Ming Campbell talks EU democracy, security, sovereignty in BBC Big Debate

Yesterday, I went to Glasgow to take part in Radio Scotland’s Big Debate as part of the Remain contingent. As they did during the election, the BBC invited a delicately balanced audience.

I almost combusted on the spot when I saw that there was to be an all-male panel. Then I looked at the Leave contingent, all but one of whom were men and only men spoke. The Remain contingent, however, were almost perfectly balanced and it was the women who actually spoke the most during the hour.

It still feels strange to hear Ming Campbell introduced as Lord Campbell of Pittenweem. His partner on the remain side was the very able SNP MEP Alyn Smith. Both of them were very good at making the positive case for the EU and busting a lot of Leave myths. The Leave panellists were Tory Brian Monteith, who lives in France and is a former Conservative MEP. George Laird is from Labour Leave.

It was a lively hour with virtually everyone in the audience getting the chance to contribute. I asked a question, on trade deals. I didn’t quite put it this way, but it was basically “Imagine you’re the most powerful country in the world, who are you going to give the best trade deal, too? Britty-No Mates, 1/20 of your size, or a large co-operative of nations representing half a billion people?”

The whole thing is available here. I would recommend listening to it to hear Smith and Campbell’s forensic demolition of Leave’s “take control and get our country back” nonsense.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • “Imagine you’re the most powerful country in the world, who are you going to give the best trade deal, too? Britty-No Mates, 1/20 of your size, or a large co-operative of nations representing half a billion people?”

    And yet, Iceland recently signed a free trade deal with China, while the EU has been dragging its feet for years. The UK government is desperate to have a better trade deal with China but obviously is unable to negotiate its own.

    I think a lot of the talk about trade deals and markets must be confusing to voters, many of whom are probably getting the impression that you need a trade deal in order to trade. You don’t. You can actually trade with countries you don’t have a “trade deal” with (usually with tariffs obviously, but they are mostly low these days), and all countries “have access” to the single market whether they are EU members or not.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th Jun '16 - 3:44pm

    So Liberalism is now “big is best”, with no room for ” small is beautiful ” ?! No way can that be good in theory or practice !

  • Richard Underhill 13th Jun '16 - 8:40am

    Stuart 12th Jun ’16 – 11:17am try looking up the terms of the China – Iceland deal.
    This is yet another of the Leave side’s simplistic headlines which is intended to mislead people.
    Start off by thinking what Iceland would want out of such a deal.
    Do they have a car industry owned by BMW (making Rolls-Royces and MINIs) Volkswagen-Audi Group, Mercedes, Nissan-Renault, Honda ,,, ?
    Do they manufacture aircraft?
    What do we know about their history in financial services?
    Is the deal advantageous to Iceland? or China?

  • Cornelius Logue 13th Jun '16 - 10:37am

    Who will I be able to blame if the Irish border hardens and Vote Leave’s Neo libertarians of the Right don’t spend the price of a small hospital every week on the NHS?

  • ‘Patty no (Lib Dem) mates’ – will that be my name?
    I posted my voting paper a week ago.
    Despite an avalanche of pressure, not least from this party, I am doing my own thing and have voted to Leave. Gave it a lot of thought but have absolutely no confidence the EU can reform. I dislike the fact that big corporations and fat cats rule. It’s time for a change and change won’t happen unless the Brits are courageous enough to Vote Leave.

  • Pat
    Bearing in mind that both Remain and Out Tories, plus UKIP, dominating both sides of this “debate” are fervent neoliberal capitalists, why do you think Brexit is any better option for an end to corporate rule?? This is likely to be a separate argument, unless you regard the massive disruption to everyone as being worth the chance we may get constructive left / green movements entrenched out of it, without too much hurt and damage done. I would say you are taking a huge risk if you believe that.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jun '16 - 9:32am

    Today is Icelandic National Day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_National_Day
    When the Liberal International visited Iceland the weather was unusually fine, there was smoked Gannett on the menu, Serbian Liberals were able to talk to Croatian Liberals because they were Liberals looking for peaceable solutions to a Balkan war.
    Swedish Liberals advised that Icelandic trade negotiations are “fish, more fish and even more fish.” The sale of alcohol was banned several days a week, there was free hot water for the whole of the capital city, no traffic jams and a Lutheran cathedral with a modern lift to the top. Local newspapers were asking whether Iceland should apply for the EU, or NAFTA, or both, because the tectonic plates put Iceland partly in the European continental shelf. Iceland was a NATO member with a zero defence budget.
    On return to the UK our plane circled Heathrow in a stacking pattern but the London Underground closed at night.

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