LibLink: Tim Farron: Whether you are Leave or Remain, Theresa May just betrayed you on Brexit

Tim Farron wrote a long response to Theresa May’s speech yesterday for the Guardian. Here are some of the highlights;

The new Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, himself commented that May’s words could have come straight from a Ukip party conference speech. Farage and Nuttall might like to convince themselves that the referendum was an endorsement of their nationalist, populist politics, but that is an injustice to most of the British people who voted leave. Pursuing Ukip’s warped vision will not only have severe consequences on our economy, it will also severely damage our standing in the world.

A reckless exit from the single market was not on the ballot paper last June, yet the prime minister has made it clear that she will deny the people a vote on the final deal. This is incredibly disappointing for anybody who believes that democracy matters. Rather than a democratic decision by the people of the country, what she wants instead is a stitch-up by politicians in Westminster. The public voted for departure, and they should therefore be given a vote on the destination. This is a theft of democracy, to take Britain out of the world’s most lucrative market against the wishes of the electorate.

“Taken hostage by Tory equivalent of Momentum”

May has decided – before she has even entered into negotiations with the EU – that the only decisive act of her premiership will be to tear the UK out of the single market. She has given up on the most important part of the Brexit negotiations at the first hurdle, allowing herself to be taken hostage by those in her party who are the Tory equivalent of Momentum – fundamentalists hell bent on taking their party away from the mainstream. When it comes to British prosperity and British democracy, she is waving the white flag from the White cliffs of Dover.

Why this matters

What is certain is that a hard Brexit will leave the UK less socially and economically well-off. Though the pound rallied today, it had earlier slumped to a fresh 31-year low in glum anticipation of the prime minister’s speech – begging the question once again of where the government will find the money to fund the extra £350m to the NHS that we were promised as part of the Brexit package.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • Yesterday May looked impressive – Tim didn’t. He’s been doing well recently, but in his response to May’s speech he sounded like a hysterical schoolboy and he needs to do much better.

  • Richard Underhill 18th Jan '17 - 12:12pm

    Remainers and Leavers might agree that bilateral trade deals are bilateral, but are they?
    part of Belgium delayed the EU-Canada deal. The USA is federal and there has been plenty of recent publicity emphasising that. California has tighter regulations and enforcement on environment issues such as diesel pollution, several southern states in the USA have laws for sale of guns and ammunition which horrify UK citizens. Genetically modified foodstuffs continue to be controversial, are used in USA, India etcetera.
    It used to be the euro-sceptics who said that laws on car headlights were totally incompatible between France and Germany and therefore the EEC would be ineffective. Not now. Before the Single European Act Tory government minister Ken Clarke was negotiating and found that, for example, if a British lorry was delivering some goods into, for example Italy, it would not be allowed to carry a return load from, for example, Italy, a task reserved to Italian lorry drivers. (A Kind of Blue, 2016).

  • Malc: The Lib Dems objective has to be seen as an opposition party otherwise they have no immediate or long term future. That was surely accomplished yesterday. You may dispute the style, well you can only please some of the people some of the time. People I speak to at work etc have identified the Lib Dems as the Opposition to the Government on the EU issue. Therefore Objective met and mission accomplished.
    When I went to school neither I or my fellow pupils were hysterical, was your school different?

  • David Allen 18th Jan '17 - 1:06pm

    Yes, May spoke well and delivered some strong soundbites. Now we shall watch it all fall apart when the EU explain why they won’t accept “have cake and eat it” dressed up in oratorical disguise.

    Malc wants Tim Farron to “do better”. I think he means “stop saying that Brexit is a disaster and start saying something more ambiguous.” The alternative view is that when Brexit does turn out to be a disaster, nobody will compain about the “hysterical” language used by those who foretold the disaster!

  • Nick Cunningham 18th Jan '17 - 1:52pm

    I thought Tim response was excellent, for me as a new member hit the right buttons, most importantly bringing to the forefront how our democracy should not be taken for granted. Sovereignty was the Brexiteers tune and we can all see how the executive seeks to impose their will over Parliament. There will be a vote on the any deal May said, but as a minister said, we are leaving the EU regardlesss, so where is the democracy in that. A bad deal is worse than a no deal, still seeking to work that one out, because how would a functional Government get into such a position.

  • Saying that brexit will be a disaster is fine, but he’s like a machine gun with his attacks – there are just too many. Let him make his attack and have a go at the government, but then he needs to calm down and explain what his vision for the UK is. We need some detail of the way forward from the remain supporters as well as the government.

  • The Professor 18th Jan '17 - 4:02pm

    “A bad deal is worse than a no deal, still seeking to work that one out, because how would a functional Government get into such a position.”

    If negotiations go badly given hostility, complexity and crucially a 2 year deadline then there will be no deal. WTO trade rules would then apply equally for trade between UK and EU.

    Then a new trade deal similar to the EU-Canadian deal could be negotiated – and yes it will take years.

    Incidentally GATT that led to WTO reduced average tariffs to below 5% so given the current exchange rate this will still favour the UK.

  • At the end of the day who knows whether the UK is going to be better off in or out of the EU. I made up my mind before the referendum that ‘remain or leave’ was not about this. It is about values. How do I feel about the continent that has influenced our culture and provided us with art, music, philosophy and science. How do I feel about the European ideal of closer integration and cooperation to buttress us against the folly of the two world wars of the 20th century. How do I feel about the defense of social norms against global capitalism. Do I want to align myself with this force or give back control to the same old aristocratic elite of this country that has squandered millions of lives in pursuit of their hubris.
    The EU is still work in progress and many of the things we have a problem with is felt all over Europe and will be addressed in time. I vote remain. I am British and European and want to stay that way.

  • To be honest that’s a ridiculously non-intellectual way of looking at it. Beethoven who was anti-establishment would be turning in his grave.

  • Tim Farron is trying to create a new myth here – the idea that Leave voters had no idea they would likely be taking us out of the single market.

    Pretty much all the major players in the official referendum campaigns – Cameron, Osborne, Johnson, Gove, Leadsom, and yes, Tim Farron – told voters that a Leave vote would mean exiting the single market. They did this both explicitly, and implicitly. Remember all that talk by Remainers (including Farron) of “Brexit” costing every household £4,300? That was actually the Treasury’s estimate of the impact of leaving the single market, NOT Brexit per se.

    Both the official campaign websites – still existing as on-line relics – state plainly that Brexit means leaving the single market. In fact it was about the only thing the two campaigns agreed on. Ironically enough, it was the Remain side who pushed this idea the hardest, because all their “Project Fear” economic projections relied on it.

  • I’m not sure people voting to leave were overly concerned about the financial hit and, while this should still be mentioned, the more important thing was taking back control and the idea of British people being supported first. I want to hear that we’ve taken back control for a small number of people who are only interested in putting themselves first and those feeling left behind will now feel that even moreso.

  • @Dan – the real point is that a liberal democracy ignored people who were `left behind` giving them no option but to hit the back at the establishment – you do realise that there are whole communities that feel they have nothing to lose? The central issue in politics is `how do you maximise potential for all people, particularly those aspirational workers and unemployed at the bottom, in a globalised world`. In the economic model they saw a system that militated against them in a way that no CEO or professional ever had to experience. It is not the fault of VL that is the fault of the whole political establishment especially the centre-left who failed to address the issues – mostly it is the fault of the EU who will not reform or bend to pragmatism.

    The Lib Dems are falling into the trap Labour fell into after 2010 – replacing strategy with tactics for the sake of a specialised image and local ballot box receipts.

  • Peter Watson 19th Jan '17 - 9:50am

    @james “a liberal democracy ignored people who were `left behind` giving them no option but to hit the back at the establishment – you do realise that there are whole communities that feel they have nothing to lose”
    I think there is a lot of truth in that. The situation post-Brexit was speculative with both sides of the argument describing what they thought it would look like. But the situation post-Remain was a known quantity: it was more of the same. For some of us that looked like a good thing and for some that looked like a bad thing, and it turned out that the latter group was a small majority.
    The Remain campaign did little or nothing to address the concerns of those millions of people who did not believe that the consequences of Brexit would make their lives any worse, and even if the result had been the other way round (or if Brexit is now blocked) I think a lot of work would have been (or will be) needed to do just that.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Jan '17 - 1:30pm

    Would someone who has read the article by Tim Farron and his comments , please say whether he used the words treachery and betrayal , which appear in the headlines or is that Guardian spin or interpretation?!

    Does that paper, like some , allow the author to decide the title and sub title?!

    I find the language absolutely overblown !

  • Nigel Jones 19th Jan '17 - 3:53pm

    I agree with Stuart, we cannot assume that most people who voted leave do not wish to leave the single market. I think most of them would be horrified at the prospect of remaining in the single market like Norway, accepting the rules of that market, but having no say in what the future rules of that market should be. Paradoxically, however, they probably do not believe the expert comments that say we will suffer economically if we leave the single market. They think any loss will easily and quickly be made up with trade elsewhere around the world. Donald Trump has given them hope in this, but as I see it, there is the possibility that we will be leaving the limited overrule by the EU and replacing it with overrule by the USA.

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