Tag Archives: #EURef

The dream of a wonderful Brexit

Much has been written about the negative feeling which drove Brexit, but it easy to forget that there is a positive and indeed a romantic aspect too. We fondly cherish the wartime image of Britain carrying the torch of liberty, standing alone against the dark forces which were engulfing the continent.

Beyond that, Britain still retains a dim but influential memory of its empire, of the great and global power we once were. The pens I used as a child at school were inscribed “empire made”, and it was an empire on which the sun never set. Europe, where was that? You might learn a little French if you were lucky but certainly not German, and in any case everyone should speak English.

In those days, just after the war, all Germans were regarded with suspicion and it was not until I was older and travelled to Germany that I realised they were normal human beings. The crucial experience for me came in my early twenties, when I took part in an international workcamp. For the first time, among young people from all over Europe, I realised what it meant to be British.

But for many who voted Leave, the opposite holds true: you can only be truly British by keeping the other nationalities at arm’s length. Why is that? Perhaps because sadly, there are millions of older Britons who have never had the opportunity to go abroad, unlike the modern generation. Why go abroad anyway, when Britain is the only country that matters, and Brexit will restore all our past glories?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

Why we need a vote on the deal – and include 16-year-olds

This is the speech Lord Robert’s gave in the Lords yesterday.

We need to confirm Brexit or otherwise, and we do that by voting. We voted in the referendum. People will say that we had one vote—that the people voted and made their voices heard—but it is unusual for people to rely on just one referendum.

In Wales, we had a referendum on Welsh devolution way back in 1979, when 20% of the people of Wales voted for devolution. Some years later, just over 50% voted for it, but people had changed substantially …

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

Brexit is a luxury for the few – The EU is a necessity for the many

2018 is the year we need to #stopbrexit. Opposition to Brexit throughout 2017 was remarkably constant and evenly split. Private polling however suggests some ‘Releavers’ (effectively the softer remain half) have rejoined hard Remainers, and there is now a small percentage of ‘Bregretters’. Some leading pollsters argue 60% plus opposition to Brexit is needed for six consecutive months for enough Parliamentarians to start speaking out.

So the current direction of travel is towards Brexit even though some leading groups, notably half of EU27 ambassadors and High Commissioners in London, reportedly believe Brexit won’t happen. The May minority government has been longer lasting than many anticipated and to date has been able to progress Brexit legislation relatively unscathed. However, Brexit can still be reversed so the real question is how we might do so.

In this four part series, I shall briefly examine legislative developments and the upcoming timetable, prospects for the EU negotiations, mobilising public and political opinion against Brexit, and the prospects for a referendum on the terms.

To date in Parliament, there has been one significant victory with the narrow passage of Dominic Grieve’s Amendment 7 to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Clause 9 of the Bill is now “subject to the prior enactment of a (separate) statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal”. This presents Parliament with additional opportunities to shape the terms of departure, including possibly to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union, and to provide for a referendum on the terms. The recently relatively quiet hard Brexiters could also cause trouble for the Government on the £40 billion settling of accounts. However, it appears the ideological EUphobes are ready to accept Brexit at any price as long as they secure their long-cherished ‘Independence’ day.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 26 Comments

Proof arrives that Remain are right on the economy

Until now the economic argument in this EU referendum has been whether you believe the experts – whose reputations depend on the quality of their prognostications – or whether you believe that an ‘expert’ is someone who automatically has less expertise than everybody else.

Just to summarise, thanks to Sky News:

  • International Monetary Fund – Britain could cause “severe regional and global damage by disrupting established trading relationships”, should it vote to leave the EU. “Negotiations on post exit arrangements would likely be protracted, resulting in an extended period of heightened uncertainty that could weigh heavily on confidence and investment, all the while increasing financial market volatility.” The consequences ranged from “pretty bad to very, very bad”, managing director, Christine Lagarde added
  • PWC for the Confederation of British Industry – GDP down 3 to 5% by 2020, 5% corresponding to 950,000 jobs and £100bn lost.
  • Institute For Fiscal Studies – Brexit would cost the UK between £20bn and £40bn, according to the IFS. The Government would need to find equivalent of £5bn of public spending cuts, £5bn worth of savings from social security spending and roll out tax hikes worth £5bn – two more years of austerity – to cover the cost.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – GDP in the UK could be between 3-5% below the level it might have been if it had remained in the EU, equivalent to £2,200 loss per household.

No longer need we believe them. With polls in the last few days showing a high risk of Brexit, the markets have reacted.

Posted in Op-eds | 69 Comments

LibLink: Tim Farron – Britain braced for momentous day of decision

Tim FarronTim Farron writes for the Yorkshire Post today, looking behind the Blue on Blue punch up to see what is at stake for the region.

The leave campaign wants you to forget that voting to leave will endanger our access to the world’s most valuable single market. Over 250,000 jobs in Yorkshire, or almost one in 10, are linked to trade with the EU. I would never suggest these jobs would all vanish if we left, but the fact is Yorkshire remains hugely dependent on trade with

Posted in LibLink | 15 Comments

Yesterday in the Lords, 3 on the #EURef

The other day, a very senior German Minister said to me, “Whenever I go into a European Union meeting with my British colleagues, their very first question is: ‘Excuse me, please tell me the way to the exit?’”. They are spending so much energy trying to get out that they spend none building the alliances to try to win the things that we want. Canning and Castlereagh would be spinning in their graves. The truth of it is that there ​are things we can win in the European Union, but we will not win them by removing ourselves from it.

So said Paddy Ashdown yesterday in the Queens speech debate which touched on the imminent EU referendum. You can read the full speech here.

Posted in Parliament | 6 Comments

Team #INTogether trends as 1000 activists hit street stalls

IntogetherA huge thank to all the members who came out to support out #INtogether National Day of Action on 14th May. We witnessed a superb drive by members with over 1,000 members coming out to host more than 200 streets stalls throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Each street stall was armed with material to remind people of the importance of voting to stay in on 23rd June. We were delighted to see that campaign material sent to local parties being put to good use with balloons being in high …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 7 Comments

Free movement in the EU and control of our borders

One or two very welcome guests below the line at Liberal Democrat Voice have challenged us to talk more about immigration in the context of the EU referendum. Because people want the UK to “take back control of our borders”. So here we are.

Of course we do have control of our borders. We are not part of Schengen, and there is nothing they could do to make us join. We have our own immigration policy, subject, as with all policy, to treaty obligations. The specific treaty obligation of interest here is the provision in the Treaty of Rome to …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 55 Comments

Playing chicken with a 27 headed opponent

The game of chicken involves driving head on towards your opponent, as they do the same, and the loser is the one who swerves out of the way first. If neither swerves, then both lose in a much bigger sense. I was reminded of this as Michael Howard was trotting out the usual arguments for Brexit on the Today programme this morning

Howard argued that a trade deal with the EU would still happen, bringing us continued access to the Single Market, because it is in their interests. He even suggested that following a vote to leave, the rump EU should …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 16 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoeB 21st Jul - 9:58pm
    David Raw, collection of rents from use of the seabed has long been a prerogative of the Crown. The seabed from mean low water to...
  • User AvatarMichael 1 21st Jul - 8:18pm
    @Peter Watson It is of course useful to have the full figures - the problem being is that if you are reporting it very early...
  • User AvatarNick Collins 21st Jul - 7:59pm
    " and many still have memories of the last time the hard left were in power." When was that? I am the same age as...
  • User Avatardavid grundy 21st Jul - 7:43pm
    Speaking as a convert to the Lib Dems about 4 years ago, I don't feel as well-versed in all the issues as most of the...
  • User AvatarMike Read 21st Jul - 7:18pm
    Vince does not (and will probably never) make the rousing and passionate speeches Tim Farron made as leader. However, Tim's speeches were not shown to...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 21st Jul - 6:10pm
    David Raw - True enough! I suppose when most politicians are lawyers....