Let’s look more towards European Liberals for the future of the Liberal Democrats

In our fight for an Exit from Brexit, British liberals have been denied the opportunity to fight for a renewed and more liberal Europe. Since the Brexit Referendum, the raison d’être for British liberals has been to remain in the European Union. We have been pulling out all the stops to avoid a hard-Brexit, maintaining and improving the security, prosperity and opportunities brought by our membership of the world’s single market and customs union. But Europe is the future, and it is European Liberals who will be the real change makers of the next European mandate. Let’s look to European Liberalism for a vision of our party’s future.

Pollsters predict the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will become the third largest grouping in European Parliament – even more so if some sort of deal is done with Macron’s En Marche. ALDE Party’s Team Europe, candidates for the top EU jobs after the European Elections, have a vision for a renewed Europe which absolutely projects the vision for liberalism that the Liberal Democrats need to once again champion.

The UK has trodden water on the environment since the coalition, occasionally drifting with the tide, but failing to meet the crisis that of climate change and air pollution presented to it. In comparison, it’s hard not to be inspired by Violeta Bulc’s commitment to environmental reform, whilst air pollution becomes a greater and greater crisis, the ALDE Party are leading the way with the greenest manifesto for the European Elections with their plans to strengthen and expand the EU Emission Trading System, alongside investing in sustainable infrastructure problems, especially in rail.

European liberals are investing in the future, whilst the UK lags grossly behind in the ‘development’ side of R&D, European Liberals are leading the way forward by investing in research and development. Leaders like Margrethe Vesteger, who holds her own weight against digital Goliaths like Google, are paving the way towards digitalisation by creating a solid legal framework for new technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence.

I believe that the Liberal Democrats also have a great deal to learn from European Liberalism in terms of representation. In this current mandate, ALDE has amongst the highest gender balance within the European Parliament, and four out of the five ALDE EU Commissioners are women. Initiatives such as the European Women’s Academy train and invest in incredible women such as youth activist Svenja Hahn, who after hard work was able to secure second place on the FDP’s list in Germany for the European Elections, aged 29.

Team Europe grandee Guy Verhofstadt championed the 48% during the Brexit negotiations and brought credence to plans to create meaningful European Citizenship. Within the ALDE Party, the spirit of European Citizenship is implemented through their Individual Membership, which allows supporters of the ALDE Party to directly contribute to its policy and direction regardless of their nationality. British citizens should take advantage of this opportunity and use it as a way to enact and refresh their own pro-European liberal values.

In my view, British liberals should pay close attention to and be inspired by ALDE Party’s campaign in the upcoming European Elections, from Europe we can gain the vision and method for once again becoming a progressive party of change-makers.

* Huw James is the former Events Officer of the Young Liberals and currently working as an intern for the ALDE Party.

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40 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Mar '19 - 1:42pm

    Huw a very constructive but also unrealistic piece.

    More Europe, a daft phrase not alluded to herein but often, amongst liberals in the EU, and those such as Macron, a liberal who rarely admits to liberal, in a bid to be , Napoleon?

    It sums up all that is wrong with the cause now. Europe is a reality as a land mass , it is a not very liberal idea if as a superstate, removed from people, governed from abroad, without vetoes, imposing laws or regulations. This stereotype from the Brexit camp, is played to by the complete opposite response. Macron and Verhostadt are in no way in touch with the real world concern for decision making to be at a more national or local, level.

    The original notion and system, a Common Market, was fine for Liberals, democrats.

    The next one, a European economic community was too.

    The EU, went too far. Union is fine, but is illiberal if a homogenised one size fits all.

    Only our opt outs and the veto system made us continue thus as long. To pretend that the original corporatist Monet vision, was Liberal, is to promote a Liberalism I do not share, one that is no real Liberalism .

    There is a good and permanent future role for this continent, it should be as a looser , friendlier, and Liberal or liberal flexible group of countries with much in common and much, not, all in happy deliberation.

  • Phil Beesley 25th Mar '19 - 2:50pm

    Thanks to Lorenzo for his comments.

    I think we might rank Remainers in three categories:
    * Idealists who talk about European legal structures and economic systems. Structures which are taught in first year degrees, because they are not commonly understood by the people to whom the rules apply.
    ***** This system has worked for years and we would be idiots to foul it up.
    ** This system is rubbish and I don’t like the people running it and I do not trust many of them, but it is better than the alternatives.

    Are the ALDE people like my two star ** ranking? I think they are closer to one star *.

  • Daniel Henry 25th Mar '19 - 3:18pm

    Lorenzo, what’s illiberal about a democratic mechanism for European countries to agree ways to reduce barriers and tackle the problems that affect us all?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Mar '19 - 4:20pm

    Nothing wrong as you describe here Henry, an EU at its best, it is , as said in my earlier posting, illiberal if, homogenised one size fits all, which some do advocate, ie the Euro, imposed does not work, along with other aspects also.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Mar '19 - 4:22pm

    Apologies, meant to say, Daniel, not Henry!!!

  • Matt (Bristol) 25th Mar '19 - 5:26pm

    This article can be summed up as ‘hooray for us, wouldn’t it be nice it we weren’t us, and the UK wasn’t the UK as it is now’.
    After which a widely disparate group of differing political parties in differing political situations are bundled together to prove … I’m not sure what, but the word ‘vision’ recurs repeatedly with little definition.

  • Denis Mollison 25th Mar '19 - 5:46pm

    @Lorenzo – why the sour comments? – I expect them from Matt

    Yes, there’s a lot of rhetoric (as in most manifestos) that we could do without. But overall, it’s about a democratic framework for joint action for the kind of issues where it makes sense for countries to collaborate. Can either of you give examples from the manifesto where they are trying to interfere in matters that are best left to individual countries?

  • Alex Macfie 25th Mar '19 - 7:27pm

    I absolutely agree that we need to fight the next European election as LIBERALS. Our 2014 European election campaign hardly mentioned our MEPs, or the wider ALDE grouping, or the Lib Dem or ALDE manifesto, or our candidate for President of the European Commission (Guy Verhofstadt). The thing is that Brexit is a domestic issue, and as such has nothing to do the European Parliament, which legislates for the EU as a whole. For a major party to fight a European Parliamentary election on actual European issues, such as trade, civil liberties, the environment, intellectual property, and the single market, would sadly be a novelty (the only party that ever does so is the Green Party). We should do so in order to give the lie to the claim that the EU is “undemocratic”, and to give a positive liberal vision of what the EU is about.

  • Andrew McCaig 25th Mar '19 - 10:25pm

    Lorenzo,
    I am all for decisions to be taken at the lowest possible level. However we now live in a world where our lives are increasingly being controlled by global companies that are becoming above the laws of any one country. Regulation of these companies requires political entities that have more economic clout than they do. We are no longer big enough and will be a leaf in the stream after Brexit.
    The best example of what the EU can do is the ending of roaming charges. When that happened I gave a big cheer and I very much hope that gives the EU the confidence to take on the likes of Google and Amazon in the future and make sure they pay the tax they should.
    Meanwhile I see the nation state as an anachronistic concept, and nationalism as one of the most dangerous things in the world. I am very happy to share sovereignty

  • Matt (bristol) 25th Mar '19 - 11:14pm

    Denis, I’d love to believe that you’ve confused me with one of the other Matts, several of whom are quite sour, but it is possible that when I’ve (intermittently) intervened here, I’ve been more sour. Generally elections and Europe aren’t why I’m sour or out of discord with the party, though.

    Of course, in the Euro elections – if these were normal Euro-elections – we should be using what limited airtime we can grab to articulate what the ALDE party is and what its manifesto is. It was to our detriment that we rarely in the past tried to do this, or indeed explain who our candidates were beyond the top 1 or 2.

    My problem with the article is that it seems to propose our European ALDE allies and their methods as models for the party with little honesty about the different electoral systems and power bases they benefit from.

    Lorenzo’s criticisms of this article are not mine.

    I would expect you to sympathise with the view that to win proportional representation, it is important to not delude ourselves we have already gained it, and have a right to the position and success gained by parties in other countries who have it (That, I felt was one of Nick Clegg’s failings). Even in the Euro-elections, we are in a FPTP culture where we make little cut-through, and closed-list PR is not an easy system for us to prosper in, in any case.

    I also feel we need to recognise that there are nuances and divisions in ALDE and it is a broad church. So again speaking about ‘European liberals’ as if they were a monolith with one set of values is problematic.

  • “Team Europe grandee Guy Verhofstadt championed the 48% during the Brexit negotiations and brought credence to plans to create meaningful European Citizenship” – the only person Verhofstadt has championed is himself. His years of childish arguments with Farage and absurd dramatics fed the narrative that the EU was nothing but an ineffective joke. It surprises me how easily he escapes scrutiny.

    As for “meaningful European citizenship”, this is nothing but ideological folly. They can call it what they want, but no country in the world has a form of ‘citizenship’ which millions of people can gain or lose depending on a treaty at a national level and which is wholly dependant on their actual national citizenship. It is in essence pointless. Give it 20 years and they’ll seek to abolish national citizenships all together, but for now it’s just a meaningless concept.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Mar '19 - 12:58am

    Denis, no way are my constructive and reasonable comments really sour, a reflection on how little criticism of the EU is ever on the Liberal Democrat sites, I am in favour of what I advocate and often speak for, a loose and strong cooperation , one or other and both according to the subject , ie loose on tax, strong on security, etc

    Andrew , I am very in favour of the nation state, and every one democratic, working together. Identity politics on everything but nationhood is madness politically, I feel it absurd to celebrate one’s gender or race, but not nation or country. I only wave the Union Jack , that is the flag for me, the excitement some feel is fine, for the EU, I feel it but for me it is more as think , ie rational, not emotional, the EU stars and such are fine, but red white and blue with it is not a reverse of it, but consistent, both . Nations , like counties or cities , have identities, far more liberal ones than a superstate.

  • Bernard Aris 26th Mar '19 - 2:52am

    Huw,

    I totaly agree with you; I want to help/push my party (D66; part of the active bit of the ALDE parliamentary party; and fully supportive of ALDE Federalists like Verhofstadt and Verstager) to remain close friends and alles with the LibDems even if, God forbid, some kind of Brexit takes place. Thats why I asttended (and even was allowed to speak) at both the LibDem autumn 2018and Spring 2018 conferences.

    The only thing fear is that the right wing of Alde (Dutch VVD; German FDP, Danish Venstre) think it is their turn to lead ALDE and dump Verhofstadt.
    But even if they succeed, we pro-EU social liberals will be working away at federalist and environmentalist proposals; helping the European Commission rein in, discipline tech giants like Google and Facebook; insuring Trumps anti-NATO and anti-INF rants are answered by a strengthening of European Defence and NATO commitments; and supporting the LibDems in making the UK stay in the EU (or in as close and structural a relatonship as is possible).

    We at D66 had a founder member of Macrons En March party/movement at our Spring conference the weekend before the LibDem Spring Conference; she said she felt right at home (and was astounded at the number of D66 people speeking good French); and that’s as it should be.

    We also have a high percentage of female Dutch Cabinet and other mnisters in the coalition government; both our Dutch Senate and European (ALDE) parliamentary parties/groups continue to be led by women; and we have a number of gay and lesbian MP’s and senators, and an openly gay party leader (the second in our history).
    sio let’s stick together and get cracking!

  • Bernard Aris 26th Mar '19 - 2:54am

    Make that:
    “Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019 LibDem Conferences”.

  • Peter Martin 26th Mar '19 - 8:46am

    The problem with “European Liberals” is they are generally also highly Neoliberal. You can’t get much more so than the German FDP. Just look at where they are on political compass. Further to the right that both the AfD and CSU.

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/germany2017

    The EU is essentially a European Liberal / Neoliberal creation. It’s Neoliberal central essentially. Somehow the more progressive “Liberals” in the UK who are probably more in tune with European Social Democracy that European Liberalism, have convinced themselves that . on the one hand, while the EU has severe inherent problems that causes all kinds of problems and it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to reform, it is still somehow a lovable spouse.

    And in any case we have to stay together because of the children.

    Well, at least some of us don’t think so!

  • Helen Dudden 26th Mar '19 - 8:52am

    I thought you may like a little EU law failings for breakfast.
    In 2006 ECAS produced with Bruckhaus Deringer a pro bono on the failings of non returns of children and court actions within the Community. It never was implemented.
    February 23rd 2011, I wrote to the next meeting of Hague Judges, nothing happened.
    On the 20/06/2009 I wrote a comment on the subject in the Law Society Gazette.
    The European Court of Human Rights emphasised the subject needed urgent handling. This was back in November 2006.
    By the way, it’s over £12,000 fora court case even if the left behind parent is not in the wrong.
    Do we get what we deserve from life? There will be many parents who lost contact with their children because of these failings. Does it matter? I think we have to consider the child and what morally and legally should be in place.
    Of course, not all countries fail, but there is enough failings to need this pro bono and the strong advice give.
    I used to meet with Graham Watson who at time was the MEP. Well Graham, I never gave up or gave in, because of data, protection the details stay private.

  • @Peter Martin – “The EU is essentially a European Liberal / Neoliberal creation. It’s Neoliberal central essentially”

    I’m never 100% sure what “neoliberal” actually means. Are the Working Time Directive, the right to paid annual and maternity leave, equal pay, regulations for cleaner air and water, no mobile phone roaming charges, compensation for flight delays, proper food labelling etc. all “neoliberal” concepts?

  • Malcolm Todd 26th Mar '19 - 2:02pm

    Nick Baird
    I think I can explain the reasoning. It’s a syllogism, thus:

    1. Neoliberalism is a name for something I don’t like.
    2. The EU is something I don’t like.
    3. Therefore, the EU is Neoliberal.

    Well, why not? It’s as logical as most of the arguments for Leaving have been.

  • Steve Comer 26th Mar '19 - 3:57pm

    If like me you were one of the c1.5 million UK passport holder who exercised their right to move to another EU country you would not be so quick to disparage European Citizenship. Many of us want to retin the rights we have, and I am very pleased that it was championed by Luxembourg ALDE MEP Charles Goerens, supported by Catherine Bearder, and taken up by Guy Verhofstadt.
    Many of us are in the situation where we cannot acquire national citizenship in our new home country for several years (its 7 years for naturalisation where I live). Our European Citizenship matter to us and we want to keep it.

  • Joseph Bourke 26th Mar '19 - 4:27pm

    Nick Baird,
    “I’m never 100% sure what “neoliberal” actually means.”

    Neither are most of the people who use the term. In it’s narrow sense it is defined as the economic philosophy of Liberal democracies i.e a modified form of classical liberalism based on a mixed-market economy and extensive range of social welfare programs.
    In its common recent usage it applied to any government or policy that a particular individual does not agree with. The failure of mainstream Keynsianism during the inflation of the 1970s was for a short-time replaced with monetarism until it too proved unreliable. New Keynesian models replaced these economic models in the 1990s, but it too proved flawed as Gordon Brown’s guarantees of no more boom and bust proved as hollow and unfounded as the claims of earlier models.
    This leaves national governments in the unpalatable position of having to acknowlege that in a globalised world the economies of nation states are inter-dependent and reliant for growth on access to the markets of the big major trading centres of North America, Europe and Asia.

  • Peter Martin 26th Mar '19 - 5:43pm

    @ Nick @ Malcolm

    If you’re “never 100% sure”, or only “think” you know what neoliberalism means, why not, at least as a start, look up the term in Wiki? There you’ll read it is the:

    “20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism. Those ideas include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free trade and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.”

    I could perhaps have used the German variant of “ordoliberalism”.

    “https://www.ft.com/content/e257ed96-6b2c-11e4-be68-00144feabdc0”

    Which is some ways is slightly more progressive. Ordoliberals might be more likely to support the idea of equal pay. On the other hand, they are are, in other ways, much more conservative. Ordoliberals are less likely to include the maintenance of full employment in their remit to the Central Bank. The ECB, following the example of the Bundesbank, was instructed by Europe’s ordoliberals not to take account of unemployment levels in its monetary policies, whereas the USA’s neoliberals did include this in their remit to the US Fed. Price Stability is paramount for both.

    The curious feature of both neoliberal and ordoliberal ‘philosopy’, at the extreme, is a rejection of the idea the notion that Governments can control levels of unemployment. Consequently the ordoliberals in Europe have constructed a system which doesn’t allow Governments to even try. The strict rules of the SGP prevent the use of fiscal policies. Monetary policy is controlled centrally by the ECB.

  • Thanks Peter. A common complaint about the EU from Brexiteers is too much deregulation.

  • Peter Martin 26th Mar '19 - 7:03pm

    @ Nick,

    I detect more than a touch of sarcasm there. But think about it. The EU does prevent the regulation of economies that Govts need to perform. For example, all countries need to regulate their trade to ensure it balances within certain limits. If they are truly independent there is a variety of possibilities. There’s fiscal and monetary measures. There are tariff adjustments. The exchange rate can be varied or left to float.

    None of this regulation is possible within the EU.

    We can make the same argument for the level of economic activity. National Govts in the EU can’t control it.

  • Peter Martin 26th Mar '19 - 7:30pm

    @ Joseph Burke,

    “This leaves national governments in the unpalatable position of having to acknowlege (sic) that in a globalised world the economies of nation states are inter-dependent and reliant for growth on access to the markets of the big major trading centres of North America, Europe and Asia.”

    What’s unpalatable? If I understand you correctly, you too are largely accepting the neoliberal line that Governments can’t do much. So, if this is true, why are there often more paid lobbyists than lawmakers? The big Corporations know the score. They don’t spend money for nothing. They know that the power of a truly independent nation state.

    Nation States are highly dependent on Govt. If they are fully independent and are well run they’ll likely grow and prosper. But if they aren’t they won’t. Nation States don’t all have the same growth rate. Sometimes it’s because they are badly run and no doubt you’ll be thinking Venezuela. Sometimes it’s because Govts have given away their sovereignty and simply can’t do anything. I’m thinking Greece and Italy.

  • It is interesting comparing the Government’s response to both petitions Nick links to.
    It is telling that the response to the “no deal” petition doesn’t mention any of the points raised in the “revoke” petition, when it would have been fitting to have started the response to the “no deal” petition with practically the same opening sentence used for the “revoke” petition.

    I suspect the Government had to respond to the “revoke” petition just to be seen to be ‘listening’. Also I suspect they are looking at ways to head off the petition and dramatically slow the rate of new sign-ups. However, it confirms the Government’s objective is to deliver a Brexit, just so that it can tick the box.

    As for all the dire threats to our democracy, I say bring it on, because a loss of trust means greater scrutiny of Westminster and more engagement with what our politicians are doing on our behalf, which can only be healthy for democracy.

  • Peter Martin 26th Mar '19 - 9:00pm

    @ Joseph Burke,

    If you look for a common factor in how successful, or otherwise any particular EU economy is it will be the ability of the country to run a trade surplus. So the ones who can do that will do OK but the ones that can’t won’t. That’s the only way they can get the euros in to expand their economy.

    But there can only be surpluses if there are corresponding deficits. Someone has to run the deficits. Of course there are and they fall foul of EU rules. In other words all this talk of ‘structural’ problems is just so much neoliberal claptrap to set one country against an other, and create one set of ‘failures’ and other of ‘successes’.

  • Peter Martin 26th Mar '19 - 9:42pm

    @ JoeB,

    You have this annoying habit of just quoting someone else who also has it wrong, this time about the euro, rather than trying to explain what you think so yourself. I can play the same game and quote economists right across the political spectrum who also make the same argument as myself. It’s not a matter of left and right. A single currency in Europe simply cannot simultaneously reflect the strength of the strongest economies and the weakness of the weakest.

    You can’t have horses in a single harness running at different speeds. It’s bound to cause problems.

    For a single currency to work you need a single taxation system, a fiscal transfer system ( a single system of Govt spending) and a single Government. Nothing less will ever work properly.

  • Joseph Bourke 26th Mar '19 - 11:44pm

    Peter Martin,

    apologies if I have not been clear. I think you are mistaken about the cohesion of the EU and the political and economic advantages that cause nation states to participate in the Euro, The quote from the Italian businessman above reflects the reality of thinking in Italy. I think comments like “all this talk of ‘structural’ problems is just so much neoliberal claptrap to set one country against an other” is meaningless rubbish. There are certainly improvements that can be made to the institutional and political framework of the Eurozone as there are to every countries arrangements. That is not simply or even mainly a economic decision it is primarily a political one determined by the willingness of participating states to bind themselves to a common set of rules and regulations.
    A union comprising of a single taxation system, a fiscal transfer system and a single Government is not a monetary union it is a political union. I am not aware of any European nation advocating such a union.

  • Malcolm Todd 27th Mar '19 - 12:45am

    Joseph Bourke 26th Mar ’19 – 11:44pm
    “A union comprising of a single taxation system, a fiscal transfer system and a single Government is not a monetary union it is a political union. I am not aware of any European nation advocating such a union.”

    I think PM’s point is precisely that a monetary union without a political union is, ultimately, doomed to fail; and in this, I agree with him. (This of course is why the SNP’s “plan” to use the pound after declaring so-called independence from the UK made no sense at all: they would put Scotland in a worse position even than Italy and Greece, without even a seat at the table. But I digress.) Eventually, the EU will have to decide whether to become a proper political union, or to take the difficult step of dismantling the currency union.

  • Malcolm,

    I don’t think either of those scenaros is likely anytime soon – political union or dismantling the currency union – unless eventually means several decades in the future.
    The banking union still needs to be completed with a common deposit insurance scheme across the Eurozone,
    Fiscal transfers will be effected though the structural funds and cohesion funds and taxation policy will most likely be limited to harmonisation and a common consildated corporate tax base rather than any central treasury function.
    Italy’s banks will need to be restructured or Italy may yet introduce a parallel currency to run alongside the Euro. Regardless of the approach adopted, Italian politicians will have to deal with the consequences of a decades long lack of productivity growth without reliance on a Greek style bailout by other Eurozone members.

  • Peter Martin 27th Mar '19 - 8:21am

    @ JoeBurke,

    There’s a well know internet saying about insanity, doing the same thing multiple times, and expecting different results which is usually misattributed to Einstein but nevertheless is still making a valid point.

    There’s nothing the Italian Govt can do to get itself out of its hole, and still remain within EU rules, that hasn’t been tried by previous Italian Govts. Parallel currencies are very unlikely to be allowed. In any case, if the Italian Govt issues its own IOUs which are pegged to the euro, they are effectively creating their own additional euro debt.

    The present situation can’t be allowed to fester on indefinitely. Change isn’t decades away. Larry Elliot is the only Guardian journalist who is prepared to seriously address this issue. As he says:

    “…….the alternative to closer integration is disintegration. Not immediately, because returning to national currencies or moving to a hard and soft euro, would be fraught with difficulties. Crunch time will only come when the next recession blows in. It might not be all that far away.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/24/the-europe-union-has-bigger-problems-to-deal-with-than-brexit

  • Joseph Bourke 27th Mar '19 - 11:32am

    Peter Martin,

    The exchange rate of the Italian Lire was fixed at US$1 = 625 lire in 1949. This rate was maintained until the end of the Bretton Woods System in the early 1970s. The Italian economy grew at an average rate of 5.8% in this post-war period. After exiting the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s several episodes of curency devaluation and high inflation followed and growth stagnated leading to escalating levels of public sector debt in the 1970s/1980s. The lira was replaced in 1999 by the euro at an exchange rate of 1,936 lire to the Euro.
    Italy’s economic problems cannot be solved by mis-directed government spending funded via borrowing on International markets, That was tried in the final three decades of the 20th century only creating more problems down the line than it solved, as such policies always do. Italy’s problems are structural, as the article above argues, and need to be addressed at the root, starting with:
    – tax funded investment in human capital to raise the skill levels and productivity of the younger generation;
    – shifting expenditure away from public consumption and subsidies toward public investment.;
    – breaking-up monopolies and introducing competition and innovation to rejuvenate its sclerotic industry.

  • Peter Martin 28th Mar '19 - 7:15pm

    @ JoeB,

    OK so you are saying the Italians managed to peg the value of their currency against the dollar for 20+ years. A period of general expansion coupled with relatively enlightened views on how economies can be macroeconomically regulated using Keynesian principles.

    But what about the value of the lira against the DM in the same time period? The Germans have always been much more inflation averse than the Americans so pegging your own currency against the German currency, or even worse, sharing a currency is always going to be much more difficult.

    This isn’t about politics. To illustrate this, consider the following from Milton Friedman:

    “If one country is affected by negative shocks that call for, say, lower wages relative to other countries, that can be achieved by a change in one price, the exchange rate, rather than by requiring changes in thousands on thousands of separate wage rates, or the emigration of labor. The hardships imposed on France by its “franc fort” policy illustrate the cost of a politically inspired determination not to use the exchange rate to adjust to the impact of German unification. Britain’s economic growth after it abandoned the European Exchange Rate Mechanism a few years ago to refloat the pound illustrates the effectiveness of the exchange rate as an adjustment mechanism.”

    This is exactly what I’m saying too. MF is of the same opinion as myself that the euro can never properly function.

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-euro–monetary-unity-to-political-disunity

  • The Lib Dems and the Independent group have the power to contribute to REFORMING both Britain and Europe. Shame about the new name, ChangeUK. The REFORMISTS, their original choice, was much more pro-active. Only by being pro-active will we counter the Brexiteer’s myth that we are ordered about by the EU.

  • Peter Watson 30th Mar '19 - 11:44pm

    @John King “Shame about the new name, ChangeUK.”
    I notice that one polling company is using the abbreviation CHUK for the new party, making it look even more like a vanity project for one of its more prominent MPs!
    Incidentally that poll (by DeltaPollUK, reported at BritainElects) states the following voting intentions (with changes since 23 Feb):
    LAB: 35% (-1)
    CON: 32% (-11)
    CHUK: 9% (+9)
    LDEM: 7% (+1)
    and if CHUK is not included:
    LAB: 41% (+5)
    CON: 36% (-7)
    LDEM: 7% (+1)
    UKIP: 7% (+2)

  • Thanks, Peter. How come the inclusion of CHUK eliminates UKIP?

  • Peter Watson 31st Mar '19 - 11:45pm

    @John King 31st “How come the inclusion of CHUK eliminates UKIP?”
    I think BritainElects was only tweeting top 4. Full DetaPollUK data is available now:
    Normal voting intention:
    Conservative 36
    Labour 41
    Liberal Democrat 7
    UK Independence Party UKIP) 7
    Scottish National Party (SNP) 3
    Plaid Cymru (PC) 1
    Green 3
    Some other party 3

    Voting intention if CHUK and the Brexit Party put up candidates:
    Conservative 32
    Labour 35
    Liberal Democrat 7
    The Independent Group (TIG) 9
    The Brexit Party 6
    UK Independence Party (UKIP) 6
    Scottish National Party (SNP) 2
    Plaid Cymru (PC) 1
    Green 2
    Some other party 1

    (DeltaPolling refer to TIG, so CHUK might be the preferred abbreviation of BritainElects – and maybe Chukka!).

  • Thanks for that. I still think Changeuk is a naff name but If they CHUK some of the Brexit rubbish out, I’ll let them off.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBernard Aris 23rd Apr - 3:42pm
    Wow. Praise by the indomitable Liberal veteran activist *) whose column on the back of LibDem Weekly I always read first since the early 1990's;...
  • User AvatarMartin Land 23rd Apr - 3:32pm
    There is no doubt that ECOWAS has been a positive force change in West Africa. An economic group that has evolved into a more political...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 23rd Apr - 3:09pm
    The BBC is having difficulty changing the name of a TV programme from The Daily Politics to Politics Live, as evidenced when they move the...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 23rd Apr - 2:48pm
    He’s a Dutch historian, Milord. Pretty flat then?
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 23rd Apr - 2:29pm
    What a crying shame there is today no modern equivalent of the 1960s Young Liberals to be playing a leading role in the climate and...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 23rd Apr - 2:24pm
    Wow. Someone who understands a bit of history.