Vince on Sky News: We’ve got to stop extreme Brexit

Vince Cable gave his first big interview as probably-the-next-leader of the Lib Dems to Sophy Ridge on Sky News this morning. You can read the full transcript but here are some of the highlights.

It was, as you would expect, a reasoned, calm and accomplished performance. He certainly comes across as the grown-up in the room.

First of all, he was asked about austerity and whether or not it could continue. You could, he said, spend more money wisely:

I think what there is a big public mood for, and I think it’s right, is that we shift the balance and instead of just cutting, cutting public spending we have people willing to pay more tax and indeed my party campaigned in the general election saying a penny in the pound on income tax for the health service and I think people are up for that kind of change.  Similarly public sector pay, I mean you can’t just have unlimited public sector pay but we should be lifting public sector pay above the present cap which pushes people’s incomes down in real terms and again we argued in the election for a phased increase and so at least people’s pay – teachers, nurses – is protected in real terms.  I would also argue that it makes sense to use government’s borrowing capacity at very low interest rates to do more investment, you know, social housing, infrastructure – these are things that we could do very sensibly within sound public finance.

Asked about tuition fees, he says that we need to look at how the system has worked, but there are bigger priorities for education at the moment. He also pointed out that more needs to be done for the young people who don’t go to university. I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more from him on that in the meantime.

Well the Labour party have a ridiculously populist programme which doesn’t really stand up to investigation.  I mean if you don’t have any form of fees, who pays for universities?  How do you end this discrimination between the 40% of students who go to university and who would be subsidised as opposed to the 60% who don’t?  So that would be highly inequitable.

But we have to be careful of doing things for populist reasons:

I’d love to have more public money for education, the real pressure point at the moment is in the schools.  The schools are horribly under-funded, we are getting teachers, teaching assistants being laid off so that’s where the real priority is at the moment.  Yes, by all means let’s look at universities but universities are about the only bit of the publicly financed sector of the economy which are flourishing and for goodness sake, with some cheap populist gesture, killing that off would be a very dangerous and stupid thing to do.

On Brexit, he was clear that we have to stop the extreme version of Brexit supported by both Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May:

I have been fighting for the European Union and British membership for half a century, I am very committed to the project and I think my party is in exactly the right position, representing a very, very large swathe of public opinion that is becoming very alarmed at the way in which this hard Brexit option is being pursued not just by the Conservatives but by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party and they do want an alternative.  When we see the economic pain kicking in, more and more people are going to want an alternative and we’re the only party offering.  Just to give you a trivial example, this week’s Wimbledon is being launched and the people who normally produce the strawberries can’t produce them because the labour force has disappeared because of anxiety about their future status in Britain and that is one of hundreds and hundreds of practical examples of the way in which this extreme form of Brexit is going to harm Britain and we’ve got to stop it.

As I said yesterday, Vince is behaving like a candidate in a contest and not as someone who is the sole nominee. He’s done a lot in the last few days, successfully, I think, to reassure party members that he is going to fight for the UK’s place in the heart of Europe. The only way we have a chance of avoiding Brexit is to get Leave voters on side, so I think he will be able to speak in a way that reassures them that their concerns are acknowledged and dealt with.

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

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50 Comments

  • Paul Newman 2nd Jul '17 - 1:06pm

    Well Vince cointinues to tick all the boxes for me and I am delighetd that he opens up some of the other dimensions oifn what is not a simple question. Unfortunately I seem to be blocked from commenting ?

  • “I think it’s right, is that we shift the balance and instead of just cutting, cutting public spending we have people willing to pay more tax”

    I think this is wrong. People do want more public spending and are willing to vote for higher taxes – only for other people, not themselves.

    I’m certain that when you ask them just how much more they would like to contribute from their own pay packets, they will run a mile. It’s just Labour managed to persuade them that someone else will foot the bill.

  • Amanda Davis 2nd Jul '17 - 1:13pm

    I am very proud to be a member of the Lib Dems they put common sense into their policies if the money that all of us areally paying was proverly earmarked for certain things and we could see it was going there I believe a lot more would do it without so much moaning as well as less overseas aid

  • “That doesn’t sound much like fighting for the UK’s place at the heart of Europe to me.”

    The UK will be “at the heart of Europe” when it joins Schengen, the Euro (including having a common budget and finance minister) and signs up to co-operation on defence and foreign policy and a generalized commitment to “ever closer union”.

    i.e. NEVER.

  • David Evershed 2nd Jul '17 - 4:46pm

    Vince forgot to mention that there is plenty of scope for improving productivity in public services and that should be a necessary pre-condition to any salary increases – the same in the private sector.

    Productivity in the UK has not increased over the last decade so you can’s expect real term salary increases – economies don’t work that way..

  • Dave Orbison 2nd Jul '17 - 6:05pm

    David Evershed – “there is plenty of scope for improving productivity in public services and that should be a necessary pre-condition to any salary increases – the same in the private sector.”

    Utter rubbish. I managed a successful chemical company. Yes of course we looked for improvements in productivity, relentlessly. However, we never held a dedicated workforce to ransom that any pay increase would have to be paid for out of productivity improvements alone. The shrine of ‘private enterprise’ is precisely the nonsense that has been used to undermine public services for far too long.

    How can a hospital porter have any impact on NHS productivity? To tell porters as just one example, that they cannot have a pay rise unless someone in a management position comes up with ££££’s savings is just a nonsense and detached from reality. How does a teacher in a school teaching German improve productivity? How does the librarian succeed on this metric? Enough is enough.

    This relentless doing down of public sector workers was bad enough under the Coalition. Public sector workers did not cause the financial crisis – the private sector did!

    I have worked with both public and private sectors workers – their needs and those of their families are just the same. More divide and rule is not what we need. Seems like the thirst for austerity with some LibDems has not been quenched.

  • Paul Newman 2nd Jul '17 - 6:45pm

    David I watched a representative of Head teachers whom have complained bitterly about ongoing cuts to education confronting my own appalling MP Maria Caulfield . The Conservative Line,was that record amounts were going into education, which is obviously meaningless and much sand has been thrown in the air with a reorganisation ( in fact I doubt it had any other purpose )
    The truth is we are looking at 6/7% per pupil cuts and we all agree this is a bad bad thing .
    The problem is that the person telling us this is earning over £100,000 pa and has a pension that if it were bought commercially would cost the same again .The same is true of the bulk of pensions in the public sector although there are going forward reforms. That has a direct impact on funding for , a bad impact.
    When you take pensions into account the level of pay in the Public sector is still far too high compared ot the private sector and has many other advantages in terms of job security promotion and easier hours .
    I work in a commercial environment and there is no question of pay not being matched to productivity because without that there is no money to pay it . I think especially in the word of SME`s which employ 805 of us there is complete incomprehension that some of societies most privileged seem to be prioritised and that every discussion of low pay is about nurses and Policemen , as if Plumbers Estate Agents and Hairdressers were relatively unimportant . They are not; no they really are not .
    We are all important and I would personally like to see a balanced message coming from Lib Dems appealing as much to the working class tradesman as teachers , perhaps looking for some more understanding between the two.

  • paul barker 2nd Jul '17 - 6:52pm

    One of The Sunday papers reports rumours that May plans to walk out of The Brexit negotiations in September, that would be a Hard Brexit by anyones definition. We are campaigning for a 2nd Vote on whatever version of Brexit emerges, a Vote that would include the option of staying in The EU. If we gor that, clearly we would be campaigning to stay in. The divisions in our Party are about matters of emphasis, the overwhelming majority of us want to stay in or, if we leave, to Return. Lets not see splits where they dont exist.

  • So once it was Brexit. Then it was hard Brexit, Then it was very hard Brexit. Now it’s extreme Brexit. What next the very very hardest extremeiest Brexit in the whole universe. This adjective hyperbole impresses no one. Not even extremely small children.

  • Glenn,

    Impressing no one, true it is impressing no one, it is however worrying more and more. How the Tory paymasters are whining, even the brave Brexiteers are no long chanting we won, they are more likely to be chanting this isn’t our sort of Brexit. Still carry on ignoring Brexit, but be aware it won’t ignore you.

  • Lauren Smith 2nd Jul '17 - 10:11pm

    No Vince – it is top Brexit Full Stop. No Brexit because Brexit defies common sense. Do what your members want and stop pandering to the kipper vote

  • Little Jackie Paper 2nd Jul '17 - 11:57pm

    I don’t get this.

    ‘I think my party is in exactly the right position, representing a very, very large swathe of public opinion that is becoming very alarmed at the way in which this hard Brexit option is being pursued not just by the Conservatives but by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party and they do want an alternative.’

    Well…OK. That’s probably true to the extent that a lot of people on both sides here probably voted as they did with some reluctance. But I’m still not really any the wiser about what Vince (or anyone else for that matter) would change in the UK WITHIN the EU. What would those changes be? There seemed to be some talk that he’d like to scale free movement back to free movement of labour. Probably sensible, but no chance of it happening under the current directives and the people exporting countries would instantly block. At the moment the REMAIN argument seems to be either a) You thick ingrates don’t know what’s good for you or b) it’s just too hard to leave. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the EU and its policies on its own terms.

    What the LDP seemed to misjudge in the 2017 election was that 48% of the country does not kiss an icon of Juncker each morning. The EU is a deeply unlovely institution, with the impact probably exacerbated by UK domestic decisions. I’ve no problem with the idea that things could (should) have been done differently. I’d be much more comfortable however with REMAIN thinking if it addressed what specifically it would like to see done differently. If you don’t talk about that I don’t see who you represent.

    There remains the bigger question about EU IN EZ OUT status into the future, but that’s for another day. But not one that can be put off forever.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Jul '17 - 12:34am

    Lauren Smith

    I am very frequent to call upon and refer to the need for, common sense.

    Some liberals do not like it as they think individuality mitigates against such a view , as if supporting a stereotype.

    I do not think they are correct , and believe that to be contrariness rather than non conformity.

    However, Lauren, when a majority vote for something , in a referendum, and the something is not outside of the mainstream of our common humanity , we are beyond the realms of using the argument based on appeals to common sense.

    To use such language here, does seem to do the very thing liberals are accused of sadly. It insults and denigrates.

    Many people with common sense support Brexit.

    We need to accept both the result and the motives and sense of many who voted for it.

    Yet we can be of the view that with better language , shared endeavour , inclusive understanding, this could be turned around, to become a looser Brexit, or none , as a result of the referendum on the deal we seek.

    Thus too,

    Little Jackie

    We could change the EU with the sort of Liberal Democratic attitude that I describe, and improve it to mean what it says but does not as , you say do.

  • Whilst most of the comment here has focused on Brexit, I am a little concerned about the comments on tuition fees. I don’t buy this argument of ‘why should people without a degree pay for the people who do’. I’ll show my age here but at the time of my educational years the school leaving age was 14 but most stayed on to 16. It is now 16 with provisos but most stay on to 18. All free of charge and payed for by the state. My first degree cost me nothing. As we are not a nation of natural resources the only thing we sell is the industry and creativity of our human capital. It is in the national interest to develop that pool of talent to be as productive as possible. University students also sacrifice immediate income for future potential. It is intolerable that our young are leaving university with a debt c£40,000 of debt. It is not only the young who feel this is unfair. The vast majority of voters are parents and also feel this is unfair. This is not a policy that can be ignored and unmodified. it will decimate us.

  • @Ian Sanderson (RM3)
    From your description, I think as far as your children were concerned, they could make the same statement. Is this an issue you take seriously? Until the party gets a grip on this policy we will never redeem ourselves. I will stop there before I go into absolute rant about how we have totally betrayed our young people, and by that I mean anybody up to the age of about 35. That is an awful lot of voters.

  • Incidentally, can I ask what the Lib Dems mean by a `Hard Remain`. What, for example is the Remain plan, where are the details? What is the Lib Dem position on the EU army, or EU precepts? What about the plan to force the Euro on every EU member? What, for example, are the Lib Dems migration plan for Remain. According to Remain Lib Dems the only way for the economy `not to fall off a cliff` is to remain in the EU? As it’s going to be so good what are your plans for an extra say 15m in 30 years? Where are the plans for building on our greenbelt and each candidates plans for where the extra building’s going to be in each ward/division?

    Simple questions require simple answers.

  • Denis Loretto 3rd Jul '17 - 4:09pm

    Those in this thread and elsewhere who persist in saying that it is meaningless to talk of different approaches to brexit, who decry talk of hard or soft brexit etc, should read the first two pages of this morning’s Guardian. There is all to play for.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Jul '17 - 4:39pm

    Andrew Hickey , gives us a very over the top and crude , description above , not accurate at all in many points, and very divisive.

    There is nothing liberal about insulting the motives or views of good Liberals, especially if not adhering to facts.

    Nobody here is anti immigrant. As a matter of fact I have not in years read a single contribution that would be correct in having such a description.

    Many of us are so pro immigrants from countries in EU continent or others, that we are consistent.

    Many , like me are of part immigrant origin, who care the most. We know the reality if a parent or spouse came here , and of their countries also.

    Similarly the humanity of those like me who defend first , those who have more than a job or a home here, but a loved one denied the connection , should not be questioned, in cheap way, it motivates nobody to insult anybody.

    Including excellent parliamentarians also made fun of or denigrated , innacurately and unnecessarily.

  • Paul,

    Your wrong about the public pension schemes, although still better than the majority of private schemes they are no longer the generous schemes of yesteryear. The reason why they are better then private schemes is they haven’t yet been totally devalued, only a matter of time though on the race to the bottom we are on. I’d rather not champion that race but campaign to ensure everyone has a good pension.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 3rd Jul '17 - 6:54pm

    Andrew, I do feel that you are being unfair, to Lorenzo and to some of the MPs you mentioned in your earlier comment.
    I don’t see how you can describe Vince Cable as being “hardline” or “extemist” I don’t think anyone could seriously suggest he is anything other than pro immigration. He has a long history of being pro EU. He just voted for the single market amendment.
    Actually all our current 12 MPs were firmly pro Remain in the Referendum campaign. Its not fair to imply that some of them support Brexit, just because they feel the referendum result should be respected. I don’t think Norman Lamb ever exactly said that he “supports leaving the EU because it is the will of the people”. He just felt that it would be wrong to prevent article 50 from being triggered, allowing negotiations to begin. He said that as the Lib Dems had voted for the referendum to be held, it would not be right now to prevent the result from being implemented – which is a fair point, surely. I don’t remember any Lib Dem MP opposing the idea of holding the referendum, or suggesting, before June 24, that the result should not be respected.
    Stephen Lloyd has said that he promised his constituents that he would respect the referendum result, and he intends to keep this promise, even though he personally supported Remain – surely this is quite an honourable approach?

  • @ Lorenzo
    “Many , like me are of part immigrant origin, who care the most. We know the reality if a parent or spouse came here , and of their countries also.”

    Andrew Hickey – Lorenzo has a wife born in the USA. He has fought for his Italian relative. I could go on, but come on now, you more than anyone should know better than accuse Lorenzo of racism!

  • Ed Shepherd 3rd Jul '17 - 7:39pm

    My degree cost me nothing. All tuition fees paid for and I got a full maintrnance grant. Sadly I was not able to claim benefits in the holidays in the way that a previous generation (Vince Cables) had been able to. It was a good system that allowed people from poorer backgrounds to get a higher education. Lifelong education should be available to all British citizens and funded by progressive taxation. If the odd chippy pew-renter who could not be bothered to educate himself moans about such a system then so what. Politicians should have the courage to not be afraid of such whingers.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 3rd Jul '17 - 7:50pm

    Andrew, can’t you see that there is a difference between someone *supporting* brexit, ie actually wanting it to happen, and someone just accepting that it must happen because of the referendum result?

  • Andrew

    All I’m saying is I too have not encountered anyone on here who is racist/anti immigration/enter your word of choice.

    My impression is that you feel passionate about total free movement and that’s fine, your position, but accusing people who don’t have your open door/borders stance as therefore being “hardline” or “extemist” is simply wrong.

    Many of us here are in favour of free movement of Labour but not an open door policy for all the reasons Michael BG articulated extremely well the other on Saturday in response to James on the other thread.

    It does not make us anti immigration.

  • jayne Mansfield 3rd Jul '17 - 8:12pm

    Ed Shepherd,
    I agree.

    When people who have benefitted from a free university education argue that because the numbers of university entrants has increased, this benefit should be withdrawn, I feel ashamed.

    An educated population is a benefit to society.

  • Ed Shepherd 3rd Jul '17 - 8:26pm

    Thank you for your supportive comments. It is notable that my free university education was under a Tory government. Even MrsThatcher and John Major supported free university education. It shows how much our political debate has degenerated that Jeremy Corbyn is labelled a leftist extremist for advocating an educational benefit that even the Thatcherites did not remove…

  • Katharine Pindar 3rd Jul '17 - 9:49pm

    Having read the full transcript I hope our party will fully evaluate and value the two-year leadership of Tim Farron, and not accept the dismissive conclusions of Vince Cable as given in the Sky interview. Vince does indeed praise Tim for leading our recovery from the 2015 disaster, and for building up our ‘credible position on Europe’, and acknowledges how he built up our membership and activist base. These major achievements are, however, set aside by Vince as he recalls that Tim acknowledged he did not handle well reconciling his personal faith with his public position on gay rights. He continues, ‘a lot of people have private views deriving from their religion but they have to put these on one side when they are enacting public policy and he acknowledged he hadn’t got that right and that’s why he stood down.’

    There is, with respect, a lot wrong with that sentence, Vince. You seem to be suggesting that politicians should ignore what they believe to be right to go with what is popular? Moreover, we don’t know what Tim’s private views are, but as we believe in freedom of thought and expression, we should have been defending him against those who demanded to know what he believed. Furthermore, even if he held the views that detractors said he did, he must actually have set them aside since he was active in supporting LGTB rights, as was acknowledged by people most concerned with them.
    Finally, to state ‘that’s why he stood down’ is to vastly over-simplify Tim’s complex reasoning, which many of us – despite the late and little party email on the matter – believe was affected by wrong pressure from leading party figures.
    Even if you continue to hold this most oppressive view of Tim’s resignation, Vince, is it fair to weigh that against the very considerable achievements of Tim’s leadership which you have so lightly sketched in?
    And, by the way, while you say that David Laws was right to say that ‘As a gay man I do not wish to be tolerated, I wish to be respected for who I am’, which we can all agree with while wondering why he apparently thought Tim did not respect him for who he is,
    do you also say he was right to call Tim ‘prejudiced and illiberal’, Vince?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Jul '17 - 10:05pm

    Andrew ,

    At no point have I ever questioned or insulted your motives.

    At no point have I ever questioned , or insulted any motives here , on what is a site of very constructive , if caustic debate.

    If in my desire to be constructive , I am met by stereotypes, generalisation and such , then and only ever then, from me too, caustic is the result. Unfortunately , I have been, too often insulted for views entirely in the mainstream, by ultras, as I refer to them.

    I am far more Robert Redford in my film persona of choice, but ,mess with me , or my loved ones, and I am increasingly Clint Eastwood !! Actually as a theatrical, half Italian, part Irish, Englishman, that is quite a mild low key allusion!!

    I regret that, only as I dislike the tone on here sometimes , though rarely, do I succumb to it , then , perhaps , that is true , but only if push comes to shove.

    Most of my comments are expressing a real desire for a unity ,really not reciprocated as much as would be good , I think , some , preferring , at least sometimes, to bang a drum for something. Even if it drowns out other sounds.

    It is not motive I am concerned with in contributors who mean well , but method.

    And I have not alluded to you or engaged with you until very recently. But if in disagreeing with each other it appears otherwise, it reflects the all too intense nature of the views held , or , more the case, the way expressed.

    I merely and mainly , ask you or any who do so, to stop calling people anti immigrant.

    That is very insulting to some of us.

    I would happily take your views more on board if you did not believe our mps were caving in, but see nuance as liberal. A liberal who doesn’t do nuance is not doing Liberalism any favours. My views are steeped in nuance , too much so. My attitude, sincerely a Liberal attitude, is probably revealing frustration at trying too hard , for nuance , even as I try to argue against hard Brexit !

    I do not want you or anyone to do other than that , whatever you may think otherwise.

    Catherine Jane Crosland , is , however , not only,, the best example of nuance on here. She is one of the finest examples of Liberalism and our Liberal Democrat party we have. The electorate in her district have a terrific councillor .

  • The best Brexit is a diamond Brexit i.e. as hard as possible.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 3rd Jul '17 - 11:44pm

    Mike S

    Your efforts are greatly supported on here by me, not merely your attempt at defending me above , in your genuine and excellent sense of reasonableness !

    Andrew

    Your’e correct . You did not accuse me of racism. Rest assured if you had , my post above , to you would have been far more caustic !

    You are a decade or so younger than me , I gather from some things you have written. I grew up as a boy , in London , when the National Front were on the march. I spent my spare time in school rubbing NF signs off the walls, not because I was sentenced to as a punishment, because they disgusted me .

    You cannot make light of people mentioning your scathing criticism of others, me, Sir Vince , or whoever, as if the mention of family relationships or ethnicity are irrelevant .

    They are not. It is virtue signalling if a white leftist thinks he knows more about being black, than a black centrist.

    It is more or less similar , if a uk leftist without immediate family who are immigrants, or who are not of immigrant origin at all, to do likewise.

    I hate to bring it up again, but it was the accusers of Sir Vince who accused him of pandering to racism, and if you can’t see that his marrying and loving a wife of Kenyan Asian, Indian ethnicity makes those comments offensive to those of us who like , admire and agree with him often, we better stop the kid gloves. You call him an extremist here , compare his stance to the BNP , and UKIP. I am offended for him.

    My father was Italian. He was forced into the Mussolini youth movement, had to salute the Duce, in person, in parade. He then , subsequently helped the partisans, having seen the bodies of some among them, hung up in the streets, for all to see as a lesson.

    He enlisted in the British run police , after the war in Italy, Trieste , his city , was occupied by them, and served. He got TB, nearly died , and had to leave the police.

    He recovered , enlisted in the merchant navy. He travelled. He came here and married my mother . My mother is of part Irish descent.

    My wife is of American birth, born to a mother who was an immigrant from Poland, who escaped the Communists, having been a youth under the German occupation destroying her country. My wife had a father , whose father too was an immigrant.

    Lecture, posture, criticise. Some do . Be one of those if you want to. But some of us shall not listen to it merely , politically, but personally too.

    Politics is personal.

  • @ Andrew Hickey
    Andrew, I owe you an apology. Earlier I skim read the article and comments when juggling other jobs – lesson to self. You were right to pull me up for my use of the word Racism.

    However, let me try again to explain why I don’t share your open all borders stance, yet do not see myself as anti immigration per se.. anti *uncontrolled* immigration is a fairer reflection of my view.

    No country has ever had automatic right of settlement.
    The EU does not. It has freedom of labour to work or to run a business.
    As we prioritise freedom of movement I believe we need to restrict right to settle due to the following:

    1. Migration benefits the individual who migrates but can cost those left behind and those who lose the opportunity of employment taken by the migrant, especially if the employer also pays the migrant as little as possible depressing wages for the local workers.
    If we want the poorest in society to benefit more and reduce inequalities, then migration/settlement needs to be ideally balanced/managed.
    2. Pressure on infrastructure and services needs to move in line with the influx if the local population is not to be disadvantaged.
    3. There is also the not inconsequential question of the environmental impact and the kind of country we want to live in and raise our families in.
    National Parks, SSSi’s, AONB and green belts were once fiercely protected by many of us (I have an ecology degree so am passionate about the impact of many policies on the environment) as a source of great pride and enjoyment and part of our National Heritage.
    House building is a necessary consequence of increased immigration. I believe this needs to be sustainable for the environment which is ours to look after for generations to come.

    So in summary, I believe that development/immigration/environmental and economic factors all need to be balanced and growth/immigration should be sustainable.

    PS: As I’ve said before, that does not apply to spouses who should have the automatic right to settle whether that be Lorenzo’s wife, yours or mine – interestingly we all appear to have at least one thing in common!

    I owe you a pint 🙂

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Jul '17 - 12:44am

    I appreciate I have not followed the main talking points of this thread, but I will not drop the question of having proper evaluation of Tim Farron’s excellent record as our Leader, nor the question of Vince Cable’s view of it. Is the metropolitan sneering at Tim as being a northerner of working-class background now gaining ground? And is there a wish by those MPs who voted for the tuition fees increase in 2012 to play down the success in leadership of one who kept his promise to vote against? I request answers now from Vince Cable, because I don’t like slipperiness, and I am loath to make here
    at this time comments about him or about David Laws that are currently in my mind.

  • Oh go on Katharine – get it of your mind 🙂

    I’d be surprised if Vince is willing to sacrifice his roots (God’s own country), to jump into bed with the Metro boys……… He’ll get short shift from me if he does.

    Tim seems like top guy to me – I spoke with him last time at the Nottingham hustings and really liked his honest and passionate stance. I still think his 2015 leaders conference speech is one of the finest political speeches I’ve ever heard. His talent to rouse and inspire will be missed. I see no-one else with this gift at present – maybe someone will emerge over the next couple of years. Maybe he will still perform this role in a different capacity?
    I hope his achievements as leader – the membership growth is his indisputable triumph I would say, will be secure.

    I do believe he was right to go however.
    I struggle to see a clear way through the ‘mess’ we are in at the moment.
    Hopefully the waters will start to clear over the next couple of months.
    Heartened by some of the threads over the last couple of days though.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 4th Jul '17 - 7:55am

    Katharine – Your comment does rather sound as if you are not aware of Vince’s family background. He grew up in Yorkshire, and his family background was actually rather more working class than Tim Farron’s. Vince’s mother worked in one of York’s chocolate factories, and his father was a craftsman. In contrast, although Tim Farron’s family went through some difficult time’s economically while he was growing up, his mother eventually became a university lecturer. So Tim’s background is not exactly typical working class. I think Tim himself has said that his family were economically working class, but middle class in outlook.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 4th Jul '17 - 8:06am

    Lorenzo, thank you so much for your comments. Your contributions to Lib Dem Voice do so much to keep the tone of this site gentle, kind and good – humoured

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 4th Jul '17 - 8:18am

    Andrew Hickey, Actually, like you, I am very much in favour of free movement. I have said previously on Lib Dem Voice, that I believe that in a truly ideal world, everyone would have the right to move freely around the world, living wherever they choose. Whenever I have said this, I have been accused of being hopelessly naive. But I do accept that this situation cannot happen immediately, or any time very soon. As we do not have an ideal world, the best we can do is aim for immigration legislation that is as liberal as possible, and as fair as possible, giving priority to those with the greatest need to come to Britain – especially refugees and asylum seekers. The problem with EU freedom of movement, is that it just replaces one border with another, and discriminates against people from outside the EU, who often have the greatest need to become immigrants. When the preamble to the Lib Dem constitution speaks of freedom of movement, I’m sure it doesn’t mean just for Europeans!

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Jul '17 - 9:09am

    Hi, Mike, thanks for coming in on this, it’s good to read your glowing assessment of Tim, with which of course I concur. There have been few enough tributes to him, and as you say it is difficult to see who else could give the inspiration at Conference that he has given us. I hope that he will still make a major inspiring speech.

    As to Vince, I certainly will write more if he does not answer my questions above. Having previously been prepared to back him, whoever else might stand, I was extremely disappointed to read those comments on Tim. He may indeed be of Yorkshire stock, Catherine, which is probably why (I have much intimate knowledge of Yorkshire folk!) he strikes me as a pugnacious loner rather than being collegiate, and I can’t see him being great at organising and leading the twelve. (In David Laws’ book, ironically, he does come over as sometimes a bit troublesome to his Cabinet colleagues.)
    But I still suspect the ‘metropolitan mindset’, because I have noted before in threads here a totally unjustified attempt to patronise Tim, and I suggest the lack of support for him at the centre may have been the final straw which led to his giving up. The harassment of him should have been contested by other senior figures because our party’s liberal values were being attacked. No, he should not have yielded, I believe he should have continued to face down the detractors because his record of leader is outstanding and he is still needed. I wish he would stand against Vince now.

  • @ Katharine
    “He may indeed be of Yorkshire stock, Catherine, which is probably why (I have much intimate knowledge of Yorkshire folk!) he strikes me as a pugnacious loner rather than being collegiate, and I can’t see him being great at organising and leading the twelve.”

    Woh – steady on there Katharine
    I might not live there anymore, but those of us born and raised in Yorkshire (Calderdale to be exact) may take issue with you characterising us pugnacious loners who couldn’t organise a PUIAB. 🙂

  • jayne Mansfield 4th Jul '17 - 9:24am

    @ Katharine Pindar,

    Well done Katharine. You are a true and trusty friend and supporter of someone who must be devastated by his treatment.

    I was always concerned when I heard some of the comments attributed to sources within the Liberal Democrats, i.e. the ‘ sanctimonious little…..’ comments etc., when the idea of him Tim Farron as leader was raised. And I have over the past two years sensed that Tim has not received the help and support that he deserved.

    The election campaign was, I feel, dire, but there is a sort of irony to the fact that he was expected to move mountains in two short years.

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Jul '17 - 6:50pm

    Unless Vince Cable says unequivocally that David Laws was wrong to attack Tim for holding ‘illiberal and prejudiced views’, I cannot support him becoming leader, and I ask Tim to stand against him for the sake of our party’s values. When Tim said that his experience led him to think ‘We are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society’, I wondered if he was also querying if he really led a tolerant, liberal LD Party. Well, we ordinary members may also wonder about that now, if Vince Cable’s seeming prejudice against Tim and making light of party values (see my July 3, 9.49 pm comment} is common to other top people in the party. However, we do know that hundreds of us wanted him to continue, from the 500-plus comments the other threads raised, so let us ask him to stand now against Vince so that we can prove the mass of the party really are worthy of his leadership.

    Jayne, thank you very much for your supportive comment. Part of the more recent quiet denigration of Tim has been to blame him for our election campaign, but I have yet to hear any criticism other than that he was too hesitant in rebutting the attacks on him. This was a joint party campaign at a time when the smaller parties were squeezed mercilessly because of the drama of May’s Tories and Corbyn’s Labour in confrontation.
    Mike, ‘I know you all’, to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, because my significant family is from West Yorkshire and a most significant part of my life was there! I did of course know gentle, music-loving men as well, but if Vince Cable is indeed one of the ‘truculent loners’ he is not best suited to lead us in the difficult but promising months of inter-party progressive co-operation that lie ahead. May indeed be quite capable of organising a PUIAB, but I’d rather he stuck to that. :}

  • paul barker 4th Jul '17 - 7:33pm

    @Katherine Pindar
    Why dont you nominate Tim for The Presidents Prize ? That would be a positive thing to do & doesnt involve slagging off other Members.
    We are all feeling sore & this is a time for us all to be extra nice to each other, if we can.

  • Katharine Pindar 4th Jul '17 - 7:46pm

    Thanks, Paul, I don’t believe in brushing dust under the carpet or pulling wool over people’s eyes, when our party’s values are at stake.

  • Katharine Pindar 5th Jul '17 - 9:06am

    Today, July 5, is the last day on which other MPs can nominate Tim Farron to stand again for the leadership, according to the timetable explained by the President; there would need to be two of them, it seems. Since Vince Cable’s comments on Sky News have shown continuing differences of outlook between our ex-President (who voted against tuition fee increases in Parliament in 2012), and the ex-Business Secretary of the Coalition Government (who voted for them), it might seem appropriate for them to stand against each other for the leadership now, if Tim would agree to stand.

    Vince Cable seems to have answered reasonably the questions posed to him by a large group of members, so there only remains perhaps for them the question – unanswerable – as to whether he will continue of the same mind. He has not answered the extra questions I posed to him here.

    Tim Farron will, I hope, stand for the leadership again, now or in the future. After the Referendum he immediately stated that our party wanted to remain committed to close ties with Europe, and he has led us with steadiness and firmness in that resolve for the past year, to the point where there is now hope and opportunity for our party and the country as the Brexiteers in disarray find their promises unattainable. He has done a superb job for us and will doubtless continue the good work as much as possible. I trust that in the not too distant future we shall see him a cabinet minister in a new coalition government.

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