Tag Archives: brexit

My speech to the Nottingham Rally for Europe

This is the speech I gave on Saturday to the Nottingham Rally for Europe.

I’m Mathew Hulbert.

Proud Leicestershire lad.

Proud East Midlander.

Proud Brit.

Proud European.

Proud internationalist.

And, yes, Mrs May, a proud citizen of nowhere.

Also, a proud Liberal Democrat.

Proud that my party-alone of the major parties-has remained resolutely Remain; before, during and after last year’s Referendum.

A Referendum, let’s not forget, that was called by David Cameron not to determine a soaring point of principle, but to get him out of a political tight corner; to appease the europhobic Right-flank of his party and counter the then popularity of UKIP.

So, let’s just consider that for a moment.

People’s lives, their jobs, their homes, our whole economy, were put at risk because of the internal machinations of the Tory party.

Never have so many been likely to lose out because of the actions taken by such a cowardly few.

And now Mrs May, who was supposedly Remain but her rhetoric of late favours a Hard Brexit, wasn’t able to tell a radio interviewer this week how she’d vote if the Referendum was held again today.

Well, she may not have the courage of what remains of her convictions, but I do.

I was Remain on June 23rd last year and I’m still Remain today.

I’m Remain not because the European Union is perfect-no human institution ever is-but because the EU has been the greatest man-made force for peace and for progress in human history.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 26 Comments

WATCH: Alex Cole-Hamilton and Scottish Young Liberals President speak at Edinburgh Rally for Europe

On Saturday the Royal Mile erupted in a sea of dark blue and yellow stars as hundreds of people attended a rally at Edinburgh’s City Chambers run by the Scottish Young European Movement.

There were two Liberal Democrat speakers – Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton and new Co-President of the Scottish Young Liberals Christopher Wilson.

The videos below are brought to you courtesy of SYL’s Tristan Gray. I did try to film them but my phone threw a strop at the crucial moment, so thanks to Tristan for letting me use this.

But before all that, you need to see my new favourite thing.

Here’s Alex.

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So Labour’s against a no-deal Brexit. Are we supposed to be grateful?

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Spokesperson Keir Starmer has been all over the media this morning proclaiming with great certainty that Labour is against a no-deal Brexit.

He actually said that with a straight face. You’d never have thought that Labour could have headed the prospect off at the pass by ensuring that the Article 50 Bill had a parachute attached to it so that we didn’t fall off the edge of a cliff. They could have ensured that we continued to stay in the single market and the customs union way back in January.

And don’t get me started on their lack of spirited campaigning during the referendum.

What is worrying me is that whenever the predicament we are in as a country starts to become clear, both Tories and Labour start trying to shift the focus onto No Deal in the hope that anything that eventually emerges from the negotiations will seem better in comparison. There is no better. There is only less horrendous. There is no satisfactory outcome other than staying in the EU.

As business gets seriously worried and it starts to dawn on the public that this Brexit idea is an absolute shambles, it looks very much like Labour is going to find itself on the wrong side of public opinion if it doesn’t actively look for a way to drag the country off the ledge.

Nothing we are hearing from Labour at the moment gives me any sense that the leadership is shifting its position.

John McDonnell might wring his hands on the sidelines all he likes. What Labour needs to do is pull a shift at actually opposing the Government.

In a tweet this morning, Vince gave them a good telling off:

Meanwhile, Tom Brake called on Labour to agree to an “exit from Brexit” referendum:

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments

Cole-Hamilton: Defeating Brexit is our Everest

If you head to the Royal Mile at about two in the afternoon, you’ll be in for a big surprise. Our Alex Cole-Hamilton is one of the speakers at a Rally for Europe but he won’t be delivering the Europe stump speech many of us have heard many times. In fact, I’m probably more word perfect on it than I am the Sound of Music or the words of Abba Gold.

Today a new version of the Cole-Hamilton Euro speech takes centre stage and it’s just as good.

Here’s an extract.

Now I heard that Boris Johnson said that if we had to, in the event of no deal we could live without our EU workforce, that they only make up 3% of our health and social care workforce so we could probably tough it out. Boris, your spinal column makes up 3% of your body mass, try functioning without that.

“You all know my party’s policy. The Liberal Democrats believe that a process begun by the will of the British people must be concluded by the will of the British people.

“That we must put the final terms of the Brexit deal or the reality of no deal to them in a referendum, and on that ballot paper they should have an unambiguous choice to reject Brexit and remain in the EU.

“I believe that when credited with the facts, the people of this country will reject the lunacy of Brexit and return to the fold of what has become quite simply the most important project for peace and freedom in the whole of human history,

“So when the full hideous calamity of Brexit is laid bare, we should ask the people of this country, in the solemnity of the polling stations where this first started, is this really what you want? Is this what you imagined taking back control would look like? And if it isn’t then you should exercise your democratic right to stay.

“We meet in extraordinary times, historic times and you will each look back on this period and ask yourself, did I do my part? Don’t leave that question unanswered, it’s time to dig in and fight, it isn’t just a mountain we have to climb, this is our Everest.

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Brexit: Desperately seeking a BATNA

Opinion polls still show the country divided down the middle on whether Brexit is a good thing or not.

There has been a bit of movement in favour of the referendum on the deal (it is worth noting that it always does better when accurately described in that way rather than as a second referendum).  However, the really dramatic poll shift has been in the confidence of the government getting a good deal with two thirds now not confident.  The dichotomy between those figures and the 50/50 split is striking.

To some extent, this may be wishful thinking on behalf of those who think that there is still a good deal out there somewhere and the Tories just can’t find it.  However, it also likely reflects the dawning realisation that we have a desperately weak negotiating position.  The main reason for this is that the UK has a terrible BATNA.  In the jargon of negotiating theorists, a BATNA is your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.  It is crucial because if your alternative isn’t too bad, you don’t have to give up too much and walk away easily if the price gets too high.  On the other hand, if your BATNA is awful, you just have to make concession after concession, especially if you are negotiating with somebody who knows it.  This is currently the position of the UK government.

The UK government’s stated BATNA is “no deal”.  As a BATNA, this is terrible because everyone knows (a) that it would inflict terrible damage on the economy and require lots of new bureaucracy where we have borrowed our regime from the EU (e.g. on nuclear regulation) and (b) we haven’t done anything like the necessary preparation for it.  So, to deal with point (b), the government is now being lobbied by Redwood et al to start spending vast sums of money on something which may well never happen.  Leaving aside the politics of spending such sums at a time of austerity, it does nothing to deal with (a).

Posted in News | 34 Comments

A referendum on the Brexit deal is key, not growing other parties.

You know, I never understood why you gun control people don’t all join the NRA. They’ve got two million members. You bring three million to the next meeting, call a vote. All those in favour of tossing guns… bam! Move on.

It is one of the most memorable lines in every political anorak’s favourite TV show, The West Wing. Although steeped in high fantasy, the strategy from Congressman Skinner does present some food for thought – if you want to defeat your enemy, why not do it from within? It’ll be less bloody, it may even mean a quicker and more efficient way to smash your political nemesis into irrelevance.

These sentiments, in some part, were echoed by my friend and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg in the Observer. In his comment piece he states that anti-Brexit Labour-inclined voters, and their Conservative counterparts, should join their respective parties to change the direction of each organisation and, in turn, the future of the country.

These voters, argues Nick, should then lobby their MPs, leaders and change the debate at conferences to make sure that Britain’s spiral into a Brexit self-harm is stopped.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Lib Link: Nick Clegg – You can stop Brexit by joining the Labour party – or even the Tories


Embed from Getty Images

Writing in the Observer, Nick Clegg argues that the pro-Brexit agenda is being pushed by a moneyed elite, at the disadvantage of “the little people” they pretend to support. He goes on to say:

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 22 Comments
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    @ Katharine Pindar You made me laugh Katharine, which I enjoyed and needed.
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