Poll gives Remain a 10 point lead over Leave – what does this mean?

A BMG poll for the Independent shows a majority of those asked are now in favour of remaining in the European Union. In fact, Remain has a 10 point lead over leave which widens to 11% when you exclude the don’t knows:

When a weighted sample of some 1,400 people were asked: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union, or leave the European Union?” – 51 per cent backed Remain, and 41 per cent backed Leave.

7 per cent said “don’t know” and 1 per cent refused to answer.

After “don’t knows” were either pushed for an answer or otherwise excluded, 55.5 per cent backed Remain and 44.5 backed Leave.

Polling since this time last year appears to demonstrate a clear trend; Leave enjoyed a lead last December which gradually shrank, before turning into a lead for Remain in the month of the general election, that has since grown.

So by the time the Government drags us out of the EU, it is likely that a majority of people will be in favour of staying. How can that possibly be legitimate?

This poll does come with a bit of a health warning. The fieldwork was carried out during that week where the deal over the Irish situation was unravelling in slow motion in front of our eyes. However, the deal that was reached on 8th December, the final day of the fieldwork, is simply a bit of fudge covered with sticking plaster resolving none of the key issues. Those problems will loom large in the early months of 2018.

What if the polls turned? Surely the Government would be compelled to test whether their deal has public sympathy.

It’s a pity nobody’s calling for a referendum on the deal, isn’t it.

Oh wait.

Also in the Independent, Vince Cable writes that the public must have a say. Ahead of the Liberal Democrat amendment on that subject up for debate in Parliament this week, our leader says:

Meanwhile, parliamentary sovereignty in this instance is not enough. I am not a fan of binary referendums to solve complex, multidimensional problems. However the process of Brexit was started by a referendum and it is difficult to see how large sections of the public would be reconciled to a decision in Parliament overturning their collective view (however narrow result and however questionable the Brexit campaign). Feelings on both sides are running high. We need to settle the issue with a fresh vote, with the option of an Exit from Brexit.

You don’t need much of a crystal ball to predict that this amendment is likely to be heavily defeated because Corbyn won’t back it. However it is important to have the vote so that those who are seriously questioning Brexit or at the very least want a rethink, know who is on their side.

If public opinion continues to go the way it has been for the past few months, it would be a very foolish government that pressed ahead with an act that would damage our prosperity and adversely affected the life chances of every single young person in this country. Sadly, we have a very foolish government.

It is more important than ever that those of us who want to see our future inside the European Union do all we can to consolidate and expand this change in opinion. We need to start 2018 hopeful, but recognising that this is very much an uphill struggle. Rest up over Christmas because we have work to do.

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

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137 Comments

  • As the car crash of Brexit continues the drift away from it is likely to continue. As humans we don’t likes to be associated with a failure, as has long been said

    “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”

    I’m afraid Brexit is rapidly becoming the orphan of the political world. People who didn’t proclaim to the world they where Brexiteers are now claiming they didn’t vote that way “Who me a Brexiteer, no never do you take me for a fool” or “Brexit, let’s not talk about that”, while those that nailed their colours to the mast are still trying to justify their decision or are just squealing “It isn’t my type of Brexit, if it was it would be fine”. Twill get worse my poor Brexiteers, much worse.

  • Katharine Pindar 16th Dec '17 - 11:58pm

    Yes! Thanks for this, Caron. Vince points the way ahead the country needs to go, and we must back him fully in the New Year.

  • Yet the one party that has campaigned for this, remember Tim staring into his children’s eye? Remains as far away from solid double figures in polls as they have ever been in recent memory, what does that mean

  • Once again the Lib Dems seemed intent on fighting the referendum campaign again. This party should be coming up with radical solutions to make Brexit work not trying to undo the 2016 result. It seems the Party cannot face reality and accept the Brexit vote. Continue like this then the Lib Dems are condemned to single number polling figures and on the fringes of British politics.

  • The Brexiteer plan seems to be “Please don’t point out the inheritant contradictions of Brexit it just makes us look like we voted for something without a plan. Just get on board and everything will be fine Tinkerbell told me, so it must be so”.

  • The first error was Cameron’s in putting it into his manifesto in order to quiet Tory and ukip Brexit voices only, the second error was the pitiful deal he came back with to show that the EU was open to reform, the third error was the weak campaign run by most Tory and Labour remainers and the bitterness that surrounded the country.

    A fresh referendum may undo the fourth mistake but it risks reinvigorating the feeling behind two out of the aforementioned three and leading to further confusion about the future of the EU and the UK within it.

    It’s, unfortunately, not as simple as calling a second referendum. This “strong and stable” government and “responsible” party has made such a mess of things that they threaten to cast aside those feeling forgotten for the longest time, one way or another.

  • William Fowler 17th Dec '17 - 9:33am

    It was probably one of those things where lots of soft remainers did not bother to vote as they thought we would stay in regardless… and now lots of truths about leaving are coming out so no great surprise that the polls have changed. I still think the EU needs to give a bit on freedom of movement and that would change the game – five year residence test before access to benefits, tax credits, social housing would do it (keep saying this as it is the only way to square the circle). There could be exceptions for nurses etc. There are already restrictions under EU law they just need to be highlighted and expanded a little so it is more a matter of presentation to those who are totally outraged by having immigrants families pushed to the front of the queue.

    Politicians are not completely thick, if the polls keep going against what they want to do then they will change given an excuse to avoid looking like idiots.

  • DJ 17th Dec ’17 – 9:32am……..The first error was Cameron’s in putting it into his manifesto in order to quiet Tory and ukip Brexit voices only, the second error was the pitiful deal he came back with to show that the EU was open to reform, the third error was the weak campaign run by most Tory and Labour remainers and the bitterness that surrounded the country……..

    Strange how you ignore a major error in Clegg giving Farage national publicity in two televised debates and compounding the mistake by losing badly in both…
    Even Clegg’s most repeated line, “That in 10 years time the EU would look much the same”, was hardly a ringing endorsement…

  • William,
    They want to rush it through so they can trot out that well worn management excuse “We are where we are”.
    As the urban dictionary explains that means “We are in the shite, but suck it up”. Brexit really is a bad idea but too many people have invested so much in it, that they would rather we ended up going through with it than admit they were wrong.

  • Andrew McCaig 17th Dec '17 - 10:05am

    This poll echoes what we are finding in residents surveys in Leave voting council estates in Huddersfield. 6.5% swing from Leave to Remain, much more support for the Single Market than for a hard Brexit, amazingly strong support (80% of 80% giving an opinion) for a referendum on the final deal. (caution on that since it means different things to different people)

  • Peter Martin 17th Dec '17 - 10:19am

    The potential Remain vote at present has increased because of the underlying uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations. This is only to be expected.

    However, if and when we do have a second, or a third, referendum in 2019, or later, the situation will be much clearer. If we are given a good deal by the EU then that is likely to mean an increased vote for Leave. But what if we are offered a bad deal which is, in fact, no deal at all? Will the British public want to be seen crawling back into the EU fold with its tail between its legs?

    I don’t think so. There will very likely be a mood of national defiance to stand up to the EU in those circumstances. There may well be a second referendum in 2019 but, regardless of what the polls say at present, the result is unlikely to be any different to the 2016 win for Leave.

  • The 2016 referendum established the precedent so far as Brexit is concerned that decisions are taken on the basis of a simple majority, i.e. 50% plus one vote. With a ten point lead there can therefore be no logical excuse for not reversing it.

  • Peter,
    It will be different for the simple reason the electorate will be different. Brexiteers are dying and the young don’t do Brexit. The young also seem to have discovered voting, much to Mrs Mays discomfort. So as you believe you’ll still win, bring it on and we see who really does win.

  • Peter Martin 17th Dec '17 - 10:36am

    PS Also the EU that we will, in effect, be voting to rejoin is not going to be quite the same as the one we voted to leave.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/brexit-latest-eu-military-pesco-nato-integrate-army-a8111311.html

  • “So by the time the Government drags us out of the EU, it is likely that a majority of people will be in favour of staying. How can that possibly be legitimate?”

    Whilst I agree with your favoured outcome, your logic here would stop most Government actions being legitimate by mid term when they no longer carry the support of the voters.

    The real problem in all of this is Labour under Corbyn. If it were still Milliband there would be a chance of forcing a second referendum.

  • Peter Martin 17th Dec '17 - 10:43am

    @ Steve Way,

    ” If it were still Milliband there would be a chance of forcing a second referendum.”

    What makes you think that? He was dead set against having a commitment to a referendum in his 2015 election manifesto. 🙂

  • Peter Martin 17th Dec '17 - 11:17am

    @ Frankie,

    “Brexiteers are dying and the young don’t do Brexit”

    You aren’t going to win many people over with these kinds of insensitive comments!

    Another argument to avoid, for obvious reasons, is that older people shouldn’t have the same voting rights because they don’t have much longer to live! Would the same argument apply to a younger person who was terminally ill?

    Sure, older people are dying. But we are all ageing. Are younger Remainers slowly turning into older Leavers?

  • Though it is important to win a deal referendum, it is also essential that we understand and address the issues that drove so many to vote to leave. Many parts of our country feel that they are being left behind and have few life chances. Our strategy should be to formulate policies that allow everyone to have a decent quality of life. Otherwise, we will still have a divided nation, just one that remains in the EU. Equality of opportunity and social mobility are key. More regional autonomy, a fairer voting system, a decent safety net, a more thriving local economy, better skills training and more respect for the natural world would be a start. Our vision needs to be inclusive.

  • Steve Way 17th Dec ’17 – 10:40am…………The real problem in all of this is Labour under Corbyn. If it were still Milliband there would be a chance of forcing a second referendum…..

    I disagree with both sentences…Corbyn was the only politician to give a sensible reason for remaining…
    Between ‘free unicorns’ and ‘the sky falling’ his 7/10 was spot on…As for Milliband, if he went for a referendum he’d be crucified in the media for flip-flopping on the issue…

  • When is a proposed second referendum to take place and what would be the question?

    Do you wish to leave the EU on the terms agreed or do you wish to remain???

    Considering the time it takes to hold a referendum, the wording has to be agreed with the electoral commission, the legislation has to pass through both houses of parliament, then there needs to be a six week campaign. There then has to be enough time after the results for the EU parliament to come to a decision on whether they will allow us to revoke article 50 and that all needs to be ratified by the 27 EU Countries.
    That process alone will take months if not a year. Which means that the referendum would have to take place BEFORE we even know what terms had been agreed on brexit.
    It is all nonsense and posturing

    And @ Frankie
    Your little Tinkerbell should tell you that old people never die, because there is always another old person waiting in the wings to take the place of the one gone before, and if true we become more euro sceptic as we age, then those peskie old age brexiteers who voted leave last time, have been replaced with a new bunch on inconsiderate’s.

    How is it that everyone gets blamed for the poor EU referendum campaign, from the Brexiters to Labour and UKIP to Tories and some how the Liberal Democrats escape criticism, despite the fact that back then and still to do this day, they fail to make the arguments for remain and what reforms they would like to see in the EU

  • And remember, there is no option for remain in the EU on the reforms that were negotiated by Cameron, because those reforms were on the proviso that we voted to remain, that was made abundantly clear by Junker and the EU before the referendum.
    So that would mean
    No emergency brake on Immigration
    No restrictions on Non-contributory benefits
    No restrictions on Child Benefits
    and whatever other so called reforms Cameron negotiated.

    Try going to the electorate and winning another referendum that not only rejects brexit but also commits the UK to staying in the EU without any of the reforms, good luck with that one

  • Peter Watson 17th Dec '17 - 1:22pm

    As a caveat to the interpretation of this polling, BMG state:

    However, readers should also be aware that when we dig a little deeper into the data, it reveals that this shift has come predominantly from those who did not actually vote in the 2016 Referendum. Around nine in ten Leave and Remain voters say they are still unchanged in their view on whether to leave or remain.
    BMG’s polling suggests that a year ago, those who did not vote in the referendum were broadly split, whereas today’s polling now consistently shows those who stayed at home in 2016 are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, with the latest poll putting it at a margin of more than four to one (81% Remain / 19% Leave – excl. DKs).

  • Laurence Cox 17th Dec '17 - 1:41pm

    @Matt 12:54

    “Do you wish to leave the EU on the terms agreed or do you wish to remain???”

    But that question does not even begin to address the complexity of views on Brexit. Listing them from hard brexit downwards:

    1) Hard Brexit (WTO terms), as desired by JRM and others;
    2) Canada ++(+) , what we expect the Tories to propose;
    3) Norway, or remaining in the EEA
    4) Remain in EU on current terms (accepting that Cameron’s EU offer has gone).

    There is another issue for Remainers, that the EU27 may legitimately make decisions in the period before 29th March 2019 on the assumption that the UK is leaving, which we could not veto (an EU Army for example) so a Remain majority would mean that we would have to accept these. There is also the question about whether Article 50 is revocable, which has never been tested in the only court that matters, the ECJ. Until it has been tested we cannot know that offering a Remain option is even legal.

  • David Allen 17th Dec '17 - 1:51pm

    It’s all to play for.

    The EU will call all the shots. That’s because they are smart, tough and united, whereas the British Tories are dim, weak and hopelessly disunited.

    First, the EU will put Canada on the table. Not Canada plus, just Canada. Because if they offered us better terms than they offered Canada, then the Canadians would have the legal right to demand the same better terms.

    But then the EU will say “Oh by the way, you can’t actually make any independent trade deals, because if your tariffs differ from ours, then there would need to be a hard Irish border to enforce those tariffs, and you promised there wouldn’t be such a thing, didn’t you?”

    At some point in this chaos, a richly deserved nemesis will finally catch up with May and Davis. There will be battle royal within the Tory Party, but the ascendant soft-Brexit wing will probably win out, install somebody like Amber Rudd, and proceed to implement the Norway solution. That will please almost nobody, but it will avert national disaster.

  • David,
    No ones death is welcome to me. Several of my Brexiteers relatives are at deaths door, I have no desire to see them depart through it, but depart they will. The electorate changes over time, it doesn’t stay frozen in aspecic and referring to how the electorate voted in years past does not bind the electorate of today.
    Matt you are asumming as people get older they become Brexiteers, an assumption you cannot be certain of. The “No nothings” had a similar approach to their philosophy in the 19th century in the USA, the who you ask, exactly.

  • frankie

    “Matt you are asumming as people get older they become Brexiteers, an assumption you cannot be certain of”

    Rather ironic comment for you to make, you have been assuming for some time that the large majority of people who DID not vote at the last referendum would have wanted to or would have voted to remain, an assumption that you guys from remain cannot be certain of also
    I take the view that the majority of those that did not vote at the last referendum where indifferent to the result, however, where there to be this 2nd referendum (THAT will never take place anyway), people would be more inclined to vote leave due the attempts to stifle democracy which people despise and the blatant lies that were told by the remain campaign that are unravelling each day 🙂

  • Peter Watson 17th Dec '17 - 3:42pm

    Vince Cable says, ” I am not a fan of binary referendums to solve complex, multidimensional problems.”
    Really?
    For quite some time Lib Dem policy insisted that the only meaningful referendum on the EU was an In/Out one.
    In Coalition Government, Lib Dems delivered referendums on the Alternative Voting system, Scottish independence, and Welsh devolution. In the 2010 manifesto the party also suggested referendums on a written constitution and joining the EU.
    The party has long looked like the biggest “fan of binary referendums to solve complex, multidimensional problems”!!

  • Peter Watson 17th Dec '17 - 3:44pm

    P.S. Lest we forget, the party is also calling for another binary referendum on a complex, multidimensional problem!

  • Alex Macfie 17th Dec '17 - 3:56pm

    matt: If everyone adopted the attitudes and values of their elders as they aged, then we’d still be executing gays; women would still be chained to the kitchen; racism would still be respectable; we’d still be persecuting people for their religious beliefs (or lack thereof) etc. There would be no social progress. That these are not true shows that your assumption is not correct.

  • Alex Macfie 17th Dec '17 - 4:00pm

    matt: Stifling democracy by challenging government policy? then all opposition to the government should be banned.

  • Ryan McAlister 17th Dec '17 - 4:38pm

    I’d really love to see the internal polling and research the party has done that shows that becoming a single issue party on the national level (dispute it if you wish, but Vince doesn’t get air time about anything else) is a vote winner, despite all polling evidence to the contrary.

    I assume it exists?!

  • paul barker 17th Dec '17 - 5:05pm

    On Referenda, I hate them but in this case we have already had 2 & that sets a precedent. Unless theres a really massive shift in opinion one way or the other then we pretty much have to have another Public Vote on the issue at some point, either a General Election or a Referendum.
    On “Single Issues”, some are more equal than others. Brexit in The UK is a single issue in the same sense that Abortion or Gun Controls are in The USA. All 3 are Gateways that give a good predictor of how Voters think on a whole range of apparently unconnected matters.

  • Peter,
    Death is a fact and as Brexiteers tend to be older on the whole they will die first. Several of you make the case that as people age they will tend to become Brexiteers, based on the assumption that people become more conservative as they age. I can see some logic in that approach apart from the fact that Brexit was sold as the conservative option , not much will change being the battle cry and that has now morphed into everything will change; hardly a convincing argument for people of a conservative bent.

  • Matt,
    The latest poll which has swung heavily to remain has been driven not by regretful leavers but by those that had no opinion. So it begins the onion is unravelling, first come those with no discernible skin in the game, next will come those that claim this is not my sort of Brexit or it was never important to me, finally all that will be left are the die hards like yourself and other posters on this board. Facts are killing Brexit, it’s just a matter of time before it is generally seen as a bad idea, will time run out before we hurtle over the cliff; well time will tell.

  • frankie

    1 poll by BMG of 1500, I wouldn’t be counting my chickens if I were you lol.
    And as you say, it is driven by people who did not vote last time, people who don’t tend to vote the first time round tend not to bother at any election.
    And don’t forget, the last referendum was the biggest turn out in election history, Hundreds of Thousands of people rushed to register to vote, a significant chunk of that would have been people who voted to leave.

    “So it begins the onion is unravelling, first come those with no discernible skin in the game, next will come those that claim this is not my sort of Brexit or it was never important to me, finally all that will be left are the die hards like yourself and other posters on this board”
    Where is your evidence for this? I do not see people changing their minds or saying “this is not my sort of brexit” as you suggest, in fact all polling has shown that those who voted at the last referendum would do so again, in fact this poll says “around nine in ten Leave and Remain voters say they are still unchanged in their view on whether to leave or remain.” meaning 1 % of remain voters have changed their minds and want to leave and vice versa.

    How is it do you propose for this 2nd referendum that you keep calling for to take place?
    Before or After Brexit deal

  • meant to say 1 in 10 not 1 % clearly 🙂

  • Matt,
    Frankie just says stuff. Most of it’s just taunts, wishful thinking and attempts at humour.

  • It becomes clearer over time that Leave are losing or have already lost the argument, as they did with the GBP 350 a week to the NHS. Those who argue differently are grasping at straws. When Mrs May comes up with “a” deal, and before we leave the EU the people WILL be the ones to agree to the deal or scrap the whole thing! Every day the likelihood that the deal gets binned increases!

  • nvelope2003 17th Dec '17 - 6:45pm

    Matt: The referendum was not the biggest turnout in electoral history. In 2014 85% voted in the Scottish Referendum and in 1950 84% voted in the General Election (82.8% in 1951). Turnouts were normally between 72 and 78 % until 2001. The turnout at the EU Referendum was 72% which was quite frankly pathetic in a matter of such importance. I make no comment on any second referendum. Parliament should decide these issues based on a careful study of the facts which presumably the members of both houses are qualified to do as they have both the time and opportunity.

  • @Paul
    “It becomes clearer over time that Leave are losing or have already lost the argument,”

    Proof???

    “When Mrs May comes up with “a” deal, and before we leave the EU the people WILL be the ones to agree to the deal or scrap the whole thing”
    How and when do you propose the people to do this?

    Instead of people trumping out the same old guff, give us some details on how you propose this will all work in practice.
    Given the fact the time it takes to put in legislation for a referendum,
    The time needed for a referendum campign
    Time for the EU parliament to consider the referendum result and decide whether to allow article 50 to be revoked and for it to be ratified by the 27 EU member states
    Then of course if article 50 were to be revoked, for it to be challenged in the courts by leavers…

    This is all just pie in the sky, we voted to leave and we will leave 🙂

    What remains to be seen is, will it be a soft brexit under Theresa May, or will she be pushed out and replaced with a staunch leaver and we end up with a hard Brexit.
    Those are the real 2 options on the table

  • Andrew McCaig 17th Dec '17 - 7:43pm

    Matt,
    There is no such thing as a hard Brexit any more without trashing the Good Friday Agreement…

    I tend to agree that organising a referendum may be too tricky..by March 2019 may be difficult. However since we will be in a transitional deal corresponding to Full Membership there should be opportunities..

  • @Andrew McCaig

    “However since we will be in a transitional deal corresponding to Full Membership”

    Any transitional deal agreed would have been signed and would mean we have therefore left. Bit late for a referendum on brexit if the deal has been signed and we are in transition don’t you think

  • As for MP’s getting a vote on the deal.
    Do you really think an MP in a leave constituency on £75k + a year plus perks who voted to legislate for a referendum in the first place and then voted to start article 50 process would now vote to stop Brexit and reject the deal? Knowing full well that if the Government lost the vote it would result in a loss of confidence vote in parliament and result in a fresh General Election, those MP’s would then face the wrath of their constituents who voted to leave in the first place and would probably end up losing their seats at the GE.
    Can I see enough MP’s risking that and making themself unemployed? I don’t think so, they will vote for the agreed terms saying that they are representing the will of their constituents.
    Like I said, this is all just pie in the sky and those who think otherwise are just clutching at straws and turning this party into a 1 issue party that is resulting in it being cast into electoral oblivion and irrelevance.

  • Jayne mansfield 17th Dec '17 - 8:21pm

    @ David Raw,
    Yes. do your duty, stay alive.

    I’m off to spend some time risking my life in accordance with my philosophy of,
    ‘Dying with my boots on’, a traitor to the remain vote.

  • @ Martin
    It is not so much “lost the argument” has never been able to put forward an argument.” Strange thing to say, we had the referendum where the arguments for and against were put to the electorate and the electorate decided to leave, so to say that leave were never able to put forward an argument is nonsensical.
    It would be more fair to say that remain never managed to put forward an argument for remaining because their vision for the EU was pretty much the same as it is now and the electorate rejected that argument.

  • Matt,

    Brexit is reversible even after date is set, says author of article 50

    Lord Kerr says EU treaty allows UK to change mind up to moment of leaving, and adding date to bill would not change that

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/10/brexit-date-is-not-irreversible-says-man-who-wrote-article-50-lord-kerr

    Now you may be right in thinking the present parliament does not contain the requisite number of MP’s with the backbone to cancel Brexit but what you can’t claim is that it isn’t possible. We may very well hurtle over the cliff because they wished to keep their jobs for a few years longer. I have no doubt after the problems start to arise afterward they will try to absolve themselves by saying it was “the will of the people” and will be actively looking foe scapegoats. As to challenging a decision of parliament too revoke the article 50 deceleration, they may try but it wouldn’t stop the process and given the referendum was none binding what chance do you really think they’d have of winning.

  • Yeovil Yokel 17th Dec '17 - 9:19pm

    matt – 37.4% of the electorate voted to Leave, so where is the mandate?

  • @nvelope2003
    I was referring to uk wide elections and in comparison to recent decades it was the largest turn out

    @Frankie
    Why would you trust the opinion of a Lord who drafted the legislation and whom said he didn’t think it would ever be used in the context of Brexit but was written as a mechanism in relation to an imagined exit procedure might be triggered after an authoritarian leader took power in a member country and the EU responded by suspending that country’s right to vote on EU decisions.
    “Now you may be right in thinking the present parliament does not contain the requisite number of MP’s with the backbone to cancel Brexit but what you can’t claim is that it isn’t possible.”
    It’s not about having backbone to cancel it, Parliament legislated to put our EU membership out to plebiscite, the people were given the choice and we chose. You might not like it, you might start screaming and shouting “it’s not binding it was advisory” but that’s just throwing your dummy out of the pram because you got an answer you don’t like and were not expecting.
    The Liberal Democrats have been long supporters of referendums when it suits them. In fact it has been in previous manifestos to hold in Out Referendums on EU Membership, Joining the Euro and the AV Vote that you got and lost.
    I am however claiming that it is not possible to have a 2nd referendum on the deal, if it was, I would like to see the Liberal democrats setting out their position on how it is possible and how they are going to achieve it, instead of this constant repetitive harping on about it, and yet not doing anything. After all Brexit is only 15 Months away
    You keep talking of unicorns and Tinkerbells and yet I think it is you who is clutching at straws and living in fantasy land

    @Yeovil Yokel
    “matt – 37.4% of the electorate voted to Leave, so where is the mandate?”
    The mandate comes from the 52% of those that took part in the referendum. The 27.8 % of the electorate who did not bother to cast a vote was by their own choice, most of whom I would suggest was indifferent to the result.

  • Peter Watson 17th Dec '17 - 9:53pm

    @Martin “LibDemer (so called) is typical, calling for “radical solutions”, yet quite unable to suggest anything him/herself. There is an empty hole where an argument should be.”

    And for me, that epitomises a massive problem for Lib Dems: away from Brexit, two apparent Lib Dems are pointing to the identity and policy vacuum at the heart of the party currently.

    On this site it often seems that when somebody does suggest a “radical solution” it is shot down as being too “Orange Book” or too “Corbynist”, leaving what looks like a very conservative party with two wings which cancel each other out.

  • Katharine Pindar 17th Dec '17 - 10:01pm

    Returning happily from an excellent church carol service, I have read the lively commentary above with peaceful enjoyment. How about taking note of the good people of Huddersfield, where Andrew McCaig has found a 6.5 swing from Leave to Remain? Real evidence from the ground, as opposed to anonymous polling, and believe me, if Yorkshire folk can change their minds anyone can! (Football team doing well again too, David!) It seems to me that the Brexiteers are running nearly on empty now, and there has to be a decent chance of stopping it, one way or another.

    If so there will be an immense outcry, so we should think how to present the positive case for staying in more thoroughly than has been done before. We suggest there should be reforms, and it seems to me the EU will be glad enough to keep us to allow further development of the ideas David Cameron sought for, understandings on labour movements and entitlement to benefits, for instance. And, Tim 13, one way to propose greater democracy in the EU would be to advocate more powers for MEPs, perhaps to put forward policy and to elect the Commission President, which kind of reform ought to be accompanied by greater scrutiny in this country of what MEPs are doing (and earning!).

    I think another way to sweeten the pill for the Brexiteers would be to point out, following on from what Peter Hirst wrote, that we advocate policies to give everyone a better quality of life, and we believe that, once this terrible waste of time and resources on preparing for Brexit is stopped, Government and Opposition alike will be able to concentrate on improving the chances of the Just About Managing and the poorest, going for growth and an end to austerity.

    Just one word to Matt – it’s possible now that the proposed date of leaving of March 29th 2019 will be deferred, allowing sufficient time for another referendum to be arranged, as must be if it is to be held at all, before the cut-off date.

  • Peter Martin 17th Dec '17 - 10:29pm

    @ Frankie,

    Becoming older also give us all a better chance to discover just why the economic thinking behind the EU is fundamentally flawed. Sharing one currency between 19 economies, all at different stages of economic development, might appear a good idea to over-idealistic younger people, but to us older heads it is obviously a recipe for disaster.

    We need more than love and goodwill to have a good trading relationship with our neighbours. We need governments who are in charge of their own economies too. That means completely in control.

  • Interesting piece on politicalbetting.com with questions re the poll headlining this post.
    Head guy from YouGov has doubts re the methodology. Says shouldn’t rush to take comfort from it as a remainer.

  • Peter Watson 18th Dec '17 - 12:14am

    @Sean Hyland “shouldn’t rush to take comfort from it as a remainer”
    I’ve commented before (https://www.libdemvoice.org/another-poll-shows-support-for-referendum-on-brexit-deal-56093.html#comment-459586) about the dangers of cherry-picking polling data and this article is an example of LDV and senior Lib Dems doing just that yet again.
    I can sort of see the point of it, rallying the troops with victory in sight, but it risks creating a false sense of optimism and security, and also weakens the credibility of the party’s claims to be champions of evidence-based politics. On Brexit, I think Anthony Wells sums up the polling data nicely (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9961): “there does appear to be a genuine movement towards Remain since last year… but as yet it is only small, and the country remains quite finely divided between Remain and Leave”. Not as motivational perhaps, but more honest.

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Dec '17 - 12:17am

    frankie 17th Dec ’17 – 9:14pm
    “Brexit is reversible even after date is set, says author of article 50”

    Yeah, I keep seeing that quoted. It’s weird, like because he’s the “author” he gets to say what the words really mean. But that’s not how language works, and it’s certainly not how treaties or legal documents work.
    Article 50, as written and agreed to by all the EU member states, doesn’t contain any provision for revocation by the notice-giving member. It explicitly says that notice to quite, once given, takes effect two years later unless all the member states agree otherwise. It’s no good the guy who apparently wrote the sentence coming along several years later and saying “Well, I meant to say that the state giving notice could unilaterally change its mind at any point.” That’s not what he actually wrote down, and it’s not what was agreed.
    Of course, if the UK asks to withdraw its notice and the other states all agree to it, then a way will be found to finesse it – politics always trumps literal readings. But any EU state that wants to dig its heels in – whether to make some demand of the EU or of the UK in return for its consent or because it actually wants the UK to leave – can clearly do so.

  • Malcolm Todd 18th Dec '17 - 12:17am

    Should be “notice to *quit*”, obviously.

  • Sean Hyland 18th Dec '17 - 1:17am

    Peter Watson the article makes the same point about cherry picking polls whatever side of the debate you are on and the need to look across a range of results for overall trends. It acknowledges mistakes made by pollsters in the past and how they can be caught out.

  • Matt,
    Why would I trust the man who wrote the law to know what it ment. Well if he didn’t he wouldn’t be very good at his job, but I suppose it’s possible he’s inept. If they try to revoke A50 we will all see how inept or not he was.
    Peter,
    People pay more attention to economics as they get older, they really don’t, most people pay no attention to economics no matter what their age.

  • William Fowler 18th Dec '17 - 9:40am

    Another thread on Farage and his pension, should the Lord who wrote such a vague Article 50, that at the very least should have said a country can only leave at the end of a fiscal cycle, also lose his job/pension? Until politicians take responsibility for their actions (and a certain Labour chancellor would be in prison right now) democracy is in peril.

  • Peter Watson 18th Dec '17 - 10:31am

    @Sean Hyland ” the article makes the same point about cherry picking polls whatever side of the debate you are on and the need to look across a range of results for overall trends. It acknowledges mistakes made by pollsters in the past and how they can be caught out”

    I assume you mean the article in the Independent (or on BMG’s website or at UK Polling Report) rather than the one at the top of this page. I don’t recall an LDV article about Brexit polling (any polling?) that is quite so sensible! 😉

  • @Katharine Pindar
    “Just one word to Matt – it’s possible now that the proposed date of leaving of March 29th 2019 will be deferred, allowing sufficient time for another referendum to be arranged, as must be if it is to be held at all, before the cut-off date.”

    The date may be left out from UK leg, but it does not mean the EU will agree to defer the date. Art50 states thttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_50_of_the_Treaty_on_European_Union .
    Article 49A of the Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force on 1 December 2009, introduced for the first time a procedure for a member state to withdraw voluntarily from the EU.[3] This is specified in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that:[4]
    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

    On that basis do you really think the EU will spend 2 years hammering out a deal and then at the end agree to let us defer our decision until after the UK has spent another 12 months legislating and holding another referendum on the proposed deal and asking the people to decide? The EU would never allow that to happen. It would act as precedence for any member state to hold the eu to ransom with the threat of a referendum every time it did not agree with something or wanted something, knowing that it could cause the EU uncertainty whilst also having the ability to pull out of exiting anytime it chooses. The EU would never set a precedence for that, it puts to much power in the hands of the smaller states and the eu does not like that sort of thing.
    To think the EU would agree to all this really is believing in Tinkerbelle and Unicorns

  • Peter Watson I referred to the article on politicalbetting.com. it reports Peter Kellners take on the BMG poll for the Independent that Caron uses as the theme for this post on LDV. I was showing that Peter Kellner was raising questions re BMG’s results and stating the need to ensure it wasn’t taking out of context.

  • Peter Watson 18th Dec '17 - 12:06pm

    @Sean Hyland “I referred to the article on politicalbetting.com”
    Cheers.
    I love Peter Kellner’s closing comment and it is worth repeating here for LDV:

    Remember the warning of those great 20th century philosophers, Simon and Garfunkel, in The Boxer: “All lies and jest: a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest”.

    But I’ll have “Lie la lie, lie la la la lie lie, Lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la la lie” running through my head all afternoon now! 🙂

  • @Martin
    “What was leaves vision for the UK outside the EU? Do tell, because if it ever existed, it seems to have been completely forgotten. “
    The UK Voted to leave the single market and the customs union, that was made clear to us before the referendum took place that this is what a vote to leave would mean. Now it is up to the Government to deliver on that and negotiating the best deal that they can. Should they reveal exactly what their plan and negotiating strategy will be? Of course not, that’s just silly and like playing a game of poker with your cards turned around the wrong way

    @Frankie
    “Why would I trust the man who wrote the law to know what it ment. Well if he didn’t he wouldn’t be very good at his job,”
    Clearly he isn’t very good at his job, but see @ Malcom Todd 18th Dec ’17 – 12:17am for a more complete answer he is from your side of the fence so you might be more inclined to listen

  • Theresa May says UK will get a ‘bespoke EU trade deal’…

    Michel Barnier says there is ‘No way’ the UK will be allowed a bespoke Brexit trade deal…

    I’m sure the UK will do well on this; after all, look at our “progress so far”…

    EU says ‘divorce bill’ is £40 billion
    Brexiteers say UK will pay nothing and still get a bespoke deal
    EU says ‘divorce bill’ is £40 billion
    Brexiteers say EU can ‘go whistle’
    EU says ‘divorce bill’ is £40 billion
    Brexiteers say ‘not a penny’ and threaten to ‘walk away’
    EU says ‘divorce bill’ is £40 billion
    Brexiteers say the EU is bluffing
    EU says ‘divorce bill’ is £40 billion
    UK agrees to pay £40 billion..

  • @expats

    Question.

    Are all the trade agreements that the EU makes with other countries EXACTLY the same
    i.e Is Canada and Singapore the same?
    is Vietnam and West Africa exactly the same?
    NO they are not, therefore any trade deal that the UK makes with the EU will be bespoke

  • nvelope2003 18th Dec '17 - 1:09pm

    Matt: You said the turnout was the biggest in election history, not in recent history or even for a referendum. It was not so please admit it. Maybe the MPs are unlikely to risk their careers by upsetting their constituents but if we had not had a referendum in the first place they would have had to decide the issue themselves and if they are not up to the task they should not be in the job.

    People mostly voted in accordance with their own interest. The idea of Britain being a sovereign state in this day and age is unrealistic. Only places like the USA, China and possibly Russia and North Korea because they do not care about the condition of their subject people can be sovereign states now. We will have to observe EU regulations if we want to trade with the EU and from becoming an equal member of a trade association we will become the vassal state of the Great Powers. The idea of the UK being another Singapore is not plausible as we do not have millions of people with the culture of the Chinese and nor are we likely to elect the same Government for about 60 years to maintain the state in its current form.

  • @nvelope2003

    I was referring to uk wide elections and in comparison to recent decades it was the largest turn out also and in comparison to the 1975 referendum on British membership of the then European Economic Community, 25,903,194 people voted – 64.6% of people voted. Compared to the most recent EU Referendum where 72.2% turned out 33,551,956 people took part, that is the biggest turn out
    But granted I should not have said the biggest turnout in electoral history, I will chalk that one up to a slight exaggeration from a Brexiter

  • @Expats

    Stefaan De Rynck, senior adviser to Michel Barnier just said in an interview at Chatham House
    that the UK would get a bespoke trade deal, in the sense that all free trade agreements are different.
    I rest my case

  • matt

    “I will chalk that one up to a slight exaggeration from a Brexiter”

    You’re barely a trainee exaggerator by Brexit levels, out by only 12%/13% is nothing you should pay more attention to the top ‘Leave’ campaigners if you want to learn how to really do it.

  • matt 18th Dec ’17 – 1:07pm…[email protected]…Are all the trade agreements that the EU makes with other countries EXACTLY the same
    i.e Is Canada and Singapore the same?
    is Vietnam and West Africa exactly the same?
    NO they are not, therefore any trade deal that the UK makes with the EU will be bespoke…..

    I believe that any deal made will be subject to the Most-favoured-nation (MFN) clause which will lead to us being treated,by the EU, like any other nation…
    Under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Grant a nation a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate or special trading terms for goods) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members..

  • But we are not talking about MFN under WTO rules we are talking about an EU Free Trade Agreement.
    Not all Free Trade agreements are the same obviously.

    If all countries that are are MFN under WTO rules had to be treated the same in a FTA then Canada and Singapore would be exactly the same and the UK would not be having a negotiating process, because that would be a pointless waste of time exercise and they would just be copying and pasting legislation

  • So Matt what is your version of Brexit? You all have different versions, are you a Lexiteer (even though that could never happen given the Tories are in power), are you a single market man (even though that means keeping all the rules but losing the right to vote on the rules), do you favour Norway ( where some sectors like fishing are outside the EU’s control but many are tied to it and the rules they set), do you just want to have a cake and eat it deal(although you have been told by the EU that isn’t happening and let’s be honest everything they’ve said they will do they have done) or are you a “Very well alone disciple”. I’m genuinely intrested in your response, of cause you may be none of the above, you may be a believer in “It will be alright on the night and what will be will be” but I rather doubt that, but then again your own personal Brexit may be something totally different. Now you could counter each remainer has their own version of remain, tis true I’m afraid but the one thing that unites us is while we believe we may have been in a hole we believed it was preferreable to the option of taking out a Brexit shovel and digging it deeper, which is the option you took.

  • Katharine Pindar 18th Dec '17 - 6:37pm

    @ David Raw. Thank you very much, David, for that grand present from YouTube, which I shall enjoy listening to several times! Bliss was it to live in Huddersfield many moons ago for several reasons, but among them the pleasure of going to the Town Hall for the Choral Society and orchestral concerts. You remind me that I haven’t sung in Messiah this year, after singing in it the three previous years (locally, and in the RAH scratch performance), so must have it next year again. But bliss was it actually to be alive in Keswick last night, singing in Adophe Adam’s O Holy Night, with a glorious tenor solo leading us: this classic was the very first choral piece I learnt to love in a church choir, and it was still the highlight of last night’s Carol Service. Eh, good lad, I love brass bands too! Have a great Christmas with your family in a town we both love. (Maybe you’ll come across Andrew McCaig and his mates as well!)

    @Matt. Enjoy your good fight, Matt. There’s still time for a referendum to be held before March 2019, and as reality breaks about ‘bespoke’ trade deals, I reckon the groundswell of support for Remain should escalate rapidly – and that the EU 27, led by Eire, will be happy to welcome us back.

  • @Frankie
    Quite simply I would prefer to see a bespoke FTA between the UK and the EU, one that takes into consideration the UK Services which our economy is highly reliant upon and Services tend to get excluded in FTA.
    I want us out of the single Market and out of the Customs Union as that requires us to have freedom of movement.
    I would like to see the UK continue to share intelligence and security with the EU and work together on environmental issues.
    I want us completely out of the CAP and CFP.
    If we are not able to agree a FTA then I am more than happy for the UK to go to WTO rules, I am confident that outside the confines of the EU the UK will prosper, striking it’s own FTA with the other 80% of the world. The EU’s share of GDP is on a drastic downward trajectory and the EU’s answer to that is ever closer union and projectionist policies which I do not believe to be good for the UK’s prosperity

    @Katharine Pindar
    “There’s still time for a referendum to be held before March 2019,”
    Please explain how you believe this to be possible and what do you propose to be on the ballot paper? And remember there is no stay in the EU on the reforms that Cameron negotiated.

  • Matt your proposed solution is contradictory and unavailable. It would be an economic disaster for the UK, as we would be excluded from our most important export markets and behind significant walls of customs bureaucracy making modern integrated supply chains impossible. You seem to be describing the world of the 19th century, not the 21st.

  • @ppb
    How is it contradictory?
    Does the CETA trade agreement require Canada to have freedom of movement of people? I don’t think so
    Does CETA prevent Canada from striking free trade agreements with other trading partners? I don’t think so
    If we are not able to negotiate a FTA with the EU, then the uk is perfectly able to resort to WTO rules with the EU, to claim otherwise is nonsense and scare tactics. Just how would we be EXCLUDED from export markets please elaborate?

  • Yeovil Yokel 18th Dec '17 - 9:13pm

    matt- how on earth did you manage to post 8 comments between 10:48am and 7:27pm today? Are you some sort of professional Brexiteer?

  • Thank you Matt, so your a cake and eat it man. I fear the EU won’t agree to that and as for trade deals with everyone else well let’s just say they are likely to be more complicated than you think. Reality will prove one of us right either we will seamlessly move onto the sunlit uplands or struggle through poorer, humbled but hopefully wiser, I think we will soon start to be sure of the direction of travel. Try to resist the stab in the back theory, we voted for what we will get and blaming anyone else is a bit snowflake.
    P.S CETA is limited in it’s scope and doesn’t provide financial passportting, a major loss to the City.

  • @Yeovil Yokel

    Am I a professional brexiteer? Not sure what this, but I am sure I am not.

    Am I polite enough to respond to people who go to the trouble to ask me questions? Absolutely I am, even though I am sure you won’t like my answers 🙂

  • Yoevil Yokel
    Why are you counting?
    Matt’s just replying to flak and stuff as far I can tell. The thing about Brexit and the EU is that the press and the politicos are still fighting the war in various bunkers on various big boards, a bit like in the version of Dr Strangelove that ends in a custard pie fight, but no one outside is really paying much attention.

  • @frankie
    I don’t see myself as a cake and it man, I see myself as a pragmatist, as far as I am concerned the EU is a failed ideology project.
    “Try to resist the stab in the back theory, we voted for what we will get and blaming anyone else is a bit snowflake.”
    I take full responsibility for my decisions and actions, it is because I will always believe that the EU is a failed ideology that I believe my vote for brexit was the right choice for myself and for future generations

    I see that Barnier has just ruled out any trade agreement that includes services for the UK, if that is the case then I would be of the opinion that the UK should leave and resort to WTO rules
    The service sector accounts for 80 per cent of the UK economy and Barclays estimates within a decade it should account for half of Britain’s exports, but most of EU existing trade deals explicitly exclude services.
    The EU share of global GDP is drastically shrinking resulting in the EU becoming ever more protectionist and because most EU-FTA exclude services which the UK economy is highly reliant upon, it is not in the UK interest to stay in the EU anyway and we would be better of striking out on our own

    @Katherine
    You might be interested to hear what the EU Chief negotiator has just said on stopping brexit.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/18/uk-cannot-have-a-special-deal-for-the-city-says-eu-brexit-negotiator-barnier
    • The UK could not stop Brexit unilaterally, arguing that overturning the decision to leave would require the consent of 27 EU member states – a view at odds with one of the authors of article 50, Lord Kerr. He said “The clock is ticking. No changes in the process can be unilateral, they must be collective.””

    Makes your call for another referendum kind of difficult.

  • Yeovil Yokel 18th Dec '17 - 10:56pm

    matt – Thanks for your response, perhaps I should have made myself clearer. Most of the posters on this thread make stuff, grow stuff, or manage stuff in the ‘real’ economy, and we post when we have a spare moment. You seem to spend most of your day (and the evening!) researching stuff and writing stuff damning the EU and lauding the virtues of Brexit, hence my question: how do you have the time to do it unless you’re employed as a journalist or commentator? – I’m genuinely curious.

  • It is contradictory to want to leave the largest and most comprehensive free trade agreement in the world, ie the single European market and then in the same breath to say lets have a bespoke free trade agreement in Europe. Any agreement we can reach will definitely be less of a free trade agreement with Europe and the rest of the world than what we have today.
    Free trade also requires open borders so wanting to leave the customs union is also contradictory with wanting free trade.

  • @Yeovil Yokel

    ” how do you have the time to do it unless you’re employed as a journalist or commentator? – I’m genuinely curious.”

    Neither of those I am afraid, I would have thought my terrible grammar would have told you that 🙂
    For me it is not a case of finding the time, it is a case of finding the energy and the will to engage. Sometimes I feel spurred on
    I don’t work due to various mental health disorders and other disabilities.

  • @ppb
    “It is contradictory to want to leave the largest and most comprehensive free trade agreement in the world, ie the single European market and then in the same breath to say lets have a bespoke free trade agreement in Europe.”
    Erm I think you might be confused, there is a difference from being a “member of the single market” and wanting to to have a trade agreement with the single market
    I think you are confusing being a member of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) like Norway and an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) like Canada. A Free Trade agreement does not require open boarders.

    “Any agreement we can reach will definitely be less of a free trade agreement with Europe and the rest of the world than what we have today.”
    Not true, any agreement that we reach with the eu will be less than what we currently have with the EU as a member of the single market, that much is true. However, as I have said previously, outside of the EU we will also be able to strike up our own FTA with the rest of the 80% of the world outside of the EU where we will be able to include our service industry that makes up 80 % of the UK economy and for which we are heavily reliant on. All of the trade agreements that the EU has completed so far have excluded services and have not been a good deal for the UK.
    As the EU’s share of global GDP is shrinking it is becoming ever more protectionist in its polices and I do not believe this to be in the UK’s best interests.

  • Katharine Pindar 19th Dec '17 - 12:40am

    Matt, you are reminding me irresistibly of those Micky Mouse cartoons (not physically, of course, having no idea of what you look like!), with the valiant mouse whirling round and leaping about and continually frustrating the huge Kat trying to get him (alias all the Remainers writing here!). You have form in this, too, I remember. Unfortunately in the real world of course cats kill mice, and Brexiteers will follow Tinkerbell (as frankie puts it) in vain.

    Thanks for the detailed Guardian lead, in which Michel Barnier is excellently clear. I’m only suggesting the decision to stay in, via a referendum or parliamentary decision, has to be made by March 2019, not that the Article 50 revocation can be overturned (though I would have thought the decision might be delayed if we were, say, partly through a referendum). Said referendum would probably have to be simply, Do you agree to the negotiated terms for leaving, or do you prefer to stay in the EU? As to reverting to WTO rules, the general opinion seems to be that that would be a disaster for British industry, especially the automotive side.

    I’m still enjoying this thread, as you may gather, as it conveys no threat. My favourite comment on the main topic is still expats’ at 12.32 pm on the 18th, nice bit of sarcasm on progress so far, though PSi’s at 3.46 pm runs him or her close – thanks for the laughs, chaps!

  • @ Peter Watson 18th Dec 9.40 am

    “I don’t recall an LDV article about Brexit polling (any polling?) that is quite so sensible!”

    This made me laugh. Quite so!

    @ Yeovil Yokel

    I don’t think you should have asked Matt why he had the time to post frequently yesterday.

    @ Matt

    I don’t think you should feel the need to answer Yeovil Yokel question about why you had the time to post so frequently yesterday. I hope you have some long spells of good health and hope there is the hope that you will either get better or better at managing your health issues.

  • @ Matt

    On your question of time table. I think it could be possible. If we assume that a deal is reached by August 2018. There would be time to get a referendum act passed. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 took less than 4 months to get passed and included the boundary review. The European Union Referendum Act 2015 took about 5 months to get passed. Both were introduced before the summer recess and the conference recess which are 11 weeks. The Act could be passed by 7th February so the Referendum could be held on Thursday 21st March 2019.

    If we could assume the government would act logically it would once an agreement was reached, which it wanted to reject, discuss with the rest of EU what they would agree to keep us in the EU. If the rest of EU wanted us to stay they would know they would have to offer more than they gave to Cameron. It should include the UK applying all the restrictions other EU countries apply to restrict free movement from the EU into their country and reform of the EU and the Euro zone to abolish the stability pack and do more to reduce the push factors for immigration from the poorer EU countries. This could only happen if the EU had the political will to make the changes to ensure the UK population voted to stay in.

    This second part is the major problem because we as a party have not realised this needs doing and made the case for it, so that in the autumn and winter of 2018 it can happen and it is unlikely the current UK government could do this necessary work.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 19th Dec '17 - 7:53am

    Matt, following your reply to Yeovil Yokel, could I just say that I am very pleased to see you back and commenting regularly on Lib Dem Voice again. I hope you don’t mind me saying that I had felt rather concerned that you seemed to disappear from Lib Dem Voice for a while, so it is really good to see you back, and again expressing your views robustly but politely. Lib Dem Voice needs you and people like you, to prevent it from becoming an echo chamber. All too often, people on Lib Dem Voice speculate, patronisingly, about why Leave voters voted as they did, sometimes giving the impression that they have never had a proper conversation with a real Leave voter. So you, as a Leave voter who is obviously very different from the stereotype, have a vital role here. Bye the way, you underestimate yourself, and I don’t think it was particularly surprising if Yoevil Yokil thought you might be a professional journalist. Anyway, its great to see you back, and I hope you’re ok 🙂

  • Glen,

    But you’re paying attention, as are many Brexiteers still pushing their own personal Brexit. I think you have a point about about the majority becoming disillusioned with Brexit and just wanting it over with; only problem you have with that is the only way to finish it is to stop it, till then like it or not it will dominate the political world and prevent much else being done. Not something I’d have voted for, Brexit has become “The never ending story” but you did.

  • OnceALibDem 19th Dec '17 - 9:05am

    ” The Act could be passed by 7th February so the Referendum could be held on Thursday 21st March 2019.”

    There are a number of other steps about a referendum though – agreeing the question, designating yes/no organisations etc that need to be done and have rules about involving eg the Electoral Commission so not quite that quick. And that is comparing to bills where there was a rebellion proof majority to pass them.

    With political will they could be done quicker but…….

    “If we could assume the government would act logically…..”
    Yeah – we might come back to that one 🙂

    “once an agreement was reached, which it wanted to reject, discuss with the rest of EU what they would agree to keep us in the EU. If the rest of EU wanted us to stay they would know they would have to offer more than they gave to Cameron.”
    I think the patience of the EU might wear a little thin if, having negotiated for 2 years for an exit agreement the UK then wanted to negotiate a “stay on different terms” agreement. It would then be running into a serious problem with Art 50 and its revocability.

  • Two stories in the Guardian today at first glance saying the same thing you can’t cherry pick. Alas Mr Barnier’s take on not cherry picking is “UK cannot have a special deal for the City”, whereas the Benny Hill Tribute Acts take on no Cherry Picking is you can. I’m afraid it is Ground Hog Day all over again, Benny Hill will start of sounding tough before huffing and puffing and agreeing with what ever the EU care to give him.

    Must be hard as a Brexiteer accepting the leadership they have, still that’s their problem not mine.

  • Andrew McCaig 19th Dec '17 - 9:18am

    Matt,
    Returning to this thread I don’t see a reply to me pointing out that the deal over Northern Ireland agreed last week actually requires membership of the customs union (and complete alignment with the Single Market) indefinitely. Trade deals with other countries outside the EU framework will not be possible without trashing the Good Friday Agreement. Btw it seems to me that Ree-Smogg and his mates are quite happy to do that..

  • I took the initial remark from ‘Yeovil Yokel’ about 8 postings as how 8 postings were allowed….Mine tend to go into pre-mod and, after three postings, I have to wait 3-4 hours for another go…

    Brexit appears to be the only thing happening whilst the country (NHS, Poverty, etc.) goes to the dogs…’My group’ of rough sleepers is getting larger by the week, official help is rapidly becoming just a ‘joke’ (if that word can be deemed acceptable in this context)….At the same time I read about umpteen million payouts to individuals in businesses (many of which are ‘struggling’) and Farage whining that he’s ‘skint’…. It’s depressing as I cannot see any hope of change..
    We usually hand out presents (e.g. thermal socks) but this year I’m seriously considering just giving money to dull the pain of being on the streets… A Merry Christmas in 21st century Britain???? Scrooge would fit right in!

  • Peter Martin 19th Dec '17 - 10:00am

    Lib Dems (2009):

    ” It is VITAL that you, and the British people have a say in a REAL referendum”

    Lib Dems (2017)

    Can we make that a series of “REAL referendums”? We’ll just keep having them until we get the result we want!

  • Frankie,
    As I’ve said before, which Remain/pro-EU stance is actually consistent? Would it be the one that wants reforms, the one that wants deeper union, the one that wants to block it, the over 50% of remain voters who want to lower immigration from the EU, or the one’s who think it Okay as it is or the ones that think it should be higher? How about the remain people who want to be part of the euro v those that don’t or the enthusiastic ideological remainers v the reluctant ones. There is no more unity of vision in the Remain camp than there is in the Leave camp. After all the Remain camp also includes arch capitalists, socialists, liberals and many conflicting forces. This is not because they all agree. It’s because they all see different things.

    I suspect people are not so much disillusioned as they are bored of the repetitious circular arguments and its dominance in the news.

  • Automatic pre-m. ????? You must have been a very very naughty boy at some time, Expats. Suggest you send a crawling email to the Highheadyans to ask forgiveness and immediate access.

    On your main thrust, I completely agree about how the Lib Dems appear to have become totally obsessed with a single issue (begins with Br) – and with occasional forays into Georgian economics land tax theory. Whilst I’m a Remainer, as you point out, there are some really important issues in our horribly unequal society that need a response.

    If it wasn’t so serious some of it would be laughable – e.g. a £ 3.5 billion aircraft carrier without aircraft, which is a floating sitting missile target and has sprung a leak. It all seems to be some sort of post imperial nightmare….. but still – it was commissioned by H.M. (no leaks about the leak announcement) and we can all look forward to a Royal Wedding on Cup Final Day.

    Just off to the Foodbank to organise a charity collection !!!

  • Expats,

    Well it’s nice to know I’m not the only one exiled to the naughty step.

    David Raw,

    Yes isn’t it a shame the obsession with Brexit. the problem is it isn’t just this site it’s the whole political world and media. While Brexit moves slowly onward there is no will on the government benches to deal with anything else. The media obsess about it both inprint and electronicly. Occasionally an event drags us away from it, but we are soon dragged back, short of WWIII or the end of Brexit it’s difficult to see an end to the obsession. It was sadly all to predictable unwinding forty years of integration was always going to consume what little leadership we have, meanwhile other important issues are neglected or just plain forgotten.

  • David Raw,

    the frustrating thing about Georgian economics land tax theory is the perception by many that it is just another tax, when the whole thrust of the reforms is aimed at addressing inequality.
    Henry George spoke of what he called the problem. The problem was the persistence of poverty amidst plenty. He identified the monopoly ownership of land as the primary cause of this aberration, drawing upon the work of moral philosophers/classical political economists like Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill.
    For George, Land tax was not so much an economic issue as a moral and ethical one. His Magnus opus ‘Progess and Poverty’ was a bestseller in the late 19th century (second only to the Bible), he drew crowds comparable to Gladstone at public speaking events, came within a cats whisker of being elected as the Mayor of New York and on his death at the early age of 58, his funeral was attended by 100,000 mourners.
    His ideas have endured and are called upon at times of economic distress. They are once again being revived by a new generation that find themselves locked out of homeownership and paying 50% of their net income for the privilege of renting cramped and sub-standard accommodation, just as the did in George’s day. These are important issues and the required response should be evident to Liberals.
    We are often told that the economic efficiency and benefits of Land Value Taxation are widely acknowledged by modern day economists; and that the problem is not the efficacy of the theory but political problems. If solving political problems is not what the Libdems are for, then what are we for?

  • @Michael BG
    Thank you for your comments.
    I don’t mind people asking me personal questions, within reason of course, sometimes getting a little personal insight of who they are helps us to understand where they are coming from. As long as it is done and asked respectfully, I have no problem. But I thank you so very much for your concern.
    @Catherine
    Again many thanks, I did have a spell of very bad health, hence why I went off the grid for a while, but I am coming through this phase and I do find get into political debates therapeutic and gives me something to focus my thoughts on, albeit only over a computer, but it’s a start  thanks again
    @Andy Daer
    I don’t understand the interest in the theoretical mechanics of a further referendum.
    Became Parliament decided to legislate and put this decision to plebiscite, they gave people the choice and they chose. I do not agree with a 2nd referendum but that would certainly be more appropriate than say Parliament changing it’s minding and overriding Brexit. Would the Liberal Democrats have accepted if they won the AV Vote and then Parliament said actually, we’ve decided not to enact it our opinions and what we want are more important than yours?
    As for your use of 37% who voted leave and the 63% who did not, don’t you think that is being disingenuous lumping those who did not vote at all with the ones who voted remain? You have no idea how many of the non voters would have sided with leave, if they fell in the same proportions to those that did vote then leave would still have come out on top.

  • @Andrew McCaig
    Sorry I have not replied to you sooner.
    I confess I know nothing about the good Friday agreement and it’s workings, I try to inform myself to some extent before I form an opinion and comment, I started to read about it last night but confess to getting tired and confused, so I will have another go at it today and get back to you on that one if I may.
    But my initial thoughts are, I do not like the idea of a country being forced to remain in the European Union and being held to ransom forever and ever amen due to an agreement made with 1 other country years ago, maybe it is the case that that agreement needs to be relooked at again and modified, it does not automatically mean a return to the days of bloodshed. But like I said I need to do my homework before coming to a proper opinion.
    @expats
    Mine go in to pre mod as well at times, I also get put on comment flooding when I get carried away with myself.
    @Glenn
    “there is no more unity of vision in the Remain camp than there is in the Leave camp. After all the Remain camp also includes arch capitalists, socialists, liberals and many conflicting forces. “ Agree entirely and not pointed out often enough.

  • @ OnceALibDem

    “I think the patience of the EU might wear a little thin if, having negotiated for 2 years for an exit agreement the UK then wanted to negotiate a “stay on different terms” agreement. It would then be running into a serious problem with Art 50 and its revocability.”

    Before Article 50 was triggered, I argued it was not revocable. I suggested the party should get a ruling from the relevant European court. However, there does seem to be a strong opinion that it should be revocable. My assumption for us to stay in the EU is that the rest of the EU want us to stay and will make it possible and give us more than they gave Cameron to try to persuade the British public to vote to stay in. (I think one of the reasons Cameron didn’t get more was because he couldn’t convince the rest of EU we would vote to leave.) If this assumption is incorrect and it might be then we will leave even if the British public could be persuaded to vote to stay in.

    (I don’t have an ideological commitment to our membership of the EU and never supported joining the Euro and think we have never been clear about how we would reform the EU so the British public would be happier with us being a member.)

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Dec '17 - 1:51pm

    As can be expected and as reassured because of it, we have Catherine talking as a Liberal Democrat, inviting views from Matt, which she might not agree with, but wants to hear.

    If more were like her, I would have a spring in my step, and money in my very worthwhile account to try to develop projects in my field which go beyond the norm of miserable and pointless.

    Mention of an echo chamber from this most compassionate and intelligent contributor, is the story of the few who enjoy that, and the fewer , like myself, who don’t but find it the norm , as we try to reach out and get little response.

    I find much of the time I am on forums or with people who would not know the word observant much more than they would that one called , listener.

  • @Andy Daer
    I am sorry, I just do not agree. I think there are some matters which absolutely have to be decided by, by the people. I.e. Changes to our voting system, whether or not a country should become independent and whether we as a country should remain in the European Union. We were given the choice to join in 1975 and we should have that very same choice to leave.
    “It is true that most leave voters haven’t changed their minds – they are human, like all of us, and no-one likes admitting they were wrong”
    The problem is you are “assuming” that they are wrong, until the withdrawal agreement is complete, all the i’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed, you have no idea if the leavers were wrong. We have not left the EU so it is impossible for you or anyone else to say leavers were wrong because only history will be able to tell us that.
    The more I am hearing from Barnier over the last couple of days the more I am convinced that I am right as a leaver. His insistence that the UK cannot have a deal better than Canada or which includes services for example, because no FTA includes services says to me that that the EU has effectively reached its high water mark of free trade and services liberalisation, with no further bilateral progress to be made.
    The service sector accounts for 80 per cent of the UK economy and Barclays estimates within a decade it should account for half of Britain’s exports. But EU existing trade deals explicitly exclude services. The EU share of global GDP is drastically shrinking resulting in the EU becoming ever more protectionist. So in my opinion we would be better of striking out on our own anyway and play to our strengths

  • Andy Daer,

    the arguments you make against referendums can equally be made against universal suffrage.

    Democracy implies popular sovereignty. Suffrage must be universal. Every individual has the right to take part in constituting and conditioning the government. It is popular sovereignty.
    The laws of the state invariably affect every one in the state, therefore it is natural that every body expects to have a say in the politics and laws of the government. ‘What touches all must be decided by all’.
    If the suffrage is restricted to a particular class, the government thus constituted with their representatives would tend to protect only their interest, at the expense of the unrepresented sections.

    The decision to leave the EU was made by referendum and in the interests of respecting the democratic rights of all, it can only be overturned by a referendum result that votes to remain.

  • Sean Hyland 19th Dec '17 - 6:11pm

    Sorry Andy Daer but I can’t agree with your reasoning. You don’t like the result and that’s fair enough but not right to expect MPs to correct what you deem was wrong. If the result is to be changed it has to be by the will of the people again.

    Can I also point out one thing as well for information. The staffing crisis in the NHS and the care sector is not a new issue. I took early retirement due to injury in 2005 when I was a senior nurse and RCN rep. I was sitting in meetings then with other service managers and consultants discussing staff shortages a d difficulties in recruitment. At that time we were raiding the former Commonwealth and the Philippines for staff. The chance to recruit from the EU was a godsend. But the underlying prob!ems have never been addressed as to why staff left and recruitment was difficult. Don’t blame Brexit for a problem that has existed for a long time. EU recruitment was just the latest ” sticking plaster” on a much more serious problem.

  • Glen,

    The EU did not obsess me unlike many Brexiters, who can see nothing past it. My major concerns where and are more money for the NHS, a better deal for the young and more housing (both private and social). However due to the toxic infighting in the Tory party we ended up with a referendum and Brexit. Now Brexit consumes everything and the issues I care about are crowded out. When the Brexit process started you and your fellow Brexiteers where warned it would consume all, but no you knew better not much will change, it will soon be over. Well it isn’t and while it slowly trundles on nothing else gets a look in.

    The Tories obsessed by Europe decided to abdicate government and rush off on the fools errand of referendum and Brexit; people who voted for it aided and abetted this. Cries of what would you do about Europe (in some half hearted way to justify your vote) miss the point, on the whole we didn’t put Europe up there as the main thing to fix we had a list of issues and it wasn’t anywhere near the top of it.

  • @Frankie

    Do you not accept that the Liberal Democrats and Remainers are obsessed with stopping Brexit and abdicating your responsibility as an opposition party?
    The things that matter to you that you mentioned, NHS, Youth Funding, Social Housing etc , there are many routes available to opposition parties to hold the government to account, opposition day debates, Prayer Motions etc, down to go old campaigning.
    The way I see it, you and others who oppose Brexit are not doing your jobs and holding the government to account on a whole range of issues because you have become a single issue party.
    You only need to look at the countless articles on this forum about Brexit for the last last 18 months and how other issues have been neglected to see that.
    You cant just blame the Government

  • Matt makes a fair point about the obsession with Brexit to the exclusion of everything else. As Chair of my local Food Bank I find that extremely frustrating. The Lib Dems should be joining with other opposition parties to hold the Government’s feet to the fire about rising levels of poverty in “our Great Nation”.

    Recent analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates the number of children living in poverty is set to rise to a record 5.2 million over the next five years, up from about 4 million at present. The IFS said frozen benefits as well as the introduction of universal credit would contribute to the surge, which it said would be most profoundly felt in the most deprived parts of the country. Add to that the matter of rough sleepers which seems to be growing exponentially (especially since Universal Credit began to trickle in).

    We live in a deeply divided society with inequality a terrible stain on the nation’s reputation as a civilised society. Sir Vincent Cable should pick this up – and could start with an apology for the party’s role in the introduction of so much of it in the Coalition years. I know that’s the case because I have witnessed the effects of it.

    For so many nowadays, in the words of Thomas Hobbes over three hundred years ago, for far too many in our society, life is becoming ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.’

  • Katharine Pindar 19th Dec '17 - 8:03pm

    @ Michael BG. I think your comment made in the early hours (2.07 am!) was extremely helpful, Michael, being the only one I have read to consider and suggest with evidence that holding a referendum before March 2019 may be possible. Seeing an actual date suggested (March 21st 2019) should spur everyone on to thinking of how to make it practicable and winnable.

    You also discuss the difficulties sensibly, and it certainly would be good for our party to debate what reforms we might like the EU to consider, to make staying in more acceptable to our people. We couldn’t be prescriptive about that, as someone else remarked, yet if the EU wants us to stay (and I agree with you in that assumption), it should be possible to get a general agreement on future developments. There is not, I think. the distance there once seemed, on matters such as free movement, and if the two sides in the negotiation can produce a ‘fudge’ about the enormous obstacle of the Irish border, they can probably also manage a sufficient pledge to modify arrangements later on. Psychologically speaking, there will quite likely be a burst of energy to develop reforms in the relief that it is all over!

    @ Andy Daer. Your comment at 8.42 am showed a touching faith in the ability of our Parliament to decide to stop Brexit because it will be apparent that that is the reasonable thing to do! Mighty forces of self-preservation, self-esteem, necessity to support one’s party, necessity to defeat the contrary forces in one’s own party, necessity not to allow the other party to triumph – these will crush pure reason. However, as several others have said including Matt, the democratic way forward is to let the people have the final say, not Parliament. Fortunately , while the aforesaid forces make it very unlikely that the Government will just reverse its position, it can save face by allowing a referendum, thereby putting the onus back on the people.

  • Katharine Pindar 19th Dec '17 - 8:16pm

    @David Raw – you were writing at the same time as I was, David, so I just add this note to say I absolutely agree with your sentiments there. We have to keep demanding better for the poorest members of our community, and it is a matter to stress particularly in this Christmas season and in the cold and dark of winter. Let us have cross-party alliance on this vital topic also, and as much practical action as we can.

  • @Andrew McCaig
    With regards to the issues we talked about earlier with Ireland and Brexit
    Ireland is not in Schengen travel area and has it’s own border controls for other EU arrivals so should make things slighter simpler maybe?
    There is no need for a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, however we could beef up border controls at airports and ports in Northern Ireland?

    There is already a bespoke arrangements between the UK and Ireland which is recognised in protocols to EU treaties, notably in Article 2 of Protocol No.20 of the Lisbon Treaty which confirms that both countries ‘may continue to make arrangements between themselves relating to the movement of persons between their territories’. 21 However, the Irish government – as a continuing EU member – may have to seek permission from the EU to maintain its distinctive travel relationship with the UK, post-Brexit, given that permission for such an arrangement has been confirmed in an EU Treaty (even though the arrangement pre-dates the EU). It seems unlikely that an EU state would challenge the existing arrangement?

    Obviously if the UK does leave the EU the single market and customs union then parts of the Good Friday agreement would need to be rewritten. Surely that is not impossible contracts and Legislation are updated all the time.
    The areas of cooperation that are written into the Good Friday agreement could still continue, Education, social security, Environmental etc

    When all is said and done, at the end of the day, I do not think the UK should be held to ransom and forced to stay in the single market by any country, anymore than say if Ireland were ever facing bankruptcy again and was forced to stay in the EU by the UK, no country should hold that sort of power over another countries sovereignty and if that is the consequence of the Good Friday Agreement, then it needs to be rewritten in my opinion.

  • @Katharine
    I knew you’d agree. Had a v. busy time at the F.B. today – so it bites a bit..

    I agree about Adolphe Adam – I love Giselle – our Anna (showing off now) is a stage manager at Covent Garden – so we hope to see it there some day). It’s odd how Adam was of Alsace background and that was such a cockpit of Euro trouble.

    Here’s a (double) Christmas Treat for you. Enjoy :

    Huddersfield Choral Society – O Holy Night – Listen on Deezer
    http://www.deezer.com/track/15935461
    O Holy Night · Huddersfield Choral Society | Length : 05:34. Composer: Adolphe Adam,

    O Holy Night : Kings College, Cambridge – YouTube
    Video for Adolphe Adam Kings College Chapel▶ 5:08
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5n6X9sUznI
    6 Jan 2010

  • 2nd Part to @Andrew McCaig
    I had to wait a while before posting the 2nd part of my post if not I would have been caught up in a comment flood.
    I could be wrong but I do not think there is anything in the Good Friday agreement that states there has to be tariff free trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland? I confess I could well be wrong as it was all a bit confusing.
    I was looking to the situation of Norway / Sweden, Norway is not part of the Customs union and so there are “sporadic” checks along it’s land border with Sweden, why cant the same work for Ireland / Northern Ireland?
    Norway and Sweeden do not have passport controls because they are both part of schengen. Ireland and the uk have the CTA
    There would be no need for a hard border so to speak but if the EU insisted on one it would then be for the EU to manage the logistics of it on their side of the border.
    I am pretty confident though that this is just more posturing by the EU and an arrangement will be found to work through this.

  • @Matt – “The more I am hearing from Barnier over the last couple of days the more I am convinced that I am right as a leaver. His insistence that the UK cannot have a deal better than Canada or which includes services for example, because no FTA includes services says to me that that the EU has effectively reached its high water mark of free trade and services liberalisation, with no further bilateral progress to be made.
    The service sector accounts for 80 per cent of the UK economy and Barclays estimates within a decade it should account for half of Britain’s exports. But EU existing trade deals explicitly exclude services. “

    Your justification doesn’t make sense. The more vocal Leave campaigners have repeatedly stated their preference for a “no deal” and trade under WTO rules. Which as we know don’t really cover services (I’m not just referring to financial services, but all classes of services). Thus in some respects, all Barnier is doing is to tell us what trading under WTO rules really means – trading at several levels below that enjoyed by members of the EU/Single Market/Customs Union.

    By the way following the logic ” The EU share of global GDP is drastically shrinking resulting in the EU becoming ever more protectionist. “ espoused by many Brexiteers as justification for Brexit, things don’t bode well for the UK, as our share of the global GDP is shrinking faster than that of the EU…

  • @Roland
    “Your justification doesn’t make sense. The more vocal Leave campaigners have repeatedly stated their preference for a “no deal” and trade under WTO rules. Which as we know don’t really cover services “
    As I have been led to understand it, whenever the EU has negotiated any FTA they always leave out Agreements on services which would liberalise financial flows and the commercial presence of British financial services benefiting the UK economy and some agreements that reduce non-tarrif barriers.

    What I am saying is that, if we are not able to forge a FTA with the EU which includes Services and access for our financial services, then we will be better off leaving without a deal and resorting to WTO rules WITH THE EU.

    We would then be free to make our own free trade agreements with the rest of the world and include Services in those trade agreements benefiting our financial services that our UK Economy is so heavily reliant on.

    “spoused by many Brexiteers as justification for Brexit, things don’t bode well for the UK, as our share of the global GDP is shrinking faster than that of the EU”
    Yes true but then at present we are currently constrained by the EU on what we can and can not do and who we can and can not trade with and on what terms, the ever protectionist policies imposed by the EU is in my opinion driving up prices and the cost of living.
    Outside of the confines of the EU we will be able to strike our own trade deals with the leading economies China, Brazil, India

    And Cue the screams about driving down standards and chlorine Chicken

  • Katharine Pindar 19th Dec '17 - 11:58pm

    David, thank you so much. I have just listened to the Kings College, Cambridge version of O Holy Night with complete delight. I love above all to hear men singing in classical music and opera, not only for the sensual beauty of their voices, but also because for men to devote themselves to that – or to classical dancing – is so unmacho, seems so good for society. How lovely that Anna (the mother of the latest twins?) is a stage manager at Covent Garden; I hope you get there soon again, when revisiting the London family. Meantime, I do appreciate the trouble you have taken, especially after a long hard day at the FB, to find these tracks for me and post them. Bless you!

  • @Andy Daer
    I am afraid I still do not agree with your reasoning.
    ” I don’t disagree with either of you in principle, but in order for the people to decide, they would need to learn how to leave prejudice behind ”
    I hope that was not said in the context of people voting because of xenophobia….

    You seem to put a lot more weight on MP’s understanding the issues better than the ordinary person on the street, you have a lot of confidence in MP’s, I seem to recall during the financial crisis, some MP’s getting confused between debt and deficit.
    A great deal of MP’s will go through the voting lobby according to party discipline rather than making an informed choice themselves, so I am sorry I do not buy your arguments there.

    ” and also to learn the relevant facts about the consequences.”
    There are consequences every time we have a general election. Voting in a general election and for a government is a huge responsibility, A Government with really bad policies can do a huge amount of damage to society / economy during just one term of office which could take decades to repair. And yet, we give the British People this responsibility every 5 years. Do we tell the electorate they should read every single line of every single manifesto and understand every single policy and it’s consequences before putting an x in the box????
    I am afraid your arguments do not stack up

  • matt – “Yes true but then at present we are currently constrained by the EU on what we can and can not do and who we can and can not trade with and on what terms, the ever protectionist policies imposed by the EU is in my opinion driving up prices and the cost of living.”

    The trouble is that I’ve not seen evidence that belonging the EU and operating within the trade agreements it has negotiated has had a massive negative impact on UK exports, which have in recent years steadily increased in monetary value (and hence why in percentage terms we are doing less trade with the EU, even though in monetary terms there is little change).

    Yes leaving the EU might make some imports cheaper, but that carries costs: do we want a steel industry, a solar panel manufacturing industry, to name just two. As for services; it does seem for example, that a trade deal with Indian will involve some element of free movement for Indian workers, so on the basis of why invest at home when it is cheaper to buy in, this ‘deal’ has the potential to negatively impact the on-going development of our services export trade… Perhaps we should act now and cut UK welfare and benefits to Indian levels in anticipation of the post-Brexit order?

  • Katharine Pindar 20th Dec '17 - 5:58pm

    @ Andy Daer. I wouldn’t disagree that “MPs have a duty to act in what they consider to be the best interests of the country.” I just find it extraordinary that you think that they have either done so or are likely to do so of their own free will in the next year, considering the position they have landed the country in. Now that the consequences of Brexit are becoming so clear, I’d rather trust the people to make the right decision than the Government.

  • @ Katharine I don’t know if you caught it, but at 9.00 am this morning BBC Radio 4 had a thirty minute programme about ‘O Holy Night’. It’s being repeated at 9.30 tonight. It’s also now on BBC iplayer.

    Very good programme, really fascinating.

  • Katharine Pindar 20th Dec '17 - 11:13pm

    Yes, thank you, David, I did catch it at 9 am (what a coincidence!), and really enjoyed hearing about the song’s history, and particularly that it was concerned both in its words and its usage in America with issues of social justice. Impressed that Bob Chilcott, a very good modern composer with some fine choral works, would speak out in its favour, since I know it can be derided as sentimental. Just a pity a couple of the excerpts from American singers were dire, but I can always go back to the YouTube, thanks to you!
    Take care in your journey to Huddersfield, I hope you don’t have to drive there on Friday. I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas.

  • Katharine Pindar 21st Dec '17 - 9:14am

    Andy, I have more faith in the people than fear of unscrupulous billionaires. But I can’t have faith in the majority in the Commons, who for reasons I have spelt out before cannot or will not necessarily act independently and reasonably. The new thread I have just glanced at about the conversation between Kinnock and Clegg seems to consider helpfully the dilemmas about the way forward, but I do not have further time to read or comment this morning. I think we need more debate on the two questions there should be on the proposed referendum. And I wish that you (and Matt) would, please, spell my name correctly! But thank you for responding to me.

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