Nick Clegg shows why he is such a credible, authoritative leader of the opposition to May’s “hard brexit”

A year ago, Nick Clegg’s career appeared to be pretty much over. Some even wondered if he night have been upset to have clung on to his Sheffield Hallam seat.

Now, former critics are starting to be glad that he is there. He is by far the most experienced politician in the country on both international trade and how the European Union works.

This week has seen the latest in a fairly long line of articles, which started with the Mystic Clegg stuff in June, suggesting that Nick Clegg’s star is in the ascendancy again. The New Statesman, of all things, was even nice about him.

Clegg has previously voiced the hope that a botched attempt at hard Brexit might trigger a desire for an alternative to Tory rule among the British people. For him personally, Brexit is the perfect issue upon which to position himself as a voice of reason. He has the experience, the gravitas and the passion to help win back some of the political credibility he lost during the dark days of the coalition and the tuition fees debacle. Whether he can ever fully lose the traitor tag remains to be seen, but his intervention on Brexit will be welcome among the 16.1 million people who didn’t vote for any kind of Brexit, let alone a hard one.

Over at the Huffington Post, Beth Leslie suggests that Brexit means that it is time to forgive the Liberal Democrats.

Four million UKIP voters in 2015 elected just one MP, but they snowballed an idea that made Brexit a reality. Why couldn’t we centrists do the same? And with the money, resources and national recognition of an established party, the Liberal Democrats are the best-placed vehicle for us to try to do so.

Tim Farron and Nick Clegg have both been brilliant on Brexit all the way through. Tim’s PMQ got the PM to admit she doesn’t give two hoots about the nearly half the country who voted to remain and Clegg continues to work with others to fight the parliamentary campaign against a hard brexit that nobody voted for.

Today he was on the Andrew Marr Show to make the case for a parliamentary vote on the Government’s approach to Brexit before Article 50 is triggered. He said that this is entirely consistent with the approach taken by John Major over the build-up to the Maastricht Treaty and May herself on European policing arrangements during the coalition years.

You can see his whole interview here. The show tweeted the two most relevant extracts. Nick said that May was wrong to “throw red meat” to her party by saying she’d trigger Article 50 by the end of March. He said that that she was giving away a quarter of her negotiation time because nothing major would happen until the French and German elections were out of the way.

He also cast the “opportunists and chancers” of the Leave campaign hadn’t been able to agree a position on what Brexit would mean so they have no mandate to implement any plan. They still don’t agree what Brexit means in practice.

He added that had he been a Leave voter, he would be very unimpressed with what was happening now and would feel betrayed when his gas and electricity prices went up and he wasn’t able to take his kids on that holiday to Spain which had become unaffordable.

Nick is proving a credible and authoritative leader of the campaign against Theresa May’s hard Brexit. Thank heavens that the tide turned in Sheffield Hallam 17 months ago. Right now, he is on top form. He speaks with passion and authority and Theresa May and the Three Brexiteers should be very scared indeed.

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

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66 Comments

  • David Brenton 16th Oct '16 - 1:20pm

    I totally agree. I am sick and tired of brexiteers talking about the “substantial” vote to leave the EU. What about the equally “substantial” vote to stay? The majority was 1.3 million. If 650000 voters had changed there mind we would be fending off ukippers not accepting the “will of the people”. 650000 million is not a substantial majority by any means. 650000 people should not be allowed to trash the economy and futures of all our children.

  • Chris Edwards 16th Oct '16 - 1:42pm

    Triggering Article 50 will result in losing UK’s EU rebate. If we want access to European trade area UK will still have to make a contribution based on UKs GDP but without any rebate or ability to influence EU -policy. Does May really want to be remember as the PM who gave away UKs rebate?

  • Paul Pettinger 16th Oct '16 - 2:05pm

    Former leaders don’t hang around and compete for influence with their successor in successful organisations. It’s a pretty simple lesson we seem to have forgotten. Having been reduced to a rump of 8 MPs, it’s all the harder and more important for the new leader to try gain exposure. Tim should be leading on Brexit – the most important issue of today, and probably for years to come.

  • Nick is doing what Parliament should be doing, ie scrutinise but he is doing it on behalf of all the electorate.That increasingly the media ,well those who care, turn to him for his views is a testament to his knowledge and expertise. That is good for the party and even better for the country. I appreciate that in the wider electorate and some within our party, he is the Bete noire but surely even they must realise that expertise is needed now more than ever

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Oct '16 - 2:07pm

    I want less animosity in the debate. A lot of remainers say you can’t reform free movement within the single market and then get outraged when Theresa May says OK we’ll come out of the single market then.

    I saw some of Nick Clegg’s intervention in the Commons and he said he would commit to the single market and then try to reform free movement, but how does this work in practice? Do we just commit to the single market and kick free movement reform into the long grass and try to do something about it with the EU as a whole?

  • “He said that this is entirely consistent with the approach taken by John Major over the build-up to the Maastricht Treaty…”

    I thought this was a poor comparison. Major went to Maastricht as one of many equal partners who would have to find a consensus. Next year, when May goes to Brussels, she will be 1 versus 27, and any one of those 27 other countries will have the power to veto any kind of “soft Brexit” the UK Parliament might demand May try to achieve. Any demands made by Parliament could be irrelevant even before May gets round the table – and then what?

    “the ‘opportunists and chancers’ of the Leave campaign hadn’t been able to agree a position on what Brexit would mean”

    This is true, but in retrospect it shows what a poor job the Remain campaign did. Why did they not focus on any of this BEFORE the referendum, instead of after? How many of us had even heard of Article 50 before June 24th? Pointing out the difficulties of extricating ourselves from the EU might have had more impact on voters than the endless war of words over £350m per week.

    @Eddie
    I agree. Some people talk about free movement as if it’s of divine origin and cannot be changed. In fact it’s an arbitrary rule created by politicians which can just as easily be reformed by politicians.

    It isn’t Theresa May who has been ruling out soft Brexit – it’s the EU themselves, so perhaps those who want soft Brexit would be better off putting pressure on the EU than on May, who afterall has very few cards to play in the coming negotiations.

  • Peter Watson 16th Oct '16 - 5:05pm

    @Paul Pettinger “Former leaders don’t hang around and compete for influence with their successor in successful organisations.”
    A month or two back, it was rumoured (Private Eye) that senior Lib Dems were sounding out colleagues for the replacement of Tim Farron by Nick Clegg.

  • Peter Hayes 16th Oct '16 - 5:14pm

    I agree we need less animosity but compare here with ConservativeHome or LabourList, it is a children’s tea party.

    As to free movement, Germany already has a ECJ result that they can stop paying benefits to those not trying to get jobs. We could set UK laws for test of English, willingness to apply for jobs etc. In fact we are close to that already but seem to be using them against UK citizens.

  • Peter Hayes 16th Oct '16 - 5:24pm

    @Stuart, the EU was created on the principle of 4 freedoms, movement of goods, people, services and finance. It could be argued that letting countries like Rumania in breached that rule, particularly movement and relative economies, but it was UK that pushed for expansion to the east as a way of stopping deeper integration, right idea badly implemented.

  • Tony Dawson 16th Oct '16 - 6:16pm

    I thought that Nick Clegg’s recent contribution to the parliamentary debate on the issue of Article 50 triggering was very good – and I think he has been pretty good in subsequent TV and radio performances on this issue. I have to say that I have also felt that several Labour and Conservative MPs have been pretty good too.

    There is a world of difference, however, between an occasional polished political performance and the process of leadership of a political party. In the monopoly board of political life, those of us who have, in the recent past, been perhaps not to Mayfair but to Bond Street or Leicester Square now find ourselves, though not ‘in Jail’, on either Old Kent Road or Whitechapel Road depending on one’s optimism level. We know why we are there.

    I also viewed Nick Clegg’s attack on the ‘lacklustre’ Remain campaign and wondered ‘who was responsible for this’? I saw someone called Lucy Thomas on the newspaper review part of a recent TV programme and found her to be six degrees below uninspiring. Who was it, in our own political party and others, who allowed these people to not only ruin a vital part of British public life, but be paid handsomely by the state for so-doing?

  • Tony Dawson 16th Oct '16 - 6:18pm

    Peter Watson:

    “A month or two back, it was rumoured (Private Eye) that senior Lib Dems were sounding out colleagues for the replacement of Tim Farron by Nick Clegg.”

    Surely not the first ‘senior moment’ ever reported in the media? 😉

  • On the Marr Show, Nick tried to give the impression that Norway is both in the single market and controlling who comes in and goes out of its country. Marr let him get away with it, but better not to try to kid people in the long run.

  • Paul Pettinger 16th Oct '16 - 8:45pm

    @Peter Watson: if only we had some evidence from the last 6 years to test the whether the electorate has seen enough of Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader hypothesis

  • paul barker 16th Oct '16 - 9:49pm

    The first point to make about Nicks appearances is that we have been getting almost zero coverage, we should take any we can get.
    The second point is that Nick is very good at speaking & is putting the agreed Party line. Some people dont like him, they need to let it go.
    Unity is one of our secret weapons, lets use it.

  • Sorry to disagree, Tony Dawson – I thought that Lucy Thomas this morning absolutely destroyed her Brexit opponent on Marr’s newspaper review. Had the programme been any longer, I could see him “throwing in the towel” (can’t even remember his name!!) Nick Clegg was his usual articulate self, but Lucy was succinct and made her points powerfully.

    I do grant that the economic arguments are now more salient and believable for people, but I still wish they would use proper all-embracing political arguments!

  • Katharine Pindar 16th Oct '16 - 10:15pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us so promptly, Caron, especially if you are having to cope with illness at home. For my part, I am delighted to see Farron and Clegg working so well in tandem, both following the same agreed strategy, and each working to his own strengths. Yesterday I heard Tim making one of his excellent speeches to the North-West Liberal Democrats’ conference in Lancaster, and today I have read and heard Nick’s calm and intelligent replies to Andrew Marr’s significant questions.

  • @Katharine: Thanks. Mornings are generally good for writing stuff. Afternoons and evenings are consumed by a whirlwind of hospital visiting, dog walking, teenager chauffeuring and generally end up in me eating dinner at sometime after 10. This is expected to continue for another fortnight.

    I agree that both Tim and Nick are being brilliant. Nick is at his best skewering the government on the technical stuff in a way that is comprehensible to the rest of us. Tim is so good at the passionate broad appeal and articulating what this party is about as you would expect of a leader.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Oct '16 - 1:58am

    Caron

    Good wishes for you and particularly your husband , in such circumstances.

    Another welcome unifying article on a man I have never gone off and despite his mistakes which many of us have criticised and rightly ! Nick is one of the most eloquent spokespeople we have and we need him now. How on earth that detracts from Tim is anyone’s guess. Is a party not allowed unity and several excellent parliamentarians ?!

    If he was undermining the leader it would be different . He is supporting him and adding real extra clout. Two for the price of one , maybe , not bad with the drop in the pound !

  • Jenny Barnes 17th Oct '16 - 8:54am

    Parliament should have a debate on what action to take following the advisory referendum that narrowly came down in favour of Brexit. As at least some of the Tory party supported remain, there could be a majority in favour of a vote of no confidence in the government if this were refused. I imagine that such a debate would come down to a binary choice of hard Brexit – probably WTO rules – or no Brexit. As others have said, once Art 50 is triggered, then the UK has no agency. Parliament should decide: Take back control!

  • Maybe if Cameron’s pre-referendum attempt to negotiate better terms for the UK had been successful the U.K. wouldn’t be heading towards the exit door. However he managed to achieve very little. What makes you think it will be any different now?
    Do Clegg and Farron really think Theresa May should lay her cards on the table ahead of negotiations? Or is their real intention to thwart the Brexit process? Who will represent the LIb Dems on any cross-party Brexit working group?

  • paul barker 17th Oct '16 - 9:08am

    The more The Papers attack Clegg the more they remind voters that we are still here & still relevant. Let them Hate us, the shriller the better.

  • Pat Maybe if there hadn’t been such a false media furore about the link between immigration and EU principles of free movement we wouldn’t be in this position. Much immigration is driven by the availability of realistic earning power. If our economy had not been pumped up by somuch low paid work, we wouldn’t now be where we are. If the Middle East and parts of south Asia and the Horn of Africa etc had not been afire with conflict and climate related poverty, the news and the outcome might be different.

    Life dominated by “What Ifs”……

    Meanwhile it seems utterly wrong that we have allowed our press, in particular, to paint what was meant to be an increasingly directly democratic institution (the EU) in a light where it is almost thought of as a dictatorship. An attempt to widen all of our citizenship to include that of Europe, a group of neighbouring peoples who have over many years worked together, as well as conducted catastrophic wars has been undermined. As a Liberal and a Democrat this makes me profoundly sad. I am now more or less convinced that the main argument against the EU by the rich and powerful antis, has been on the grounds that it IS a democratic institution, and in an era of globalisation, has been powerful enough to call multinationals to account. Consider, for instance, Apple’s furious and dismissive reaction to the EU telling it to pay its proper taxes. By allowing ourselves to be convinced by this, we play into the hands of those determined to undermine democratic powers everywhere.

  • Stephan Breban 17th Oct '16 - 10:02am

    Unfortunately he lost all creditability on “Brenial”. Please, let’s all stop with the childish made up words. Take the high ground or just call them out for what they are – clueless

  • “Nick Clegg: ‘Chocolate, cheese and wine’ to be hit by hard Brexit”

    What next? Santa will need a visa to enter the UK? UK kicked out of the Eurovision Song Contest? You guys are certainly not going to be called the happy party that’s for sure. If the EU wants to make their their wine and cheese expensive that’s a shame, but it’s not the end of the world. We will just have to make do with British cheese and New World wines. You guys are really becoming a very negative party.

  • paul barker 17th Oct ’16 – 9:08am…………..The more The Papers attack Clegg the more they remind voters that we are still here & still relevant. Let them Hate us, the shriller the better………..

    My goodness, how times change….Was it only a couple of years ago that LDV was full of tales of how it was the ‘nasty’ newspapers’ attacks on Clegg that caused all our woes?….

  • john stevens 17th Oct '16 - 11:48am

    But the national interest is to stop Brexit, not soften it.

  • “Let them Hate us, the shriller the better.”

    A Jehovah’s Witness knocked on my door. I went to the door, with the intention of politely thanking him, but declining his invitation to discuss his beliefs further. When I opened the door, he appeared to be in a state of terror.
    ” Please let me in for a few moments, he gasped,.. “I’ve just seen an Liberal Democrat knocking on doors further down the avenue” he finished.

    Our shocked eyes met blankly for a few seconds as we both contemplated the horror that was to come.
    ” Quick,.. come inside I said” in a voice of panic. He leapt through the door dropping all his pamphlets in the hallway, as I shoved the door,.. which closed behind us, in a satisfying and secure thud.
    We crouched beneath the sill of the window in almost total silence, shivering when a knock came at the door. Moments passed until we heard footsteps descending down the path and away to the street.

    He sighed in relief as he started to gather all his dropped pamphlets into a neat pile. “It’s astonishing”, he said,.. ” No matter how many times they’re proved to be wrong,.. nothing will sway them from their unshakable belief that they have all the answers and everyone else is just plain wrong..”
    ” Maybe it’s just an illness..? ” I interjected.
    ” Yes,.. maybe it’s an illness ” he returned,..before he concluded, ” It’s almost like they’re some kind of programmed machines on a mission,.. unmovable, unshakable,… like,.. like cockroaches….?”

  • David Evans 17th Oct '16 - 1:14pm

    While Nick may seem to be a credible leader may be true to a lot of Lib Dems, the fact is he is not trusted by the vast majority of the country for obvious reasons. If you want someone to lead just the true believers, keep saying such things. If you want someone to lead a popular movement to change the country’s view of Brexit, you couldn’t have a worse choice.

  • Just fantasy – no one listens to Clegg, he will never recover, his whinging book shows he still has little understanding of where he went wrong (it all being everyone else fault they couldn’t see what a great job he did)

    It takes a particular kind of Pollyanna to evidence one article in one small circulation magazine while ignoring the messgaes form the polls that the Lib Dems are stuck on the 8% Clegg plunged the party to. What are we waiting for ? UKIP to implode? Labour to elect an unpopular leader ? The Tories to split on Europe ? It’s all happened and we are still on 8%. Until Clegg goes away and shuts up, it won’t get better.

  • “A year ago, Nick Clegg’s career appeared to be pretty much over”

    As it did six years ago – hey ho, never mind, as long as he kept his seat while all around him were losing theirs.

  • Katharine Pindar 17th Oct '16 - 9:31pm

    Some contributors here seem to live in their own reality bubbles, e.g.David Evans, ‘The fact he (Clegg) is not trusted by the vast majority of the country for obvious reasons’ – so you have some private line on what the vast majority of the country thinks, then? Or Malc – ‘We will just have to make do with Britiish cheese…’ obviously not a man who cares a fig for the vast majority of the populace who have seen their standard of living slip badly in the years of austerity and now must be hit by the price rises of food and fuel. Or Caracatus ‘no-one listens to Clegg’, when the Labour benches in the Commons were cheering him on Wednesday. Well, we don’t actually need to go on defending the record of the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government, because it’s pretty obvious how bad things have been since, when the Cameron Government no longer had Lib Dem partners to blame. And it seems likely now that there must be plenty of ‘Outers’ who are beginning to regret the way they voted.
    We Lib Dems will go on working for the good of the country – and actually, enjoying ourselves too. Not sure you misery-guts are doing so.
    Caron, very best wishes for your husband’s improvement, and well done for all you are still managing to do so effectively. I am off to Witney in the morning so will be quiet for a bit here now!

  • At the recent Social Liberal Forum we were told by those who review public opinion that “Tuition Fees were our Iraq”. The best leader is the one we have. The press are wary of him, that is why they do not give him publicity unless it is unavoidable not to do so.

  • Matt (Bristol) 17th Oct '16 - 10:43pm

    Quite happy about Nick using his expertise and experience to promote the party’s stance on this issue.

    Not happy about (wherever they are and whoever they brief for) anyone using Nick’s prominence to undermine our current leader. That way lies UKIP.

  • Katharine Pindar

    “Or Malc – ‘We will just have to make do with Britiish cheese…’ obviously not a man who cares a fig for the vast majority of the populace who have seen their standard of living slip badly in the years of austerity and now must be hit by the price rises of food and fuel.”

    Crikey. All I said was we will have to manage on British cheese and New World wines if the EU make their exports too expensive.

  • David Pearce 20th Oct '16 - 2:40am

    There has been a lot of froth about what exactly people voted for, but of the people who believed leaving was bad for the economy, 90% voted to stay, and of those who believed leaving was good for the economy, 90% voted to leave. Immigration or sovereignty were not decisive, money was. So what happens if the ones who believe leaving will help the economy change their minds? Could that mean that in two years a conservative government is shaking hands on a Brexit deal when a large majority wants to stay? May hedged her bets, but is now committed. Corbyn hedged his bets. What exactly will the lib position be if and when public opinion on Brexit reverses?

  • Do you think that trying to undermine the decision of the majority is a laudable activity for a party whose title contains the word “democratic”?

    Some here seem to admire Mr Clegg’s latest interventions. It seems to me that he is intent on finishing the job….

  • Alex Macfie 20th Oct '16 - 5:26pm

    Peter: It’s no less “democratic” than opposition parties trying to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government. You fundamentally misunderstand democracy: it does NOT mean that once the majority has decided something, no-one is allowed to speak out against it. That is elective dictatorship; indeed it is how dictators use referendums, by using the result as an excuse to rule by decree (which is what the present government appears to be seeking to do).
    We have a representative democracy, and the bedrock of this is parliamentary sovereignty. Our representatives cannot be compelled to vote a particular way, or take a particular position. And public opinion changes. Opponents of UK membership of the EU spent 41 years undermining the decision of the 1975 referendum. Supporters of EU membership have an equal right to do the same wrt the rererendum of a few months ago.

  • Talking down the economic prospects rapidly becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy which weakens not just our economy, but our negotiating position.

    Democracy must be used responsibly.

  • The Lib Dems are surely not major supporters of parliamentary democracy given the party’s willingness to transfer sovereignty to the EU and its unelected commissioners, including control of borders and legislative supremacy?

  • The (elected) EU parliament

    It may be elected but it’s not democratic, as it doesn’t represent a demos.

    A population is not the same thing as a people.

  • @ Simon Shaw
    The unelected Commissioners create the policies and laws. Our supposedly politically impartial civil servants implement the process of law making as instructed.

    I don’t think you could find a citizen of this country who thinks that his/her interest is served by an an MEP (or even name the MEP).

    The council of ministers reach agreement by horse trading, usually involving matters not part of the debate. This is a very poor governmental process.

    Even EU officials agree that the EU does “not do” democracy.

  • David Pearce 21st Oct '16 - 12:49pm

    I dont think voters will rapidly change their fundamental beliefs, but those beliefs are being misrepresented. They voted for what they saw as their best financial interest, and if they see evidence to the contrary position, they will clearly change views, but still aiming to achieve best financial outcome. The libs need to be ready to takeon board a change of heart by the electorate when it happens. I have absolutely no doubt that conservative strategists already have a plan how to deal with this situation when it arises, and shift blame to someone else. Dont let them.

    I also believ that if the party was campaigning right now for no Brexit, it would have done better at Witney. no one else is taking this line. The conservatives line is already ‘make the best of it’ and it didnt help them.

  • They voted for what they saw as their best financial interest, and if they see evidence to the contrary position, they will clearly change views, but still aiming to achieve best financial outcome

    Some may, but some may have values which they prioritise above their financial outcome when choosing how to vote.

  • Dav You speak of “values voters prioritise above finance”. I am sure that is true of some voters. But I think where your thinking goes a bit haywire is in believing that many of the Leave voters this time had values close to yours. People do not like being told what they can and cannot do, by whoever. We had a discussion about where persuasive influences have come from on another thread, and one of the key issues over the years has been the drip drip drip effect of the europhobe media in getting people to believe that regulation has primarily stemmed from Europe, when thisis not in fact true. That has combined with the heavy financial effect of 1 The crash, and 2 Austerity on many people’s incomes. As time goes on and people realise they have been sold a pup (even perhaps yourself, Dav) views will change, I am afraid.

  • David Pearce 21st Oct '16 - 5:21pm

    Dav,
    the statistics are extraordinary. People were asked about their views on different topics after they had voted. The result was 90% of all people who believed remain was economically better, in fact voted to remain. 90% of people who believed Leave was economically better or it would make no difference, voted to leave. It is statistically impossible for this to be a coincidence. I think there are a lot of people who voted remain who believe there is lots wrong with the EU, including me. However, I also believe we are nonetheless better with it than outside. The polling results suggest it was only people who were convinced leaving would not harm the economy who then went ahead and voted for it, presumably for the reasons they explained about the things they see wrong. The implication of this is that if they now see they were wrong, they will switch to remain. They never had a deep seated conviction to leave.

  • I believe the following voting considerations took place:

    A minority support the EU dream that pooling sovereignty is best for the future.

    A number of people place financial stability before country or anything else.

    Many people dislike the EU but voted to remain as a consequence of Project fear or due to the natural fear of change. Most referenda result in a vote for the status quo.

    Many people voted to restore sovereignty, legislative supremacy and the control of immigration. These mattered more than financial risk.

    The young and the old deserve special mention.

    The old witnessed the decades of erosion of sovereignty and imposition of unwanted legislation caused by EU membership. They are also acutely aware that their parent’s generation sacrificed many lives to retain our freedom and sovereignty in the last world war.

    The young carry no historical baggage but do have misconceptions, such as the belief that travel, work and stay in Europe were not possible before the EU existed.

    You may or may not accept these generalised categories but consider a future vote on whether Bexit should proceed or be reversed.

    Those committed to idealism or money will vote to remain. Those who chose the status quo for other reasons will be pivotal. The short term project fear was exposed as propaganda so such voters are more likely to vote leave or not bother to make a second vote. Those irritated by the politics will vote to leave. Lower turnout is highly likely.

    Diehard Leave voters will vote in force.

    I conclude that a re-run of the Brexit vote will return a larger majority in favour of leaving the EU. A secondary outcome could be the final demise of the Liberal Democrats for the part played in this episode in British politics.

  • Helen Dudden 22nd Oct '16 - 9:13pm

    We need to be back ruling ourselves. Put the NHS in order, sort out the children’s services, build housing.

    I fought for years to get a legal situation with a child and access. A child under the care of the so called British legal system. I even spoke with the office of your then leader Nick Clegg. Nothing happened.

    Don’t praise something that was not fit for purpose. I have written much and visited the Commons on the need for change.

    I believe in Justice and human rights, not being run by a system that is outdated and costly, not forgetting badly flawed.

    Come on Mrs. May, lets show some courage of conviction.

  • David Pearce 29th Oct '16 - 7:23am

    ‘Project fear’, as the leave campaign labelled government experts talking about the economy, was not wrong. We are seeing the bad effects of Brexit, and in reality they are bad not good. The propaganda campaign continues to spin this as better than the worst case predictions, so nothing to worry about. There is a lot to worry about.

    UK democracy has been described by many from Leave as a matter where even if there is just a small win the result is respected. This is wrong, very wrong. UK democracy only works because it seeks consensus. In parliament, one party accepts that it lost a seat by one vote and all its suporters get no voice in parliament, because in the next door constituency the oppsite may apply. And there will be a re-run in 5 years time with a chance to change the outcome. Have Leave voters been promised an opportunity for a re-run and reversal of policy? Will half the country be in and half out? Exactly what form of compromise solution is being proposed to gain the agreement of the half of the nation who voted to remain? Thats more than voted for the government.

  • Helen Dudden 30th Oct '16 - 8:08am

    I disagree, if something as easy as law can’t be enforced properly, then what chance do we have.

    I’ve been to Brussels and it still did not help. When court systems are not totally transparent it will produce a situation of unfairness and of course a non conforming regarding human rights.

    It may be in the interest of your Party to be in the Remain Camp, saying that, you have to face the problems involved.

    When I spoke to someone in your Party Office many years ago, Nick Clegg was not available.

    We now have serious issues with those whom are homeless and little housing and our system is going to pushed to extremes.

  • John Shoesmith 1st Nov '16 - 6:21pm

    Nick is proving a credible and authoritative leader of the campaign against Theresa May’s hard Brexit.

    It is time we understood that Brexit means Brexit. If we trigger article 50 we will get, after 2 years, the best deal that the EU can agree to offer us. That may be hard, whether we like it or not. One EU country may chose, for example, to veto our request for access for our financial sector on the grounds that it would be more profitable if it moved to them. The EU is likely to stick to its line of no market access without freedom of movement. It may insist on very high payments for access. We are a historically unreliable and difficult partner, and some may be glad to see us go. Our negotiating position will not be strong.

    We may be faced with a choice of a tough EU deal or no deal at all. If we decline the EU deal we would then have to try to negotiate, as quickly as possible, agreements with other countries. That could take many years, during which time our economy would be terribly damaged.

    If our prosperity declines sharply that obviously increases the chance of a Scottish independence vote. The Irish situation will also be dangerous if there are tariffs across that border. Divorces can and do split up families.

    The above chain of events is credible. That’s why I think parliament must have a say before we take the irreversible step of triggering article 50. A sensible way ahead would be to follow computer practice. There, if you seek to do something awful, the computer warns you and seeks confirmation that you understand what you are doing.

    The referendum campaign was poorly run, all round. The decision was marginal and certainly not well informed. If the decision goes to parliament, I think it is sensible for parliament to insist that the British people confirm their decision before going down what is likely to be a very painful road.

  • @John Shoesmith
    I take it that you didn’t like the first result, then?

    You can put forward any argument you like, but the people have decided and those who dislike the answer want a re-run. That is the EU way of dealing with democracy. Keep voting until you get the right answer.

    If the result was to remain, with all the risks of remaining in a political organisation with a failing currency, dangerous foreign policy, poor democracy and intention of creating political union, would you be seeking a re-run?

    I thought not.

  • Peter
    I am surprised no-one has yet demanded a referendum on Westminster’s continuation. With a propensity to keep electing Tory or pseudo Tory governments, a penchant for neoliberal financial policies, a current wish to vilify the vulnerable – those on low income, the disabled and those from other cultures, a persistent and recently aggravated failure to effectively address climate change and other dangerous environmental issues, wilful underfunding of important and life saving or enhancing public services, and a recurrent tendency to centralise everything, who would want to continue with it?

    Are you a UKIP sympathiser, by the way?

  • Oh and we could add a longstanding ability to goldplate European directives, to ensure they look more restrictive and bureaucratic than they were intended to be.

  • @ Tim13
    I just respect democracy.

  • Peter
    Your man Nigel Farage – in a purely Brexit sense, I mean, of course – stated categorically that if people voted Remain he would carry on the fight to leave the EU. Those of us who believe Leave to be a catastrophic decision will likewise continue the fight. You may believe that a second referendum would produce an increased majority for Leave. I think the result may come down to timing, but I suggest a referendum some time later next year would be likely to reverse the result. I am sure that many of those involved in planning for leaving are already coming to the conclusion that there are no good routes to a medium / long-term future outside. Anything is worse in one way or another.

  • Jayne Mansfield 2nd Nov '16 - 10:53pm

    @ Helen Dudden,

    We were ruling ourselves when we chose to spend billions on a top down reorganisation of the NHS . Parity of esteem which was supposedly an aim of the NHS and Social Care Bill, in reality meant that finance for both mental health services and physical health services were cut. It isn’t the EU that decides on the financing of our children’s services or the number of houses built etc.

    Put the blame where it is deserved, politicians have priorities and we know since the financial crash and the election of a coalition government, what these priorities were and were not.

    We were never all in it together, some have prospered greatly.

  • Helen Dudden 3rd Nov '16 - 8:43pm

    Lets apply to the court for another election. I believe in democracy, this action is not in our countries interest.

    When legal actions within an EU country, is not transparent there is something very wrong with the system.

    Please don’t try to make it sound anything other than it is, a failing, bloated money pit that has reached the end of the line.

  • I could weep, really weep, for what has happened to the Lib Dems. This should be your moment.

  • I do find all this debate re second a second referendum, legal chalange, a need for vote by parliament very interesting.

    Does anyone think there are any lessons for a future scottish referendum in which, if it were to go as last time, there will be no prior deal on the terms of any split, only the Scottish will be able to vote although clearly the result would impact the entire U.K., a majority of 1 vote will be sufficient to lead to a split, there will be no vote on the terms of any split?

    Surely given what has happened with the E.U referendum, ‘they’ need to have a long hard think as to how any future Scottish independence referendum would be run? I would suggest that everyone would need to have a vote on the terms of any deal, either that or Scottish parliament and Westminster minus Scottish MPs need to agree the terms.

    I pity the party that allows the U.K. to split without all members of the country having at least some representation in the process.

  • ‘He is by far the most experienced politician in the country on both international trade and how the European Union works.’

    Anyone ever heard of someone called Ken Clarke??

  • Ronald Murray 14th Nov '16 - 9:47pm

    I hate referendums one divided Scotland and the second the whole UK. But outcomes like 55 No and 45 Yes and 48 In in both cases a 50/50 split more or less. Not enough to change the constitution even if we had a written one which we should.

  • John Peters 14th Nov '16 - 9:59pm

    @Ronald Murray

    I can’t see an alternative method of deciding how a people want to be ruled other than by referendum. You can’t subcontract that job out.

    I don’t agree that they cause division, they simply expose an already existing division.

  • He may speak with passion and authority, but sadly, dear Lib Dems, most of us switch off as soon as Nick speaks. Until you realise the truth of this, you are destined to stay at 8% . I say this more in sorrow than anything else.

  • I’m sure Nick Clegg will be a genuine “come-back kid” given time, allied to the nonsense approach from the opposition.
    Gale Milne

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