LibLink: Vince – “The old have comprehensively shafted the young”

Vince has high prominence in the media this morning for his Mail on Sunday column about the Brexit age divide. Talking about Brexit “martyrs” who are prepared to risk economic hardship to “take back control”, he writes:

(A) concern is that the self-declared martyrs may be planning to sacrifice other people rather than themselves. It is striking that the martyrs appear predominantly elderly (indeed the YouGov poll confirmed that fact). This is unsurprising since 64 per cent of over-65s voted Brexit in the referendum and 71 per cent of under-25s voted Remain.

In the campaign, I was struck by the heavily Remain sentiment in colleges and schools and the heavily Brexit mood of church-hall meetings packed with retired people.

The martyrdom of the old comes cheap, since few have jobs to lose. And even if the country were to become poorer, their living standards are largely protected by the ‘triple lock’ on the state pension and many can rely on occupational, final salary, pensions which are closed to younger people. When I joined the Coalition Cabinet in 2010, we took pride in the ‘triple lock’ to banish the scourge of pensioner poverty. But one of its unintended consequences has been a growing rift between generations.

Pensioners have suffered relatively little from the aftermath of the financial crisis – unless they were slow to shift savings from banks to shares or property. The burden of austerity has been carried by the working population. Young people suffer the additional disadvantage of prohibitive housing costs, growing job insecurity and limited career progression. The old have comprehensively shafted the young. And the old have had the last word about Brexit, imposing a world view coloured by nostalgia for an imperial past on a younger generation much more comfortable with modern Europe.

You can read the full article here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • “The old have comprehensively shafted the young. And the old have had the last word about Brexit, imposing a world view coloured by nostalgia for an imperial past on a younger generation much more comfortable with modern Europe.”

    Well, I’ll never see 70 again, but I voted remain. I have no nostalgia for an imperial past, and I believe that over the last seven years the Lib Dems have lost their radical way and commitment by fellow travelling with the Tory Party who are ultimately responsible for the Brexit referendum.

    – So come on Vince, stop playing the ageist game and start producing a few relevant radical policies. It’s the last chance saloon old pal. You could even apologise for the Coalition debacle.

  • Vince is simplifying when he mentions shares/property. Some areas of the country property they are below/only slightly more than 10 years. So London/Oxford increases are not the norm. Second some shares are way below what they were before the crash to this day. Granger and Centrica being just 2 and I’m sure there are others. Speaking personally I cant blame older people getting into property because at least if the property does not go up it is less likely to plummet like shares can go up and down with regularity. Although the stresses of said older person dealing with a ‘bad’ tenant can also be stressful I imagine. Plus for better or worse the young will think its a bit much for him to champion their interest when all they can think is the tuition fees issue.

  • Mike Potter 6th Aug '17 - 10:56am

    As a near 80 year old committed REMAINER and lifetime European who witnessed the destruction of WW2 both in U.K. continental Europe, father of five children and grandfather for a further precious three, At my age it is their future that I care about. So forgive me for feeling truly insulted by these sweeping (vote grabbing?) generalizations against those of us who have the memories and experience of what it was like to endure the effects of rampant nationalism and the disastrous after-effects.

  • A generalisation but it contains a degree of truth. I suppose being on your uppers in the opinion polls allows you to say radical things, now can we have a few radical policies too.

  • It was a democratic decision. We have to accept the result and move on. If the Lib Dems want to build support for their policies then blaming older voters is not the way to do it. Vince should be looking to build support across all age groups and not excoriating older voters for the way they voted.

  • jayne mansfield 6th Aug '17 - 11:32am

    @ Frankie,
    What Vince Cable has reportedly said, is no ‘radical’. It is deeply offensive.

    As for his comment about people like me moving my savings into property. Despite the fact that our savings will buy less now, after quantitive easing, I still don’t regret that we did not move our money into buy to let property, thus increasing the price of property for first time buyers. What some consider to be lack of economic nous, others call principle.

    That said, my husband has less principles than I, and bought the maximum number of shares in Royal Mail for himself and for me. He sold his quickly when the share price was at his highest, whereas I have just received my latest dividend of £35. 41. ( I put it towards self funding my trips abroad to help friends at NGOs where I used to work on paid contracts). Many retirees of my acquaintance are still working full time, they are just not gainfully employed.

    Vince Cable was enough of a target because of his behaviour in coalition. He has now put a Bull’s eye on his chest with his intemperate, divisive comments. How much more contempt does one need to stir up against old people who have had the temerity to live too long?

    Shocking in the extreme.

  • Cable isn’t blaming all older people. He’s talking about older people who voted to leave for misty-eyed nostalgic reasons, and who now claim that the economic price is worth paying.

    Inevitably, some people will read it as an attack on all old people, or all Leave voters, especially the parts of the media who are absolutely desperate to give Vince and us a kicking, and moreso the parts of the media who spent the last twenty years or so telling older readers that the EU was stealing their sovereignty etc. I’m not sure I’d have been as bold as Vince, but it is refreshing that he’s at least being honest about the situation, unlike Corbyn, who would rather the whole country stumbles into disaster than be frank with voters.

  • Andrew Fitton 6th Aug '17 - 11:44am

    I appreciate some older remain voters might feel disappointed by Vince Cable drawing a distinction between old and young. However, I do not think he was drawing a distinction between old and young he was drawing a distinction between older voters who found voting leave easy as there was little risk for them with little rational thought for the society their children and grandchildren want and need and the long term economic wellbeing of our country. I can find many examples of forcefully expressed but very weak leave arguments such as “we won” and “its the will of the people” and no vision of the long term society the young inherit from those leave voters. The risks and losses for the young are far greater than for the old. Even if one simply accepts the reality that the country will be poorer, absent anything else someone aged 75 will, on average need to endure a step down in GDP for 15 years, someone who is 25 will need to endure it for 65 years (I’m coming up to 49 by the way). Moreover he rightly points out pay is not index linked, state pension are. Vince is right to make the point and I think older citizens who voted remain need to remember he was not attacking them – he is, after all in his 70s himself.

  • Philip Rolle 6th Aug '17 - 11:47am

    Vince is rather good at grabbing headlines and this will work well for the Lib Dems in the coming year or so. I do think that trying to grab attention like this does risk ruining his deserved reputation as a sage however.

    I’m sort of half reminded of Roy Jenkins becoming leader of the SDP. But he did soon realise that it wouldn’t work if he wasn’t himself. It is a different age now though.

  • Christopher Haigh 6th Aug '17 - 11:58am

    @David and Jayne-if you take us older people that are libdem members then I should imagine most of us would have been passionately remain. However you must have picked up the mood music at places like church, working men’s clubs, crown green bowling, brass band rehearsals, the golf club, days out to beautiful places like Saddleworth etc etc that us retired folk like to do ?

  • Alan Depauw 6th Aug '17 - 12:22pm

    A few months before the referendum, Patrick Minford, one of the few Brexit economists, argued that whereas manufacturing would suffer from leaving the single market, the UK would benefit in the long run by concentrating even more on services. However, Brexit leaders must have told him to shut up because during the campaign, he was heard no more. A few days ago, another Brexit economist was on the radio saying that in the long run, the British economy would recover from leaving the single market. He gave a time period to ‘in the long run’ by explaining that the economy should have rebalanced itself by… 2040.

    Did Brexit voters, including 64% of pensioners, really expect to wait that long? Would they not have thought again if Brexit leaders had advised them they would be inflicting impoverishment on an entire succeeding generation?

  • Whatever one thinks of his particular statements, Cable has already shown that he can catch the attention of the media and press in a way Farron was never able to do. Part of this knack is the ability to say striking things, which almost always over-simplify. If one is always nuanced, the press will not pay attention.

    This does raise an issue of public policy that all parties will likely shy away from. If Brexit costs Britain 5% of its wealth over the next few years (and the amount might well be more, or possibly less), will be burden fall entirely on young people, or will pensioners, who were more for Brexit than the population as a whole, be asked to sacrifice as well?

  • I don’t think so. I think the people Nostalgic for a Britain that never existed are mostly Remain supports. In the world view the period from 1972 is marked by success after success, instead of a very unstable period that has seen increased surveillance, deindustrialisation, multiple recession, multiple riots, debt through the roof, growing mistrust of politics, reduction in the rights of workers to participate in trade unions, voter dissatisfaction, multiple terror, attacks zero hour contracts, people priced out of the housing market and so on. But allegedly the people looking at the world through rose tinted glasses are the Brexiteers and all those left behind home owners who can’t see what awesome prospects lay ahead for da yoof through the joys of extortionate rent prices, student debt and internships that will last until they’re replaced by a new younger intern who does not know they aren’t ever going to be paid.

  • Eddie Sammon 6th Aug '17 - 12:36pm

    I support Vince but my main worry about him was his loose-cannon comments. Accusing old people of being selfish isn’t a way to win votes.

  • Christopher Curtis 6th Aug '17 - 12:39pm

    Vince is clearly talking about the significant number of older leave voters who said they were happy for Brexit to result in a member of their family losing his/her job, as found in a recent, well-publicised survey. Of course he knows that not all older people voted leave, and of course he is not simply being critical of older people (being an older remainer himself!)

    The more powerful part of his article, I thought, was the part about project fear now being project near and soon being project here. I think his anger and attack on the leave leadership and government for their irresponsibility in the face of real damage to many real paper is completely justified. If people don’t like what he’s saying, they need to counter it with competent action and clearly explained strategy: none of which is in evidence so far. I am not young, and I can respect democratic decisions that I do not agree with, but I am more and more angry at people who are pushing us into changes that are doing and will do me and my family real and lasting damage without taking any responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. On that, Vince is completely right.

  • Christopher Curtis 6th Aug '17 - 12:40pm

    real people, not real paper.

  • @ Christopher Haigh There’s more than a grain of truth in what you say, Christopher. There is a grumpy ignorant element in some older members of the community particularly in England (some of whom, Vince, are a bit up themselves and live in York).

    I have also experienced prejudice and rudeness when offering a Scottish ten pound note in Bournemouth (though I got a free bus ride out of it). We also got a mouthful about Scottish Independence in the Airport Lounge in Madeira (our offence? to simply say we lived north of the Border).

    Having said all that, I always enjoy the bands at Saddleworth and Delph (and the Durham Miners Gala)..,… and the Huddersfield Choral Society as well as H.T.A.F.C.

    But make no mistake, there is a real anger about on matters to do with the defenestration of massive swathes of traditional jobs in the North replaced by cheap low paid jobs in supermarket chains and outfits such as Sports Direct. It fed UKIP because of resentment. Vince would do better to address the employment and infrastructure needs of the North with a Roosevelt type New Deal.

    That anger is summed up for me by Danny’s speech in ‘Brassed Off’. Vince should listen to this, ponder on it, and respond :

    Brassed Off – Danny’s speech – YouTube
    Video for Speech from brassed off▶ 3:08
    9 Jun 2010 – Uploaded by inAudiTv
    Brassed Off – Danny’s speech. inAudiTv. Loading… Unsubscribe from ….. We “speak”; but we make a …

  • People here are taking this too personally. Read the article. He is not attacking all old people, just those who voted Remain.
    The big picture, strategically, is that we are a small party with just 12 MPs and 7% of the vote. We don’t have the luxury of free media. We need to be bold in getting our message across, and that means taking some risks. Vince is doing his job – and also advancing party policy.
    And to the people who say ‘we have to move on’ and accept the result, and somehow become the third pro-Brexit party. Remember, our conference voted heavily for the strategy of fighting Brexit. That’s what Vince is doing.

  • Mark Seaman 6th Aug '17 - 1:02pm

    I’m now in my 50’s. I completely disagree with Vince Cable’s view that the older generation have ‘shafted’ the younger folks. Remaining in the EU meant that Britain’s population WAS going to increase to 70, 80, then 90 million and beyond. Quite how people think that this country could preserve the Green Belt, reduce housing costs in real terms, and protect employee’s working conditions under those circumstances beggars belief 🙁

  • “The old have comprehensively shafted the young.” A statement so reckless, no matter what twinkle in his eyes Vince may have had at its time of writing, that it may for some time be used against his party.
    As with “declaring war on Rupert Murdoch” (albeit unwittingly to two journalists from another right-wing paper), our leader has a tendency to exaggerate to gain attention, an entirely acceptable characteristic in the young.

  • John Littler 6th Aug '17 - 1:05pm

    The Daily Telegraph forum has got itself extremely rattled over Vince’s latest. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much. It is also “Most Popular” in the Graun.
    Vince is already doing a fantastic job.

  • Does the old people who shafted the young include sprightly Vince Cable during the coalition years?

  • paul barker 6th Aug '17 - 1:20pm

    Some older members need to grow thicker skins, Vince was talking to The Country at large, not to the tiny minority of Libdems.
    I have been very impressed by Vince since he had Leadership thrust upon him.

  • YellowSubmarine 6th Aug '17 - 1:20pm

    Vince should now, he was one of them. Boris will have a wry smile on his face after reading this. Vince moved to take the moral high ground by accusing Boris of lying, and then, with a straight face, talks about the old shafting the young. You couldn’t make it up.

  • “The old have comprehensively shafted the young.” A statement so divisive that one wonders if, perhaps, Vince agrees with the Momentum video parodying how the old are out of touch with the young?

  • Well Dr Cable should know about shafting the young. After all, he was the one supporting the triple lock on pensions while supporting a failed austerity regime and personally presiding over 3x tuition fees in England.

  • Vince is having the effect I expected. Headline writers love him because he grabs attention. It must be good publicity, to some extent, but it does encourage the younger generation to regard all old people, without distinction, as evil, selfish and greedy. The fact that some voted remain will neither be known or cared about. I know one family this has caused a terrible rift between mother and daughter.
    I’m not sure encouraging this bitterness will bring old leave voters to their remorseful senses rather it will make intergenerational anger even worse.

  • At the beginning of July the LSE reported that the EU referendum turnout was
    18-24 years old : 64% of those registered voted;
    25-39 years old : 65% voted;
    40-54 years old : 66% voted;
    55-64 years old : 74% voted;
    65 and over: 90% voted.

    It was estimated in October 2015 that up to 4 million young people in the age range 18-24 were not registered to vote and a number of people started campaigning to get them off their backsides and register in time for the EU referendum.

    So, Sir Vince, if the hard done-by youth of today didn’t want to get ‘shafted’ (as you so eloquently put it) perhaps they should have registered to vote and not leave it until the last minute to do so!

    For the record I’m nearly 68 and voted to remain so please, go and point your finger elsewhere.

  • Helen Tedcastle 6th Aug '17 - 1:48pm

    Vince is of course right. Those older people who vote to remain have nothing to fear. He is describing the majority who voted to leave and who appear to glory in the fact that the country will become poorer as a result. Brexit will almost certainly result in poorer life chances for future generations.

    The facts speak for themselves:

    ” Another concern is that the self-declared martyrs may be planning to sacrifice other people rather than themselves. It is striking that the martyrs appear predominantly elderly (indeed the YouGov poll confirmed that fact). This is unsurprising since 64 per cent of over-65s voted Brexit in the referendum and 71 per cent of under-25s voted Remain.”

    It’s easy to be a Brexit martyr when none of the downsides are going to affect you personally. These people learned nothing from their own parents – the war generation – who sacrificed everything for peace and prosperity for their own children.

  • Sally Jones 6th Aug '17 - 2:19pm

    Blame doesn’t usually change minds.

    The corrosive anti-EU narrative is much more sophisticated anyway, much more devious, built on a Project Fear over many years – fear of immigrants, of loss of control, of being shafted – and it’s been made deeply personal for many Leavers. And like the Borg, many seem to have been trained to turn arguments against Brexit into arguments for it.

    Some believe that the economic effects don’t matter in comparison to the illusion of “independence”. They believe that “independence” will provide the means to beat any economic effects that Remainers may imagine.

  • jayne mansfield 6th Aug '17 - 2:30pm

    @ Helen Tedcastle,
    I run knit and natter sessions where old people can sit and make knit one purl one squares to make into simple blankets. Some of these participants did vote leave for reasons that one can’t fathom. ‘Well we managed alright before the Common Market’, sometimes being the only explanation offered for their choice’. Sometimes they would say the country was full and we couldn’t take lots more people etc., but I don’t think they saw themselves as ‘martyrs’.

    They were grandmothers and mothers who actually thought that ‘leaving the EU was the best option for the younger generation. Of course they didn’t think that the vote would affect them personally. They voted for what they thought was best for the family that would be affected by the outcome of the vote.

    I don’t feel my age ( I am a war baby), so I still refer to others as old people ( some younger than myself), but may I say that to generalise that old people did not learn about sacrifice from their war generation parents is yet another appalling generalisation.

    Liberals would not dare to make these careless generalisations about any other demographic.

  • Vince, as he so often does, makes an important intervention at a crucial time, writing:

    “Britain is now in a bizarre place with a Remain Prime Minister pursuing a hard, extreme Brexit and a Brexit leader of a Remain Opposition actively helping her. Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to remain in the single market and customs union.
    At the centre of government, meanwhile, there has been a shift in the balance of power.
    The grown-ups, led by the Chancellor and Business Secretary, have been seeking to postpone Brexit for three years, keeping the full discipline of the single market, to give our companies time to adjust. Sensible enough, even though it is postponing pain rather than avoiding it. They appear to have lost the argument.”

    We need to be able to lend full support to cross-party efforts to maintain effective EU membership for an extended transition period through to the next election scheduled for 2022.

  • First and foremost I need to say I voted remain.

    The majority of people I know voted leave (mainly pensioners)
    And the reasons are quite simple to understand !Is is not so many years one could simply walk into your doctors surgery and wait your turn,now ,a friend of mine (lady ) wished to see her chosen doctor (lady) for personal reasons,she was given a 3 week appointment, needless to say this was soon blamed on the increase in population,namely EU immigrants.Many people think simply,and do not take the big picture into reckoning.
    Part of my friends work involves working in some northern cities,door knocking for interviews,she would tell of streets full of immigrants with most brits quitting the street because of these immigrants.
    People voted the way they did because how they felt and how they wished to see a return of Britain how it once was.However deluded this appears to thinking people,many people thought this way in June 2016

  • “Our Leader”. A small uninfluential party can only capture media coverage by giving them something to bite on. The only bad publicity is no publicity rules here OK. Publicity he has gained whatever reaction it brings. I am a war baby as well and out generation has created mayhem for many youngsters. Mind you what goes around comes around and the hours and hours my better half and I spend looking after grandchildren, lovely as it is, is probably the price we are paying.

  • jayne mansfield 6th Aug '17 - 3:24pm

    As someone who does not believe in referenda, the reasons for my belief were reinforced by the EU referendum. I certainly found it difficult to wade through all the information and my vote to remain was instinctive ( a belief that we all achieve more when we collaborate), rather than the when we try to achieve things in isolation.

    I still can’t get my head around all the information, but may I ask, what exactly would we be transitioning to? Shouldn’t we know this before we welcome this transition period?

  • jayne mansfield 6th Aug ’17 – 3:24pm…………….., but may I ask, what exactly would we be transitioning to? Shouldn’t we know this before we welcome this transition period?……..

    With all the conflicting statements coming from our EU ‘negotiators’, I believe their mention of a ‘transitional period’ is government speak for “DUH!!!!”

  • Richard Underhill 6th Aug '17 - 3:53pm

    On 23 June 2016 those who voted did not know about the potential existence of a divorce bill, let alone its potential size in the tens of thousand of millions of pounds. The Sunday Telegraph (6/8/2017 pages 1, 2) has contacted “three separate sources in Whitehall and government with knowledge of the UK’s negotiating strategy” and come up with a middle figure of £36 billion pounds, compared with the Foreign Secretary’s statement in the Commons “Go whistle” (zero). The Telegraph says that there is now a straightjacket and a refusal to talk about trade there is a settlement on citizens’ rights, money and Northern Ireland. The EU’s opening position is around £60 billion, with an actual bottom line of £50 billion, the British bottom line is £30 billion to £40 billion, while the figure in Theresa May’s mind is north of £30 billion. This is potentially divisive. A British walkout is a real possibility.
    This strengthens the case for a referendum on the outcome of the negotiations.

  • @ Paul Barker “Some older members need to grow thicker skins”. I can assure you that I’ve got an enormously thick skin, young Paul. It would have done credit to a Rhinoceros when you were still in your baby drawers.

    Skins apart, it’s simply that I recognise an unwise move in attacking the more likely to vote element of society by our sagacious Leader when I see it. He’d be better aiming his artillery at the rip off merchants running our privatised industries and in rebuilding the infrastructure of the North of England.

    @ theakes It’s not exactly true that the only bad publicity is one’s own obituary. Do you want me to give you a full list of Lib/Lib Dem indiscretions that damaged the party ?

    @ Helen Tedcastle “Those older people who vote to remain have nothing to fear.” Gee, well thanks a lot, Helen. A great relief to know he’s not considering some sort of differential taxation based on age and voting history……. or is it ?

  • When things go badly people look for something or someone to blame. The question is who is going to take the lion share of the blame this time? Will it be the EU, the remoaners, the Brexiteer leadership or will it be the old Brexiteers. My guess all of the above depending on your view; appealing for unity and silence won’t help, the blame will be apportioned. Crying tis not fair won’t help either, the coalition should have taught Lib Dems that.

    What a tragedy a nation so badly split all too keep the Tories together. Party first everyone else don’t count.

  • Dave Orbison 6th Aug '17 - 4:35pm

    Vince Cable – talking of shafting the young – student fees?

  • Peter Martin 6th Aug '17 - 4:40pm

    But do we know what are the “economic prices” that may or may not be worth paying for staying in or out? The young/old argument is just a red herring.

    There’ll still be a price for staying and I don’t mean the £350 million pw as quoted on the Leave battlebus. That’s neither here nor there is the total scheme of things.

    The consensus of opinion, by most economists, is that a single currency needs a single taxation system to function. This means that everyone pays into a common pot. The poorer countries will pay in proportionately less. They will receive proportionately more of the spending.

    Germany and Holland will, taking a superficial view, do much worse than say Greece, Italy or Spain.

    I’d like to think the Germans and Dutch wouldn’t take a superficial view. But I have to think otherwise, realistically. They will enthusiastically veto any move in that direction every time. In effect, they are vetoing the future viability of the EU. If this is a correct analysis, then a vote for leave has to be the lowest cost option. And it’s the lowest cost for the young too.

  • Tony Dawson 6th Aug '17 - 4:46pm

    Vince is the new Bernie! 😉 🙂

  • Andrew Fitton 6th Aug '17 - 4:48pm

    jayne mansfield

    I one the other hand know lots of older Leave voters who cited “helping” the younger generation. I’ve heard 1) They need more money for the NHS, look at all the resources being taken. Well immigrants are net contributors to the public purse after paying for the extra health and education neededr and less immigration means less money for services. 2) Look at the mess at Sangatte – we want to be well away from that. Well the UK helped create the problem, not our party but our country and moreover Sangatte won’t go away with Brexit, indeed if the French chose to set aside the protocol Sangatte will be renamed Dover. 3) Housing costs more – Well our economy is growing and if there were not jobs for 3m more people we would not have 3m more people. The failure in housing is a failure of policy in housing not a failure in population numbers. 4) There won’t be enough land – have you seen the great tracts of land standing idle in cities and towns. I know of brownfield sites for at least 500 homes across my part of Northumberland (see 4). 5) Its changing our culture – So what! Culture is changing in many ways anyway and the UK has always been a melting pot of cultures. I’m of Norman extraction, my wife is clearly of Celt decent and I know some Huguenots and plenty of Russian Jews who’s ancestors arrived in the 1890s and I don’t think any detract from our culture.

    If you take all of that none of it is really a problem for the young – so for someone to say they are doing it for the young displays, in my view at any rate, a wanton lack of thought or in some cases it represents an excuse quickly rustled up to deal with some of the dismay from very angry generations below.

    I would also repeat that I remain disappointed at the number of older people expressing dismay at Vince Cable’s so called attack on the old. His comments are clearly directed at people who have voted leave and then claimed to be acting in the good of their children and grandchildren but either did not really think about their vote or have an ulterior motive they do not wish to debate with their offspring and junior generations more wider and don’t want to admit either a careless vote or an ulterior motive.

  • While I do not demur from Vince’s headline point, I see the MPs and peers who believed leaving the EU to be against the national interest but voted for Article 50 to be the ultimate villains. They shafted all of us, however we voted.

  • Douglas Carter 6th Aug '17 - 5:43pm

    ….’…the old have had the last word about Brexit, imposing a world view coloured by nostalgia for an imperial past …’…

    One of the most plainly incompetent and childish comments I’ve ever heard from an allegedly educated adult. If that much of the argument offered rests on fantasy caricature oldies stealing the rights of others, it’s no great wonder the LibDems are a spent electoral force.

    Self-awareness is for others only, it would appear.

  • Dave Orbison 6th Aug '17 - 6:00pm

    Simon Shaw re Corbyn and student fees. The Labour Party manifesto is crystal clear. It says fees will be abolished. The recent drama cooked up by the Tories in a desperate attempt to attack Corbyn is just that – desperate. That you choose to ape this attack rather than address the LibDems disasterous standing with young people is precisely the delusional head-in-sand thinking that will help consign the party to the electoral dustbin.

    Equally Vince Cable adopting the divide and rule approach by setting one group of society against another is textbook Tory tactics. Quite apart from the appalling and insulting generalisation that the older do not care about young people.

    Wrong. Many of us do.

  • Leekliberal 6th Aug '17 - 6:26pm

    As a 73 year old passionate ‘remainer’ I share Vince’s critique of the ‘leaver’ old who voted Brexit ignoring the wishes of the young who will have to deal with the consequences of their folly. The young cannot have free university education, cannot afford a first-time home until they are in their 30s and cannot walk into the well-paid and secure first job available to my generation. It’s time to cut back on the perks of the old and we Lib Dems were wrong to argue for the retention of the 2.5% rise in pension aspect of the ‘triple-lock’: Also the £200 heating allowance should be taxable. I can sympathise with sentiments the ‘left-behind’ folk of the North and the coastal fringe but the rest of the old brexiteers should take their place in the dock!

  • jayne mansfield 6th Aug '17 - 7:01pm

    @ Andrew Fitton,
    As far as your first paragraph goes, you are teaching your granny to suck eggs.

    However, I take issue with the view that the young are all liberal internationalists. I stand in opposition to the EDL when they march in my area. I know many of them as graduates of the BNP who have found a home within the EDL, a group that openly gave their support to UKIP. I saw no OAPs salivating with rage. So once more, a caricature, this time of the young.

    For a party that is supposed to understand human differences and individuality, your party sure knows how to pigeonhole whole groups. Maybe you should look around libraries and see who has volunteered to work as unpaid librarians to keep them open. Or who staffs charity shops etc. Many old people are still contributing to society after retirement.

    When will you realise that people might just have a different view of what is best for the younger members of their family? Why do you not turn your anger on Cameron and Co who are responsible for this whole unnecessary mess.

    Why instead of projecting your anger onto older leave voters who were probably as agonised as remain voters when trying to follow the arguments, don’t you accept that the leave vote was the fault of poor politicians who argued for remain. I don’t remember Nick Clegg mentioning the possibility that we would have to pay billions to leave. I don’t remember being informed prior to the election, that it was only advisory.

    The reason for a leave vote , is entirely the fault of politicians who agreed to a referendum, the timing, and the criteria i.e. a simple majority.

    There ought to be no reason for a second referendum to decide destination. A plan should have been put in place before the referendum so people knew what a vote leave would entail and sussed out that there was no plan.

    I have never known such political ineptitude. Like Vince Cable , the mood of the country makes me fearful. The last thing we need are yet more divisive comments, this time potentially setting the young against the old.

  • jayne mansfield 6th Aug '17 - 7:09pm

    @ Leekliberal,
    I agree with what you say, but old people didn’t ask for these perks, (although many didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth). Politicians bought the votes of old people by offering perks to those most likely to vote.

    It was politicians who ignored the needs of the young for self -serving reasons. Let us be quite clear about that.

  • Andrew McCaig 6th Aug '17 - 7:37pm

    Well, I think Vince has made a mistake here.. generalisations like this always upset more people than they please, whether they are true or not. Only yesterday we surveyed a number of older voters who voted Leave and of course did not vote for us in the General Election (we only got 2.6%, after all!), but are (or were…) firm supporters in local elections.. Older people are actually often our biggest supporters at local level and I am not happy about our Leader insulting them…..

  • Instead of blaming older voters, why not blame the EU for being so unappealing. After all barely anyone could ever be bothered to vote in EU elections, the political parties basically used it as somewhere to plonk “elder statesman” in early retirement from the upper house and in the last EU elections UKIP, a party explicitly set up to remove Britain from it, got the most MEPs! .

  • While I can see Vince’s point it is just a generalisation. He would have been specific if he’d have said Brexit voters have shafted the country, they have and the brighter amongst them have started to wake up to their stupidity, others are still doubling up on dumb.

  • Mark Seaman comments: “Remaining in the EU meant that Britain’s population WAS going to increase to 70, 80, then 90 million and beyond.”

    This is the laziest form of extrapolation. There’s no reason whatever to believe that any of this was going to happen irrespective of whether we’d stay in the EU. Basing future projections on past trends is meaningless unless you understand the reasons behind the past trends.

    The main drivers for the increased immigration of EU citizens into the UK were the fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe over 25 years ago, the subsequent admission of these countries into the EU, and the expiry of the transitional arrangements for these countries, which has permitted free movement of their citizens within the EU. These were epochal events, highly unlikely to be repeated in scope in the near or even medium-term future.

    Not surprisingly, a fair number of these citizens chose to move (not necessarily permanently) to countries with a higher standard of living, with Germany and the UK being particularly favoured. However, as living standards rise in some of the East European countries (as is already happening in Poland for example), this trend will begin to weaken.

    EU immigration has overall had a very beneficial effect on our economy and society. A mass emigration of these citizens would be catastrophic for us. (Take the NHS, for example.) However, there are issues such as housing and education to be tackled when relatively large numbers of people settle in particular areas over a relatively short period of time. It’s not racist to express such concerns.

    I think we should tell the EU that we fully accept the principle (and the desirability) of Free Movement but try to negotiate a finessed application of it for a limited period in specific areas. (Such concerns exist in other member states too.) I don’t know whether such negotiations would be successful, but if we don’t try, then we won’t succeed.

  • Colin Paine 6th Aug '17 - 8:09pm

    Getting our message over deep in enemy territory in the Mail…that”ll do for me Vince!

  • Peter Martin 6th Aug '17 - 8:16pm

    @ Glenn,

    “Instead of blaming older voters, why not blame the EU for being so unappealing……. and in the last EU elections UKIP, a party explicitly set up to remove Britain from it, got the most MEPs! ”

    I’m no UKIP supporter, but I have to say that’s a very good point!

  • Andrew Fitton 6th Aug '17 - 8:37pm

    @jayne Mansfield

    I agree it is my opinion that the young are more culturally flexible than the old. I do not paint them as liberal internationalists but I think they are more culturally flexible.

    You go on to say:

    “I stand in opposition to the EDL when they march in my area. I know many of them as graduates of the BNP who have found a home within the EDL, a group that openly gave their support to UKIP. I saw no OAPs salivating with rage. So once more, a caricature, this time of the young.”

    Bringing the EDL into the discussion is odd. I struggled to find membership numbers although Ch 4 suggests there are 3000 activists. That is a drop in the ocean of the population and indeed of the population of the young. I believe the paragraph above you suggesting that a tiny number of EDL activists who will be in the age range 18 to 50 somehow invalidates the view that young people are culturally more flexible.

    OAP leave voters who are not BNP or EDL supporters. However, I think they should at least reflect on their vote if they voted on behalf of their children or if not, never use their children as an excuse as to do so is very poor behaviour indeed.

    Simply because older people are socially responsible in other ways does not validate or, in my view excuse being a self declared martyr by voting leave, particularly if the individual had another reason for voting leave.

    I agree:

    “There ought to be no reason for a second referendum to decide destination. A plan should have been put in place before the referendum so people knew what a vote leave would entail and sussed out that there was no plan.”

    Nevertheless a second referendum seems increasingly likely or a referendum to rejoin in a few years. Leave has no plan. Determining a vision for post Brexit Britain is impossible because the political leadership of leave (in its wider sense) comprises figures such as Dennis Skinner and Peter Bone; I doubt very much their visions for Britain have much in common.

  • Note to the brave Brexiteers blaming the EU might make you feel better, but it won’t stop the car crash we are in. As you lie bleeding in the wreck muttering tis all the EU’s fault won’t make it any less of a wreck.

  • it makes me sad that Vince is exacerbating the already substantial divisions in our society, rather than working on healing them. People who voted Leave had their reasons for doing so. I am not one of them but I think we have to respect the right of every individual to vote according to their principles. And he is simply wrong about ” shafting”, which is a highly emotive word. Government policy, including the government of which he was a member, shafted the young. Politicians voted in huge numbers for the EU Referendum to take place. This article by Vince is a very unfortunate and not in any way statesmanlike.

  • “Getting our message over deep in enemy territory in the Mail…that”ll do for me Vince!”

    it rather depends what the message is, doesn’t it?!

  • paul barker 6th Aug '17 - 9:13pm

    Its always good news when a thread brings the Trolls out, its a sign that we have got under their fur & gained some attention. Our primary purpose for now has to be to remind the Voters that we still exist & have interesting things to say.

  • Frankie,
    Actually look at the record of Britain since joining first the Common market and then the EU, As I said one recession after another, deindustrialisation, increased retirement age, debt through the roof, falling home ownership, riots, increased terrorism and so on. Okay, not all the EUs fault, but hardly the much trumpeted 40 years of peace, prosperity and economic awesomeness as claimed by many in the Remain camp.

  • The older generation “shafting” the younger generation is an expression I have used myself for years (I’m 64), so I can’t criticise Vince Cable too much on this. But we have to accept that some of this “shafting” took place during the Coalition years and hold our hands up on this (even if we can argue it would have been even worse without us).

    All major parties have in recent years skewed their policies, to a greater or lesser extent, in the interests for the older generation because they have voted in much larger numbers. If younger people are now voting in larger numbers, so much the better, but we really do have to come up with a credible policy on tuition fees, otherwise we just aren’t going to make much of an impression with young people despite our clear pro-European profile.

  • Mark Seaman 6th Aug '17 - 9:42pm

    re MerseyLib comment iro my comment.
    The difference in GDP per head between Britain and the former Soviet Bloc countries is huge, and there is not a significant narrowing of that gap. The driver for economic migration into Britain is therefore not going to go away for several decades, hence the predicted population levels ARE realistic figures if we stayed in the EU.

  • “As I said one recession after another, deindustrialisation, increased retirement age, debt through the roof, falling home ownership, riots, increased terrorism and so on.”

    Actually Glenn, almost none of the above is the fault of the EU, so I don’t see your point. Would any of the above have been avoided had we not been members of the EEC/EU? Despite what you say, living standards in the UK were increasing in most sections of society until the 2008 crash.

  • Mark Seaman, what you say is simply not true. There has been “a significant narrowing” of the gap in living standards, at least with Poland, which has provided by far the largest number of migrants to this country.

    Poland is ranked 20th worldwide in terms of GDP and classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank. GDP per capita at purchasing power parity has grown on average by 6% p.a. over the last 20 years. In 2010 the Polish economic growth rate was 3.9%, which was one of the best results in Europe. In 2014 its economy grew by 3.3% and in 2015 by 3.6%.

    I stand by my earlier comment that to base future projections of migration patterns on extrapolations from past trends is wholly misleading and should be left to discredited organisations like Migration Watch UK. Your talk of “70, 80, then 90 million and beyond” was typical of the baseless irresponsible scaremongering of much of the Leave campaign.

  • As a Trustee of my local foodbank, I think it’s a pity Vince Cable couldn’t have focussed on the latest stats produced by the Trussell Trust – although it is embarrassing with regard to the impact of Universal Credit introduced by the Coalition Government. No wonder people of all ages kicked against the Cameron Referendum.

    Key findings:

    1. Foodbanks in areas of full Universal Credit rollout to single people, couples and families, have seen a 16.85% average increase in referrals for emergency food, more than double the national average of 6.64%.

    2. The effect of a six-plus week waiting period for a first Universal Credit payment can be serious, leading to foodbank referrals, debt, mental health issues, rent arrears and eviction. These effects can last even after people receive their Universal Credit payments, as bills and debts pile up.

    3. People in insecure or seasonal work are particularly affected, suggesting the work incentives in Universal Credit are not yet helping everyone.

    4. Navigating the online system can be difficult for people struggling with computers or unable to afford telephone helplines. In some cases, the system does not register people’s claims correctly, invalidating it.

    5. Foodbanks are working hard to stop people going hungry in areas of rollout, by providing food and support for more than two visits to the foodbank and working closely with other charities to provide holistic support. However, foodbanks have concerns about the extra pressure this puts on food donation stocks and volunteers’ time and emotional welfare.

    Come on, Vince, time to speak up.

  • David Allen 6th Aug '17 - 10:24pm

    “This article by Vince is very unfortunate and not in any way statesmanlike.”

    In the age of Donald Trump, being statesmanlike may not be good enough. When the Brexit Tories unite to pull a towel over their heads so that they cannot see how scary Brexit really is, statesmanship is not enough. Vince and his allies within and outside the Lib Dems must shout “FIRE!” and demand an audience. Because Brexit is a disaster, and a 999 call is what is needed. Wake up, recognise the danger, run.

  • Peter Brand 6th Aug '17 - 10:36pm

    I’m not happy with the headlines Vince has precipitated. It is most illiberal to blame a whole group of people for something only some of them did. It’s no better than Quitters blaming the whole EU for everything they don’t like about Britain, or nearly everyone blaming all LibDems for tuition fees.

    I hear the defence “read the whole article”. I have, but most people who see the Mail on Sunday won’t, so take care what goes in the headlines.

    Figures from the Ashcroft exit poll:
    60% of over-65s voted Leave, why stir up hatred for all of them?
    64% of socioeconomic groups C2 and DE voted Leave, why not stir up hatred for them?
    57% of East Midlands and Eastern England voted Leave, why not stir up hatred for them?
    Turnout figures have been hard to decypher and much discussed, but the consensus was turnout was lower among 18-24s than average – why not blame them for shafting themselves?

    The whole country is divided already, we do not need more divisiveness. Actually we should be trying to keep all the friends we have in these demographics, and trying to win more friends. The people really responsible for the mess that is Brexit are all the Leave campaigners, all their financiers, all their supporters in the media and all the far-right trolls who jumped on the band-wagon. Blame them!

  • Disappointing to see how few people on here criticising the statement have clearly not read it. go back, read the statement then comment but don’t make sweeping statements based on a headline.

  • Andrew McCaig 6th Aug '17 - 11:12pm

    Colin Paine:

    The Mail on Sunday is not “Enemy Territory” at all. The editor is strongly pro-EU and it was interesting to see the pro-EU stories appear at 00.01 on Sunday every week in the Mail Online during the Referendum campaign, after 6 days of unrelenting rubbish…

    E – I agree that one should always read the full article, but what we have here will come up in any search for “Vince Cable news”, and is what people will read. Personally I am disappointed to see such a crude expression as “shafted” used and putting it in a headline on here is a bit disappointing too. Maybe people younger than me see nothing wrong in it?

  • Mersey. Lib
    I think maybe yes because European Countries that stayed out of the EU have tended to stay on a more socially progressive path. Things like the NHS, welfare and improved conditions for labour are products the democratic power of people within the structure of nation state. Supranational structures reduces the power of the electorate, increases that of lobbyists, technocrats and the like which makes it easier to dismantle national safety nets that were the result of years of increased democratic participation by the public. It in effect it makes hard won progress appear to be gifted downwards rather than fought for from the bottom up. I think people were sold a pup in the early 70s by the Heath Government and young people are still being sold a fantasy . But as I said the claim of Europhiles is that membership of the EU has meant 40 years of peace and huge economic success. I’m simply pointing the glaring flaws in this argument.

  • “Disappointing to see how few people on here criticising the statement have clearly not read it. go back, read the statement then comment but don’t make sweeping statements based on a headline.”

    But hardly any of the 60 million Britons will read it, that’s the point.
    It’s the headline that is the message that is out there, and only the headline. And these words are attached to the LibDems not just Vince. That is what people are trying to say.

  • jayne Mansfield 6th Aug '17 - 11:32pm

    @ Andrew Fitton,
    You find my bringing the subject of the EDL into a discussion odd Andrew? What more odd than Vince Cable’s warning? :-

    ‘ To describe such masochism as ‘martyrdom’ is dangerous. We haven’t yet heard about “Brexit Jihadis'” but there is an undercurrent of violence in the language that is troubling’.

    Those of us who lived through the period when Enoch Powell made his Rivers of Blood speech, know from experience, that the speech unleashed latent hostility to immigrants , and changed attitudes amongst those not previously hostile, thus causing untold harm to citizens who made up the immigrant population.

    There was another upsurge of bigotry c2010 when it was feared that the BNP might win parliamentary seats. One year later we had 2 BNP MEPs. Do you think that people who support such views melt away? They don’t. They morph into different forms, ready to be reinvigorated by some ‘charismatic’ leader who transmits the message that they are receptive to, but in coded rather than crude form. Don’t for one minute think that the number of members of the EDL is a true representation of those who less noisily hold the same views. One must always be vigilant.

    Yes the young have had a difference experience to older people so it is unsurprising if they are more ‘culturally flexible,’ but which generation do you think put in the hard lifting to make these experiences different, the ones that led to young people being so?

    Events change attitudes , sometimes fundamentally, and the young are not immune. To blame the older generation rather than politicians for the bad deal that young people undoubtably have compared to ours, is just divisive and wrong.

  • Mark Seaman 6th Aug '17 - 11:56pm

    RE: MigrationWatch
    …Andrew Green has rejected claims that his group have exaggerated immigration forecasts. Giving evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in January 2006 he quoted an internal e-mail by a member of staff at the Home Office, which stated “I have made this point many times before, but can we please stop saying that Migration Watch migration forecasts are wrong. I have pointed out before that Migration Watch assumptions are often below the Government Actuary Department’s high-migration scenario”. They have been far more accurate in predicting the level of net migration than the various British Governments in the 21st century. Not bad for a ‘discredited organisation’.

  • @Andrew McCaig
    You’re quite right about how unsurprising it is to see a piece like Vince’s in the Mail on Sunday, whose editor has diametrically opposing views on the implementation of Brexit to those of Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail.
    What I do find surprising is that LDV editor, Paul Walter, thinks it quite extraordinary that the paper should have given him such a forum. Granted the days of Cable’s column in the Mail are long gone, but to suggest as did Colin Paine that the Sunday edition is “enemy territory” needs correcting.
    As for the old shafting the young remark, it seems to have generated mostly negative comments (including, surprisingly perhaps, on the Guardian website). Still, that will not stop “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” advocates from failing to understand that those who admire Vince and support his warnings over a hard Brexit also recognise how his one club approach to older voters can so easily be misrepresented and sound offensive.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Aug '17 - 12:56am

    This article as a point of discussion has generated the type of dinner table talk that the comments are probably going to generate in Liberal Democrat oriented houses.

    But what of others , ie the rest or most of our land ?!!!

    I think the intention, as the man, is more sensible , subtle and saleable.

    The headline and the article on the surface and in the effect is probably not a good result for him or the party/ country.

    My feeling was a Norman Lamb sort of approach would give us a Corbyn with common sense. Measured , very obviously authentic, moderate on the whole in style and substance , with some genuine radical policy, and coalition record on a very specific area he can be rightly pleased with his work on.

    Can we say those things of Vince?

    No , but yes on much that he and we about him can be impressed with/

    But I worry he is going to be as disliked as liked.

    Corbyn has the youth vote. We can get much of the mainstream older vote. But division according to this issue is not the way.

    Many on here are responsible in a sense , denigrating him when he was moderate and mainstream on Brexit and immigration, helping to turn him to play to the Remain gallery as Tim did to little effect.

  • Andrew Fitton lists some reasons for why people voted Leave.

    1 I don’t recall the Remain campaign stating that the lack of doctors and nurses in the NHS was because the UK government didn’t plan correctly for the number needed, and this is why there is a shortage.

    3 I don’t recall the Remain campaign stating that the reason why there are not enough houses is because the government has failed to build enough Council houses.

    I remember the Conservatives and the coalition government stating there was not enough money to pay for the training of doctors and nurses and for building council houses.

    The cultural question is more problematic I think we should not have more than 5% of our population born outside the UK for social coherence reasons, which according to Lord William Wallace is a liberal principle. In 2001 this figure was 8.3% and in 2011 it had risen to 13.8%.

    Those who voted Leave might well have believed that with fewer people migrating into the UK, the pressure to keep wages low would be removed. They might even have thought that we could return to running the country to achieve full employment which would reduce economic inequalities (which have massively increased since this policy was ditched by Thatcher).

    I voted Remain.

    @ Leekliberal
    “The young cannot have free university education, cannot afford a first-time home until they are in their 30s and cannot walk into the well-paid and secure first job available to my generation.”

    I don’t recall the Remain campaign stating all these things would end if we stayed in the EU. It was the failure to deal with them while we were in the EU that helped Leave win.

    @ MerseyLib

    Only if the Eurozone was not run the way it is run and there was more assistance from the EU for the poorer countries would your prediction come true. There is no reason to believe that the Eurozone and the EU will be run to reduce the economic pull facts of people to migrate to the richer nations. This is why the free movement of people in the EU can be so bad for poorer countries such as Lithuania.

  • Robert Stallard 7th Aug '17 - 2:15am

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the effects of what Vince Cable says. The harsh truth – he’s seen as a ‘has-been’, leading a party that trumpets diversity yet has never had a female leader, and a party that loves the EU yet can’t get more than one MEP elected. Until those are sorted out, he’s whistling in the wind.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 7th Aug '17 - 7:44am

    In the weeks before Vince became leader, some party members were questioning his attitude to the EU. Many signed a letter, calling on Vince to affirm his belief in the single market and freedom of movement.
    Naturally, members had a right to ask Vince about his views on this, or any other, issue. But the tone of some of this questioning was unfair, as Vince has a long history of being fervently pro European, and also of being strongly pro immigration.
    Unfortunately, the result seems to have been that Vince seems to feel that he must constantly prove his pro EU credentials. Also, questions about his age have perhaps made him feel that he must prove that he is on the side of young people. But I am afraid the ageist tone of this article is likely to have the effect of alienating many older people, including many who voted Remain.

  • Bill Fowler 7th Aug '17 - 7:45am

    You have to remember that those over 75 were born during the war and those over 60 will have been bought up by people who suffered from the war. Thirty years after the war finished when I bought a secondhand Japanese motorcycle there was much muttering from the ancients in the family, going on about what the Japanese got up to. When German bureaucrats turn up on the TV telling us we must obey the rules, I am sure a lot of the older people got riled up and decided they had had enough of the EU. The thing they don’t seem to get their heads around is that the EU has helped dissuade us from going to war again and is good just on that alone.

    I am a fan of Vince Cable but not sure he is going in the right direction with this theme, a much more positive direction is to point out what could be done with all the increased tax receipts if we somehow managed to stay in the EU. Corbyn has shown how effective a direct monetary bribe can be (tuition fees) so something like Cancel Brexit and Phase Out Council Tax would grab headlines, highlight an unfair tax as it hits lower income people much heavier than high earners as it is not based on income and you end up with absurd situations where someone on a low pension but no benefits gets clobbered whereas someone on higher benefits avoids it. Lovely headline grabber and it says phase out not immediately get rid of it so fiscally doable.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 7th Aug '17 - 8:07am

    David Raw, I very much agree with your comments at 10.15 pm yesterday. Vince, and the party as a whole, should be speaking out about the terrible injustice of the situation of so many people – in a wealthy country – depending on food banks. We should remember the words of the preamble to the constitution that none should be enslaved by poverty.
    There are so many other issues that Vince should also be speaking about : health, social care, education, the plight of refugees and asylum seekers… Unfortunately at the moment he seems to be perpetuating the impression that the party only cares about the EU.

  • Good news! Demographic churn means that many of the selfish elderly Brexit voters are no longer around!

  • Lester Holloway 7th Aug '17 - 8:16am

    So the Right are ‘Brexit jihadis’? The word jihad has in its faith context means struggling or striving for the sake of Allah, and is very important status in the doctrine of Islam and one of the basic duties for every Muslim. It does not mean holy war, or killing innocent people, or committing any kind of terrorism. It is important that we get language correct.

  • E 6th Aug ’17 – 10:36pm………..Disappointing to see how few people on here criticising the statement have clearly not read it. go back, read the statement then comment but don’t make sweeping statements based on a headline………

    A large number of posts are rejoicing that Vince has ‘made’ headlines…

    Shouting ‘Fire’ (as one poster applauded) and then saying, “Well, I actually only shouted that to get your attention” doesn’t wash…

    It was a stupid, divisive and counter productive statement…Sadly, Vince has a history of OTT remarks and I, for one, despair that he has learned nothing from his “Nuclear Option” (“If they push me too far then I can walk out and bring the Government down and they know that”) fiasco…..That resulted in a weakening of LibDem influence in cabinet and I believe this latest outburst will do far more harm than good….

  • My 74 year old remainer father has said way, way worse about Brexiteers in his age group, so I don’t think we should worry about alienating them all. He’ll be cheering Vince.

    I understand the fears that the apparent generalisation, based on headlines, will rile more than it will comfort, but due to the nature of political activism these days, the most bland and nuanced statements are met with disgust from the Corbynistas and sneering from the Brexiteers in the comments section of the Guardian, so we must be careful not to use the reaction there to inform policy. And our regular reminder that the comments section of the Guardian is available to readers of the Mail and social media makes it easier for people to direct their friends to things to complain about without reading.

    Incidentally, I heard that one of the online news sources now requires people to answer a basic question about the article before commenting.

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug '17 - 8:52am


    “Corbyn has the youth vote. “

    But for how long? I do not believe for a moment that the young people supporting Corbyn are a new generation of revolutionary socialists. Rather, Corbyn and the hard leftists behind him have performed a successful con-trick on young voters, to give the impression that he shares their internationalist (in particular pro-EU) small-l liberal outlook. It’s only a matter of time before he is exposed as the class-war hard-Brexiting dinosaur that he really is. And Lib Dems need to make sure we are well placed to reap the electoral benefits when this happens.

  • @ Catherine Jane Crosland Many thanks for your comments, Catherine.

    The penny doesn’t seem to have dropped that today’s society and the ‘modern’ economy don’t seem to work for so many people – hence the negative attitude to ‘the system’ and to the EU in particular. If Vince started analysing and finding solutions to these problems he would be ploughing much more fertile (and worthwhile) soil.

    If he doesn’t, what is left of this almost empty shell of a party will finally crumble away and die – and it won’t deserve to live.

    There’s plenty to do in outside in worthwhile activities such as supporting foodbanks, Amnesty International, Oxfam and other community activities that actually do something rather thanjust being in an empty talking shop pre-occupied with just one issue and ‘standing’ so called paper candidates who predictably get 3% or less.

  • @ JOHN INNES “Good news! Demographic churn means that many of the selfish elderly Brexit voters are no longer around!”

    Your turn will come young man. Are you proposing a cull ?

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '17 - 9:06am

    I can’t help but feel that the emphasis on Brexit in Vince Cable’s article and this discussion misses the point. Cable writes,

    When I joined the Coalition Cabinet in 2010, we took pride in the ‘triple lock’ to banish the scourge of pensioner poverty. But one of its unintended consequences has been a growing rift between generations.
    Pensioners have suffered relatively little from the aftermath of the financial crisis – unless they were slow to shift savings from banks to shares or property. The burden of austerity has been carried by the working population. Young people suffer the additional disadvantage of prohibitive housing costs, growing job insecurity and limited career progression. The old have comprehensively shafted the young.

    These and other issues have nothing to do with Brexit (other than being made better or worse depending on which side of the Brexit fence one sits).
    Outside the party we know that the Lib Dems oppose Brexit. So, while feeling free to remind us occasionally, please put more effort into telling us about the vision and the policies that the party has to fix those other problems.

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug ’17 – 8:52am………………..It’s only a matter of time before he is exposed as the class-war hard-Brexiting dinosaur that he really is. And Lib Dems need to make sure we are well placed to reap the electoral benefits when this happens…………

    Post 2010 we would attract Torylite and Labour rite (we, of course are their natural home)…Post EU referendum we would attract the Leave vote (we, of course are their natural home)…and now, whilst we are still on 6%, we will attract the young (we, of course are their natural home)…

    Please, please, explain HOW ….?

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug '17 - 9:37am

    expats: I was not aware of the Lib Dems ever chasing the Leave vote. And the most recent opinion polls have us on 7% and 9%, so maybe you’re a bit behind the times there.

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug '17 - 9:38am

    I wrote “we need to be well-placed” (my emphasis) not “we will be”. Get the difference? I was responding to Lorenzo’s comment which seemed to imply that the youth vote is gone for good, and will always be with Corbyn.

  • Richard Easter 7th Aug '17 - 10:11am

    Alex Macfie

    “Corbyn and the hard leftists behind him have performed a successful con-trick on young voters, to give the impression that he shares their internationalist (in particular pro-EU) small-l liberal outlook. It’s only a matter of time before he is exposed as the class-war hard-Brexiting dinosaur that he really is. And Lib Dems need to make sure we are well placed to reap the electoral benefits when this happens.”

    The problem is the Lib Dems under Clegg played a similar con trick, by presenting themselves as an extension of the Kennedy style social liberals who were to the left of New Labour on many issues, whilst being very pro civil liberties.

    Instead they were unmasked as simply more pro-diversity europhile corporatists rather than the the national corporatists that comprise many of the Tories.

    Aside from tuition fees, many people associate the Lib Dems with supporting the bedroom tax, privatising the Royal Mail to benefit global bankers, NHS re-organisation (which is considered privatisation by the back door, and equally of zero benefit to any patients), and in the case of Clegg – outright support for Euro Federalism (as opposed to simply pro-remain).

    I agree Corbyn is no liberal internationalist – but then are young people really liberal internationalist, when they attend anti-globalisation protests, are anti TTIP, and side with trade unions on issues such as opposition to privatisation, outsourcing or offshoring jobs? I am not sure they would support Vince’s economic world view, even if they back Remaining in the EU, and equally their Remain is more likely to be in a wish for Britain to be more like the Scandinavian countries, than for the vision of Europe Clegg, JP Morgan and similar want to see, of liberalised public services and TTIP style deals.

    It seems to me that young people just want a fairer hand when it comes to job stability, pensions, affordability of housing, public services run for the public not overseas profits, and less financial burdens for bettering yourself via education, rather than the globalised free market, and control by the same revolving door of self serving elite – politician / NGO / EU Commssion / investment bank / multinational, pushing a “neoliberal narrative” globally.

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Aug '17 - 10:21am

    @ Alex Macfie,
    If young people are so easily conned, why should one put much faith in their judgement?

    @ Peter Watson,
    Perhaps the party has nothing to say on these matters which are so important to many of us, and the single minded focus on Brexit is the intended consequences of this.

    I think that a more balanced view of the Brexit poll is offered in a YouGov article:-

    ‘The ‘extremists’ on both sides of the Brexit debate.

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug ’17 – 9:38am……..I wrote “we need to be well-placed” (my emphasis) not “we will be”. Get the difference?

    My final sentence still applies…”Please, please, explain HOW ….?”

    As for your quibble with my 6%….The declared ‘margin of error’ is 3% …

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug '17 - 10:47am

    Richard Easter: Nick Clegg is no longer the party leader. He is not even in Parliament anymore, and indeed practically all of his Orange Booker coterie (Laws, Danny Alexander &c) have now left the building. Vince Cable was the Lib Dem cabinet minister who always looked least comfortable with it; he was never an Orange Booker; his economic views are much more nuanced than that.

    Lib Dems know well enough about the danger of a cult being built around the party leader, as that is exactly what happened with Cleggmania. So it is probably only a matter of time before Jezmania falls apart in a similar way, and the Lib Dems need to be ready for it. There is quite a difference between Scandinavian social democracy and Venezuelan socialist tyranny. The latter is what Corbyn is supporting. The Lib Dems made a serious error in continuing the cult of Clegg during the Coalition years (e.g. the Clegg vs Farage debates in the Euro election campaign when we should have been making more of the fact that the European Parliament was a “coalition-free zone”), and this shows the inherent danger in fostering a personality cult when the “personality” falls out of favour.

  • David Evans 7th Aug '17 - 10:58am

    Alex MacFie – According to UK Polling Report since 7th June all polls have had us between 5% and 7%, but you say to expats “And the most recent opinion polls have us on 7% and 9%, so maybe you’re a bit behind the times there.” Can you tell what you source is for the 7% to 9% range? On the basis of their data, it seems to be you who are a bit behind the times.

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug '17 - 11:17am

    Alex Macfie – being of the older generation that Vince Cable blames for shafting the young I remember listening to Saturday Kids radio many years ago. A favourite song of mine was “Three wheels on my wagon”.

    Your suggestion that Corbyn will somehow be found out to be hard-left as if that line hasn’t already been exhausted by the Tories, media and LibDems reminds me of the whimsically optimistic song.

    As for quibbling about 1% here or there in LibDem polling, isn’t it time to face facts? The LibDems need to break with the past. The problem is they are stuck with a Leader that personifies the errors of the past.

    Young people do not blame old people for their plight generally speaking. They do blame the Coalition for student fees increases, bedroom tax and benefit cuts as part of an austerity package Vince Cable – not old people – brought into being.

  • Alex Macfie 7th Aug '17 - 11:22am

    @David Evans: No, UK Polling Report has an Ipsos/Mori poll from 20 July putting us as 9%. The most recent poll, from YouGov, has us at 7%. It’s hard to read much into opinion polls at the moment because it’s August and there aren’t many of them around, so I’m not prepared to entertain the doom-fetishists here (who BTW were saying the party would probably make a net loss of seats in the recent election).

    @jayne Mansfield: Most people do not follow politics closely, so are not fully aware of the details of party policies or leaders. They go by what they hear on news and social media. It’s not a value judgement against people to say they can be fooled. Look at Germany in the 1930s.

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '17 - 11:23am

    @David Evans “Can you tell what you source is for the 7% to 9% range?”
    9% would be from an Ipsos Mori poll for Evening Standard on July and 7% is consistent with a couple of other polls (
    All the normal caveats apply: Summer holiday polling is not the most reliable, the margin of error is significant, a couple of points does not make a trend, etc. You also have the evidence of a few local by-elections and a recent general election.
    But I would suggest that the most pressing problem for Lib Dems is not the precise value of those depressing and stubbornly low polling figures.

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '17 - 11:24am

    Ooops. “on July” should be “on 20 July” for the Ipsos Mori poll.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Aug '17 - 11:34am


    See the concluding paragraph of my posting here during the night, we agree entirely, so say it as it is, Vince pushing the issue to convince .

    We do not need or want Vince to put the con… in convince ?!

  • Neil Sandison 7th Aug '17 - 11:47am

    Vince is clearly guilt tripping older voters who voted Brexit on the legacy they will be leaving in both senses of the word the next generation .He wants them to think again and perhaps soften their view point on the final terms ,Will it be an economic Brexit or an immigration Brexit .A modified Norway type of association or WTO at any price ?
    Sensible access to EU citizens to our jobs market or hard boarders and excessive visa requirements .

  • David Allen 7th Aug '17 - 11:58am

    Vince just can’t win with far too many of our LDV clicktivists. When he makes carefully nuanced remarks on the question of soft Brexit being a lesser evil than hard Brexit, cue a storm of clicktivist complaint. When he makes a full-throated denunciation of the “Brexit martyrs” whose human sacrifice will mainly be a younger generation, cue another storm of clicktivist complaint.

    How do you guys think Vince should campaign, then? Clearly you want to hear something much more anodyne. Stuff like “Not right, not left, but forward”, or “Stronger economy, fairer society”, or “We need a third advisory conditional referendum using the single transferable voting system to address the perplexing and complex questions surrounding Brexit, and we have issued a detailed position paper to explain where we stand, yadda yadda”. That’s how to stick fast to our 5 – 7 – 9% in the polls, guys!

  • Have Leave voters become ‘useless eaters’?

    It was bad enough to be told you are thick, uneducated, narrow-minded, populist, too old to think straight, stupid selfish anti youth coffin dodgers. But Vince has cranked it way up to ‘Level 10 nasty’, with his demonizing words like zealots, martyrs, and jihadists.

    Let’s remind ourselves of these professorial looking, ‘expert’ types.

    Back in the 1920’s the then ‘experts’ of the day, developed a notion labelled eugenics, that declared that some people in society were ‘too stupid to be allowed to breed’. Eugenics was the then ‘expert solution’ to lifting the cohort level of intellect in society.

    So in Professor Vince’s ‘expert’ view have we Leavers become the ‘too stupid to breed, too stupid to be allowed a vote’. Has our ‘zealot stupidity’, become the obstruction to his utopian EU liberal world?
    Isn’t democracy fragile enough without this deeply offensive warmongering against Leave voters? How long do you think this drip-drip of vile demonization of Leave voters is going to be tolerated?
    It was the absolute right of Leave voters to vote Leave for whatever reason they saw fit, and this sort of revolting intolerance is getting out of control. My advice to Vince is to abide by the referendum result with the good grace expected of democracy, because the alternative to democracy is a horror which should stay in the history books where it belongs.

    I think we’re starting to see Vince as a much lesser intellect than his image attempts to portray. I’m not sure what other wild delusions might sit under Dr.Vince’s fedora hat, but I can assure him that having seen freedom from EU on the horizon, Leave voters will never, ever, go back into the box marked ‘EU Superstate’.

  • Sue Sutherland 7th Aug '17 - 1:43pm

    What is missing from these comments is the outrage that myself and my husband ( both 70) felt that the majority of Leave voters think that Brexit is worth paying for with economic disaster and that a sizeable number wouldn’t mind someone in their family losing their job for it. Who are these selfish older people, the ones who mostly voted Leave? How can they possibly be content with their children and grandchildren suffering poverty and heartbreak to return to a past which wasn’t so great anyway?
    I’m glad Vince has called them out. Yes, the headlines are a broad generalisation but such selfishness needs to be addressed.

  • Peter Watson 7th Aug '17 - 1:45pm

    @David Allen “How do you guys think Vince should campaign, then?”
    By remembering that there is more to life than Brexit.
    Yes, Brexit is very important, and yes, the Lib Dems have a fixed and well-understood position of opposing it (despite some awkward attempts to confuse the issue by claiming to respect the result of the referendum, departure not a destination, yadda yadda). But that should be a platform on which to build by enunciating what else the party has to offer.

  • Phil Beesley 7th Aug '17 - 2:13pm

    @Sue Sutherland: “Who are these selfish older people, the ones who mostly voted Leave? How can they possibly be content with their children and grandchildren suffering poverty and heartbreak to return to a past which wasn’t so great anyway?”

    They aren’t selfish. They just thought Leave was the right answer — for them, for family.

    I voted Remain for economic reasons rather than love of the EU. I despise the EU, especially its accommodation of creepy technocrats.

  • Katerina Porter 7th Aug '17 - 2:20pm

    There are points to make on the old who voted to leave – we, like everyone else, were told by Leave that everything would be better, which would also be a particularly better future for their grandchildren freed from EU restrictions. A year since the vote when things are not looking so bright there is still the other underlying idea I came across canvassing -Control, in effect patriotism. But it is multinational s who have the power, Britain particularly. So much of our energy companies, steel, cars, banks Heathrow airport, railways etc etc are foreign owned, so profit goes abroad . It also gives great lobbying power. EU regulation is different and is supposed to be for the benefit of all and with the consent of all the members. And for a single market you have to have similar standards. Regulations are there for a reason. The government campaign here has been to get rid of as many as possible, Health and Safety was joked about, building regulations were much weakened leading to the tragedy of Grenfell. As for old people being particularly well off because of property values – we bought a house using everything we had in London for a price which would not buy a matchbox now. It has gone up crazily in value but for me it makes no difference because it is simply my home as before. I will have more with which to pay for a nursing home of course. My children will certainly inherit but after tax they will not be able to buy anything like the same.

    I have an idea that the Remain campaign was so negative, just the fear of economic consequences and nothing of the enormous benefits of the EU because Cameron did not want to upset the strongest Brexiteers within his party by mentioning any.
    The Eurozone certainly imposed a wrong and harsh financial policy on members after 2008, but our government did enormous damage to our institutions and people too.
    Both applied the going economic policy, which Keynes criticised so long ago and eventually changed.

  • Andrew McCaig 7th Aug '17 - 2:28pm

    Dave Orbison,

    I don’t think Corbyn is going to be found out for being “hard left”.

    I think if he ever manages to get into government he will be found out for making promises he can’t keep. Meanwhile if he can succeed in “not quite getting into government” indefinitely he will remain quite popular (I say “quite popular” because as far as I know he still has a net negative approval rating).

    My warning to British Labour supporters would be to look at what happened to the French Socialists when they got into power on an ambitious and attractive manifesto they could not deliver.. 40% to 9% in 5 years… It doesn’t only happen to Liberal Democrats you know!

  • @ Andrew McCaig Corbyn. You’re right – by one point. Poll, Daily Telegraph (20/07/17). :

    “Jeremy Corbyn has overtaken the Prime Minister for the first time in the monthly poll, with Mrs May receiving her worst result since becoming Prime Minister a year ago.

    Her net satisfaction rating now stands at -25, compared to the Labour leader’s score of -1, his best ever rating. Some 44 per cent of adults now say they are satisfied with Mr Corbyn.”

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug '17 - 3:54pm

    Simon Shaw -Corbyn and the NME interview

    Oh dear where to start. Well the intro the the interview in the NME makes clear reference to the Labour Party Manifesto which is crystal clear. Corbyn in the link you included refers to the Manifesto – hint read it. He does not promise to eradicate the existing debt.

    The Huffington Post reported of the interview that “He [Corbyn] told the magazine [NME]: “Yes, there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.”

    “I don’t have the simple answer for it yet – I don’t think anybody would expect me to, because this election was called unexpectedly; we had two weeks to prepare all this – but I’m very well aware of that problem,” Corbyn continued.

    “And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”

    There is nothing unreasonable in what he says nor is there any hint of a broken promise. Your references to “Corbynista’s and Beloved Leader” are more worthy of Alf Garnett. These are serious issues and deserve serious,adult debate and discussion.

    Finally, as I fear I need to remind you, the irony of a LibDem supporter accusing Corbyn of betraying students in not writing off the debt that they have incurred as a direct result of the LibDem Coalition and one of the most grievous breaches of a manifesto in UK modern political history beggars belief. Alf, would be proud of you.

  • Sue Sutherland 7th Aug '17 - 4:04pm

    Phil, Vince was referring to a YouGov poll which showed a vast majority of older supporters of Leave think economic disaster is a price worth paying and half of them think one of their family losing their job is also a price worth paying. In my book this is selfish. I agree with Vince.

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug ’17 – 3:54pm….

    Dave Orbison, You are wasting your time..Wrestling fog comes to mind…On another thread I posted the whole interview (as have you) and Simon kept picking, and highlighting, sentences out of context…

    Sadly, he seems to have tunnel vision and, even on a thread wholly about Cable, keeps dragging Corbyn into it….I imagine that he believes that, if he introduces enough ‘strawmen’ into such debates, we won’t see the field for the scarecrows..

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug '17 - 4:09pm

    Simon Shaw – re in your words the ‘notorious’ NME interview with Corbyn on student fees, I forgot to say thanks for the link you provided. I watched it. He seems like a good man to me and nothing said to support your misrepresentation of his position.

    But I do have a truly ‘notorious’ piece of film in the link below. I hope you’ll watch it. It starts with a piece of paper stuck to a railing with Labour – Student Fees – Broken Promises – perhaps you have something, but oh no wait……

    Does it ring any bells?

    It supremely ironic in the context of your faux outrage re Corbyn on this issue.

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug '17 - 4:40pm

    Simon Shaw – and not what you bizarrely claim as to ‘what he meant’. You are twisting words to suit your own prejudice, what he says is perfectly reasonable. By the way he didn’t get elected so this nonsense you are desperately harking on about cannot possibly be termed a broken promise.

    Now I had the good grace to watch your video link I note you are silent on the one I posted. Can’t you face the truth Simon? The link I posted was in relation to ACTUAL broken promises not invested fantasy. Any chance you could deal with some facts? However, unpalatable they may be?

  • I know there are Corbyn adorantionists hereabouts but be reasonable – the topic was pre-existing student debt and his words were “I will deal with it”.
    Before the polling booths closed did he correct himself with the words “No, I won’t deal with it”?
    I common English usage the words “I will deal with it” are taken to mean, well, “I will deal with it”.

    It matters not, of course, because his worshippers will hear no wrong and become hysterical when he is criticised. I predict the worst of all futures. His momentum (oops!) will take him into Downing Street and there will follow the mother of economic calamities. If you have savings in the bank queue up now before the rush.
    He must then be followed by a right wing backlash as those who supported him become disappointed that his promises (see above) have fallen through and those whose savings and property have been plundered.
    I see a re-run of the “Dunkirk” film except the desperate British will be trying to get back on to the beaches of Europe.
    LibDems – the nation needs you more than ever.

  • Phil Beesley 7th Aug '17 - 5:03pm

    @Sue Sutherland: “In my book this is selfish. I agree with Vince.”

    I am not that selfish so I do not understand.

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Aug '17 - 5:27pm

    @ Sue Sutherland,
    In the poll you mentioned, one third of remainers say that significant damage to the economy would be a price worth paying to get their way on Brexit.

    Vince Cable gets a mention in this article on YouGov.

    YouGov, ‘The extremists on both sides of the Brexit debate’.

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Aug '17 - 5:43pm

    @ Palehorse,
    You certainly live up to your name with your apocalyptic predictions.

    ‘ Lib Dems the nation needs you more than ever’.

    If this is the case, are you a Liberal Democrat member or supporter of the party? You use the second person plural pronoun ‘you’.

  • Glenn

    “I think maybe yes because European Countries that stayed out of the EU have tended to stay on a more socially progressive path. Things like the NHS, welfare and improved conditions for labour are products the democratic power of people within the structure of nation state.”

    I’d be interested to know which countries you’re thinking of. I struggle to think of any. Norway, maybe? But Norway is practically a de facto member, belonging to both the Single Market and the Schengen area.

  • Peter Hirst 7th Aug '17 - 6:15pm

    Seems a true picture. My neighbour called to ask for Vince’s address so he could write to him. It is time someone pointed out what is obvious to most. They didn’t even get the vote. The whole thing is a shambles and voting Lib Dem is the only way out. The great British public is waking up.

  • @ Palehorse I’m certainly not an adorationist of Corbyn, but like many others I get fed up of the cheap knocking he gets from the Tory tabloids – and from certain knee jerk obscurantists on LDV. What they don’t seem to get is that their knocking is counter productive and actually boosted Corbyn in the General Election.

    If anyone has bankrupted the country in the last seven years it was Cameron with his referendum, and his former pals Boris and Govey (£ 325 million per week to the NHS with no mention of a £ 50 billion leaving bill).

    @ Dave Orbison The Clegg “promises” film was a classic and you couldn’t make it up. I hope he picked up all his litter afterwards ( £150 fine is now the penalty – so enough to get a peerage if you count every sheet).. He didn’t look the least embarrassed about promising what Conference allegedly imposed on him –

    As for the Comrade Nick’s promise to cut class sizes in primary schools down to 20 – seven years later they average 27.1 and rising (classes over 36 – from 6,000 to 18,000 children) between 2010 to 2016 (DES figures). In Scotland, run by that wicked old SNP, primary class sizes average 23.3. admittedly rising (Scottish Gov’t figures).

  • Palehorse 7th Aug ’17 – 5:02pm……….I know there are Corbyn adorantionists hereabouts but be reasonable – the topic was pre-existing student debt and his words were “I will deal with it”.
    Before the polling booths closed did he correct himself with the words “No, I won’t deal with it”?
    I common English usage the words “I will deal with it” are taken to mean, well, “I will deal with it”…………..

    Which bit of…”“Yes, there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden.”…“And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.”……did you not understand?

    Corbyn mentioned ‘excessive debt’ and used the interview to make clear that they are looking at a range of initiatives to deal with it…..

    You, and others, see EVERYTHING that Corbyn does as at best wrong and, at worst as evil…
    I’d love to see the same anger aimed at a right wing Tory administration that is driving the poorest to foodbanks, loansharks and even suicide, but of course that won’t happen…

  • @ expats Attended my local Foodbank Trustees meeting this morning. Demand up over 16% – mostly due to the Universal Credit delays our lot voted for.

    Oh, dear.

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug '17 - 6:42pm

    Palehorse and Simon Shaw – yes there are some of us who quite like some, OK a lot of what Corbyn has put forward in the Labour Manifesto. I understand that many here, unsurprisingly, disagree with some or even all of his policies. That’s politics.

    What dismays me is the need to resort to silly, yes silly, if not childish pet labels to attack him or people who support the policies he puts forward. I don’t lose any sleep over it. But to my mind it only detracts from any arguement you may wish to put forward.

    Ironically, as I posted the LibDem election manifesto on ‘No more broken promises” another from Nick Clegg was about cleaner politics. He wanted professed he wanted an end to yah-boo politics. Presumably ‘name calling’ is something he may have had in mind.

    I was truck by a further irony in looking at the broadcast and the outrage you both proclaim re Corbyn over dealing with student debt. In the broadcast Nick Clegg used the word ‘fairness’ more than any other. Someone else posted that was the appeal of Corbyn to the young vote. In Corbyn saying that he would look at the issue of debt that will have arisen between the LibDems tripling fees and a Corbyn abolishing fees, it is entirely reasonable and FAIR to say he would look at those caught in the middle. That is all he said and good on him for saying so.

  • David Raw 7th Aug ’17 – 6:33pm…………[email protected] expats Attended my local Foodbank Trustees meeting this morning. Demand up over 16% – mostly due to the Universal Credit delays our lot voted for……….

    I’m a volunteer at feeding rough sleepers…The bacon/sausage baps and hot coffee and soups are really appreciated…As time goes by I notice that the number of long-term recipients (male and female) is increasing…Listening to their stories makes me realise that, far from the Daily Mail’s feckless parasites, most are ordinary people whose relationships/jobs have failed and the downward spiral became out of control…”There but for the grace, etc.”

  • Jayne,
    I joined in 2015 desperate for a third force as, at that time, I faced the prospect of a Tory government that looked to be in power for longer than I am likely to be on the earth. (I’m 66 and 1/2).
    I did not renew my membership when the party morphed into a single issue pressure group and, I thought, surrendered its golden opportunity to build a centre ground offering of reconciliation and hope with sensible economic ideas involving wealth creation and fair reward.
    No senior LibDem ever called 17 million of our citizens racist bigots, too stupid to know what they voted for and who had changed their minds already but some angry people did and the LibDems “inherited” their words because they had so strongly and clearly declared their overturn Brexit stance. Vince hasn’t helped by telling them that they have ‘shafted’ the young. How will the youngsters who voted leave now feel about the LibDems?
    The notion that Brexiteers are full of remorse is not the case. A lot tell me that they see the reaction of the EU as vindictive and spiteful and determined to punish anyone who tries to declare independence from the Empire. The national schism is still there, deeper than ever, and the Labour party is doing the best job of reaching out to both sides of our nation. The other parties just want their side to win and smash the other viewpoint and drive their enemies into defeat and shame.
    And yes Jayne, my predictions are apocalyptic. Tell me when does Britain’s economic turn-round come? Where does it come from? What triggers it?
    Please don’t tell me that if we invest in “skills and infrastructure” and UBI then an economic success story that will amaze the world will quickly follow.
    I see this domestic and national debt propped up only by confidence in the debtholders that the British will “muddle through” and a popping of that bubble will wipe out savings, share values, house prices.
    The country has to find a way of paying its way and it’s not on the hard left or the hard right but from the sensible centre.

  • Richard Cripps 7th Aug '17 - 7:36pm

    I have been a Lib/Lib Dem Voter/Supporter for many years (starting with Peter Hain and the Young Liberals) and, at times, a member of both the Lib and Lib Dem parties. However, I have felt more and more unwelcome over the past few months, firstly as a Christian (following the “pushing out” of Tim Farron) and secondly as an “Oldie” (following Vince Cable’s remarks). At one time “Liberal” meant respect for other people’s views, even when not agreed with and “Democrat” meant abiding by the majority view. I’m not sure that the party is either any longer, which is very sad. For the record, although I am over 60 and did not go to University I voted Remain because I remember bomb sites as a child and feel that the EU has been a major player in ensuring that my children and grandchildren do not have to endure the horrors that my parents and grandparents did.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Aug '17 - 8:10pm

    Dave Orbison Jayne Mansfield

    I have yet to see you on labourlist, your desire for a third party of centre left strength seems to greater than for a government party of Corbyn fans such as you are, otherwise why are you not posters there but are here, you could try it there and see if you are as welcome on a site of a party that you vote for as on this , a site for one you constantly slag off. Both of you make sense on issues and let the sense of it down by constantly expecting this party to love Corbyn, who gets a fair press here considering this party, though Iwould like it, is not in an agreement at all with his !

    David Raw
    You make very good contributions here , but why the constant defence of the view that to mock Corbyn is wrong, but to mock Clegg is not .

    Are you f the view that the more we show we cannot stand our own former leaders , the more we gain leftie credentials ?

    This party cannot win as a similar alternative to a left wing Labour.

    Two choices only.

    Centre left common sense , mainstream, patriotic understanding party of peoples real concern and love of community and country .

    A deal with Labour that would give us more mps than the Cooperatives and more influence than them or us now.

    We are really really left wing because we want exactly what Corbyn wants is a pact not an alternative.

    Make your mind up time.

  • David:
    “Jeremy Corbyn has overtaken the Prime Minister for the first time in the monthly poll, with Mrs May receiving her worst result since becoming Prime Minister a year ago.

    Her net satisfaction rating now stands at -25, compared to the Labour leader’s score of -1, his best ever rating. Some 44 per cent of adults now say they are satisfied with Mr Corbyn.”

    Yes, quite right, Jeremy Corbyn is much less unpopular than St Theresa of May and also a good deal less unpopular than he used to be as well… All I was saying is that if 45% of people are dissatisfied with you you are not actually popular.

    If you want popular I am afraid you have to go back to this chap!

  • Dave Orbison 7th Aug '17 - 9:09pm

    Lorenzo – don’t the LibDems believe in coalitions? The reason I spend some of my time here is to encourage the LibDems to shift left increasing the chance of Labour LibDem cooperation in whatever form that takes to ensure a fairer and more liberal government and not a Tory one.

    There’s no need for me to spend time with Labour groupings, although I do, and not the one you believe you have the right to direct me towards.

    I do not slag anyone off. In fact my frustration often vented here is when politics descends into no more than personal attacks as opposed to debate and challenge on issues of policy.

    Corbyn gets a mixed bag here. I expect nothing less. But in a forum that is open, in a party that advocates tolerance of differing views, I am surprised that those that suggest a more constructive relationship with Labour are invited to shut up.

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Aug '17 - 9:41pm

    @ Palehorse,
    Thank you for your response.

    I agree with you that ‘brexiteers’ are not filled with remorse, and I agree with you that
    that Labour are the party are the party doing most to reach out to both sides of our nation.

    I can’t answer the questions that you pose, if I could I wouldn’t be spending so much time reading posts on here and Labourlist trying to grasp the complexity of our current state as a nation. I have to put my trust in politicians, and that is easier said than done. Instead of posing those questions to me, may I ask you the same questions?

    I would be interested to know what you mean by the ‘middle ground’ given that this is a moveable feast. Haven’t we tried the middle ground in the years of new Labour, with its focus groups, triangulation and ‘third way politics. It doesn’t seem to have offered any long term solutions. I agree with Tim Farron that much good was done by New Labour, the introduction of the minimum wage etc., but I would argue that ultimately it also led to the anger we now see from those at the margins who felt that they were not being listened to.

    Are you arguing that the coalition government represented the centre ground? Where exactly is the centre ground for you? It means different things to different people. What do you mean by sensible economic policies?

  • jayne Mansfield 7th Aug '17 - 9:48pm

    @ Lorenzo Cherin,
    I don’t love Corbyn. I love my husband.

  • The problem with the remain camp is that it has no power to stop anything and is thus reduced to hurling recriminations and refighting the war with models. if the old guard had not turned out then Dorset might would have fallen, then we would be there instead of there. And from there, we could have moved onto Thanet and then on to victory! But We have been betrayed by our allies. The young were betrayed by the old . The fight must go on. It’s good that Vince is getting some coverage, but that’s about the extent of it.

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin I really don’t need flannel about making good posts, and like Jayne I don’t love Corbyn, but I love my wife.

    Did you watch the video posted by Mr Orbison ? Watch it and see if you can give me an intellectually honest answer about what you then think.

    Video for nick clegg broken promises youtube▶ 3:42

    I don’t mock Mr Clegg. I grieve for what he did to a party I worked my guts out for and represented at senior level in local government for over forty years. If and when you have that experience under your belt you might begin to understand. Play the film, compare what he said to what he did and then ask yourself why 93% of the British public don’t trust us or vote for us now.

    I’m afraid your second question isn’t really worth a serious response. It’s not about being extreme left. My views are radical Liberal and were regarded as mainstream Liberal until 2010. It’s about keeping promises and having a respect for the electorate……. something that has become rare in this party over the last ten years. The electorate aren’t daft, they can pick it out and they did.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Aug '17 - 10:51pm

    Dave Orbison Jayne Mansfield

    My stance and its expression was not in any way that you shouldn’t be here, nor that you have to be on the site I do not see you on. It was a point that I do not understand why you do not make contributions there. I say above on here , you are both good on the issues, it is the regular denigration of members who criticise Corbyn , that I do not get. Simon Shaw is entitled to feel as much as he is feeling about the leaders of parties not his own. I have a liking for all who have a liking for all ! In other words , let people like who they like on their own party’s website.

    I did not say you love Corbyn, but that those here who do not are not going to change their mind .

    I like him more than some and less than you.

    David Raw

    I do not give you, whatever , you mean by the rather antiquated but characteristic expression, flannel. I like your views on many topics , here on this thread , although you would never say , here, here to me , nor have you ever, is an example of where I agree with you, as does my valued colleague and yours , Catherine , above too.

    However , David, if you are both unable to receive and give a compliment here, accept that as I do not make the claim you love Corbyn, I do see you here making sarcastic comments on Clegg, that I call mocking him, in the same thread you say it is not a sensible tactic re Corbyn. Did you think, and this is not meant as sarcastic, unlike above, where you, as often, and I , as sometimes , are,, really, did you think we can benefit from disowning the coalition by mocking or denoucing Clegg ?It is not a daft question. I happen to think the more we do, the more we show up only the bad n that period, when there was real good as well.

    I would be grateful if you would have some of the tone you have for those like Dave and Jayne , here, who do not vote for this party, show some to those of us who do, and like them and you , can be satirical, daft, sarcastic, the lot, but mean what we say just as much.

    And you above on Vince are scathing compared to anything I often said about Tim, who I can say I came to like a lot, but when I criticised him, was told to put a sock in …!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Aug '17 - 11:11pm

    David , and Dave in particular

    I watched the video, it shows why those such as David who did work for the party , and Dave as a voter or member, and me , as candidate, voter and member are amongst those who criticised the coalition.

    Corbyn has backtracked on freedom of movement and before it Brexit, in a situation that did not have the pressure of a coalition in which the small party had a fifth of the seats .

    Blair backtracked on tuition fees and about a number of other areas , as did Brown. All with a big majority.

    May backtracked in an election before the day even came to face the voters.

    It is what politicians do .

    That is not a recipe for loathing of one party but for cynicism about politics and people.

    Is that a club we should all join therefore.

  • Jayne,
    The centre ground is a political space that expands and contracts. If life is relatively easy for the average citizen the centre ground is well populated but when times become tighter the extremes get larger and the pool in the centre dwindles.
    With the certainty of being monstered by the “It’s all Clegg’s fault” squad I express my own view that the LibDems were heading for trouble anyway as increasing economic pressures, both real and feared, were drawing voters out of the centre space.

    I feel that I can even see it here as LibDem stalwarts are responding to those pressures and are drifting away from centre space policies and are moving sideways themselves.

    “Have-nots to the Left please, Haves to the Right – keep moving down the bus!”

    But centre ground policies don’t have to be anodyne and toothless. They don’t have to be exactly equidistant between the political extremes but neither should they be a sad and desperate copy of Corbynism or Thatcherism..

    I may be a bit “Wirral doomed, Cap’n Mainwaring!” but bluntly we are and the way to re-populate the centre ground is to show those who have moved towards the extremes, the folly of Venezuelan Socialism or dog-eat-dog capitalism by constructing a proper plan of a way out.

    Such a plan must be drastic, even frightening, because the government, any government, has very few levers to pull so it must pull hard and bravely on the ones it has.

    I am sure you, like many here, would have your own ideas. Mine are too complex to summarise other than to say that the consequences wouldn’t fall on the poorest (they have nothing to lose), or on the rich (who make themselves immune anyway), or indeed on those at any level who are contributing to, or closely supporting the nation’s economy but on the thick layer of barnacle and weed which has become attached to the nation’s bottom and will have to be scraped off (despite its screams).

  • Palehorse,
    I’ve got to admit I never entirely trust people who use metaphors to hint at their world view. It often seems like a way of avoiding saying something iffy in public. So please who or what is this “thick layer of barnacle and weed” that will have to be scraped off “despite the screams”.? I’m dying to find out.

  • Glen,
    Those who have failed the nation in the execution of their duties.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Aug '17 - 2:10am

    Unlike Glenn,here, on this point, I trust people who talk in any colourful way that reflects values and viwpoints I like and respect.


    You, in response to , and before , the comments ,which are sensitive and sensible ,from Jayne above, say things we must not ignore, or I at least am not going to.I do not share either her, or many others, concern , or confusion ,on where or what the centre ground is. I know it is as often as not , where the area I want to inhabit politically is likely to mainly, or usually, be found.

    I think your stance and style means your not being in membership is a sorry reflection on this party and it’s leadership, sorry Tim, post Brexit referendum.

    I crave the sort of centre to centre left common sense party you do. I first joined this one many years ago post past Labour activism.

    I think we need you very much or the mainstream is going to the dogs.

    Renew, please , palehorse, to give my membership and those sensible moderate and mainstream radical members some hope that we do not have to otherwise create a new party for which many of us have neither the money or the inclination as of yet as we have not quite given up on this party.

    If this party carries on as it has post referendum or during coalition, it is not Corbyn who is going to win, it is a revitalised Tory party under new leadership , as that party, unlike this one or Labour, exists to win.

    And , great name though it is,Palehorse, as is Jayne Mansfield, in keeping with David Raw, who makes this same point at times, I wonder why you , any of you , on this friendly or at least usually constructive website,do not reveal your name.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 8th Aug '17 - 8:22am

    Lorenzo, thank you for your reply to my comment. I’m sorry I’ve been so long replying.
    I agree with your previous comment, where you say that Vince seems to have been forced into taking this sort of approach, by the attitude of some within this party.
    Actually I do understand the viewpoint of those who were disappointed by Vince seeming to compromise on the principle of freedom of movement, but I think perhaps they misunderstood what he was saying.
    Freedom of movement is a wonderful ideal. The preamble of the Lib Dem Constitution affirms belief in “the free movement of people”. But the context of this statement in the constitution suggests that it actually refers to freedom of movement *worldwide*, not just in the EU. I believe myself that, in an ideal world, every individual would have the freedom to move freely around the earth, living wherever they choose. This is the sort of world that liberals should be trying to aim for as a long term aim, although of course I would accept that we cannot just have complete worldwide freedom of movement immediately.
    What we should aim for right now is a system that is fair and compassionate. What we actually have at the moment is complete freedom of movement for EU citizens, but rules for everyone else that are far too harsh and lacking in compassion. I think everyone really knows that it cannot be fair that someone from a wealthy EU country should automatically take precedence over a refugee from a non EU country. The preamble to the constitution says “our responsibility for justice and liberty cannot be confined to national boundaries”. But EU freedom of movement just replaces one border with another.
    Naturally nothing would be gained, and much would be lost, if we just replaced the current system with one that was “fair” only in that it was equally harsh for everyone. But potentially, we could build a system which made immigration much easier for those with the greatest need to come to Britain, whatever their country of origin.

  • jayne Mansfield 8th Aug '17 - 10:12am

    @ Palehorse,
    I found your post cryptic.

    Glen has already picked up on one part of your post which made me give an involuntary shudder. I am still uncertain of the meaning after reading your answer to Glen.

    You say that I may have my own ideas. Well once, yes, which is why I always voted Liberal and then continued to do so through custom and habit until 2015. I never thought that Liberalism was about the safety of the so called middle ground, I thought it was daring and groundbreaking. That is was about taking every aspect of life holding it up for examination and challenging and changing it if it did not meet the criteria of fairness, and social justice. I believe in the right of every child ‘to be’ what they want to be, with the caveat that in doing so, their behaviour does not harm others or society as a whole.

    I now believe that liberalism whilst unleashing so much good, has also had a downside where it is misconstrued as libertarianism. I am speaking here of the need for awareness of a wider damage that leads to a coarser, less caring society. For example, behaviours that lead to the objectification of human beings for one’s own ends, or the belief that the powerful ( or successful as they have now been renamed), have the right to exploit the weak.

    @ Lorenzo,
    I gave my reasons for using my nickname ( which was not given to me as an intended compliment), when I first started posting on here. My husband was fearful of me receiving abuse if I started to post on social media. Personal abuse wouldn’t trouble me, but I need to protect others. I still spend months abroad, helping friends who work with some of the most marginalised people in their societies. They keep a low profile to avoid problems with government. In particular, I have to keep a low profile because there have been necessary ‘irregularities’. This is why I give out so little personal information.

  • jayne Mansfield 8th Aug '17 - 10:35am

    As I pointed out on here following the analysis by Professor John Curtis, it was the level of educational attainment that was the major determinant as to why voted to remain or leave the EU. Educational attainment is linked to social class and age.

    If Vince wants to lay the blame for anyone ( other than politicians) for the Brexit vote , he would be more correct to lay it at the door of those with low educational attainment in every age range. The elderly did not have the opportunities that the younger generation now have for further and higher education so there are more of them in this group.

    As those who favour university loans frequently point out, far fewer individuals went to University in their day, but new funding methods need to be found because there has been widening of access to such education.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Aug '17 - 11:01am

    @Sheila Gee
    ” Leave voters will never, ever, go back into the box marked ‘EU Superstate’.”

    What EU superstate?

  • Andrew Fitton 8th Aug '17 - 11:07am

    It is very interesting to read the “comments” on the Daily Mail website to this article. Dr Cable gets a lot of support – on the Daily Mail website! I was expecting to see only aggressive challenges but there seems to be quite and acknowledgement our leader is right to call this out.

  • What EU superstate?

    The one that is the goal of EU-federalists like Guy Verhofstadt.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Aug '17 - 12:01pm


    You as you always seem , are not only reasonable , but are so from principle , you maintain your convictions even as you try for a middle way. You are the sort of Liberal Democrat keeps me in this party .

    The preamble we have is excellent and I think when it or we other than in it , refer to freedom of movement, we do not mean , or should not, right of settlement.

    The reference is to the freedom to travel, and , as any opponent of totalitarianism , who pays more than lip service , knows, in many countries, once upon a time, citizens could not leave for any reason .

    The sort of immigration policy you speak of, idealistic as you say it is, is one than is utopian but utterly fair.

    I favour an end to the UK being a daft follower of the letter rather than the spirit of the law, whereas in most of the supposedly wonderful EU, they are neither.

    We actually do not have freedom of movement , as a law or edict or prerequisite of being in this union. We have freedom of labour. Irony is it was Labour who seemed to not realise it !


    Your explanation is a very well appreciated one. I do not sometimes agree with you but always like you and would like to know your main or real name for friendly interaction.As one mad about Marilyn Monroe, I am only glad you did not take her name as it nearly would have been too much to concentrate on your substantive commentary !!!

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Aug '17 - 12:01pm

    A federal Europe is a not an EU superstate. That is both a misunderstanding in Leave voter’s minds about the EU, (thanks to the Brexit press in large part), and a mischief-making meme conjured up in the Brexiters’ fevered imaginations put forward ‘as truth’ in the media, especially in the run up to the EU referendum.

    On Guy Verhofstadt: He is not the whole of the EU. The EU holds a wide spectrum of opinion.

    The key word to understand about European federalism is: Subsidiarity.

  • Ben Jephcott 8th Aug '17 - 1:36pm

    An excellent article by Vince which homes in on an uncomfortable truth. As we approach the Brexit cliff, more and more people will agree with us. He has a talent as a prophet, he was right in 2007, he is right in 2017.

  • @Lorenzo You continue to impress me with your courtesy and interesting perspectives. I post anonymously because of the unnecessary hostility which you handle very well but which would, and does, offend me.

    @Jayne I thought that was your real name until you revealed that it was a nickname, which sent my mind reeling and back to the notorious photo of Sophia Loren and Jayne. I remember feeling sad at her tragically early death but she has left behind some very successful children to honour her name.
    Anyway, I will remain cryptic as it would trigger the wrong debate and be premature.
    The first step is to get a much wider acceptance of the economic disaster that is looming. Then there might be a fair reception for messages the British have never been forced to digest, even in wartime.
    In 2008 the economic monster stirred from his slumbers and growled. He was sedated by quantitative easing, low interest rates and massive unsecured borrowing.
    The next time he awakes he will be in a much worse temper and won’t be pacified at all. The consequences will be quick, widespread and very bad.
    The best part is that we all know that is the case but it’s so awful we will pretend it won’t happen when it is obvious that it will, because it must.
    I keep asking, fruitlessly, “How does Britain’s economy turnaround?” and am normally fobbed off with “invest in skills and infrastructure” which is as silly and pathetic as “borrow Sooty’s magic wand”.

  • The EU is pretty much a dead issue in the UK. Brexit is basically unstoppable and even most of Europe want it over with ASAP. It would be much better to encourage the Young to unionise and organise domestically than mourn a neoliberal EU that offered them nothing much more than slightly cheaper travel in exchange for giving control to corporate lobbyist, banks and so on. People on here talk about it as a noble dream bringing nations together, when really it’s about lowering tax, supplying cheap labour and bypassing interference from pesky national politics. It’s the world according to Ned Beaty in Network.

  • A federal Europe is a not an EU superstate

    I don’t understand this. A federal EU would be the equivalent of the USA, right? And is California, say, an independent state? Vermont? No, of course not.

    So neither would the UK be an independent state if it were within a federal EU; so doesn’t ‘EU superstate’ seem like a fair enough description?

  • Ben Jephcott 8th Aug '17 - 2:25pm

    America’s model of ‘federalism’ is not the only one and is not a very satisfactory one. The EU is not a superstate and would not necessarily become one if it was a more truly federal enterprise. Nation states could choose to pool more sovereignity.

    I don’t actually agree with some of the Euro federalists like Andrew Duff on where to draw the line, but to simply brand a federal EU as a superstate is a lazy use of language.

  • Nation states could choose to pool more sovereignity.

    But the UK (bar a few Lib Dems) wants to pool less sovereignty. Isn’t that basically what happened over the last few years? David Cameron went to Brussels, said, ‘Can we pool a bit less sovereignty please’, Brussels said, ‘No that’s not what we’re about, we’re about pooling ever more sovereignty, certainly not about pooling less than we do already’ and therefore (to cut a long story short) Brexit.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Aug '17 - 3:24pm

    In response to Ben Jephcott’s comment: ” But the UK (bar a few Lib Dems) wants to pool less sovereignty. Isn’t that basically what happened over the last few years?”

    So you’ve conceded that the EU is not actually a superstate but a union of 28 sovereign states. Glad that Brexit myth has been cleared up.

    ” David Cameron went to Brussels, said, ‘Can we pool a bit less sovereignty please’, Brussels said, ‘No that’s not what we’re about…”

    The UK is in a market with rules. Cameron went to negotiate with 27 other EU states to ask for a special rule for the UK on free movement of labour, in order to appease the hard-right in his own party, and his own paranoia about UKIP.

    The other 27 countries agreed that free movement is a key principle or rule of the single market.

    Ironically, it was Cameron’s predecessor, Margaret Thatcher who suggested the EU set up a single market, and it was advocated by the Tories that the EU expand to include Eastern European countries, post the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    But hey, in the era of alternative facts and narratives, let’s ‘take back control’ by losing it through Brexit. After all, it’s ‘will of the people’ to be poorer, to have less influence over trade and services with our key European market, and to become the servile poodle of Trump’s America.

  • So you’ve conceded that the EU is not actually a superstate but a union of 28 sovereign states

    It is a union of 28 sovereign states which has ambitions to becomes a super-state.

    Do you deny that the EU wants powers to establish direct federal taxation of its ‘citizens’? Do you think that’s not an attribute of a state? Do you think that would be acceptable to the UK?

  • Dav
    If yourquestion means would direct taxes to the EU meant “Would it be acceptable to the Mail, the Express, the Telegraph and Murdoch?” I should imagine the answer would be no. However, I think it quite possible in an era where people are quickly learning some more about the way things operate in Europe, and that the current place of the EU in that is seen in a more realistic way, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be acceptable. After all, the EU delivers various services to the people in this country, as they do to other Europeans.

  • Sorry – omitted the words “ acceptable to British people?” after EU in the first line of my post.

  • If yourquestion means would direct taxes to the EU meant “Would it be acceptable to the Mail, the Express, the Telegraph and Murdoch?” I should imagine the answer would be no

    No, it doesn’t mean that; it means ‘would it be acceptable to the general British public’?

    The Mail, the Express, the Telegraph and Murdoch do not in fact own a magic hypnosis ray which enables them to control the population, like something out of a superhero comic for twelve-year-olds.

  • Helen

    “What EU superstate?”

    I have no problem with whatever label you would rather use Helen. But what is in no doubt, is that British voters have decided they want no further involvement in that ‘club’ and its ‘ever closer ambitions’, and I’m telling you emphatically, that it is the height of delusion to think that British voters will submissively return to EU subjugation. It’s just not going to happen, and this constant vilification, and disrespect of Leave voters is frankly getting out of control.

    Leaving was a legitimate choice on the ballot, and voters were entitled to choose Leave for whatever reason they saw fit. Vince is entitled to his opinion, but he is not entitled to openly vilify voters who were simply enacting their democratic right to choose freely.

  • Ok Dav, so my answer to your original question would be the same as any posed about taxation, that is to say, “Nobody likes paying taxes, but if what they are paying for seems like a reasonable trade for what is being provided – a meaningful regional policy, a good framework for regulation in those policy areas where cross border cooperation and harmonisation is helpful, a coordinated framework for foreign policy and external trade, plus direct democratic input into decision-making – then I believe people would be prepared to say yes”.

    In answer to your second paragraph above, of course people have their own reasons for supporting or not supporting being in the EU, but to suggest that attitudes in the press has not been a major reason for the growth of europhobia since 1975 is just
    deluding yourself.

  • Nobody likes paying taxes, but if what they are paying for seems like a reasonable trade for what is being provided

    It’s not just about the trade, it’s also about the legitimacy of the body which is imposing the taxes. That’s what makes taxes taxes, and not just prices, or insurances, or whatever: it’s that we agree that the body which levies them has some legitimate authority to do so, and to punish those who refuse to pay.

    Generally, the only bodies we agree have the legitimacy to levy taxes are states.

    A federal EU tax, then, is equivalent to saying that the EU is a state, because if we allow that then we are agreeing that it has the moral authority to do something that only states can do, to whit, to levy taxes and punish with the force of law those who refuse to pay.

    So if this happens, how can you not say that the EU has become a super-state?

  • Tim13
    “After all, the EU delivers various services to the people in this country, as they do to other Europeans.”

    No they don’t. This is one of those ‘false facts’ found to be full of holes, well before the referendum. The EU receives a cheque annually, for about £19 billion, they then keep about £10 billion, and sends the UK regions about £9 billion in various so-called ‘EU grants’ (Figures are approximate).
    How can you rationally suggest that ‘the EU delivers various services to people in this country’, when they quite clearly use our own UK taxpayers money to do it?
    The EU has never given us anything which did not originate from a UK taxpayers pocket.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Aug '17 - 6:23pm

    Sheila Gee
    “The EU has never given us anything which did not originate from a UK taxpayers pocket.”

    It’s not an ‘us’ and ‘them’ situation though. We, the UK, are part of the EU. We gain far more than we put in. We put in what we do because this is a wealthy country relative to the other countries in the union. What we get back is improved prosperity and opportunities for our people.

    The improving economies of Eastern Europe post the fall of the Berlin Wall, is down to the EU, down to UK advocacy for these countries, leading them to join the EU in the first place. This makes very good, long term sense for Europe’s peace and security.

    Now, I suggest the facts are checked out on EU research funding for our universities, on the benefits the EU brings to our trade exports, for our employment rights, for roaming charges, for paid holiday entitlements etc…

    What has the EU ever done for us? Answer: A hell of a lot.

  • Sheila Gee
    All countries put their share in, not just the UK. Surely that’s how clubs work, isn’t it?
    There is, of course, an element of redistribution, but that is also true at other levels of taxation.
    As for legitimacy, surely that can be measured by the fact that the body concerned is set up and approved by processes generally thought to be legitimate, and carries out functions on behalf of people being taxed. Up until the 1975 referendum, it was never felt necessary to have referenda to approve bodies levying forms of taxation – for instance, the Maude report in 1968 wasn’t submitted to referendum on the creation of new Councils, on new boundaries and with different powers to what had existed before.

    I suppose, though, legitimacy can be very subjective, and perhaps that is what you are reflecting in your regular comments here. However, I am quite sure that only a proportion of Leave voters last year would say they regard the EU as an illegitimate body, or that our membership of it is illegitimate

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Aug ’17 – 6:23pm: …for roaming charges,…

    There’s no free lunch here. It does actually cost more to supply a phone call from the continent to the UK (two or more networks and an interlink) than a domestic UK call. If the price charged is the same then a cross-subsidy is occurring. Essentially, people in the UK who rarely if ever go abroad are paying more for their calls so people who frequently travel or live abroad can pay less. The EU’s ban on roaming charges is yet another back-door money transfer from the poor and ‘just managing’ to those who are (much) better off. In any case, if considered desirable, it’s something we can legislate for ourselves.

  • Helen
    “We gain far more than we put in.”

    That is simply not true. We do not get more than we put in. I’ve just demolished that argument by showing you the actual arithmetic. Repeating something which is false doesn’t make it true Helen.

    “I am quite sure that only a proportion of Leave voters last year would say they regard the EU as an illegitimate body, “

    At this stage, Leavers frankly don’t care about the legitimacy or otherwise of the EU, because we’ve served notice (A50), and in about 600 days our ‘club’ membership will be thankfully over. I truly wish the EU well in whatever kind of ever closer union it finally decides upon, but by then it will have nothing to do with the UK.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Aug '17 - 7:41pm

    Sheila Gee
    Treasury figures show that the UK made a net payment of roughly £156m a week for the last financial year – which included the EU referendum last June.

    The total amount for the 12 months to March 2017 was £8.1bn, the lowest in five years, and down more than a quarter on the previous period when adjusted for inflation.

    Rather less than you suggest then.

    Did you read my comment in full though? There are other benefits we gain from the EU like research grants to universities. notwithstanding the important benefits gained due to membership of the EU regarding employment rights, holiday entitlements, all of which the Brexiteers in the Tory party are keen to repeal.


    ” Essentially, people in the UK who rarely if ever go abroad are paying more for their calls so people who frequently travel or live abroad can pay less. The EU’s ban on roaming charges is yet another back-door money transfer from the poor and ‘just managing’ to those who are (much) better off. ”

    Or, looking at it in another way, the end to roaming charges brings freedom to millions of people with mobile phones who take the opportunity to travel – as millions of us do.

    And let’s not assume those who voted leave were all poor, without phones or the money to pay for a package holiday to Spain. Many of the elderly baby boomers who voted to leave are benefitting from the Triple lock, own their own homes and came of age when a job meant a job for life.

    Still they’re all right ‘Jack’ but they begrudge the young and indeed the middle aged the opportunities and benefits of EU membership they have enjoyed for most of their lives.

  • @Dav “It’s not just about the trade, it’s also about the legitimacy of the body which is imposing the taxes. ”

    The legitimacy of the EU to do stuff that has an impact in the UK such as impose tax is be decided by the elected members of Westminster. Remember T.May’s legitimacy to negotiate Brexit is wholly down to her being the current PM…

    The issue which everyone conveniently forgets is the legitimacy of Westminster to make such delegations of powers and ‘sovereignty’. The Leave campaign (and Farage) in winning the referendum have lost sight of the real issue and hence will ultimately lose the war…

  • Helen
    “Rather less than you suggest then.”

    The actual figure we can happily debate, but what is not debatable is that your statement, ‘we gain far more than we put in’, is not a fact, and simple logic proves you are wrong.
    I assume you accept that the UK is a Net contributor to the EU budget? So how can the two statements, ‘the UK is a Net contributor’, and ‘We gain far more than we put in’, sit in the same logical space?

    No amount of convoluted words can change the fact that when we leave, a huge financial hole will appear in the EU budget. And this is further proof that you are wrong, in that we do indeed put far more in than we get out. Is this not why Germany and the Netherlands are in a cold sweat, (and so eager for us to stay), because they know the other 25 EU members will be expecting them to fill in the funding shortfall when our £19 billions’ worth of cheques stop falling on Mario Draghi’s doormat?

  • Andrew Fitton 8th Aug '17 - 8:45pm

    @Sheila Gee

    You say (my numbering added):
    “1) Leaving was a legitimate choice on the ballot,
    2) and voters were entitled to choose Leave for whatever reason they saw fit.
    3) Vince is entitled to his opinion,
    4) but he is not entitled to openly vilify voters who were simply enacting their democratic right to choose freely.”

    In the above you make four statements. The first three I agree with. The final one troubles me. This is because firstly he was highlighting that older voters have less risk in this matter than the young. That is a fact isn’t it? The state pension income is index linked. Moreover it is a fact the length of time the older voter has on this earth to experience the effect of Brexit is less than the younger voter. I have seen some argue that the negative effects of Brexit will be experienced by the old but they will have little or no time to enjoy the long term effects in 30 years. It is fairly obvious that the long term effect of Brexit is unknown. The short and medium term effect is looking dire. This short/medium impact should have been expected after undertaking any responsible analysis at all before the referendum and, I am not talking about the emergency budget nonsense here but the effect when we leave. Asset richer and income protected the older voters have less to fear from adverse Brexit but the young have more. Some older voters with less to lose risked the future of their children who have more to lose – that cannot be disputed.

    What I think Dr Cable then goes on to do is call out those voters who with little thought then voted Leave in their children’s interests without understanding what the children wanted and how much deep thought many under 50, 40,30 were giving the matter.

    What is even worse is voters who disliked some of the change brought about by the EU and voted leave for that reason but then justified it to the younger generations in hasty excuses as a vote to help the young. That sort of disingenuous behaviour that I have see in some is dreadful. Whatever reasons people had to vote leave, they should own them.

  • Andrew Fitton 8th Aug '17 - 9:12pm

    @Shiela Gee

    Sorry Sheila, I have to take issue on another statement in your latest post “we gain far more than we put in’, is not a fact, and simple logic proves you are wrong”.

    The EU provides more open trade with less friction than we presently achieve elsewhere. While it is often argued we could achieve the same or better results elsewhere, that is undermined by the case that all modern trade agreements require compromises in what is given and what is received. We take a US trade deal, we may open ourselves to accepting lower food standards on US imported food, we take an Indian trade deal we may have to accept concessions on Indian goods made under conditions we cannot and should not replicate at low prices damaging our own industry.

    Moreover the transport costs and transport time associated trading with closer partners is much lower than with remote partners. Modern competitive manufacturing requires an immediacy in delivering and receiving components and resolving problems to deliver goods at the prices consumers want.

    Moreover, modern manufacturing requires a range of skills and specialist input that cannot be achieved on this island in isolation. We mass produce some things for Europe and they mass produce some things for us.

    Finally we did get certain EU institutions here that, while in no way eliminated the costs to the EU, reduced them.

    Of course it is difficult to correlate the economic benefits of the EU (more pounds to the UK) than the net cost of approx. £150m per week. But the overall taxes we pay are £12bn a week so the cost is about 1 – 1.5% of what we spend as a country. I think as a larger and more advanced economy that can benefit far more from being an advanced manufacturer in an open market it is surely right we pay more as we will get more back.

    I do not think you can say “simple logic proves you wrong”.

  • jayne Mansfield 8th Aug '17 - 10:18pm

    @ Andrew Fitton,
    What do you think has been achieved by Vince Cable’s outburst against the old based on a poll of 3000 people? Do you think that his offensive generalisations about old people will draw them to his cause?

    You say that you have been reading comments in newspapers. So have I. Does Vince Cable support some of the solutions offered in some comments. i.e the disenfranchisement of old people, the need for re-education camps for us, or does he simply share the gleeful anticipation of some that we will shuffle of the mortal coil before too long.

    Language matters and the language seemed to be calculated to cause offence. Did the people really say they had a nostalgia for Empire?

    As someone from the UKIP hotspot of Rotherham, when I visit and speak to people they have a nostalgia for when there were steelworks and coal mines, secure jobs where one earner could buy a terraced home, children could go to the local school, they could get a doctors appointment. The men reminisce about the Working Mens Club where youth could be socialised into sensible drinking by a hand on the shoulder and a friendly, ‘I think thas ‘ad enough lad’. They have lived through social breakdown and despair of the youth rather than despairing for them.

    As a non politician I offer them reasons why we should stay in the EU, but I feel that the Liberal Democrat tactics are harming any chance of us doing so. Quite frankly, I just wish the Liberal Democrats would shut up if the party continues to alienate rather than persuade.

  • Andrew Fitton 8th Aug '17 - 10:58pm

    @ Jayne Mansfield

    I am sorry that you find entrenched positions in your region. I have lived for a good length of time in Pontefract in the past so I am familiar with Rotherham. Views are entrenched in many communities including mine. Moreover the lack of any sustained and balanced manufacturing policy and a lack of devolution to the North has left people formerly employed in retired industries without new industries other than too many distribution centres and call centres.

    I am surprised that there has been so much positive comment on the Daily Mail website of all things at Vince Cable’s comments and to my mind that is positive. It does not help me on the ground with the over 60s, the over 70s as it does not help you but it has got positive press and a positive reaction from more readers of the Mail than I thought possible. One of the biggest challenges I face is encouraging people of my age to challenge whether the vote was the best our country could do – not just think it but say it. Without that, not only those with entrenched positions will continue to support leave but my generation will not challenge sufficiently the basis of it. I am also clear that Vince Cable was not challenging the old, but challenging those who voted without reflecting sufficiently on the impact on the young.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Aug '17 - 11:12pm


    That’s very good of you, try revealing yourself over time, a man emerging from a horse, what a thrill for the site !


    What with Sir Vince alienating you and you thinking he’s doing it to his own generation , our colleague here not renewing, the party is in the doldrums !

    Anyone with the ready funds to se up a new one that can incorporate this one in an alliance, let me know !

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Aug '17 - 11:14pm


    Set up a new one , getting it right this time, only because this one seems intent on not seizing the chance for a moderate and radical, unifying and adventurous party desperately needed!!!

  • Andrew Fitton

    You (and Vince Cable), speak of ‘the young’, as if they were one homogeneous group, all of whom must feel thwarted by Brexit.

    I’ve spoken to young people who are angry at having to compete for pittance wages alongside East European workers who can afford to send money home where it buys ‘more lifestyle per £’, in their home country. Maybe a ‘leave’ grandma felt upset and wanted to give her grandson an even break by trying to reduce cheap migrant labour?

    I’ve also heard from middle class young people, worried about the potential loss of funding for their Erasmus exchange year around Europe. Maybe a ‘remain’ grandma wanted to ensure her grandsons Erasmus privileges were kept intact?
    So when Vince speaks of ‘the young’, why does he assume all our young, are starting from the same square on life’s Monopoly board?

    I’ve noticed that (some!) liberal comments here, have a distinctive jump off point from a very middle class mind-set. I suppose it goes with the territory of what is essentially a middle class LD political party, whose primary interests are therefore naturally fixated on only middle class issues.

    There.! Was that offensive and judgemental of me, to question ‘the liberal’ motivation as being nought but a self-serving middle class group-think? And do you think it was as offensive, as saying all leave voters are thick, selfish and uneducated old narrow-minded zealots?
    ‘Liberals’ are not a homogeneous group. ‘The young’ are not a homogeneous group. ‘The old’ are not a homogeneous group.
    So why do we speak as if they are, when their motivations and actions, may well be as honourable as they are many?

  • Sheila Gee,
    I don’t think its all a class think The lib Dems have always been basically a pro-EU party, although not all Lib Dems are. I think the problem for loosely what gets called progressive politics is how to refocus in a more domestic political landscape. I think a lot of the intellectual wing has got used to talking about big exciting international politics, with epic themes like justice. the climate, war and so. But eventually they’ve got to get used to the boring local stuff. The irony Brexit is that global fantasist on both sides of the political spectrum who seem to think Britain is either a nation free market buccaneers or of vast importance to world development have been put in there place by people who care more about what happens on their own street.

  • jayne Mansfield 9th Aug '17 - 9:09am

    @ Andrew Fitton,

    But they are not entrenched Andrew.

    Many old people, or the ones I sit down and talk to, are fundamentally old Labour, salt of the earth types, not UKIP. They are decent old people who have been through a lot. They listen to me because I listen to them.

    I think that a lot of the problem is that on does not have one to one discussions any more. I no longer live in Rotherham and my only information would be a leaflet through the door at election times. I realise that actual activist are thin on the ground but it I believe that unless politicians start showing interest in people on a one to one basis, they are going to be lost to the propaganda that swirls around.

    PS There are tribal people in the deepest jungles and forests of India that have now tasted Pontefract cakes.

    @ Lorenzo,
    I don’t take Vince Cable’s generalisations personally, but it is the effect his words have had on others that is damaging. I reckon that I have converted more elderly people to remain than some politicians, if only because they know it affects my family personally.

  • jayne Mansfield 9th Aug '17 - 9:24am

    @ Sheila Gee,
    I think that if one is to base one’s policies and behaviour on evidence ( and I an always highly sceptical when politicians use ‘evidence’ or ‘evidence- based’), one has to accept that patterns emerge. This is true of analyses of voting behaviour.

    My argument is that one can take one poll of 3.000 people and generalise from that. Not only generalise but embellish.

    I am still waiting for an answer as to how insulting people persuades them to one’s cause? What were Vince Cable’s motives for what he said? What were his objectives? If he thinks that he can ‘shame’ old people into changing their views, I suggest that it is a strategy that is counter productive.

  • Jayne
    I think Vince Cable is attempting to win the youth vote from Corbyn by presenting himself as a sort Timothy Leary figure, standing up for youth and freedom in the face of set in their ways oldsters and The Man. Generally speaking, I think the EU was sold to the young like it was the Nu Summer of Love. Lots of proclamations of togetherness, unity, openness and such-as-like to gloss over what is really a meeting place for corporate lobbyists and bankers to find ways of lowering their tax burden by bypassing local inconveniences such a national politics, trade unions or resistant natives. As I said earlier Ned Beatty in Network talking about the immutable forces of commerce is what the EU really is. It’s a vision of a sort of voluntary joined stateless empire with its corporate ode joy anthem and grand structures bringing peace and harmony to the world through increased personal debt and the ability to buy cheaper onions or something.

  • @ Glenn “a sort Timothy Leary figure, standing up for youth”.

    Nah, more a balding Bernie Sanders who thinks LSD is to do with pounds shillings and pence not the other stuff – and on economics he knows his onions.

  • David Raw,
    You’re missing the conceit of my post. I looked at all the cute youngster with their placards saying “we love EU”, “love not hate” and painted faces and flower imagery and I see people who have been duped into thinking the EU is the Daisy Age or the Age of Aquarius.
    Vince Cable by the way is the same age as Mick Jagger, younger than Lennon and I think he is just using generation gap rhetoric in the hope getting votes off Corbyn.

  • Helen Tedcastle 9th Aug '17 - 12:22pm

    ” I looked at all the cute youngster with their placards saying “we love EU”, “love not hate” and painted faces and flower imagery and I see people who have been duped into thinking the EU is the Daisy Age or the Age of Aquarius.”

    There were a good number of middle aged and older people on that demonstration too.

    It comes to something when standing up for an organisation which is quintessentially built upon peace, cooperation and integration of peoples previously at war twice in one century, are regarded with suspicion and cynicism by others, (who have benefitted from the peace and prosperity such a union has brought).

    The poison of ugly nationalism and lost (forever) imperialist sentiment will be defeated.

    It will simply take longer to overcome than those of us who support Liberalism and Internationalism had hoped.

  • jayne Mansfield 9th Aug '17 - 12:44pm

    @ Palehorse,
    I am sorry if you thought my nickname was my true name. I used it because I thought that it was obviously a nickname. ( apologies to any true Jayne Mansfields if there are any out there)

    I am sorry that I have not responded earlier, I missed your last post. The problem I am finding is that many politicians are offering descriptions rather than solutions and relying on the fear factor. The looming economic disaster that you fear is one such case.

    I got over the childhood phase of lying in the dark being fearful of monsters that took no concrete form. Personally, I have ever faith in human ingenuity when it comes to finding solutions to problems. I just want a clear, positive vision of a possible future from politicians and a coherent set of policies that are the stepping stones necessary for achieving this. Is this too much to ask of politicians?

    What do you think would be a solution to the economic disaster you foretell? What do you expect from your politicians to avert this doom laden scenario?

  • Andrew Fitton 9th Aug '17 - 12:45pm

    @ Glenn

    What is your evidence for:

    “what is really a meeting place for corporate lobbyists and bankers to find ways of lowering their tax burden by bypassing local inconveniences such a national politics, trade unions or resistant natives”.

    Direct tax (Corp tax/ Income Tax) policies are domestic nation state matters. The EU does not get involved in them as when it tries it is accused of becoming more federalist and to the best of my knowledge there is little or nothing in EU treaties to enable them to take action.

    The rules of Lux, Malta, Eire as examples are domestic rules and matters for those countries in the same way the rules of the BVI and Cayman are matters for the BVI and Cayman. The EU does/did not like the rules and with the OECD has applied some pressure to make countries that facilitate tax planning to fall more into line.

    Indeed the forces of tax planning may well favour a deregulated UK racing to the bottom on tax rates.

    Do you have evidence for your statement?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 9th Aug '17 - 12:48pm


    A very needed antidote to the nastiness of a nationalism you mention could be a genuinely fine EU. But we do not have that at all.

    Glen makes good points which , though for staying in the EU, I voted Remain, I understand , and agree with his sentiment.

    The hippy mush he alludes to is misplaced in it’s pick of the EU as an example of it’s fulfilment . The EU is run by elites like every strata of society.

    Lawyers are more powerful than bankers in every day society, there are many more of them running things, or calling the shots.

    We bleat about legal aid without ever questioning why under such a system it was acceptable , regardless of client satisfaction, the lawyer twenty years ago got one hundred and seventy pounds an hour , and that’s a low level high street sollicitor, I know, one destroyed my wife’s case after being hit on the pavement by a car , so useless the lawyer, so well paid, it moved me away from sentimental clap trap about everything bar personal love !

  • Helen
    I disagree, The EU is built on business. It’s about lobbies, freeing up trade and about a corporatized vision of easy access to markets with as few obstacles to making money as possible.

  • Helen Tedcastle 9th Aug '17 - 2:09pm


    The EU is built on free trade and economic prosperity, the like of which we have never seen before but it is also a political and social union. This has resulted in greater employment rights, free holiday pay, a cleaner environment, more opportunities for universities to recruit the best minds and fund their research, greater than ever before opportunities to travel and work and study across the continent.

    The EU has faults. It is not perfect but to walk away is a tragedy for us and for future generations to come.

    I am old enough to remember life before the accession to the EU. Britain was a dull place, yet we are invited by hard Brexiteers to look back at that world with fondness.

    I rejoiced when we joined the EEC, and I was only ten at the time. How wonderful, I thought, to be able to buy good chocolate at reasonable prices, after years of treating ‘continental’ chocolates as an occasional luxury spoken off in hushed tones by my mother at Birthdays and Christmas.

    How sad that tariff and non-tariff barriers could lead British children once again only to dream of eating wonderful, rich ‘continental’ chocolate as opposed to the over-sweet confection which passes for chocolate in Britain and America.

    Such small choices and small, seemingly insignificant decisions can change a mentality and a culture.

    It’s only a childhood anecdote but it’s instructive as to the kind of choices that lie before us, and kind of culture and society we want to build for the children of the future.

  • Andrew Fitton 9th Aug '17 - 2:47pm

    @Sheila Gee

    I accept that one needs to be careful about generalisations and I am using such language. However, I do believe there were a number of people and a fairly large number of people who voted leave believing it was the best thing for their children. One thing I lament is I perceive there was lack of inter generational discussion.

    Neither do I think only older people voted lightly. In fact I think many people did not want to be asked the question but dutifully answered with varying degrees of rigour in looking into the pros and cons. I recall one young man from Hartlepool on the local TV telling the interviewer he voted leave because, whilst he would have preferred not to have been asked, the UK had been in the EU all his life and his opportunities in Hartlepool were not very good so it seemed appropriate to try outside the EU for a bit. I disagree with his reasoning but I applaud his honesty and for actually voting. I would love the opportunity to debate with him on whether I could change his mind.

    I do think it is a fact though that the old had/have less to risk than the young and I do think older voters who claim they have risked much need to reflect on that.

  • Helen,
    Does this prosperity we’ve never seen before include high levels of youth unemployment within the EU, falling levels of home ownership, massive personal debt, massive government debt, zero hour contracts and so on? . I would suggest most of the employment rights you credit to the EU were in fact hard won by trade unions in nation states and that things like health services and welfare are in truth also the products of national efforts in nation states. There are no equivalents of welfare or health cover provided by the EU. It’s version of rights is essentially the right of migrant workers to receive the same treatment as nationals within EU member states. If the state as a benefits system then those workers get those benefits and if they don’t have such systems then said workers are entitled to nothing.

  • jayne Mansfield 9th Aug '17 - 3:58pm

    @ Helen Tedcastle,

    If you stood on a soapbox and argued the last three paragraphs of your penultimate post with the passion that comes through in the written words, I am sure that you would have many converts.

    I voted remain, but I have many misgivings about the EU. I think that many share these misgivings, and there is doubt that the EU is capable of reform.

    If I may give you one of my concerns. You mention chocolate. In ‘The New Harvest agricultural innovation if Africa’ ( 2015), Calestous Juma gives the reasons why I have reservations about the EU as it currently operates.

    ‘How the EU starves Africa into submission’.

    The article deals with the way Africa is punished by tariffs if it gives added value to its raw materials. This includes high tariffs on processed cocoa products such as chocolate, cocoa and other refined products. (This is just one example of how the EU is holding African countries back).

    There is much comment that there are many Corbynistas on here, but I agreed with him when he gave the EU 7 out of 10. Liberal Democrats seem blind to the EU’s faults.

    Rather than calling old people selfish, nostalgics for empire, I wish more would call out the EU for behaving like neo-colonialists.

  • Andrew Fitton 9th Aug '17 - 4:00pm


    I would agree high levels of government debt in southern European states was in part the making of the EU, although I don’t think it was their goal. It was a mess up of titanic proportions.

    As you must know the Euro pooled currencies; eg Drachma and Lira with DM. Countries with strong currencies found they had a weaker currency in the Euro and countries with weak currencies suddenly found they had a stronger currency than the one they had got rid of in the Euro. Of course then what should have happened is strict fiscal discipline should have been employed to stop the countries with weaker economies using the stronger Euro (ie subject to lower interest rates) to start developing larger structural deficits. Such rules existed but were poorly monitored and allowed to be bent. So weaker economies ran up structural deficits and when it was time to “pay the piper” there was a mess. Normally in those messes the weak economy can and should devalue its currency (the risk of which is what contributes to higher interest rates in countries with weak economies in the first place) but Greece cannot as the Euro is for all the Euro zone – all Greece can do is repay which is virtually impossible. Alternatively, Germany which benefited from a devalued currency and is a lender to Greece should write off some debt as a proxy to the value of the debt being devalued were it still Drachma – but it won’t as that is unacceptable to voters in strong Eurozone economies – that is in my view what morally should happen though. An alternative way would be for Greece to leave the Eurozone for a spell and then rejoin but that was rejected by Greek voters and is not a simple fix as imported goods for Greece would rocket in price.

    I am not sure falling levels of home ownership, massive personal debt, zero hour contracts and massive government debt in the UK are the fault of the EU. The Eurozone problem is not designed but it was massively negligent by the EU and Eurozone leaders of the day.

  • Andrew Fitton 9th Aug '17 - 4:18pm

    @ Jayne Mansfield

    In your last post to Helen you identify misgivings I share. However, I do not think it will collapse, if anything it is getting stronger. However, we have no scope to promote reform of the EU outside it and, I still think we could have done that from within.

    If we do end up remaining in the EU or leaving and re joining, one good thing might be to stop lazy politicians, particularly from the right (although they exist elsewhere in the spectrum too) blaming the EU for absolutely everything rather than take the rap for their own failings and if we approach the EU with a bit more of the diplomacy and sense of fair play we are supposed to be famous for we may well get a bit more traction.

  • Helen Tedcastle 9th Aug '17 - 4:36pm

    jayne Mansfield

    Here’s an article on the subject. It suggests Brexit might be better for some third world countries after years of turbulence as Britain has to re- negotiate trade deals already done with the EU. As third world farmers eek out a living on subsistence rates, many could go out of business due to years of prolonged uncertainty.

    It may well be that hard-right, Atlanticist- Brexiteer Liam Fox and his friends are open to the idea of increasing trade with small, niche third world producers in the interests of economic equality and solidarity with poor workers – here’s hoping – on a wing and a prayer.

  • jayne Mansfield 9th Aug '17 - 4:51pm

    @ Helen Tedcastle,
    Thank you for the link I will work through.

    ‘Liam Fox and his friends’, Mmm, that should test the power of prayer!

  • Helen Tedcastle 9th Aug '17 - 5:28pm

    ” Does this prosperity we’ve never seen before include high levels of youth unemployment within the EU, falling levels of home ownership, massive personal debt, massive government debt, zero hour contracts and so on?”

    The UK is a sovereign country. The other 27 are sovereign countries. How they prioritise policy areas is up to us and to them.

    In the UK, the coalition, ( I’m sorry to say), made a trade off between the old and the young in policy terms. Quite rightly, they introduced the Triple Lock for pensions but at the same time cut benefits for the working age poor, cut the EMA, introduced tuition fees and then allowed them to be increased. We can argue the merits of the graduate tax but the timing was appalling.

    The housing policy or so-called ‘right to buy’ only helps well-off young people, not average workers.

    I’m afraid there has been a systematic failure in housing policy since the days of Margaret Thatcher. Labour did nothing to address the dire shortage of affordable housing, and the coalition did too little.

    ” I would suggest most of the employment rights you credit to the EU were in fact hard won by trade unions in nation states and that things like health services and welfare are in truth also the products of national efforts in nation states. There are no equivalents of welfare or health cover provided by the EU.”

    You forget that the hard-won rights of trades unions were eroded progressively under the Tory Governments of the 1980s and 1990s. It was only the EU that safeguarded workers from the worst effects of their policies ie: the working time directive and Labour’s restoration of Britain’s membership of the EU Social Charter in 1997.

    Zero hours contracts are allowed because UK governments allow them. The rise in personal debt was down to encouragement from successive Tory and Labour economic policies.

    All of the areas you list cannot be blamed on the EU but fairly and squarely on Westminster.

  • Helen,
    I don’t forget any of the things you mention. But I would point out that these things were eroded while Britain was in the EU or the EEC. So how exactly were they being protected? In truth that neo-liberal borderless corporate view accelerated after 1992. To me the argument is that you can look at the EU and say well it does nothing very much, so is harmless and is possibly good for the economy. Or that actually it does nothing very much so is pointless to harmful. I take the latter view, but accept that others disagree.

  • Andrew,
    I’m not so sure. I think the EU is lopsided by design because if it wasn’t there would be no way of persuading voters in the big economies to support it.

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