Nick Clegg on the Brexit Betrayal

Last Thursday,the European Movement held a “Lead not Leave” rally in Edinburgh in support of a Remain vote. Just before the event started, the news that Jo Cox had been shot came through but at that time we didn’t realise the full horror of what had happened.

All the contributions from the cross-party panel were superb. The Greens’ Sarah Beattie-Smith was passionate on women’s rights, climate change and the EU having the power to make sure multi-nationals pay their taxes.  Tory Jackson Carlaw said he’d been surprised by how much a Remain vote had come to mean to him. North East Fife SNP MP Stephen Gethins, who had been disgracefully misquoted on the Vote Leave leaflet was passionate about membership of the EU. Kezia Dugdale was warm and talked about some very practical reasons we need to stay for social justice and workers.

The final speaker was our own Nick Clegg. He was pretty stark. He talked about the reality of Brexit, waking up to discover that the Leave lot don’t know what’s happening, the Tories are immersed in a bloodbath, there’s constitutional gridlock and the economy is, frankly, down the toilet. It was one of the best speeches I’ve heard him make.

It was very different in style to his tremendous resignation speech, but no less powerful and compelling. The scenario he sets out is very plausible. He wasn’t trying to appeal to the audience. He knew that he was at an event where most people were going to be pretty passionately in favour of Remain. He wanted to address his remarks to the waverers. Your mission, dear readers, for the next few days is to play this to as many waverers as you can.

Now, the whole thing is definitely worth watching, but if you just want Nick, go to about 25:55.

I had recorded his speech (and Kezia’s) on their own. It was my first time using Periscope and to say that I screwed it up royally is an understatement. For a start, I didn’t realise you had to type in what your were broadcasting so people had a clue what the random video was.

I had  meant to embed the tweets in which they were broadcast on Thursday, but it obviously wasn’t appropriate to do so and they only last for 24 hours.

By some miracle, the recordings are still on the app, and I’d love to shove them on You Tube but I can’t work out how. If you know, please tell me.

Enjoy. The text (more or less) of Nick’s speech is under the cut but listen to it if you can. The energy of his delivery really brings it alive.

Jo Cox is actually an old friend of mine and she’s an absolutely lovely lovely woman and an outstanding politician. I just hope we don’t have to hear the worst. My thoughts are with her and her family. and her team in her constituency.

I’m going to deliver the prose after the beautiful poetry we’e heard about the decision we face next Thursday.

Given that this is a European Movement event, I suspect most of the people in this room will be persuaded that we should remain. I want to address my remarks to those who aren’t absolutely convinced that we should stay or absolutely convinced that we should quit but those many many fellow citizens who might be wavering or tempted to vote for Brexit but could possibly be persuaded to vote for Remain next Thursday

I would ask them and all of you, how it would feel if you should wake up on Friday morning and the UK has voted to quit the EU of which it has been a strong and powerful member for 41 years.

Imagine again how would you feel not if you were like us, those who would feel heartbroken, at that decision taken contrary to our wishes  but if you were one of those who voted for Brexit because you have been promised this land of milk and honey, you have been promised this utopia who have been promised that all of their troubles  and frustrations, all the anger that people legitimately feel about the status quo would evaporate with the morning mist in the sun the moment they put the cross next to the Brexit choice

How would they feel when they find out that the people who promised all this don’t know what happens next. They might be united in their furious loathing of the EU, but they have absolutely no idea what happens next.

Do we become like Albania, Canada, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland?  We still don’t know.

How can it be that a week before we make this momentous decision the people who ware asking us to leap off the edge of a cliff don’t even tell us if there’s a parachute to allow us to land at the bottom at the other end. It’s astonishing. That’s the first thing people will realise – that they have put their faith have put our trust in people who have no idea what to do next.

Look to Westminster for the Govt for leadership for some sense of purpose. What happens next? What they will find there is a Conservative Party imploding. As Nicola has rightly said one bunch of right wing Tories replaced by an even more extreme bunch of right wing Tories. There will be a bloodbath in the party of government and Westminster will be pitched into years and years and years of constitutional gridlock.

They talked quite recently about how they’ll get it all done and dusted in 4 years. No they won’t.

You can’t extricate yourself from a club which is in the very fabric of so much that we do of which we’ve been a member for 4 decades in  a few short years and then effortlessly negotiate a trade deal where apparently having said bye bye we don’t want to abide by the responsibilities of being a part of the EU, the rest of the EU is not going to turn round and say “Have your cake and eat it.” Of course they are not going to do that.

 

Never mind the 50 other trade deals we would need to renegotiate of which we would suddenly no longer be a part

I am one of the few people in British politics who used to negotiate those deals. We don’t have any international trade negotiations left in the UK because the lead has been taken in the EU over the past 40 years.

So, imagine not only the political chaos, the directonlessness of the Brexit leadership and a political establishment in London embarked in bloodletting and constitutional gridlock.

Imagine the economics. I spent 5 as it turned out wholly thankless years trying to play my role in delivering what needs to be essential if you want your economy to recover from a trauma. Without political stability it is very very difficult to pick yourself up from the floor.

It terrifies me that these reckless irresponsible elitists in the Brexit camp want to drag us back into the furnace of economic recession

It’s not their jobs that are at stake, it’s not their livelhihoolds are at stake it’s not their welfare that’s at stake, it’s millions of ordinary citizens who will suffer. That is what will happen economically. The writing is on the wall. We are an open economy.

We depend massively on the kindness and generosity of strangers to invest massively in our economy

The pound will fall, prices will rise. I personally think that far from Project Fear  such as it’s called overstating what will happen, I think they are understating it cos my experiences in economics is once you get a downward spiral it feeds off itself. The idea that such an open economy so integrated into the world’s largest borderless marketplace could somehow endure nothing more than a mild recession for a couple of years and then everything would be fine, I think is a fantasy.

It is a naive and dangerous fantasy

On immigration, the people who might vote for Brexit they will have seen today that repressible poster from Nigel Farage with a photograph of these desperate wretched vulnerable people fleeing conflict in Syria Iraq & Afghanistan. He’s using that on a poster! How dare he?

But even on his own terms, does anyone seriously think that these people are going to stop moving in large numbers across the European continent just because the UK has pulled out of the EU. What a despicable lie. How dare you claim to people that immigration if that is what people are concerned about  will suddenly disappear,  that this mass movement of people will suddenly stop just because the UK is not in the EU.  It is a fantasty, it is a mendacious fantasy and it is appalling that they keep peddling it as hard as they do.

That is not to mention the at first imperceptible but over time very significant and unavoidable slide of our country’s relevance in the affairs of the world? There will be a slide in relevance in the status of our country in the world. How can we stand tall in Beijing, New Delhi, Moscow Washington if we can’t stand tall in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. If we can’t stand tall and lead in our own neighbourhood how can we stand tall in the world?

What really concerns me is that these people who might be lulled into thinking that this false utopia that the Brexiteers are promising might come to pass. There isn’t a land of milk and honey, there isn’t a promised land where all our problems will disappear if we leave the EU next Friday. No there isn’t.

What there is  is political upheaval, constitutional gridlock, economic decline, international irrelevance. That’s not what I want, that’s not what we want. We don’t want that for our kids our our grandkids either.

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

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39 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jun '16 - 9:34am

    Tory MP Nicolas Soames was on the Andrew Marr Show, looking at !! China Daily “” on his I-pAD, which has an interview with Ken Clarke, former Chancellor, discussing the difficulties of negotiating a trade deal with China. I have not read that article, yet.,

  • When I first knew Nick C back in the 90s, he was negotiating trade deals with China on behalf of the EU.

  • amber hartman 19th Jun '16 - 9:47am

    Are Chinese LibDems doing anything about China’s cruelty to Animals and Humans?

  • John Barrett 19th Jun '16 - 11:10am

    In the light of recent events, I am sad to say that Nick’s speech contains too many negative and divisive comments which, do nothing to improve the quality of this debate and of our democracy.

    With the realisation from everyone that both sides need to be much more positive and constructive, I doubt he would he have delivered the same speech the following day.

    I simply cannot see how his speech does anything other than fan the flames of fear about a future outside the EU.

    Whatever the result next week, it now looks like nearly half of the country, or at least those who will vote, will share many of those concerns. We will all have to live together and work together regardless of whether we are in or out.

    Sadly, his speech reflected the worst aspect of politics today and the type of debate that have made this referendum debate, (to quote Robert Harris) “The most depressing, divisive, duplicitous political event of my lifetime. May there never be another.”

  • When I first knew Nick C back in the 90s, he was negotiating trade deals with China on behalf of the EU.

    That’s nice how did they go?

  • John,

    Scaremongering is stoking fears that are baseless. Every credible economic source is in agreement that leaving the EU will cause an economic hit.

    To suggest anything else would be as deceitful as the Leave campaign is being over Turkey.

    Respectful discourse also calls out those views that are so disgraceful that they have no place in politics – such as those espoused by Nigel Farage who continues to defend his vile poster.

  • Respectful discourse surely includes listening to diverse views.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jun '16 - 12:56pm

    “.. attended the AGM of Liberty in London yesterday, and was moved by the tribute Keir Starmer (Lab MP, former DofPP) made to Jo Cox, who he had worked with.
    In a panel debate, Keir made the best deconstruction of the Brexiters post-leave case I have heard, something on the lines of: “OK, so you negotiate a new trade agreement with the EU. Then you have to negotiate the legal framework for that. Then you have to negotiate the data protection and IP etc etc. And you end up with what you had before – but without any ability to influence policy and standards…”
    LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael urged (to applause) more respect for the work of MPs and Local Councillors. Whatever result we have on Friday, I would urge all to be ready to resist attempts by Gove and Grayling to destroy our Human Rights Act, and to push for amendmends to the Investigatory Powers Bill that Theresa May just got a compliant HoC to approve, under cover of the EU campaign.
    See the darkly amusing video at:
    https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/
    and imagine that capability legally in the hands of the Brexiters……or anyone.
    See you on the stalls and streets! “

  • John Barrett 19th Jun '16 - 7:21pm

    Caron – I can see that both sides of the debate have been very guilty of over-egging the pudding, making extravagant claims and much more.

    The difference is that while I expect Farage and co. to be guilty of this, I expect much better from my own party.

    Blaming the other side for their behaviour is simply not good enough, as this in no way justifies statements which are equally questionable from our side. We should be proud of what Lib-Dems like Nick are saying.

    Having read his speech, I am just saying that I am not.

    In the spirit of improving the standard of debate in the final few days, we all deserve much better.

  • So, John, do you think that there will be an economic consequence of Brexit and what will it be? Or do you think it’ll just be a wee bump in the road and it’ll all be fine? Because if you do, you would be in a minority.

    I thought Nick’s speech was very good and very real.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jun '16 - 10:22pm

    Boris J, is in favour of a long residence concession at 12 years. Does he know what government policy is? is he in the same party as the Home Secretary? has he heard of Tony Rawsthorne?

  • John Barrett 19th Jun '16 - 10:33pm

    Caron – the exact words Nick used regarding the economy were not the “bump in the road” that you mention, but that those supporting leave “want to drag us back into the furnace of economic recession”

    Regardless of what might happen, and nobody knows the future for certain. Does anyone truly believe that that is what “they want” as the future for our country?

    It is the use of the language by either side to distort the views of the other side that I find unforgivable. People might expect it from Farage & Co, but when Nick does the same and people justify it, I feel ashamed that our party has been happy to jump into the gutter too.

  • I agree with John. I also think talk of dragging back into the furnace of recession has more than a hint of post hoc self justification for agreeing with Osborne’s austerity policies in 2010.

  • Adrian Sanders 20th Jun '16 - 8:36am

    I’m with John Barrett and David Raw on this. If we cann’t get them to stop then just leave the over-egging to Cameron and Osborne>

    I’ve been working up an eve of poll message for the undecided – views here would be welcome.

    So what will your vote mean?

    Voting leave doesn’t mean you are racist, absolutely not – but racists if they vote will be voting leave rather than remain.

    Voting leave doesn’t mean you are less well educated than those voting remain, although the polls overwhelmingly show that the fewer qualifications you have the more likely you are to vote leave, but that shouldn’t matter as all votes are equal.

    Voting leave doesn’t mean you reject the views of experts as there are experts on both sides, although the vast majority are on the remain side.

    Voting leave doesn’t mean you don’t care about the economy – some people believe the UK will thrive outside the EU, it’s just they are not among the 88 per cent of economists and all the economic bodies along with the Bank of England who conclude otherwise.

    Voting leave is patriotic if you believe in Great Britain, but so too is voting remain. One side wants to leave the other side wants to lead. Neither is more patriotic than the other.

    Voting leave is not a vote against David Cameron’s Conservative Government any more than voting remain is a vote against an alternative Conservative Government led by Boris Johnson.

    Voting leave is not a vote against politicians as there are politicians in almost every party voting different ways and this issue is so important to our future that it has been taken out of the hands of politicians and left to you.

    Voting leave is not a rejection of a political elite – not with people like Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and Lord Lawson on one side and Caroline Lucas, Tim Farron and Boris’s dad, brother and sister on the other.

    Voting leave doesn’t mean you are a fan of celebrities like Keith Chegwin and David Ike or world leaders like Vladimir Putin who are for leave, any more than voting remain is an endorsement of Bob Geldof, Eddie Izzard or Barack Obama who advise voting remain.

    Voting leave does not mean a rejection of giving up any sovereignty for the common good any more than voting remain is an endorsement of the WHO, UN, Nato, Council of Europe and all the other bodies where we share it.

    The big difference is this:

    Voting leave is final while voting remain does not rule out future reform of the EU.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Jun '16 - 9:10am

    @ Adrian Sanders,
    The paragraph about educational attainment comes over really badly.

    When I go into the voting booth, the way I vote will come down to something quite simple. Do we achieve more by co-operation? My experience is yes, difficult though others may make that.

    ( To be perfectly honest, and though it ought not to sway me, I would also struggle with being on the same side of an argument as Nigel Farage, Nick Griffin and Katie Hopkins.)

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '16 - 9:46am

    Nigel Farage was interviewed by the BBC on TV about what would happen next in the event of a leave vote. He repeatedly confessed that he did not know.

  • Being a Tory hater…sorry for strong words. I have to say that Cameron sparked to life on TV last night. Nick was also brilliant, why do I say then to some who write here that they should not criticise the so called over egging the pudding because what both performances showed was the passion that exists within the remain camp and their fury at the naive simplicitiy and in many cases bordering on racist actions of some in the leave camp.
    No tepid, quiet response will be noticed or reported on. Tims eloquent but quiet approach brings no mention but attacking Farage and the endorsement of UKIP by racist organisations does.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '16 - 10:07am

    Today we each have a leaflet from Leave, wrongly addressed, but correctly delivered.
    We have both voted by post.
    It contains the usual stuff, such as Turkey joining the EU, which has been vigorously denied by William Hague and David Cameron. It selectively quotes five individuals and seven major businesses, using the logos of four of them, Vauxhall, Toyota, Unilever and Nissan.

  • Jayne Mansfield

    “To be perfectly honest, and though it ought not to sway me, I would also struggle with being on the same side of an argument as Nigel Farage, Nick Griffin and Katie Hopkins”

    When I was in the RAF the baby daughter of a serviceman was murdered by the IRA. The next day Gerry Adams stated that the wives and children of british servicemen were legitimate targets for the IRA, a couple of days later Corbyn was filmed laughing and joking with Adams over a cup of tea. Now those two along with their mate Martin Mcguinness support the remain camp. My problem is I don’t want to be on their side anymore than I want to be on Nick Griffins. I still think I will vote remain, but it’s a hard one for me and many others.

  • Comments often seen to contain words to the effect “I can’t vote for them because supports them”. This seems to me to be a very strange logic for a decision that is likely to have ramifications for several generations – it has now been 40 years since the last referendum. If someone was now to tell you that they voted “NO” in 1975 because Reggie Maudling was in favour of “YES” how would you view that decision today?

    If someone can identify the subset of “economists for remain” who from let’s say 12 months out were: 1. opposed to Greece being allowed to join the Eurozone; 2. opposed to the UK joining the Euro; 3. able to anticipate the great crash of 2008, then I will happily pay attention to them.

  • I believe a European Parliament is a good idea.

  • John Barrett 20th Jun '16 - 10:41am

    Adrian – Voting Leave doesn’t mean that you are poor, but it appears that low income households, especially those with an income below £15,000 are much more likely to vote Leave than their better off neighbours.

    No wonder the Labour Party is in such a fix. Exactly the same thing happened during the Scottish Referendum when their “poorer working class” voters jumped ship to the SNP – where they have stayed. I suspect that the same group may well jump ship from Labour to UKIP on Thursday.

    Even if Remain wins the day, which I suspect it will, the impact on all parties will last a long time and our problem in the Lib-Dems will be trying to get anyone to listen to anything we say on any subject.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '16 - 10:45am

    Several strands come together:
    1) the declining quality of letterboxes in modern houses, more draught insulation yes, but weaker structure, so that the outer flap is missing;
    2) an offer from a major double glazing firm to go back 25 years in pricing, previously emphasising quality;
    3) an offer from a major car dealer to sell us a new car of the same brand at cost price and prove it with the paperwork;
    4) a statement at Vince Cable’s fringe meeting in Brighton by Mark Boleat, representing the City of London, “the only way to control immigration is to have a recession”. We did not want that but. two consecutive quarters of negative growth have been forecast by the Bank of England, voting nine – nil, technically a recession. The shorter term forecasts are generally agreed to be the most reliable.

  • John Barrett 20th Jun '16 - 10:52am

    Paul Murray – well said regarding the “economists for remain”.

    “Economists may be able to do many things but predicting the future is not one of them” – Yanis Varoufakis. Former Greek Finance Minister…………………. and Economist.

  • amber hartman: CLD is more about representing Chinese living in the UK (and encouraging them to vote Lib Dem), than about interfacing with China and the regime there.

  • Would not a respected Scottish Lib Dem speaker have been more effective in Edinburgh?

  • Malcolm Todd 20th Jun '16 - 1:01pm

    Adrian Sanders

    I can’t believe you’re seriously thinking about putting out a pro-Remain leaflet in which every point begins with “Voting Leave”, in which people who vote Leave are implicitly told they are probably uneducated, racist and stupid but patriotic – and this is supposed to convince the undecided? Please – for the love of Britain, Europe and Lib-demmery, stay home this week rather than put out this leaflet!

    Right, that’s enough – off to deliver a leaflet I haven’t seen yet. I hope it’s better than Adrian’s…

  • Denis Loretto 20th Jun '16 - 1:44pm

    As a keen “remain” campaigner I have constantly been conscious of the limitations imposed by the personal stance of David Cameron. In an effort to avoid a complete split in his party at earlier stages he has felt forced to say “The UK will be fine either way but rather better if we stay in the EU”. It is left to the Nick Cleggs of this world to spell out the reality which faces us if we leave. If in doing so with the degree of passion the situation requires he should be forgiven for the occasional somewhat OTT expression. If anyone still thinks it will all be OK whatever happens this Thursday just look at this sober assessment by Dr Alan Renwick of the UCL Constitution Unit of what faces whatever political leadership would emerge from the wreckage of Brexit -https://constitution-unit.com/

  • Paul Harrison 20th Jun '16 - 2:37pm

    Constitutional issues have been ignored and the Tory split is not going away. Chris Grayling’s recent ‘alternative’ manifesto would never get through the House of Commons even with a Johnson led government and a general election. There are too many sensible Tories who would rebel.

  • Adrian Sanders 20th Jun '16 - 4:22pm

    Thank you to people who have commented and I take on board many of the criticisms. Malcolm Todd it’s not a leaflet but an idea to post on my Facebook page that has been carrying the in/out debate ever since the date for the referendum was confirmed. It has driven me to despair at times as incorrect and even made up arguments have been put forward by leavers and evidence based studies from remainers have been rubbished. I welcome all to visit and comment.

    I live in one of the most euro sceptic constituencies in one of the most euro sceptic parts of the country and on Thursday a majority of those voting will vote leave and join an ever greater majority of those who have already voted by post. Unless much greater numbers of people in other parts of the country are hanging up the 12 stars on their flag poles, humming Beethoven’s Ninth and reading the collected speeches of Guy Verhofstadt we are about to see a convincing win for leave.

    I make that prediction not on the polls we are seeing today but the fact a disproportionate number of those who will vote have already voted and in greater numbers for leave. The undecideds are therefore crucial and I have been asking for some time for direction on how to address them as today neither sides messages have got through.

    It has become quite obvious that the rational arguments of remain are not penetrating the emotional appeal of the leave campaign. As undecideds are stuck I would welcome suggestions on how to appeal to them by Thursday without the failed arguments that so far have either gone whoosh over their heads or insulted their sense of identity.

  • jedibeeftrix 20th Jun '16 - 5:30pm

    “but the fact a disproportionate number of those who will vote have already voted and in greater numbers for leave.”

    genuinely curious – is this a fact?

  • Adrian Sanders 20th Jun '16 - 7:31pm

    jedibeeftrix Unless this election breaks all the rules of previous elections then those with postal votes turn out in much greater numbers than those without. They tend to vote within the first 48 hours of receiving their ballot papers and when the ballot papers went out at around the same time the polls showed leave at a higher rating than today. We also know from Connect those with postal votes are more likely to be older and from polls older people are more likely to vote leave. The question is how much weight today’s polls take into account people who have already voted. So not a fact but an educated guess backed by past election behaviour, current election data on Connect and polling.

  • jedibeeftrix 20th Jun '16 - 7:43pm

    interesting, thank you Adrian.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Jun '16 - 8:21pm

    @ Adrian Sanders,
    I really do not understand the position of the Electoral Reform Society. who I believe support postal voting on demand. I have never felt that increasing voting turnout justified the increased potential for voter fraud.

    Now it seems from your post, that it may also skew the vote in favour of older voters like myself, who we are told are more likely to vote leave.

    Given that I know of ‘wobblers’ who have changed their position in the past few days, what is the Liberal Democrat view on postal votes on demand?

  • Adrian Sanders 21st Jun '16 - 9:08am

    Jayne Mansfield. The fact older voters are more likely to have a postal vote and in this poll more likely to vote leave is not evidence of postal vote fraud. I have no idea what the Party view of postal votes on demand is but I imagine the Party is in favour of higher turnouts.

  • I think we might find that the older voters with postal votes are more likely to be from the AB social group, which overall is voting Remain, if the polls are to be believed.

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st Jun '16 - 10:06am

    @ Adrian Sanders,
    No I wasn’t thinking of postal vote fraud in this election, but the fact that it is an encouragement in any election.

    What has been brought to light in this election is that it may be an encouragement to vote before there is time for all the arguments to be made. I have learned so much from the ongoing debate and I am aware that others also take this vote so seriously and that they are still open to persuasion at this late date.

    It we have an election date, why are some allowed to vote early on demand rather than because of some need? I don’t wish to take this discussion away from its main subject , but your comment raises questions as far as I am concerned. So many myths have been busted, it is quite feasible that someone might change their mind by polling day because of the ongoing discussion?

  • Galen Milne 24th Jun '16 - 2:57pm

    I still agree with Nick!

  • andrew burnett 25th Jun '16 - 1:52pm

    Clegg who has unique EU experience, still could not land a decent on punch on Farage, when they debated the EU. And seems that have been the problem all along. Farage simple notions and slogans have not been effectively debunked or countered. A positive vision of European co-operation and advancement has not been promoted to the British people. Instead we have has fears of being subsumed into an EU super-state. Its taken Susannah Reid on a morning breakfast show to counter Farage about the 350million on the NHS claim, after the vote. We have had weeks of campaigning.

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