The hunt for certainty

Theresa May has been telling MPs that they need to vote for her deal to give certainty.

That has always been hogwash because the Withdrawal Agreement kicks so much about our future relationship with the EU down the road as to be virtually meaningless. In fact, the very existence of the much maligned backstop is proof that it resolves very little and leaves us worse off.

But now, Theresa May’s quest to get her deal through the Commons is even more blighted. When she told Conservative MPs that she intended to step down ahead of the next election, she was probably thinking maybe sometime in 2021. The way some of her MPs, even those who supported her, are talking tonight, she’s got until March.

That adds even more uncertainty into the mix. We have no idea who will lead the negotiations shaping our future relations with the EU. Just imagine that Tory members elect Boris who thinks the chaos of no deal is just what this country needs? At least now we can revert to our membership of the EU but after March 29th we won’t have that safety net.

Leaving the EU under this deal, or any deal that involves future negotiation is like jumping out of an aeroplane with no parachute.

Not exactly strong and stable.

The way out is for May to look not to the right of her party, but across the Commons to build an alliance the other way and put the final decision to the people. If MPs can’t come to a conclusion, it surely has to be up to the people to mark the Government’s homework.

A People’s Vote to remain gives us enough certainty to get on with our lives and start work on the things that really do need fixing – sorting out  public services, tackling devastating poverty and inequality, making sure everyone having somewhere safe and warm to live, dealing with a mental health crisis.

Let’s hope that May sees sense. The 117 ERG obsessives were the tip of the iceberg. All the Tory Remainers who wanted the deal thrown in the sea voted for her today.

There is most likely a majority for a People’s vote to be had. It’ll need Corbyn to get on board.

He really should get on with moving his motion of no confidence. Any competent leader o the opposition would have done so ages ago. If that fails, he will surely have no option than to agree to a People’s Vote…

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

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This entry was posted in News.


  • I’ms sure Mrs May is at home discussing the result with her precious

    LEAKED: Footage From Inside No. 10 Downing Street!

  • Bernard Aris 12th Dec '18 - 11:58pm

    According to the BBC evening news just now (the correspondent from Edinburgh), the SNP keeps pressing Labour for a motion of no confidence. But the Labour frontbencher on Newsnight didn’t give the impression Labour is going to put anything like that forward in the coming days; he was robotically repeating Corbyns “We could get a beter deal”-line to evade talking about no confidence. Better deal from Brussels? Fat chance.

    The SNP should learn from this that Corbyn cann’t be relied on, ever.
    The LibDems should try to convince the SNP to return to the “Adults in the room” Brexit coalition of LibDems, Laid Cymru and (on this subject) the Greens, and make the following agreement:
    *) the SNP, LD, PC and Greens won’t support any vote of no confidence that doesn’t name an alternative PM; only a “constructive vote of no confidence” like the Germans, Spanish and Belgiums have in their constitutions could be taken into consideration by SNP/LD/PC/Gr.

    And these 4 adult parties shoud agree:
    *) any vote of no confidence that will garner a Commons majority in the next weeks will in practice be supported by
    1) the Corbyn wing of Labour (Minority in PLP),
    2) the Rees Mogg wing of the Tories (40% of the PCP) and some other MP’s;
    You simply can NOT build any solid coaltion for any new Prime Minister on that basis. The question wether the new PM will be from the Labour or the Tory anti-May minorities (in both parliamentary parties) is a bone of contention from the start.

    If the SNP likes to be seen as an adult in a Commons room full of opportunists like Corbyn or types like Rees Mogg, it cannot support such an unstable coalition of two minorities in both big Parliamentary Parties, under a candidate PM which will never be able to fully trrust his/her supporters from the other big parliamentary party.

    So stop playing parlour games in the Commons bubble; and let a better informed population decide:
    *) the May Brexit Deal, or
    *) keep enjoying all the superior growth and other advantages of simply remaining.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '18 - 8:48am

    @ Bernard Aris,

    “…….keep enjoying all the superior growth and other advantages of simply remaining.” ????

    Can I suggest you Google {France gdp per capita} ?

    The shape of the graph (the first one that pops up) since 2008 might give you some clue as to why France is undergoing social turmoil at the moment.

    Then you could try the same with {uk gdp per capita}

    The shape of this graph might give you some clue why the UK voted for Brexit.

    To see what would have been possible with the right policies thoughout the EU, you might want to try: {usa gdp per capita}

  • John Marriott 13th Dec '18 - 9:21am

    For a little collection of islands like ours the EU may indeed be the best show in town. But that’s not saying much. Now, if it were prepared to change its script!

  • Bernard Aris 13th Dec '18 - 12:11pm

    @ Peter Martin

    You forgot some examples:
    #) if you look at the corruption and nepotism in Italy in 1946-’92, you get an inkling why the whole First Italian Republic crumbled, and Italy has fallen prey to populists like Berlusconi, Grillo, Salvini. I mean, a whole state with its structures, and big parties like the Socialists and Christian Democrats dissappeared! The present Second or Third Republic is totally different.

    #) the same corruption and nepotism is why in Greece both Pasok and Nea Democratia shrank to about 1% of their size, and Athens has a crumbling Olympic village with ditto sports complexes right next door. Their shrinking gave the left Syriza and the social-liberal To Potami parties the chance to grow; Syriza even became the government.

    #) In Spain the socialist PSOE and conservative PP first (1981-’90) squeezed the social-liberal CDS of Suarez, the bringer of Spanish Democracy in 1975-’81. Then they used their duopoly (the leftist Izquierda Unida remained insignificant after the Berlin Wall fell) to milk the Spanish state and economy for plenty of pesos/euro’s, until their corruption started catching up with them with spectacular proceedings in courtrooms, and the housebuilding bubble burst with massive unemployment and debts as a consequence. Here the left Podemos and the liberal Ciudadanos parties arose, restoring confidence in politics.

    My point being: the EU delivered stable trading relations and other structural factors enabling the creation and distribution of wealth; but the EU, Brussels never directed, ordered member countries to use it wisely or efficiently; that remained a national task.

    So don’t lay the main blame for the excessive poverty (according to Dutch standards) in some British cities and regions on the EU.

    The same goes for the French, where the Soialist/Gaullist duopoly squandered the possibilities the EU common market and labour regulation (Social Chapter, Masstricht)gave them.

    Remember the TUC conference celebrating the visit of Delors because of the Social Chapter! This after demonizing the EU as a capitalist plot in the 1970’s and ’80s…

  • Bernard Aris 13th Dec '18 - 12:44pm

    @ Peter Martin

    And as for the USA, your third example: even after the federal New Deal and Great Society programs of the 1930’s and 1960’s, the main point about the US economy and social policy is that arrangements, issues like :
    #) right to strike,
    #) recogniton of trade unions(in factories, takeaway restaurants, Walmart, and for public servants of the state, of cities, of counties);
    #)even voting rights for blacks and native (Indian) Americans

    have remained the primary competence of the respective states; the federal aid is just a top-up. So public facilities, le4gislation, taxation, and the level of public service vary per state, and within states per city or region.
    The federal United States have no 100% homogenous, equal nationwide federal industrial, social, medical policies, just top-ups of what each state or city itself has ordained since the 18th century onwards. Remeber, the South had racial Segregation (“seperate but Equal”….NOT) under the same constitutional banner: States Rights. Those kind of rights are still alive; the federal constitution still allows that.
    1) Not every state has Obamacare;
    2) some states have almost no abortion clinics;
    3) and since I toured around the State of Michgan in the summer of 1978, my contacts from that trip have been telling me in Christmas cards and emails that things (Detroits car industry for starters) kept on deteriorating since I was there.
    Now GM is closing plants it just reopened; Trumps metal tariffs against the EUsure did not help that. And don’t drink the water from your kitchen tap in the city of Flint, Michigan; it’s toxic because some cheapskate city government (now deposed and disgraced) started piping the water through pipes where the inner coating and metal piping give off toxic molecules and paint splinters.
    See:,_Michigan .

    The US has even more glaring differences in wealth distribution, glaring pockets of poverty than many western European countries. That’s where Trump scored electorally, without since then doing anything about it. First the ultra rich got a massive tax cut…

  • Peter Martin
    Don’t you know that nothing bad that happens when in the EU is the fault of the EU. The EU is perfect. The problem is too many countries in it aren’t like Germany.

  • This obsession by Brexiteers as to why the EU isn’t perfect. Well it’s simple really, it is a human insitution and us humans are not perfect. I know this will come as a revelation to you all but tis true. Can it be improved of cause, but running away from it because it isn’t perfect is toddlerish, especially as if Brexit has shown us anything it is how inept our polticians and system of government is. In other breaking news Yes the Pope is Catholic, Yes bears do defecate in woods, Yes the English are not special, Yes you didn’t win the lottery of life by being born English ( unless you got to go to a good public school), Yes life isn’t fair, and No most Brexiteers are not intelligent. Oh and the USA is not the promised land, there are better countries to aspire to be, obviously there are much worse but I’m afraid shades of grey are beyond your average Brexiteer, certainly beyond the sad remnants who still post here. The intelligent ones have long ago fled.

  • Frankie
    Leaving isn’t running away. Its like arguing that not staying in relationship you don’t want is running away. Indeed the English are not special and nor are Australians or Norwegians or Canadians or the Japanese and non of them are in the EU. And Europe and Europeans aren’t special either.
    All that’s in your arsenal is insults, jibes and name calling. As for your shades of grey contention, IMO , you rely almost exclusively on characterising opponents in black and white terms and show zero signs of a capability for nuance of any kind. Much as some in Lib Dem circles would like to pretend otherwise there are leave voting Lib Dems. I’m one of them. I’m not on here because I’m a brexiteer and like being insulted by a permanent adolescent . I’m on here as a supporter.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '18 - 3:07pm

    @ Bernard Aris,

    I think we are all aware of the social deficiences of the USA. It’s a great place if you’re relatively well educated, have marketable skills and don’t suffer bad health.

    But the point that I was making is that, in spite of all that, the Americans do understand, in general, how the economy works. That’s not to say they don’t make mistakes. They screwed up big time in the run up to 2008. As I’ve said if you Google {GDP per capita USA) you’ll see a little blip in their growth graph. So they learned from their mistake, under Obama, and fixed the problem. It remains to be seen how it will go under Trump.

    Why aren’t there similar shaped EU graphs? Even the one for Germany is horrendous in comparison. There needs to be better macroeconomic policies in place to avoid these staircase boom and bust patterns. Its been mainly bust since 2008 with no sign of another boom.

    You’ve given us more of the usual ‘Greeks and Italians are all corrupt’ narrative. You must know that the introduction of a common currency means that you need to trust all your partners. If you don’t trust them don’t share a currency. Period.

    There’s no point complaining about your partners after you’ve introduced it. A lack of trust will ensure the euro’s failure for sure. Is that what you want?

    Of course it is often argued that this doesn’t affect any of us in the UK because we aren’t in the eurozone. But the problems of the eurozone cannot be contained within its borders. We have a healthy trade surplus with the ROW. But a big deficit with the EU. This is simply because the EU consists of countries which are highly mercantilistic or in a semi-depressed state. They aren’t good markets for UK exports.

    This deficit has to be funded by someone in the UK doing some borrowing. The Govt doesn’t want to do that itself and so responds by trying to cut its spending and raise taxes. This just depresses our economy too. The BoE tries to compensate by lowering interest rates to keep the economy moving and this creates a debt bubble in the private sector.

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