The Bus Oxford tried to ban comes to Edinburgh

It was freezing cold in Edinburgh this morning but that didn’t stop a crowd of people gathering to welcome the Is it Worth it? bus. Remember when Boris traversed the land with a bus with a big fat lie on the side of it during the EU referendum? Well, anti Brexit campaigners have funded a bus tour with the truth, as outlined in the UK Government’s own analysis, emblazoned on the side.

The bus spent an hour parked in the historic Royal Mile. In fact, it was parked right outside the City of Edinburgh Council’s City Chambers.  This is a very different attitude than Oxfordshire’s Conservative Council which has decided to stop the bus parking in the centre of the city on Monday. Apparently they can’t have political messages on the highway.  Does that mean that anyone having political posters in their cars will be banned from parking in the city centre during elections? I suspect not. Layla Moran spoke out against this ban. From the BBC:

Oxford West and Abingdon MP, Layla Moran, said the bus should be allowed and the ban “can only be seen as a politically motivated move”.

She added that both Conservative and Lib Dem buses had visited the county during the election.

The SNP’s  Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry said that she personally saw the arguments in favour of a “second referendum.” However, we should not assume that the party would vote for such a measure in Parliament as there’s a catch. She said that the party would be seeking a guarantee that if Scotland voted to remain in the EU, that the wishes of its citizens would be respected. As a federalist party, some might argue that we should have sympathy with that argument. After all, in the US federal system, Rhode Island has the same sway on issues like this as California. We want to bring the country together, though, not pursue yet more divisions. On the other hand, of course, all the arguments about the Irish border would be duplicated about the Scottish border. It is clearly to the advantage of the whole UK to stop Brexit.

If the SNP insists on this condition, it’s effectively a wrecking one because it is unlikely to get the support of otherwise sympathetic MPs from other parties. We need to get a majority of MPs to vote for a referendum on the deal in the Commons. It would be pretty outrageous if the SNP deprived the whole country of a parachute from this Brexit disaster.

So we now know the price of the SNP’s support. Yesterday, as he arrived in Scotland, Vince outlined all the reasons that they should back the Lib Dem referendum on the deal policy:

The collapse of the pound means Edinburgh airport may be soaring but a huge majority of Scottish firms recognise that Brexit will be bad for business.

At the moment, the Government’s transition period only delays Britain from falling off the cliff edge given the hard Brexit that the Tory right is determined to pursue.

Businesses in Scotland need the SNP to get off the fence and say whether they will back a referendum on whatever terrible deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels.

It is not enough for Nicola Sturgeon to say that a referendum on the final deal is not SNP policy at this time. It is this time and this moment that matters. She needs to be clear now with businesses and the wider public as to whether she will give them the chance of an exit from Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party speaking out on behalf of the majority of Scots who are pro-UK, pro-EU and progressive.

 

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

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5 Comments

  • Andrew McCaig 24th Feb '18 - 7:30pm

    If the Scottish Parliament, which is considerably more democratic than the British one, votes in favour of a new independence referendum, the Lib Dems at Westminster should vote in favour of that democratic decision. Neither the Lib Dems nor the SNP should be associating this issue with Brexit.
    It is quite proper for the Scottish Lib Dems to oppose a further referendum in the Scottish Parliament, of course, but I find it very hard to believe that any Liberal Democrat would be so hypocritical as to oppose a new independence referendum in the circumstances I state. Other Parties might, of course…

  • Good to see the bus out and about, and I wonder how much Oxfordshire CC are regretting their laughable knee jerk reaction.

    @Andrew, not even the SNP are pushing for another independence referendum right now because they know how unpopular it is with the Scottish people. Granted, there are the hard-core nationalists for whom it is their top priority and who live within the nationalist bubble that means they are oblivious to the general mood, so the SNP have to throw them the odd bone, but that’s all it is. Right now, the SNP are simply using the EU deal and/or possible referendum as another form of agitation and to drive a wedge between the different parts of the UK.

    Personally, I think the SNP will be desperate to avoid supporting a referendum on the deal, because it acknowledges that the promises made during a referendum for change may not match the reality and that people have the right to change their mind when that reality becomes known. But they won’t want to admit to that either, and so far are relying on Labour being against another referendum.

  • Hope the bus is stopping in more than just Oxford and Edinburgh, two of the most Remain leaning cities in the UK. Boston, Broadstairs and Bridgend might be good places for it to go

  • Andrew McCaig 25th Feb '18 - 6:06pm

    Fiona,
    My point is that we should just say right now “if the Scottish Parliament votes for another independence referendum then we will support that at Westminster. Then we have a consistent position on referendums (or indeed refererenda), in that Westminster would need to vote for another EU referendum and the SNP would have the hypocritical boot firmly on their foot if they opposed it.

  • Would have been cheaper to get a mini bus, and as this would fit all your MPs on ..

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