LibLink: Vince Cable – we need to learn lessons from Nigel Farage

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Over on the Independent website, Vince Cable, with typical wisdom, conducts a post-mortem on the “remain” campaign. He advises that we need to learn lessons from Nigel Farage, such as campaigning outside of Westminster through social media and other non-parliamentary means:

Farage’s mastery of radio and television, and more recently of social media, far exceeded in impact any disadvantage from not appearing in the House of Commons.

That too can be played in reverse as the follies of Brexit, and the failures of Boris play out. Remainers can have more impact through radio call-ins and Facebook messaging than through parliamentary debate while the Commons is so hopelessly unbalanced. And more generally, the place to be for effective opposition politics in future may well be away from Westminster, building political credibility and an organisational base through online campaigns, and through local and devolved government. Community politics is due a new lease of life.

You can read the full article here.

* Web Magpie, collecting shiny things from the internet (and, yes, we know such a characteristic has no ornithological basis). Magpie photograph by Steve Bittinger, Flickr CCL CCL licence

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134 Comments

  • Sopwith Morley 31st Dec '19 - 11:26am

    “Farage’s mastery of radio and television, and more recently of social media, far exceeded in impact any disadvantage from not appearing in the House of Commons.”

    Because he has been talking about/campaigning FOR something namely the democratic right to choose, and he was doing so on behalf of the disenfranchised millions. He and his campaigns were the only advocate against the anti-democrats in the House of Commons who were talking about/campaigning AGAINST the democratic right to choose, and were doing so on behalf of vested interests.

    There is no point copying Farage, even you had anybody to do it, which you don’t, unless you actually have something to say that is not the product of party introspection, then you are just whistling in the wind.

    Brexit is all over bar the shouting, and there will now be a short interval. The only game in town going forward for those who care is political and electoral reform, and Farage has already indicated that he will possible join the fray with a rebranding of the Brexit. Party to the Reform Party.

    If Farage does follow this path it will be a full blooded campaign for reform for a written constitution, federal state( with England) voting reform etc, abolishing the House of Lords etc. I doubt very much he will be looking at it from a party perspective or for party advantage, such as the Libdems perceive it through the prism of PR = more LibDem seats.

    I know from my observations over the last few days on here that you will have nothing to do with his campaign, it is clear walking around with no political nose on your face is infinately preferable to supping with the devil himself, which will of course make your party once again irrelevant in a time of a campaign for great national change, and have you all in a couple of years bleating about why you are being ignored again.

    I must admit I am looking forward to listening to the first ‘Progressive’ calling his campaign for widespread political reform Far Right, sadly of course that is exactly what will happen, and the public will laugh and ridicule them for doing so.

  • Peter Martin 31st Dec '19 - 12:10pm

    @ Sopwith,

    “I must admit I am looking forward to listening to the first ‘Progressive’ calling his campaign for widespread political reform Far Right…..”

    It could indeed be construed that way. The German Weimar republic had as an close to ideal system of PR as it is possible to devise. 0.2% of the vote got you 1 seat in the Reichstag. 1% got you 5 seats. Presumably the idea was to produce moderate centrist Govts which could be relied upon not to take Germany to war again after the disaster of WW1. Just like the Lib Dems now say that a system of PR will produce moderate centrist Govts in the UK.

    If so, it didn’t work out quite as intended. You know who, and his party, did very well under that system.

  • Fafage had some natural advantages that we will never have, in no particular order –
    Very Rich friends
    The support of most “News”papers & The BBC
    No need to outline a coherent set of values or policies
    No moral giudelines, Farage can promote Hate, Fear, prejudice & Violence, we cannot.

    Its also worth noting that Farages attempts at Party Politics have been a total failure; he took over one Party & created another, both are now wrecks with no MPs & almost no Local base. Virtually all UKIPs surviving Councillors are now Tories or “Independents” & Brexit (The Party) never had any to begin with.
    If Farage really does set up a Party backing Electoral Reform he may find that The Media have lost interest.

  • Steve Trevethan 31st Dec '19 - 12:46pm

    Was Sir Vince Cable’s support for, and promotion of, Austerity, undertaken with “typical wisdom”?

  • Well, the extreme right wing (according to LibDems) Tory govn failed to include Farage in the honours list or give him an ambassador job so I guess he is free to pontificate at will on much needed electoral reform.

    Some detailed policies that will grab the public attention rather than broad statements of intent is what has been missing, though that would be squaring the circle as half the membership would scream that it wasn’t left wing enough and the other half that it was too socialist.

  • John Peters 31st Dec '19 - 1:13pm

    I doubt there is anything to be learnt from Mr Farage as far as lessons to be learnt for any political party.

    Cometh the hour cometh the man. He identified that more than half of the electorate shared his view of the EU.

    I doubt there is another issue which will so mobilise politics again in this country in my lifetime.

  • David Evans 31st Dec '19 - 1:50pm

    Fine sentiments, but sadly about nine years too late. Community Politics at a local level was the bedrock we built our core vote on up to 2010 and a great success it was, getting us up from 6 MPs in the early 1960s to 62 MPs (including Vince Cable) by 2005. So even when we lost seats in 2010, He and Nick were in a position to enter government.
    Sadly, it was their total focus on government (and not Liberal Democracy) after 2010 which spelled the end of Community politics across vast swathes of the country for the next five years. After all, it was Vince who was one of the key men (and women) who got us into this mess, allowing Nick to sacrifice Liberal Democracy and its supporters, year after year in order to allow David Cameron to save the bankers from 2010 right through to 2015.

    The merest hint of contrition and an admission of the need to put right the mistakes of the last decade might just help set the scene for a real and much needed change of focus by the party from the pretence of national influence to a willingness to face the reality of building once again, from the bottom up, a national movement capable of fundamentally changing the UK for the better.

    After all that is what Nigel Farage did (apart from the better bit).

  • John Marriott 31st Dec '19 - 2:04pm

    Farage is a genuine anti hero, who achieved more outside of parliament than he ever could have as a member of it. A remarkable man in many ways. Look how he demolished Clegg in two debates. However, I could never see him as a parliamentarian, let alone as a potential PM. Too much marmite for many. Too close to the bloke in the pub. Too close to Donald Trump and probably Putin as well.

  • Not dog whistle politics but to march the troops towards the sound of gunfire.

  • Vince Cable – we need to learn lessons from Nigel Farage………..

    You mean the ability turn a major breakthrough in the election of MEPs into ‘nothing’ at a GE?
    This party already knows how!

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Dec '19 - 3:58pm

    @ Sopwith Morley,

    Are you a descendent of the 19thC Sopwith Morley?

    Farage is an extraordinary politician, then most demagogues are. He certainly spooked Cameron into holding a referendum to protect the interests. of the Conservative party rather than the interests of the country.

    I am a long gone Liberal Democrat supporter, but may I ask when Nigel Farage first started to argue for his reforms? Also, you seem to have an intimate knowledge of how he will map out his future as an individual with political nous but no electoral mandate as far as UK elections are concerned.

  • David Allen 31st Dec '19 - 5:31pm

    This posting omits half of Cable’s message. Here’s the (important) missing half:

    “The Leavers had a simple strategy dressed up in a three-word message: “Get Brexit done.”……All our tactical cleverness in parliament and talk of cross-party unity, dissolved on the electoral battlefield.”

    Yes. So – Do the Labour Party, and the Liberal Democrats, deserve to survive? Or should they now go the way of parties such as the Italian Christian Democrats, or the Greek PASOK, and make way for new parties that stand a better chance of not repeating past mistakes?

    Moderator’s note: We do not quote more than a small sample of articles due to the “fair use” rules of copyright. The full article from Vince is linked to above twice (and in this sentence a third time) so that readers can read the full article in its original setting.

  • Paul Barker 31st Dec '19 - 6:05pm

    Farages main aim was to promote Farage, in that he has had a fair run of succsess. I dont see how that is relevant to a Party trying to promote Liberal values & get people Elected on those values.
    The only case where any of his followers made a lasting breakthrough was in The Welsh Parliament.
    If he really does start to promote Electoral Reform we can work “with” him.

  • Dilettante Eye 31st Dec '19 - 6:06pm

    I’m still not convinced that Vince understands the Farage effect on UK politics He would be better to study the Five Star Movement in Italy as the likely model of what might come next.

    If Farage decides to continue in politics and disband the Brexit Party, and create a Reform Party ready for 2025, it will probably be based on a lot more direct online voting, by membership, to decide policy, party structure and any likely coalition approval.

    I’m afraid that asking voters what they think, and then ignoring them and calling them uneducated and stupid is not an acceptable campaign strategy anymore. That should be Vince’s first lesson.

  • Did Vince put in a speakers card to speak against the “Revoke” policy at conference?

  • Richard Underhill 31st Dec '19 - 6:48pm

    Dilettante Eye 31st Dec ’19 – 6:06pm
    I agree with you, but this is what the Tories have just done and it worked.
    The Conservative electoral communication said that “on 13th December we will either have a Conservative government or Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister” and (in bold print) “a vote for any other party will help Jeremy Corbyn reach Downing Street”.
    This is disrespectful of the intelligence of the electorate, surely he knows how the current electoral system works? The Labour candidate was not local and was not trying hard. He duly came third (Lib Dem second) and so, unlike Canterbury, a Labour vote was a wasted vote.
    The Tory rephrased his slogan to include two Independent Leavers (who lost their deposits) and the SNP (who did not stand anywhere outside Scotland).
    They have repeatedly missed their chance to make Ken Clarke their leader or PM.

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Dec ’19 – 3:58pm:
    Farage is an extraordinary politician, then most demagogues are.

    An iconoclast perhaps, but not a demagague.

    He certainly spooked Cameron into holding a referendum to protect the interests of the Conservative party rather than the interests of the country.

    The EU Referendum was very much in the interests of the country as the result has confirmed.

    I am a long gone Liberal Democrat supporter, but may I ask when Nigel Farage first started to argue for his reforms?

    Like many, Farage was drawn into politics by the controversy over the Maastricht Treaty. He joined the fledgling Anti-Federalist League set up to oppose Maastricht and campaigned in support of its founder, Dr. Alan Sked, in the 1993 Newbury by-election. Later that year the AFL became UKIP.

    ‘Hidden Histories #15: The Founding of UKIP’:
    https://medium.com/@politicscurator/hidden-histories-15-the-founding-of-ukip-c8e463e3f0d8

    Here is Anti-Federalist League (AFL) candidate Alan Sked campaigning for your vote in the Newbury by-election in 1993. A young Nigel Farage can be seen second from the right.

  • Matthew Huntbach 31st Dec '19 - 8:09pm

    Sopwith Morley

    He and his campaigns were the only advocate against the anti-democrats in the House of Commons who were talking about/campaigning AGAINST the democratic right to choose, and were doing so on behalf of vested interests.

    The thing that convinced me to oppose Brexit was what most people whose voted Leave said they were doing it for. They were unhappy with the way our country and its economy have developed, and thought that leaving the EU would reverse things and bring us back to a country where there was more democratic control and not run so much by and for international billionaires.

    But the right-wingers in the Conservatives, in their own discussions about what they wanted it for wanted it for the EXACT opposite reason. They want to leave the EU to push our country even further in the way that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

    So, Sopwith, do you think I am anti-democratic for listening to people and wanting to protect them from being tricked?

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Dec '19 - 9:01pm

    @ Jeff,
    As someone with a doctorate, and therefore educated to a particular level, what does Dr Alan Sked have to say about Nigel Farage?

  • Farage, jumped on the convenient scape goat of blaming the EU for everything that went wrong in the UK. It was a popular scape goat and may in the media helped him flog it. Going forward it still has a few steps before it collapses (and the Brexi’s and Lexi’s will try to keep it staggering on). The next scapegoats when things go wrong are ironically likely to be the Brexi’s and Lexi’s. Already of the defensive and desperately trying to prove why bad things are nothing to do with them, but the public like simple definitions and if they pick up on “Tis all the Brexiteers fault” then no end of facts will change the narrative.

  • jayne mansfield 31st Dec '19 - 9:42pm

    @ Jeff,
    Here I am nursing a heavy cold rather than out celebrating with friends as planned, but me and my virus still know the difference between demagoguery and iconoclasm.

    In my opinion, Nigel Farage appealed to base emotions not rationalism to maintain his funded life style.

    Have you checked out the founder of UKIP, Dr Alan Sked’s assessment of Mr Farage yet?

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Dec '19 - 9:54pm

    @ David Allen
    The leavers were passionate and determined that we should leave the EU.

    The Liberal Democrats who sold themselves as the party of remain, were more interested i n splitting the remain vote for political advantage.

    Bitter? Absolutely.

  • Matthew Huntbach 31st Dec '19 - 10:20pm


    “The Leavers had a simple strategy dressed up in a three-word message: “Get Brexit done.”……

    Yes, and why was Brexit not done? After the referendum, the government of Theresa May sorted out how to do it, but it didn’t happen. The reason in didn’t happen is because a bunch of extreme economic right-wing supporters of Brexit voted against the agreement that had been made. After that, they lied and claimed that it was all down to opponents of Brexit stopping it from happening against what the referendum asked for.

    But I remember during the referendum, Norway and Switzerland being put forward as examples of successful countries not in the EU, so we could be like them. The agreement Theresa May organised was actually a more extreme form of Brexit than what having the sort of agreements Norway and Switzerland would be.

    So here is more fraudulence from the right-wing Brexiteers – encourage people to vote Leave by giving these examples, and after the referendum saying that anything like that is not Leave at all and so not what people voted for. The real issue is that whatever form Leave would take, a proportion of those who said they supported Leave then said they’d rather remain in the EU than have that form.

    Honesty would have meant admitting that as Brexit could take place in many different ways, once a particular form had been agreed, a second referendum should take place to confirm that’s what people really wanted.

    However, of course the economic right-wingers didn’t want to do that, because they didn’t want to get exposed. Instead they wanted to continue to get support from people who supposed it would mean something very different, and delay it actually happening until they’d won the majority to be able to do just what they want – push our country even more into one being run by and for shady international billionaires.

  • Remainers are still peddling the same nonsense. The reason leave won is localism and nationalistic politics. Remainers were stuck with a kind semi religious and cod Marxist concept of the international brotherhood mingling with threats. Historical determinism came up against awkward blighters who disagreed. The thing is the dominant liberal strain is to imagine that people are dissatisfied with nations, when actually people like them and resent being told that this is awful/primitive. There is no difference between Brexit and the fall of empires or what happened in Ireland and what is happening in Scotland. People tend to like nation states, self determination and flags. They like identity. Because of this they tend to favour sense of cultural and geographic history. Remain couldn’t articulate a sense of EU citizenship and belonging because there isn’t much one in Britain. This is why federalism is doomed here. Those who are trying to argue that Brexit was driven by dissatisfaction are deluding themselves. Brexit is actually somewhat conservative and nationalistic. It is ideas like “little England” being accepted rather than rejected. Flags during football matches tell you more about it than economics and fretting ever will.

  • Liberal Democrats need to look forward to creating a modern, socially just and economically successful county.
    Nigel Farage is essentially a Dickensian figure who wants to take Britain backward. He is part the way there. London has it gangs of pickpockets preying on foreign tourists.

  • Peter Martin 1st Jan '20 - 7:22am

    @Paul Walter,

    A quotation? How about this from Wera Hobhouse who has titled her article:

    “Without proportional representation, there’s no future for moderate politics in Brexit Britain”

    Saying that FTTP “…is the barrier that is holding centrism back.”

    Of course we all understand why the minor parties don’t like FPTP and argue for a more proportional system . Note the inclusion of the word “more”. LibDems, not unnaturally, want a system to suit them. You naturally don’t want a perfectly proportional system which will allow in the “riff raff” of UK politics which is why you set the bar at 5%. If you felt more confident of your support you’d naturally argue for it to be higher. Say at 10%.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/general-election-result-brexit-first-past-post-proportional-representation-centrism-a9251246.html

  • Peter Martin 1st Jan '20 - 7:57am

    @ Mark

    “…there are also desirable reasons to form federal states and confederations”

    Yes there are. But there is a significant difference between the two. The old EEC prior to Maastricht could be described as a Confederation of independent nation states. It probably didn’t need a Parliament, but as that was little more than a talking shop it wasn’t too much of a problem. Most people in the EEC were happy enough with the arrangement of having a dozen or so western European states co-operate as they did. It wasn’t ideal but it worked well enough.

    The problems arose with the change to the EU. Increasing the size to 28 countries was always going to be difficult enough on its own. To compound those problems the PTB in the EU made the catastrophically bad decision to prematurely introduce a common currency which was a signifier of the creation of a new giant Nation State. What Guy Verhofstadt and others have termed the United States of Europe.

    In the USA, there is a sense of being American which does make their Federal system work. There is a common language which means it is possible for workers to move around relatively easily. Europe doesn’t have any of those advantages. Rightly or wrongly most people in the EU would self identify with their country first, their region second and possibly the EU third.

    There just isn’t enough popular support to make the U.S.E. work. But that’s the course the EU has set for itself. Its U.S.E. or bust! They are unlikely to get there, but their chances are better without UK involvement.

  • Mark
    How do I dominate anything. I’m a bloke on the internet, not some sort of leader. Well maybe you vote the way you do because you need someone or something to blame, I don’t. Personally, I voted Leave because I don’t believe in the concept of the EU or the specialness or connectedness of European values. I think those values are essentially a hangover from the European imperial era and reflect high culture. Very paternalistic. I’m a product of pop culture more than European culture and I barely connect with any European pop culture. I’m simply not a European in any meaningful sense.

  • The lack of a common language is probably the biggest missing piece of the EU puzzle, if somehow the UK had been in at the beginning and English had become the first language of the EU then we would probably have all felt a bit more European, though the French would have gone ballistic. Huge missed opportunity.

  • Peter Hirst 1st Jan '20 - 10:35am

    In many ways it will be easier to campaign for returning to a closer relationship with our european allies; events will provide ample ammunition. What we need to do is keep eu membership in the public domain. Nothing is forever and leaving certainly isn’t.

  • Sopwith Morley 1st Jan '20 - 10:40am

    @ Jayne Mansfield 31st Dec ’19 – 3:58pm
    @ Sopwith Morley,
    “Are you a descendent of the 19thC Sopwith Morley?”

    It’s a family name, originated in North Durham nearly 200 years ago when a Sopwith married a Morley and called one of their boys Sopwith Morley, a tradition that has continued more or less seamlessly through every generation.

    “Farage is an extraordinary politician, then most demagogues are. ”
    Which probably explains why their are no demagogues in the LibDems, if being an extraordinary politician is the main criteria.

    Meaning: ‘Demagogues overturn established norms of political conduct, or promise or threaten to do so.’

    As you use the term as an insult, would you like to explain when Farage has ever acted outside the norms of political conduct, or has promised or threatened to do so. in contrast to Jo Swinson and her anti-democratic Revoke policy.

    “I am a long gone Liberal Democrat supporter, but may I ask when Nigel Farage first started to argue for his reforms? ”

    At least 30 years, which was brought to a head with the undemocratic behaviour of the political establishment over the last 3.5years. Perhaps if you had made the effort to learn about the Anti-Federalist League, UKIP and the Brexit Party, rather than just accept the narrative of them being far right, single issue blah, blah, blah, you would have read their manifestos where political reform has always been front and centre.

  • Well the above is a jolly start to the new year. Leavers and trashers laying into Remainers and our party. People from other parties telling us what we want. With self-righteous indignation, despite it being their own imagination. Along with the wallowers in ‘we are all doomed, we blew it’ misery.
    Happy 2020.

  • Glenn
    “I’m simply not a European in any meaningful sense.”
    Visit Asia and you will find yourself a European in nearly every sense.

  • Sopwith Morley

    When Farage was involved in the formation of UKIP, in 1993/4, he did so with co-founder, Alan Sked. Sked long ago left them, describing them, and especially Farage in very uncomplimentary terms, but summarising, as right-wing demagoguery, with some racism thrown in. You can hear the fury in Farage’s voice when people accused him (and UKIP, when he was associated with that party over many years) of racism. “Methinks he doth protest too much” is the phrase that comes to mind! As for “the history of UKIP”, the splits, the fights internally etc are what comes to mind. It might be useful, Sopwith, if you know a fair bit about this, to do a main post, outlining the many leaders and leadership battles in UKIP, which could show both you and others, what a zany and stupid organisation it has been over the quarter century of its existence. However, I cannot deny its success, mainly in Euro – elections…..

  • Cassie
    I’m a leave voter, but I’m not laying into the Lib Dems. I essentially see myself as a liberal and a democrat. I’m just not into the whole Europe thing. I also don’t see people I disagree with as enemies. I just think they’re wrong. That they think I’m wrong is fair enough. That’s people for you, they don’t always agree!

  • Peter Martin 1st Jan '20 - 11:30am

    @ Manfarang,

    “Visit Asia and you will find yourself a European in nearly every sense.”

    I don’t know about that. The usual initial assumption, on my previous visits, was that I was American. Does this mean we should aim a FTA deal with the USA? Maybe if the terms are right.

    Glenn’s point is perfectly valid one. Underneath the politics and the economics the sense of one’s national identity is an important factor. Possibly the most important factor. It’s true that many working class Northern voters are struggling economically at the moment. On the other hand many are getting by without too many problems but yet they still class themselves as leavers. Economic considerations don’t trump everything else.

  • It depends what you mean by Asia. I always feel like an awkward bumbling Englishman wherever I go. I don’t feel much less alien in Italy or Germany. And also when you’re talking about Asia do you really mean culture or do you mean race? I went to Japan once and mostly I just felt tall, white and clumsy above any nebulous sense of being European. Anyway Japanese people don’t really differentiate between European, American or Israeli and I suspect would be offended if you thought they were Asians sharing an Asian culture rather than specifically Japanese. As far as I know Japan doesn’t want a political union with China.

  • Matthew Huntbach 1st Jan '20 - 12:41pm

    Glenn

    If Brexit would give what you say, I’d accept it. But, as I said, I don’t see it doing that.

  • Paul Barker 1st Jan '20 - 1:42pm

    To get back to the point of the Headline :
    Farage lied.
    Farage appealled to the worst in people, Fear, Prejudice & Envy.
    Farage has no Values unless you count “Farage should be Boss”.
    We have nothing to learn from Farage.

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Dec ’19 – 9:01pm:
    As someone with a doctorate, and therefore educated to a particular level, what does Dr Alan Sked have to say about Nigel Farage?

    UKIP wasn’t big enough for both of them. They fell-out acrimoniously in the mid-90s since which time Sked has smeared both Farage and UKIP. I wouldn’t attach any weight to what he says. Sked has subsequently started two more political parties: New Deal (2013-2015) and Prosper UK (2018-). He has stood in two parliamentary by-elections and three General Elections, but the most votes he ever got was in 1970 standing in Paisley for The Liberal Party.

  • Nigel Hardy 1st Jan '20 - 4:46pm

    Essentially what Vince Cable says is that politics is changing and we need to recognise that. Since the election there’s been much said elsewhere about the demise of the Labour party if it refuses to change its message, and the need for a progressive alliance to come together as a united voice to defeat the Tories in five, or more likely ten years time. How this comes about as an electoral force outside parliament I have no idea at this stage, but its evident that grassroots movements are becoming mobilised like never before. Again Vince says we should learn from the Farage election strategy of not standing against his allies (the 2017 Tory seats) and instead splitting the Labour vote.

    The Rejoin voice will gather momentum once it becomes clear Brexit does not deliver the goodies promised by the vote leave fraudsters to a point where the next generation of voters have their say demanding better. This will be done over the internet, possibly phone-ins and demos on the streets as we get poorer all putting pressure on politicians to listen.

    As for Farage’s idea of rebranding as a Reform party for the next election, how many ego trips can a failed politician have? He may find the audience who were captivated by his leave the EU rhetoric may not be so receptive now that the Tories have floated him down the river. I can’t see him being another threat to the Tories who aren’t going to be worried about electoral reform now they have a decade in power.

  • Peter Martin 1st Jan '20 - 6:45pm

    @ Wera H does say that if you read the article l linked to. IMO. The quote you used is my interpretation of what WH and others are saying which you are of course entitled to disagree with.

    I’m not arguing for any particular voting system BTW. I do accept that FPTP is unfair. The problem is that a fairer system doesn’t come without it’s own undesirable consequences.

  • Nigel Hardy 1st Jan '20 - 7:03pm

    @ Peter The thing is at odds with not revisiting the referendum is that this is exactly what all other EU countries do. If a debate is started with one then it is perfectly proper to hold another when more facts come to light to test the public’s appetite for the debate. This may even be written down in EU legislation somewhere. So why should we not have campaigned as Norman Lamb says. I agree it should wholly democratic, and if Leave had won again the result should have been honoured.

  • Nonconformistradical 1st Jan '20 - 7:12pm

    @Glenn
    “I always feel like an awkward bumbling Englishman wherever I go. I don’t feel much less alien in Italy or Germany.”
    Have you ever tried to trace your ancestry? If so do I take it you are pure-bred English with no traceable ancestors having any connection to any other country, not even the other countries in the British Isles?

    And have you ever tried learning a foreign language? Or even just noted down a few useful words in the laguage of whatever country you are visiting?

  • @Nigel – Yes it has been noted that the antidemocratic EU is willing to subject errant member states to referenda after referenda until they produce the ‘right’ result.

    That is not the tradition of democratic societies and yet another reason for leaving the EU.

  • @Nigel – “If Leave had won again, the result would have been honoured. ”

    Not according to Ms Swinson. This was followed by the revoke policy.

    How can a political party claim support from the votes cast in its favour, yet decide that votes for policies it does not support be ignored? This is hypocrisy on a breathtaking scale. How on earth can people here support such a policy? It is beyond my comprehension. More importantly, it has been strongly rejected by the voters.

  • As stated many times, I am deeply concerned that LibDem supporters apparently see nothing wrong with trying to undermine the referendum, hold a second referendum, threaten to ignore the second result if it was the wrong one, and then just simply revoke A50. All of this shows a total contempt for our system of democracy and angers decent voters of all political sectors.

    I am concerned because, as a democrat who has voted LibDem in the past, I could never vote now or in the future for a party that is happy to trash our democracy. I would need to see an unconditional rejection of such policies.

    Also as a democrat, our country needs a strong opposition party regardless of the party in power. The Labour Party has eliminated itself by handing power to Momentum, Trades Union barons and and the most left wing activists in the country.

    It is therefore a deep concern that the LibDems have become a fanatical EU supporting party prepared to ride roughshod over hundreds of years of parliamentary democracy in order to retain all UK sovereignty within the unelected EU regime in Brussels.

    As some in the party may have noticed, the electorate has had the opportunity to comment and has made its preferences crystal clear. As the party goes through the motions of understanding humiliation and initiating change, all I can see is a determination to blame external factors and stick rigidly to current policies.

    Good luck with that.

  • Noneconformistradical
    My ancestry is British and Jewish. I’m sorry if it annoys you that I don’t feel European, but I don’t. I’m not going to apologies for it or for trying to turn it into a self effacing joke.

  • Yousuf Farah 1st Jan '20 - 10:17pm

    @Peter Martin
    In answer to your first comment. Since you’re a Labour supporter, I’m not at all surprised that you’re against a fairer, more democratic and more just voting system like PR. Whilst esposung support for a corrupt, outdated and undemocratic system like FPTP. This is because FPTP allows you to get into power, but here’s the caveat, it also allows the Conservatives in power. But it’s is much more likely and much more often for them to get into power than yourselves. That’s the thing about Labour, they’d rather keep the Conservatives in power, just so only they can take their place.

  • John Peters 1st Jan '20 - 10:31pm

    @Yousuf Farah
    I think there is a consensus that FPTP favours the Labour party over the Tories. That would have been part of the reasoning behind the suggested boundary changes to redress the balance towards the Tories.

  • Yousuf Farah 1st Jan '20 - 10:34pm

    @Sopwith Morley
    Stop getting excited your idol Farage isn’t doing anything special at all, now that Brexit is about to end as an issue, he is simply picking his next vanity project that he will use to try and propel him into Parliament. And no, Farage is most definitely not a progressive, in the same way that Trump was never really a Republican; but just joined them to gain power. Farage is an opportunist, he used Brexit as an opportunity for power and now he is using progressivism as an opportunity for power. And yes, he is absolutely Far Right, denying that would be delusional. The only real progressives ( and moderates) in British politics are the Lib Dems, and Farage risks damaging his image and also boosting popularity for real progressives by pursuing progressivism. But then again, he is only in it for power.

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Jan '20 - 12:07am

    Nigel Hardy 1st Jan ’20 – 4:46pm

    “As for Farage’s idea of rebranding as a Reform party for the next election, how many ego trips can a failed politician have?”

    Failed? Seriously? He is arguably the most successful politician of the last 30 years – unless you think that “success” in politics means getting the trappings of office rather than achieving a desired political aim. If only he had failed…

  • Arnold Kiel 2nd Jan '20 - 2:05am

    I vaguely remember an uncomfortably cordial Farage-Cable TV-debate a few years ago. Sir Vince’s article confirms my suspicion of naivety at the time.

    Farage is an intelligent and vain man with excellent rhetorical, acting, and oratory skills. He was looking for a platform to advance his prominence and personal finances. He understood that MEP is a well paid job most easily attained (in the UK) by those who are least prepared to make constructive use of it. He is also happy to take money from Banks, Putin, et. al., and associate with Trump or Bannon etc. He has no more convictions than Johnson, except the one that there can only be one Mr.Brexit. If Brexit had been his only interest, the Brexit-party would not have stood at all in the last GE. His backers forced his (partial) retreat, and the whole purpose of this exercise was personal promotion.

    His contributions to the Brexit-debate were among the most racist, nationalistic, and mendacious. He trades in superficial complexity-reduction; effective real-world politicians master it. There is nothing to be learned for anybody interested in building instead of destroying anything.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jan '20 - 5:09am

    @ Yousuf,

    If you’d like to reread my comments, you might see that I’m not offering any opinion on the best voting system. It’s probably more a case of the least worst.

    If Nigel Farage wants more PR then surely you can see there must be a huge downside. Even though we probably agree that it’s fairer.In this case fairness isn’t everything.

    Labour’s problem isnt PR or the lack of it. It’s a lack of votes. The LibDems have the same problem. PR, if it comes at all, won’t change that. In any case the votes have to come first to bring about any change at all.

  • Nonconformistradical 2nd Jan '20 - 8:26am

    @Glenn
    “I’m sorry if it annoys you that I don’t feel European, but I don’t.”
    Did I imply that I was annoyed? No I did not.

    I was merely curious as to why you should feel it necessary to use the phrase ‘awkward bumbling Englishman’. That came across to me as either some kind of inferiority complex or as an unwillingness to engage with others not quite like yourself.

    For the record I too am of mixed British and Jewish ancestry and have no trouble with the concept of engaging with people from other parts of Europe (I simply haven’t tried visiting anywhere in Asia). Engaging with people from other places enables us to learn from them and them to learn from us.

  • Innocent Bystander 2nd Jan '20 - 8:45am

    Will Farage be unemployed and on benefits after 31 Jan?

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jan '20 - 10:13am

    Peter

    Calling for another referendum was antidemocratic and an insult to the people.

    Can you please reply to what I have already said, many times?

    If someone asks you to do something in order to achieve a particular result, but you believe that it will actually do the opposite, what should you do?

    I say that you should try to explain to then why you think it won’t do what they want, and ask them “Do you really want it?”. You say that doing this is an insult, and you should just go and do it anyway. I say what you are suggesting is like what tricksters say when they have fooled people into agreeing to something that is really there just to benefit the tricksters.

    Also, if someone asks you for something that could be done in many different ways, what should you do? I say that you should point out the different forms it can take, and ask them which one they would want. You say that’s an insult, and instead you should just go ahead and do it, even if it is the form they wouldn’t want.

    This became very clear when Theresa May worked out Brexit, and then got opposition from a large number of MPs who said they supported Brexit. These tricksters then lied and said the reason Brexit didn’t happen was due to “antidemocratic” opponents of Brexit rather than themselves.

  • Dilettante Eye 2nd Jan '20 - 10:19am

    “Will Farage be unemployed and on benefits after 31 Jan?”

    I think he will be splitting his time 3 ways in 2020.

    ~ Maintaining a watchful eye on Brexit progress popping up on TV from time to time, keeping Boris to his promises.
    ~ Starting the initial foundations of a team around a Reform Party, of which I sense he will take more of a back seat.
    ~ The latter half of 2020 he will be in the USA for the majority of his time helping out on the Trump campaign trail as Trump heads towards his second term in office in November.

    Marmite character perhaps, but his ‘establishment busting’ attitude and appeal is what works on UK voters, and an asset to Trump in the USA. So no, you won’t see him in any dole queue any time soon.

  • Nonconformistradical
    I’m perfectly willing to engage with people not quite like myself. I do it everyday and certainly this includes people from Europe. I just don’t believe in the European citizen or citizen of the world or global village thing. If I said I feel Irish or Scottish or Italian wherever I go, I suspect we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I think as with being American there’s a kind of “what do you mean, why are you so insular” thing that happens whenever you say your very aware of being English. Part of being English is pretending to be embarrassed about it because other English people tend to tell you off or get agitated when you’re not.

  • Innocent Bystander 2nd Jan ’20 – 8:45am:
    Will Farage be unemployed and on benefits after 31 Jan?

    I doubt Farage will be seeing the inside of a JobCentre anytime soon…

    ‘Brexit party MEPs are EU’s biggest earners in second jobs, study finds’ [September 2019]:
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/26/brexit-party-meps-are-eus-biggest-earners-in-second-jobs-study-finds

    An annual study by Transparency International showed that Nigel Farage is no longer the best-paid British MEP by second job. Now in seventh place among the 227 MEPs with outside earnings, Farage earns about €360,000 (£319,000) a year from his media company, Thorn in the Side.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jan '20 - 10:33am

    I do, of course, blame the Liberal Democrat leadership as well, and said that many times.

    What our party needed to do was show a sympathy and understanding for those who voted Leave, and the reasons they did it, and then explain to them the reason we don’t think Leave will give them what they want, and the fear that it will actually make things worse for them rather than better.

    We should then have made it clear that a second referendum was needed because of the way it became clear there were so many different forms Brexit could take, and how the form that was put together got rejected. So what was needed was a referendum based on the details of how Brexit had been organised, or perhaps one where several forms of Brexit were given as choices and the use of the Alternative Vote system so that people could vote for whatever form they wanted after seeing them all, without fear of splitting the vote and so getting what they least wanted.

    Remaining in the EU needed to be one of the choices because there were so many who said they supported Brexit but would rather remain in the EU than have it in a form proposed by others. That is both those who wanted the sort of deal that Norway and Switzerland have (which was given as an argument for Leave in the referendum) who said they’d rather remain in the EU than leave with no deal, and those who said they’d rather remain in the EU than have the sort of deal Switzerland and Norway have, because that sort of deal is like staying under control of the EU but no longer having a say in it.

    Instead of explaining this, our party leadership just insulted those who voted Leave, showing no understanding of why they did it, and making no attempts to persuade them to think again. And so they threw away so many of those who had been supporters of our party, encouraging them instead to become supporters of the Conservatives.

    Many people voted Leave because they had been tricked by the Conservatives into believing it was EU membership rather than Conservative government right-wing economic policy that had turned our country into the way it works now. So, what actually happened in the December general election was that many voted Conservative in order to oppose the Conservatives.

    And our party, at least its leadership, did nothing to point out how crazy that was.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jan '20 - 11:02am

    I live in a constituency that is Labour, but has been Conservative in the past, and the Labour MP does not have a big majority.

    So, the Brexit Party was very active where I live trying to get votes from Labour supporters in order to lead to the Conservatives winning back the seat (Labour held it with a majority of just over 3000, so not that high).

    People supported Leave because they have been told that will return control back to our country. Well, if our country really was controlled and run by the EU, I might have done that myself. But is it? What actually does the EU do to control our country? What is it that the EU forces us to do that we don’t want and wouldn’t do if we weren’t in the EU?

    As an example, one of the things about our country that many are unhappy about is the way students now have to pay high university fees with borrowing. Well, was it the EU that forced that on us? No. And the same applies to much else that people are unhappy about in this country.

    So, I asked, several times, Brexit Party people standing in the High Street where I live during the election just what was the control the EU has over us that makes them run us and we would change and run things ourselves if we left.

    I got no proper answer. That proved to me the trickster nature of those pushing Brexit. Ordinary people are unhappy about the way our country is run is now so remote. So the idea that leaving the EU and returning control sounds so attractive. But what has really lost control from ordinary people and pushed it to shady billionaires is the privatisation pushed by the Conservative Party since 1979 and the massive cuts in local government which make it almost pointless now. Leaving the EU won’t change that.

    Those Brexit Party people could give no answer to my question to them exactly what is it that the EU has control over and that Leave will return control back to us.

  • Dilettante Eye 2nd Jan '20 - 12:11pm

    Matthew Huntbach

    All the arguments you are making against Brexit were refuted many times, over the last tortuous three years. If you want responses to your points, you really need to go back into the LDV archives.

    That war is over.

    Sadly, some of you on these threads are starting to take on the persona of the proverbial Japanese soldiers who hunker down in the jungle, despite the fact that the war they were fighting, ended decades ago?

    At some point you are going to have to ask the serious and searching questions.

    Are we relevant to British voters in a post Brexit UK?
    Do we have policies that British voters are eager for?
    If the Lib Dem Party didn’t exist would there be a political necessity or public appetite, for the creation of a Lib Dem Party?

    Try to keep the answers to one side of A4 please.

  • Nigel Hardy 2nd Jan '20 - 12:39pm

    @ Peter I agree that our policy of revoking A.50 (if the LibDems had won a majority) was stupid on two counts:
    1. It required explaining to the electorate, and once that happens you’ve lost the case
    2. Such a policy was indeed undemocratic, which is not a good look for the LibDems. Furthermore is was rather arrogant (or hubristic) to assume we’d gain 306 seats in one election.

    This has cost us dear.

  • Nigel Hardy 2nd Jan '20 - 1:31pm

    @ As for your comment about referendums can you explain why it is not democratic to follow one referendum with another after a few years once more facts emerge? Michael Heseltine repeatedly made the point last year that the electorate of 2019 was very different from the one that voted leave in 2016, as many of the leave voters had died off and had been replaced by younger voters coming into the electoral cycle who were more likely to be Remainers. Indeed this was reported in mid January last year in the Independent stating that one of the polling organisations had crunched the numbers, the result was the that of mid January 2019 the change in the demographcs had tilted us into a Remain nation, which would only keep growing.

    Why should the electorate not be allowed to change its mind when the first referendum has since been found to have won on lies? Now that a second referendum has been seen off by the dark forces that won in 2016 the younger voters will have most to lose from leaving the EU. Why is that fair? We will now travel down the road to becoming a failed state in a decade thanks to those dark forces. Poverty will become rampant under a hard right regime that wants to strip us of a full free democratic right to vote, and will gerrymander the seat boundaries to suit themselves. The supreme court will now be tamed, as will Channel 4 News because it tells the inconvenient truth of power. Workers and human rights will be stripped right back, and no more forty hours working directive. Instead workers will become slaves of their billionaire bosses unable to challenege, working all hours for peanuts for fear of being sacked. People will have to work to 75 soon if they will be reliant on a meagre state pension for their retirement. Many will not reach that age, something the EU frowns upon.

  • Nigel Hardy 2nd Jan '20 - 1:32pm

    Other EU nations, which have embraced democracy more than Blighty, recognise that the electorate has the right to think again and change its mind should it wish to. Such right is all part of the basic foundations upon which a healthy democracy exists, one which operates fair proportional electoral systems which prevent a party winning disproportionate majorities on 43% of the vote. Blighty will now have a long struggle before the younger electorate can have another say on whether we rejoin the EU, by which time we will have become the near equivalant of third world status thanks to the lunacy of our political class that put its own greed above the interests of the nation. Scotland will have left us by that time, seeking the economic benefits of EU membership.

    So if the antidemocratic EU is willing to subject errant member states to referenda after referenda as you assert, why does an even more undemocratic nation, that is Blighty not want another referendum?

  • @Nigel An additional reason why it was utterly stupid is that, having spent our entire history campaigning against the obvious injustice of a voting system that translates minority support into majority power, we suddenly found ourselves trying to defend a proposition that a majority of seats elected under First Past the Post would be sufficient to overturn a majority decision made by referendum.

  • Nigel Hardy,
    It’s not undemocratic, but I suspect it would have been pointless as Remain kept losing in virtually every vote over the last three years including in their best shot in the Euro elections!

  • Innocent Bystander 2nd Jan '20 - 2:11pm

    I did not vote leave but I know some honourable people who did.
    The response to the question :
    “Why is it an insult to call for a second referendum?”
    has been rehearsed, as Mr Eye says, innumerable times.
    If the second referendum includes the option to overturn the result of the first then it must be seen as the losers of the Cup Final demanding that the winners subject themselves to a replay, even though they won.
    If the remain option is in a rerun, then it is a rerun, and those who voted leave are insulted. By definition.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jan '20 - 2:17pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    “If Brexit had been his only interest, the Brexit-party would not have stood at all in the last GE.” ???

    If anyone cares to take an interest in UK politics they should at least make some effort to understand the vagaries of our electoral system.

    So from Nigel Farage’s POV, did it make sense to stand candidates in Labour and Lib Dem constituencies even though they had little chance of winning? The answer depends on where his votes were going to come from and who they might have gone to had the candidates not stood. If he was just going to pick up votes that would have gone to the Tories anyway then probably it wouldn’t be a good idea.

    But if he was going to pick up votes from Labour leavers which would otherwise have stayed with Labour then of course it would make sense. I think this is probably what NF was thinking. For all his faults, he has taken the trouble to listen to Labour leavers. Many will have told him they’d never be able to vote Tory but they possibly could vote Brexit Party.

    I’m saying this as a Labour Party member and voter BTW! It’s always a good idea to understand what your opponents are up to!

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jan '20 - 2:30pm

    “….. an insult to call for a second referendum” ???

    I don’t see why. But it would be an insult for Remainers to choose both options. That was the flaw with Labour’s plan. Whatever “Leave” deal they possibly could have cobbled together would not have been accepted by the Leave side. They’d have justifiably boycotted the referendum and there would have been a huge political crisis.

    I’m pleased we now don’t have that problem.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jan '20 - 3:00pm

    Dilettante Eye

    All the arguments you are making against Brexit were refuted many times, over the last tortuous three years.

    I have been asking these questions continuously since the referendum, and I have seen no refutation.

    So, if I am wrong, can you please answer my questions?

    It was very clear to me that many people voted Leave in the referendum because they were unhappy with how our country has developed since the 1970s. The rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer, and democratic control of how our country is run has dropped.

    Yet it was clear to me that what was causing this was much more the economic policies of the Conservative governments (and the other governments that carried on with the same right-wing economic policies) than EU membership.

    What particularly appalled me was to see discussion among right-wing Conservatives that what they wanted Leave for was to be able to push things even further in that way, because to some extent the international co-operation of the EU stopped complete freedom for billionaires playing off one country against another. Yet ordinary people said they wanted it for the exact opposite reason, and the Conservatives were happy to get their support by not making it clear what Leave would really mean.

    If I am wrong, then explain to me why I am wrong. Tell me how leaving the EU will give us a country that reverses all the damages caused to our country by Conservative right-wing economic policies of privatisation and cutting government spending and reducing local government to being pointless due to lack of money.

  • John Peters 2nd Jan '20 - 3:21pm

    The surveys I have seen suggested that Leavers were concerned about sovereignty and Remainers were concerned about the economy.

    Any argument suggesting that Leavers were more concerned with the economy fails at the first hurdle.

  • Nigel Hardy 2nd Jan '20 - 3:58pm

    @ Glenn:

    The reason or reasons I suspect Remain kept losing the argument was down to inabilty to articulate an argument as one voice. Without a Blair like figure on our side from the Labour party bringing all remain voices on board and acting as spokesman, the argument for Remain was always going to struggle. Whereas Blair has always seen the bigger picture of all nations working together, his geriatric successor can only see the opposite, and could not understand the logic of a further referendum.

    The other thing is that no-one articulated a bold empassioned narrative for the human benefits of EU membership; FOM. The right to live, work and study abroad, to fall in love and build families in different EU countries. Being part of a larger group of nations fighting climate change and the likes of Russian meddling together. No one lit that fire in the nations belly. The Leave side by contrast was much more organised.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Jan '20 - 3:59pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    “….many people voted Leave in the referendum because they were unhappy with how our country has developed since the 1970s. The rich have got richer, the poor have got poorer, and democratic control of how our country is run has dropped.”

    True enough.

    “……what was causing this was much more the economic policies of the Conservative governments (and the other governments that carried on with the same right-wing economic policies) than EU membership.”

    Possibly. But what did all these governments have in common? They were all pro EU, which is itself highly neoliberal and, I would argue, pro capital and anti labour. They all endorsed a pro globalisation agenda which has meant that we’ve allowed our manufacturing industries to close down. Why bother making things when its cheaper to import them? That’s fine unless you happened to depend on manufacturing industries for your livelihood.

    So look at it from the POV of (annoyed) voters in Stoke who’ve seen the steep decline of the city’s pottery industry. They’re not just (annoyed) with UK governments generally, they’re very pissed off with the Labour Party for being just as bad as the Tories. Needless to say the Lib Dems don’t get a second thought! What can they do to really shake things up? They can vote for Brexit and they can vote for Brexit supporting Tory candidates.

    There’s a problem throughout the EU with the left of centre parties losing the support of their working class bases. They no longer trust them to look after their interests. It’s not just a UK phenomenon.

    Everywhere it’s a problem of association. In the UK, they didn’t like the 2010-15 coalition which was run by pro EU Tories and Lib Dems. So how best to get one over on them in return? How about voting to leave the EU? They won’t like that!

  • Katharine Pindar 2nd Jan '20 - 5:24pm

    I think Matthew Huntbach and Nigel Hardy are writing very well-argued posts in this thread; thanks for the representation, chaps!

  • Innocent Bystander 2nd Jan '20 - 5:37pm

    Matthew,
    I firmly answered your question on insults offered to leavers and with all respect, you only know your own reasons for whichever way you voted.
    There is no need to help the rest of us by explaining how we all voted the way we did despite your omniscient clarity. Leavers (although I was not one) are entitled to be respected and not told what their motives were.

  • Nigel Hardy 2nd Jan '20 - 6:29pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach:

    Your point about the reason for the leave vote hits the nail firmly on the head. The way the country has developed since the early 1970’s has been at the expense of the less well off in society, which naturally has had its consequences.

    When people on margins of society, who might also be termed as blue collar workers, find their industrialised jobs taken away from them with no fulfilling replacement then resentment will build. The right wing rhetoric in that time has been to blame Europe, and all those ‘nasty’ forriners. It has been all too easy for the Conservatives to blame a distant overseas body for their own heartless policies instead of listening to those voters. Labour also has to take its share of the blame here too.

    It is little wonder then that those most disencfranchised from democracy, the rural shires and northern steel manaufacturing and coal mining towns should vote the way they did in 2016. The propaganda had become all to believable for them, and when given the chance, for once in their lives, of a vote that actually counted they wanted to use it! Many even saw it as an opportunity of kicking the political elite in Westminster.

    Instead what they have done is to vote to make themselves poorer for years to come without actually realising it because of the dishonesty of our political class. When the downturn bites you can be sure that other scapegoats will be used. Maybe even the EU will be blamed for years to come, in the same way some ministers went on air during the election campaign gleefully blaming Labour for the shape of the economy today, when they’ve been in opposition for a decade now!

  • If the decision in 2016 was to remain, would you have campaigned for a second referendum? Of course not. You wanted a re-run of the referendum because you lost.

    That is why it is not democratic to keep having referenda until you get the right result. The fact that the EU does this is proof that it is a profoundly undemocratic organisation.

    The British public has voted “to get Brexit done” in such numbers that the result is indisputable, It suggests that a second referendum would produce a similar result and it suggests that many remainers respect the result of the referendum.

    This and many other threads here are about why the LibDems did so badly in the election when they were the only clear Remain party.

    I think you have your answer. The LibDems have proven themselves to be extreme, seriously anti-democratic and unwilling to see anything wrong with that. There are three reasons for a start.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jan '20 - 7:02pm

    Peter Martin

    In the UK, they didn’t like the 2010-15 coalition which was run by pro EU Tories and Lib Dems. So how best to get one over on them in return? How about voting to leave the EU?

    So, there we are: people have been tricked into voting Conservative in order to show their opposition to what the Conservative Party stands for – and what it wants Leave for so that it can push it even further.

    And all those supporters of Leave writing here think that’s fine and wonderful, and I’m a bad person for suggesting it is not.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jan '20 - 7:20pm

    Peter

    If the decision in 2016 was to remain, would you have campaigned for a second referendum? Of course not. You wanted a re-run of the referendum because you lost.

    I have already made it very clear: what concerned me is that the reason many people gave for voting Leave was the precise opposite of what the right-wing Conservatives have been saying between themselves what they want it for.

    You, and all the other supporters of Leave here have said NOTHING in response to that.

    Then, as I said, Leave did not happen because when it was organised by Theresa May, right-wing extremists leavers voted against it. They then lied and put out the message that Leave had not happened because opponents of Leave had stopped it.

    You, and all the other supporters of Leave here have said NOTHING in response to that.

    So that makes it clear, you are happy that people have been tricked into voting Conservative because they are opposed to what the Conservatives stand for, and happy that this will result in extreme right-wing ConservatIves pushing our country even further down the rote that people were tricked into thinking that leaving the EU would reverse.

    However, I do blame the Liberal Democrat leadership as well, because they did nothing to help explain properly what the EU does and how it does it, and to see if that would mean people who voted Leave might change their minds. They did nothing to explain to people how right-wing Conservatives had trike them. Instead, they seemed happy for poor working class people to switch to voting Conservative and stop voting Liberal Democrat. I am disgusted by that, as someone who joined the Liberal Party because I felt it was the best opposition to the Conservatives where I lived, and who later was a Liberal Democrat councillor for one of the 10% poorest wards in the country, where people voted for us because we worked hard to stand up for them.

    The Liberal Democrat leadership also did not make clear what I felt needed to be done – a second referendum was needed that was not just Leave/Remain, but was instead carefully about the various options, with a proper explanation of what they really meant, done in an Alternative Vote way to stop the vote-splitting problem that has been a big cause of the mess we’ve seen.

  • Matthew,

    The poor Brexi’s and Lexi’s finally won something and it makes them feel good. The problem is when you point out to poor Peter he’s won a right wing hard Brexit not his fantasy Lexit well reality frightens him and he reverts to

    “In the UK, they didn’t like the 2010-15 coalition which was run by pro EU Tories and Lib Dems. So how best to get one over on them in return? How about voting to leave the EU?”

    trying to make out the mess we are in is nothing to do with him, but he campaigned for Brexit and got it so dear Peter “Your mess own it”. Other Brexiteers are now equally defensive but the sad fact for them is it is “Your mess own it”. Going forward as bad things happen they will try to twist and slither away by blaming other but the phrase “Your mess own it” will haunt them. In poor Peter’s case Sunderland awaits, tis only a matter of time, poor Peter such responsiblity.

  • Am not sure how the same Brexit supremacists who wrapped themselves in shrouds of referendum majorities are saying now that the govt has a mandate to get Brexit done (whatever that means). When I looked 52% of us voted at the election for parties intent to setback or end Brexit – if the outcome doesn’t make you angry, it should.

  • Peter 2nd Jan ’20 – 6:46pm:
    If the decision in 2016 was to remain, would you have campaigned for a second referendum? Of course not. You wanted a re-run of the referendum because you lost.

    Nor would there have been any suggestion of ‘compromising’ with leave voters by negotiating to leave parts of the EU while remaining in others.

  • And Farage and Co would have shut up shop would they Jeff? Of cause now I understand why you don’t want scrunity, for if I’d made a mistake as bad as yours well neither would I. However as bad things happen going forward the question ” Why did you vote for this mess Jeff” won’t go away. What a sunlit future you face, Ok berefit of sunlight and unicorns but the one you voted for. Trying to exile the clown in the mirror is going to be a job and a half for you I do feel.

  • Peter Watson 2nd Jan '20 - 8:46pm

    @Jackmc
    “Am not sure how the same Brexit supremacists who wrapped themselves in shrouds of referendum majorities are saying now that the govt has a mandate to get Brexit done (whatever that means). When I looked 52% of us voted at the election for parties intent to setback or end Brexit”
    True, but before the Election Lib Dems made it abundantly clear that:
    (a) A Parliamentary majority was a democratic mandate to do whatever was in the manifesto (e.g. Revoke if they won) so they cannot use the lack of majority support from the electorate to challenge the legitimacy of Johnson’s Brexit.
    (b) A vote for Labour was a vote for Brexit regardless of Labour’s actual stated policy, undermining claims now that they were not votes for Brexit.

    “if the outcome doesn’t make you angry, it should.”
    Indeed, but just as angry with the incompetent Remain campaign as with any Brexiters!

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Jan '20 - 8:58pm

    Paul Walter 1st Jan ’20 – 12:11pm
    Party list PR creates multiple opportunities for whipping.
    The Single Transferable Vote empowers the voter. Why would she think the Irish chose it?

  • Peter Watson
    Exactly the argument I had on here many times. I still maintain that the notion of Burkean representative democracy is essentially rule by a form of inherited nobility, that MP’s should actually be delegates and that in the absence of clear majoritarian permission the order of the day is compromise. Remain’s mistakes were believing that they were going to win and not going for May’s deal. Instead they believed in their own BS and were crushed. Not sensible.

  • Peter Martin 3rd Jan '20 - 9:19am

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    “…people have been tricked into voting Conservative…..And all those supporters of Leave writing here think that’s fine and wonderful…..I’m a bad person for suggesting it is not.”

    A bad person? I’m sure you aren’t! Some of my best friends are remainers 😉 They’re OK! Their problem is they view the EU through rose tinted spectacles. Just quite why I’m not sure. They’d never, for example, agree with the Westminster govt treating Scotland the same way as the EU treated Greece in the 2015 crisis. Can you imagine the uproar if the BoE froze all Scottish bank accounts in the event of a serious dispute with the Holyrood Govt?

    I’m not quite sure why there wasn’t a peep of protest when the EU did it. That’s one reason why I’m anti the EU. They seem to have the unfathomable knack of silencing all leftish opposition. The LibDems have always been, according to Ed Davey (see his New Year Message), ” a party determined to shake up the system.” Except, though, where the EU is concerned!

    Most Labour Leave supporters, like myself, campaigned for the Party as we always did. The election wasn’t just about Brexit after all. It just takes 20% or so to think differently to result in a huge loss of Leave seats.

    Were they “tricked” or duped. No. They put party loyalty second that’s all. Brexit trumped everything else for them. They might well say you were tricked into supporting a neoliberal capitalist establishment. Have you thought they could be right?

  • nigel hunter 3rd Jan '20 - 9:52am

    Neoliberal capitalist establishment. Are you certain we are not leaving one ,the EU.in your eyes just to be taken over by another, the US. We are drowning in ‘Americanisms’ of all sorts.Will we have a say in remaining Brits or be absorbed from one institution where we had a say to one where (Trumpism) we do not.

  • Jayne Mansfield 3rd Jan '20 - 11:25am

    @ Sopwith Morley,
    It was only the listlessness of temporary illness that caused me to check what the current thinking of the Liberal democrats now is. This I promise will be the last time I will comment on here.

    Would you mind awfully not assuming that I am unaware of the Anti-Federalist League, UKIP , and the `Brexit Party. I respect the views of Dr Alan Sked and his reasons for forming the League, one does not have to agree with the aims to respect their objections.

    ‘In the LSE archives – the Anti Federalist League’.

    You ask why the party’s that grew out of that , UKIP and the Brexit Party is considered a right wing party. Well changes relating to racism were raised a long time ago by Alan Sked and I am afraid that if you haven’t heard the outright abhorrent racism from some in your party , or the dogwhistles of its leaders, you have a tin ear.

    Not all supporters of UKIP are racist, but if one is a racist, UKIP, I would argue, would be the party of choice. The Breaking point poster with Nigel Farage fronting it, was a political low. I cannot imagine any tactic, more likely to cause fear, insecurity, and a racial response in those who feel that their culture is threatened, one of the factors that has led to Brexit. Even in a country that has some politicians in ALL parties , who have a lack of moral compass, enabling them to feel comfortable with behaviour underpinned by the idea that the end justifies the means, I can only think of a couple that would be prepared to stoop that low.

    I asked the question, when did Nigel Farage start to argue for political reforms, not when the Ant- Federalist League and subsequent parties argued vociferously for them. The first I remember was 2015, when, and it is outrageous, UKIP got 1 MP for millions of votes. I believe that with a fairer voting system, more UKIP MPs should have taken their place in the Houses of Parliament , and in so doing faced the scrutiny of their peers, ( If the UKIP members actually turned up to earn their money). There might have been a different attitude to the EU and we might not be leaving if the arguments had, over the years, raged within our parliamentary system.

    In what way, has

  • jayne mansfield 3rd Jan '20 - 12:31pm

    @ Sopwith Morley,
    In what way has Nigel Farage ever shown an interest in the working class communities of the North, communities that were decimated by his heroine Thatcher?

    The Anti Federalist League arguments have been replaced by evidence free prejudice by a group of well connected former right wing Tories, who because of our unfair voting system, has facilitated establishment figures like Farage and his funders, to portray themselves as ‘anti’ establishment figures.

    I dare say that when the full consequences of Brexit are felt in many years time, Farage will have ‘cracked’ America as a media celeb, and will not longer have to plead the poverty he has suffered because of his selfless political idealism.

  • @ Jayne Mansfield “a group of well connected former right wing Tories, who because of our unfair voting system, has facilitated establishment figures like Farage and his funders, to portray themselves as ‘anti’ establishment figures.”

    Absolutely correct, Jayne. A couple of years ago I came across Farage in Belgium in the matey matey company of billionaire expat former Tory Party Deputy Treasurer Michael Ashcroft.

    Michael Ashcroft – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Michael_Ashcroft
    Michael Anthony P. Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft, KCMG, PC (born 4 March 1946) is a British–Belizean businessman and politician. He is a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Ashcroft founded Michael A.
    Residence‎: ‎London, Maidenhead, Belize Political party‎: ‎Conservative Party
    Citizenship‎: ‎British; Belizean; Turks and Caicos … Net worth‎: ‎US$1.6 billion (December 2019)

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Jan '20 - 3:04pm

    Peter Martin

    They’d never, for example, agree with the Westminster govt treating Scotland the same way as the EU treated Greece in the 2015 crisis.

    But the Westminster government does treat Scotland the same way as the EU treats Greece. Greece use the Euro currency that most, but not all, of the EU use, and that was the issue – because of that, Greece could not arbitrarily reduce the value of the Euro. Similarly, Scotland uses the Pound currency, so it can’t arbitrarily reduce the value of the Pound.

    Given that Britain does not use the Euro currency, what you have said does nothing to answer my question about what is it that the EU does to “control” Britain that we could change to make our country much more like people want if we left it?

    You think a new sort of insular socialist UK could be built up if we left the EU, but the EU stops us from doing that? Well, ok, could you give some more details about how that would work? And if that’s what people wanted, they should have voted Labour, because Jeremy Corbyn was a prominent supporter of that sort of thing back in the 1980s when just perhaps our economy had not been pushed too far to the right to make it impossible to push it back that way.

    As I said, the issue for me is that the right-wing Conservatives had a clear plan for what they wanted to do by leaving the EU, and that was to push our country even further in the way the Conservatives have pushed it since 1979, changing it from one of the most equal to one of the most unequal countries in Europe.

    Anyone who voted Conservative on 12 December 2019 voted to support that. The Conservatives have managed to fool people into thinking it’s EU membership that’s caused the inequality, and to get them to vote Conservative to push it the other way, when it will really do the opposite.

    The Conservatives were assisted in getting support to push our country even more to the extreme right not just by the likes of you, but also by the likes of the Liberal Democrat leadership who just dismissed all those who voted Leave rather than putting effort into explaining to them what the EU really does and getting them to consider whether Leave is really a good idea when it will give what the Conservative economic right-wing wants.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Jan '20 - 3:32pm

    Peter Martin

    They might well say you were tricked into supporting a neoliberal capitalist establishment. Have you thought they could be right?

    Well, for a start I completely disagree with that use of the word “neoliberalism”. The renewal and growth of the Liberal Party towards the end of the 20th century was precisely because true modern liberalism stands up against “free market” economics. We know that does not give true freedom because of the way it pushes up inequality and ends up giving real power just to the super-rich.

    When our party merged with the SDP, we insisted that its central purpose should be described as “none shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity”, which was the already the definition of what the modern Liberal Party was about in its constitution. So that is TRUE modern liberalism, and it is what “neoliberalism” SHOULD mean, as “neo” means “modern”.

    Using the word “neoliberalism” to mean the precise opposite of that has been a deliberate technique of opponents of us to try and damage us. We should have stood up and stopped them from doing that.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Jan '20 - 4:21pm

    Peter Martin

    Of course we all understand why the minor parties don’t like FPTP and argue for a more proportional system .

    Well, minor parties do well with FPTP if they are minor because their support is concentrated in a small area. That’s what’s led us not to have majority governments in recent years due to the SNP and Northern Ireland parties – minor for the whole of the UK, but majority in small parts of it.

    Anyway, why is it that discussion of FPTP and proportional representation hardly ever mentions the main reason I support it?

    FPTP means ONLY local majorities get representation. If you are in a minority where you live, you have no MP to speak for you.

    I grew up in a working class family in south-east England when every MP in our areas was Conservative. So we had no representation, because neither local Conservative MPs nor Labour MPs from the north and urban places could or even bothered to try and represent us.

    It seemed to me that there was a cosy agreement between the Conservative Party and Labour Party that the first should have almost all the MPs in the south, and the second almost all the MP in northern and urban areas. So that is why I originally joined the Liberal Party, as they seemed to be the only party that was truly interested in giving us representation.

    The collapse of big industry with strong trade unions, and the Labour Party becoming less of a trade union dominated party means more people across the country are coming to feel like us southern working class people, who never did have strong trade unions, felt back then when I first joined the Liberal Party.

    The problem then is that all these people feel they have no true say in how our country is run, but have been tricked into thinking that is due to the EU having “control” over us. So they voted Leave for that reason – many when asked why they supported Leave more or less said that.

    And that’s why I think the Liberal Democrats should have worked hard to explain to those people how the EU actually works, how it doesn’t really have the sort of control over us that has turned our country into the way it is, and how actually that is much more down to the Conservative Party and its economic policy.

  • Matthew,
    The delusionists among us have many reasons for voting leave but when challenged their reasons fade away to a believe they are special and are being held back by the evil EU. When challenged on the cost they pretend there will be none. Alas for them reality will teach them they are not special, the world doesn’t owe them a living and there will be a high cost. No doubt they believe their imaginary friends will rally round them, alas they will find their “friends” barely tolerated them and certainly don’t like or respect them.

  • The question that keeps popping up when poor Peter posts is ” Why is a man so loved by his Labour colleagues forced to post on a Lib Dem blog, and not only posts but posts continually as if no one else lets him”. I suspect poor Peter is not as loved as he would have us believe, indeed he rekes of please take me seriously, as no one else does, bless just bless.

  • Arnold Kiel 3rd Jan '20 - 5:37pm

    Matthew Huntbach,

    I agree with most of your points, but I am afraid our anti-Brexit arguments were not suffering from lack of presentation, but lack of reception. In the eyes of many leave voters, Brexit has one enduring quality: it shakes things up. The more Parliament and us resisted it, the more this quality was reinforced. And this effect was and is valued very highly by leavers, oftentimes more than they fear the cost. I can’t understand it myself, but this is my impression. U-turning on a leave-vote, mentally or practically, would have amounted to writing off the only opportunity many of them ever saw to being a political subject and disrupt things. This simply meant too much for them.

    The other reception problem was that the only available vehicle to revisit or stop Brexit was called Jeremy Corbyn. That was simply too much for them.

  • John Peters 3rd Jan '20 - 5:46pm

    For a party which prides itself on its evidence based policies there seems to be surfeit of cognitive dissonance.

    In the eyes of many leave voters, Brexit has one enduring quality: it gets us out of the EU.

  • Peter Watson 3rd Jan '20 - 5:55pm

    @frankie “The question that keeps popping up when poor Peter posts …”
    Posts by Peter Martin and others from outside the party help prevent this site from becoming the sort of echo chamber that is the last thing Lib Dems need as they seek to reverse dismal performances in recent General Elections.
    The moderators do a great job in ensuring a lack of blatant trolling and if Lib Dems disagree with posts from outsiders (many of whom would appear to be past/occasional/potential Lib Dem voters) then this is a good forum for rehearsing the counter-arguments.
    When you do this yourself (i.e. those posts in which you cite examples and articles which back up your anti-Brexit case) you are so much more persuasive than when you descend to personal abuse which I feel is counter-productive.
    Also, those Lib Dems who are less enamoured with the Coalition years and an infamous book with an orange hue might find common cause with some outsiders if Brexit is put to one side.
    (P.S. In this context I am also an outsider, but of the Remainish variety!)

  • Peter Martin 4th Jan '20 - 9:04am

    @ Matthew Huntbach

    I seem to remember explaining to you before that the term “neoliberal” has little, if anything, to do with the British LibDem party. It’s simply paranoid to think that “the word neoliberalism to mean the precise opposite of {what you’d like it to mean} has been a deliberate technique of opponents of us to try and damage us”.

    For a start, English is an international language and you can’t impose a meaning on words from England. Other languages have very similar, if not the same, word with the same meaning. “Néolibéral” in French. Neoliberal in lots of other languages even including Scottish Gaelic and Basque.

    “Neoliberalism” is contemporarily used to refer to market-oriented reform policies such as eliminating price controls, deregulating capital markets, lowering trade barriers and reducing state influence in the economy, especially through privatisation and government “Neoliberalism” is contemporarily used to refer to market-oriented reform policies such as “eliminating price controls, deregulating capital markets, lowering trade barriers” and reducing state influence in the economy, especially through privatization and austerity.edausterity. That’s just the way it is. You can’t change that.

    I just wonder if you ever spend much time talking to “these people” who don’t much like the EU. You might want to give it a try sometime. “These people” might even do a bit of their own explaining. They might ask you what you feel about the drive to what Guy Verhofstadt terms the United States of Europe. That’s where the EU is heading but the problem is that most of the people in the EU, and not just in the UK, don’t want to go there. Not because we have intrinsic dislike of people in other countries but simply because we feel that it will never work.

    The social, political and economic conditions aren’t like they are in the USA.

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    Sometimes you do come out with something sensible. Yes, voters here do want to give the pro EU establishment a good kicking. They do want to shake things up. It’s happened elsewhere in the EU too. It’s been a big failing on the part of the PTB in the EU that they have pushed to get where we are today without bothering to obtain the necessary public support. The PTB are still trying, without asking everyone what they think, to steer the EU towards becoming a U.S.E.

    I can’t see it ending well.

  • Arnold Kiel 4th Jan '20 - 2:17pm

    Peter Martin,

    “@ Arnold Kiel, Sometimes you do come out with something sensible.” Or maybe not, because you misinterpret me.

    “Yes, voters here do want to give the (…) establishment a good kicking.”

    But it had nothing to do with the EU. Neither subjectively until 2015, nor objectively at any point. The membership question just happened to be the question put to them at the moment they would have said no any request to confirm the status quo. And it could easily be loaded by reckless leave-campaigners. Voters’ true problems are entirely domestically caused.

    A point missed also by John Peters: leaving the EU will exacerbate, not fix, people’s valid grievances behind their leave-vote.

    The biggest irony is that the current Tories they empowered to “get Brexit done” will not only continue to make things worse for them (always the only true motive of leading Brexiters); they will now create conditions which will make this irreversible: terminal deindustrialisation of the north, further weakening of public finances, fiscal, environmental, and social dumping, disenfranchisement of left-leaning voters through gerrymandering, voter-ID legislation, destitution, and further weakening of legal recourse (starting with the Supreme Court).

  • Peter Martin 4th Jan '20 - 7:14pm

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    “But it had nothing to do with the EU.” ???

    I’m not sure why you think that. I’m guessing that amongst your UK friends and family you’ve not come across many, if any, who are of the view that the UK’s membership of the EU isn’t such a good thing. In which case, I can only advise that you need to get out a little more and talk to the people with the votes. Have a trip up north too!

    Having said that, I wouldn’t endorse all Leave arguments. However, the underlying issue, which I would say nearly all leavers would agree on, is over the question of national self determination. We don’t like the idea that EU law holds supremacy over UK law. It goes hand in hand with with the issue of national identity. Are we British or are we European?

    If everyone had just wanted to get back at the establishment, and we’d all been happy enough with EU membership, there would have have been other ways to do it. We could have voted in Ed Miliband in 2015, for example. Actually I did vote for him, but I would have to admit that his Labour campaign was uninspiring to the point of being insipid. I can totally undertsand why we lost badly.

  • Peter Martin 4th Jan '20 - 7:40pm

    @frankie,

    You ask why I post on a Lib Dem blog.

    The answer is that at heart I’m a probably more cultural Liberal than hard line lefty. I have voted Lib Dem in the past. My economics, of which you seem to disapprove, even though you don’t understand what I’m saying, is post Keynesian. Keynes was himself a Liberal. He understood more about economics more than he was ever prepared to write down IMO. His advice to the British government during WW2 was faultless. Without him we could well have lost. I’d say he was that important.

    All that stuff about running a surplus in the good times to be able to afford a deficit in the bad times was just for public consumption. When the chips were down and there was a war to be won he advocated that we run a deficit all the time -providing that inflation was kept under control.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jan '20 - 9:28pm

    Peter Martin

    I seem to remember explaining to you before that the term “neoliberal” has little, if anything, to do with the British LibDem party.

    Well, look here for the Wikipedia page on “Neoliberalism” where it says that the word has had a variety of meanings, and only recently has it been set to mean what it is now generally used to mean. As it says, it is a word used only by those who are opposed to what they use it to mean, no-one actually described themselves as “neoliberal”.

    It seems to me that the word had been pushed a lot in this country in very recent years to get much more usage for what is it is currently used to mean. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that this has coincided with the time when Clegg and his cronies have tried to push the Liberal Democrats in that way, and so wrecked out party. I think it’s been done by opponents of us to help support the Cleggies in wrecking our party.

    Do you really think ordinary people who don’t think much about the details of technical political words will really just go along thinking there is no link at all between what the word “neoliberal” is now used to mean and what the Liberal Democrat party is about?

    Suppose we started pushing the word “neo-socialism” to mean the politics of the likes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Both these people originated as socialists, and used the principle of socialism to develop the concept of a strong government run by a party which formed a strong set of policies on its own rather than within an elected Parliament. Under those grounds, calling it “neo-socialism” makes sense, because that’s what socialist parties do.

    So, if we pushed that word to mean what I suggest, would people now who call themselves “socialists” feel that’s fine and ok? Would they be satisfied by me telling them “Oh, that word neo-socialist has little if anything to do with your socialist party”?

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jan '20 - 9:30pm

    Sorry, the link should have ended after the word “here”, I must have made a spelling mistake that meant it didn’t stop.

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jan '20 - 9:34pm

    Peter Martin

    I just wonder if you ever spend much time talking to “these people” who don’t much like the EU.

    Why do you suppose that I don’t?

    As I keep saying, what has really got me is listening to what ordinary people who voted Leave say about why they did that, and what right-wing Conservatives plan for it, that I read in places like the Spectator magazine.

  • Arnold Kiel 5th Jan '20 - 9:09am

    Peter Martin,

    I am well aware of “the view that the UK’s membership of the EU isn’t such a good thing”. Little wonder after decades of the Murdoch-press campaigning against it and lazy politicians jumping on this bandwagon to divert from their own, entirely domestic failings. This view is never substantiated by a rational cost/benefit evaluation. Most leavers cannot even give a single substantive argument.

    And hat includes you: “…question of national self determination. We don’t like the idea that EU law holds supremacy over UK law. It goes hand in hand with with the issue of national identity.”

    This is a fact-free, wrong, and superficial campaign slogan, like all the other ones: 27 countries agreed that if certain (rather insignificant things like product standards and external tariffs) are regulated uniformly among them, it will create many Billions of additional wealth for Europeans without meaningfully limiting national self-determination and national identity. No Brexiter, including yourself could never answer the simple question: which law would you abolish or change (how?) after Brexit with which benefits exceeding which cost?

    “Are we British or are we European?” What a stupid, irrelevant, and at the same time incendiary question? Il lies at the heart of the UK’s manufactured and wholly unnecessary division. No German, Spaniard, or French would ever ask him/her-self this. We are obviously all both. It is as meaningful as asking: am I a broccoli or a vegetable?

  • John Peters 5th Jan '20 - 9:35am

    The majority Remainer view appears to be – it’s the economy stupid. They know the price of everything, the value of nothing. Leavers predominantly don’t like mouldy vegetables.

  • Peter Martin 5th Jan '20 - 11:35am

    @ Arnold Kiel,

    I’m not sure if we in the UK will ever consider ourselves as entirely European. We’ll go so far but no further. I would say that we were basically OK with the old EEC but the change to the EU was a step, or several steps, too far for us. We opted out of the euro and we opted out of Schengen. Hardly anyone in the UK, including most Remainers, thinks those decisions were mistaken. When historians look back on our involvement with the EU they will likely consider the Brexit process started then.

    Of course, a typical “German, Spaniard, or French” person may well take a different view. They may not choose to ask the same awkward questions we do. That is entirely up to them.

    Maybe it’s in our DNA. Or the DNA of the English speaking world. Canada and the USA should according to your benefits and relative costs argument be one and the same country. The same with New Zealand and Australia. Yet there is vitually no popular support in either Canada or New Zealand for any move towards political union with their larger neighbour. It’s not primarily an economic question.

    Yes, we all want to trade freely and have friendly relationships. But a common currency and common Parliament? Political Unification? Nein Danke!

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th Jan '20 - 11:39am

    Arnold Kiel

    Yes, what you’ve said explains it very well. People were told that the EU “controls” our country, and that leaving it would “turn the clock back”. So, of course that made Leave seem very attractive to people who are unhappy about how our country has gone in recent years.

    But the right-wing Conservatives want Leave to push things even further that way. I found it outrageous that they were happy to get votes by tricking people into thinking the opposite. The mess then came because our party instead of putting effort into explaining what the EU really does, and showing sympathy to Leave voters, but telling them how Leave won’t reverse what the Conservatives have done to make us one of the most unequal countries in Europe, just said rude things about them and so encouraged them to vote Conservative.

    It was mad that in the three years after the referendum there was no proper explanation about the EU, just the right-wingers continuing their trickery by pushing “We must have Leave because people voted for it”, but stopping it when an arrangement was made, so that they could then put in their own extreme version, and have complete control of our country.

  • Peter Martin 5th Jan '20 - 12:15pm

    @ Matthew,

    ” in the three years after the referendum there was no proper explanation about the EU”

    I did my best to help you out by, several times on different forums, by posting the link below. You invited Guy Verhofstadt to your last conference, where he gave his speech on the importance of Empires. But he was speaking largely to the converted. You should have had him on TV in front of Andrew Marr and Andrew Neil. On chat shows with Jo Swinson. Or maybe he was just too busy?

    But anyway here is the link to his book. The title says it all.

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/100books/en/detail/97/the-united-states-of-europe-manifesto-for-a-new-europe?edition=en

  • Innocent Bystander 5th Jan '20 - 2:39pm

    I have always regretted that we did not join the Euro (at 1.4). We would have been forced to be full Europeans and all this mess would never have happened.
    A USE would take a lot more than Verhofstadt’s wish list.

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th Jan '20 - 5:16pm

    @ Peter Martin

    The book you have given a link to does nothing at all to answer my question.

    I am asking what it is that the EU does NOW that amounts to “control” of our country. That was what was said about Leave by those arguing to vote for it – that the EU is in control of our country, with the hint that therefore there would be big changes in how our country is if we leave the EU.

    OK, so if that is the case, it should be easy to say all sorts of things that the EU forces on us, and how they would be changed if we left the EU. What exactly are those thing that would make life better for all those low income working class people who voted Leave because they are unhappy about the way our country has gone since 1979?

    A book which proposes more control the EU could have does not say what control the EU has now, and that’s what I’ve been asking about.

  • Matthew Huntbach 5th Jan '20 - 5:46pm

    So, does having no agreements with your neighbours mean you have a more free life? Well, that in effect is what the Leave people are saying here.

    It’s nonsense. If you have no agreement with your neighbours, you can’t trust them, you always worry about what they might do, you have less freedom because you have to be more cautious. Without any agreement, your neighbours might play loud music that hurts you, or put things in their garden that damage the environment of yours, or park a car in a way that blocks yours, and so on.

    So, an agreement that you won’t play music so loud, that you won’t do certain things in your garden, that you won’t park your car in blocking way and so on leads you all to more general freedom, even if it also stops you from doing some things.

    You might meet with your neighbours to discuss ways to co-operate that will help you. Obviously, getting the balance right is important, so there will be things where it would be wrong to interfere with each other. Having the occasional meeting to discuss things and to come to agreements is helpful.

    So, to what extent is the EU taking things too far? I appreciate that free movement and employment between all the countries is an issue. We benefit from it, in that we can go to other European countries, but also I do appreciate that the concern that it means working class people lose jobs because employers would rather bring in people from other EU countries who accept lower pay and can live in shared accommodation.

    However, I don’t see how that freedom of movement amounts to “control”. So, again, just what is the “control” that means the EU governs us, as those pushing Leave are suggesting?

    All I am really saying here is that what we needed from the start was sensible discussion about exactly what the EU does and how it does it and puts together agreements to get it. This is what was needed to get a proper decision on whether to stay in the EU or not.

    But we didn’t get that from either side, not before the referendum or in the years afterwards when Leave did not happen because some Leavers voted against the agreement that was made to leave.

  • Peter Martin 5th Jan '20 - 5:48pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    The future direction of the EU is probably more important than the EU as it exists now. We had a second referendum in Europe 41 years after the first one. If we’d stayed in we might, at this rate, have had another by 2057. What changes can we expect in this period? That’s the question you should be asking.

    But to answer your question as asked:

    ” what control the EU has now……” ??

    I suppose the issue of free movement figured predominantly in the EU referendum. That was the big one. I don’t want to go through all that now. We both know the arguments. It wouldn’t have been a problem but for the imposition of economic austerity. Mainly in the EU but also here to a lesser extent. That’s where the EU shot itself in the foot.

    There are also the rules imposed by the EU to promote so-called free trade. There really isn’t any such thing. This is a much bigger problem but one that is rarely discussed.

    The EU is highly neoliberal/odoliberal in its rules for euro users. The only way to survive well within those rules is to net export. Now, obviously, not everyone can do that. The countries who can’t end up with depressed economies. Either way, they are bad trading partners for the UK. We end up with a large imbalance in our trade which has to be funded by debt.

    So my question to you: what are/were we allowed to do under EU rules to rectify the situation, improve prospects for our exporters and balance our trade? Which we do manage to do with the rest of the world.

    Do you see the relevance of this question as regards “making life better for all those low income working class people who voted Leave” ?

  • Innocent Bystander 5th Jan '20 - 6:04pm

    Could I suggest that we remainers just stop repeating all the reasons for staying in the EU?
    It’s the definition of “split milk”. The campaign during the referendum was the disaster and the reasons should be analysed because the same strategic and tactical flaws damaged the election campaign.
    No one wants to hear ” I told you so” and “I was right all along”, over and over again.
    My reasons for these repeated failures are
    1. a belief that anyone who does not share the dream (whatever that is) is contemptible and should be shouted at until they surrender
    2. tell people that they will lose their jobs unless they vote as they are told because the British people always give in to threats
    3. we need some C list loose mouthed, uncontrollable celebs to flick the V sign and offer insults to potential voters and it won’t matter because they have millions of adoring fans
    4. the workers who have seen their factories move to Eastern Europe and even Turkey love it because they think that will help their development.
    That’s a start.

  • Peter Martin 5th Jan ’20 – 5:48pm:
    If we’d stayed in we might, at this rate, have had another [referendum] by 2057. What changes can we expect in this period? That’s the question you should be asking.

    Exactly. The referendum decision wasn’t just for Christmas, it was for a “generation” (at least). To my mind the most misleading word in the referendum was “remain”. It implied that it was a vote for things to stay the same. That’s never been on offer. The real choice was between ‘Continue with “ever closer union”‘ or ‘Leave’. The British people understood that and decided to leave.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan '20 - 3:55pm

    @ Peter Martin

    As I have said, several times, what really concerned me about Leave was what the right-wing Conservatives were proposing to do with it, and how that was the exact opposite of what many ordinary people who voted Leave said they were voting it for.

    Please don’t respond to me as if I am some fanatical supporter of Remain. I’m actually asking a genuine question – just what is it that amounts to control by the EU that would make a big change for us if we left? I’ve asked this many times, and never got a satisfactory answer. That is what I’m saying – the idea that the EU controls us as if they are now our main government, so leaving it would completely change how our country is run, seems to me to be wrong.

    It seems to me that what the EU has control over is fairly limited. As I have said, I think there is a need to have some sort of agreements with one’s neighbours. I also can see that with power over the way things are run switching to big international businesses, there is actually a need for international co-operation to challenge that. Otherwise what happens is that big business plays one country off against another, threatening to move out and invest elsewhere unless your country gives into it. And that’s what the right-wing Conservatives wanted.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan '20 - 4:12pm

    Innocent Bystander

    The campaign during the referendum was the disaster and the reasons should be analysed because the same strategic and tactical flaws damaged the election campaign.

    Indeed. I’ve been getting this right for long time – explaining what the party needs to do, and the fools at the top of it do the opposite, and that causes a disaster.

    With the EU, we needed a proper explanation of how it works and what it does, sympathy for those who wanted to vote Leave as a general protest about how our country has developed since 1979, and an explanation of why Leave won’t solve the problem, and how supporting it with the Conservatives leading it will just make it all worse.

    We got none of this, we got the opposite.

    What is needed is to throw out all the people at the top of our party, and replace them by hard working long-term members whose local activity is what really pushes our party up.

    The AV referendum was the precursor to the disaster of the EU referendum. And I actually said this in the London region meeting just before the AV referendum, which spent a lot of time going over what the party planned to do. At that time it still looked like we would win it, but I was appalled by what those leading the campaign for it said they would do. I said what they should do instead, and predicted then that we would lose of we didn’t do what I suggested.

  • Malcolm Todd 6th Jan '20 - 4:45pm

    Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan ’20 – 4:12pm

    Immediately after the part of Innocent Bystander’s post that you quoted (“The campaign during the referendum was the disaster and the reasons should be analysed…”) they continued “No one wants to hear ‘I told you so’ and ‘I was right all along’, over and over again.”

    To which you replied: “Indeed. I’ve been getting this right for long time – explaining what the party needs to do, and the fools at the top of it do the opposite, and that causes a disaster.”

    Have you considered investing in a mirror?

  • Peter Martin 6th Jan '20 - 6:00pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    Can I suggest you re-read both Jeff and my last comments? Between us we’ve given you a good answer on reasons for voting leave.

    I’ve asked you a question too. I haven’t seen any answer at all to that!

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan '20 - 6:38pm

    @ Peter Martin

    I am asking for an explanation of what it is that the EU is forcing on our country that we would not do if we left the EU – something so big that it amounts to controlling our country.

    I have not had an answer to this yet.

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan '20 - 6:44pm

    Peter Martin

    The EU is highly neoliberal/odoliberal in its rules for euro users.

    Well, ok, so give a bit more detail on exactly what that means on the EU stopping the UK from doing something it would otherwise do.

    And, again, please don’t use the word “neoliberalism” for what I call “Thatcherism”.

    And do you really think the Conservative Party now, having been given complete control of our country is going to turn it round to reverse how it has pushed our country in the past?

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan '20 - 6:47pm

    Peter Martin

    So my question to you: what are/were we allowed to do under EU rules to rectify the situation, improve prospects for our exporters and balance our trade?

    I don’t know. As I said, I’m not an EU fanatic. I’ve been asking questions from people who make claims about the EU, not speaking out in detail for the EU myself.

  • Peter Martin 6th Jan '20 - 8:15pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    There’s lots of things: from loss of fishing rights, limitations on the extent of nationalisation, the insistence that borders should be open, the requirement that we send a bunch of self serving europhiles or EU sceptics to a sham of a Parliament, even to the extent that we are told that we have to impose 40%+ tariffs on Australian cheese. Just why the EU feels that we need to be protected from the evils of eating Aussie cheese (it’s nothing special!) is quite a mystery. All these rules and regs are contained in Treaty after Treaty that we could well do without.

    The general feeling is that the EU has got ahead of itself.

    But, look, you’re fighting a lost cause. Time to think about something else. Don’t you have any other interests to occupy your mind?

    Mind you, having said that I have to admit I’m breaking my own New Year Resolution. I promised myself faithfully that I wouldn’t get involved in any more Brexit arguments!

  • Peter Martin 6th Jan '20 - 8:42pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach,

    There’s lots of things: from loss of fishing rights, limitations on the extent of nationalisation, the insistence that borders should be open, the requirement that we send a bunch of self serving europhiles or EU sceptics to a sham of a Parliament, even to the extent that we are told that we have to impose 40%+ tariffs on Australian cheese. Just why the EU feels that we need to be protected from the evils of eating Aussie cheese (it’s nothing special!) is quite a mystery. All these rules and regs are contained in Treaty after Treaty that we could well do without.

    The general feeling is that the EU has got ahead of itself.

    But, look, you’re fighting a lost cause. Time to think about something else. Don’t you have any other interests to occupy your mind?

    Mind you, having said that I have to admit I’m breaking my own New Year Resolution. I promised myself faithfully that I wouldn’t get involved in any more Brexit arguments!

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jan '20 - 10:41pm

    Peter Martin

    But, look, you’re fighting a lost cause. Time to think about something else. Don’t you have any other interests to occupy your mind?

    I am criticising the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, giving the mess they made about the EU referendum and what happened afterwards as an example.

    So, do you think the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in the past decade has been wonderful and suggesting how they should have done things differently is a lost cause?

    Well, unless you have misunderstood what I have actually been saying (as of course you have), that is indeed what you are saying. I.e. you are making a false assumption about me, that my prime interest is being a fanatical supporter of the EU rather than a critic of the Liberal Democrat leadership.

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