnson appears to be keeping away from “No Deal” the likes of Letwin, Clarke and Stewart won’t move against him because they’re still Conservatives and the risk of disrupting the *rest* of the Conservative agenda is too high, and they’re happy to leave with a deal.

    (Regarding VONC: the only chance I can see is to call and pass one now – which would require DUP and TIG to support it, since almost all the Tory rebels wouldn’t – in the hope that the EU will then grant an extension to prevent disaster. The 2 weeks can then expire without the need to agree an alternative government, and the automatic general election occurs in plenty of time for the new government to do something different)

  • @frankie

    You misunderstand, I wouldnt be blaming anyone, let alone remainers if we have a no deal brexit, in fact as far as I am concerned you would be doing us all a favour.

    What I said was, it is the remainers position to stop a no deal brexit at all costs and yet that is exactly what we might end up with if their tactics backfire as the clock ticks down and you will then have nobody to blame but yourselves.

    Surly parliament could have voted through yesterdays WA and then tried to change the next lot of legislature to attach a confirmatory referendum to it, but instead they chose to try and kick the can down the road once more.

    There is no chance of brexit being cancelled without a referendum and yet there is every chance of No deal happening if the clock ticks down. So these can kicking tactics seems like it is a pretty big gamble to me.

  • To be fair Barry, you could equally say that if our side of the debate had accepted we were leaving, and sought to reach compromise with May on what the future should be (instead of using her weakness in an attempt to thwart Brexit entirely), we could be out under May’s deal (or one like it) and be deep into negotiating an EEA-lite FTA rather than Johnson’s race to the bottom deal.

    The ERG and DUP have wielded so much influence because Parliament as a whole left May with no other options. Simple as that.

    No-one comes out of this mess in any positive light, and there are too many what ifs.

  • When I read of the so called division of the nation into Leavers and Remainers I think more and more of Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan, first performed in 1882. Particularly the song which refers to how strange it is that every boy and every gal born into this world is either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative.
    Just as then of course this is nonsense. We know from long and experience in the party how to change opinions. The first step is to keep people informed. A second is to enter into dialogue with them.
    I have seen little attempt at this from our party. There appears to be little attempt to tell people, even our own members, the facts, little attempt to enter into discussion, even with our own members.
    And we look for odd small changes in opinions. Our job surely is to talk about the reality of how the EU works. To be clear about the decisions which have been made by the U.K. government and blamed on the EU, for example.
    I know we have limited resources, but this is a serious issue.
    If we talk about reforming the EU we need to talk about ideas to involve every citizen in the decisions that need to be made in view of our increasing environmental crisis.
    We need to move forward from 1882.

  • David Becket 20th Oct '19 - 11:17am

    Tom is right, others have said it, Nigel Jones had a post on it a short time ago.

    Our leadership is letting us down. Not just the current one, we have been let down since 2016. The benefits of the EU have never been presented in a manner that can be understood.
    The strident approach from Jo was welcomed at the start of her leadership. but it is time to move on. We are getting less publicity than a month ago.

    We are going to lose this unless we change tack. We need in B to B style the benefits of EU membership, and we need it now.

    We need better communication with our members and public.

    What have I received from Jo in the last few days, another request for money. Come off it Jo, you have got to earn it by moving on.

    I do not think we will we get it, i doubt if our leadership reads LDV.

  • John Marriott 20th Oct '19 - 12:07pm

    Can we stop asserting that the U.K. leaving the EU, aka Brexit, will inevitably be “a disaster”. You see there are many kinds of Brexit. Even in the worst case scenario life will go on. Under the lightest and softest form of Brexit I bet that most people would not notice the difference.

    Granted, if we come out we will be poorer in more ways than just the economic. People who wanted to leave, which doesn’t include me, should resist blaming “the politicians”. It was their decision. I’m used to being in a minority; I count myself as a liberal in many, but not all, areas of life.

    What will the ‘frankies’ of this world do if we do leave the EU? Will they look forward to their pensions and continue to insult those whose view of the world, if indeed they have a cogent one, differs from their own, or will they accept reality, roll up their sleeves, get stuck in and make it work? It COULD happen despite the current shenanigans.

    As I have said before, I could easily live with something like Norway Plus, if it were on offer, so why not? I’m really not worried about potential vassalage in certain areas. It doesn’t appear to bother most Norwegians. Mind you, being a small country in terms of population fortunately sitting on massive oil reserves, which it didn’t spend on making many of its citizens redundant, it has a massive cushion against possible hard times. As for ‘independent’ trade deals, let’s sort out our relationship to what appears to be an increasingly volatile but economically vital EU before we attempt to sign on the dotted line with countries like the US or China.

  • Let’s be honest every Tory government from John Major onwards has always looked over its shoulder at the far right of their party any middle of the road policies have always been thwarted by them. Anyway what will be will be and we must all make the most of it?

  • David Becket 20th Oct '19 - 12:24pm

    Up to now she has done well, but we are heading into a dangerous phase and we need to move on and positively promote the EU. B to B is not good enough.
    What took me so long Martin was that she made a good start
    The leadership of the whole remain campaign, not just this party, has been dire since 2016.
    At no stage have benefits of the EU been presented in an easily assimilated format. We have let the lies and emotion of Farage and Johnson rule.
    Jo made a good start, but the Lib Dems must move on.

  • We have not been explaining to people why we should remain or why a hard Brexit will harm our country, I said this in a recent post and have attempted to do it in our local paper. I hope it is not too late to do it, but it is vital, because most people’s reaction to any current event depends on whether they believe in remain or leave. It has often been said that for most people, their vote is decided before an election campaign starts. If we want a referendum, it will be too late to circulate facts, information and simple arguments for remain if we wait until it is called.

  • Arnold Kiel 20th Oct '19 - 1:12pm

    Time to revisit the numbers: Since the referendum, the UK’s economy has lost GBP 60 Billion of GDP, representing a 0,5% GDP-underperformance p.a. compared to its pre-referendum trajectory and the G7.

    This translates already in an annual(!) GDP-loss of 30 Billion, and around 10-12 Billion tax receipts lost to the treasury. Had the UK voted remain, its EU net contribution would have self-financed forever by now .

    Johnson’s deal is estimated to accumulate another 7% GDP underperformance in the next decade which is 140(!) Billion today (160-170 by 2030). Added to the damage already suffered: 170 Billion of today’s GPP (around 200 in 2030).

    From GBP 170 Billion GDP, the treasury would pocket around 60 Billion EVERY YEAR!

    Johnson’s deal will cost every UK citizen around GBP 2000 direct annual income and GBP 1000 in public services. Yes, life goes on, but if this is no disaster, what is?

    306 votes for this yesterday can only be explained by total economic illiteracy or criminal intent.

  • John Marriott 20th Oct '19 - 1:13pm

    @Nigel Jones
    The reasons to remain and why a hard Brexit would harm us were repeated ad nauseam in the run up to the 2016 Referendum and still remain lost. Are you really going to keep making the same mistake?

    You clearly don’t get out enough to realise that many people out there are swayed by other reasons than the economic, so you need a different approach. If you don’t and you do get another referendum you run the risk of succumbing to a sucker punch like you did last time. As my old dad used to say; “It takes all sorts to make a world”. It would appear that, collectively, the “all sorts” outnumber the rest.

  • “What will the ‘frankies’ of this world do if we do leave the EU? Will they look forward to their pensions and continue to insult those whose view of the world, if indeed they have a cogent one, differs from their own, or will they accept reality, roll up their sleeves, get stuck in and make it work? ”

    John firstly what will you do to make it work? You can hardly ask others to put their shoulder to the wheel to get us out of the quagmire if you don’t intend to help.

    As to my part I will work while I am able, health and possessing a job willing (because if my job disappears at my age, well there are not many opportunities as many of my ex-workmates have found out). I will ensure my children get the best education possible, but if the grass is greener somewhere else I won’t be saying “Stay and look after your old parents, stay and look after this poor depressed country, that needs your youth”. So to turn your question on its head.

    “What will the Brexi’s and Lexi’s do, will they accept reality, roll up their sleeves, get stuck in and make it work? ”

    I suspect the answer for many of them is “No I’m a pensioner you know, my working days are done”.

    As to a the charge “to insult those whose view of the world, if indeed they have a cogent one, differs from their own” not guilty, they would have to have a cogent argument and they don’t; but they have many arguments you might contend, yes indeed the do their arguments change as events change, always twisting, always changing, fixated on one word Brexit at any cost, pointing that out isn’t an insult it is a cold hard fact.

  • Paul Barker 20th Oct '19 - 1:31pm

    Doesnt The Letwin Amendment mean that even if The Government Deal is passed next Week, it wont apply Legally until all the relevant Legislation has been passed ?
    I am confused.

  • Barry Lofty 20th Oct '19 - 1:37pm

    Sadly it seems that many people are falling in behind the ” just get on with it” slogan , which is understandable but short sighted as any decision taken now is going to affect this country for a very long time, it is maybe taking a long time to sort out but a decision of this magnitude should not be taken lightly. But the future generations will have to live with whatever the outcome?

  • John Marriott 20th Oct '19 - 2:12pm

    I’m currently a volunteer at my local library. At least two days a week my wife and I entertain two of our grandchildren, which includes one day taking them to and picking them up from school. I’ve just made it to 76. Hardly shutting up shop, I would say. Oh, and for thirty years I was a local councillor.

    @Arnold Kiel
    Great statistics; but SO WHAT?

  • Arnold Kiel 20th Oct '19 - 2:54pm

    John Marriott,

    you might consider people’s livelihoods “statistics”, I call it food, shelter, heating, clothing, healthcare, education, security. Millions among the 17,4 Million are already struggling; nobody will convince me that they wanted further deprivation. The question you should try to answer is WHAT FOR?

    I disagree that the economics don’t matter; they just haven’t been felt yet and people are still buying “project fear”. But watch employment numbers, salary-levels, and insolvency-numbers turn bad, which is happening right now. People will see: it is predominantly Brexit. Just give it a little more time.

  • Laudable John, I wish I could say i do as much on the volunteering front, but I don’t. All I do is work and taxi children (well adults, but they will always be children to me) with a few Focus deliveries, with more pencilled in. The problem is your actions and mine won’t make a difference when Arnold’s statistics come to pass. A poorer country is less of an attraction to those with the skills we need. Invest in training, train more doctors and nurses I hear they cry. What a good idea, but people with transferable skills don’t stay in poor countries they migrate to those with money.

    So going forward we make the UK a less attractive place to migrate to and a more attractive place to migrate from. Many moons ago Little Jackie used to moan that the insatiable need for eastern European labour by the UK denuding his wife’s little country of the young and this was why he voted for Brexit. Well going forward the young from that place won’t be migrating to the poor UK, but the better educated amongst our young may very well be migrating to the EU or any other richer nation that needs their skills. Going forward it is only too plausible that your grandchildren will emigrate to a better life, leaving behind the old, the poorly educated and the disabled. The problem we have then is ” the old, the poorly educated and the disabled” are unlikely to generate enough resources to look after the ” the old, the poorly educated and the disabled”. Tis sad but true. Now for the purposes of disclosure I’m too old to emigrate, so I will live amongst the ” the old, the poorly educated and the disabled”, I will indeed be part of the old. It is unlikely to be a walk in the Park for me even with the prospect of a couple of reasonable pensions, but for those without that it truly will be grim.

    However no matter how grim it gets I would not expect my children to stay and support me, if life can be better for them elsewhere, well hen, go would be my advice.

  • Barry Lofty 20th Oct '19 - 3:52pm

    ‘frankie I was just going into into the kitchen to put my head in the oven when I realised it is not a gas oven! so I will just have to put up with being old and uneducated, not really disabled quite yet. Happy days!!!

  • Peter Martin 20th Oct '19 - 4:13pm

    Arnold Kiel mentions figures of £10-12 billion,\ £30 billion , £60 billion, £140 billion, and £170 billion without the slightest attempt to explain where they come from. Then we see figures of 0.5% of GDP and 7% of GDP thrown in just for good measure.

    Arnold then has the gall to suggest that those who might like to see a more cogent and referenced argument might be suffering from “total economic illiteracy or criminal intent.”

    I don’t know where, or if AK received any economic education, but I’m sure he would have been taught that he can’t just make up numbers as takes his fancy to suit whatever argument he is trying to promote.

    So for example, If I want to make the point that life inside the eurozone has been a disaster for countries like Italy, I would provide this article as a reference!

  • Barry,

    Hope springs eternal, no bad thing unless it is “false hope” and that I’m afraid is the sort of hope fuelling Brexit. Let’s be honest the major drivers of Brexit are

    1. An over inflated opinion of ourselves in the world
    2. A fear of the unknown, a desire to retreat to happier, simpler times
    3. Xenophobia, often wrapped up as a desire to return to an age of “My little village, for people like me”; while proclaiming they could possible be xenophobic as some distant ancestor we Irish/Jewish/Romany or some other sort of none Anglo-Saxon.
    4. Just a general desire to be noticed and not ignored by the bubble elite
    5. to make money in a new wild west economy where the devil takes the hindmost
    6. To become like the USA, because we like to suck up to the major power in the world.
    7. To be free of the world and its regulations, to retreat to a world of “just us” where all problems outside the UK just don’t matter.

    Now I’d doubt any Brexiteer would hold all those views, after all they tend to be contradictory desires (not that hold diametrically opposing views seems to be a problem for them), but I’ve found few who don’t hold at least one or two of them. The problem with Brexit is it really gives them none of them, but I doubt they’ll ever accept that, too much self-worth tied up in being a winner for once.

  • Barry Lofty 20th Oct '19 - 4:26pm

    “frankie” I cannot argue with that!

  • Peter Martin 20th Oct '19 - 4:44pm

    @ Nigel Jones,

    “We have not been explaining to people ……”

    This short phrase shows just what is wrong with Remainer mentality. The underlying assumption is that “people” didn’t really understand enough to vote in an informed way. And that is partly the fault of those higher beings, who did understand, for not explaining better just where us lesser beings were going wrong.

    In other words, you’re suffering from a superiority complex which is quite unjustified!

    Perhaps, we need to explain to Nigel that many “people” are well and truly pssd off with the state of the UK economy which has developed in recent years. Years in which we have been a member of the EU. Now, it is probably true that the EU hasn’t been responsible for everything. We could accept a Not Guilty verdict to some of the charges. For example, and is being increasingly recognised, recovery from the 2008 GFC was stifled by an ill-conceived austerity programme whose deleterious effects played no small role in the outcome of the 2016 referendum. That was primarily the responsibility of the 2010 -2015 Lib Dem /Tory coalition..

    However, the austerity program was, and still is, even worse in the EU. As we were, and still are, in a “single market” with the EU that affects us too. Just as much as a domestic squeeze. Our EU partners can’t then afford our exports but they are desperate to export to us because their home market has disappeared!

    We then end up with a huge trade EU deficit. That has to be financed by someone in the UK borrowing to support it. That in turn means we have a large, mainly private, debt crisis too. Please let me know if you didn’t follow that and I need to explain a little better!

  • John Marriott 20th Oct '19 - 6:18pm

    @Arnold Kiel
    You obviously don’t get irony, do you? You can quote all the statistics you like, and I agree with you; but it’s not people like me you need to convince. How do you explain a clear majority in Sunderland still supporting Leave when clearly a firm like Nissan might be a casualty of a hard Brexit. Or all those ex pats living on the Costa del Sol, who still apparently want us to leave the EU.

    The question we need to investigate more thoroughly is why, given the obvious economic repercussions voting for Brexit would produce, so many of our fellow citizens would appear still to be prepared to stick to their original choice?

  • David Allen 20th Oct '19 - 8:26pm

    Denis Loretto: “If as seems now tragically likely the Johnson deal is passed and as in this thread remainers say “we should have gone for a VONC” it must be understood that this was ruled out by the insistence by Corbyn and his acolytes that only he could lead the interim government. It has been clear all along that (possibly with one or two exceptions) rebel or sacked Tories would never accept this. Even the prospect of it would probably have sunk the VONC itself.”

    Corbyn deserves a big share of blame for his intransigence, but Swinson deserves a share likewise. The Lib Dems did have options. They could have demanded a majority non-Labour cabinet as the price for a Corbyn premiership. They could have played the broker between the Tory rebels and Corbyn. They could have publicly spearheaded a campaign to stop Johnson at all costs. Instead they let the public get the impression that Brexit was less important than the party competition with Labour.

    The oppsition didn’t have a game plan. Johnson and Cummings did. They foxed their opponents with a succession of bluffs and false moves, including the histrionic propogation, the apparent drift to no-deal, and finally the eleventh-hour rabbit-out-of-the-hat of the Irish Sea Border. Their last-minute rushed “Deal” now seeks to win the day through panic, Brexit fatigue, and hoping the ink is dry before the snags get found out. Well, it’s a horrible game plan, but it can probably beat an opposition which has no plan.

    What happens if Johnson’s Deal carries, either by 31st October or a few weeks later? Well, the Lib Dems will quickly fall back below 10% in the polls, because the reason why so many Remainers would have voted for us will have vanished. The Brexit Party will fall back even more catastrophically. Johnson, as a winner, will surge in the polls. Labour, as ineffectual losers, will fall back. Labour will suddenly realise that they don’t want an election after all, and will just let Boris remain in post, constrained by his minority position. Trump will gobble up a weakened UK.

    Can we find a game plan now? It’s probably too late. But we must try.

  • David Becket 20th Oct '19 - 9:20pm

    @David Allen
    There would be only two actions that could stop the Lib Dems dropping to 10%

    An exciting positive proposal for our relationship with the EU now we are outside it. Such a proposal will attract remainer and even some leavers.

    Bringing to the fore other key issues, starting with Climate Change.

    I hope somewhere in the leadership team this is being worked on

  • John Marriott,

    here is my explanation: leavers in 2016 had indeed no clue and were lied to. Their vote had nothing to do with the EU. They wanted to vote against the status quo, Cameron, and immigration. They liked the result, because the political system panicked and continues to be in turmoil. The first time, they feel their vote has had an impact (politically, so far not economically). They are not willing to accept, that they have been conned again, that none of the promises will be delivered, and that things can and will get worse for them again. It’s pure psychology, and no rational argument will reach them. I don’t care. Remain will win today because remainers will show up, most of those who did not vote in 2016, and therefore have no emotional investment, now know what is at stake, and because most 18-20 years old will vote remain. That’s enough. I take consolation in the fact that also leavers will benefit from the remain-dividend, whether they realise and like it or not.

  • Denis Loretto 20th Oct '19 - 11:20pm

    Just on the VONC issue it can be said that Jo was too quick in pointing out the impossibility of Corbyn getting the necessary support and thereby drawing an unfair amount of blame upon herself. However I do not retreat from my view that it never was and never would be feasible to get the rebel Tories aboard.
    If and when the UK does leave the EU history will assess the decision made early on by the Lib Dems and others to risk everything on getting brexit stopped. People like me who lived through the 2nd world war and profoundly supported the “never again” drive which led our visionary forebears to make the moves towards the eventual EU (thereby achieving the relief from war between major European countries we have all enjoyed ever since) are moved by more than economics. In my case as an expatriate Ulsterman add to that my firm conviction that any form of brexit by the UK is incompatible with the British/Irish rapprochement at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement.
    These are among the reasons which tell me we were right to take the risks we have taken to try to stop brexit.
    If we fail I think our main thrust must be to campaign for the closest possible relationship with our EU neighbours both in trade and otherwise. We will still be European and no-one can take that away from us.

  • Peter Martin 21st Oct '19 - 8:31am

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    ” leavers in 2016 had indeed no clue …. no rational argument will reach them”

    I wish I could get you a wider audience. Your comments would be a Godsend to the leave side! 😉

    Having said that, there is possibly something in what you say that Leavers have voted Leave as a protest against the establishment. The French have a greater tendency to block highways and fight it out with the riot police. It’s usually takes some years, or even decades, after the events to establish just what any manifestation of civil unrest was all about. The radicals of the late 60’s have now metamorphosed into the EU apparatchiks of the 21st century. My expectation is that history will show they have made a mess of the so-called “European Project”. It needs to make the leap to a United States of Europe to survive.

    This will prove to be a leap to far and It will, therefore, fall apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Brexit and the Yellow vest protests will be seen, by future historians, as first stages of that process.

  • John Marriott 21st Oct '19 - 8:45am

    @Arnold Kiel
    Interesting arguments; but will you actually get another referendum to test them out? As Macmillan was alleged to have said; “Events, dear boy, events”.

  • After today’s historic session in parliament, which has extended PM Johnson’s unblemished record of defeats, Jo Swinson has written to party members with the following summary:
    “After today’s votes, the fight to stop Brexit continues.

    Hundreds of thousands of people are marching outside Parliament, where I’ve just finished voting, to demand a final say.

    After today’s votes, Boris Johnson must obey the law and send a letter asking for Article 50 to be extended.”

    I’m sorry — I haven’t read all the foregoing. But surely The PM has defied the Benn Act, in sending an unsigned letter? Is it not the signature itself that validates any document claiming legal status. Would Mr Johnson’s Government give five seconds’ attention to any appeal or application from me, or you, that bore no signature?

  • Denis Loretto 21st Oct '19 - 9:32am

    The childish withholding of a signature is of no effect. Donald Tusk has acknowledged the request for an extension and is giving it due consideration. Obviously they will wait a day or two before taking the matter further.

  • Peter Martin 21st Oct '19 - 10:15am

    @ Denis Loretto,

    “The childish withholding of a signature is of no effect. Donald Tusk has acknowledged the request for an extension and will give it due consideration”

    You mean he’ll accept it! Of course Donald Tusk will do what Donald Tusk wants to do. If he wants to use the lack of a signature, whether or not childish, as a reason for rejecting it, not that he or the EU need a reason, then that’s what Donald Tusk will do.

    So it looks like we could well be staying in the EU because the PM has sent a photocopy of a section of an Act of Parliament. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

  • Richard Underhill 21st Oct '19 - 11:06am

    Peter Martin. Donald Tusk is not a Head of Government nor is he a Head of State. He is the recipient of a letter which is relevant to others and he has said he is forwarding it.

  • Denis Loretto,

    Thanks for your considered reply to my comments. When you say that you do not think the rebel Tories would ever have come on board for a VONC / GNU project, you could well be right. However, we will never know. Different individuals have reacted differently to events for different reasons. The fact that the Lib Dems and Labour didn’t seem able to work together will clearly have put rebel Tories off. What’s the point of them taking a brave stand, when the Lib Dems aren’t prepared to support that stand?

    Now Keir Starmer is showing the sense to reach out to the DUP and anyone else who can help get the Johnson “Deal” amended or rejected. It’s time Corbyn and Swinson each helped, for a change!

  • Dilettante Eye 21st Oct '19 - 11:56am

    Article A50 says the EU “will negotiate with the government of the departing country.”

    As the second covering letter from the EU Ambassador points out, the extension request letter which Boris sent as per the Benn Act, (but didn’t validate with a Government signature), for an extension is from Parliament, not Government
    Boris has made it clear at the dispatch box, that the Government do not want an extension, and he will not negotiate an extension.

    Will the EU break their own Article 50 rules by negotiating an extension with Parliament?

  • Peter Martin,

    I am very sympathetic to leavers and yellow-vests. Their complaints are valid, and I wish them compassionate Governments that address their grievances. The problem is that they chose and insist on the wrong means. Brexit will make nothing better and everything worse for them. Even LePen has stopped campaigning for Frexit since the English idiocy became impossible to overlook.

    In your hopeless efforts to pin the effects of unstoppable demographic and technological trends to the EU, you even manage to invert the roles of adult and child in Johnson’s EU correspondence. You leavers can make any stuff up.

    The sources for my numbers, btw. are the IFS and HM’s Treasury, of course expert-organisations, and therefore to be dismissed.

  • Peter Martin 21st Oct '19 - 1:42pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    I’d like some more detailed references for the source of your numbers.

    I seem to remember we have had this discussion before. You were then taking the difference between various forecasts and projections. The figures weren’t based on what has actually happened in the economy.

    Admittedly the UK economy isn’t in great shape at the moment. But, neither was it 2016 before the vote took place. That was a big factor in producing the result we had. It hasn’t changed much either way in the meantime. The vote for Brexit hasn’t any real noticeable effect.

    On the other hand Germany’s economy looks to be in some trouble. Is that due to Brexit too?

  • Peter Martin 21st Oct '19 - 2:15pm

    @ Richard Underhill,

    You’re right to point out I have credited Donald Tusk with too much say in the decision making process. I should have said Angela Merkel instead. The Americans have her down as the “go to” person for EU matters in their address books.

    They are probably right.

  • David Allen 21st Oct '19 - 5:59pm

    Dilettante Eye,

    Article 50 states that an EU member state may leave the EU in accordance with that state’s constitutional procedures. It was no doubt written in order that the leader of a Ruritanian military coup could be denied permission to march Ruritania out of the EU at gunpoint. However Boris Johnson is repeatedly flouting the British constitution. The EU will clearly recognise the request from the UK for an extension as legal and constitutionally compliant. They would be well advised to question whether Johnson’s Brexit shenanigans will ultimately achieve adequate compliance with the British Constitution.

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