“Those who seek to divide us will never win. We know Britain is better than this”

Clear, can-do, liberal.

You know how I’ve been banging on for ages that we need to tug on people’s heartstrings?

Well, finally, we produce a compelling video that tells people who we are and what we are for.

From the happy, optimistic days of 2012 to the xenophobic post Brexit hate, our decline is shown, complete with Farage, Rees-Mogg and Johnson.

Then there is a strong statement of solidarity with our EU national friends, family, work colleagues. 

They are not migrants, they don’t jump the queue. They are our husbands, wives, our doctors and nurses, the people we love.

And it has a strong statement of what we are about – to stop Brexit.

And a call to action – “we will knock every door if we have to.”

I still have goosebumps from watching it.

Take this and show it to everyone you know and ask them to join us.

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

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46 Comments

  • Paul Pettinger 14th Jan '19 - 9:22pm

    Very good video. We should recommission whoever made it.

  • Sandra Hammett 14th Jan '19 - 9:43pm

    Could do with subtitles, and being uploaded to the LibDem youtube channel and the LibDem website’s front page.

  • Malcolm Todd 14th Jan '19 - 10:01pm

    Gosh. I’m actually rather impressed. (And no, I don’t care that the little band of left-wing Brexiters, including one or two friends of mine, will be complaining that they’ve all been tarred with the xenophobe brush. If you lie down with dogs …)

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Jan '19 - 10:19pm

    An excellent video.

    It tugged at my heartstrings.

  • Very good. Was that Lisa Smart doing the voiceover, by the way?

  • Joseph Bourke 15th Jan '19 - 12:00am

    Brilliant professional piece of work setting the scene for the kind of campaign this Independent article was calling for just before Christmas
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-liberal-democrats-vince-cable-theresa-may-jeremy-corbyn-no-deal-vote-parliament-a8697136.html

    “Cynically, the smart political move would be to sit back and enjoy watching Labour head towards implosion along with the Tories. If Brexit happens, only one party will benefit at the next election.

    But Cable, however tarnished by his presence in the Coalition cabinet, is not a cynic. He is a rare paradigm of selfless public service and rigorous common sense in an age of rank venality and cultivated stupidity.

    His last chance to be a figure of historic importance is upon him. When the PM’s idea of leadership is terroristic blackmail, charging round Westminster with the no-deal apocalypse semtex strapped to her chest, and when Corbyn offers no leadership at all, someone has to lead from the front with a guerilla assault to break Corbyn’s resistance.

    No pressure, Cable, but a lonely nation turns its eyes to you.”

  • “And it has a strong statement of what we are about – to stop Brexit.”

    The Lib Dems have, in essence, become the europhile version of UKIP. Single issue, increasingly divorced from the reality of what the average voter cares about.

    The ad is in essence everything wrong with the party at present. It is divisive, effectively reflecting the London middle class world view that Brexiteers = racists who want to deport everyone, whilst immigration = only positive and to have any possible concerns means you probably want to deport your GP. Get some focus groups of leave or working class voters to watch it (perhaps some of the ex-Lib Dem voters in places like the South West who the party desperately need back), the feedback will be negative.

    Never has the country needed a serious third party opposition more, presenting policies on the issues which the Tories and Labour have entirely failed to advance anything remotely progressive on in decades. In an alternative reality the Lib Dems didn’t become the remain rerun party and is probably leading the polls as a sane alternative government who might actually achieve something…

  • I can’t say I remember 2012 as a time of hope and unity. What I remember is a static economy to the point of it being closer to a double dip recession, more war, more poverty, financial attacks on the poor and disabled, plus student unrest and an increase in mass surveillance.. But apparently spending billions so that a handful of people can win some sort of medal for doing something .005 of a second quicker than someone else is uplifting. To me it was more like bread and circus stuff, with mouldy bread.

  • In terms of the substance, I think the video wasn’t just about Brexit, it was more about our wider Liberal, international perspective on society and our vision of the kind of country we’d like to live in. It’s simply that the Brexit issue is one big manifestation of that right now.

    In that respect it’s just a continuation of a series of issues over the years where the Liberal perspective has stood out, whether it was passports for Hong Kong citizens (where Paddy led the charge), Gladstone’s interventions on the Bulgarian atrocities or free trade/Corn Laws (always more than just an economic issue) and the foundation of the modern Liberal party.

    This open, international, welcoming, “drawbridge down” view of the world isn’t the only defining feature of Liberalism but it is a fundamental one.

    Not everyone will agree with the sentiments in the video. We may even lose some people who currently (still) vote for us. But there are many more people who share this worldview and don’t (yet) vote for us. And more importantly, it’s what we believe, it’s what our party is about. So I for one applaud the decision to set that out clearly in this video.

  • Peter Martin 15th Jan '19 - 9:52am

    The video is pretty much what you’d expect from most Lib Dems/Remainers at the moment. It’s a view from the Metropolitan bubble. Everyone who voted Leave is a mindless, uneducated racist etc.

    There is little or no mention, either in the video, or on this website generally, of just what we are in the process of Leaving or deciding to Remain a part of. Because, essentially, Lib Dems/Remainers aren’t interested in the EU beyond the question of the UK’s involvement or membership. When pressed they might just about concede that it “isn’t pefect” but that’s about it. There might be some woolly talk about ‘reforms’ but it doesn’t get much further than that.

    There’s no discussion of what went on in Greece, and what’s going on in Italy and France right now. There is no discussion of just why so many people in the EU have to leave their homeland in search of a living. There’s no discussion of the decline of the centre left in the EU, and no discussion of the rise of the far right. No discussion of the underlying economic processes that cause these shifts.

    And why not? Because we see the EU behaving in a way that isn’t at all ‘liberal’ in the modern sense. It’s an organisation which doesn’t have any qualms about imposing collective punishments as we saw in Greece in 2015. There, people had their bank accounts frozen until they stopped being awkward and accepted more of a failed economic prescription for the country’s economic problems.

    All very disappointing from a party which likes to think its policies are ‘evidence based’ but predictable.

  • Excellent. But as Michael and Peter Martin say, can we now get on with looking at why people voted leave in the first place, and addressing the question of how we can put right some of the very real problems? We want to stay in the EU, but must not ignore its very real failings and instead look at the fundamental question of what is wrong and how it can be corrected.
    Taking an objective and constructive view of problems is what the party has been best at in the past. It’s desperately needed now, in our own interests as much as those of the country. It’s called statesmanship. Can we have some, please?. .

  • Malcolm Todd – the far left can be just as xenophobic as the right. Just look at the attacks on anyone supporting foreign state investment in this country – be it Chinese nuclear power, the German and Hong Kong state running rail franchises or Chinese ownership of the National Grid. Similarly take job offshoring – the reaction of the left to this is more or less full Trump. Foreign ownership of property? Same thing. Attitude towards Saudi Arabia and Israel and so on. The Morning Star reads more or less like the Express with their lurid headlines against the EU Commission.

    We need no lectures from the left about xenophobia.

  • @Peter Martin,

    The video is pretty much what you’d expect from most Lib Dems/Remainers at the moment. It’s a view from the Metropolitan bubble. Everyone who voted Leave is a mindless, uneducated racist etc.

    The video doesn’t say that at all. What a feeble response, Peter.

  • Joseph Bourke 15th Jan '19 - 12:14pm

    David Raw,

    it may be over the top imagery and is not the kind of allegory I would choose to use. It is however directlly quoted from the Independent article and how the author of the piece chooses to depict Mrs May’s leadership.
    The whole article is rather unflattering to all of Teresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Vince cable but, I think, not untypical of Independent voices features.

  • @Michael: right, so the Lib Dems could be leading the polls by ignoring Brexit (the all-encompassing issue of the moment, and for the foreseeable future), going along with the political consensus, or by trying to be all things to all people? There is no reality in which this could possibly happen. Labour may be able to get away with blowing conflicting dog-whistles at different groups of voters on Brexit, due to its intensely tribal support and the cult surrounding its leader, but the Lib Dems, as a minor party, do not have that luxury. Having a distinctive position on Brexit is the only way we are going to get our voice heard. People complain about our low poll ratings (although steadily rising — most opinion polls now have us in double-figures) but if we didn’t take a strongly anti-Brexit stance we’d probably be stuck on low single figures, bordering on asterisk. The pro-Brexit, respect-the-referendum and wait-and-see political markets are all crowded. People who support those positions already have options in the two big parties. As a small party, we need to niche-market, give people a reason to vote for us. We cannot be all things to all people, and there’s no point in trying.

  • Peter Martin 15th Jan '19 - 12:54pm

    @ Stimpson,

    “the far left can be just as xenophobic as the right”

    I think you are confusing hatred or dislike of individual people on the grounds of their nationality or or ethnicity with a wariness of what their governments might want to get up to. I’m sure I don’t need to give you too many examples. You’ll know very well what I mean if I ask you about your attitude to Russian people as individuals and then about your attitude to the Putin government.

    @ Chris Moore,

    You, too, will know very well the subtext of the video. It starts off with an an implication of how marvellous was the Britain of the Olympic games. But then we have “Its hard to imagine this is the same country as we are living in today”. And the implication is that the country which was open and friendly to foreign visitors then whereas it’s hostile now..

    It’s all nonsense and you know it. Or, if you don’t understand why opposition to the neoliberal, ordoliberal, anti-democratic EU is perfectly consistent with wanting to host a successful Olympic Games then I really don’t think any explanation from me will help you.

    Just be honest and admit for once that the Lib Dems really have no interest in what goes on over the other side channel. You’d have a hard time finding relevant articles on LDV about any of that.

  • Sean Hyland 15th Jan '19 - 2:35pm

    Just seen – left with the implication again that leave voters are all anti-immigrant. No acknowledgement or mention of any other reason why individuals may have voted leave. It is your democratic right, which I fully support, to campaign for a peoples vote and exit from brexit but please put forward a better narrative than this. If you acknowledge that there may be other causes for peoples votes you may actually convince some to change their views. Much as I like much of the LibDem message in other areas of policy and have voted LD often its hard to do so for a party that automatically assumes I’m a racist and anti-immigrant especially as I come from an immigrant family.

  • chris moore 15th Jan '19 - 3:49pm

    @ Peter Martin

    Come off it; Peter, the “sub text” is in your imagination. iit’s YOU who’s repeating the juvenile cliches about Leavers and Remainers.” Metropolitan bubble”: “racists” God’s sake, man.

    No minimally informed member of the public ( or Lib Dem supporter) imagines Brexit will end either European or non-European immigration. I don’t see it like that at all. Nor do you. Nor does anyone.

    Personally, I don’t see an anti-immigration stance as racist either. half my extended family back in the UK are Leavers; they are mostly first generation extra-European immigrants, who live in the Metrópolis, by the way.

    So, come on, Peter, get out of your bunker and open up a little bit.

    PS It’s only a party political broadcast: it’s supposed to be silly.

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Jan '19 - 4:01pm

    It’s not intended to appeal to “Leavers”, for pity’s sake, any more than any of the Leave campaigns’ material is intended to appeal to us. It’s meant to galvanise the Remainers, to gird the troops up for another battle by reminding us why we (think we) fight. It’s propaganda, and I think rather good propaganda; and like most propaganda (aka “campaign literature”) it’s about getting out the vote for your own side. There’s nothing wrong with that. (And of course, most of those who complain about it are also those who usually criticise the Remain campaign for lacking poetry or vision and just banging on about economics; there’s no point trying to appeal to those people.)

  • Sean Hyland 15th Jan '19 - 4:33pm

    @Malcolm Todd so you are not concerned that approximately 30% of Lib Dem voters backed Leave? So then you are not bothered why they did so and how you might change their views?

  • Peter Martin 15th Jan '19 - 5:39pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    OK if you don’t agree with my interpretation of the sub -text maybe you’d like to discuss it with Sean Hyland and Michael? I think they ended up with pretty much the same message I got. Malcolm Todd acknowledges that we’ve “been tarred with the xenophobe brush”. But somehow you got a different message? OK, if you say so.

    Of course, people will continue, in Europe, to migrate to and fro as they always have. I don’t believe any Leaver of prominence has ever said otherwise. We all accept that.

    You’ve ignored what I thought was my most telling point. The lack of interest shown by Lib Dems, and most other enthusiatic Remainers, in just what happens elsewhere in the EU. You want to be a member of this club but you aren’t particularly keen to actually say much about it or include any clips of it in your video.

    Don’t you agree that’s a bit odd?

  • Malcolm Todd 15th Jan '19 - 6:50pm

    Sean Hyland

    When you read what I’ve actually written and ask me about that I might bother to answer. But as you clearly haven’t, I shan’t.

  • Sean Hyland 15th Jan '19 - 7:18pm

    @Malcolm Todd as well as galvanizing the faithful and committed it also asks for others to join the fight. Surely that would also be a call to leave voters. To encourage them to change their views you might need to acknowledge the reason for their original votes. Propaganda is not just for the faithful.

  • Neil Sandison 15th Jan '19 - 9:00pm

    This has been like a slow burn Iraq war type campaign .No believed us ,lots of people defiled us but now the penny has dropped Brexit is a disaster both in terms of ecomomics,social provision , adequate supplies of labour for our work force, tax revenues to meet future pension ,insurance ,local government and social housing needs .
    We may even end up with a shortage of toilet paper ! Perhaps the brexiters will import a special brand of Boris chlorinated bog rolls from Donald Trumps endless supply to ferry in on a non existent ferry from a non existent logistics company with no lorries .!

  • @AlexMacfie

    Your comment is unfortunately riddled with straw man arguments.

    Nobody proposes ignoring brexit; the point is the party has nothing else and when it is resolved, is going to find it very difficult to regain relevance or broaden its appeal beyond the 5-10% of the population who are strong europhiles. Aiming for a “niche market” is fine if you’re a business and that market is profitable, but as a political party in a first past the post political system it is suicidal.

    The Conservatives and Labour have been absolutely awful over the past three years, with little in the way of inspiring and practical policies. There is nothing inspiring, aspirational or hope inspiring about their domestic programs that doesn’t come with an ideology that will not naturally appeal to most people. That is where the Lib Dems should be running towards, rather than being unable to resist throwing ourselves on the Brexit bombfire. Such an opportunity to rebuild the party will not come again soon.

  • I have to agree with Peter Martin it is very metropolitan elitist. I also agree with Sean Hyland that it doesn’t address the real reasons for the vote to Leave. Maybe Malcolm Todd is correct, that it was only meant to ‘galvanise Remainers’. However, maybe I am not the right type of Remainer and that is why it failed to galvanise me.

    To say there is no deal better than what we have already is wrong. What is correct is that the current deal is better than any deal after leaving. The EU needs reform so all countries within it get a better deal and we should be setting out what this better deal is. For me it is an EU where no one has to move away from their region for economic reasons.

  • @Peter martin,

    Hi Peter, you say

    You’ve ignored what I thought was my most telling point. The lack of interest shown by Lib Dems, and most other enthusiatic Remainers, in just what happens elsewhere in the EU. You want to be a member of this club but you aren’t particularly keen to actually say much about it or include any clips of it in your video.

    Come off it, Peter. This is a two minute PPB. No one imagines it’s a complete account of the state of the EU.

    What is this bullshit about Lib Dems and Remainers not showing an interest in what goes on elsewhere in the EU? Where did you come up with that piece of nonsense? Another daft cliché to add to the pile.

    It’s particularly silly in a conversation with me, given that I’ve made it clear I live in Spain, follow European politics; indeed, speak several of the languages.

    In a previous conversation, you told me you ran your own models of the economy. Though I might disagree wth your conclusions, I respect the evidence of intelligence and thought. So why is it that your level of discourse drops so much when it comes to debating the EU.

    Can your really not do better?

  • I live in semi-rural Yorkshire, in a town that voted strongly to leave.

    It’s not metropolitan elitist to say that many leave voters voted the way they did for racist or xenophobic reasons when I saw a group of people in the street following a Polish person chanting “we voted for you to f*** off” the day after the vote.

    It’s not metropolitan elitist to say that while not every leave voter was racist, all the racists voted leave.

    The phrase is bandied about by people who are ashamed of the truth, frankly.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jan '19 - 11:05am

    @ Chris Moore,

    “What is this bullshit about Lib Dems and Remainers not showing an interest in what goes on elsewhere in the EU? ”

    Obviously if you live in Spain, you’ll probably take more interest that most. My remarks were directed towards Remainers in general and they have to be, almost by definition, resident in the UK.

    As we all know there’s quite a lot going on in the EU, but the last time I remember any real discussion about any of that was just before and just after the French Presidential elections when Emmanuel Macron, who was seen very much as the EU’s man, surprised many and ended up winning. This naturally met with general approval, amid a good deal of optimism, about a supposed centrist candidate being able to keep France out of the clutches of the extreme right.

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/macrons-victory-speech-in-english-54213.html

    You can imagine what I said about Macron at the time but that’s not really the point. He’s just become a non-person on LDV since with hardly any mention of him or the ‘gilets jaunes’ since. Surely that must warrant some analysis? Or maybe I’ve just missed it? If so I’d be grateful for a few links.

    I first noticed an unwillingness to discuss EU matters a couple of years previously during the Greek crisis. That was big news. Everyone who is interested in the EU must have had an opinion one way or the other. There wasn’t quite the same blackout and there were some good articles like this but at the same time I would say it didn’t rate as highly as it should on the interest scale.

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/opinion-lessons-from-greece-why-liberal-democrats-need-to-rethink-their-enthusiasm-for-the-euro-46687.html

  • Peter Martin 16th Jan '19 - 11:13am

    @ Chris Moore,

    PS Forgot to add that Energlyn Chruchill, the author of the second link makes the same point in the article:

    “The Liberal Democrats have been very quiet on the Greek crisis. Perhaps this can be attributed to preoccupation with a leadership election? Or, perhaps, it is because it raises some uncomfortable questions about our policy position on Europe, specifically our enthusiasm for the Euro.”

    I’d say the discomfort is not just about the euro. It’s about the operation of the democratic process within the EU.

  • Daniel Henry 16th Jan '19 - 12:46pm

    I’m always a bit nervous when we release a party political broadcast – some of our past efforts have been seriously cringeworthy.

    This one was very good – full credit to everyone involved with it.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jan '19 - 2:18pm

    “It’s not metropolitan elitist to say that while not every leave voter was racist, all the racists voted leave.”

    Therefore, to confirm our anti racist credentials we should really vote to Remain? Is this really logical thinking?

    Technically is it has elements of the ad-hominem and Guilt by association fallacies:

    Group A makes a particular claim.
    Group B, which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, makes the same claim as Group A.
    Therefore, Group A is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated with Group B, and inherits how negatively viewed it is.

    Another example of this fallacy would be:

    No-one who dislikes the monarchy would vote Tory. I support the monarchy, therefore I have to vote Tory.

    We know that this isn’t true and many people, who support monarchy, vote for many different political parties.

  • Peter Martin,

    Jennie’s comment is on her own lived personal experiences:

    “It’s not metropolitan elitist to say that many leave voters voted the way they did for racist or xenophobic reasons when I saw a group of people in the street following a Polish person chanting “we voted for you to f*** off” the day after the vote.

    It’s not metropolitan elitist to say that while not every leave voter was racist, all the racists voted leave.”

    There are a myriad of reasons why people may have chosen to vote leave in 2016. However, as the recent BBC drama reminded us – the Leave campaign messaging focused on two key messages – £350 million a week for the NHS; and the potential impact on migration of Turkey’s accession to the EU and the influx of refugees from the Syrian conflict to Europe.
    That kind of political propaganda emboldens some of the more unsavory xenophobia in society – albeit among a relatively small minority.
    It is rightly countered by a focus on the real social and economic benefits that freedom of movement within the EU represents to both Britain and UK expatriates in Europe.

  • Joe Bourke
    The statement that “not all leave voters are racists, but all racist voted leave” is simply an unprovable glib and silly verbal cliché that trips off the tongue. It is plainly designed to cast aspersions on ones political opponents through implying guilt by association.

  • chris moore 16th Jan '19 - 4:49pm

    @Peter Martin,

    In general, in Britain, there isn’t much discussion of what’s happening politically. in other countries, whether things are going badly or well.

    But this is true of all countires I’ve lived in: several in Europe, plus US, plus Japan.

    Human beings focus on their own patch. Lib Dems and Remainers are human beings – probably- therefore…..

    You do not have to have a compendious knowledge of other European countries to see the advantages of staying in the EU.

    Reagrding racism: I can’t halp thinking , you’re making a meal of it. There probably are more racist attitudes amongst Leavers than Remainers. That doesn’t mean most Leavers are racists. Nor does it mean no Remainers have racist attitudes: of course, some will.

    Leavers and Remainers are human beings: there will be a wide and generous distribution of flaws and vices amongst them all. Thank goodness for that!

    I’m not intereseted in daft stereotyopes about either side. Utterly boring.

    What I would like to hear from you, is why you think the UK would be better off out of the EU? And which particular flavour of Brexit you prefer?

    All the best

  • Peter Martin 16th Jan '19 - 7:33pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    The UK would be better off in a well run EU. IMO. If only that were an option! The slightly disappointing aspect to the whole debate, at least in the UK, is that it is looked at purely in UK terms. ie Are we better off in or out? The problems of the EU as a whole aren’t considered.They have been ignored. Which is why I’m having a bit of a dig at Lib Dems’ lack of interest in all that. Brexit can only be understood in the wider context of the nature of the EU itself. Which isn’t necessarily the nature of Europe itself. The EU consists of economies which are highly mercantilistic, like Germany, or in a semi depressed state. Like Italy. So they aren’t good markets for UK exports. So whereas we run a surplus with the ROW in our trade we run a much bigger deficit in our EU trade. Trade deficits have to be funded by someone in the UK having borrow. The Government doesn’t want to do that so it has pushed the borrowing on to the private sector. This is why we have crazy house prices. Just too much private borrowing.

    The problems in the EU, and Brexit is just another one, originate by the imposition of a set of economic rules (aka the Stability and Growth Pact -later modified as the even worse Fiscal Compact) which are clearly not fit for purpose. Wolfgang Münchau explains the problem well enough.

    https://www.ft.com/content/e257ed96-6b2c-11e4-be68-00144feabdc0

    As he says

    “It is hard to think of a doctrine that is more ill suited to a monetary union with such diverse legal traditions, political system and economic conditions than this one. And it is equally hard to see Germany ever giving up on this. As a result the economic costs of crisis resolution will be extremely large.”

    I’d put it that if German politicians and economists are keen to run one surplus after another they should be equally keen for their trading partners to run one deficit after another. But they don’t seem to realise that everything has to sum to zero. So, for this reason, and nothing at all do with any feeling of anti-Europeanism, I would support putting as much administrative distance as possible between the UK and the EU. I’d have preferred a negotiated deal with the EU but we are very unlikely to get one that is even part way acceptable.

  • Peter Martin 16th Jan '19 - 7:34pm

    @ Chris Moore (continued)

    It feels that there is another world recession coming along. The Australian economy is looking shaky. Who’d have thought Brexit could have caused Sydney house prices to fall? So if GFC part 2 hits this year or next I would say that the eurozone won’t survive the shock. The German euro will be much sought after and no-one will want Italian and Greek euros. Maybe French euros too the way things are going. The peg will have to break unless Germany agrees to allow the ECB to bail out the system to the tune of hundreds of billion of euros, and countries like Italy will have to agree to more nonsensical economic austerity.

    I’m not sure if I’m being too pessimistic! We’ll have to see!

  • chris moore 17th Jan '19 - 9:08am

    Yes, well said on the well-run EU! There are many aspects that need major reform. Maybe the rise of Eurosceptic parties in otehr European countries will be a spur to reform…. But I’m not holding my breath.

    A pipe dream also to have a well-run UK government……

    I entirely agree on the Growth and Stability pact.

    As you know we don’t trade directly with the EU. We have a surplus with some EU countires and a defict with others – notably Germany.

    Whether we’re in déficit or surplus, overall, free trade’s beneficial to both.

    Regarding Lib Dems thinking about what’s better for Europe as a whole,: there are a few such individuals in teh Lib Dems, but they don’t get any of the daily media exposure; it’s simply not a subject that interests enough public.

    Rank and file Lib Dems are on the whole ordinary individuals, who have typical concerns about their own lives and by extensión the fate of the UK. I think you are asking too much!!

    Anyway, how depressing! today we are in agreement, so the conversation runs out of gas. I hope we’ll find some other subject to disagree on later.

    all the best

  • Peter Martin 17th Jan '19 - 11:54am

    @ Chris M,

    “Whether we’re in déficit or surplus, overall, free trade’s beneficial to both.”

    This is a perfectly valid POV. But it does require some understanding. According to conventional thinking the country with the surplus has the advantage. But, another way of looking at it is to say that the country which is trading fewer real things for more real things gets the better deal. The difference is simply made up with the IOUs of the deficit country.

    The issuing of these IOUs does mean extra debt of course. The problem arises when the Govt doesn’t want to shoulder its fair share of debt and starts to impose austerity economics and push the debt burden on to the private sector. Which is precisely what’s happened in recent years. It’s led to Brexit IMO.

    So “Rank and file Lib Dems” who “are on the whole ordinary individuals” need to take an interest in this sort of thing. You are probably right, though, when you say ” it’s simply not a subject that interests enough (of the) public.”

    And because of that we are we are in a big mess! So, maybe we need to think how we can create some interest?

  • @Peter Martin:

    And don’t forget the principle of comparative advantage.

  • PS You are an idealist….

  • Peter Martin 17th Jan '19 - 12:41pm

    @ Chris Moore,

    Why do you think I might be forgetting that?

  • Richard Underhill 26th Jan '19 - 10:41am

    At the count in the 2016 referendum a young lady burst into tears when the nationwide result was announced. She said she had spent her whole life (so far) trying to build things, rather than trying to destroy them. In essence this was a criticism of David Cameron for trying to concentrate too much on economic criteria.
    As it happens the country which I had visited most often was Belgium. The nationalism of President De Gaulle had forced the NATO HQ out of Paris, although France continued to play its full part in the dinners, wine tastings and museum visits for several years until a subsequent President rejoined.
    https://www.bing.com/search?q=xenophilia+meaning&form=WNSGPH&qs=AS&cvid=0a5ce25455fc452690aa5215c9b0b049&pq=xenophil&cc=GB&setlang=en-US&nclid=D19A84F13F0AA22DEE7AE50DDCF460A0&ts=1548498382046&wsso=Moderate

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  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 17th Feb - 8:44pm
    David Raw, on the contrary, I would expect both Stiglitz and Piketty are widely read- Piketty particularly having been top of Amazon.Com and New York...
  • User Avatarfrankie 17th Feb - 8:43pm
    On question time Lord Wee Mogg mentioned Ineos had sent a complaining letter to the EU. He failed to mention they where spending 3 billion...
  • User AvatarLibDemer 17th Feb - 8:34pm
    British international aid should be administered with conditions attached. Such as improving the human rights of LGBT communities worldwide. If foreign governments are unwilling to...
  • User AvatarPeter Chambers 17th Feb - 8:16pm
    Structure is boring but important. I seem to recall this was something that sensible people tried to tell the first Blair government, seemingly taking several...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 17th Feb - 7:54pm
    @ Joe Bourke "The economist Joe Stiglitz has written extensively on the subject of economic rents. Some of his conclusions are noted here". Joe, I...
  • User AvatarRichard C 17th Feb - 7:52pm
    Interesting comments from John Marriott. As a grandson of a Women's Suffrage Campaigner who has always voted (usually Lib/Lib Dem) at every opportunity, I also...