No love lost on the road to Brexit

Vince’s Valentine’s Day column for Times Red Box contrasted the consistency of the Liberal Democrats on Brexit with the split Labour and Conservative parties. He said that our party was “open to refugees.”

For some MPs, I do anticipate that the myopia of the Labour and Conservative parties could drive them away from their folds. Liberal Democrats, unsurprisingly, have a liberal policy on refugees and will welcome with open arms and an open mind anyone from a different political tradition who wants to join our party. However, many aghast rebels will retain old tribal loyalties but nonetheless choose to vote with the Liberal Democrats on Brexit issues. I welcome that too.

Beyond Westminster, we need an effort in the country to mobilise public opinion on three key points: firstly, that Brexit is not inevitable; secondly, that the best and only democratic way to stop Brexit is through a vote on the final deal; and finally, that the Government’s deal will not be better than staying in the EU. It is in this respect that Liberal Democrats are critical. None of the many groupings springing up to take on the pro-European mantle have what we can bring to the table: a young, enthused membership of 100,000 troops to campaign on the ground.

I anticipate continuing strength in our numbers. For my own part, I now think we may have reached ‘peak Corbyn’, with his fans beginning a journey from adulation, to confusion, to disillusionment. On the big issue of the day, Jeremy simply isn’t on the side of his young supporters, nor of the vast majority of his parliamentary party. Only the Liberal Democrats have been consistent and united in our pro-Remain stance, and in our determination that the people should have a choice between accepting the final Brexit outcome or an exit from Brexit.

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  • Peter Martin 16th Feb '18 - 3:25pm

    I’m getting quite worried about Brexit! Some remainers seem to have think that life will revert to the 50s or 60s if we don’t stay in the EU.

    Will we all have to remove our stainless steel sinks and replace them with stone ones after brexit? And get rid of our dishwashers or tumbler driers etc. Will TV programs go back to being monochrome and with just two channels? Back would come mangles and dolly tubs, and out would go my newly purchased automatic washing machine!

    Do Corbyn and Macdonald really have plans to restart the production of the Ford Anglia which will be rebadged as the “people’s car”?

    I quite like my central heating and inside loo! I do hope they aren’t right!

  • Nick Collins 16th Feb '18 - 3:44pm

    It is extraordinary, and really quite sad, that brextremists feel the need to hide behind empty rhetoric rather than have the realism or honesty to recognise the damage that this country is inflicting upon itself.

  • Arnold Kiel 16th Feb '18 - 4:38pm

    Peter Martin,

    you leavers without argumentative substance are resorting to Johnson-style now: empty jokes that arent’ funny anymore. Before your household appliances come basics like food, healthcare and shelter. A trend back to 50s and 60s supply-levels (quantitatively) is underway, and you and likeminded are doing your best to accelerate this trend. Time is quickly running out for this kind of humour.

  • Peter Martin 16th Feb '18 - 5:27pm

    @Arnold Kiel,

    Well at least you understood my attempt at humour even though you didn’t appreciate it. I don’t think you understand me at all when I try to explain to you why the eurozone will never work without relatively rich Germans putting their hands in their pockets and paying the pensions and unemployment benefits of relatively poorer countries on the EZ periphery.

    Setting up rules to ensure that doesn’t happen was never going to work!

    Henning Wehn seems to do well for himself as the “German Comedy Ambassador to Great Britain”. His routine involves quite a bit of mickey taking of us Brits on his part, which British audiences do go along with in good spirit.

    I wonder if the same would go down well in reverse?

  • John Marriott 16th Feb '18 - 5:43pm

    Peter Martin refers to “Corbyn and Macdonald”. Would that be James Ramsay Macdonald by any chance, or doesn’t actually know who is Labour’s Shadow Chancellor? That’s me trying to do humour, by the way!

  • Peter Martin 16th Feb '18 - 6:10pm

    @ John Marriot,

    As my one time teacher used to say: I just slipped that typo in to test if you were paying attention! 🙂

  • John Marriott 16th Feb '18 - 9:10pm

    That’s Marriott with two t’s, by the way, Peter. Or did you just slip it in to see if I was paying attention. Report comment: “Needs to try harder”?

  • Nick Collins 16th Feb '18 - 9:18pm

    @ John Marriott: Are you sure about that; don’t you think he’d trying too hard already?

  • Nick Collins 16th Feb '18 - 9:19pm

    Sorry about the typo. “he’d ” should read “he’s”.

  • Peter Martin 17th Feb '18 - 12:52pm

    @ Arnold,

    I like Henning Wehn and he does go a long way to dispel the myth that German people have no sense of humour. But, there’s a saying that “many a true word is spoken in jest”

    This is from his Wiki entry:

    “I initially planned to stay in the UK for only 12 months to improve my English, but the good weather, the tasty food and the classy women made me stay. In order to blend in with the locals, I decided to get extremely lazy, spend money I don’t have and, most importantly, to unjustifiably bang on about my great sense of humour.”

    The part that interested me was “get extremely lazy” , which I don’t believe is true about British people, and “spend money I don’t have”. I’ve often complained that German people shouldn’t lecture others about fiscal profligacy. If they want to run surpluses, someone else has to run the deficits. It’s just arithmetic. Everything has to sum to zero.

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