This weekend’s march is about so much more than a vote on the Brexit deal

Brexit March

Brexit March

In Parliament, MPs have been debating on (and rejecting) this botched Tory deal. Beyond Parliament, young people have been watching on in horror and disbelief. As a wealthy Brexit elite, red in the face, tell themselves to hold their nerve, it’s clear that they’ve got no regard for our future.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn? They just aren’t listening – they are completely detached from reality. They’re causing embarrassment on an international scale, the world over the country we love is a laughing stock. It’s shameful, and history will look harshly on the perpetrators of this chaotic mess.

I’m 20 years old, less than a month off of voting on the 23rd of June 2016. There are almost 2 million like me who can now vote. The fact is that the UK does not want Brexit anymore, and young people just like me deserve a say on our future. The British people deserve the right to a final say now we’ve got a deal on the table, and not some fanciful, wildly unrealistic ideal.

Before our very eyes, my generation is seeing jobs and investment sapped out of the UK. We’re seeing our futures – lives that should be spent with the right to live, love and work freely across 28 nations, the largest free trade area in human history – all being snatched away from us. It would be dystopian if the last three years hadn’t numbed us all to this warped reality.

However, here we stand, Jeremy Corbyn not breathing of opposition. Nothing as this heartless Tory government swipes away our place in the largest economy on the planet, our seat at the top table, and our future.

It doesn’t have to be like this. So many of us have been deprived of our say, and three-quarters of us who can now vote would vote remain. The Brexit elite knows that they’ve lost their moment, and they’re terrified of giving us, the people, the final say.

We’ve got them on the back foot, and we must keep fighting for our future. This weekend, that’s precisely what I’m doing, and I’ve asked every Young Liberal to come and take a stand with me – I hope you’ll do the same. If you know a Young Liberal who will go and take a stand with us, we’ll be gathering outside the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane; they can find our event on Facebook here.

We can’t do it alone though; we need as many people there as possible. If you’re not a Young Liberal, but you care as dearly as I do for the futures of not just young people, but for the country we love, you can find the party’s event here.

This could be our last chance to stop this mess. Young people are willing to lead the way – will you join us?

PS: Young Liberals are working hard to provide a hardship fund so that any young person in our party can have their voice heard regardless of their financial situation. This is to help young people who may not be able to afford to attend events, just like this crucial march. We’d appreciate it if you could help us to support as many young people as possible here

* Charlie Murphy is Campaigns Officer of the Young Liberals

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  • Peter Martin 20th Mar '19 - 3:20pm

    @ Charlie,

    …..the country we love is a laughing stock

    To read just about all Lib Dem posts on Brexit, and there a quite a few, a hypothetical observer from Mars would get the idea that the UK was part of a successful grouping of some 28 countries, which had overcome previous rivalries and hostilities to ensure peace and prosperity for all. And, for some unfathomable reason, the UK had taken leave of its senses and had started to find fault with, and wanted to leave, the most perfect example of international co-operation the world had ever been.

    Our reader wouldn’t be aware of multiple deaths and rioting on Parisian streets and youth unemployment rates of 50%+. Our reader wouldn’t know that unemployment rates in some Spanish villages were very low simply because all the able bodied younger people had left and only the elderly remained. Our reader wouldn’t be told about the rise of the far right and disappearance of the centre left in the EU. Our reader wouldn’t be informed that the banking sector of the EU had been ‘zombified’ and was only keeping going by everyone pretending that it wasn’t really dead.

    By all means argue that we should be part of the EU. But take a close look at it without a pair of your standard issue Lib Dem rose tinted spectacles! Take a look at what we may or may not be a part of in the years to come. Warts and all.

  • nvelope2003 20th Mar '19 - 6:15pm

    Peter Martin: There has been regular rioting on the streets of Paris since 1789 long before the Treaty of Rome. It is what the French do when they discovered that their elected Assembly did not or could not give them everything they wanted. The French are inclined to violence towards each other even under foreign occupation during war as in the Commune of 1870 and World War II. They have been encouraged to believe in fantasies by their revolutionary traditions.
    Villages all over the world are being denuded of young people as they prefer to live in towns because there are jobs and more going on there. It has been happening for hundreds of years in Britain and is spreading everywhere.
    People do not like change, however necessary or inevitable it may be, and have often turned to political extremes of right or left as a way of stopping it. The right seems more popular because the left is seen as the cause of their discontent with its enthusiasm for immigration and the overthrow of traditional ways of life under its leader Jeremy Corbyn and his predecessors. There was a sharp drop in support for Labour among traditional working class supporters when election turnout dropped to 59% in 2001 under Blair who was kept in power by middle class voters until they had had enough of his arrogance and wars.
    The banks have been brought down because it is impossible for any nation to live beyond its means indefinitely.
    The EU needs drastic reform and its leaders seem unduly inflexible which has outraged ordinary people here and elesewhere but that does not mean it has no value. Our own system of Parliamentary democracy is also on the verge of collapse but that does not mean we should abolish it unless something better can be found.

  • Peter Martin 20th Mar '19 - 7:49pm


    I personally don’t buy the that’s-just-the-French-for-you theory you are describing. It’s obvious that there’s something wrong there and any party which is as pro the EU as the Lib Dems are should be at least discussing the issues instead of simply ignoring them.

    Yes what you say about villages is true to an extent but there is an additional factor that in the peripheral regions of the EU there are very high rates of particularly youth unemployment.

  • Bless Peter is throwing figures, unsurprisingly they are wrong
    This figure is referring to the unemployment rate for French youth (ages 15–24), which the OECD reports as 24.6 percent. However, this figure is the percent of the labor force who are unemployed, not the percent of the population. The labor force is defined as people who are either employed or report to be looking for work and are therefore classified as unemployed.

    In France, many fewer young people work than in the United States because higher education is largely free and students get stipends from the government. As a result, the employment rate for French youth is 28.3 percent, compared to 50.1 percent for the United States. If we look at unemployment as a share of the total youth population, the 8.7 percent rate in France is not hugely higher than the 5.8 percent in the United States.

    Learn to use a search engine Peter, it really would help your accuracy.

  • And meantime in hell hole Brexit Britain …The unemployment rate in the UK edged down to 3.9 percent in the the three months to January 2019, its lowest level since the November 1974-January 1975 period.

  • David Evans 21st Mar '19 - 1:36am

    Indeed Mark Seaman, but at least in 1975 a job was a real job and not a maybe one hour a week Zero hours contract, and benefits sanctions didn’t mean you weren’t unemployed.

  • The notion that Brexit is there to save us from the far right is absurd. The whole point of Brexit from the beginning has been to make the UK a safe playground for the far right. In fact many on the European extreme right have been supportive of pro-Brexit parties and factions, and have been supported by the Brexiteers in their turn.

  • We need in this country a truly pro-Internationalist party which is prepared to spread the truth about the European Union. The European Union is unique in being a group of sovereign nations which have a treaty which ensures a democratic element in the agreements between them. The Union covers areas which the countries as sovereign states have agreed should be covered.
    So there is no European army for example. There never will be one until each sovereign country agrees. How they agree depends on the individual sovereign countries. In some countries this is done by a referendum.
    Defense is of course covered by NATO. Sovereignty is pooled but without a democratic element to the organisation.

  • Peter Martin 21st Mar '19 - 7:04am

    @ David-,

    “The notion that Brexit is there to save us from the far right is absurd.”

    Is it? Look around you in the EU. Open your eyes. What do you see? The rise of the far right and the steep decline of the pro-EU centrist parties. The pro-EU traditional political parties in France were so toxic that they couldn’t mount a serious campaign against the so-called populism of Marine Le Pen. The establishment there had to invent its own pseudo populism of En Marche just to compete.

    The rise of the far right in the less prosperous areas of the EU is caused by the enforced economic austerity of the eurozone and the enforced austerity in countries en-route to joining the eurozone. Naturally if workers are without jobs in their home areas they will migrate to more prosperous regions. People don’t move from Malaga to Manchester for better weather! There, they’ll be less likely to join trades unions, less likely to complain of exploitation, and more likely to work for lower wages than already resident workers. It’s all tailor made to suit the far right.

    The British far right were on the edge of a breakthrough prior to the ’16 referendum. But the Leave vote took the wind from their sails. The ’17 General election saw a steep decline in their vote share as the two major parties stood on a Leave platform.

    But if Lib Dems get their way they’ll be back with a vengeance. It won’t be just a matter of a few short months of protest as some have suggested. It will go on and on. Unless that is the EU abandon their austerity economics policies, which seems unlikely.

    Of course, withdrawal from the EU isn’t a sufficient condition to ‘save us from the far right’ – just a necessary one.

  • mvelope2003 21st Mar '19 - 6:11pm

    If/when we leave the EU and if the promises of the Leave campaigners fail to materialise what will their supporters do next ? It might be best if we stayed in because at least the Leavers will be able to keep their dream intact. Of course they will continue to campaign but the nation is used to that and has learned to live with it for over 40 years. Many campaigns never have positive results but life goes on. When I hear them talk they seem to think that leaving the EU will be a magic solution to all their unhappiness or other problems, like the republicans in France but of course it was just a dream and life went on as before with frequent riots used to relieve their frustration with life’s problems.Instead of one king they have hundreds of them in the National Assembly, Departmental Councils and of course the Prefects and sub Prefects, with their massive incomes and bureaucracy, who control France.

    UKIP got 13% in the 2015 election which was less than the 23% obtained by the Liberal Democrats in 2005 and 2010 despite UKIP having a much clearer objective in support of an allegedly popular policy. Something is not right here.

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd Mar '19 - 8:51am

    @ Peter Martin,
    Are you saying that the people of , for example, Poland are less prosperous as a consequence of joining the EU Peter, and this explains the rise of the far right in that country?

  • nvelope2003 22nd Mar '19 - 9:02am

    The Conservatives have been wrong about every major issue from support for the Stuarts, the Corn Laws, Home Rule for Ireland etc. Why are they likely to be right about leaving the EU ?

  • Peter Martin 22nd Mar '19 - 10:58am


    The situation of Poland and all the countries of the Eastern bloc isn’t typical. In Communist times the far right were simply suppressed. The change from Communism to Capitalism did have its causalities. Elderly people who were used to one way of life found difficulty coping with another. Especially as their pensions which were guaranteed in pre EU days didn’t stretch far and were too old to get jobs in an economy where unemployemnt was running at about 20% anyway – not too long ago.

    But the general rule we see in the UK and other western countries is that the far right do well when the economy is doing badly and vice versa. In my lifetime it started with the rise of Thatcherism and the simultaneous rise of the National Front.

  • Peter Martin 22nd Mar '19 - 11:06am

    @ nvelope2003,

    “The Conservatives have been wrong about every major issue from support for the Stuarts, the Corn Laws, Home Rule for Ireland etc”

    The Tories took us in to the EEC/EU in the 1973. Why are they likely to have been right about that?

  • nvelope2003 22nd Mar '19 - 1:19pm

    Peter Martin: They should have took us into the Common Market when it was formed and then we would have had more power to ensure it suited our interests but they dithered until it was too late and Edward Heath was forced to accept their terms and this is possibly one of the reasons for the wish of some people to leave. Conservatives always leave it too late to do any good. Instead of giving Ireland Home Rule in the 1880s they were forced to agree to an independent Ireland in 1922 after an armed struggle with all the tragic consequences for the future which took over 70 years to resolve and have not even now been completely solved because of the need for the backstop. It seems to be completely overlooked by the Leavers that Northern Ireland voted by 56% to 44% to remain in the EU and the DUP represent only a minority. Many, probably most Northern Irealnd business want to Remain and are in favour of the backstop. There appears to be deliberate misrepresenation on this issue.

  • Peter Hirst 22nd Mar '19 - 3:06pm

    The challenge with marches as with referenda is to have one clear message or question. Otherwise, there is confusion and the media, politicians and experts can make what they will of it. I see it as a remain march and certainly anti-no deal. A march without a purpose is like a fun walk so let’s keep it as a People’s Vote march.

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