Tag Archives: brexit

How Brexit diminishes the rights of British Nationals overseas

I was in Hong Kong in March, and most of my friends had asked me the same question: How’s the progress with BN(O) equal rights movement and how did Brexit affect it?

So what is BN(O)? It stands for British National (Overseas). According to the Home Office website, it means ‘Someone who was a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a BN(O) before 1 July 1997.’ They are not granted Right of Abode anywhere, including the UK and HK.

The strict terms of BN(O) made most think that it is a travel document, but it is more than that, such as:

  1. They are eligible to join Her Majesty’s Civil Service, and are eligible to vote if they have lived in the UK for more than six months;
  2. may become British citizens by registration after residing in the UK for more than five years and possessing ILR for more than one year;
  3. would not be subjected to the annual quota of 1000 people if they wanted to apply to stay in UK under the working holiday scheme;
  4. their status is for life and is not be lost in case of Dual or Multiple Nationality, though their siblings cannot inherit the status.

According to the official figures, currently there are more than 800,000 BN(O) holders. Although the numbers are dwindling, they have no intention to withdraw it, and still use the passport to travel overseas. 

Our former leader Lord Paddy Ashdown campaigned for giving BN(O) holders the right of abode since years ago. There was also a seminar organised by the House of Lord with various campaign groups to call for the extension of BN(O) rights in March this year. 

The goal of the campaign groups is to fight for extending their rights. In a radio interview, Choy Ki, one of the representatives of BN(O) Association, mentioned, ‘BN(O) is not only a travel document, but a national identity with a lot of rights under the jurisdiction of the UK.’

The current political spectrum, however, has complicated the issue. For BN(O) holders, Brexit means our visa free travelling status to our EU neighbours could no longer be available. This is important because EU member states offered visa free travel for the HK passport holders, and most BN(O) holders are eligible to obtain one.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Listen: Alistair Carmichael MP is first guest of new podcast series

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael took some time to speak to the new team behind Debated, Will Barber Taylor and Conrad Lewandowski .

Alistair talks about the resurgence of the Lib Dems, the success of the local elections, the impact of Brexit on that vote, and what is next.

Have a listen!

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

The Brexit Myth

The recent success of the Liberal Democrats at the 2019 Local Elections is something which, undoubtedly, has brought a great amount of joy to all of us who have weathered this five year storm. However, a narrative has already taken shape, one that threatens future momentum and growth – that this is attributable only to Brexit and Brexit related issues. This is a reading that is surface level. A little thought and a cursory digging dispels this myth.

First of all, we must look at who benefited most from the Conservative and Labour defeat. Of course, at a gain of 704 we have come first, with independents taking second, Greens third, and Residents Associations taking fourth, with smaller parties making up the rest. This break down is important. Surely, if this was an affect only of a Brexit backlash then RA’s would not have done as well? Indeed, the SDP came second in the wards they ran in, and independents fly under a myriad of different banners. Even the Brexit supporting Liberal Party gained a councillor in Liverpool and regained prominence on Pickering Town Council. The question, then, is this – what do these groups have in common? The trend seems to be one of a yearning for community, with each grouping possessing a strong communitarian streak. The Liberal Democrats were the forerunners of community politics, independent candidates tend toward community issues, and RA’s are based in this kind of thought. The SDP also describe themselves as “nation state communitarians”.

The second important indicator is the local election results in Northern Ireland, with the performance of the non-sectarian Alliance and Green parties. Though the DUP and Sinn Fein still retained the majority of councillors, both experienced a drop in seat share. The UUP experienced a drop that was more akin to the Tories, with Alliance being the main beneficiary. That non-sectarian parties are finally expanding their influence on the local level, even if the hegemony has not been broken, is indicative of the same trend seen in England – people are looking for community-centric alternatives who act in the interests of all who are living in the immediate area.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

7 May 2019 – today’s press releases

Rise in school exclusions is the symptom of broken schools system

Responding to today’s publication of Edward Timpson’s report into school exclusions, Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

Exclusion, whether temporary or permanent, should always be a last resort. And it should never be done under the radar.

But this report does nothing to address the reasons why headteachers consider excluding the pupils they find difficult. Off-rolling pupils is not the cause of our problems. It’s the symptom. The result of the perverse incentive to secure a better Ofsted grade or climb up the league tables.

This problem can’t be dealt with

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | 4 Comments

ICYMI: Labour’s Barry Gardiner telling Tories Labour were trying to bail them out on Brexit

Coming to  a Lib Dem risograph near you very soon, I would imagine.

Seriously, Labour’s shadow international trade minister told Tory James Cleverly ON LIVE TV that “We are in there trying to bail you guys out” on Brexit.

You could not make it up. No wonder reports from the talks earlier this week made them sound like a love in. And here is the moment where he actually says it:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

WATCH: Labour’s Barry Gardiner to Tories on Brexit “We are in there trying to bail you guys out”

Coming to  a Lib Dem risograph near you very soon, I would imagine.

Seriously, Labour’s shadow international trade minister told Tory James Cleverly ON LIVE TV that “We are in there trying to bail you guys out” on Brexit.

You could not make it up. No wonder reports from the talks earlier this week made them sound like a love in. And here is the moment where he actually says it:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

In the court of the Brexit king….

The nationwide rallies of Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party are well underway. In forming the party as a top down organisation Farage has succeeded in his long quoted desire to lead a party free from the internal democracy. At the rallies Farage appointee  Richard Tice acts as the warm up act for the main event. Tice is articulate and borderline smooth. If he hadn’t made his name in business we could have seen him in a Conservative cabinet or even Hollywood. Clearly a key player in this new political formation.

The entry of ‘The Nigel’ into the arena is the main event, marching to the stage in his trademark suit and tie accompanied by loud rock music he milks the applause. His delivery is vintage Farage in an almost pantomime style he denounces his opponents inviting boos from the audience, but for all the razzmatazz and the claims to be anti establishment the Brexit Party is quite clearly on the Conservative right . Claims that their candidates include people with proven negotiating skills can’t disguise the fact that they all come from the business community, trade unionists from the other side of the table are notable by their absence.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 42 Comments

30 April 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Four Seasons collapse shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory’s watch
  • Gosport investigation vital to ensure justice is done – Lamb
  • Free sanitary products to be available in Welsh colleges
  • Lib Dems: A vote for Labour is a vote for Brexit

Four Seasons collapse shows social care crisis unfolding on Tory’s watch

Responding to the news that one of Britain’s largest care home groups, Four Seasons Health Care, is on the brink of administration, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

For the many thousands of residents and staff at the Four Seasons Health Care, the news that the group is set to go into administration

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

LibLink: Christine Jardine Your nationality won’t matter if we wreck the planet

Politicians must heed what young people, concerned about the future of our planet, are saying, writes Christine Jardine in her Scotsman column:

Too little time recently has been dedicated to looking at how we are damaging the planet, undermining the future of generations to come and destroying the natural world. More importantly we are letting the valuable and scarce time we have left to change things slip through our fingers.

That was also not my only encounter this week with a younger generation frustrated at the adult world’s lack of action to protect their environment. On Friday morning I visited a group of pupils at Cramond Primary School in my constituency to see their campaign to clean up the air they breathe every day.

Their presentation was impressive but so too was their commitment that their world is under threat and that we are all responsible. Everything they said echoed what I had heard earlier from Greta, and not just about climate change.

She  described the benefits of being part of the More United group of MPs working together where they agree.

She went on to talk about the distractions of Brexit, and, now, the prospect of another Scottish independence referendum and how those are overshadowing what’s important.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

In full: Cable and Brake’s letter to Corbyn calling for Labour to back a People’s Vote

Vince Cable and Tom Brake have written to Jeremy Corbyn ahead of today’s NEC meeting urging Labour to back a People’s Vote in their European Elections manifesto.

There has so far been little enthusiasm for a confirmatory ballot from Labour’s leadership, although the vas majority of their members and many of their MPs back it.

One thing worth mentioning, though – even if Labour grudgingly agrees to some sort of confirmatory referendum, they are unlikely under Corbyn’s leadership to back Remain. In contrast, the Liberal Democrats will enthusiastically and unequivocally campaign to stay in the EU. So, if that is what you want, Labour Remainers, you need to vote for us both in the locals and especially in the European elections.

Here is Vince and Tom’s letter.

 

29/4/2019

Dear Jeremy,

Tomorrow the NEC will be debating Labour’s European election manifesto.

We are sure that you would acknowledge that Brexit has been the single most divisive issue the country has faced since the Iraq War, if not before. Brexit continues to split the country North and South and young and old.

The Liberal Democrats believe that a confirmatory referendum is our only hope of getting closure on this issue and starting to heal this rift. The result would establish once and for all whether the ‘will of the people’ is really to leave the EU with the PM’s deal (which one poll suggested only 1 person in 7 supports) or any other deal agreed with the EU or instead to remain in the EU.

For this reason, we urge you to push for the inclusion a confirmatory public referendum in your European manifesto. We believe this would also be supported by a majority of Labour MPs, trade unions and Labour members.

We would of course work with the Labour party, other parties and individual MPs to facilitate the passage of the relevant legislation.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments

A little Brexit quiz…

I am now back from my blissful trip to the Highlands. Yesterday morning I woke up to this amazing view. We had enjoyed a week of mostly sunshine and some really hot days. Nine hours after this photo was taken, we were heading home in temperatures struggling to reach double figures and driving rain.

While I was away, I went out canvassing with our top of the list in Scotland Euro candidate Sheila Ritchie in Inverness. It’s great to be welcomed on to doorsteps again. Our message that a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit went down exceptionally well. Labour remainers were annoyed with their own party’s ambiguous stance on Brexit and were willing to lend us their votes for this election.

This is consistent with what others are finding across the country. Conservative remainers are exasperated with the failings of their party and are switching to us.

The prospect of another, imminent independence referendum is also making some SNP leaning voters think again about backing that party.

If there was ever an election worth throwing extra effort at, this is it. We can change the direction of our country and we should all be out there as often as we can over the next month.

Let’s get behind our brilliant candidates and make this a campaign to remember. If you haven’t been canvassing since the coalition years, get out there. You will notice a big difference.

Our prospects in the European elections will be improved by a good showing in the local elections on Thursday. We need to show that momentum so if you are in an area that doesn’t have elections, please go to somewhere that does or do some phone canvassing in the next few days or knocking up on polling day.

Getting lots more Lib Dem councillors is a good end in itself, but this year we have the added incentive of putting a stop to Brexit and establishing ourselves as the best option for remainers to vote for on May 23rd.

Let’s get to it.

But while you are having your breakfast, have a bit of fun with this Brexit quiz. We went to a pub quiz in Fortrose on Thursday night and were languishing in a pretty poor last place until the final round.  That round was one of these where you can get loads of bonus points if you can predict how many questions you will get right. And if you don’t meet your target, you end up losing half your score.

The subject was Brexit in people and numbers which was a bit more up my street than Michael Caine movies and tv crime dramas which had led to our last place predicament.

We stormed from last to fourth. It turns out we could have gambled more and come third.

How many of these questions would you get right? No cheating – you are not allowed to use the internet to help you.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

Who Needs a Referendum Most?

Embed from Getty Images

Sometimes it’s difficult to detect when the wind has changed. Now may be one of those times.

For nearly three years we’ve been pushing for a referendum. We all know why. It was our only chance to get what we really want, remaining a full member of the EU.

Consider, though, where we are now. The Tory/Labour talks are going nowhere. Theresa May keeps threatening to put binding options before the House of Commons and accept the result, but her party probably won’t let her do that, and the House is unlikely to pass the procedural motion to allow those votes to happen.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 29 Comments

We have to defend open debate and democratic government against fears of dark forces and betrayal

Embed from Getty Images

Most of us never see most of the social media that feeds conspiracy theories about the European Union. As we have all learned, the algorithms operate to feed back to consumers stories that confirm their existing views, not challenge them. When the wilder beliefs filter through into letters to newspapers, the deepest prejudices have often been removed.

A letter in the Yorkshire Post last week, for example, warned of the threat of German domination, and referred to the re-emergence of ‘militarism in Germany’. Anyone who follows German military expenditure will know that German forces are under-equipped and poorly trained, suffer from a budget allocation much smaller than the UK spends on defence, and are rarely deployed. But the anti-Brexit blogosphere, taking its cue from the Bruges Group and other sources, has latched onto German calls for a ‘European army’ – an ill-defined concept that enables them to avoid hard questions about national defence and strategic priorities – and mispresented it as a wicked German plot to conquer us all.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 32 Comments

The Mojito Affair highlights a warped sense of priorities

I have to confess that until all the headlines about Diane Abbott yesterday, I had no idea that the relatively innocent act of sipping a Mojito on a tube train was illegal, thanks to measures brought in by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor of London.

But my main reaction to this spectacular non-event was to wonder what on earth the world has come to when sipping that Mojito is worthy of a public apology and acres of virtual and actual newsprint when lying and cheating your way to a narrow referendum victory is not.

March 29th was the day when we were scheduled to leave the EU. I wake up every day grateful that I am still an EU citizen and am hopeful that I will always remain so.  Leaving would break my heart. I can only imagine how it would have felt on March 29th if we were leaving to know that Vote Leave had dropped their appeal against a fine imposed by the Electoral Commission. 

The BBC reported:

An Electoral Commission spokesman said: “Vote Leave has today withdrawn its appeal and related proceedings against the Electoral Commission’s finding of multiple offences under electoral law, committed during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

“Vote Leave was the designated lead campaigner for the leave outcome at the referendum.

“We found that it broke the electoral rules set out by Parliament to ensure fairness, confidence and legitimacy at an electoral event. Serious offences such as these undermine public confidence in our system and it is vital, therefore, that they are properly investigated and sanctioned.

“We have been advised that Vote Leave has paid its £61,000 fine and look forward to receiving the sum in full.”

The fact that Vote Leave cheated has achieved remarkably little traction. This is something that could easily have affected the legitimacy of the referendum result. We are still poised on the brink of taking a regressive and harmful step on the basis of a result obtained by cheating.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 44 Comments

Layla: A vote for the Lib Dems in the EU elections is a vote to Stop Brexit

Our Layla Moran was reviewing the papers on the Andrew Marr Show today and she did her job in getting one very simple message across.

As Vince has said, the Lib Dems are the party of Remain.

Her message was actually echoed by the awful UKIP leader Gerard Batten, who said that Remainers have a clear option in the elections – the Liberal Democrats. Now, I’d not go as far as to say that a Batten is a stopped clock who is right twice a day, but he was certainly right about that. It was the only thing he said that bore any relation to reality. He showed the misogyny endemic in his party by referring to a comment about rape by one of his MEPs was just satire.

Layla talked about a dearth of Tory activists in the Vale of White Horse council elections in Oxfordshire and said that we hoped to take control of it from the Conservatives. She spoke of real anger towards the Conservative Party from its voters over Brexit. She spoke with great joy about putting up stakeboards yesterday – which my autocorrect then changed to skateboards. That would be fun!

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 36 Comments

The democratic case for resolving Brexit

Since  the 2016 referendum, we Lib Dems have been slightly on the back foot about the democratic implication of having a new people’s vote. I firmly believe that, had the matter not been put to the public in 2016, the government would have said some time in 2017 or 2018, ‘OK folks, Brexit was an interesting idea, but it’s clearly not going to work so let’s abandon it and stay in the EU.’ But because the people did vote, and they chose by a small but clear margin to leave, the whole principle of democracy appears to be undermined if we ask the people a second time.

Actually the opposite is the case – the case against having a confirmatory people’s vote is the undemocratic one. This conclusion is based around three core arguments:

1. The vote in June 2016 was based on a Leave campaign that was a blank canvas. There was no vision for how we would leave or for which variation of leaving. If you go back to the referendum debate, you’ll find advocates of Leave ranged from the anti-everything-that-begins-with-‘Euro’ brigade to very mild Leavers who wanted the UK to stay in the internal market and the customs union but not to be members of the club. That’s why when a Leaver screams ‘This isn’t what we voted for in 2016,’ it’s founded on nothing but their own perception of what they were voting for. Given that the margin of victory was less than 52-48, the only plausible mandate from the 2016 referendum is for a Brexit that involves staying in the internal market and customs union.

2. The Leave campaign cheated. This has been proven, the campaign has been fined £70,000 (and Arron Banks’ company has been fined more than that for data abuses related to the Leave campaign), and it is not appealing. Moreover, a professor of psephology told the High Court that the extent of the advantage Leave gained by cheating could have affected the overall result. If you have a public vote and one side cheats significantly, the result cannot be considered reliable, certainly not reliable enough to provide a mandate for the UK to leave the economic and legal bloc it has been a member of for 44 years.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 49 Comments

11 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Lib Dems: Extension offers a lifeline out of Brexit chaos

Responding to the reports that the UK and the EU have agreed a “flexible extension” of Brexit until 31 October, Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The British people have been given a lifeline. The Conservatives have dragged the country into chaos, but the extension agreed in the early hours of this morning offers a route out from the Brexit mess they have created.

A flexible extension until 31st October is long enough to hold a People’s Vote. The Prime Minister must now show leadership by handing the decision back to the

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | Leave a comment

From All Fools’ Day to All Ghouls’ Day – what next to stop Brexit?

The commentary on last night’s EU summit was presented as Theresa May going to beg for favours from foreigners. I saw it a bit differently. You see, I see the EU 27 as my leaders. I’m a European. I’m a citizen of the European Union. These people, down a long and convoluted democratic chain certainly, are accountable to me. They are my leaders in the same way as the UK Government  – although the latter infuriates me a lot more and pleases me a lot less – and the Scottish Government  and my Council are. And, frankly, out of that lot, the EU 27 are the pick of the bunch.

In the context of Brexit, the EU have, to be honest, been fair, firm, adult and where they have leaked stuff to the press, have been more authentic and less inflammatory than the Members of Parliament in her own party. I can’t believe that I actually live in a universe where Mark Francois isn’t a Harry Enfield character but actually has a vote in the mother of Parliaments. Perfidious Albion on speed? Really? He actually wants our international reputation to be mud?

I have a lot more confidence in the EU27 to acquit themselves with honour than the UK Government. And they were nothing but reasonable in their deliberations. They want a sensible solution to all of this. What they are getting in return is incoherence and the strategic ability of a two year old who wants that sweetie at the checkout and thinks that throwing a tantrum is going to get it for them.

You have to credit them with some sense of humour. The first Brexit cliff edge was chosen by us – near April Fool’s Day. This one has been chosen by the EU – Hallowe’en. The jokes will be writing themselves for the next six months.

It would be wrong to think that we have six months, though. May will have a go at persuading her recalcitrants to pass her terrible deal in the next few weeks and she might succeed. It might pass by a vote or two. And we’d be headed into a poorer, more isolated future on the basis of a handful of ERG types and Brexiteer Labour MPs. That is so not how it should be, but the danger has not passed.

The last thing the Tories want to do is fight the European elections. What on earth would be the point in voting for them? How do they write a manifesto that the Dominic Grieve and Mark Francois wings of the party can support? They will try not to have to and we have to make sure that they don’t succeed in their aim.

The Euros, if they happen, offer a huge opportunity for Liberal Democrats, especially as EU citizens have the chance to vote for the Party that’s been doggedly trying to stop Brexit from the start. We stand to gain several seats. Sure, Farage’s mob will win some, too, but the opportunities for the highly motivated Remain campaign to gather behind Remain candidates will make us win too. In Scotland not far off half a million people signed the Revoke petition. In 2009, 174000 people elected George Lyon as MEP. This is doable, people.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Selections for Euro elections underway

With Euro elections looking increasingly likely on 23rd May, Lib Dems have been busy preparing. Party members are currently voting to select their party list candidates in the Euro regions, and in spite of the condensed time frame there is no shortage of candidates. For example, in London 24 people have put in nominations for eight places.

How did we get to this position so quickly? Well, the party starting preparing last October, anticipating that the Prime Minister would not gain support for her deal.

Other parties seem to have been caught on the hop.

Labour emailed members last week seeking candidates, and one Labour MP said:

With a snap election, the problem is often one of properly vetting people – as we found out in 2017.

Which suggests that they are starting the approval process from scratch.

The Conservatives have only just called for nominations with a deadline of 24th April.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 23 Comments

9 April 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Cable: Brexiters losing argument and votes
  • Schools resorting to desperate tactics to tackle funding emergency
  • Cable: IMF report should put to bed Brexit fantasies
  • Govt must bring together all MPs to agree to a People’s Vote

Cable: Brexiters losing argument and votes

Following the votes in the House of Commons tonight, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable said:

Parliament has now taken back control and the UK is on course for an extension to Article 50 and European Parliament elections.

Brexiters are losing the argument and losing votes in the Commons by healthy margins.

The Prime Minister must now show leadership by offering a People’s

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

Our fellow citizens can help us out with their vote

The argument for a referendum is well rehearsed. A narrow majority secured by deceit and illegality for a range of proposals is no mandate for any one specific proposal. With a million marching, over six million signing a petition to call for revocation of notice given under Article 50, and polls consistently showing a majority who wish to remain in the European Union; any mandate, even for a vague set of proposals, is doubtful.

Without a referendum on future arrangements the people of the UK will be in the position where their government, elected by an archaic and dysfunctional electoral system, …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 22 Comments

6-8 April 2019 – the weekend (plus) press releases

Tories guilty of ‘shocking intransigence’

Responding to comments from Andrea Leadsom on the Marr show, Liberal Democrat spokesperson Tom Brake said:

What we saw this morning from Andrea Leadsom was shocking intransigence.

There is absolutely no clarity on what sort of deal the government is seeking with Labour and no real plan to move forward.

The country will never accept backroom deals done at the 11th hour to push through Brexit.

It is time for the Conservatives to compromise and by giving the people the final say in a vote on their deal with an option to stay in the EU.

Jaguar

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Would a second referendum be undemocratic?

A common jibe of leavers used to be “So Remainers just want to re-run the referendum until they get the result that suits them? How many referendums do you want? The best of 3, the best of 5?”

Now they have gone a bit quiet on that one, since Theresa May has used exactly that tactic in a vain attempt to force Parliament to swallow her deal. Bringing it back again and again until, in a vivid metaphor from The Independent, “it began to resemble the indestructible cyborg from the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 61 Comments

Brexit: Vince writes to Theresa…

With the Brexit cliff edge ever closer, attempts to rescue something continue to multiply. And today, Vince Cable has written to the Prime Minister with his suggestion for next steps…

Dear Prime Minister,

MEANINGFUL VOTE 4

Now that the talks between yourself and the Leader of the Opposition about some form of “Soft Brexit” have stalled, I write to suggest an alternative way forward.

While media sources have written up last week’s indicative vote exercise as inconclusive, there is one clear conclusion which can be drawn. There are up to 280 votes in support of a confirmatory referendum, which could

Posted in News | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Dutch opinion poll: Dutch Government coalition supports Second Referendum

For the past few decades, pollster Maurice de Hond (our Professor Curtice) has published his political opinion polls every Sunday. Now that the possibility of a No Deal Brexit looms as of next Friday, it is interesting to see what Dutch political parties think of the present Brexit situation and what should be done.

First of all, there is a broad Dutch consensus, the parliamentary and procedural shenanigans in the Commons since December having convinced many Dutchmen that the structures and culture of British politics are totally wrong for solving existential questions like Brexit-or-Remain. The winner-takes-all mentality instilled by the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

5 April 2019 – today’s press releases

It’s been a pleasant evening in our small, but perfectly formed, village. There’s been beer, some splendid homemade sausage rolls, and a quiz (our team won!). Sadly, the real world has a nasty way of reasserting itself…

  • Brake: Yet another desperate move from a failing PM
  • Pupil Decelopment Grant Access extended to support more families
  • Breakdown of talks with Corbyn signals closing time for May’s Deal

Brake: Yet another desperate move from a failing PM

Responding to the news that the PM has written to the EU calling for a short extension of Article 50, already rejected by the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , and | Leave a comment

How is Alistair Carmichael switching off from Brexit?

The Times Red Box asked MPs from all parties how they are going to try to switch off from Brexit.

As if they actually could.

I mean, that cliff edge is a week and four hours away at the time of writing.

The article has a serious point though. There is so much strain on MPs at the moment. If four in ten of the general population, according to the Mental Health Foundation, are suffering from some sort of Brexit-related anxiety, how much worse is it going to be for MPs in such a febrile environment.

It is not a good atmosphere to be making decisions which will affect this country for generations. I think that they should grab as long as extension as the EU will grant and go back to first principles. Or just decide to revoke Article 50. That would free them up to talk about something else – like making sure everyone has a house that they can afford and the means to feed themselves and their families.

Anyway, two Liberal Democrats took part in Red Box’s survey.

Alistair Carmichael’s answer was predictable:

I don’t think I will get my mind off Brexit but I have a bottle of Highland Park that should help to numb the pain. Obviously other single malts are available (which is just as well as I fear that one bottle may not be enough).

Tim Farron’s was entirely unsurprising too:

I will go for a run with my famous spaniel… and fret about Blackburn Rovers’ terrible form… and watch Shetland with the kids… and go to church (praying seems especially worthwhile right now…) and knock on tonnes of doors of course!

Joking apart, I have been feeling increasingly anxious for months. I’m sure each knife edge vote in the Commons takes about a week off my life. I’m not dealing with it terribly well – more chips and wine than quinoa salad, put it this way.  There is so much at stake.

Politics has been anxiety inducing for the best part of a decade now. The coalition years were difficult, but it was the Scottish referendum, another existential threat to our peaceful way of life, that first made me feel absolutely ill. Part of that was simply because people were horrible to each other. Some families are still not speaking to each other over stances that they took at that time.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Newsnight highlights cover up of fears of no deal medicines shortages

I have a close family member who has Epilepsy. She needs daily medication to keep her condition under control and to allow her to work and live her life.

Last night Newsnight highlighted problems with the supply chain of some drugs, suggesting that some can’t be stockpiled.

Documents say that clinical outcomes “might be compromised” if treatment regimes have to be changed suddenly because of a lack of availability of particular drugs.

These documents have been kept quiet.

You can watch the report here:

This is yet another example of the Government’s irresponsible approach to Brexit. No Deal would not just cause economic catastrophe, it could put people in immediate danger of losing their lives. Yet the likes of Mark Francois, and, if reports are to be believed, significant numbers of Cabinet Ministers, think that inflicting that on us would be ok.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment

Judith Jolly writes: Lib Dem Brexit health win in the Lords

In the midst of all the Brexit chaos, I want to take a moment to reflect on a significant and unreported win for the Liberal Democrats against the Conservative Government. 

A few months ago, a Bill was introduced into Parliament which seemed fairly uncontroversial – it’s aim was to replicate our reciprocal healthcare arrangements with other countries in the event of Brexit (either in a deal or no deal scenario). However, the Conservative Bill went much further than replicating healthcare with EU countries and was is in fact much more threatening. It opened up health deals with the whole world, one of our fears being that that in Liam Fox’s frantic attempts to sign a trade deal, the Tories were planning to put the NHS on the table as well.  As a result, Sal Brinton, Jonathan Marks and I – along with members of the Labour Party and the crossbenches spent weeks challenging the Government to limit the application of the Bill – with great success! 

One of the privileges of being members of the European Union, is that no matter where we are in the EU, our health needs are safeguarded when we need medical attention. Under EU agreements, the UK has participated in a variety of reciprocal healthcare arrangements with other countries, with the result being that all citizens and visitors are protected. 

The Liberal Democrats with cross-party support worked to amend the Bill significantly. We were clear that this Bill must only allow ministers to replace the health deals we already have with the EU, the EEA and Switzerland. 

The Bill’s scope was extraordinarily wide, and the powers included were unjustifiable. In November, the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee described its scope as “breath-taking”. 

The Bill had a worldwide scope, it did not just apply to EEA countries and Switzerland – countries we will need to establish healthcare arrangements with in the event of Brexit. We made sure to limit this. 

Not only did Liberal Democrats feel that worldwide powers were being snuck through in the guise of Brexit legislation and were unnecessary, but there was a genuine fear that this was an attempt to allow the NHS to be used as part of trade arrangements when creating new trade deals with countries such as the USA or China. We were witnessing the Conservative Government attempting to steal powers for ministers in Whitehall which could see them selling our NHS down the river. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | Leave a comment

3 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Antwerp yesterday, a Cold War exhibit at the National Archives this evening… anyone would think that there was an issue with Europe at the moment. Three press releases this evening for your delectation and delight…

  • Liberal Democrats “raring to go” with European election manifesto
  • Cross-party statement on People’s Vote and revoking Article 50
  • Swinson condemns anti-LGBT laws in Brunei
  • Liberal Democrats “raring to go” with European election manifesto

    The Liberal Democrats are “raring to go” for a European election with the party’s Brexit spokesperson confirming the drafting of a manifesto has already begun with a “vision for the UK inside the EU” while party members

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 2 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarWilliam Fowler 16th Jun - 9:10am
    Surely Boris's ability to twist and turn, not really mean what he says, and use his charisma to get out of trouble is just what...
  • User AvatarThomas 16th Jun - 9:02am
    Peter Martin, Michael BG - how about? M-X = -3 and T-G = 1 then S-I = 2? Or: M-X =-2 and T-G =0 then...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 16th Jun - 8:50am
    "I did not disagree with the need to reduce the public sector deficit and debt " That's 'cos of his neoliberal tendencies! If anyone wants...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 16th Jun - 8:34am
    Recently, in our local area police have been trialling facial recognition and, in at least one case, getting high-handed with someone who shielded his face...
  • User AvatarDenis Loretto 16th Jun - 8:09am
    As has already been said in this thread there is no such thing as people moulded into separate distinct cadres suitable only for specific political...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 16th Jun - 6:44am
    @ JoeB, "In an open economy, national saving is the sum of private savings, the public saving, and net capital inflows" Ok so what does...