The Leader – Vince’s new column

This week, Vince wrote a pretty comprehensive column giving his take of the week over on the party website.

He talked about Brexit, strangely enough, and his talks with the PM:

The immediate priority from here on is to stop the massively disruptive ‘no deal’(and batty ideas like calling in the army).  I am baffled at the way so many people have taken up this glib phrase ‘WTO rules’ who clearly have no conception of what the WTO does – and its limitations.  I wrote a piece for the Telegraph recently on this worthy but toothless organisation.  Sensible members of the Cabinet – led by the Chancellor – are making it clear that they will stop a ‘no deal’ and there are backbench proposals to seize the parliamentary agenda to push through legislation stopping ‘no deal’.  Maybe I am an optimist, but I think this battle will be won.

I am baffled at the way so many people have taken up this glib phrase WTO rules.

I also think (without, so far, any evidence) that faced with the narrowing options the Prime Minister will do the maths and realise that she has very little chance of getting her deal through unless she takes the risk of making it one of two options in a People’s Vote (against Remain).  We shall see.  The challenge to the opposition parties will be to stand up and be counted if the PM does decide to seek support for her deal, subject to a referendum.

He went on to talk about meeting all the local school heads in his constituency:

The biggest challenge facing the schools (and the council) is the rapidly rising cost of ‘special needs’ education. No-one can explain why the numbers of disabled, autistic and other ‘special needs’ children have exploded across the country – and especially in our corner of SW London. The Government promises to help in the Spending Round. I am not holding my breath.

I went into the meeting assuming (and hoping) that I had found a Brexit-free zone. No such luck. The head of a ‘special school’ stood up to announce that Brexit and the departure of EU nationals is already doing serious harm to his teacher numbers.

He also talked about how he keeps himself sane – and I think these are pretty good strategies – dancing and reading. Check out the article for his book recommendations.

This new initiative and the arrival of his new Press Secretary, Clodagh Higginson, are not, I suspect unrelated. I hope we will see more of these. It’s definitely worth sharing to your networks on social media.

You can read the whole thing here.

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

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  • OnceALibDem 27th Jan '19 - 2:37pm

    What does this:
    “Then came an invitation to all-party talks from the Prime Minister. I said at PMQs: “don’t pick up the telephone unless ‘no deal’ is off the table and a ‘people’s vote’ is on it. Someone did ring. We met.”
    Say about the Lib Dem negotiating strategy. Set out your position – and at the first moment, abandon it? That just weakens how people will see you in the future.

  • nigel hunter 27th Jan '19 - 3:54pm

    WTO rules .I do not believe many people know what this,ie is their any tariffs in place/to pay?. Do trade deals still need to be negotiated? Only if you are interested in that sort of things will anybody have any ideas. The ordinary person will have no idea of what WTO really means or works.
    Yes Once a lob Dem. You know the other persons stall and then you set up your own and negotiate. You do not cave in without a fight..

    Yes it is a good idea to have this weekly column of the boss on LDV to aim for a wider audiencefor the party and to have a wider discussion..

  • OnceALibDem 27th Jan ’19 – 2:37pm…

    My thoughts exactly.

    Vince set two pre-conditions, abandoned them, had a fruitless meeting and is a good guy.
    Corbyn set one condition, stuck to his principles and is a ‘baddie’.

  • In Vince’s full column on on the party website, I was particularly intrigued by his following observation:
    “In the discussions, there was still an interest in exploring the practicalities of a People’s Vote, but no movement on the principle.”

    Well, that may be an accurate summary of the present position – although it’s far from clear from whom in HMG there’s any real interest in “exploring the practicalities”. But unless/until there’s any movement on the principle and the PM at least opens her mind to the case for another referendum, any further talks with HMG regarding the practicalities of such a vote would clearly be a fruitless academic exercise.

  • Leekliberal 27th Jan '19 - 6:16pm

    We need to talk about the Lib Dems motion for a Peoples Vote down for debate on Tuesday. Winning a vote in Parliament on this will be all about timing. Peoples Vote needs to be the last option standing when all the others have been lost. My concern is that our motion is premature and will be defeated heavily, losing the campaign momentum. Such a tactical blunder will be judged to be self-indulgent and Peoples Vote campaigners will not be grateful!

  • David Becket 27th Jan '19 - 10:45pm

    When you put together Vince’s rather confused message with the Corbyn backbone trick you have to wonder where this party thinks it is going. An open door, and we mis it.

  • Roland Postle 28th Jan '19 - 2:06am

    Imposing talk preconditions which have no chance of being met isn’t a negotiating strategy, it’s just a refusal to talk. Vince didn’t phrase it like that. He simply implied it’d be pointless. Which was clear from the moment TM uttered the word ‘but’ at the end of her offer to talk.

    Ultimately the whole thing was an opportunity for political posturing by each party leader. Corbyn chose a different posturing strategy to most, presumably in the hope that stubbornness will appeal to a polarised electorate more than ‘talking to the enemy’. To me it seems common sense that you go talk with the PM during a national crisis when she wants to talk, even with little chance of progress. It’s just shows basic respect for the office, as well as for the country. Corbyn could probably have got the best of both worlds and sent a deputy to talk, but I think that tactic would have looked a bit daft done by any party smaller than the opposition.

  • Steve Trevethan 28th Jan '19 - 7:53am

    Might there be a photo with a Coalition backbone?

  • Peter Hirst 28th Jan '19 - 3:35pm

    A referendum between parliament’s favourite deal, but not a no deal and remaining seem the most likely scenario and perhaps one the Party should support. My caveat is that as the EC has said over the weekend, the rules regarding referenda must be tightened and more resources given to to the ec with a wider mandate. Including 16 – 18s should be a red line regarding supporting a referendum.

  • OnceALibDem 28th Jan '19 - 3:56pm

    “Including 16 – 18s should be a red line regarding supporting a referendum.”

    What does this mean. Are you suggesting the Lib Dems oppose a referendum and in effect lead to a no deal scenario is this isn’t included? If not then it isn’t a red line.

    I come back to the rubbish LIb Dem negotiating strategy referred to above.

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