Tag Archives: europe day

Remaining a Remainer

Up for discussion at a recent meeting of my local pro-European group in Stratford-upon -Avon, was an item entitled “do we give up on Brexit?” It was prompted by the eclipse of Brexit in the public consciousness by the coronavirus, the collapse of hopes that we might still, somehow, remain in the EU, and the turnaround among some pro-European groups to support the idea of leaving the EU.

Given this situation, what should Remainers do? Should they lie low, at least for the time being, or should we “take up arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?” I argue here that the latter course is the right one.

Swimming with the tide – the comfortable option

So far as most of the public is concerned Brexit has now been “done”, in Boris Johnson’s phrase. Many former Remainers, insofar as they think of it at all, feel they must make the best of it. A few diehards may see it as it really is; a national folly and an act of self harm. But most shrug their shoulders and bow to the inevitable. They find it far more comfortable to swim with the tide.

Even pro-European groups such as Best for Britain have found their principles to be flexible. Their mission statement states “We advocate for a Brexit that secures our future”. They are not alone: other organisations like the Eurocafe are either aiming for “a better Brexit” or steering clear of the subject altogether: any praise of the EU is now taboo.

One cannot blame these groups for taking the easier option, no doubt persuading themselves that they are being “realistic”. But I think it was Tony Benn who said “only dead fish swim with the tide”. Possibly Labour supporters should remember that.

Rejoining the EU

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 25 Comments

ALDE Party Council preview: remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue…

Whilst most of you will either be at your count (and good luck to you all!) or sitting in front of a television set or a computer watching the results come in, your correspondent will be in a hotel room in Oslo. Yes, it’s time once again for liberals from across Europe to gather and tell the British how sorry they are for the result/share the love and tell us things will get better/express surprise at how well we did (delete as appropriate). And despite exhaustion and uncertainty, a small, depleted and wholly male delegation will be there to fly the Liberal Democrat flag.

So, what are we there for, apart from the joy of discovering that a second mortgage is required to buy a beer?

Council will be opened with a speech from the Prime Minister of Norway… who isn’t a member of our host party, Venstre, but is leader of the Conservative Party. That said, the ruling minority coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress Party has a confidence and supply arrangement with Venstre and the Christian Democrats in the Storting to ensure its survival (and you thought that British politics was complex?).

The agenda for Council itself is unlikely to generate much excitement, although the membership application from the Liberal Party of Gibraltar is a welcome one, especially given their performance in the European Parliamentary election last year (the Liberal Democrat list – Gibraltar is part of the South West England region – gained 66% of the vote). There will also be a rationalisation of the Slovenes, as three of the five member parties there are expected to disaffiliate (they have, effectively, ceased to exist).

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Europe Day Special: Avoiding the slippery slopes towards euroscepticism

Today is Europe Day. The Treaty of Rome, the EU’s founding treaty was signed 55 years ago; post war Europe sought a new strategy to end old enmities and forge shared prosperity through economic growth. However one measures the achievements of those goals, the conclusion has to be the European Union has delivered on both counts.

For those of us who believe in the EU’s objectives and feel that Britain should be leading in Europe, these are turbulent times.

Restoring faith in a political structure which may appear removed from the citizen, and rebuilding an economic framework which has been proven inadequate …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 10 Comments
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