Lib Dems march for Europe

Lib Dems at start of March for EuropeEU nailsThousands of people across the UK Marched for Europe yesterday, with demonstrations in London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge plus many more.

In London we put on a huge Lib Dem splash, with more than 300 Lib Dems joining us at the start in Marble Arch. An army of volunteers distributed placards, balloons and flyers. There were so many of us, police escorted us down to the main march on Park Lane!

President Sal Brinton fronted the march, leading a rally of Lib Dems from a banner at the front, flanked by Catherine Bearder MEP and Baroness Sarah Ludford as well as Parliamentary Candidate for St Albans Daisy Cooper and some of our Newbie members Ukonu Obasi and Elizabeth Barnard.

The march took on quite a pace, leading us down Picadilly and on to Trafalgur Square before ending at Parliament Square. Along the route we were chanting ‘We love you EU, we do’ and ‘We don’t want no Brexit’ with the use of a small megaphone and Bradley Hiller-Smith’s melodic tones! 

Jon Ball at EU marchLib Dems had come from Southport, from Norwich, from Cardiff and Manchester to join us on the day and fly the Libby in the centre of the Lib Dem flag.

We signed up at least two new members on the day and flyers went to thousands of people on and watching the march. Paolo from Harrow also decorated his Classic Ciquento car and drove it along side the march getting cheers from all sides!

At Parliament Square, unprompted, some Lib Dem placard holders photobombed TV interviews with Owen Jones, Peter Tatchell and Eddie Izzard, but we didn’t steal his beret, we promise!

Catherine Bearder took to the main stage and was cheered as she told thousands about the solidarity with EU Parliament members, the need to work together to tackle the refugee crisis and the importance of getting European voices heard in the UK.

Thank you to everyone who came along and made it such a fantastic day – we were the only party there to continue to demonstrate, unequivocally, we remain 100% committed to Europe and will continue to be so!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Barnard

* Kelly-Marie Blundell is a member of Federal Policy Committee, Vice Chair of the Social Security Working Group and previous parliamentary candidate

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Leave The EU 4th Sep '16 - 2:14pm

    With respect, why do people keep calling the EU, “Europe” – I understand that semantically it could theoretically be done, however if the EU is “so wonderful”, how about just calling it by its clear name: “the EU” and giving people compelling reasons why to stay in it, rather than trying to join together “Europe”: a geographical continent with culturally rich people groups and history and the EU, a political superstate in the making. All the best and peace.

  • Bernard Aris 4th Sep '16 - 3:29pm

    It is just because the EU isn’t all of Europe, and that we want to eradicate 2000 years of intra-European warfare and bloodshed (the Dutch just commemorated a massive raid by the Royal Navy on our East India Fleet , burning down the adjacent Island, in 1666; next year you’ll be mourning us kidnapping the Royal Charles flasgship from Chatham , “Raid on the Medway”, in 16667) that we federalists keep talking about Europe, and see the EU as an institutional framework to realise the Cobden & Bright ideals of Free Trade, Free movemnent, and Arbitration to pacify Europe…

    And we don’t want to become a super state; we Dutch enjoy it when our king and queen sit in Bermuda shorts an orange T-shirts on unreserved seats, spurring Dutch Olympians on, just like the British love the pomp (?) and circumstance (OK, plenty of that in a certain way) of Last Night of the Proms…

  • Leave The EU 4th Sep '16 - 3:39pm

    @Bernard Aris “With respect, why do people keep calling the EU, “Europe”” – “It is just because the EU isn’t all of Europe” – with respect, is that not an oxymoron?

    “we don’t want to become a super state” – what is the EU’s goal, if not to become a superstate?

    “we want to eradicate 2000 years of intra-European warfare and bloodshed” – has Europe ever been one nation and is there not a risk also of warfare by forcing people to give up their nations to form one nation without their consent?

    All the best and peace.

  • Hope you all had a nice day, but …

    The party (membership) may not be 100% in support of your position.

  • @crewegwyn: You’ll never get the party membership 100% in support of any position, but my overwhelming sense is that the vast majority of party members are in support of the position outlined by Tim, that we would campaign in the next GE to stay in the EU or rejoin if we’ve already left and that we would seek a second mandate of sorts for the final deal.

  • Leave The EU 4th Sep '16 - 6:03pm

    @Caron Lindsay – “my overwhelming sense” – with respect, on what “scientific” basis?

    I heard somewhere the Lib Dems voted about 30% to Leave and that with LDV and the leadership being very pro-Remain – there were only about 1-2 LDV articles pro-Leaving during the whole campaign? Perhaps if there had been more balance, then the 30% might have gone at least to even 35 or 40%? All the best and peace.

  • paolo arrigo 4th Sep '16 - 6:36pm

    Hi. I’m a new member of the Libdems and i joined In disgust of the other parties plus the Pro EU anti brexit stance of Tim. I’m one of tens of thousands of new members Lou and proud about the EU…. And other issues….. and in my first month I turned up at the march in my 1968 Fiat 500 covered in yellow ribbons and LD posters…. And a big EU flag which enhanced our presence greatly. People like me, professionals and from all walks are a welcome boost to the party and proud and loud for the EU and Europe. Personally I dont care which u call it, I’m fighting to stay in it tooth and nail and be represented and make a difference. Impressed so far with what I’ve seen so far organisationally and ready to take it on…. Paolo. Harrow

  • Lorenzo Cherin 4th Sep '16 - 6:50pm

    I have to say that I was so cross with the recent generic e mail from the national party inviting me to the march , for saying , we are the only party 100% pro Europe , that I replied saying that a Liberal and Democratic party cannot be 100% pro anything i the detail of policy !

    It is a meaningless statement for many reasons .

    Pro Europe , is not pro EU! How can we either not be or be , pro a whole continent all the time ! Are we anti Europe because we strongly criticise the French government burkini ban ?!

    Are we anti Europe if we say Greece was treated poorly by the EU bankers , or that refugees have been treated badly by the EU establishment ?!

    I agree with those who say , the EU is not Europe !

    I must add, though , Caron , I believe is wrong above on two counts.

    The policy of Tim cannot be said to be supported until it is widely and regularly debated and over some years and months reviewed , as circumstances arise.Tim himself , after , in my view a kneejerk reaction, has been more accomodating , unless that is just me not wanting to feel alienated from a party I am a member of and care about and a leader I like and back.

    Also , a lot of us , more than many think , but this site shows many of us , think that even Tim has not said in detail what this means , certainly his speech the other day means he is not saying , back in with no referendum , but putting the Brexit deal , whenever it happens , to a vote that includes the option of staying in .

    We have to no where we stand legally , it is possible that once the Article is invoked, that we cannot rejoin for years , and that the EU would not want us !

    I do also think those leading our party and this much loved and utilised site , should be more inclusive of a range of views on this topic. It is unlike us and smacks of socialism, and Labour , old , new or Corbyn or Blair style clone like mediaspeak or spin !

  • Lorenzo Cherin 4th Sep '16 - 7:12pm

    Just to add , as someone who has attended rallies over the years ,from youthful ,anti Thatcher , “Maggie Maggie , Maggie , out , out , out !” and anti Apartheid , “What do we want , sanctions , when do we want them , now ?!”, to recently , I have rarely heard such unambitious use of our great language , as that mentioned in the otherwise delightful article .

    Exactly what , in imagination and implementation of the language that gave us Shakespeare and Dickens, led to “We love you , EU we do ” , or even worse if that is possible , “We don ‘t want no Brexit ” ?!

  • “the solidarity with EU Parliament members” – not sure that trumps a vote to leave!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 5th Sep '16 - 12:56am

    Ciao , Paolo, welcome to our party ! I do not presume from your name you are partly Italian , as it may be Spanish or Portugese, but it is great that you have joined.

    You find in me , not a EU phile , or EU phobe , but a EU pragmatist , perhaps because I am half Italian and part Irish , there is a lot of “God save the Queen!” in my sentiment for this country !

    You have joined us at the very point we seem to be a good and open mixture , of idealists , realists , and most of us moving from one to the other !

  • Yellow Submarine 5th Sep '16 - 3:59am

    I’m sure it’s good for the morale of the political activists who attended but realistically it needed 100 x the reported attendance to make a political impact. These demonstrations of PRIDE and cultural grief are valuable but until A50 is invoked some folk won’t be able to move on to the next more productive stage of the campaign.

  • Yellow Submarine 5th Sep '16 - 4:05am

    As for reunion with the EU well….. As a new member we’d be making a commitment to € membership, Schengen, the whole JHA section of the Acquis, no rebate and none of Cameron’s now voided renegotiation. Presumably ther member states could impose the 7 year transitional arrangements against our free movement. I’m not say it could never happen. I’m saying it’s a hell of a policy to put to voters as early as 2020. I expect Tim to ” clarify ” he was talking about emergency policy for a snap GE. When one isn’t called the normal party policy procedures will produce something more nuisanced.

  • Paul Revell 5th Sep '16 - 8:05am

    The EU is (and should only be) a mechanism to support a broad series of trading relationships between the nations of Europe. It doesn’t require too much doublethink to value the latter but not agree that the former is the best or only means to achieve that end.

    However, until we have completed a decade or so of re-negotiations and legal wrangling there isn’t another alternative of sufficient size, scale and scope. Amongst many of the marchers there is great fear that our relationships with the nations of Europe will have soured by the time an adequate contractual framework for Britain’s new stance with the rest of the world has been built.

    By all means bin the EU if something better can be made, it is just a pile of contracts between nations – so take out the recycling and turn it into something fit for purpose. There is a reason why contracts have an expiration date – because what was true on the day of signing may not stay true and so new contracts replace the old.

    As said by many in this thread, the EU and Europe are not one and the same. The former should not be discarded at the expense of the latter, but then similarly neither should it be kept either.

  • I’m with Yellow Submarine. Fine as a transitional policy not to leave, and happy to call for a second referendum once there is a final deal on the table, as it’s sure to annoy a lot of people. But the realities of rejoining once we have left would be that we’d re-enter on far worse terms than we do now, the Euro, transitional controls against us, no rebate etc. and sadly we would quickly find that we were treated as extremists on those terms.

    Caron speaks of an ‘overwhelming sense’ that party members are in favour of the position of back in. I’ve been carrying out a survey of our local party members over the summer, and having asked this I know this is not the case in our area (think it splits roughly 50:50) Lots of comments about needing to respect the vote and remember we are democrats. Of course the picture may be different in Scotland.

    Unfortunately, the only Lib Dem view on the EU that has made any impact over the weekend is Paddy Ashdown making a complete fool of himself – if I was Tim Farron I would be distancing myself from his comments very quickly.

    And finally, a very warm welcome to Paolo Arrigo – hope you feel welcome here and in the wider party.

  • The Japanese already intimating they may pull out businesses from the UK if there is no access to the single market. It’s common sense, staying in the EU is not only good for businesses but inward investment from emerging economies and people’s jobs. Also poorer people are the ones who will suffer with the diminution of ESF monies which support projects in deprived areas, far more should’ve been made of this during the campaign. I hope the Lib Dems really push for Britain to go back in again and take the fight to the government.

  • David Evershed 5th Sep '16 - 12:15pm

    Should we have a referendum every year on Scottish independence?

    Should we have a referendum every year on EU membership?

    It is not practical for the country to face a referendum on the same constitutional issue at frequent intervals. There needs to be many decades between such decisions being changed.

    We Lib Dems need to accept the result of the EU referendum and that we will be leaving the EU (but not leaving Europe of course).

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 5th Sep '16 - 1:52pm

    David, no we should not have referenda every year. But having one in a few years’ time on the specific questions of whether or not we want to adopt the alternative to membership that May is able to produce is more reasonable.

  • Denis Loretto 5th Sep '16 - 6:26pm

    As I write I am watching the debate following David Davis’s statement to the Commons about progress so far in his department for exiting the EU – thin gruel by any standards incidentally and thoroughly open to attack. My question – not for the first time – is “Where are the Lib Dems?” The only question so far from a Lib Dem was a query from John Pugh as to how university co-operation might stand after brexit, which was briefly batted away. And as far as I can see, he is Billy No-mates on the green leather.
    I realise our 8 members cannot demand disproportionate attention from the Speaker but if we seriously claim to occupy some sort of leadership position on Europe why is our bench not adequately manned (unfortunately I use the word “manned” advisedly) during this and other debates on this vital subject?
    PS The debate is now coming to a close and I see no Lib Dems present.

  • The problem with a second referendum on the terms of exit (with the alternative being ‘Don’t Leave’) is, doesn’t it give an incentive to the EU to be as obstructive as possible in negotiations, in order to come up with the worst deal possible for Britain, in the hopes that that will cause the electorate to vote to Stay?

    Whereas if they know we are leaving no matter what, they have an incentive to negotiate in good faith an come up with a deal which will actually work for the long term, rather than a ‘spoiler amendment’, as it were.

  • Leave The EU 6th Sep '16 - 6:51pm

    @Dav “The problem with a second referendum on the terms of exit (with the alternative being ‘Don’t Leave’) is, doesn’t it give an incentive to the EU to be as obstructive as possible in negotiations, in order to come up with the worst deal possible for Britain, in the hopes that that will cause the electorate to vote to Stay?” – exactly.

  • David Evershed 6th Sep '16 - 7:39pm

    Once we have left the EU, under whatever arrangement, the government can then change or re-negotiate any terms on exit. So electors can vote for the party with what they regard as the best policies related to the EU.

    Hence we will have met the terms of the referendum to leave and we will be able to change any leaving terms to meet the majority view at ecery general election from then on.

    So there is no need for a second referendum on the terms of exit. General elections will provide a neverendum of opportunities for futher change.

  • Leave The EU 6th Sep '16 - 8:36pm

    @David Evershed: “Once we have left the EU, under whatever arrangement, the government can then change or re-negotiate any terms on exit. So electors can vote for the party with what they regard as the best policies related to the EU.

    Hence we will have met the terms of the referendum to leave and we will be able to change any leaving terms to meet the majority view at every general election from then on.

    So there is no need for a second referendum on the terms of exit. General elections will provide a neverendum of opportunities for futher change.” sounds good.

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