The coming General Election

The Times today (Saturday, 24th August) published an article with the headline “Pimlico Plumbers boss Charlie Mullins turns on money tap for Jo Swinson’s Lib Dems.”
Charlie Mullins, a former high-profile Conservative donor has said that “he will help boost an election war chest being built by Jo Swinson.”.
It has been a heady few months for LibDems, following good local and EU election results and waking to the news on 31st May that a yougov poll had put the party top of a Westminster voting intention poll.
Westminster voting intention (Britain elects 30/05/2019)

LDem: 24% (+6)
Brex: 22% (+4)
Con: 19% (-5)
Lab: 19% (-5)
Grn: 8% (+2)
As Caron Lindsay, Editor of LDV, wrote at the time “it shows that a clear and simple message, communicated well, pays dividends.”
The Polls, as they are apt to do, have swung about since May. We have seen Jo Swinson take over the reins from Vince Cable for the LibDems and Boris Johnson usurping the hapless Mrs. May as the leader of the Conservative party.
Jane Dodds, leader of the Welsh LibDems, has been elected as MP for Brecon and Radnorshire. Chuka Umunna and Sarah Wollaston have come on board as LibDem members of parliament. Nick Clegg’s former seat in Sheffield Hallam is also expected to see a by-election called next month.
With Jo scheduled to meet with Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition party leaders next week to thrash out a political strategy for preventing a no-deal Brexit, we can expect a couple of months of feverish activity as Boris Johnson desperately try’s to hold on as Prime Minister.
Local Parties across the country are fast-tracking selection of parliamentary candidates under emergency rules in anticipation of a general election this year.
The EU elections saw the LibDems come out on top in London with the largest number of London’s eight European Parliament seats, taking three compared with two each for Labour and the Brexit Party, with the Greens securing one and the Conservatives and UKIP wiped out completely.
One of the biggest hurdles the party has faced in recent years in London is tactical voting with constituents open to the LibDem message, nevertheless voting Conservative or Labour for fear of letting in one of the two big parties. However, with the Conservatives in retreat across great swathes of London (outside the SW), a straight contest between LibDems and Labour in many seats could see a major revitalisation of LibDem support across the city.
As Jo Swinson told Liberator magazine “there are far more liberals than Liberal Democrats, giving the party a huge opportunity to grow by targeting them.” This is certainly true of London.
Even without a General election this year, London parties are gearing up for the Mayoral and Assembly elections in May 2020.
With a fair wind, London is poised to become a Liberal city with potentially a LibDem Mayor and a large block of the assembly. Building on our strongholds in SW London, formerly held seats are back in play not least Richmond Park held by Sarah Olney until the 2017 general election.

* Joe is a member of Hounslow Liberal Democrats and Chair of ALTER.

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  • Bobby Copper 24th Aug '19 - 5:24pm

    I suspect that Charlie Foulmouth is mainly interested in publicity for his business. And he’s not too keen on paying National Insurance for his employees. Be careful Jo

  • The poll accurately reflects the current position in the country in my opinion. To translate it into votes at a General Election requires resources. There needs to be the creation of a movement. As far as I can see the answer, if there is one, lies in the internet. This has obviously been a major element of votes both the U.K. and the USA. I have no idea at all of how this is to be done. How can the internet be used to build a movement – to provide a means of enabling people to participate in the deciding of their country? How can a movement be built up so that people can communicate with each other?

  • Richard Underhill 24th Aug '19 - 6:42pm

    Bobby Copper
    I would declare an interest if I had any, but there must be cheaper ways of getting publicity. We should welcome the decision to stop supporting the Tories.

  • Christine Headley 24th Aug '19 - 6:47pm

    He had a stand at Conference a year or two ago. Then he seemed to go back to the Tories. (I haven’t been watching him in detail.)

  • Paul Barker 24th Aug '19 - 7:02pm

    With the exception of a single ” Rogue (?)” the Polls have been fairly steady around :
    Tories 31%
    Labour 25%
    LibDems 18%
    That would get us a solid Tory majority & about 30 MPs.
    However, if we can construct a Progressive Alliance that would get about 26%, a bloc of around 100 MPs & most importantly, a Hung Parliament. The Conservatives would be the largest Party but probably unable to form a stable Government.
    We would be in a strong position.
    Its also worth noting that 26% gets us close to the magic figure of 30%, enough to make The Progressive Alliance the Largest “Party”.
    We have come along way in 2 Years, from 6% to 18%, we can go a lot further with a clear message & Allies.

  • Geoffrey Dron 24th Aug '19 - 7:14pm

    I’m all in favour of a Remain Alliance and it’s obvious from the vitriol directed at HA that the Brexiloons who inhabit the DT’s comment threads are fearful of it.

    However, Corbyn, an enemy of the West and a closet Brexiteer has no part in this. Entering into any arrangement with him is effectively being adherent to the [UK]’s enemies giving them aid and comfort…

  • David Harris 24th Aug '19 - 7:46pm

    It is interesting that you quote a Yougov poll on 31/5. Yesterday’s Yougov poll has Con 32%, Lab 22%, Libdems 20%, Brexit 12%. A rather different prospect I fear. How do you account for the sudden demise of the party?

  • @Paul Barker

    What is “progressive”? And which parties are “progressive”?

  • > Charlie Mullins, a former high-profile Conservative donor has said that
    > “he will help boost an election war chest being built by Jo Swinson.”


    From the numbers it look like the Conservatives have swept up a lot of Brexit Party votes, rather than the Lib Dems going backwards. But we still have an uphill battle.

    This morning I got a letter from the Conservatives asking for a donation (why me?). It included the promise of a photo of the shadow cabinet if I paid £50 or more: quite why that is something I would want I am not sure. Dominic Cummings needs to refine his computer code I think.

  • @David Harris
    Looks to me like the Lib Dems are fairly static with the change being because the conservatives are taking votes away from the Brexit Party.

  • Another YouGov poll just out tonight.
    (with changes from the one on 21 Aug).
    CON: 33% (+1)
    LAB: 21% (-1)
    LDEM: 19% (-1)
    BREX: 14% (+2)
    GRN: 7% (=)
    SNP: 3% (=)
    PC: 0.6% (+0.1)
    UKIP: 0% (-1.9)
    Others: 2% (+1.6)
    Applying this to a basic seat-by-seat analysis gives Con 384 (+66), Lab 166 (-96), LD 44 (+32), SNP 34 (-1), PC 3 (-1), Green 1 (=), and NI 18 (=). Con majority: 118.

  • I detest FPTP’s simple plurality based system as much as anyone else and desperately want PR (not fussy as to whether MMP or STV).

    With this in mind and viewing these polls, as someone who has voted Labour and Lib Dem over the years, progressive need to think about strategy. If not , we risk a repeat of the 1980s when the anti-Tory vote was split, only now that would allow the most right-wing cabinet the country has ever seen, to gain an unrepresentative seat majority and then to run amok with our public services; our rights (ECHR) and allowed to push foreign policy objectives into hawkish servitude of Trump’s team. I don’t think anyone could stand that.

    A Johnson majority will likely see Scots who’ve never before campaigned for independence take to the streets in support. As I’m sure Jo Swinson is all too aware. We need some sort of progressive electoral pact therefore and the Lib Dems need to be at the forefront of that.

  • Katharine Pindar 25th Aug '19 - 12:06am

    Welcome back, Joe, you were missed, but I see you have not been missing much of what is going on! At the moment there is a dire prospect of a continuing Tory government, but the hurdle of Brexit still looms as the most pressing problem for the political classes, particularly with the calamity of No Deal not yet firmly prevented. However, it is good to have the Charlie Mullins’ promise as light relief. I heard him speaking at a Fringe event at the Brighton Conference last autumn, so he must be bringing an informed interest to our scene.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Aug '19 - 6:38am

    “This morning I got a letter from the Conservatives asking for a donation (why me?).”

    That sounds like a very good question – if they merely used the electoral register that would be OK but if they used your data from elsewhere without your consent – not OK.

  • Like it or not if we want to stop Brexit we have to do a deal with Labour and stop the Tory march north and they have to reciprocate and get Lib Dem’s into as many seats as possible in the south. That means in Labour seats where we can’t win but the Tories could we should stand down. But Labour have to commit to getting out of the way in an equal number of target seats.

  • @James Pugh “What is “progressive”? And which parties are “progressive”?

    Indeed. “Progressive” is just a short-hand for “Labour-dominated”. The Labour Party bandy the term about to get the credulous to help ensure they remain as one pillar of the duopoly. If progressive means outwards-looking, internationalist, liberal in social and economic terms; Labour are not it.

    We should be channelling our energies into assembling a broad Liberal coalition spanning the centre from centre-left to centre-right. The nationalists and Little Englanders on one side; the socialists, democratic and revolutionary on the other.

    Clearly this will take the fracturing of all the major parties and a degree of realignment, but we can already see clearly how it would work. It’s largely already happened in both major parties, and has mostly happened in ours (with a Corbyn-leaning rump still around).

  • @Christian “But Labour have to commit to getting out of the way in an equal number of target seats.”

    They never do. Anyone pinning their hopes on Labour is on a fool’s errand. Look at how many times they’ve had electoral reform in their manifesto then ditched it as soon as they got into power.

    They see the Lib Dems as enemies and useful idiots who provide them with a pool of credulous support to draw on when they need it. Nothing ever flows the other way.

  • And to anyone talking about Labour being “Progresive”; what is progressive about anti-semitism (Corbyn’s failure), Marxism (John McDonnell – self confessed), public-school Stalinism (Seumas Milne who pulls Corbyn’s strings), Brexit and taking money away from the worst off to give it to the middle classes (ending tuition fees)?

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Aug '19 - 9:11am

    Re your posting 25th Aug ’19 – 8:07am

    I’m not holding my breath. We’d be a lot further forward if Labour hadn’t been so ambivalent in its attitude.

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 9:15am

    Many of you seem surprised I used the words ‘demise of the party’. I appreciate that it is a better position than the Libdems have held for quite a while, but to drop 20% of the predicted vote in the polling (24% to 19%) is quite a demise. I’m not sure also why it is important to consider that the Tories are gaining votes from the Brexit Party- not relevant to the Libdem position which is going backwards rapidly after the ‘new leader boost’.

  • John Marriott 25th Aug '19 - 9:21am

    All this obsession with Opinion Polls amuses me. Surely the only one to take an interest in is the one on Polling Day. (Cue for ‘Michael 1’? Where has he been lately?)

    The donation from Mr Mullins is welcome. Let’s hope he doesn’t fall foul of the Tax man, like the party’s previous mega donor did. When you drill down it really is all about money, isn’t it, and the ability to spend loads of it to get a result? Look what happened in the West Country in 2015. Yes, money does talk. It’s a pity that all mine always seems to say is “Goodbye”!

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 9:22am

    @Andy it appears to have escaped your mind that the Scots have been pressing for Independence for years. Their referendum was a couple of years before the eu referendum. The Tories are called the Conservative and Unionist Party which seems to suggest that they wish to keep the country together (however badly they are trying to do it), where as the Liebour Party are offering the Scots another vote- and the Libdems are suggesting and alliance of some kind with them – priorities need sorting my friend.

  • OnceALibDem 25th Aug '19 - 9:56am

    Anyone drawing big conclusions from current polls – or worse still extrapolating those into seats – is setting themselves up for a huge fall. Things are so volatile that there could be other big changes either way.

    FWIW there hasn’t IMO been a significant change for the Lib Dems since the Euros – in itself a good sign as the switch to BoJo hasn’t affected the party.

    The seats the party can win now are different from those held in 2010 – a look at the euro election vote share shifts from 2009 show that – from flatline in the north to a massive increase in London. It is a different party in terms of membership and voting profile than in 2010.

  • Charles Pragnell 25th Aug '19 - 10:27am

    The issue of opinion polls is two fold! The margin of era is 3% either way. So in a G Election our poll rating could at 2005 levels which was at 22% and netted 62 seats or the lower estimate would be 1997 seat aggrigate of 46 seats on 17%. However if Charlie money is targeted to the 82 target seats then the skill is concentrating the votes to those seats. We also need to peel off soft Labour and Tory votes.
    Getting Charlie on board is an achievement, as he pulled supporting us earlier in the year, and was going to support TIG.
    I would be more interested in regional polling and constituency polling to get a better breakdown of How the Lib Dems are doing.

    Thirdly resources should be put into seats where we topped the poll in May in the Euros. and areas in the local elections where we did well, ie Cotswolds, Vale of the White horse, Mole Valley , Winchester, and Chelmesford.

  • David Harris: The Tories gaining support from the Brexit Party is very relevant to the Lib Dems, since the main role of the Brexit Party at the next GE is likely to be as a spoiler, splitting the right-wing vote, which in some seats could allow us to come through the middle.

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 11:47am

    @Nartin I assure you, that as a retired Maths teacher of over 40yrs I do understand statistical error. I suppose really I was trying to point out that looking at any poll can be inaccurate, and picking out a specific poll because it supports you point of view is complete foolishness, particularly when the poll is 10 weeks old and recent polls show no such thing- not even close. You rightly point out that 24% and 19% could be the ‘same’ statistically, but the error could be the other way and the 19% could be 12% (as in some other polls), but as a general trend the polling for Libdems is downwards and the general polling for the Tories is upward. Make of that what you will.

  • jayne Mansfield 25th Aug '19 - 12:58pm

    The latest YouGov poll in today’s Sunday Times appears to confirm that the Boris Bounce continues.

    When are those who claim to be opposed to a government led by Boris Johnson and his ilk intending to stop fiddling while Rome burns, and at least in the short term, join forces to stop one of the most right wing and destructive governments our country has probably experienced in my lifetime?

    At the moment we just have infantile playground stuff. ” You are not a ‘progressive’ ” “Yes I am”. What’s a progressive then?” ” I’m a progressive, so there”.

  • We lost 360 deposits last time. We are so far behind in so many seats that Labour and Con voters are going to say a Lib Dem vote would be a wasted vote. We start from a base so low the legacy of Cleggie and his coaltion.

  • Jayne
    It’s touch and go.

  • John Littler 25th Aug '19 - 2:18pm

    Johnson is unique in having a minus rating g so early as PM. The trouble is, his is -6% while Corbyn’s is -48%.

    A Lib-Lab pact could be very complementary given that they are each strong in different seats, but the first issue is that it might put off some LibDem voters who were to the centre right and would be hampered by Labour’s exclusivist stance as a national party, unwilling to stand down candidates anywhere.

    Corbyn is continually looking for a General Election but will not be able to repeat his gains during the previous campaign given there is far more vigorous and ruthless bunch in Number 10 this time and that the shine has come off Corbyn.

    Another basic problem is going to be Corbyn’s eternal support for leaving the EU, which seems to be in his DNA, which he swiped off Tony Benn, his mentor.

    The way the brexits are falling back in the polls does, it now seems to make a Johnson majority a likely outcome and the most important election since ’79 or ’45 look like another possible failure for Britain’s split progressives

  • John Littler 25th Aug '19 - 2:30pm

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  • Paul Barker 25th Aug '19 - 2:36pm

    There was a Boris Bounce but that quickly levelled off. The Polls now seem pretty stable :
    Conservatives. 31%
    Labour 25%
    LibDems. 18%
    Brexit. 14%
    A Remainer Alliance could probably get 25%, equal to Labour. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference but it would probably mean a Hung Parliament instead of a Tory majority. Plus 90 LibDems MPs instead of 30.
    The Brexit Party is at the level where they may gain a handful of Seats or none at all.

  • Peter Jones 25th Aug '19 - 2:47pm

    I really am surprised that anyone is proposing to put Corbynski into power just to stop Brexit. Look what happened when the Libdems supported a Tory Gov’t. Next election….. Slaughter! If there is any kind of ‘remainer alliance’ which includes Labour, you have lost my vote. Besides the fact, as we heard above, the Labour Party have offered Scotland a chance of another referendum. Do you really care so little for the United Kingdom?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Aug '19 - 2:50pm


    Your view couched in the narrative of , the most right wing government, is , though you think we should not, fiddle, worth looking at.

    The coalition cut police. It cut benefits. It implemented austere economic cuts across the board. Labour were to do so too.

    The Hammond chancellorship was to the left of Osborne. Javid is going to spend more yet.

    More police. More money for the NHS. A pm who was mayor and not responsible for austere measures at or in national government.

    The criticisms of this government are to be made with vigour. But as with our internal arguments on the site, right or left are not good labels.

  • Alex Macfie 25th Aug '19 - 2:52pm

    David Harris: The Tory upward trend appears to be mostly at the expense of the Brexit Party. Average Lib Dem support peaked at about 20% around 1 July, before falling back a little and stabilising at between 18% and 19%. Based on Wikipedia’s graph of opinion poll trends. Both the 24% and the 13% seem to be outliers. The small fall in Lib Dem support since 01 July is insignificant in comparison with the 10-percentile rise in Conservative support since 01 July (which was also the low point of Tory support). The rise in Tory support is almost exactly mirrored by a 10-percentile fall in Brexit Party support. Of course, things are always more complex than that, but I don’t think those two trends are a coincidence.

  • @Jayne Mansfield “When are those who claim to be opposed to a government led by Boris Johnson and his ilk intending to stop fiddling while Rome burns, and at least in the short term, join forces”

    For the simple reason that politicians are not generals ordering troops to loyally put their cross against whomever they are told to.

    Psephology is far more complex than that. For every person who is attracted by being told to vote in a particular way against their preference, there are several others who will not vote or vote in the opposite direction as a result.

    Anyone who argues for a “progressive alliance” (IE telling lib dem voters to vote Labour) is at best naive, and at worst doesn’t have our best interests in mind.

    @OnceALibDem ” It is a different party in terms of membership and voting profile than in 2010.”

    Absolutely, and not one that views Labour with favour, which is why talk of alliances with Corbyn have rightly been rejected by the leadership.

  • Alex Macfie 25th Aug '19 - 2:53pm

    PS My analysis is based on the Wikipedia article on UK opinion polling (as of now) and the graph therein

  • lloyd harris 25th Aug '19 - 2:59pm
  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 3:04pm

    @Paul Barker I admire your optimism, but where are these extra votes going to come from?

  • jayn mansfield 25th Aug '19 - 3:13pm

    @ Ian Martin,
    I believe that it would be less so if there was a concerted, united front in opposing Johnson’s bluster. I think that most of us to the left of Rees Mogg et al. would be opposed to a No Deal Brexit. On that we can surely agree and work towards ensuring that it does not happen?

    We would need A deal before we can even contemplate the referendum that so many still believe will lead to a convincing majority vote to remain in the EU. May I point point that many of the Tory rebels that we are told will not support a temporary Corbyn government were and still would be happy with Theresa May’s deal. Would they support the Liberal Democrat’s current declared position either? In my opinion, and forgive the violent phraseology, heads need knocking together.

    @ Paul Barker,

    The latest Yougov poll, if one follows such things, shows that Johnson has, with his brand of politics, the Conservative lead.

    The problem with snake oil salesmen is that they are convincing, which is why so many buy it. By the time they realise that it is an ineffective remedy or worse, the damage has been done.

  • jayne Mansfield 25th Aug '19 - 3:16pm

    @ Paul Barker,
    These darned eyes and bright keyboards.

    The Conservatives have increased their lead.

  • OnceALIbDem 25th Aug '19 - 3:39pm

    “Would they support the Liberal Democrat’s current declared position either?”

    Which is? Following Jo’s twitter we have recently had:
    No Brexit will be good for the country – no deal worst of all
    Focus on plans to stop no-deal
    Stop Boris’s no-deal Brexit
    Corbyn wants to deliver a Labour Brexit – we can’t support that
    Oppose BoJo’s plans to end freedom of movement
    Best way to stop no deal is extend Art 50 and people’s vote
    Support for law to extend Art 50

    Jo has (at least initially) opposed Corbyn who had a plan to win a vote of NoCon, delay Brexit, call a snap election and campaign for another referendum (not all that different from the 6th option above) but supports Ken Clarke who wants to negotiate a ‘better’ Brexit deal (so inconsistent with option 1 above)

    FWIW I think the immediate focus should be on stopping a no deal Brexit on Oct 31st (and down play the 2nd ref and revoke options – it’s questionable if there would be the votes for the first of those – almost certainly not for the 2nd). Stopping a no-deal exit on 31st would really change the dynamic the BoJo has with the Brexiteers – and probably end his premiership so we would then be a a very different environment.

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 3:39pm

    Why are people talking about an alliance including Labour? Last time the Libdems joined with another party it ended in disaster. Labour are for Labour. They also want to give the Scots chance of another referendum. If there is any sort of alliance with Labour, my vote will never come back here.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Aug '19 - 3:43pm

    @Jayne Mansfield (or is it Jayn?

    “@ Ian Martin,
    I believe that it would be less so if there was a concerted, united front in opposing Johnson’s bluster. ”
    Yes it would

    “I think that most of us to the left of Rees Mogg et al. would be opposed to a No Deal Brexit. ”
    I do wish you would stop talking in terms of left and right. Anyone with any common sense would be opposed to no deal.

    “On that we can surely agree and work towards ensuring that it does not happen? ”
    Perhaps it is up to you to demonstrate Labour’s commitment to working towards no deal – as opposed to getting the marxists into power.

  • Peter Hirst 25th Aug '19 - 3:48pm

    I’m surprised we can be having these conversations without including the need for electoral reform with a proportional and preferential voting system. Otherwise even if London becomes Liberal, we will always be up against the argument that the seats are not reflecting the votes with many votes wasted, just as The Conservatives are at the moment. We need a fair voting system so the electorate can feel whoever wins elections represents the electorate who are not voting tactically.

  • William Fowler 25th Aug '19 - 4:44pm

    “The criticisms of this government are to be made with vigour. But as with our internal arguments on the site, right or left are not good labels.”

    Boris is not naturally extreme right but all these spending pledges are taking out Labour’s attack points as a prelude to a GE BUT the Tory view is that for any kind of “proper” Brexit to work it will need a radical shift downwards in the size of State and sweeping tax simplification and cuts. Osborne warned the voters of this with threats of an emergency budget but May/Hammond decided on a much gentler exit which predictably dead-ended.

    Brexit plus lower taxes might just appease 60 percent of the populace, even those who might prefer to remain but would like lots of extra spending money more. Boris will proclaim that a revitalized economy, motoring on all cylinders, will mean there is still plenty of money for the NHS, police etc once all the flab has been simultaneously cut away. He is also quite good at destroying Labour’s socialist doctrines and mantras.

    The LibDems then have to show how remaining in the EU is going to transform the country in a better way and how they are going to give some ground to the Brexiteers on the flow of unskilled workers from the EU.

  • Alex Macfie 25th Aug '19 - 4:48pm

    lloyd harris: The headline is from yesterday’s Times, link below (£)
    Mr Mullins did indeed switch support to the Lib Dems last year, but then earlier this year went over to Change UK (as it was known then) before flirting with Boris Johnson. He’s just now come back to us.

    jayne Mansfield: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives may have a lead, but their poll ratings, at around 30–33%, are well below the 40%+ that they were polling earlier this year. And the so-called ‘Boris Bounce’ seems to be based almost entirely on regaining support lost earlier to the Brexit Party.

  • @ John Harris “They also want to give the Scots chance of another referendum.”

    Do you mean like we want to do on the EU, John ? That’s really very naughty and undemocratic of the Labour Party. They ought to be made to stand on the naughty step.

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Aug '19 - 5:32pm


    I am sorry that you don’t like the terms left and right, but there is a common understanding of what they mean ( and please don’t give me a lecture on the origins of the classifications).

    “Anyone with any common sense would be opposed to no deal”

    Then self-evidently, there are a lot of people who have no common sense. More worrying are those who are sleepwalking towards no- deal by failing to form a united front against Johnson and his gang.

    It is as matter of record that the Liberal Democrats are not simply anti- no deal. Perhaps you could persuade the so called moderates in the Liberal Democrats to accept the possibility of compromise. The problem with those who take an extremist position on any subject Nonconformistradical, is that they have always, in my experience believed that they are moderates.

    We have a deeply divided nation. There are those on here who ask, what about the remainers? Compromise means that one also needs to also consider the question, what about the leavers? What sort of nation will we have if half the nation believes that no consideration has been given to their views? Do you really think that they can be ignored , and in the increasingly unlikely event that we remain in the EU, society will return to those halcyon days when people like myself never gave a thought to the EU, it just wasn’t an issue, or for some, it was just another reason for a grumble?

    There has been a failure to persuade, a failure of politics. And I am afraid that your party must also take some responsibility for that.

  • nvelope2003 25th Aug '19 - 5:44pm

    Apart from LDV everybody seems to be impressed by Boris Johnson’s energy and enthusiasm, even surprisingly the local Methodist preacher. The idea of a pact with Labour is totally unlikely and would destroy the Liberal Democrats in the same way the 2010 Coalition with the Conservatives did. It is nice to dream but someone has to live in the real world. Johnson has caught the public imagination but not quite as much as his party hoped. People of all persuasions just want to get this nightmare over. Respecting the result of the referendum is the only way to do it. If it turns out to be a disaster then those who said so will benefit and those who did not will not.

  • Paul Barker 25th Aug '19 - 5:54pm

    There was never any prospect that either Labour or The Tories would stand down in favour of another Party, to do so would be suicide.
    For the past Month We have been steady around 18% which would get us 30 MPs. Add in The Greens 5% & 1% each for Plaid & The Independent groups & a Progressive Alliance could get 25% & 100 MPs, the vast majority of which would be ours of course.
    There are a lot more Tory & Labour Voters open to persuasion.

  • @Pail Barker have you read none of my comments?

    There is no such thing as a progressive alliance.

  • Geoffrey Dron 25th Aug '19 - 6:25pm

    @Paul Barker

    This former Tory will be voting LibDem from an economic Liberal (Orange Book) stance.

    This afternoon, I’ve got a Can do feeling

    Will decide whether to join when see manifesto but will try to persuade my daughter in Somerset to help get Fysh out in Yeovil.

  • Nonconformistradical 25th Aug '19 - 6:33pm

    @Jayne Mansfield
    “Perhaps you could persuade the so called moderates in the Liberal Democrats to accept the possibility of compromise.”

    So how does one compromise with a self-confessed marxist with a track record for being in favour of brexit?

  • Andrew McCaig 25th Aug '19 - 6:35pm

    William Fowler,
    In you comment you refer to May, Hammond and Osborne and then “Boris”. Is he a personal friend of yours or is it some celebrity cult thing?

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 6:58pm

    @ Paul Barker I’m afraid ‘5% Green and 1% Plaid’ doesn’t necessarily add MP bums on seats…. and actually 18% doesn’t guarantee any seats either, though probably will! As I said I admire your misdirected optimism. Also have you considered that if Labour change their leader the Libdems would probably lose more votes? Any agreement with Labour would be disastrous for the Libdems.

    @David Raw Yes like the Libdems are trying to get. Though the Libdems want to support the Union and you can’t have both- work with Labour +support the Union. As I said before ‘priorities need sorting’. Interestingly in Christchurch, Dorset- there was a referendum which the Libdems supported and didn’t like it when the gov’t ignored it. If the Libdems wish to win anything they need to sort the priorities consistently.

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 7:01pm

    @Paul Barker I also ommitted to say that there will be no Independent group- they will disappear from the face of the Earth. Do keep up to date and be realistic.

  • John Littler 25th Aug '19 - 7:21pm

    In the run up to the 1997 election Ashdown made an informal pact with Blair/Brown, which worked at increasing both party’s MP’s and helped reduce the Tories to 100 odd.

    Both parties stood everywhere, but resources were targeted away from non-winnable seats to winnable ones for both parties and there are and were, very few Labour -LibDem marginals, so the Tories had the leading party locally focussed against them.

    It is almost inconceivable for LibDems to come from third or worse position to win a seat,. except in very rare 3 way marginals perhaps. So long as Labour firmed up a more clear anti brexit message; if it happens; then I can see no good reason for quietly enacting this policy. This is a policy that is hard to prove by opponents, as candidates still stand and the odd leaflet still goes out.

    The way things are moving, how else is Johnson going to be beaten with the polls going his way and limitless cash from disaster capitalists and authoritarians worldwide, to be spent via social media.

  • @ David Harris And do you favour a second independence referendum in Scotland or not, David ? Whichever, please say why ?

  • David Harris 25th Aug '19 - 7:50pm

    @David Raw I have voted Libdems for many years, when they supported a referendum in Europe- remember that? I can provide a poster if you would like to see it- though not sure how I would display it. I have been absolutely disgusted by their reaction to the result of the referendum. They were not prepared to consider any way through it which involved actually ‘leaving the eu’. The people were asked and the people responded. and the Libdems ignored it despite some of their supporters wishing the opposite. I mentioned Christchurch, Dorset. In that case, because the Libdems liked the result they called it unfair that the gov’t made the opposing decision. Either you support the results, whatever they are or you cannot call yourself democratic. I think that in a few years Scotland could have another vote, but not sure they could actually afford to take their share of the national debt when they leave. I think that having to wait 41yrs for our second refendum was probably too long and wouldn’t object to another ref in say 20yrs. I personally am a democrat and prepared to abide by the result of the majority, allow it to happen and then discuss the way forward. I do not accept the ofrecast of doom mongers. Remainers have prepared a deal which was so bad that Leavers voted against it and now the only way to leave is via WTO rules and I now support that fully. The Libdems, for whom I would like to vote, have lost my vote and until they return to being democratic will not get it back.

  • OnceALibDem 25th Aug '19 - 7:55pm

    “Apart from LDV everybody seems to be impressed by Boris Johnson’s energy and enthusiasm,”

    As we are meant to be polite and respectful I shall confine myself to observing that this is a claim which lacks a robust evidence base!

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Aug '19 - 8:14pm

    @Alex Macfie,

    I agree, the Johnson Bounce does appear to be at the expense of the Brexit Party following his election as Prime Minister. To attract even more of those voters he needs to keep a right wing trajectory. The idea that the UK would not need to pay the legally agreed amount to the EU if there were to be a no-deal Brexit, is another sweetener to Brexit Party supporters and no-deal brexiteers.

    I have no illusions about Johnson. I believe that he will do whatever it takes to maintain the power he so obviously craves. and as with Trump, no one can second guess what he might do next to do so.

    The sort of Tories who are my friends, no longer recognise the party that he leads, and they have already temporarily lent their votes to opposition parties. Unfortunately, the two parties who have seen a rise in voting intentions according to the latest poll, since the last YouGov poll , are Johnson’s Conservatives and the Brexit Party.

    If I have been able to take any lesson from what I know of the current Labour Party, it is that a divided opposition is not an effective opposition. I believe that will be the case for any cross party opposition that does not have a clear and well defined aim that they can all agree on. There is no disagreement amongst Tory rebels, the Corbyn government and the other opposition parties that a no deal Brexit must be stopped because it would be catastrophic. It is on that well defined, if narrow aim that I believe one should concentrate and give maximum effort. and cross party support.

  • Geoffrey Dron 25th Aug '19 - 8:59pm

    Worth reading, as most contributions by Chris Patten are

    BoJo may get his no-deal brexit through, but he’ll always be unfit for public office.

  • Alex Macfie 25th Aug '19 - 9:03pm

    David Harris: We are democratic. But democracy means continuous challenge. It does not mean slavish obedience to majority opinion or the “winning” position at any particular time. If it did, then all opposition to the government of the day would have to be considered “undemocratic”. If you are “disgusted” by the Lib Dem reaction to the referendum result, then you should be disgusted every time any Opposition politician speaks out or campaigns against government policy.

  • Alex Macfie 25th Aug '19 - 9:06pm

    Jayne Mansfield: No, the Conservative Party support has risen, and the Brexit Party support has fallen by practically the same amount. so your assertion that “the two parties who have seen a rise in voting intentions according to the latest poll, since the last YouGov poll, are Johnson’s Conservatives and the Brexit Party” is simply wrong.

  • I expect Depeffle hope’s the following scenario works out.
    1. Parliament blocks him
    2. He appeals to the people and gains a majority
    3. He throws the DUP under the bus with a few of the ERG
    4. Claims he has engineered a much better deal with the EU
    5. Hope’s by the next general election everyone has forgotten.
    Might work, but I doubt he’s factored in the next global recession, not a long term planner is Depeffle.

  • There is a desire to get things finished with, let us return to nice times they squeal and many will sign up to that. A false hope as Ivan Roger’s said after Brexit it gets much worse. Our brave Brexi’s and and Lexi’s don’t want to believe that, they want to return to a time when they where respected and loved, that hope is palpable when you look at their whitterrings. Alas my poor Brexi’s and Lexi’s that isn’t going to happen, feck up this badly and no one forgets.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Aug '19 - 6:43am

    @Jayne Mansfield
    “If I have been able to take any lesson from what I know of the current Labour Party, it is that a divided opposition is not an effective opposition. I believe that will be the case for any cross party opposition that does not have a clear and well defined aim that they can all agree on.”
    Well please don’t expect a ‘clear and well-defined aim’ from Corbyn and those running him!

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '19 - 7:28am

    @ nonconformistradical,

    But there is one issue where Mr Corbyn has been consistent, and in agreement with Labour opponents, that is that no deal should be taken off the table.

    There is also now agreement by Corbyn, that there should be a further referendum and that ‘remain’ should be one of the options. That is the point of negotiation, nonconformist radical, that one is open to movement on one’s position.

    In the meantime whilst the opposition parties publicly squabble, rather than sit round a table and discuss their initial differences behind closed doors, Johnson and Co are lining up the scapegoats for if and when we leave without a deal, the EU leaders, the ‘remainers’, it might even be the weather conditions, anybody and anything but Johnson and his gang. And do you know what, I believe ‘Billy Bluster’ the snake oil salesman will have a ready audience for this diversion of blame.

  • John Marriott 26th Aug '19 - 7:40am

    64 posts (one of mine included) and I am none the wiser. That ‘Johnson bounce’ could stick around the low thirties. Much depends on whether he gets any more joy out of the EU and what happens when Parliament returns.

    Sounding like Barry Gardiner, let me make it very clear, our country is hopelessly divided over Brexit. There is really no clear majority for anything, depending how you divvy out the ‘don’t knows’ and abstainers. As Tony Blair wrote yesterday, we are not giving away all our sovereignty and, knowing the Brits, we never would. After watching Ben Stokes’ magnificent innings yesterday (not bad for a Kiwi; but OUR Kiwi), gives me hope that we might not only come out of what is turning out to be an epic battle for the Ashes, but, in a wider context, an epic battle for the soul of Britain, with victory, in the first instance through sheer grit – and a bit of good fortune – and in the second through an application of common sense.

    So, don’t rule anything out, a GNU, a Deal, another referendum or a general election and, in the end, a compromise on the lines of Norway. Yes, I’m still peddling that line, fool that I am!

  • siv white: what happens is that the parties in clear second place leaflet their constituency with a bar chart showing how far behind we are, like we do where we are a reasonable close second. Believe me the voters know, I have fought enough elections both in good and bad times over 50 years as a worker, agent, candidate and councillor to know that.

  • @Jayne Mansfield if we are to take any lessons from your contribution to this thread, it is that your primary aim is to put Corbyn into number ten. Nothing else explains your position here and on other threads.

  • Labour have to do a deal with the SNP because they know they have lost Scotland but will need Scottish (and Welsh) MPs to form a Government except when the Conservatives lose by a landslide. The Conservatives were quite happy to let Southern Ireland go in 1922 because they could not be sure Sinn Fein would maintain its abstentionist stance indefinitely- the wily Lloyd George sent in the Black and Tans to keep Ireland in the Union as the Liberals needed allies like Labour does now. The Conservatives will be quite happy to see Scotland go too so the British Isles will be divided into 4 little states for party political gain.

  • It seems to me that in our party there is too much studying and debating the runes and entrails of polls and treachery and history old and new. Wouldn’t the time and effort be better spent on agreeing on some good and radical policies and energetically debating how those can be communicated to the sizeable chunk of uncommitted may-be voters — and especially the Young ? That was then; tomorrow is now.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Aug '19 - 11:03am

    @Martin 26th Aug ’19 – 10:26am

    Re Corbyn

    “there is a twofold problem of trust: it is not simply distrust of his motivation, it is also, and more, a distrust of his capability”

    Agree with that

  • I am not sure compromise will help the Liberal Democrats but a disastrous Brexit might.
    Labour succeeded after the disaster of the First World War by rejecting alliances and compromises and won its landslide majority in 1945 after the Second World War. Political change comes after the old parties have messed up. Maybe it will be the Greens who benefit and not the Liberal Democrats because people want clarity not compromise.

  • @ nvelope2003 “the wily Lloyd George sent in the Black and Tans to keep Ireland in the Union as the Liberals needed allies like Labour does now”.

    There was nothing wily about it. It was brutal, horrific and anything but liberal. It was yet another long term nail in the Liberal coffin.

  • @David Raw “There was nothing wily about it. It was brutal, horrific and anything but liberal. It was yet another long term nail in the Liberal coffin.”

    Are you arguing that the actual outcome of deploying the RIC Auxiliaries was the intended one?

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 12:50pm

    @Alex Mcfie We obviously see democracy differently. The people were asked and the people spoke- the Libdems have done all they could to overturn that choice which P’ment said they would honour. My idea of having a ref is that you obey the result and move on from there- that’s democracy. The Libdems in Christchurch like the result so were prepared to accept it- the gov’t decided the route out of the problem. I didn’t agree with how that was solved, but then I moved on. So should you.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Aug '19 - 1:01pm

    David Harris: No, Government (not Parliament) said it would “honour” the referendum result. A government promise is a political promise, and political promises are binding on no-one, certainly not on those who are not part on the government that made the promise. The legislation that put the referendum into force specifically said the referendum was “advisory”. And Parliament cannot bind itself in any case.
    And you have absolutely no business telling me, as a private individual, to “move on” and to “obey” an instruction. Democracy means that private individuals have every right to challenge democratically adopted policy at any time. The idea that votes are binding on individuals to “respect” or “obey” them is the exact opposite of democracy. Indeed “obey” is the language of dictators, and explains why dictators are so fond of referendums: a dictator can call one, ensure it goes his way, then shut down all opposition to the policy because “the people have spoken”.

  • Joseph Bourke 26th Aug '19 - 1:11pm


    the broadcast journalist Peter Taylor recently aired his reflections on 50 years of reporting on Northern Ireland in a documentary – “My journey through the troubles” He begins with the events in Derry/LondonDerry on Bloody Sunday in 1972 and concludes with the warning that the although the fighting has come to an end the dormant issue of the partition of Ireland since 1922 remains, and passions have been reignited by the Brexit imbroglio. The Irish border is a critical issue in the Brexit conundrum and one that Boris Johnson appears unable to address.

  • nvelope2003 26th Aug '19 - 1:18pm

    David Raw: Yes it was a wicked thing to do, even George V complained, and it will have to be paid for even until the third and fourth generation but that is what happens when politicians are desperate. LG was wily but not everything he did was honourable, good or beneficial to humanity. Winning WWI was a very brutal task – was it really worth it ?

    I hear someone has been caught out with some pork pies – and about free TV licences. Will his luck last long enough to call let alone win a General election ?

  • Joseph Bourke 26th Aug '19 - 1:19pm

    The link to Charlie Mullins blog posted by Lloyd Harris is worth a look. It explains, in simple language, why Mullins and ever larger numbers across London are turning to the Liberal Democrats:

    “I joined Vince and the Lib-Dems last year, and last week millions joined me!!”

    “Four years ago the Liberal Democrats paid the price for making Tory-friendly compromises, during what we now must surely view as the ‘good old days’ of coalition government, led by David Cameron, with Nick Clegg as deputy PM.”

    “Seems to me that not only were the Lib-Dems treated harshly for their collaboration with the enemy, but it now looks like they probably prevented the loons, who are now running the asylum, from wrecking the place, as they are now, between 2010-2015.”

    “What’s my evidence? Pretty strong I’d say. The moment the rabid right-wing loons got control of the country they set about ruining the place for the sake of their childish and stupid 40 year old xenophobic war. And here we are, four years in, hating our neighbours, and living in political and social limbo.”

    “Oh and the economy is shit and going down the toilet; the rest of the world are pissing themselves at our misfortune, especially the Russians and the Chinese and the . . . actually they all are!!!”

    “So it was with great pleasure that I saw the Lib-Dems pull a 2000 seat reverse against the Tories at last week’s local elections. I like Vince, he’s a wonderful fellow. He has the human touch, but spend 5 minutes with him and you can tell why he was so successful in business.”

    “In fact with both Labour and the Conservatives doing their best, in their own ever so special ways, to drag themselves and the country into the mire, I am so happy that I have come to know first hand what a good and honest party Vince has led, Moses like, out of Egypt and back to the promised land.”

    “Last year I was fortunate enough to attend the LIB-Dems’ conference in Brighton, and I have to say I was made extremely welcome. I met a lot of Vince’s top team, both in the Commons and the Lords, and I am quietly confident that government benches will have Lib-Dem bums on them again, and soon. “

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 2:09pm

    @Alex Mcfie I look forward to the next general election when all the losing candidates refuse to accept the result and try to overtrun it before the winner takes his seat. Cameron promised to enact the result of the referendum and Parliament enacted art 50. If you have children try asking them ‘which would you rather take to bed, an ice cream or a teddy’. When they choose an ice cream, try telling them no and watch the reaction. As I said your idea of demoracy and mine don’t agree- I’ll ask you nicely if you don’t like being told- accept and move on please.

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Aug '19 - 2:28pm

    @ Martin,
    We are in the position that we are in because Cameron badly misjudged the public mood.

    If you still don’t believe that it was the status quo and a push back against it that led to the referendum result, I find that very worrying.

    @ TCO,
    Actually Keir Starmer would be my preference.

  • David Harris
    ” Cameron promised to enact the result of the referendum”
    In fact he resigned soon after.

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 2:44pm

    @Ian Martin Yes he did, after promising he wouldn’t. That comment was in response to Alex who said that nobody had promised to enact the result of the ref.

  • Nonconformistradical 26th Aug '19 - 2:52pm

    @David Harris 26th Aug ’19 – 2:09pm

    “@Alex Mcfie I look forward to the next general election when all the losing candidates refuse to accept the result and try to overtrun it before the winner takes his seat.”

    David – no more than 5 years later we would have the opportunity to overturn the result of an election. Unless of course some people who have little time for elections have managed to gain power under our useless FPTP system…

  • Alex Macfie 26th Aug '19 - 3:15pm

    @David Harris: But election results are legally and constitutionally binding. New MPs taking their seats after an election is simply the automatic, natural result of the election. The previous MPs do not need to ratify it, and are not in a position to do so anyway, as their seats are vacated for the election campaign. There is simply no way in fact or law that anyone can “overturn” the result of an election “before the winner takes his seat”. They may wish to challenge the result in court, but that takes a lot longer than the time for new MPs to be sworn in. And in particular, it is not equivalent to campaigning against or dissenting from present government policy based on an advisory referendum. this is no different from dissenting from any other government policy. Dissent is an integral part of democracy.

    I did not say that “nobody had promised to enact the result of the ref.” I said that any such promise has no legal significance at all. David Cameron is no longer Prime Minister, or even an MP. His government is no longer in office. The idea that anyone should be bound by a political pledge made by a previous Prime Minister, by a previous Parliament, is terrifying and completely at odds with principles of Parliamentary sovereignty and representative democracy. That Parliament enacted Article 50 is irrelevant, even if it hadn’t been a previous Parliament. That did not bind Parliament to follow through with the Article 50 process.
    And your “ice cream or teddy” question makes no sense. If anything what’s happening now over Brexit is equivalent to the government (as the “parent”) slavishly complying with the child’s wish for an ice-cream, even after the ice-cream has been brought into the bedroom, melting and dripping onto the carpet, and forcing it on the child, even as the child as seen the error of the choice and is now saying “actually I think I prefer a teddy.”
    But if you are seriously likening voters to small children, then I’m really rather disturbed by your view of democracy.

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 3:15pm

    @Nonconformistradical I don’t have a problem with that at all- what I have a problem with is offering people a choice and then refusing to let it go ahead because your particular point wasn’t agreed to. We should accept the referendum, making the best of it, not rejecting it before it happens and then fight for the best way forward. If that happens to be another referendum or whatever. Democracy is not refusing to carry out a promise before it is enacted after asking the people for their opinion. That is asking for trouble.

  • nvelope2003 26th Aug '19 - 5:20pm

    David Harris: How did the Liberal Democrats stop Brexit ? The Government have a majority in the House of Commons with the support of the DUP, despite that party’s opposition to the clearly expressed wish of the voters of Northern Ireland to remain in the EU. It is not undemocratic to say you do not agree with the result of a referendum and think it was misguided. It would be wrong if the Government which set up the referendum refused to implement it but they have tried to do so. The deal they negotiated with the EU was not accepted by the House of Commons by a large majority. There was nothing in the Cameron Government’s document which said we would leave without a deal which is presumably what the ERG and other such bodies, and possibly you, want.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Aug '19 - 5:28pm

    David Harris: Between elections oppositions campaign against government policy, and if the government is vulnerable will try to bring it down. On a local level, parties of losing candidates continue to campaign at constituency level against the sitting MP, with the aim of unseating them next time. No-one ever suggests this is “not accepting the election result”.
    I mentioned earlier that election results can be overturned in court. However, the 2016 referendum cannot be. Earlier this year, an attempt to overturn the referendum result due to malpractice by Leave campaigners failed because (as the government itself argued) the referendum was merely advisory. This meant there was literally nothing to overturn. The court certainly could not compel the government to change its Brexit policy, as the government was never obliged to do Brexit in the first place. So we have a situation where the political establishment has chosen to treat an advisory referendum as binding, but without any of the usual safeguards that accompany binding votes. This is a very dangerous state of affairs, and certainly not what I call democracy.
    I “accept” the referendum result, but only for what it was — an advisory referendum, as specified in the legislation that put it into place. I certainly do not accept that it obliges me, as a private citizen, to abide by government promises to “implement” the result, or to self-censor my own view or campaigning against the resulting government policy. I don’t care how nicely you ask me. Neither you, nor anyone else, have any business telling me what I may or may not campaign on as a private citizen, referendum or no referendum.

  • nvelope2003 26th Aug '19 - 5:35pm

    Joseph Bourke: The retention of Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom is part of Conservative philosophy but as soon as the Nationalist parties obtain a majority NI will be dropped like a hot potato as it will no longer be of use to them . FPTP can only maintain 10 DUP MPs at Westminster for a while, although the Conservatives just might alter the voting system. I heard the DUP Brexit spokesman say that if NI voted to unite with the South that would not mean that they would. Maybe the Liberal Democrats should have shown similar resolution and not kept looking for hung Parliaments where they would be slaughtered.

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 5:46pm

    @nvelope2003 There was nothing in any document which spoke of deals- simply leave or remain- simple vote, simple choice. Therefore the Tories are within their mandate to leave without a deal. It was the remain side who regularly pointed out that leaving the eu meant leaving the single market, stopping free movement, leaving the customs union etc. If you take these things away and allow remainers to negotiate a deal the only way out is WTO rules. I did not say the Libdems have stopped Brexit- I In my opinion there is a difference between policy and votes/elections/ref. In our democracy we do not question the results (except perhaps counting discrepancies ) of votes/elections/ref. We accept these and tackle the results. We have never (to my knowledge) tried to overturn the result of any vote because we didn’t like the result. Our method is to accept the result and then start the battle from where we find ourselves. Did I want a deal- yes. Now there is no deal left to have because the TM deal was negotiated by people who didn’t want to leave. Do I accept a no deal- completely.

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 5:54pm

    @nvelope2003 In art 50/3 eu law says we leave with or without a deal and eu law is above UK laws- another problem I have!:-
    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force ofthe withdrawal agreement or, failing that,two years after the notification referred to inparagraph 2,

  • Alex Macfie 26th Aug '19 - 6:47pm

    David Harris: In our democracy what happens as a result of a vote is defined by law So after an election, it is the law that the winners take their seats. There is SIMPLY NO OPTION of “not accepting” an election result, because the result is just a fact, and the ‘implementation’ (if you can call it that) is something that happens automatically, by a defined procedure, that doesn’t involve anyone having to “accept” it.
    Our constitutional law has very little experience of referendums. But usually referendums are advisory, not binding. The Brexit referendum was one such. So as a matter of law, NOTHING needed to happen after the Brexit referendum. So accepting the result just means accepting the fact of how many votes were cast either way. It does not imply any obligation to do anything at all about it, because that’s what the law says. As far as I know, the only binding referendum we’ve had in this country was the AV referendum of 2011, which if Yes had won, would have automatically triggered the appropriate changes in electoral law by way of a Statutory Instrument.

  • David Harris 26th Aug '19 - 7:27pm

    @Alex Macfie As I said your idea of democracy and mine disagree. You seem to want a greater say in gov’t by PR voting, but you are happy to give way to non-elected leaders whom we neither vote for, nor can we change, but possess far greater power than our own Parliament. You seem happy to give away our fishin resources and pay for being allowed to do it. Neither do you see the moral rather than political (possibly) for accepting and acting upon the ref result. The people are sovereign and not P’ment and the people said leave. P’ment voted to leave with or without a deal when they triggered art 50 See art 50(3) and I hope we do leave on 31st Oct to keep delaying our leaving is achieving nothing except frustration. It would be really funny if Corbyn called a vote of confidence and couldn’t form a gov’t- election after Brexit would ensue. I hope Boris has the courage to prorogue P’ment if necessary- anything to get Brexit over the line just as the people voted for, and P’ment agreed when it triggered art 50. Have a nice day…

  • Geoffrey Dron 26th Aug '19 - 9:19pm

    Look at the most recent postings on Political Betting re Opinium polling and local by-election results.

    The Tories appear to have stemmed the slide towards the Brexit Party, but LibDems are taking votes from Labour Remain heavily.

  • Geoffrey Dron 27th Aug '19 - 3:18am


    Jezza will be consolable even if Labour loses ground in a GE. Deselections will have strengthened the Momentum-McLuskey grouping in the party and Brexit chaos, if it happens, may force a GE in 2020/1.

  • Alex Macfie 27th Aug '19 - 8:01am

    David Harris: Bit rich talking of “unelected leaders” when Johnson is one of those.
    Any “moral” case for acting on the referendum result is severely weakened by the extremely dishonest nature of the winning Leave campaign, such that the referendum result would probably have been voided had it been binding. This “by any means necessary” approach is also very sinister, you really think Johnson should be allowed to rule by decree just to get a stale mandate (as someone else pointed out in another thread, every mandate has its sell-by date, and this one is stinking rotten) implemented? Sounds dictatorial to me, not at all democratic. And the “end justifies the means” approach taken by the present administration and its supporters to seeing Brexit implemented seems to be at odds with their rigidly deontological line that (paraphrasing) “we’ve had the referendum, now the result has to be implemented regardless of consequences”.

  • Dilettante Eye 27th Aug '19 - 10:21am

    “This “by any means necessary” approach is also very sinister”

    And of course this hot-headed Lib Dem remainer stance of let’s just ignore democracy completely, and go straight to revoking Article 50, is very rational and not the least bit dangerous or sinister?

    Maybe it’s the hot weather getting people so worked up into a frenzy, but cooler heads would warn you that petulantly ‘throwing democracy under a bus’ just because you don’t like the answer it gave you, is a very dangerous route to take.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • David Harris 27th Aug '19 - 11:02am

    @lex Macfie You are hiding behind words saying Johnson is unelected. Peers are unelected and really have no power. ALL politician have undergone an election. Johnson, after his election was appointed head of his party. Name ANY of the present and newly appointed eu leaders that have undergone an election and been appointed through that position. Name anyone apart from the appointees who voted for the female president! We have no power to remove or appoint her. In my opinion that is (almost) a dictatorship. The only ones elected in the EU are the MEPs who actually have no power. Yet you are happy to give power and authority away to her and still claim to want PR here in what will become a pointless gov’t because the eu will make more and more or our decisions for us. If you are calling the leave campaign I suggest you read a biblical verse which says first take the plank out of your own eye. I accept there were untruths, but actually far more on the leave side. I also notice that almost all warnings about a no deal come from people who voted remain and don’t want the inconvenience. Please tell me of ANY forecast made by the remain camp and I’ll post 4 which didn’t- a monkey with a pencil would have been more accurate. House prices will fall 18% No, Unemployment will rise No, just the opposite, the stock market will crash- no. There will be an emergency budget no. The £ will fall- yes, but it does that all the time. I lived in Germany for over 20yrs and the £ varied between 1:1 and 1:1.60. There I’ve done your work for you. I suggest you take a close look at what the remain side said and still says.

  • David Harris 27th Aug '19 - 11:06am

    @Alex Macfie That should read ‘far fewer on the leave side… oops whata mistakea to makea

  • David Harris: The Commission has to be approved by the European Parliament, which can also sack it. Johnson was not approved by Parliament to be Prime Minister (he doesn’t need to be under our current system). The European Parliament can amend and veto legislation, and has more power than our House of Commons to do so because it is completely independent of the Executive (thus no payroll vote).
    Brexit hasn’t happened yet, so you cannot claim that forecasts about what happens after Brexit are false. What’s already happening is enough to show the serious damage that a Hard Brexit would cause. Not just “inconvenience”, unless you think that higher prices, food shortages and loss of jobs are just an “inconvenience” — which quite possibly you do. You mention in an earlier comment that you are “retired”. Perhaps you are one of those people who don’t mind this country as a whole becoming worse off, because your own nest is already feathered and you are thus protected from most of its ill-effects. Well, fine for you, but those of us who still have to work for a living will not have it so easy.

  • David Harris 27th Aug '19 - 3:50pm

    @Alex Macfie “Brexit hasn’t happened yet”- Look back at the forecasts- many of them said ‘after the vote’ like the emergency budget being needed. It is interesting then if you are claiming that everything that has happened is not because of Brexit- or are you being selective? Is the £’s fall because of Brexit- which hasn’t happened yet or not? Is the slight rise in interest rates (after a big fall) because of Brexit or not- please stop being selective. You can’t claim only the bits you like. FYI Parliament never chooses a PM. A PM is leader of the main party- none of whom have been approved by P’ment. so Johnson doesn’t need to be. You seem to sidestep my point about appointing eu leaders- I notice you omit my question about which election did the presidents and Commission take part in? Which one of them took part in an election where you were allowed to vote? You are correct in saying that MEPs can amend and and veto legislation- but can’t propose it- only the unelected commission can do that. They have control. If the commission don’t like what MEPs decide they can make a directive which is equally powerful and binding upon countries. Show me proof of the accuracy of ANY forecast and by their nature- you can’t until time has passed. So in fact they could all be made up…. when you invest any money there is a getout clause which says that your investment may go up as well as down- because it is what they believe to be a ‘best guess’… as are many of these forecasts. They also assume we have done no preparation- for that we have to take Boris’s word that it is done. As far as retirement goes- I decided after the Maastrict/Lisbon fiasco that we have been duped and should have had a referendum then- nothing to do with feathering nests. I could fire a shot at you saying that you are probably too young, lacking in experience of the world before the common market- but I haven’t a clue about you so I won’t make assumptions- please don’t about me either. It appears you have swallowed all the forecasts… have you noticed how they appear in a coordinated way- never 2 on the same day to keep the idea in people’s minds? I’m starting to ramble because I have so much to say and words are not my strongpoint- I’m a mathematician.

  • Alex Macfie 28th Aug '19 - 8:28am

    David Harris: I did not “sidestep” the question. I pointed out that the Commission needs explicit approval from the European Parliament. This gives the (elected) EP more control than the HoC over the composition of executive, because although the UK government needs the confidence of the HoC, the HoC has no control over the individuals that compose it, not even the PM. So Johnson has much LESS of a mandate than Ursula von der Leyen, especially as he became PM mid-term.
    On legislative initiative, the European Parliament CAN request the Commission to submit a specific legislative proposal. OK there is no equivalent of Private Members’ Bills, but in practice, these hardly ever get adopted unless supported by the government. Indeed most of the time the government controls the entire Parliamentary agenda in the HoC. Government proposing a Bill in the HoC is no different from the European Commission proposing a directive, except that normally the government has an in-built majority in the HoC, whereas no Group ever has a majority in the EP, and there’s no payroll vote. The current state of affairs in the HoC, where Johnson administration has a majority of 1 (including DUP) and falling, so cannot guarantee to get everything its own way, is the norm in the EP. Yet you want Johnson to shut down Parliament because it might do its job by holding him to account. You inaccurately criticise the EU for supposed lack of Parliamentary democracy, yet when the directly elected HoC threatens to assert its power against the unelected PM, you are against it.

  • David Harris 28th Aug '19 - 11:07am

    @Alex Macfie You seem to miss the point that the commission are completely appointed and not elected by any member of the public- that is dictatorship, or heading towards it. In the UK only elected officials whom we are able to vote for have power and authority- not so in the eu. None of the commission are voted for. You point out that the elected MEPs are unable to promote a private members motion within the eu p’ment, but they have to ask unelected officials if they are willing to allow it! Van de Leyen has NO public mandate- Johnson was elected to P’ment. Yet she had no public vote is in complete control of the eu. A special friend of Merkel- keep it in the family if you will. When the Commission require a directive it supercedes the MEPs in the EU p’ment- the HOL have no such power because they aren’t elected. Tell me if Van de Leyen wishes to stay on for another 5 yrs would you have ANY vote on that or would the decision be taken by other unelected officials (then possibly a vote by MEPs)? If you don’t like Johnson you have a chance to vote against him (probably in a few weeks). You will never have a vote for any of the leadership in the EU- that stinks. As I said our ideas on democracy differ. I believe that individuals can change our country- there is almost a nil chance of an individual changing the eu. You seem blind to the obvious con, which will affect our society more and more- and that is a statement not a forecast.

  • Alex Macfie 29th Aug '19 - 7:23am

    David Harris: It’s not that “our ideas on democracy differ”. it’s that you don’t understand Parliamentary democracy. Johnson was elected as MP for Uxbridge, not as Prime Minister (so unless you live in Uxbridge, you cannot vote him out). The fact that he and other government ministers sit in Parliament does not mean they are “elected” to their government posts. And those who sit in the HoL are not elected anyway. It is Parliament AS A WHOLE that gives the government authority to govern.
    As I said MEPs can sack the Commission, in which case a new team has to be formed, again requiring the approval of MEPs. And you are also wrong about the relationship between the Commission and MEPs, because MEPs can veto directives. I’m not saying the system is perfect; there are a lot of things about the EU institutions that need reform, but to claim that the UK system (with its unelected HoL, something the Lib Dems tried to reform when in government, and the Tories stopped) is democratic, while the EU isn’t, doesn’t hold. They are difficult to compare anyway as they are based on different systems. The EU has separation of powers (the Commission doesn’t sit in Parliament, and, therefore, has no direct control over it) while the UK doesn’t (Ministers sit in Parliament, and usually control its business).

  • David Harris 29th Aug '19 - 1:55pm

    @Alex Macfie So which votes gave a mandate to VDL? Which Lected Party does she represent? I am happy that our country as a whole voted in an election to pick a governing party. The Tories were chosen. Johnson was picked from that group to represent the party. VDL had no party, no votes. I may or may not have the same political understanding as you, but you clearly do not understand finance and the use of forecasts. The EU is a ‘control’ organisation shown particularly by how difficult it is to leave. They govern by top down laws imposed where we generally govern by evolving or bottom up law. Finally you assume PR is a better system- at the moment I vote for a particular person whom I wish to represent me, in PR you vote for a party. This is my last comment- unless something outrageous is said, hoping you manage to see the truth about eu control and lack of democracy, I don’t expect so, but hope so. Then leave the Libdems, as I did….

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