Tag Archives: eu parliament

The path to victory lies through Brexit Britain. As Remainers, we need to show them we’re on their side

This week in Parliament we might just have scored the first victory in our long march to a People’s Vote. Now, if a referendum is truly close at hand, the hard work must now start: we need to convince Brexit Britain that it ought to change its mind.

Sure, Remain’s supposedly got an eight-point lead in the opinion polls. But that was true in 2016… plus ça change?

To win, we must convince Leave voters in places like the East Midlands town of Wellingborough, where I live and had the pleasure to be Lib Dem candidate at the last General Election. In many ways this ought to be natural Remain territory: it’s a diverse town, with both a mosque and an ornate Hindu temple. Local voters elected New Labour in 1997, electing a MP who called for the legislation of cannabis, and we even host an annual Pride event in a town centre park. Yet we voted Leave by 63% and are represented by arch-Brexiteer and Sven-Goran Eriksson lookalike Peter Bone.

How did this happen? When you speak to ordinary voters, the mystery becomes clear. Yes, it is true that some voters talk of immigration, a lost identity or misplaced notions of ‘lost sovereignty’. For most Brexit voters, however, the root causes of Brexit are emphatically human: they feel let down and left behind by politicians in Westminster and (yes) Brussels, and they feel buffeted from the consequences of a fragile global economy. Above all they feel they’ve lost control.

These are people who see ever more fragile employment, with an explosion in zero-hour contracts and ten years of pay restraint, coupled with impossible house prices. They see an education system failing to deliver practical skills, with FE colleges where funding has been cut to the bone and where those without a degree are ever more marginalised. In town centres they seem the places they are proud of become ever more empty, bereft of the brands with which they are familiar. And, as they struggle to take control over their lives, is it any wonder that the pledges and half-truths of the Leave campaign were so attractive?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 55 Comments

Brexit Resolution: statement from Catherine Bearder MEP

Yesterday the European Parliament voted in favour of a Resolution to allow Brexit talks to progress to the next stage.

Both the Commission and Parliament have now recommended to the European Council that progress has been made in the three key areas: on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement.

This Resolution is the last piece in the puzzle to allowing the Brexit talks to progress to the next stage.

It effectively moves the UK one step further away from a disastrous “no deal” situation which would risk thousands

Posted in Europe / International and Europe Referendum | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Lib Dem councillors on a fact-finding trip to Brussels

On the 2nd March at 7.50 am I boarded a Ryanair flight from Manchester to Charleroi in Belgium. It is an hour and a half train journey from Charleroi to Brussels and the first thing that you notice is the friendliness of the people and the matter of fact way they switch from one language to another without pause. The next thing is the extent of the industrialisation of the landscape as it flashes by.

I was travelling to join Catherine Bearder at the EU Parliament in Brussels on the European Information Program in the hope of finding out how Brexit will be affecting us here in the Wirral. I was not surprised in the least to find that Brussels knows as little about Brexit as we do here in the UK.

The visit lasted two packed days and I found it very informative during the conversations I had with colleagues, from across the UK, and the question and answer sessions with MEP’s.

I found out, for instance, that the only country to have left the EU so far is Greenland who had only one treaty to negotiate (fish).  It took over seven years to complete their single negotiation, whilst here in the UK we have over four hundred agreements to unravel.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 1 Comment
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  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 20th Apr - 1:59pm
    @Joseph Bourke Come on, man, where’s your sense of humour? You appear to be a lost sheep in this thread. We all need to lighten...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 20th Apr - 1:41pm
    My sister lived in Seaford for many years, so it is an area I know quite well. Seaford elects ten councillors and it is usually...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 20th Apr - 1:32pm
    Matt, as said before, please do think more of becoming a member, we need you amongst this fold. I agree with this to such an...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 20th Apr - 1:32pm
    When you look at the Rees Mogg voting record (see link above) you see what you would expect to see from an over rich hard...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 20th Apr - 1:30pm
    @Michael1, "All this means that any expansion of the Eurozone is unlikely in most of our lifetimes" I'm not sure what your life expectancy might...
  • User Avatarmatt 20th Apr - 1:29pm
    @frankie I know we profoundly disagree on brexit and have clashed many times, however, this has nothing to do with Brexit. This is an issue...