Tag Archives: remain

Why we don’t need a “remain alliance”

As somebody who joined the Liberal Democrats primarily to fight Brexit, I have since come to appreciate even greater the importance of fighting for liberal democratic values. What’s more, it is evidently how important this is for the entirety of the United Kingdom.

I used to be more sympathetic towards electoral pacts, in fact, at one time I was well on board with it. I’m still desperate to stop Brexit and so disappointed at what the leave campaigns achieved; especially as my wife is a EU citizen with only EU treaty rights currently protecting her status in the U.K. This really hurt us both and fuelled me to do what I could to stop Brexit. I am also thinking of my twin brother, Eddie (some here may know him), who is now living in France.

However, an article Mark Pack published titled “Standing for election isn’t just about winning”, encouraged me to stand as a paper candidate in the local elections and removed any doubt from me that electoral pacts are a bad idea. It drove home to me the importance of standing in every seat we can. This way we can build our core vote, keep track of potential target areas and give voters the choice they need for the good of democracy.

After all, if people cannot vote Lib Dem, what is the chance they will join? Or simply just lose the habit of voting for us? It could destroy our local bases for a long time.

I am aware that people have pointed towards past success for electoral pacts but is this a viable long term plan for a party of government? I am sceptical. Given our recent electoral successes; we are clearly the party for remaining in the EU, for the environment, for the economy and for liberal values.

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Our message to the nation following the EU Election results

What a great night it was for those who want us to remain in the EU, working for a better Britain, a better Europe and a better world.

The result presents a challenging opportunity for us. Are we up to it?

It will be a challenge to convert the Stop Brexit voters into our true supporters and activists.

It’s a challenge to outdo the Conservatives in taking on the Brexit party’s claim to represent the nation, constantly reminding people that the total vote share for remain (40.4%) was greater than Leave (around 34.9%). We need to repeatedly remind people that the Brexit Party started not from nothing, but from a large UKIP platform, with its discriminatory elements and empty promises based sorely on anger at an unfair system.

It’s a challenge to out-do the Labour party in its claim to represent ordinary workers, whose best deal is within the EU and developing our people’s skills in a less centralised UK.

The opportunity is there to state more clearly the case for remain, for improvements to the EU, for stepping up the use of our power within the EU, for our power and influence in the world for justice and peace, for dealing with inequality and migration in the UK and the world and for dealing with huge world economic entities and the environmental crisis.

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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!

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More Brexit Logic?

Following yesterday’s Parliamentary votes, we now face the following

1. We cannot have a no-deal Brexit because Parliament has voted against it

2. We cannot have no-Brexit because the referendum voted for Brexit

3. Therefore, we have to have Brexit with a deal, but

4. We can’t have Theresa May’s deal because Parliament has voted against it twice

5. The groups opposing Theresa May’s deal are:

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Out of Brexit Chaos part 2: Government of National Unity

In the preceding article, on the People’s Vote , I argued that the process should be given significantly more time.

However, we also have a real problem: both of the big parties are too fractured either to govern or to face a General Election. The unedifying results create the opposite of the sense of stability needed for such the People’s Vote.

This is the time for a Government of National Unity bringing people together from across Parliament, not as a formal coalition between parties, but as an interim arrangement, which would need a more collaborative way of working. The obvious person to lead this is Kenneth Clark. This is partly because of his considerable depth and experience. Age means he is also likely to stand down at the next General Election, so it would be clear that the Government of National Unity is there to provide stability in an exceptional time without being subsequently returned to power. He is also sufficiently unpopular with the right wing of his party to mean that MPs from across the Commons could support him.

The clear message from forming a Government of National Unity is that we are in exceptional times. Something exceptional needs to happen to enable the People’s Vote to happen fairly. Frustration with politics will have produced a different way of doing politics.

How can a Government of National Unity form?

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, an election happens if the Commons passes a motion that it has no confidence in the government and doesn’t then pass a motion that it does have confidence within a fortnight. With sufficient agreement among MPs in advance, it would be possible for Tory MPs to vote with the Opposition “no confidence” in Theresa May’s government, and then “confidence” in the Government of National Unity.

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So Remain’s ahead – but is it enough?

Remaining in the EU has the support of a majority of those asked in a Channel 4 super-poll. Normally polls ask 1000 or so people what they think or who they would vote for. This one was more the size of your Exit Poll on election day.

The Survation poll had 54% of people say they wanted to remain in the EU. In addition to that, over a hundred areas that voted to leave the EU in 2016 would now choose to remain.

Whatever deal May comes back with within the next few weeks is going to be imperfect. A tonne of stuff will be kicked into the long grass. There will be no permanent solution to the Northern Ireland border because there isn’t one that doesn’t involve us staying in a customs union indefinitely. Brexiteer Tory extremists will not wear that for a minute.

It looks like British people are surveying the options available to them and saying “no, thanks.”

To proceed with Brexit without going back to them and asking them what they want to do would be undemocratic and irresponsible.

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Why we should “Stay” and not “stop Brexit”

Much of our campaign since the 2017 general election has revolved around the “Exit from Brexit”. We need to win over Remainers; by having a clear and repeated anti-Brexit position, the electorate will know what we stand for.

There are a few problems.

Firstly, we are not “anti-Brexit”, we are pro-EU. Every time we say “Brexit”, we evoke certain thought patterns within the minds of voters, particularly the so-called ReLeavers (those who voted Remain but feel we should Leave because of the referendum).

We normalise Brexit. We make it seem mainstream. In an effort to be radical outsiders, we make Liberal Democrats seem like they want to do something weird that nobody voted for. As such, we should avoid the term at all possible costs. For starters, Tom Brake should no longer be our Brexit Spokesperson but our EU Spokesperson.

Secondly, “stop Brexit” terminology forces our current campaign to be negative.

Thirdly, in many areas of the country, we are trying to win over Leave voters.

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

Why I’m voting remain: I want to live in a Britain that stands tall and proud in the world

Tomorrow I’ll be sending off my postal vote. A vote that will possibly be the most important of my lifetime.
Unsurprisingly (to those of you who know me) I’m voting for Britain to remain a member of the European Union. I’m doing so because I believe passionately in the project and what it represents.

However, I want to explain why this referendum is about so much more than whether Britain is simply a member of the EU or not. In my view it is just as much about the sort of country we see Britain as and what it’s place in the world will be.

The two routes we can choose between represent two very different images of the sort of Britain we will be:

Will it be a Britain that is the compassionate, diverse nation that welcomes the innovators and thinkers of tomorrow from across the continent? Or will it be a Britain that turns its back on its neighbours in favour of a false sense of security symbolised through the artificial barriers we have imposed on ourself?

Will it be a Britain that stands tall on the international stage as a leader in the fight to tackle the greatest threat to humanity known as climate change? Or will we be a Britain that thinks we should give legitimacy to the views of the climate deniers pushing so desperately for a leave vote?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 17 Comments
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