Meet the new Brexit actors: facts, realism, truth


“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back.” If the second part of the PM’s sentence had been true, there would have been no need to state it. Therefore it isn’t. Revocation of Article 50 by a British Government would be the ultimate vote of confidence in the EU. Europe would never pass on that opportunity. Therefore the campaign continues.

In the first phase of the Brexit-campaign until now, Leave’s weapons (unsubstantiated dreams, outright lies, fraudulent slogans, the opinion press), were more effective than Remain’s (appreciation of a status quo, plausible but uncertain projections, the information press).

The EU will conduct the negotiations publicly, and thereby also force the UK Government into the open. All dreams, lies and slogans will be exposed; Remain will rearm with powerful, hitherto unavailable or ineffective weapons: facts, realism and truth.

It is already clear that no money will come back, the precious union will become weaker, no trade relationship of equal benefit will be available, capital and jobs will leave for the continent, immigration will stay high, and appetite in the rest of the world for “Made in Britain”, never limited by EU membership, will not suddenly explode. The UK will become poorer, even more unequal, less secure, and less significant. These inevitable realizations must be transformed into an indisputable swing in British public opinion. Such a swing will change things, independent from the method of establishing it.

I believe the Liberal Democrats are uniquely positioned to lead this campaign. Not because you are the last remoaners who fail to respect the will of the British people (which will evolve), but because in this world of Trumps, Putins, Erdogans, Xi Jinpings, and also Modis, Duertes, Zumas, there is hardly a liberal place left on this planet, except Europe. The PM’s intention to build a more liberal Britain outside the EU and dependent on the above cast of characters is cynical at best, deceitful at worst, and doomed to fail.

The challenge will be to change public opinion, which, given its surprising stubbornness so far, will not be easy. I am lacking your political campaigning-skills, but would recommend to dwell on specifics: a decision to make a new car-model abroad, bankers leaving London, hospitals closing, food packages shrinking, retail prices rising, etc. Principled arguments have not worked so far.

In parallel, you must prepare for and bring about the downfall of this Government, because if Britain remains, May cannot. LibDems, moderate Tories, and responsible Labour MPs must lobby their European networks for an inconclusive suspension of the exit-negotiations if and when Parliament finally revolts. The following general election will then be the decisive battle. More than 20% of the votes and 10% of the seats is highly unusual for liberal parties in Europe, but the British Liberal Democrats could do it again 2019/20 if no one else stands up for the true interests of the British people.


* Arnold Kiel is a self-employed Management Consultant, father of two sons in British education, and very concerned about their future in this Europe

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • That is precisely why I refuse to use the word B….t as a mental discipline. It implies (and is regularly used as) a term for a fixed and final objective reality rather than a process fraught with uncertainties, which leaving the European Union is.

  • ethicsgradient 3rd Apr '17 - 3:27pm

    The article reads more as wishful thinking of what might be; almost wishful hope that any form of brexit to fail so as the UK then is forced to return to the EU fold. … “prepare for and bring about the downfall of this government”…

    At least you know acknowledge that there has been no buyer remorse over brexit with you noting “change public opinion, which, given its surprising stubbornness so far, will not be easy”.

    My own take on predicting the outcome in 2 years is that a reasonable trade and co-operation deal will be struck between the EU and the UK. And the whole situation will settle to situation which the countries were comfortably with historically.

    That being the UK being part of a free trade area with the EU an no political side to the relationship (as the 1975 referendum was sold as)while the EU can press on with as much political integration as it wishes to resulting in a single federated country of the united states of Europe.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Apr '17 - 3:32pm

    And Arnold also no doubt says at other times , some negative things about Brexit, so thankfully we have this positive statement ?!

  • I doubt a British Government would ‘revoke’ Article 50; however, there is (albeit small) a possibility of it concluding an agreement whereby it doesn’t actually leave the EU.

  • @Arnold
    ‘a decision to make a new car-model abroad’
    Must have missed that one. Can you give details?

    IMO, if there is going to be any opportunity to change course in this situation I feel it will have to start in the Conservative Party. The likes of Heseltine, Patton and the old guard who do not rely on the party so much would seem to be pretty unhappy. A defection or two like Anna Soubry or others. The window of opportunity will be very narrow as if power shifts massively to the EU they may be tempted to extract a price for a change of course which would be disastrous.
    Manchester Gorton will be a massive test for Labour. If it goes pear shaped for them It could split them down the middle and we may get a few defections from that side. Wont be easy for us but can’t stress enough how important that one is. So if anybody has any time, stop talking and get down/up there. Can’t say politics is dull at the moment.

  • Hi Arnold,

    In terms of Brexit I’ve got you down as undecided, surely time to get off the fence ?

  • Richard Butler 4th Apr '17 - 12:34am

    The Human journey was built by those with vision and courage, not the terrified Remaoner types gasping for familiarity, resisting change.
    In the 6o’s and 70’s left leaning idealists overthrew the Establishment, and then became it. A new generation is elbowing your tired politics of identity and toxic welfare culture aside.

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Apr '17 - 12:56am

    “If the second part of the PM’s sentence had been true, there would have been no need to state it. Therefore it isn’t.”

    From that beginning, the logic of this article didn’t really improve. I voted and campaigned for Remain, but I feel more sympathy with the Leavers (and less regret at the decision going their way) with every piece put out by this man.

  • @Richard Butler It’s not an issue of Resisting Change. It is the difference between Builders and Destroyers. I can only assume from your strange mix of ideas that you are an anarchist.

  • Misscanned the article by overlooking the statement “Therefore the [Remain] campaign continues.” and reading “The EU will conduct the negotiations publicly, and thereby also force the UK Government into the open. … the Liberal Democrats are uniquely positioned to lead this campaign”.

    Which lead me to think that perhaps the campaign the LibDems should be pursuing in it’s constitutional reform agenda should be for greater openness at Westminster and to change both the way and the powers available, for groups such as the HoL and the PAC to scrutinise and veto Government proposals. Paving the way for Brexit’s “return of sovereignty” to a more accountable Westminster.

  • @john: I have read your blog (several times). Whilst I would love to debate your ideas in detail, in summary, ‘You’ve shot the wrong fox’.

  • AC Trussell 4th Apr '17 - 3:16pm

    Just thought to mention_ the Brexiters will not admit to themselves- let alone publicly, that they were misled or/and had no idea what leaving the EU meant.
    Poles are useless, only the privacy of a referendum/election- Pole-booth, will end the disaster.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMartin Land 6th Dec - 11:40pm
    @Tony Greaves. What do you expect with our best campaigner in long-term exile?
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 6th Dec - 11:13pm
    Peter. Roche in his blog goes on to say "My critique of MMT has nothing to do with them dropping or adding (X-M). In MMT...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 6th Dec - 11:01pm
    @ Michael BG The 4% is the surplus of the overseas sector which is a deficit from the UK's perspective. The Government and PDS are...
  • User Avatarnigel hunter 6th Dec - 10:58pm
    Make our own media (paper) and put it thru the letter box. YES! Say quarterly stating LIBDEM news and advertising our policies etc. YES, I...
  • User AvatarManfarang 6th Dec - 10:32pm
    The fact that there has been whinging about our campaign newspapers shows the Liberal Democrats are having some success. Create and print then put them...
  • User Avatarfrankie 6th Dec - 10:27pm
    The reply Mark should say is " Wots it worth". When the media come looking for a story be picky who you choose, BBC turn...
Tue 10th Dec 2019