Tag Archives: peoples vote march 20 october

Highlights of 2018

As you are inclined to do on Hogmanay, I was looking back at the year. 2018 was far from a great year but there were some fantastic moments. Here, in no particular order, are six of mine.

Gabriel in the Commons

 

One of my favourite moments was seeing young Gabriel Hames in the chamber of the House of Commons. Earlier, his mum, Jo Swinson, had taken part in the debate on proxy voting. A few weeks’ earlier, Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis reneged on a pairing arrangement with her on a key Brexit vote that the Government won by a handful of votes.

Jo’s speech was very candid about the realities of working with a young baby:

She also spoke about some of the appalling comments she got on Twitter after that, including the criticism that she had gone to the Trump demo for 45 minutes but couldn’t manage to vote in Parliament, something which would have meant hanging around for 5 hours.

Jo talked about the intricacies of establishing breastfeeding and how you need to concentrate on it during the early days. Her voice cracked with emotion as she talked about the difficulties she had establishing breastfeeding with her first son. I actually cried too as I remembered what it was like to be syringing expressed milk into my baby, 19 years on. She got there, though, with all the support that she needed.

She was also open about the realities of expressing milk several times a day. I think it’s fantastic that she posted a picture of her breast pump on Instagram the other day.

She talked about the need to have proper breastfeeding and expressing facilities for all nursing babies who work on the Parliamentary estate, recognising it was easier for her as she had her own office and control over her diary.

The People’s Vote March

It doesn’t get much better than being amongst 700,000 like minds on a beautiful hot Autumn day. As someone said at the time, marches like this are rarely on the wrong side of history.

It was an amazing atmosphere. Not far off three quarters of a million people peacefully and with great humour, coming together to make their point.

And there’s young Gabriel again.

Radical Kindness

Another highlight was the fringe meeting we held at Conference, trying to inject some kindness and warmth into a horrible atmosphere which developed in the media surrounding  rights of transgender people.

Barely a week goes by without some ill-informed attack on trans people or the charities supporting them. However, in an hour in Brighton, Emma Ritch from the Scottish feminist organisation Engender and James Morton from the Scottish Transgender Alliance talked about how the atmosphere was so much better in Scotland and how feminist and LGBT organisations worked together in an inclusive way. The meeting loved the concept of “radical kindness” which underpinned their dialogue. You can read all about the meeting here

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Parliament must restore national unity

700,000+ marched Saturday in London to ask for a second vote concerning Brexit. They marched for many more who could not come. How many is a guess but probably several million. The nation is hence divided and it is the duty of the government, if not most likely Her Majesty’s wish, for the UK to recover national unity. Every learned politician knows of its importance and what history shows to happen sooner or later when there is a lack of it.

Independently of its prospects, positive or negative, a consensus for Brexit is required before proceeding, as the project now shows itself offering dangers greater than the economic arguments at its origin. A programme not only putting civic peace at risk but now even threatening the very unity of the Kingdom.

The problem is that Mrs May’s cabinet is more interested in implementing a divisive Brexit than preserving national unity. It hence falls logically to Parliament to walk in and seek it.

Parliament is sovereign and could declare that it is in the supreme interest of national sovereignty and unity that Brexit be abandoned. With the position of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to consider Scottish independence if the UK would leave the European Union or the statement of some Irish politicians that Ireland would unite under the same circumstances, I have asked myself if Brexit could now be anticonstitutional as threatening territorial integrity and hence national security.

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95% done is not enough if you’re missing the stuff that keeps you alive

The party has put up this uplifting video of Saturday’s march. For those of us who were there it’s great to remember that time when you were in the same place as 700,000 like-minded people. For those who weren’t, and who either have always felt nervous or are starting to feel nervous about Brexit, it’s encouraging to see so many people out there winning the argument.

Since the march, we’ve seen Dominic Raab go on Marr and effectively say that the extremist wing of his party are more important than peace in Northern Ireland. I mean, how on earth can any minister abdicate his responsibility to the country quite so brazenly?

Then yesterday, Theresa May said we were 95% there as far as a deal was concerned. Well, your brain is only 3% or so of your bodyweight, your heart is less than half a percent and your eyes don’t weigh very much at all – but if you are missing all three, you’re pretty stuffed. What we do know about this deal so far is that it sells out our service based economy, it will kick a lot of stuff into the long grass, so we are effectively flying blind, and there is no agreement on the Northern Irish border which is pretty fundamental to the future of the UK.

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Watch: Vince’s speech to Lib Dems before yesterday’s People’s Vote march

“We are a national movement and we’re here to stop Brexit.”

It couldn’t be clearer. Vince set out our mission for the next few months yesterday as Liberal Democrats gathered in Hyde Park ahead of the People’s Vote march. I’ve written about the day here.

Watch his full speech below:

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New Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’ unveiled

To mark Jeremy Corbyn’s wishy-washy policy on Brexit, a new Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’ has been launched.

The Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’, which will be handed to activists at the ‘People’s Vote’ march in London today, is expected to be a bittersweet reminder of Jeremy Corbyn’s party fudging their position on giving the people a final say on Brexit.

Labour ‘Brexit Fudge’ has been described as a soft, dense sweet, handmade by the Labour leadership. The product will be on a limited release, exclusively for voters between now and March 29th 2019.

Tom Brake said:

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership have defied us all with their ‘Brexit fudge’. Inspired by Willy Wonka himself, the Labour’s opposition to Brexit is just ‘pure imagination’.

This ‘Brexit fudge’ will stick in the throat of most Labour voters. Given the damage Brexit will cause, Labour’s failure to oppose this Tory mess will be difficult to stomach.

But for Brexiters, Chef Corbyn’s ‘Brexit fudge’ will have them salivating. It will make their Brexit dreams that much sweeter. Indeed, it will go well with a glass of Raab’s confusing concoction and the Eton mess being served up by Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

While we know Corbyn likes a fudge, the number of Labour supporters marching for a People’s Vote should give him something else to chew on.

Liberal Democrats demand better. Only the Liberal Democrats are united in fighting Brexit and giving the people the final say, including the option to remain in the EU.

We’re told that the ingredients for 1kg of ‘Brexit Fudge’ include:

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How to join the Lib Dems at the People’s Vote march on Saturday

I will be up long before the crack of bloody dawn on Saturday to begin the long journey to London to take part in the People’s Vote march. Although make no mistake, our intention is not just to secure a vote but to stop this Brexit nonsense.

Lib Dems will be meeting at the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park at 12 noon.

This country’s membership of the European Union has brought this country so much social and economic benefit. Our sex discrimination laws, maternity leave, workers’ rights, environmental and health and safety protections started there. And we didn’t have them imposed on us – we were one of the most important voices at the table shaping them.

Being part of something larger than ourselves, something that has kept the peace on this continent for almost three quarters of a century, which has championed human rights and democracy, is such a good and healthy thing.

I don’t generally feel comfortable around national flags. I’d never wave a saltire or union jack. They symbolise selfishness and insularity and isolation to me. However, I feel completely comfortable wrapping myself from head to foot in the European Union flag because it is a symbol of togetherness and common purpose and co-operation. 

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