Layla: A vote for the Lib Dems in the EU elections is a vote to Stop Brexit

Our Layla Moran was reviewing the papers on the Andrew Marr Show today and she did her job in getting one very simple message across.

As Vince has said, the Lib Dems are the party of Remain.

Her message was actually echoed by the awful UKIP leader Gerard Batten, who said that Remainers have a clear option in the elections – the Liberal Democrats. Now, I’d not go as far as to say that a Batten is a stopped clock who is right twice a day, but he was certainly right about that. It was the only thing he said that bore any relation to reality. He showed the misogyny endemic in his party by referring to a comment about rape by one of his MEPs was just satire.

Layla talked about a dearth of Tory activists in the Vale of White Horse council elections in Oxfordshire and said that we hoped to take control of it from the Conservatives. She spoke of real anger towards the Conservative Party from its voters over Brexit. She spoke with great joy about putting up stakeboards yesterday – which my autocorrect then changed to skateboards. That would be fun!

Also on Marr today, David Lamb absolutely rocked it. Exactly the kind of unashamed evisceration of the hard right that we need to hear every day. We should all stop being so bloody timid and call out Boris’s associations with the white supremacist Steve Bannon and Rees-Mogg’s tweets about Germany’s far right Allianz fur Deutschland. Watch the repeat on iPlayer if you can.

Layla is burning the candle at both ends as she is on the Westminster Hour on Radio 4 at 10pm tonight.



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

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  • Richard Underhill 14th Apr '19 - 11:28am

    Layla is “good on the box”.
    Whenever she appears she is asked whether she will stand for the leadership. She said she has not decided yet. Local elections first?

  • bernard aris 14th Apr '19 - 1:40pm

    The local elections may turn out to be another “Yellow submarine” (53 years after the Beatles launched the first one).

    *) the Tories demoralised because the ERG Stalinists are consciously wrecking their own party (an above-the-ground version of a Tory “Militant Tendency”)
    *) Labour demoralised because Corbyn sat on the fence about a referendum for ages, and still hasn’t fully climbed down and touched the ground (where there’s agroudswll among ordinary members FOR a referendum); and of course the festering wound of how to (mis)handle antisemitism inside Labour;
    *) and if the Tory-Labour negotiations founder because neither really wants to cross its own red lines, or a backbench revolt in either parliamentary party when the talks drag on without any visible result;

    you could see a massive swing to the LibDems when all Remain-voting and/or Brexit-despairing Labour and Tory voters could be persuaded to vote LD (and get a good and caring local council into the bargain!) to signal their wish to stop the whole article 50 process.

    You could see a big yellow submarine, with a rising Phoenix bird in top, popping above the surface.

  • Paul Barker 14th Apr '19 - 3:13pm

    A Vote for The Libdems is a Vote to stop Brexit, so is a Vote for Change or The Greens & there is the problem. Our Vote is split 3 ways while the Pro- brexit Vote is only split in 2. As things stand its not impossible that none of the 3 Remain Parties get any Seats or that Brexit (The Party) tops the Poll, like UKIP did in 2014.
    On the other hand a joint Alliance of all 3 Remain Parties could come top. Its not too late to make that difference, lets do it.

  • Totally disagree re: Lammy. The idea that the ERG are equivalent to Nazi’s is absurd, and yet another example of the casual usage of far-right, fascism and Nazism as smear labels, not the very serious things they are [1]. Layla was great, though I don’t really agree with this shift of the people’s vote to stop Brexit, it feels undemocratic to me.


  • Alex Macfie 14th Apr '19 - 3:50pm

    Paul Barker: first, we don’t even know that Change UK is even going to be on the ballot paper. It depends on whether the new party’s registration is completed on time. Second, Lib Dems, Greens and some others are pro Remain, but they belong to different European Parliamentary groups and have different ideas about what the EU should look like. Surely voters should have a choice about what sort of EU they want, not just whether they want the UK to be in it (something over which MEPs have no control over anyway, as it’s a domestic issue).

  • John Marriott 14th Apr '19 - 8:37pm

    UKIP/Brexit Party already on 18% without even breaking sweat. If the true pro Remain parties really want to make a breakthrough and corner the Remain vote can’t they at least in England run candidates on a joint ticket on this one occasion? Otherwise, don’t they run the risk of cancelling each other out, as could happen to the two wholly Brexit parties?

  • Alex Macfie 14th Apr '19 - 9:28pm

    Douglas: The Nazis didn’t seem that bad either when they first came into power. If they had originally stood for election on a manifesto of sending all Europe’s Jewry to the gas chambers, they would never have got elected. The issue isn’t the platform on which they stand for election, it’s what they do once they think they can get away with it, and we can have a good guess at that by the company they keep. So David Lammy was absolutely right to call out JRM quoting a leading figure from Germany’s far-right party. And we should have made much more of the Tories’ association with populist right-wing parties in the European Parliament at the last Euro election, and hope we do so this time around.

  • Peter Martin 15th Apr '19 - 7:27am

    @ Douglas, @ Alex,

    Douglas is quite right. The idea that the ERG are modern day Nazis is really quite absurd. But this does require some explanation. Otherwise we just have Yes-they-are v No-they-aren’t type arguments.

    What is the difference between people like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Bill Cash, and John Redwood, on the one side and the EU PTB, Angela Merkel, Emmanual Macron, DonaldTusk on the other? Economically they are all dry-as-dust types and as neoliberal in their outlook as it is possible to be. There’s little or no difference there at all.

    On the one side we have a UK based nationalism. On the other and EU based nationalism. Again there’s no fundamental difference.

    So we are left with the obvious: the question of the UK’s membership of the EU. Whichever we’ve decided on that doesn’t make us Nazis.

    The real Nazis, on the other hand, weren’t dry-as-dust neoliberal types at all. In fact they used the power of a currency issuing Government to drag the German economy out of deep depression. They reduced unemployment levels from some 30% oin 1933 to virtually nothing by the start of WW2. They were much more aligned in their economic thinking to people like myself! So am I a Nazi?

  • chris moore 15th Apr '19 - 9:16am

    @Peter Martin et al

    It’s pretty depressing that an MP, David Lammy, is so ignorant about Nazism and indeed the ERG. Has he never read any history?
    Merkel, Macron and Tusk are more etatiste than Rees-Mogg, Redwood etc

    The Nazis robbed savings accounts and insurance companies to pay off their déficit financing, which they used to fund a massive expansion of the public sector: namely the armed forces, the pinnacle and purpose of the state for them

    Peter, unorthodox as you are – blessed MMT – your ideas on deficit financing are really quite distant from what the Nazis did. Cousins four times removed, perhaps. ( I’m assuming you’re not a closet militarist?)

  • John Marriott 15th Apr '19 - 9:57am

    In 1989, on the centenary of Hitler’s birth, a TV programme interviewed Germans about him. One ex Hitler Youth told the camera, in perfect English, that, had Hitler been assassinated in 1938, he might have been considered to have been “the greatest German, who had ever lived”. Now, of course, this assertion can be disputed; but, for many ordinary Germans, whose interest in politics was, at best, cursory, having borne the humiliation of Versailles, the hyperinflation of the early 1920s and the economic slump following the Wall Street crash, what Hitler promised and was starting to deliver by the end of the 1930s, was making life better in material terms. What was not to like?

    In some ways, we could argue that what people like Farage and the ERG were promising pre Referendum was equally appealing to a large section of our society. It’s when you drill down into their policies that you realise that there is more to them than meets the eye.

    Of course, neither Farage nor the ERG could be classed as Nazis à la Adolf Hitler and nor am I! Mr Lammy has a reputation of going over the top sometimes. I’m no economist; but it’s pretty obvious to me that what got Germany’s and the then world’s economy out of the 1930s’ slump was largely the rearmament that led to WW2.

    The danger is that, with Trump in the White House possibly for another term and with Putin fairly safe in the Kremlin, history might once again be repeating itself. As Thomas Jefferson was alleged to have said; “Eternal vigilance is the price of Liberty”.

  • Peter Martin 15th Apr '19 - 10:53am

    @ Chris Moore,

    I wouldn’t want to push the comparison too far. I don’t agree with the use of slave labour, abolition of the trade unions or excessive spending on military projects. However, it is certainly true that the Nazis were the first to embrace the concept of military Keynesianism – even though they wouldn’t have called it that or even seen it that way.

    I haven’t read about them robbing savings accounts. If they are running a deficit then deficits can’t by definition be ‘paid off’. There were forced savings schemes, and in Britain too later, which ties in with the MMT viewpoint that the Government’s deficit is equal to the savings of everyone else.

    Yes, Merkel et al’s statism, and a tendency for that in the EU generally, does follow on from the German tradition. So there are some differences between them and the ERG. But they can’t be huge. Otherwise Lib Dems would be much more critical too.

  • The Nazis issued issued “Mefo” bills to suppliers – mostly of their military expansión -which were like promissory notes in an alternative denomination. When a large tranche of these fell due – in 1938, from memory – they robbed money out of savings accounts and from insurance companies to pay off the bills. They also, of course, obliged banks to buy state debt.

  • @ Péter Martin,

    Hi Peter, you say, Yes, Merkel et al’s statism, and a tendency for that in the EU generally, does follow on from the German tradition. So there are some differences between them and the ERG. But they can’t be huge. Otherwise Lib Dems would be much more critical too.

    The Lib Dems are highly critical of the ERG’s posture on Brexit and, occasionally, of their radical “neo-liberalism”.

    There’s little to be gained for UK politicians from criticising Merkel or Macron. So they don’t.

  • As people such as Ken Livingstone have found to their cost, comparing contemporary events to 1930’s Germany is highly risky.

    The ERG are not neo-Nazis; the closest comparison should be neo-liberal, possibly with suffixes of ‘extreme’ or ‘ultra’ to distinguish them from main-stream economic conservatives. They follow a Trump/corporatist agenda in advancing the power of global (mostly American) corporations in their desire for profit at any cost – the main obstacle to world dominance being the European Single Market and it regulations and political structures (the EU). Splitting the UK from the EU is only the first phase in breaking up the EU; Steve Bannon and his corporatists are now hard at work encouraging populist nationalists in the EU27 to achieve their as yet unstated end.

    The call by the ERG for a “Global Britain” appeals to muddled fantasies of Empire, but the idea that the UK can stand alone in a global market and keep high standards of products, environmental protection and working conditions is naïve if not dishonest: we will be fed to the lions once the EU is gone and the corporations take over. We must resist.

  • Peter Martin 15th Apr '19 - 12:19pm

    @ Andrew Toye,

    “the idea that the UK can stand alone in a global market and keep high standards of products……”

    If we are looking for countries to emulate then we could take a look at how Iceland (pop ~ 300k) stands up relatively successfully to the multinationals.

    The notion that we can rely on “Nanny EU” to take care of all that is highly questionable. IMO. Rees-Mogg and co do have to win elections, after Brexit, to do what they might like to! They won’t have it all their own way.

    @ Chris Moore,

    “There’s little to be gained for UK politicians from criticising Merkel or Macron so they don’t”

    Well I’m not sure about not gaining anything. But it is a problem that most Remain politicians daren’t say boo to the EU goose. The EU is fundamentally little different from the USA and what differences there are are also diminishing as it moves to a more Federal structure.

    I’d be more comfortable if the EU didn’t have an anaethesing effect on the critical facilities of the European left. If the left can oppose Thatcherite policies when Thatcher applies them, why the silence when the EU does the same thing?

  • Peter Martin 15th Apr '19 - 12:42pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    Do you have any references on your ideas of how the Nazi economy worked? There’s nothing unusual about Mefo bills. They are just another form of Government IOU. Cash is a Government IOU that doesn’t pay any interest. Gilts and stocks are IOUs that pay a small amount of interest. All spending in a fiat currency economy is by means of IOUs.

    So Government’s don’t usually have to force Banks to buy debt. All the banks are doing is swapping their non paying cash deposits for paying bond deposits. Why wouldn’t they do that with their surplus cash? Its just like you might switch some money from your current account to a savings account.

  • What have any of the previous 10 comments have to do with the article they are supposed to be commenting on ?
    Another thread destroyed by a handful of monomaniacs.

  • Peter Watson 15th Apr '19 - 1:50pm

    @Paul Barker “What have any of the previous 10 comments have to do with the article they are supposed to be commenting on ?”
    The article was very positive about David Lammy’s comments (though undermined itself by renaming him!) so invited a debate about depicting political opponents as Nazis.
    In that context, the discussion about Nazism here is much more erudite, varied and surprisingly interesting than it might have been on any other political blog!
    I often think that LibDemVoice is at its best and its most informative when the debate is more than two sides slinging brickbats at each other, even when I don’t have the background knowledge to understand much of it!

  • Peter Martin 15th Apr '19 - 2:07pm

    @ Peter Watson,

    Agreed. It’s hardly ever a good idea to bandy the terms Nazism and Stalinist about, as did Bernard Aris on the latter. We may not agree with ERG but we have to defend them of those charges. In the interests of accuracy, if nothing else.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Apr '19 - 2:11pm

    A comment such as that from Layla Moran , is already an , in my view , mistake, promoted by Sir Vince. Exit from Brexit, was ok, because we promote a method to express that, a referendum. Stop Brexit is crass. We have no right, with a few meps, to do that in a way so divisive.

    A comment such as that from David Lammy is just absurd. Sorry, Caron, if you think that the libertarian Rees – Mogg being called a Nazi, or the centre right former mayor of London, Johnson, is appropriate, your idea of Liberalism, is that which Americans have made so unpopular, it is not measured or nuanced or constructive , it is purely divisive.

    Lammy is now a very pugilistic individual. He commented on Comic Relief in a way that was more or less guilty of being considered racist, implying that white people who feel and show feeling , expressed , towards suffering black children, are , themselves guilty of being , “white saviour. ” To make the motive of people ruined by the image, because you imply the latter negates the former, is a wrong, to the suffering and those who care. Audrey Hepburn and Sir Peter Ustinov, were not “white saviours”, they were great humanitarians.

    Mogg and Johnson are not nazis, they are just , wrong.

  • John Marriott 15th Apr '19 - 2:12pm

    @Paul Barker
    How long have you been contributing to LDV? Surely you know how it works. The phrase ‘going off at a tangent’ could have been invented for this site. As one of this thread’s ‘monomaniacs’ let me say in my defence that I was merely giving my view on why the right appears at the moment to be running rings around the left, if you still believe those definitions. As a said, today’s parallels with the 1930s are quite frightening. “Thread destroyed”? No, “thread enlivened”!

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Apr '19 - 3:29pm

    @ Caron Lindsey,

    On the matter of David Lammy, I agree with you 100%.

    Having read your post and those that follow, I have just watched on iplayer, the section of the Marr show where he appears.

    It isn’t the sad little characters who have oscillated between the NF, Combat 18, BNP, EDL , and now UKIP advisors like Tommy Robinson who have made extreme right ideology and thought mainstream. There has been a more insidious and therefore more dangerous development where elected politicians at all levels, now feel free to associate with certain individuals and comment in ways that would once have, rightly, been viewed as a shortcut to career death.

    David Lammy rocks! May he long continue to rock plenty more boats.

  • chris moore 15th Apr '19 - 6:31pm

    @Paul Barker, Paul, you ask, “What have any of the previous 10 comments have to do with the article they are supposed to be commenting on ?
    Another thread destroyed by a handful of monomaniacs.”

    Thank the Lord that a handful of monomaniacs – myself included – have got us off the single-issue obsession with Brexit.

  • chris moore 15th Apr '19 - 7:58pm

    @ Peter Martin,

    My follow up remarks about Mefo bills have been swallowed by the moderator.

    I’ll try again.

    The unusual aspect of Mefo bills was that they deliberately weren’t denominated in Reichsmarks. They were used almost exclusively to pay companies supplying arms/equipment to the armed forces. This was a (successful ) means of concealing German re-armament from other (allied) nations.

    There was some trading amongst third parties of Mefo bills.

  • Well it is enlightening, Peter seems to be in awe of Hitler’s rearmament policy, or am I misreading you Peter? I suspect rearmament would play very well with sections of the ERG, not sure were they’d plan to use the weapons.

  • Andrew Melmoth 15th Apr '19 - 8:42pm

    I’ve been reading LDV for about a decade. It was a lot better before almost every thread got hijacked by Peter Martin banging on about MMT or the eurozone.

  • Keeps him off the streets Andrew, tin foil tends to tarnish in cold weather, tis not a good look.

  • David Lammy is a fount of ill judged remarks. His comments on ‘Comic Relief’ may well cost the lives of some of very people he purports to support; if those who ‘give’ stop giving (my sister-in-law, a generous ‘giver’, was offended by his remarks) then it won’t be ‘Lmmy’ who suffers.
    As for his ‘Nazi’ comments??? Boris Johnson compared the EU (some of whose members have far right views and ‘dodgy’ friends) with Nazis; I treat Johnson’s comparisons with disdain. IMO David Lammy’s remarks deserve the same.

  • Peter Hirst 16th Apr '19 - 5:31pm

    Are we the party of remain or of a second referendum? They are similar but not the same. Revoking Article 50 is the surest way of remaining in the EU. A second referendum is a riskier option though it is more democratic. This shows the murky land where representative and direct democracy meet.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Apr '19 - 8:04pm

    @ expats,

    I am sorry that we are so far apart on this. I actually think that David Lammy was spot on with his remarks. In my opinion he was absolutely correct to call out those who are leading the political charge into extremism in this country.

    On your first point, in my opinion, he was also spot on in his comments on white saviours. Evidence shows that when celebrities are used to front up this sort of fund raising it increases donations, but does the ends justify the means? Why can’t people be allowed to tell their own stories rather than have outsiders flown in to give some weepy story on their behalf?

    The stars become the story as they display their emotional responses, rather than the people who given the opportunity would be able to argue their own case. If it takes celebrities to persuade us to give money, what does that say about us?

    If children are dying because of lack of money, that is not the fault of David Lammy. Rather than indulge in some annual TV charity fest that makes givers feel that they are doing something to help , it might be better if we started to argue that if we really want to stop to stop African children dying, there needs to be political change so that we are not party to the exploitation of their country’s resources, we should be arguing against unfair tariffs when they seek to advance economically by adding value to their own natural resources. Because if we don’t, when the cameras have been turned off and the celebrities have been flown home, children will continue to die from avoidable causes.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Apr ’19 – 8:04pm
    @ expats,
    I am sorry that we are so far apart on this. I actually think that David Lammy was spot on with his remarks. In my opinion he was absolutely correct to call out those who are leading the political charge into extremism in this country.

    The ERG may be “extreme”. But they are not Nazis. It’s really basic. It’s a matter of acuity of thought and expression. You can criticise politcal opponents without falling into ridiculous caricature.

    If you yourself think ERG are Nazis, could I kindly suggest, that you do some historical reading and discover what Nazism was.

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Apr ’19 – 8:04pm
    @ expats,

    I am sorry that we are so far apart on this. I actually think that David Lammy was spot on with his remarks……………….

    I’m sorry we disagree when, usually,we ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’.

    I have no problem in criticising members of the ERG group; calling them ‘Nazis’ is just plain lazy, they aren’t.
    What they are are a bunch of mainly privileged people whose ‘Brexit’ views are , IMO, motivated primarily by greed;. why not call them out on what they are? Calling them Nazis just allows their real dishonest selfishness to remain hidden.

    Regarding Comic relief,you ask, “If it takes celebrities to persuade us to give money, what does that say about us?”
    It says exactly what we have become; a celebrity obsessed culture; but it works. As William Booth said, “Go for souls and go for the worst”; I’ll adapt it and play to the worst traits of our society if it means getting the money in. Those same celebrities, according to Comic Relief give their time free and if walking around an African village gets that village a clean water supply then ‘go for it’. Changing political minds is the ultimate answer but, this year or next, hoping for such a change won’t save a single life.

    I’m a volunteer for rough sleepers. As a ‘comfortably off’ retiree should my efforts be condemned, to use David Lammy’s words as, “tired and patronising to (Africans) those I try and help? I hope not!

  • Peter Martin 17th Apr '19 - 4:17pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    “The unusual aspect of Mefo bills was that they deliberately weren’t denominated in Reichsmarks.”

    I think you’ll find they were. They were essentially no different from any other form of Government bond except they were kept off the official books, by sleight of hand methods, and for legality reasons which stemmed from post WW1 Treaty obligations.

    Theoretically the EU governments can play the same game with euro denominated “Mefo” bills or whatever they want to call them. They would essentially be a parallel currency but still denominated in euros. I first came across the suggestion during the Greek crisis. The Californian State has done similar with its own bonds denominated in US dollars. But, as far as I know, no-one has ‘tried it on’ with the EU. I doubt they’d ever allow it. They are wiser to all the tricks, than were the post ww1 Allies.

  • chris moore 17th Apr '19 - 5:56pm

    @ Peter Martin, ,Yes, of course, you must be right, insofar as they were convertible into cash on demand at the Reichsbank.

    But I still think they were non-conventional Government debt, insofar as the Mefo bills were strictly issued according to goods produced. (The Metallforschungsgesellschaft was, in fact, a shell company that kept close control over the issuance of the Mefo Bills.) So theoretically such money issuance was not inflationary.

    Mefo bills became a significant proportion of overall governmental debt.

  • Peter Martin 18th Apr '19 - 9:09am

    @ Chris Moore,

    Yes you are right. It was unconventional. Just as New Labour’s PFI was ‘unconventional’ in the sense that it was an attempt to keep the public debt off the books. This was totally bonkers. Why pay 5% on public debt when you only need pay 1%? But apart from that it doesn’t really matter either way. Debt is still debt and still has the same macroeconomic effect.

    @ Andrew Melmoth,

    “…banging on about MMT or the eurozone.”

    I should probably plead guilty as charged.

    However in mitigation I would say a lack of understanding of basic macroeconomic principles has led to unnecessary austerity measures in both the UK and EU. If we hadn’t had those, the result of the ’16 referendum, if if had even been held at all, would have been quite different. Austerity in the EU drives the net migration flow and creates a debt problem for the UK economy. Austerity in both the UK and EU creates both resentment against migrants and the conditions for the rise of the far right.

    Maybe I was mistaken, but I was under the impression that this was something that might be of some interest to Lib Dems.

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