Vince: Labour should be ashamed

Over the past few days, Liberal Democrats have been challenging Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party to back our amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would keep us in the single market which is so important for jobs and prosperity.

We are at this singularly unlucky point in time where we have a reckless and incompetent government leading us towards a potentially terrible Brexit. It doesn’t know what it wants as ministers say different things. You have both Gove and Davis undermining the deal before the ink is dry. It does nothing for the reputation of our country.

You would think that in the face of this disaster, an opposition party would do what it says on the tin, oppose. But, no. They send Keir Starmer on to the Sunday morning media circuit to say some soft words about how important it is to retain the benefits of the single market and the customs union but just two days later they fail to support an amendment that would allow us to have just that.

It’s not unexpected. Labour MPs voted against staying in the single market during the debate on the Article 50 Bill and in the Summer. You would think, though, that after the last week, when potential damage to Northern Ireland was laid bare, they would have found the courage of their convictions and voted for what they say they want.

All those Remain supporting young people who voted for Corbyn thinking that Labour would stop Brexit should be under no illusion now.

Following the vote tonight, Vince Cable said:

Labour let down British workers tonight.

This ends any pretence that Jeremy Corbyn is fighting for us to stay in the single market.

He whipped his MPs to support the Conservatives, sitting on his hands rather than voting against their extreme Brexit plans.

This is now a Tory-Labour Brexit

It looks at first glance like fewer Labour MPs supported the amendment than supported Chuka Umunna’s in the Summer – 40 ish now compared to 50 ish then.

What’s really annoying is that our future prosperity is being diminished before our eyes and it’s not been top billing on the news. The government should be fighting to survive every vote on this awful legislation but, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, it seems that they can pretty much do what they like.

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

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55 Comments

  • Labour are too scared to take a firm position on this. Back the single market and they lose too many old labour voters who backed BREXIT oppose the single market outright and they lose the remainers…

    Corbyn wants an election before he shows his true duplicitous nature.

  • Actually, I rather thought Keir Starmer was playing a pretty sophisticated political hand – but then what do I know when we can go in for a bit of Corbyn bashing instead of trying to build bridges to get this awful Tory Government out..

  • Face it. Corbyn is a far-left extremist and more deeply, rabidly Eurosceptic than most of the Tory front bench. There’s nothing ‘progressive’ about this puppet of Putin, and the LibDems should regard this man as an enemy of all we stand for.

  • I fear taking this solidly anti-Brexit stand the Lib Dems are doing great damage to their electoral prospects. This stand only got us a derisory share of the vote at the last election and will do so again. The Lib Dems must be constructive over Brexit and accept the referendum result.
    Putting our heads in the sand and pretending the referendum vote does not matter is a slap in the face to democracy in the UK.

  • People voted for a stupid decision, we should go along with it. Really so we should decide that because people voted that 2 + 2 = 5 we should agree they are right.

    Or as someone else more eloquently put it

    “The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
    ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

  • Peter Martin 12th Dec '17 - 11:55pm

    @ Carol,

    We’ve seen enough evidence in the last decade that the real problem in both the EU and the UK is economic austerity. That’s been the underlying cause of the social disquiet we’ve seen everywhere in the EU and the UK since 2008.

    The phrase “it’s the economy, stupid” is often used to emphasise just what wins and loses elections. I’d argue that the poor state of the economy, and not just in the UK, not only lost the referendum for the Remainers but brought it about in the first place.

    So you can be angry with Labour, and Jeremy Corbyn in particular, if you like, but that’s just a scapegoating exercise. The Labour Party aren’t the real problem. To think that you’d have to say that excess Labour Govt spending in the UK not only caused the GFC in the UK, but caused it in the USA too.

    The best way to rehabilitate the EU in people’s thinking is to campaign for an end of austerity everywhere. If the EU was working well we’d have people in the UK leaving to work in the EU in at least equal numbers to those moving in this direction. The EU would be a much better market for UK exports, and trade would be approximately in balance – just as it is with the rest of the world. Our levels of debt would be lower. Someone has to borrow to support the trade imbalance.

    What, then, would there be not to like about the EU?

  • Katharine Pindar 13th Dec '17 - 12:07am

    Vince is right, Labour is letting down the workers by continuing to oppose staying in the single market. It appears we have built bridges with 40 or 50 Labour MPs, David, but can’t sway the leadership. I watched Tom Brake speak, and then Anna Soubry, but did not catch the actual vote – I suppose on Amendment 124 – having to go out to a local Lib Dem meeting. (How does one get the latest detail on these votes, since they could be at any time?)

    If Keir Starmer is indeed playing a sophisticated game, it is a dangerous one. The more the public hear that Brexit is a done deal, the more people will think there is little point going on opposing it. I suppose he must be relying on the negotiations showing that any trade deal is patently less advantageous than what we have now, and that the latest fudge on the Irish border will be shown up as futile in the end. The public is most likely quietly working that out, since people are generally not fools, and the situation may yet be saved. Meantime, however, the poorest suffer with the rise in inflation, and we need to be shouting about that too.

  • Peter Martin
    A bit of hyper-inflation to sort things out?
    Europe has been there before.

  • @LibDemer
    “””I fear taking this solidly anti-Brexit stand the Lib Dems are doing great damage to their electoral prospects. This stand only got us a derisory share of the vote at the last election and will do so again”””

    I think it’s rather difficult to pinpoint one thing as the cause of the disappointing 7.4% in June. I doubt our stance on Europe was the cause though. Certainly some Liberal Democrat voters switched away from us because of it, and some voters switched to us because of it. My experience of extensive canvassing in a Conservative facing, softly Brexit constituency was that we gained more than we lost, but not by a significant margin.

    The reason for the fall in vote nationally is probably;
    1. A relentless squeeze. When the 2 main parties in a 2-party dominated system drift off to the extremes (Labour to hard left, Conservative to hard brexit), a centrist party gets squeezed even harder (even though instinctively we think it’s the time for it to do well). The soft Conservatives get too afraid of Corbyn, and the middle class soft Labour get too afraid of hard brexit (even though Labour were no better on thus, but this ability to draw in remainers was one of the masteries of Labour’s campaign)
    2. Loss of campaign infrastructure post 2015. A great many Liberal Democrat voters only stay as Liberal Democrat voters as long as the area they live is being worked, both long before an election and during the campaign. Am sure in many constituencies we held until 2015 and since then fell into a state of barebones activity as a result of loss of paid staff and elected politicians at both local and national level meant the Liberal Democrat vote softened, and there was insufficient infrastructure and momentum to mount effective campaigns in May and June. So a lot of that vote slipped away.

    It should be noted that we held Brexit voting Norfolk North and gained Brexit voting Eastbourne. We also lost Richmond Park, Leeds NW, Sheffield Hallam and Ceredigion, all of which were remain voting constituencies. So I think the EU position is not quite as clear cut as you are making out.

    One thing that is indisputable is our EU stance brought in a lot of new activists who were essential in working the groundwar in the constituencies we did win in.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '17 - 7:36am

    @Manfarang,

    So, you’re saying that the only alternative to economic austerity is hyperinflation?

  • Graham Evans 13th Dec '17 - 7:51am

    @ Peter Martin The reason why so few British people move to continental Europe to take up work is because of the unwillingness of most Britons to learn a foreign language. Even young well educated people wanting to do a gap year before going off to university are more likely to go to an English speaking country like the US or Australia rather than continental Europe. If they do visit a non English speaking country they don’t bother to stay long enough to learn the local language. At the other end of the age spectrum it is shaming that so many retired people choose to move to countries like Spain but never bother to pick up the local language, preferring to live in international ghettos where English is the lingua franca.
    Incidentally, while the UK is still the preferred destination of most immigrants from East Europe this has recently started to change significantly as Britain is starting to acquire a reputation as a country hostile to outsiders at all levels of skills and education.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '17 - 9:45am

    @ Graham Evans,

    Working people tend not to move from London to Malaga for the same reason they don’t move to Belfast. It’s nothing to do with language, which is the same, or was the last time I was there, in both cities. They don’t generally move because, usually, there is more money to be made in London than there is in Belfast.

    Of course it’s different for retired people who are more interested in the climate than they are in earning money. In which case Malaga might be slightly more preferable than Belfast.

  • Graham Evens
    People come to Britain without learning the language. There is nothing inherently terrible about not learning a language. Where. I live multiple languages are spoken. It’s a myth that all Europeans have good English. It’s one of those beliefs that get trotted out with much less basis in reality than is commonly believed, like the idea that dubbed films are the province of Americans and Brits. In most of the world English language films are dubbed for local markets, much more so than visa versa. The reason people go to work in America or Britain is mostly the cultural and financial dominance of London and New York. It’s the mid Atlantic thing. I think that one of the main reasons “liberalism” can raise a groan in the population is that some liberals are forever telling people off and getting their backs up. It’s not a vote winning strategy and most of the time what is being said is reductionist and simplistic, anyway. There are reasons why the Lib Dems stalled in the last election.
    The point here is that Labour’s strategy is more successful because it is closer to electoral realty than the mythic 48%. I’m afraid that the Lib Dem Leadership is stuck in a kind of niche marketing mentality. Obviously, the Lib Dems is a mostly pro EU party (only 30% of LDs voted Leave) and thus needs to reflect that, but not the obsessive degree on offer at the moment. Coz the reality is there will have to be a post-Brexit realignment and it surely makes sense to prepare for it.

  • Both are right: Vince for keeping the pressure up on Labour, and Labour for waiting for the right moment. Corbyn’s best-before-date is approaching fast, and he has just one bullet in his pistol. When the right moment has come, his parliamentary party will let him know the price of moving to No. 10: EU membership.

  • William Fowler 13th Dec '17 - 10:07am

    Labour left want the power to do all sorts of communistic stuff that EU laws prevent, Conservative Right want to turn us into a Western Singapore, more concerned with letting large companies rip off individuals without their recourse to current EU protections.

    History of market crashes says if you interfere too much you end up having an even bigger crash later on (so the UK is going to get hammered not because of austerity but because the govn didn’t take the opportunity to properly balance the books). Austerity in Europe has been more about not obeying Euro zone rules on govn spending than anything else, having the Germans hovering over things with a big stick is actually a good thing as it stops countries going the way of Zimbabwe (it is notable that the Greeks were petrified about leaving the Euro as they knew the govn would reduce the new currency to near zero as will Labour with Sterling given half a chance). Guess who suffers the most in a Zimbabwe type scenario, the very people the anti-austerity crowd want to protect.

    As a remainer, the govn is doing okay at the moment. It is up to the EU to propose some radical changes to freedom of movement to put a second referendum on the table in the UK, no change from them probably no impetus to break through the various strands of political madness.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '17 - 10:34am

    @ William Fowler,

    Market crashes aren’t caused by excessive Govt borrowing for the simple reason that no-one can force the Govt (if its in charge of its own currency) to pay anything back that it has borrowed. It does repay, of course, but usually by creating more debt to sell to someone else. It all sounds rather odd to us because we aren’t currency issuers, but the economics from the perspective of a currency issuer has to be different to that of a currency user.

    So, the “History of market crashes says” that excessive private sector borrowing is to blame. As happened in 1929 and again in 2008. And many other times too of course. In the 19th century they were called “Panics”. Such as the “Panic of 1847” which started as a collapse of British financial markets associated with the end of the 1840s railway industry boom. Nothing to do with Govt spending.

    If you or I borrow excessively, we can help create asset price bubbles in the stock or property markets. If the bubble bursts then we can’t repay our debts. If that happens on a large scale we have a crash.

    The government, as a currency issuer, can always repay its debt. The danger is that excessive govt borrowing, which is really the issuing of IOUs or extra currency, can produce too much inflation if its overdone. But, on the other hand, if it’s underdone we can have too much recession.

  • Stephen Booth 13th Dec '17 - 10:51am

    I think we should begin to be worried about Labour’s treatment of parliament and the missed opportunities to moderate the Brexit legislation. I can’t help thinking that Corbyn, McDonnell and the other fellow traveller from Labour’s leadership hierarchy have given up on parliament and are biding their time for the next election when they hope to sweep to power and will effectively rule through Henry VIII powers, secondary legislation and decree. They need watching. They are neither democrats or liberals.

  • The number of Corbyn & Labour apologists is astounding.

    “Playing a sophisticated game” – “biding his time” – “don’t want to anger the electorate”.

    You are applauding populist appeasement.

    I much prefer principled leadership, and I’m very glad the Liberal Democrats are continuing in this tradition.

  • Having read through this thread and the replies it seems that, like our time in coalition, Labour bashing is our main raison d’etre….
    I watched Marr’s interview with Starmer ( Which bit of Starmer’s insistence that Labour wanted to retain the benefits of the Single Market and the Custom’s Union did Vince, and Caron, miss?)…Starmer was eloquent and clear (despite Marr trying to get headline quotes from balanced replies)… l was impressed…

    David Davis on the other hand had sent his twin brother to refute most of what he had said just days before…Still why bash Davis when Corbyn is available…

  • expats,

    i suspect a degree of Labour bashing is driven by disappointment they have yet to fall off the wall onto the side of remain. No point bashing the Tories for that you’d expect no better of them and in that they disappoint no one. I understand the path they are trying to take, but I’d like stronger leadership, rather than follow the crowd (which is what they are doing). Now follow the crowd may well get them into office, but that reflects not to well on them or the public in my opinion (but perhaps that says more about me than them).

  • Andy Daer
    And even less voted to Remain in Europe. The reality of politics is that politicians need to be elected to get anywhere. It is the politicians rather than the electorate who are replaceable. Blocking Brexit has currency here. But it would cause huge political problems. Far bigger ones than leaving the EU. This is what Labour and the Conservatives recognise. The lib Dems currently have about 7% of the vote and are not connecting with the electorate even on what some on here think is the strongest policy.
    Corbyn, “the joke” candidate as you call him, won the leadership when the selection process was democratised by being moved away from block votes and the mechanisms of the PLC. It is thus likely that Labour Party people are somewhat more socialist than was being reflected by their Party’s traditional leadership. Corbyn, trounced the other candidates and this is true even amongst the older Labour Party membership.

  • Geln,

    And what would be the large political problems. The Tory party would implode (that isn’t a problem for me) and speed up it’s rebirth as Torykip (that will happen anyway). The Daily Mail/Express and it’s readership would have an hissy fit (I’d enjoy watching). You and many other Brexiteers wouldn’t be happy but would do very little and the rest of us would move on. I really don’t see any large political problems just sunlit uplands.

    I appreciate it’s hard coming up with reasons to carry Brexit out after so many of the Brexit claims have been shredded by reality and the sole reason left “Because turning back would shred the self worth of Brexiteers” isn’t a good enough reason for me.

  • Frankie.
    The tory party would not implode, There would be a brief spat and they would regroup quickly, coz they do this a lot. You hard Remain supporters keep spinning these scenarios out but you can’t translate it into either electoral votes or parliamentary votes. It’s the real Tinkerbell thinking you specifically accuse other people of.
    Personally, I would continue voting for the Lib Dems, although I do toy with Labour.
    So far Remain lost the referendum, has lost every single parliamentary vote since, the main pro-EU party also lost votes and yet people like your good self keep coming out with this stuff. It might rally the troops for a few more months, but beyond that has no real traction either in parliament or electorally.
    Anyway, I’m not getting into this with you again.

  • Peter Martin 13th Dec '17 - 12:58pm

    @ frankie,

    There would be huge problems for any government deciding to ignore the referendum result. Especially if it were composed of MPs who had originally voted for the referendum to be held. It might just about be possible if there were a second referendum (or third if we count 1975 as the first one! ), but this might not be any more likely to produce your preferred result.

    You’d then be in the same position as an Army general who had deposed a democratically elected government to “save the country from Communism” and “protect democracy” by abolishing democracy.

    There was a time to have been against the idea of any referendum. ie Before any enabling legislation was passed. But because nearly all remainers were so confident they’d win they voted for it. There were just a few exceptions like Kenneth Clarke. Didn’t Nick Clegg manage to somehow abstain from the vote too?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '17 - 1:02pm

    expats

    You have sometimes misunderstood me as being to the right of the party and anti left, whereas the fact is I was for years a moderate and sometimes active member of the Labour party , old and new, versions, from teenage years to adult man. If Starmer or Burnham or especially Jarvis led it , I would call and work for a broad centre let grouping, as should have happened from Kinnock to Brown.

    Why now do you and one or two others, David Raw an example, consistently yearn for no criticism of Labour when they are not led by these mentioned, and, under Corbyn, are unlikely to ever agree with this party establishing links or unity.

    If the aims and benefits of the single market are important, why not vote for the Liberal Democrat amendment, like two Tories and forty Labour mps have?

  • Arnold Kiel 13th Dec '17 - 1:33pm

    Brexit must be stopped, therefore it can be stopped, therefore it will be stopped. It is that simple. Most MPs know it, so do most voters by now, and more do so by the day. In a year’s time, when this process culminates, Corbyn will understand the choice he has between Brexit and his socialist experiment. The required Tory rebellion is only available against the former. He should also understand that that his popular overrating will not last until he turns 73.

  • Ethicsgradient 13th Dec '17 - 2:27pm

    @Arnold Kiel

    “Brexit must be stopped, therefore it can be stopped, therefore it will be stopped. It is that simple. Most MPs know it, so do most voters by now, and more do so by the day. In a year’s time, when this process culminates..”

    Arnold, with respect, I think you have a tin ear. You project your own personal view onto how you ‘hope’ voters might be thinking. I suggest to you once more that the majority of the public not not feel this way. If there were another referendum I am sure (although the only way to prove would be to have another referendum, I’d be happy to have one) the UK would vote even more strongly to leave. For 3 reasons: 1, at least 1/2 the county are comfortable leaving the EU/internal market/ customs union. 2. a huge sense of betrayal would drive significant sums of voters to a leave vote. 3. People really do think, beyond some rocky transition the uk will be able to survive and do fine.

    Because you do not agree with this opinion does not also mean that you view is right either. That’s the way it is.

  • Lorenzo Cherin (13th Dec ’17 – 1:02pm)….

    Lorenzo, your political views are for you decide, as are mine and, may I venture to say, are David Raw’s…
    I have no problem with criticism of Labour/Corbyn if based on facts…However, 3rd post down from Red Liberal (12th Dec ’17 – 11:02pm) and Andy Daer (13th Dec ’17 – 1:37pm) and, may I say, from LDV articles are the usual level of attack….
    Labour’s policies, under Corbyn, are far more in keeping with the balance across Europe than the Stalinist era of Russia….
    A few months ago it was all about his ‘terrorist sympathies but, now that the DUP are considered ‘mainstream, the emphasis is about his seeking to create a dictatorship…
    I just wish that those who parrot the Daily Mail would take the time to listen to what he says, what he writes, etc.

  • Andy,
    I’m not sure that’s true. The vote was turned over to labour Party members and even the older members voted overwhelming for Corbyn They then gained votes in their heartlands as well as elsewhere.
    And as you say cognitive bias includes both camps, plus results in every elections and your views on Corbyn as well as my views Corbyn. He seems okay to me, but he’s not my hero. I’m not a member of the Labour Party.
    I don’t wan to stop the world. I was just pointing out that there is no political will to stop Brexit and I would argue less votes in it than chaps like you seem to think. Every parliamentary vote as been passed with ease, the two Brexit friendly parties increased their vote share, most of the pro EU ones actually lost votes and so on. The thing about invoking cognitive bias as an argument is that it alters nothing and will continue to be a factor in subsequent elections.

  • Having missed the reasons behind the EU referendum result some are at risk of also missing the motives for the possibility of a Corbyn government [To be more accurate, it will be a John McDonnell government].

    Leavers were composed of ‘sovereignty re-claimers’, and ‘the left behind’ The ‘sovereignty reclaimers’ like Farage, Reece Mogg, and myself for that matter, are just one side of the ‘leaver’ coin. It’s the ‘left behind’ that, could change the whole dynamic of the next election. If we re-define them as ‘resource poor’, it might help to see what might come next.
    By voting to leave the EU, the underlying cry from ‘the resource poor’, was:

    “Stop wasting ‘our’ valuable resources in external activities such as an undemocratic EU super-state which no-one asked for, and instead devise UK policy to reclaim and re-allocate those scarce resources here in the UK where they are needed by our own, austerity induced, resource poor”

    But crucially, a return of sovereignty back to the UK is NOT the whole picture. The question(s) to be asked now are :

    Will the ‘resource poor’, be ‘satiated’ merely by return of sovereignty? The answer is NO.

    Will the ‘resource poor’, be ‘satiated’ by existing Tory or indeed Lib Dem policy? The answer is NO, because neither the Tories nor the Lib Dems, have any discernible policies that remotely meet the ‘chasm of poverty’ and the resource re-allocation necessary to close it.

    Will the ‘resource poor’, be ‘satiated’ by a Corbyn government? The answer is YES, because McDonnell has a ‘resource printing press’, and he intends to use it, in Hyper-drive!.

    The more economically literate might be horrified at the prospect of a McDonnell printing press in hyper-drive, But the establishment [including Lib Dems frankly!], have given the ‘resource poor’ nothing but soothing words, but no practical policy help.
    If ‘the establishment’ , constantly give them the ‘middle finger’ and refuse to listen, and re-allocate resources fairly, then the ‘resource poor’, will, [logically], TAKE those resources via McDonnell’s printing press, even at the risk of burning the economic house down for us all.
    In the final innings, human nature always bats last.

  • Tony Greaves 13th Dec '17 - 4:28pm

    David Raw: I do think that Starmer is working very hard to udge the Labour Party into a position where they finally vote against Brexit or at least for a new referendum on the terms. But the idea that we can work with the Labour party per se (as opposed to their people who are working to oppose hard Brexit and indeed Brexit itself) is fantasy land. Their position is intrinsically dishonest and they are stuck with that dishonesty at least for the moment because it worked for them at the General Election – and their leadership is anti-EU. As for Corbyn he is trapped by his party and is turning out to be a charlatan. But it will take time for that to be seen more generally.

    A lot is at present down to pro-European Labour members to bolster Starmer and his friends put a lot of pressure on Corbyn and McDonnell and friends. Meanwhile we must just keep on the pressure from outside.

  • Tony Greaves 13th Dec ’17 – 4:28pm……………….But the idea that we can work with the Labour party per se (as opposed to their people who are working to oppose hard Brexit and indeed Brexit itself) is fantasy land……..

    Strange, then, that we seem able to work together this evening on the Brexit vote!

  • Richard O'Neill 13th Dec '17 - 8:54pm

    It feels as if Corbyn is just storing up problems for himself should he become PM. Starmer’s interventions are always a bit doubtful as it is unclear whether this is actual Labour policy or just his own opinion.

    At the moment Corbyn just seems intent on giving the govt a hard time rather than taking a principled stand. It is working for the moment but has no long term potential as a policy.

  • Expats.
    I think this vote was much more about the attempted power grab of the so-called-Henry-VIII-clause than Brexit. There were sound parliamentary reasons for the defeat. As a leave supporter, I would have voted against it as well. Apart from anything else small majority governments. don’t get to change the parliamentary rules to that degree. I think parliament rather than Brexit was to the fore in this vote. which is why there was no directive to abstain. So I would argue that it was not lib Dems and labour working together that did this, but rather MPs saying No!. Too close for entirely my liking, but never the less a sensible result. Good work by the Lib Dems. Labour, SNP and Conservative MPs who saw off a blatant Tory power grab.

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin “Why now do you and one or two others, David Raw an example, consistently yearn for no criticism of Labour”. Not so, no. Just a distaste for knee jerk right wing vapourings.

    As a self proclaimed creative artist, you’ve obviously got a vivid imagination Lorenzo, as you’ve demonstrated here……. but, again, no.

    As to your own stance I’ll happily accept your word that you’re a not quite radical but a bit more centralist sometimes moderate but not always one time active and sometimes not active former Labour supporter who is certainly never consistently right wing all the time and as a former supporter of the EU, but not any more, sort of essentially democratic on occasion.

    As I’ve told you before – a few early nights makes the world seem a brighter place and would certainly invigorate your creativity…… though not at my expense if you please !!

  • @ Tony Greaves. Tony, I’m glad you agree with my assessment of Keir Starmer.

    From my old Methodist Sunday School days I well remember Isaiah 11:6, which, as Christmas nears, seems appropriate.

    “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them”.

    Now I don’t regard the worthy Keir as a little child – far from it – but he does seem to be having a useful and influential impact on the Islington Allotmenteer.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '17 - 10:50pm

    expats

    A moderate and sensible comment. I do think that the specific purpose of my comment though was to say that the alliances between our parties are few and not as strong , mainly or often due to the posturing or tribalism, often Labour, sometimes Liberal Democrat. You should get the reason I brought up my stance, is if American based we would all have been members of the same party throughout.

    David Rw

    The jolly hilarious go at humour dissapoints on that front and more seriously, because you of all, should relate to what I said, even your friend, no sarcasm, meant, Tony Greaves, is saying more against Corbyn and co than me, and you conveniently pick his mild approval of one aspect of their Brexit spokesman, interestingly, when I mention him favourably and Jarvis , you ignore my commentary as if so very funny.

    I am fed up with sensible points and heartfelt comments trashed or mocked, as I am of the hobby horses of political anorak wearers, something , David you seem to feel too.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec '17 - 10:53pm

    p.s.
    David you are only radical if saying something different to others or original, when that happens here , from you or any, let me know.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Dec '17 - 5:45am

    Peter Martin: So representatives exercising representative democracy is equivalent to a military coup? I wou/ld say it’s the other way round. the “Army Generals” are those who keep on saying that “the people have spoken”, so we “have to” support Brexit, and any dissent is “anti-democratic” and so must be crushed.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Dec ’17 – 10:50pm…..expats…A moderate and sensible comment. I do think that the specific purpose of my comment though was to say that the alliances between our parties are few and not as strong , mainly or often due to the posturing or tribalism, often Labour, sometimes Liberal Democrat. You should get the reason I brought up my stance, is if American based we would all have been members of the same party throughout…..

    Thanks for that…I try and avoid personality based posting (although I seem to be in permanent pre-mod)…
    This morning’s Daily Mail should act as a ‘not to do’ for many posters here…The ‘ability’ to turn from a vote for democracy into ‘traitors letting a Marxist into number 10’ shows where the real threat to our country lies…

    As for being in the same party..Yes, we’re a bit like a large family at a wedding/funeral where “Wot Susan said to our Kevin” tends to overshadow the reason we are all there/here…

  • Jayne mansfield 14th Dec '17 - 8:51am

    @ Richard O’ Neill,
    I am pleased that the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbin is intent on giving the government a hard time. I am pleased that there have been numerous successes that have led to important government U turns.

    The long term policy is stated in the manifesto and it is says more about the Liberal Democrat Party than it says about the current Labour Party if the policies are deemed ‘hard left’.

    I am delighted at the way Keir Starmer is ‘sticking’ it to David, ‘dog ate my homework’, Davis’, and Labour is attacking the vicious tory rabble.

    The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn as a individual, (or indeed individuals who voted leave during the referendum) , are not working. I am perplexed that a Liberal Democrat party, consisting of so many intelligent people, believes that repeating an ineffective strategy will one day yield a different outcome.

  • Andy
    No it’s not. It’s saying recognising cognitive bias does not make it go away. Personally, my bias is not unconscious. I simply do not like the project in and of itself, I do not believe political union is desirable, don’t support freedom of movement, don’t believe that nation states are innately bad, want to re-emphasis national politics, actively want to reduce Britain’s role in the world and so on. In short, I simply think the EU is a bad idea . There is nothing unconscious about this anymore than you believing the EU is a good idea is unconscious. I absolutely accept that other people disagree with me on membership of the EU and believe that it is perfectly reasonable to do so. I’m not here to persuade anyone, I’m more fed up of being told what people I don’t know think I believe by people who are not me. Note to your good self and others on here, I never tell people who disagree with me what I think they think or pretend I have a psychological insight into the minds of Remain voters.
    My positive version of a Britain outside of the EU is a Britain with less pretentions to global clout, more concentration on domestic politics and more responsive to the electorate.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Dec '17 - 7:22pm

    Jayne mansfield: It would have been nice if Corbyn had been “giving the government a hard time” much more on EU policy earlier. Instead he seems content to let the Tories push us towardsa hard Brexit. No amount of spin about how he’s “playing a long game” (what happened to the idea that he was a man of principle?) can change the justified suspicion that he is following his long-held belief (as shown by his voting record) that the EU is a capitalist conspiracy that undermines his dream of a socialist utopia. He has tricked many small-l liberal internationalist voters into believing he supports their worldview, and it is up to us, the real liberal internationalists, to point out that actually, he does not.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Dec ’17 – 7:22pm…Corbyn voted ‘Remain’..As for his history; it is a few short years ago that LibDems were clamouring for an ‘In/Out’ referendum on the EU…

    BTW using terms like ‘socialist utopia’ undermines what little credibility your argument had..

  • Alex Macfie 15th Dec '17 - 9:11am

    Andy Daer: The reasons it is hard for us to make progress relate mainly to the Coalition. I was one of those who was critical of the party leadership’s approach to coalition government (while supporting coalition in principle). There are still many voters who have not yet forgiven us for our role in (as they see it) enabling the Tories between 2010 and 2015. Despite our campaign promise not to go into coalition after 2017, they probably couldn’t trust us not to form a coalition or other looser arrangement with the Tories. The Labour left certainly lose no opportunity to remind voters of our role in the Coalition. What makes it harder for us is that Momentum-ites seeking to eliminate us, and do not mind if the Tories win as a consquence (we get in the way of tribal two-party politics on which they thrive). This explains our loss of Southport, for instance, and our failure to win several target seats from the Tories.
    And the disaster of 2015 left us moribund in vast swathes of the country, which makes revival very difficult for a party that has always worked on local campaigning. Revival is a long-term process, and while good local by-election results help, they need to be sustained.
    This also answers Jayne’s jibe about our strategy being “ineffective”. The strategy of campaigning as an independent party, with distinct positions from either of the two main ones, is the only one that will work. Right now it’s either stay still or fall even further back.
    We criticise Corbyn and the present Labour party precisely because as liberals, we have no truck with the ideological left. To be soft on either of the two main parties would make us look like that party’s adjunct. We have enough trouble in the present polarised political environment, when everyone is apparently expected to ‘pick a side’ and supporting us will apparently let in the other side.

  • Expats,
    You’re basing your argument on what people say and ignoring the special powers some in the remain camp possess. Brexiteers think this, Corbyn thinks that, May secretly believes the other! Amazing, up there with remote viewing. Just don’t let them stare at any goats!

  • Glenn 15th Dec ’17 – 10:12am…

    Sorry, Glenn, You’re far too cryptic for me…Any chance of you rephrasing that post?

  • Peter Martin 15th Dec '17 - 2:46pm

    @Alex Macafie,

    You would be right if the referendum had somehow been conducted without the sanction of Parliament. But once the Parliament had voted to enable the referendum, they were in effect agreeing to go along with the outcome. I’m sure there could well have been a ‘yes’ vote for a return of capital punishment, at one time, but Parliament wisely decided not to hold a referendum on the matter and insist on the principle of representative democracy.

    That would have been a valid argument on the EU question too.

    It’s no good those who voted for it to happen now saying that they only did so assuming they would win.

  • Expats
    It’s just a joke about how some in the remain camp talk like they can read minds. So when they post about Corbyn or May they claim that, despite repeated statements to the contrary, they’re really brexiters. The goat thing is a reference to the Jon Ronson book” The Men Who Stare At Goats”. It’s about the US military’s attempts to harness alleged psychic powers that involved trying to eliminate goats by staring at them.

  • Alex Macfie 15th Dec '17 - 4:32pm

    @Peter Martin: Central to democracy is the right to change your mind. This applies to representatives as well. No vote can tie the hands of representatives in future votes. This would be true even if there had not been an election since the referendum.

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