The Brexit nightmare continues


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This week, we’ve had our biggest warning yet about what the post Brexit world holds for us. We knew already that prices were going up because of the fall in the pound, that EU nationals were swapping our hospitals and surgeries for somewhere they felt more welcome and businesses are growing increasingly worried about the Government’s diplomatic faffing.

This week, we learned courtesy of the OBR that our economy is barely going to grow, that investment growth is scarily low at 0.2% and that it’s going to take another 8 years to get back to the same value wages as we had in 2008. This is the longest squeeze on living standards since records began, exacerbated by a Tory Government that is determined to make the poorest the biggest victims of their economic vandalism.

Vince Cable has been very clear about what the Liberal Democrats would do to steady the economy:

This analysis exposes the reality of Britain’s economic future under this Conservative government.

“The squeeze on pay and living standards is set to carry on until 2025, made worse by higher inflation since the Brexit vote.

“Meanwhile the Conservatives’ poor management of the economy means the budget will not be balanced until at least the 2030s.

“This was a truly regressive budget that maintained the deepest of the Conservatives’ welfare cuts, hitting the poorest third of households hardest.

“A Liberal Democrat budget would provide the large-scale investment in infrastructure, housing and research needed to boost living standards and productivity.

“We would reverse the Conservatives’ cruel welfare cuts, and bring economic certainty by staying in the Single Market and Customs Union.

That message isn’t getting through, though. This country has a party that is ready and willing to fight against Brexit but we’re still only at 9% in the polls. Do people actually know we are here, though? We’re not getting much traction in the right wing press, funnily enough. How can we persuade the British people that there is a way out and we can change the disastrous course on which the Tories, with Labour help, have set us.

Partly it is about visibility in our local communities. We need to be seen talking to people, collecting signatures in every market place, every high street. We need to show that we can get out of this. People think that because Article 50 has been invoked we can’t but we know it is reversible because the guy who wrote it says so.

The three bleak days of debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill have not given much hope that MPs will vote to secure any significant amendments. The Lords might and then it all might get very interesting. We must work with the European Movement, Open Britain and anyone in other parties or none who share our values to stop this disaster before it is too late. And for those of you who will no doubt come on and argue that we are low in the polls because of this stance, I still think it is the right one, the only one that an open, internationalist party can take.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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85 Comments

  • Peter Martin 24th Nov '17 - 12:06pm

    The state of the economy has been poor for the last decade. The vote for brexit is a reflection of this rather than the cause of it.

    The economy won’t improve, in or out of the European union, until we stop including a “balanced budget” in our wish list.

    It’s simply impossible for our type of economy.

  • As this article shows there many diverse organisations working towards remain in the EU.
    It seems to me that what is lacking is a powerful single voice appealing to the public on both an emotional level and a rational level. The former is very important ; that is the reason leave won because they stirred up anger. Two strong messages need to go out simultaneously; first that the economic model needs to change so that the neglected areas of UK can benefit and secondly that wealth is required to do this and that can only come from being within EU. One only needs to look at how economy has declined since 2016 and we have not even left the EU.Where is the voice?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Nov '17 - 1:05pm

    I would agree with much in this article but the assumption that people want to pill back from Brexit or they want to listen to our party on this.

    I am suffering like nobody I know economically because the banks post crunch treat anybody as irrelevant and if you have ideas and drive it gets you nowhere. My local council spend more on marketing than on ideas.There is vast appalling waste in the economy, money for pointless and meaningless nonsense that keeps lawyers and consultants on several noughts after a figure. Corbyn wants to magically find money for everything . Fine . He starts in my field with a billion for the arts then says its all going to the most elitist organisation I’ve ever dealt with, the Arts Council.The money mainly for capital projects.So builders and architects are the net gain. We need a Roosevelt or Kennedy, two this country has never had.

    Brexit is not the cause or symptom of what is mainly wrong though it is in my view too the wrong thing.

    That nobody including our leadership has a clue how the isolated and poor who are also the innovative and talented live is the cause and symptom of a failed society and failing economy.

  • Richard Underhill 24th Nov '17 - 1:06pm

    http://budgetresponsibility.org.uk/
    Mr Chote said on the Daily Politics that the OBR is simply following government policy, so the forecast/s depend heavily on the outcome of the brexit negotiations, sector by sector.
    David Davis has said that a sector by sector analysis is happening anyway as he tries to establish the UK’s liabilities for the divorce bill.

  • William Fowler 24th Nov '17 - 2:33pm

    Well, if you go wander around most Asian countries what you get is a buzz of energy and enterprise, if you wander around the UK you will have as much chance of being spat at by a rough sleeper as being run over by some elderly person in an electric buggy… I would put the productivity of local council workers at ten percent, at best, and not much better in many private enterprises.

    You have some fantastic industries with brilliant well paid workers, but not sure what the bosses will do when told they have to hand over most of the multi-millions their inventions have garnered them (although many already have factories in the Far East, so presumably plans for a fast exit if Corbyn gets in). They will not be the only ones hurting after being stripped of various EU safeguards but wannabe President McDonald will turn on the rest of us when he suddenly finds all the energetic and enterprising Brits have left the country.

    Can the Liberals get, er, liberal and get their mind around the idea that the more State you have the worse things become for everyone not working in the State (until everyone ends up working in the State when it gets really bad for everyone).

    Brexit is bad economically but, with a cyclical crash due anytime soon and the government still hopeless at sorting out its finances, that 1.5 percent growth is actually miraculous if it happens down the line.

    Cameron and co have a good chance at going down in history not as the guys who turned the UK into a new version of Singapore but as the fools who turned the country over to Corbyn and co and thence a failed socialist State.

  • Sean Hyland 24th Nov '17 - 2:43pm

    Perhaps if you want to gain traction with voters you should start asking/considering why people voted to leave. That includes people who vote Lib Dem but voted Leave. If the abuse I received when I spoke to representatives of my local branch about rejoining is anything to go by the narrative remains that you think we are all thick racists.

    Maybe think about offering a view of what you think will occur if we exit from brexit and what the country will gain. Yes we will retain access to the single market and that is positive. However the EU is moving towards increasing political union and the protection of the Euro project. If you think as nation that we can influence decision making/treaty negotiations then go for it. Sadly i think that the protection of the Euro comes first and given a choice between the present 19,future 25, countries and UK they will put their own interests first even if it has a negative impact on us. As the Euro zone countries automatically constitute a Qualified Majority you can never put together a dissenting vote.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Nov ’17 – 1:05pm………We need a Roosevelt or Kennedy, two this country has never had…..

    What we DID have was an Atlee…..

  • Alan Brown 24th Nov ’17 – 12:56pm:
    One only needs to look at how economy has declined since 2016 and we have not even left the EU.

    The UK economy continues to grow with employment at a record high. The headline rate of growth has declined as we move through the J-curve following the pounds fall. Inflation is higher so people have a little less money to spend and the GDP Deflator – the measure of inflation used to adjust the growth figure downwards – is larger. As we move into 2018 inflation will subside and the headline growth figure will accelerate. The correction in the value of the pound from being the World’s most overvalued major currency is beneficial – the UK economy is rebalancing remarkably well…

    ‘Factory orders booming since the Brexit vote as they hit a 29-year high’ [November 2017]:
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/factory-orders-keep-booming-since-brexit-cut-value-of-pound-q9spmxc8v

    Factories have reported their biggest monthly boom in orders in almost three decades, driven by a surge in demand from overseas, in the clearest sign yet that the weak pound is helping manufacturers.

    The survey’s gauge of export orders also rocketed from +5 to +20, hitting its highest level since June 1995.

    ‘Job boom for UK manufacturing sector’ [October 2017]:
    http://www.manufacturingmanagement.co.uk/news/job-boom-for-uk-manufacturing-sector

    The manufacturing industry experienced a job boom in the last quarter, according to CV-Library.

    A study carried out by the independent job board, which compared Q3 job market data with that of the same period last year, found that the manufacturing sector witnessed a 24% increase in advertised vacancies over the past 12 months.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Nov '17 - 4:44pm

    Expats

    Very true but the two countries mean personality rather than just policy was very much a feature of the two I mention, although you pick one of the best we had in this country , his personality was a very different element, he was so self effacing it was his forte

  • Katharine Pindar 24th Nov '17 - 5:04pm

    Jeff, when I look at your comment about the happy state of manufacturing here since Brexit expectation cut the value of the pound, and recall Lorenzo’s earlier comment about the misuse of public moneys, only one sentence of yours stands out for me: ‘Inflation is higher so people have a little less money to spend …’ That matters. That is an actual problem for many of our fellow citizens. I care about that, and so surely do most Liberal Democrats. We won’t let the weakest go to the wall.

  • Trying to answer Sean’s point the Treaty of Rome postulated closer unity but 60 years later there still is no union. The euro, brought in to hasten a union ,is 17 years old but still no union. Germany before their election spurned Macron’s idea of closer union that view was confirmed as correct following the election when Merkel could not form a coalition government. It is clear at the moment that their will not be closer union for some time particularly as the populations of the various countries prefer to see the reform of the institutions of government of the EU to make them more democratic. Further the Eastern block is more nationalistic than Unionist. There is no doubt for the moment than it will be sometime before a union is a real possibility. By then who knows the UK may have very good reasons for wanting to be part of a Union.By remaining we keep our options open. If we leave we may never find the road back again. In the meantime as a member of the EU we can continue shaping it. We shaped the single market which is still unfinished work. We can try to influence the reform of the EU. We can also prosper so that , if we can ever achieve good fair governance of the country, the economic model can be changed to benefit the whole country. A good start would to be change the iniquitous electoral system that we have. Staying the EU also allows proper time to prepare to leave the EU if that ever proves necessary

  • Clem Attlee was far from self effacing, more a man who didn’t waste words. He was a tough cookie who took no nonsense from the more voluble members of his Cabinet and party. When asked by a Minister why he was being sacked, the response was “not up to it”.

    A great man.

  • manufacturing is 10% of GVA services take up basically the rest. World growth rate is about 3%. Our growth this year is 1.6% forecast to go down to 1% next year. Unemployment is forecast to go up to 5.3% next year. As to inflation prices will go up, whilst inflation may slow it still means things are costing more. Inflation is like a cancer that quietly grows until bang there is nothing you can do about it. Nobody thinks the economic future for UK is rosy. But some people have decided to make the bed for everyone to lie in whether they like it or not, for what good reason I know not.

  • Peter,

    “The state of the economy has been poor for the last decade. The vote for brexit is a reflection of this rather than the cause of it.”

    True but when we seemed to be reaching escape velocity Brexiteers decided to turn the rocket motor off.

    As you like research perhaps this will be of interest

    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2017/11/21/uk-households-are-already-paying-a-high-price-for-brexit-on-average-404-per-year-to-be-exact/

    Key point in my opinion is

    “Since the Brexit vote UK inflation has dramatically increased”

    and that is a fact.

  • Katharine Pindar 24th Nov '17 - 11:34pm

    The cold reality that frankie’s reference from the LSE blog draws out is that apparently the higher prices because of import costs of food and drink, clothing and fuel are already costing the average British household an extra £7.74 a week. Where is the single mother with children at home, or the worker earning just the minimum wage, finding that extra £7.74 a week? Besides, that is the average, so households in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have to find still more, and those in the northern regions of England more than any of those in the south. One can only imagine, or gently go and find out, the increasing desperation people must feel as the cost of essential items just goes on rising. We have to go on protesting and demanding better times for them.

  • @ Katharine I don’t dispute the figures but do note that their are also significant inflation rises in the US and EU. Not to the same extent but still noteworthy. Can place some but not all at the door of Brexit. Still wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

  • Please note also that the blog listed although based on an LSE Report represents the view of the authors and not the LSE or Brexit blog – official disclaimer.

  • Sean,
    Yes inflation is raising through out the world, but ours is worse than the countries you mention. Why because the pound tanked and why did it tank, well we all know the answer to that Brexit. So Brexit has made people poorer, glad we agree on that. Now what are the advantages of Brexit, come on there have to be some.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 25th Nov '17 - 7:49am

    Caron, It is perhaps rather misleading to state that problems with the economy are caused by Brexit. Nothing has yet been “caused by Brexit”, as Brexit has not yet happened. Issues that are referred to as being caused by Brexit, could more accurately be described as being caused by uncertainty. So you could say they are caused by Britain’s decision to leave the EU, but they have not been caused by Brexit itself. Whatever one thinks of Brexit, it does need to be remembered that change often leads to uncertainty, which may lead to short term problems, but this does not necessarily mean that the change itself is wrong.
    Also it does need to be said that being “internationalist” does not automatically mean being pro EU, and it is perfectly possible for a country to be internationalist and outward looking without being in the EU. An argument could indeed be made that the EU is not particularly internationalist, being mostly about protecting the interests of Europe, and not being particularly concerned about the rest of the world. A truly internationalist outlook should include the whole world, not just one’s own continent.

  • William Fowler 25th Nov '17 - 8:52am

    Actually, what the mild rises in prices show, compared with the massive devaluation of Sterling post 2008 (at roughly fifty percent of its value in dollar terms) is how unrelated retail prices are to manufacturing costs, pricing often based on what manufacturers can get away with so that tee-shirt that costs 10p to make in Vietnam ends up costing anything from a quid in heavily discounted Primark to £20 in a designer shop (a simple example but you get the idea).

    But with social media people have the power to destroy lots of these predatory industries – if everyone stopped buying milk for a week or turned their gas off, prices would drop to more reasonable levels, for instance. I often see products increase in price, pile up on the shelves and then suddenly get cut back in price to an even cheaper level than their original price so does seem like many consumers just buy something else when faced with higher prices and it is not impossible to arrange your life so that there is no inflationary aspect, even in areas where the companies are really rapacious such as energy.

  • William,
    Nip out and buy some dairy products and then nip back and tell me that. Perhaps we should all stop eating for a week to drive down inflation. Really as plans go yours has to be one of the stupidest when it comes to essentials, I’ll give you it might work with luxiouries, but only till the stock was sold the UK at which point as we live in a global world they’d not be replaced.

  • Arnold Kiel 25th Nov '17 - 9:36am

    Catherine Jane Crosland,

    did you notice the strange coincidence that leave won a referendum on June 23, 2016, and GBP fell by 10% (widely accepted as the main source of inflation and depressed purchasing power now) on June 24 of the same year?

  • William Fowler 25th Nov ’17 – 8:52am….Actually, what the mild rises in prices…

    I’d suggest that how ‘MILD’ depends on your circumstances…As for ‘turning off the gas for a week’ …I stopped reading after that!

  • Peter Martin 25th Nov '17 - 10:05am

    @Arnold Kiel,

    The BoE could well have simply taken their opportunity to force down the pound. They needed to do this to get the govt off their backs re the inflation target.

  • I like your comments. Research and infrastructure are key to us as trading nation in the post-Brexit world. I would add maintaining our high standards in social, environmental and ethical issues as we create new trade treaties.

  • Frankie my point was that it is easy to give a statistic in isolation. By not showing that the blog mentioned other countries it may have been assumed by the reader that only the UK had inflation. As any reference given to support a Leave argument I was just seeking to ensure a level playing field.

    As to inflation a small amount is actually quite normal in an economy. Catherine Jane Crosland does have a point about general uncertainty and that can be linked to brexit. I do like her comment on an International outlook.

    My decision to vote leave was always based on the my belief that the EU is moving to an ever greater political union. This is part of their process to protect the Euro project and address the faults made at its establishment.

  • Sean,
    Inflation is on the rise through out the West, but given our weak economic position we will suffer more than most. Now why is the economy weak, well our neglect of industry and infrastructure doesn’t help, but the elephant in the room is Brexit. Brexit brings uncertainty and while that persists very little will be done to rectify the other faults. As to Europe being more united, perhaps perhaps not but leaving the EU if anything will only hasten the process. We are out you cry and they can’t affect us. Problem is having a superpower as your neighbour does. For example the Brexit process the key players are the 27 not us and if Eire don’t like what is on offer they can stop it leaving us with hard Brexit as the only option. Why do you think May keeps going to Brussels for the chocolate or to beg for a deal?

  • Catherine,
    As soon as the result was announced the pound plummetted. Now I believe that was Brexit related but you could buy into Peter’s conspiracy theory.
    I really need to look into buying shares in tin foil producing companies, it seems an increasing number of Brexiteers have started to wear it as a protection from rain ruining their hair styles.

  • Frankie, my argument would be that the even if we stayed in the EU we would be in the same position. Decisions would be taken increasingly to protect the Euro even if that would not be in our interest or that of the other non Euro countries. The existing 19 countries already constitute an automatic qualified majority vote. Given that unless this is likely to increase to 25 countries you can see our irrelevance in the decision making process no matter the validity of our argument. We would have access to the single market which is welcome but would have no influence in setting or changing it terms or regulations.

    Brexit has uncertain outcomes but so does staying in. I have not,personally, seen a convincing argument to Remain that offers certainty.

  • Alan Brown 24th Nov ’17 – 6:28pm:
    World growth rate is about 3%. Our growth this year is 1.6% forecast to go down to 1% next year.

    That 3% World growth figure is much boosted by rapidly growing developing economies such as India and China. Projected growth for the EU over the next five years is less than 2% and little more than 1.5% for the Euro area…

    ‘Growth of the real gross domestic product (GDP) in the European Union and the Euro area from 2012 to 2022 (compared to the previous year)’:
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/267898/gross-domestic-product-gdp-growth-in-eu-and-euro-area/

    The statistic shows the growth of the real gross domestic product (GDP) in the European Union and the Euro area from 2012 to 2016, with projections up until 2022.

  • Alan Brown 24th Nov ’17 – 6:28pm:
    Nobody thinks the economic future for UK is rosy.

    In contrast to the “experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong” here’s a fund manager with a good track record for getting it right…

    ‘Woodford rejects OBR forecasts in Autumn Budget’ [23 November 2017]:
    https://www.fundstrategy.co.uk/woodford-rejects-obr-forecasts-autumn-budget/

    Neil Woodford has rejected gloomy UK growth forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility revealed in yesterday’s budget, arguing the country is on track to achieve annual growth around 2 per cent.

    […]

    Woodford says the OBR’s downgrade represents more cautious perspective on productivity and some implicit caution on Brexit.

    “The OBR has been wrong on productivity over the past five years, and as far as I can see, there’s no reason to believe that they will get it right over the next five years,” Woodford says.

    The equities manager points to the fact UK productivity went up in the last quarter.

    Woodford says he instead expects GDP growth to be in the region of 2 per cent for the next three to five years.

    The star fund manager also notes the 4.4 per cent increase in the living wage underwrites his belief that the economy will return to real wage growth next year, alongside increased credit growth and better export performance.

    This makes up the ingredients for a decent growth outcome from the UK economy in the years ahead, Woodford says. “Something the consensus is not expecting.”

    ‘Britain’s most famous fund manager is bullish on Brexit and thinks ‘investors have become far too pessimistic about the UK economy’’ [May 2017]:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/neil-woodford-brexit-investors-far-too-pessimistic-about-uk-economy-2017-5

    “Selling out of banks was one of the big calls Neil Woodford made which protected investors from the worst ravages of the financial crisis, and reaffirmed his reputation as an outstanding fund manager.”

  • Word of advice Jeff check who you put forward as a supporter of Brexit the last twelve months have not been kind to “Britain’s most famous fund manager”

    Aviva, one of the largest savings providers in Britain, has become the second major firm to remove Neil Woodford’s flagship equity income fund from its investment range, Telegraph Money can disclose.

    The insurer has written to savers invested in Mr Woodford’s Equity Income fund via company pension schemes explaining that the fund will be unavailable from December 4. At least £30m will be moved as a result to an alternative fund.

    Mr Woodford, one of Britain’s most feted money managers, has weathered a difficult 12 months in which his funds have significantly underperformed rivals and the broader stock market.

    His woes were compounded by the plunge in the share price of doorstep lender Provident Financial, one of his fund’s largest holdings. Other controversial holdings include estate agent Purplebricks, which was the subject of a BBC documentary exposing misleading advertisements.

    A separate, stock market-quoted fund, launched by Mr Woodford to huge fanfare in 2015 and named the Woodford Patient Capital Trust, is now approaching its third anniversary. Original investors have suffered a 5pc capital loss over the period and demand for the fund has slumped.

    Last month it emerged that a portfolio of funds managed by Jupiter, a long-time backer of Mr Woodford, had disinvested entirely from Mr Woodford’s flagship income fund. At one point the Jupiter Merlin range had as much as £942m invested with Woodford.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/investing/news/second-giant-investment-house-drops-woodford-fund/

    Article dated 6 November 2017 • 9:45am

    Due diligence Jeff, just because he’s “Britain’s most famous fund manager” doesn’t make him the best.

  • frankie 25th Nov ’17 – 5:17pm:
    Word of advice Jeff check who you put forward as a supporter of Brexit the last twelve months have not been kind to “Britain’s most famous fund manager”

    Indeed. I don’t know if he is a “supporter of Brexit” (rather than merely thinking that the pessimism has been overdone). I cited his views on UK growth to counter the statement that “Nobody thinks the economic future for UK is rosy.” Woodford thinks that the UK will grow twice as fast as the figure mentioned by Alan Brown.

  • Jeff,

    It doesn’t take much to find evidence that Mr Woodford is at best ambivalent to Brexit and in my humble opinion pretty nailed on as in favour of it. He puts a case not much will change, but the evidence I can see says that lots will change. If lots does change he will still be OK, but you and me not so much unless you are a man of means.

    Still you could always try the Brexit plan B invest in a Tinkerbell outfit and start singing “I believe we can fly” 😉

  • If we exit from Brexit what are the benefits? Apart from access to single market. Still not had a convincing argument to stay in EU. All is still uncertain if we stay.

  • Sean Hyland 25th Nov ’17 – 11:12pm……………If we exit from Brexit what are the benefits? Apart from access to single market. Still not had a convincing argument to stay in EU. All is still uncertain if we stay……………

    I agree, Sean, if we leave we’ll all get a free unicorn, oodles of faerie gold, trips to ‘Yesterdayland’ in Rees-Mogg’s landau and signed photographs of Johnson, Davis, Gove and Fox….
    Who could ask for anything more?

  • Don’t see the point of that response expats. Never once on this forum have i resorted to putting down or name calling anyone . Elsewhere on LDV I’ve put the reasons I voted leave. I’ve just asked several times for someone to give me a reasoned argument to stay in the EU. I’m still waiting. If you want to convince people to back exit from brexit you’ve got to give them a reason to back you.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Nov '17 - 1:52am

    Eh, Sean, lighten up a bit, expats and frankie both provided enjoyable titbits above, and frankie has awesome command of economic information too (perhaps you should apply to be an adviser to Michael Gove, frankie!).

    Now as to your repeated plea for somebody to give you a reasoned argument as to why we should stay in the EU, I’ll have a go on this thread too. You fixate on the majority of states being in the Eurozone and find this a threat. I really don’t see that our not being in EZ ourselves has done our economy any harm, has it? We’ve been in the EU, at the same time according to Peter M. being blessed that we’re not in the EZ, which itself has a major problem (so I gather) in not being able to balance the different economies. Generally speaking, why should you assume that they can solve that problem in future, and why it should be a threat to us even if they do?

    You don’t, I think it’s fair to say, take into account the progressive nature of so much of EU regulation and standards, on environmental issues, on social justice, on rights and liberties and much else. We’ve agreed with and implemented these high standards, whether on cleaner air, animals as sentient beings, or holiday provision for workers, to name a few, yet all the advantages which arise from our consent to EU programmes, you are apparently dismissing. We participated in progress and can continue to do so if we stay in, because their values are ours, and this co-operative working together of states is surely the best political arrangement possible in the world today. Let’s face the future together, because we are surely stronger that way.

  • William Fowler 26th Nov '17 - 8:54am

    Staying in the EU gets you all those citizens rights that protect you against arrogant local councils and the actual government, the ability to live, work, retire in 27 countries and keeps the City in easy money (plus the govn in easy taxes)… leaving will probably end up with an expensive, cobbled together free trade deal that keeps large companies going but leaves the poor old citizen at the mercy of May’s endless, pointless list of new laws (passed only to give politicians something to do) or Labour’s wealth grabbing ways.

  • Sean Hyland 26th Nov ’17 – 12:45am…

    Sean, I’m sorry if I offended you; that was not my intention…Your final sentence, “All is still uncertain if we stay” aroused my wry sense of humour…

    Compared to the ‘leap of faith’, that is Brexit, staying is a well signposted path..The experience of the last 40 plus years has seen a steady improvement in our fortunes as a nation…The 2008 financial collapse was engineered from outside the EU and, by trying to emulate that nation we suffered far more than the rest of the EU…

    We were a major player in the wealthiest market in the world, we had unrestricted movement into a population of over 500 million on our doorstep, etc, etc. and yet for a variety of reasons (mostly manufactured by the rightwing media) we have chosen to ‘stamp our feet, slam the door and flounce off’ into a world that doesn’t owe us anything….Harry Enfield’s ”Kevin’ comes to mind…Sorry, that’s my humour breaking out again…

  • Katharine, expats, if I seem a little over sensitive I apologize. I asked what I thought was a reasonable question. I was looking why should i change my views. I reacted to what I felt was a flippant reply. It came on top of a week were I was told to ” f**k off and join Ukip ” by my local Lib Dem councillor.

    I have no problem with anyone who wants to joining the Euro. I agree with Peter M that we should not join. The Euro is a flawed design. The original proponents of monetary union knew it could only happen with simultaneously ensuring political union. This failed to happen and the fault was exposed during the financial crisis. If the Euro fails the EU may not survive the fallout. So they are finally putting in place the required political union along with proper fiscal structures.

    Its this political union I worry about. I was a european supporter till a couple of years ago. I accept, as Katharine has listed,that much has been achieved in a system were each countries voice was heard. My fear now is that the Eurozone group,at present 19 countries, constitute an automatic majority under the voting system. That constitutes a democratic deficit in my view. We can hope and trust that our views may still be listened to in the spirit of unity but if needs must for the EU we may as well whistle. Even Otmar Issing, the 1st chief economist of the ECB, shares similar concerns.

    There is much to be proud of in EU but much to worry about. I don’t believe we can change the path they are on. Sorry but that’s my fixation. It wasn’t an easy decision I took to vote Leave. I continue to look for signs I may be wrong hence my original question.

  • Sean Hyland 26th Nov ’17 – 10:17am…

    Sean, I have written, on another thread, condemning the lies that ‘BOTH’ sides told before the referendum…What is more concerning are the lies that we are NOW being told by this government…The Mail/Express are full of the ‘golden opportunities’ that are just around the corner ( like ‘Trump’s tales” they disappear under the most basic examination)…

    EU membership is not perfect (what is?) but Corbyn’s 7/10 seems about right to me…Swapping a 7 for a 3 doesn’t make any sense…The EU would be a better place with the UK as a member, but it will continue to prosper without us; I wish I could feel the same about the UK, minus the EU..

  • Sean,

    Much as I would love to change your views it is extremely unlikely. The following article explains why

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/25/protest-vote-regret-voting-leave-brexit

    Key point is “To admit that you now believe you were wrong requires unusual honesty and courage; publicly to admit it takes even more. ”

    Now I’d like to think I’d behave differently to that, but after investing so much self worth in a decision that was wrong I too would probably

    “Rage, rage against the dawning of the facts.”

    Problem the brave Brexiteers have is the facts keep building up. As they build the shy Brexiteers will melt away but the vocal committed ones are left with three choices. First is admit they messed up, the second pretend it didn’t happen (we don’t talk about Brexit, it’s under the carpet now, slice of turnip anyone) the third is to retreat into fantasy; the realm of Tinkerbell or “we woz stabbed in the back, stabbed in the back I tell you”. I suspect conspiracy and Tinks will claim many of you, many will pretend it didn’t happen and a few will learn from their mistake.

  • jayne Mansfield 26th Nov '17 - 11:41am

    @ Sean Hyland, @ Glen
    I am no longer a supporter of the Liberal Democrats and on the odd occasion that I post something on here, it is usually help up, presumable to ensure that I don’t upset the confirmation bias of the usual posters.

    If you do get to read this post, I would guide you and Glen, both intelligent leave voters to an intelligent article in the Guardian –

    “I thought I would put in a protest vote” the people who regret voting leave”.

    Probably the people who should read it, are those who think that one can change the views of others go about trying to do so.

    I voted remain, but I am not trying to change your view with my suggestion. I am genuinely interested as in your opinion and that of Glen as to whether you agree with the assertions in the article.

    My own view remains that it has been the response of many remainers to those who thought deeply about the issue and then chose to vote leave, that has entrenched in some cases ( not yours and Glen’s) hostility towards some of us who still argue for remain.

    In my case I have moved from being a weak remainer to being a staunch remainer as more information comes to light. I therefore understand why people can use strategies that may be counter- productive in discussions about the relative merits or otherwise of remaining or leaving the EU. However, I am on record on here , at a time when I was a Liberal Democrat supporter, arguing against the Liberal Democrat approach to those who after great thought, chose to vote leave. It was a close call for me at the time of the referendum.

  • Sean,

    I’m sure your not tempted but I wouldn’t join UKIP, it doesn’t exist any more and the few that are left I fear really wouldn’t be your cup of tea; you ask far too many questions (few of which they could answer, unless you count “taking back control iniit” as an answer).

  • Jayne,

    Genuine question “Which party now represents your views best? How do you feel they can achieve them?”

    I’d be interested to know but if you feel it’s none of my business fair enough.

  • Sean Hyland 26th Nov '17 - 1:19pm

    Frankie and Jayne, many thanks I have read the article but at this time I have no regrets about my vote. I do ,however, believe that nothing is set in stone and views can change hence why I asked for peoples views on why we should remain. Its a question that I was asking before the vote and as Expats says there were lots of false hoods,and good arguments, on both campaigns. Even if I became a remain supporter I would not regret the decision I made when I voted as it was the right decision for me at the time. If a change happened it would be on the basis of a convincing argument and would need no courage as once convinced i would be happy to move. We learn from decisions we make and we also continue to learn as we move forward. The convincing argument for me at the time were the views of people such as Otmar Issing who are at the heart of Europe. It may be as the guardian article says a case of confirmation bias but that applies to both sides.

    As to political home the Lib Dems remain my most natural choice based on my political views and most of the policies they offer. I don’t obviously agree with everything but who does with any political party. I have in the past voted Green but never voted Tory. I have once in my youth voted Labour. I do not even recognize Ukip as a political party and have actively protested them as I have in the past with NF,BNP etc but my marching days are long gone.

    I don’t see a party I can join at this time but I believe I will continue to vote Lib Dem.

  • jayne Mansfield 26th Nov '17 - 1:39pm

    @ Frankie,
    I was opposed to the referendum, We live in a representative democracy. However, since I had no choice, I tried my best to work through the issues. Even with the information provided on Liberal Democrat Voice and young people in my family arguing that I should vote remain, I still felt that I was in no position to make a truly informed choice. I felt an ambivalence that was most closely represented by Jeremy Corbyn’s 7 out of 10. I certainly did not want an EU that remained much the same as it was. ( Nick Clegg)

    Although an avid reader of the arguments on here, many providing important information that probably firmed up my view, it was the arguments of my children and grandchild, the effect the vote had on European workers, immigrants or people who looked different and my ongoing increasing distaste/ disgust of the politicians who were in the Leave camp.

    Two of my children have now moved from London to work in the EU. They have friends who are European nationals who have sold up and moved back to their native country because of the way they and and their efforts have been diminished and made to feel unwelcome.

    I thought it was deeply disrespectful of the Liberal Democrat Party to start talking of a second referendum immediately after the vote. I have always had a ‘give people enough rope …….’ approach to life. The citizenry can see for themselves, the mess the chaotic Conservative leave politicians are making, and as events unfold and forecasts become reality, I trust individuals to remain with, or change their decisions based on that.

    So, it is not which party has the view that is closest to mine that concerns me, it is which party is showing the greatest political nous when it comes to achieving the best outcome. I think that Labour has so far been better at that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the party throws itself behind a second plebiscite when the time is ripe, the argument being that people have had the time and opportunity to reflect on their initial decision.

    In my opinion, the Liberal Democrat strategy has been woeful. Rather than be seen to undermine a democratic vote, one should first check that people in large enough numbers have changed their view before offering an opportunity for them to express this.

  • jayne Mansfield 26th Nov '17 - 1:59pm

    @ Shaun Hyland,
    I have never heard of Otmar Issing. I will read what he has to say.

    Good for you actively protesting against fascists and racists. I do too. I am still shocked that in 2009, I came back from a Pegasus Bridge commemoration of the bravery of airmen who risked their lives fighting fascism to find that two BNP MEPs had been elected.

  • jayne Mansfield 26th Nov '17 - 4:38pm

    @ David Raw,
    I was adopted but apparently my biological mother was a WAAF and my biological father was in the Australian Airforce, both in bomber command based in Lincolnshire.

    We accompanied our son was one of the sponsored runners raising money to support the needs of veterans of all generations facing hardship and distress. They left The airfield in Dorset where the gliders took off, covering the 75 miles in under 24 hour, each runner with the name of a pilot on the back of their tee shirt and ended at Pegasus Bridge.

    You and I may have been at some of the same anti- apartheid marches too, so a belated wave.

  • Jayne,
    A campaign needs leaders, just following along and jumping on the bandwagon if it looks like it is opportune isn’t leadership. I respect the politicians who lead, amongst them quite a few Labour one, I don’t respect those that follow. The problem with giving people enough rope to hang themselves is quite often they will hang you too. We could quite easily end up all hanging together after Brexit because time was never quite ripe to stop it. The sad thing is even those that have fled to the EU might still hang if Brexit turns as nasty as it seems to be.

    Thanks for mentioning D-day it spured me to finally try to work out what regiment my dad was in during that campaign.

  • Arnold Kiel 26th Nov '17 - 7:57pm

    Sean Hyland, I’ll give it a shot:

    I am disregarding your „apart from access to the single market“-exclusion, as you might just as well have said: apart from feeding children, heating homeless, caring for elderly, or quickly treating emergencies. I am sure you are not indifferent to these.

    The UK has few natural ressources, downhill demographics and high cost. It’s only claim to competitiveness is a highly educated population. The highly skilled of your countrymen have a certain preference for fast, asset-light gains in areas such as finance, law, media, retail, etc. The industrial sector, where long product-cycles require constant R&D, state-of-the-art technology and cash-flow reinvestment is underrepresented.

    Needless to say that such a profile cannot survive on its own, but is dependent on exchange with other nations, ideally with complementary skills. The fewer the areas you are good at, the smaller your competitive niches, i.e. the shorter the pieces of any supply-chain where your contribution is sought-after. If you contribute rather small elements of a supplychain, you need to be deeply integrated with the other productive elements along this chain, and you want to participate in supplychains with the largest possible target market to have large scale despite narrow scope. Geographically nearby countries without a massive cost-advantage, with identical product-standards, sharing the world’s biggest harmonized and borderless market (which they protect against any kind of dumping) are your partners of choice.

    Such a deep productive integration accross national borders needs a strong and enforceable framework of rules, because otherwise any investment in dependent niche-capabilities would be too risky. This complex rule-based system implies a sound basis of shared values.

    It is impossible to replicate such an ecosystem across continents and with outsized power-players, such as China or the US who traditionally or newly want it all for themselves. Any attempt by the UK to make anything end-to-end domestically will fail.

    It’s called a globalized world, from which there is no escaping. But you can choose your preferred association: the Gentlemen’s- or the fight-club.

  • jayne Mansfield 26th Nov '17 - 8:12pm

    @ frankie,
    I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

    I believe that by insulting the intelligence of the voters, ( I voted remain despite being completely ignorant of all the facts, and resented having to make a decision that I was not well -placed to make), has led to some taking a more entrenched position, as the article that I referred to suggests.

    I wish some of our leaders, Tony Blair, and David Cameron in particular had taken a watchful, waiting approach, assessing the situation rather than what they decisively led us to. Cameron put party before country. He totally misjudged the mood of the people and the remain campaign was exceptionally poor.

    Good luck with your research.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Nov '17 - 8:41pm

    Jayne, you applaud ‘which(ever) party is showing the greatest political nous when it comes to achieving the best outcome’, and ‘think that Labour has so far been better at that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the party throws itself behind a second plebiscite when the time is ripe.’ I am almost speechless…

    Have we had the best outcome so far when Labour agreed to pass Article 50 and then voted for the EU Withdrawal Bill, thereby allowing the Government to go headlong towards a hard Brexit? Are you really content to wait to see if they will eventually abandon their clever, craven, unscrupulous fence-sitting in time to save the situation, while businesses despair at the prolonged uncertainty and steps are already taken which will take more waste of needed resources to reverse? And what if they don’t decide in time?

    I appeal to your younger self who evidently was an anti-apartheid campaigner, as I was, who possibly was a peace campaigner, as I was, not to sit there looking in and musing comfortably, but join this urgent and passionate Liberal Democrat campaign to STOP BREXIT before it is too late. What sort of honesty in politics would it have been to wait and ‘check whether enough people had changed their minds’ before publicly committing ourselves? And it wasn’t anyway to another referendum that we instantly committed ourselves, it was to REMAIN IN THE EU. Are you with us? There is much work to be done and only we to lead it.

  • Peter Martin 26th Nov '17 - 9:34pm

    @ Sean Hyland,

    ” I agree with Peter M that we should not join.”

    That’s not quite what I’m saying. For anyone who is totally committed to the EU it should be just the opposite. They should be arguing that we should be fully a member of the EU rather than just a partial member. If there is any chance of our helping to fix the EU’s problems, including the problems of the common currency, then we would need to be a euro user too.

    I’m not sure that the chances are at all good so I prefer to be totally out of the EU

    I could be wrong about that, and arguing that we should be totally in, is an equally valid alternative position.

    @Katharine Pindar

    “I really don’t see that our not being in EZ ourselves has done our economy any harm, has it?”

    Up until 2008 I would have agreed with you. But since 2008 our economy hasn’t been in good shape. I’m sure we agree on that. I would argue that being in the EU since then has adversely affected our economy. We’d still have had problems. As have such countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, and NZ. However, would have been freer to develop our own solutions, as have they, and our current situation would have been more like theirs.

    @frankie,

    But you could buy into Peter’s conspiracy theory.

    I’m not sure it is a conspiracy theory. If we want less debt then we have to balance our trade and having a lower pound is the only way to do it. The BoE is required by our Government to engineer 2% inflation. With interest rates as low as they are, nudging the pound down is the only way to do it. Arguably they have slightly overshot which is why they’ve recently pushed interest rates slightly back up again.

    The large buyers of Govt Gilts (ie the central banks of the big exporters) are already large holders of Govt gilts. They also want to continue to be big exporters, So, on both counts, they have a vested interest in keeping the pound high. Why would they want to dump the pound and see the value of their holdings decline?

  • jayne Mansfield 26th Nov '17 - 9:45pm

    @ Katharine Pindar,

    I think I have to ask, just what has the current approach of the Liberal Democrats achieved? I sincerely believe that because of poor timing, the argument for a second referendum, because that is what many leavers view it as, has put more people’s backs up than it has converted to its cause. People turned out to vote and like myself, they were led to believe that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to decide. There was no mention that I am aware of that the vote was advisory. The idea that to seek to overturn a democratic decision in those circumstances, was undemocratic is not restricted to leave voters.

    In my daily life of course I have argued for remain, especially when new information comes to light. I am not a passive observer. It is important that people like yourself and Frankie keep providing information. However, lovely friends of mine, Green Party members would you believe , publicly continue to stand by their decision to vote leave. There comes a point when sensitivity to feelings means one stops bringing the subject into so many discussions. They may have wavered and continue to waver, but wish to keep that private. They are certainly as competent at assessing the growing evidence as I am.

    There are times when sitting on one’s hands is the most positive thing one can do – first do no harm. I believe that the Liberal Democrat approach has been counter-productive. If there is a sizeable shift in opinion, and I hope there will be because most people are not stupid , offering the electorate an opportunity to change their minds ameliorates the idea that a further referendum is undemocratic.

    David Raw’s post about a leave voter in the Archers changing their mind is an excellent way of enabling people to reflect and think about the decision they made and their basis for doing so. Drama is an excellent way of dealing with major issues without seeming ‘preachy’. The programme has an important target audience.

  • Peter Martin happy to take on board point you make. Was responding to a line in another participants post. Should have took the time to go back and reread your original post. I apologize for any confusion caused.

    Arnold Kiel happy to take on board what you say and to a large extent agree. My objection, and reason for voting leave,remains purely on the issue of growing political union and the potential danger to democratic governance. I don’t plan on repeating my views here because I accept, as Katharine Pinder pointed out, I’m in danger of getting overly fixated on the issue as I feel its so important.

    Going to take a break from posting for a while to refocus my views. Also got some Uni essays to complete so will concentrate on them. Will be back to continue debates with you and others. Will also keep reading LDV.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Nov '17 - 1:30am

    Jayne, prevented from replying till now because of ‘flooding’! So I’ll be brief. I haven’t gathered any evidence of ‘more people’s backs being put out than of people converted to the cause’. Sure, there was a lot of media-led shouting about accepting the Referendum result, ‘will of the people’, democracy and so on, but the party did actually accept the result, just adding that if the people should come to change their minds in any numbers, or wish they could vote again because of so much more information coming out since the event, they should be given the chance.

    Anyway, I don’t see that we were much affected by our stance when it came to the General Election. There, it came about that the country was polarised between the two main parties with their vivid leaders, voters taking strong views for one and against the other, and at the same time many moderate voters formerly friendly to us veered to Labour because of their popular socialist-type manifesto. We were seen as pretty irrelevant then, and now the issues themselves have become pretty irrelevant to many of the voters, probably switching off, apprehensive but hoping for the best, thinking it’s a done deal anyway. As the negotiations continue to stall, as the economic situation remains poor and the prospects no better, Tim Farron’s and the party’s policy – well known, the consistent statement of a largely united party – is likely to become more popular, along with the party itself. There’s probably a growing silent agreement with us, which we however need to encourage.

  • Arnold Kiel 27th Nov '17 - 7:57am

    Sean Hyland,

    don’t back out yet. Most leavers do so to avoid the quintessential conclusion, but you are almost there. For your position to be “rational”, you must add… “at any price, i.e. no matter how much child-poverty, unemployment, homelessness and premature deaths rise”.

    Majorities in 27 other countries set the different priorities, and you should indeed refocus your views.

  • Arnold

    Not backing out. Still resolute in my Leave views.

  • jayne Mansfield 27th Nov '17 - 12:59pm

    @ Katharine Pindar,
    I am sorry to hear about the flooding.

    There is no disagreement over the most desirable outcome Katharine, but I believe that the party must take some responsibility for the fact that many people have now closed their ears.

    My own approach, which is not to sit musing comfortably, has been forged from personal experience, the most challenging being working in a remote area where being born a girl was a death sentence.

    Judging people’s decisions without seeking to understand why they reach them is counter- productive. It means that they stop listening and when one has lost their ear, respect, one also loses the opportunity to influence future behaviour. In the divisive context of the EU referendum, even telling people that they made a decision based on lies can be received as an insult, a suggestion that they are gullible, or too dim to sift evidence.

    I believe that one has to understand why people make the decisions that they make and accept that those decisions have a rationality for them given their situation.

    There was is a need for information to reach new understandings – I used to ask the men in the aforementioned situation, ‘ How are your sons going to have sons if there are not girls to marry?’ etc., but it is a change in the fundamental cause of behaviour and decisions that is crucial. In that particular case, economics not misogyny.

    If the ‘left behinds’ who leave, it is hardly surprising that Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘socialist type manifesto’, attracted many UKIP voters back to his party. One should be less dismissive of this. Why would one believe that the EU has meant prosperity when one has not been a benefactor of it, but instead , experienced the downsides of even greater rationing of available resources?

    The Liberal Democrat party forfeited its claim to be anti-establishment. It enabled policies that made the economically vulnerable more vulnerable. The EU plebiscite gave some who had felt powerless the opportunity to express their discontent. Unfortunately their anger was directed at the wrong target, it should have been directed at the elected representatives who left them behind, not the EU.

  • Peter Martin 27th Nov '17 - 1:19pm

    @ Arnold,

    What about your Germanic view of the rules of the EU’s not widely known SGP? Should they be obeyed “at any price”?

    ” No matter how much child-poverty, unemployment, homelessness and premature deaths rise” ?

  • Jayne
    “The Liberal Democrat party forfeited its claim to be anti-establishment. It enabled policies that made the economically vulnerable more vulnerable.”
    The Liberal Democrats were responsible not reckless.
    Thailand in 1997 had a government that didn’t want to take difficult economic decisions. A financial crisis occurred that spread across Asia. In Thailand millions were pushed back into poverty. Poverty in a place where there is real poverty.
    In the UK many don’t understand how close things were to economic collapse in 2008 (and that it would take years to recover). I know some disabled people in the UK and they continued to receive state support during this time.
    The idea that money can be printed and given away is not a sound one.(Yes there was QE) Years ago there was always a Sterling crisis when Labour were in power and it seems that will never change.

  • @ Manfarang quotes Jayne Mansfield, “The Liberal Democrat party forfeited its claim to be anti-establishment. It enabled policies that made the economically vulnerable more vulnerable.” You responded, “The Liberal Democrats were responsible not reckless.”

    I joined the Liberal Party in 1961, was elected Councillor five times, polled 27% in a rock solid Yorkshire Tory stronghold in the 1983 Election. It gives me a good vantage point to observe the party and events – and I agree with Jayne.

    Anti-establishment ? We used to be, but a vanity rush to have gongs, knighthoods and peerages beginning in the Steel days showed us in a different light in the perception of many ….. the absurdity of the late Member for Rochdale’s knighthood being but one example. Electors remember things like that. I heard it in the streets.

    On policy, Manfarang clings to a fig leaf called ‘responsibility’. Those of us involved with the CAB and Food Banks don’t just think otherwise – we know otherwise. The likes of Philip Green kept their multi-million pound yachts – my local food bank sees exponential demand. The electorate saw through the flannel of ‘we’re all in it together’ and youtube “I’m sorry” songs.

    The electorate gave the party a yellow card followed by a red. I say it after fifty six years in sorrow not in joy. Until the party, including Manfarang, ‘get it’, say they ‘get it’, and start being honest about it then a figure I learned about in my classics class comes to mind. Sir Vincent will be like Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain.

    Jayne is correct in saying many people voted Brexit from a perception of ‘the system’. It made them less receptive to listen to Lib Dem pleadings to remain. The Lib Dems were seen as part of ‘the system’. What came out of the Coalition paved the way for Brexit.

    In Thomas Hobbes’ terms the EU was seen as ‘The Thing’.

  • Manfarang 27th Nov ’17 – 1:31pm….The idea that money can be printed and given away is not a sound one.(Yes there was QE) Years ago there was always a Sterling crisis when Labour were in power and it seems that will never change….

    More ‘Thatcher’ economics…I suggest you look at the ‘facts not myths’ about fiscal responsibility…Unfortunately, the Conservatives seem to be much better at propaganda.

  • David Raw
    Were you in Burma in 1988? If you were the word poverty would have real meaning.
    Of course there is hardship in Britain- the product of a failing economy and a bureaucratic welfare system.

  • Expats
    I remember the facts when Britain went to the IMF in the 1970s and the high inflation of those days.

  • @ Manfarang “Were you in Burma in 1988?” No, but I was in Tanzania in 1980, India in 2004, a South African township in 2006 and held the Social work Cabinet post on my local Council ……. so I’ve seen poverty in different places in my time.

    I also remember interest rates shooting up to 15% under a Tory Government on Black Wednesday, 1992 – conveniently forgotten during in the Coalition years when Lib Dems bad mouthed Brown and Darling who had a much better traditional Liberal economic response than the panic austerity introduced by Osborne/Laws/Alexander…………. and when we opposed Thatcher/Howe in the early 80’s on an anti-austerity ticket similar to Roosevelt’s New Deal…………… (still got my election address !!)

    “Of course there is hardship in Britain- the product of a failing economy and a bureaucratic welfare system.” – and the exploitative employment arrangements, selling off of the ‘family silver’ in privatisation, and the non-dom tax arrangements winked at ?

  • jayne Mansfield 27th Nov '17 - 4:34pm

    @ Manfarang,
    Manfarang, I may not have as much as a WEA attendance certificate in economics, but even I knew that when Nick Clegg channelled Margaret Thatcher by trying to equate the management of a national economy to running a household budget we were onto a loser.

    ‘It’s the same as a family earning £26,000 a year who are spending £32,OO. Even though they are £40,00 in debt. Imagine if that was you. You’d be crippled by the interest payments. You set yourself a budget . And you try to spend less. That is what the government is doing’

    ……..This from the leader of the party of Keynes.

    I will tell you whose view on the consequences of austerity espoused by those three deficit hawks, Osborne, Clegg and Alexander has more force than that trinity. That of a Professor of Economic Policy at Oxford University, Simon Wren -Lewis. His 2015 New Statesman article can be accessed online:-

    ‘The economic consequences of George Osborne: covering up the austerity mistake’.

    We all make mistakes but most of us put our hand up and apologise. Your party might start making headway when it does just that.

  • I dunno if people did vote Brexit due to the perception of the inequities of the system. I think it was mostly about not buying into the supranational concept and being islanders. Had there been a vote on Maastricht in the first place I seriously doubt the result would have been close. Countries with a far greater Eurocentric bent than Britain repeatedly rejected it way back in the 1990s. It was a major change to both Britain and to the nature of the Europe. A lot of Europhiles view the nation state as an outdated concept, borders as arbitrary lines from a bygone era and nationalism as innately bad. Most people don’t. This is why the Remain campaign focused on economics and still is. It can’t win hearts on a deeper level, so goes for the wallet. And to be fair this is the strongest case for Remain. Economic uncertainty is scary. “It’s the economy stupid” is the route one of politics.

  • Katharine Pindar 27th Nov '17 - 11:05pm

    Friends, this saddens me. I also have been a Liberal since 1961, though without the distinguished service in office of David Raw, and I believe there is too much good in the party I love for its members or supporters to want to spend much time dissecting the Coalition policies yet again or comparing notes on who has observed the worst poverty in the world. If we are all veterans, let us just agree on Mr Micawber’s economics and move on to try to help the poorest now as best we can. Jayne, I think most of us did listen and try to understand the varied views of the Leavers, and many articles and comments here on LDV discussed them – often finding that there is no vast divide between the presumed two sides after all.

  • Katherine
    And the world and Britain’s place in it has changed a lot since 1961.
    Do you think the world owes the people of Britain a living?
    Britain needs to end its class divisions and focus on building a new economy.

  • Katharine, You’ve a good warm heart, lass.

    Now to serious business. Just off to get the early train to see the wee seven week old twins…… and then tomorrow night to cheer on the mighty Terriers when they take on the mighty Arsenal at the Emiratesl. I know how to live !!! Smile awhile !!!!

  • jayne Mansfield 28th Nov '17 - 8:34am

    @ David Raw,
    I agree with you about Katharine. Her heartwarming humanity shines through her posts. The same is true of yourself.

    I am now recovered from illness, no longer bed bound so can cease reading political commentary that has helped to shake me out of my listlessness and lethargy so I will simply wish you well for the future.

    I have no wish to undermine the Liberal Democrat Party, quite the reverse, to do so would mean undermining the efforts of people like Katharine and yourself, Having been the matriarch of a rumbustious, opinionated gaggle of developing humans, my experience is that freedom to argue, express and disagree is healthy.

    Congratulations on becoming a grandfather of twins. How special. When a little person, or little persons enter the world , it clarifies for me what is really important. If I could wish them anything, it would be a better, fairer, world.

  • Manfarang 27th Nov ’17 – 3:54pm…..Expats, I remember the facts when Britain went to the IMF in the 1970s and the high inflation of those days…………………

    Facts????? The recession in the 1970’s (started in 1973 under a Tory government and continued under Labour until 1976) To be generous can we score that at 1 each?

    Look at post war recessions…1956 – Tory, 1961 – Tory, 1973/6 – Tory/Labour, 1980/1 – Tory, 1990/1 – Tory, 2008 – Labour……

    I make it 5-2 to Tory administrations..Still, why worry about facts when so many people KNOW that Labour are not fiscally responsible…

    As for your remarks about poverty…I have worked in many places; Nigeria/Biafra late 1960s was perhaps the worst or was that East Pakistan/Bangladesh early 1970s?

  • Peter Martin 28th Nov '17 - 2:20pm

    @ Mark Valladares,

    Sound financial management is fine. Having rules is fine too. But they have to be the right rules. If Venezuela had chosen its own rules more wisely they perhaps could have come up with a rule about not allowing their economy to become too dependent on the sale of a single commodity. ie oil.

    The EU/EZ has the wrong rules too. They are paranoid about not allowing levels of public debt to rise above 3% of GDP but they have no rules at all about allowable levels of private debt in the economy. So prior to 2008 when the private sector was borrowing like crazy the economies of countries like Spain and Ireland were going gangbusters. The GFC comes along, the borrowing stops, and Govt borrowing soars as tax revenues slump. But instead of contra-cyclical fiscal policies being applied by Govt they have to react pro-cyclically, cut their spending, and the slump only gets worse.

    This is all standard Keynesian economics and I really shouldn’t have to explain all this on a Lib Dem website.

  • Peter Martin 28th Nov '17 - 7:58pm

    @ Katharine,

    “…let us just agree on Mr Micawber’s economics…”

    OK but you have to see beyond the obvious!

    Mr Micawber’s famous, and oft-quoted, recipe for happiness:

    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure £19 19s 6d, result happiness. Annual income £20 0s 6d – result misery.”

    The UK National Debt for much of Dicken’s life time was much higher as a % of GDP than it is now.

    The Government had to be in debt so that Mr Micawber, and others, could have assets.

    http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Screen-Shot-2017-07-02-at-10.50.13-550×361.png

  • Katharine Pindar 28th Nov '17 - 8:28pm

    Enjoyable picture of mountains, Peter, though when I tried to leave them LDV temporarily disappeared!! Seriously though, I was referring to personal not government finances when somewhat frivolously recalling Mr Micawber’s wisdom, and do of course appreciate yours.

    Best wishes to everyone, especially David enjoying staying with his daughter and little twins in London (and not too disconsolate I hope at the Town result, respectable being defeated by one of the leaders).
    Jayne, glad you are better, but do add a little finger to the vital struggle! Am grateful for David’s and your kind words.

  • Expats
    Oh I see you have abolished boom and bust.

  • Peter Martin 29th Nov '17 - 8:18am

    @ Jayne Mansfield,

    Thank you for the quote. “It’s the same as a family earning £26,000 a year ……”

    I’ve been doing my best to counter this type of thinking for a few years now. It’s bad enough here in the UK. However, it’s probably even more prevalent in the EU and the EZ due to Germanic concepts of debt being equated to sin.

    However, debt has to exist in an accounting sense. All monetary assets are someone else’s liability. Someone, which can only be Govt, has to hold the negative numbers so the rest of us can have positive numbers.

    It’s odd that a simple misconception has such a catastrophic effect on all our lives. If we could have had it right, the EU would be a resounding success there wouldn’t have been the shred of an argument for leaving.

  • Manfarang 29th Nov ’17 – 7:06am….Expats, Oh I see you have abolished boom and bust…………

    Well done! Ignore the facts and chant the slogans…What next, “Strong and Stable”?

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