WATCH: Lib Dem Stop Brexit rally with Tim, former Labour MP backing Lib Dems, Layla and Vince

Well that came round quickly. Although not a minute too soon for my feet and my back and my knees. I am knackered physically and emotionally but there’s just two days left in what should be the most important election of our lifetimes. As Tim Farron says, it’s our chance to change the Brexit story from how we deliver Brexit to how we stop it and bring the nightmare to a close.

So it was (allegedly) the last big Lib Dem rally of the campaign, although my spies tell me that something pretty good is planned for tomorrow.

Watch here – and fast forward through the first few minutes of silence and intermittent chatter.

It’s been a wee while since we were treated to a good old fashioned Farron barnstormer. He talked about his son studying for his history exam, about the cold war. Tim said to him that thanks to the EU, six countries which once had nukes pointing at us are now sitting round the table arguing about fishing quotas. If there were no other reason to stay in the EU, that would be enough, he said.

Yesterday, former Thurrock Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay announced he would be voting for the Lib Dems because of the inability of the Labour Party to prevent a damaging Brexit. Tonight he took the floor at the rally. He likened it to making an offer about a house and then discovering it had dry rot or asbestos and then deciding against it. Despite his great affection for Labour in his half a century of membership, he slammed the lack of clarity about whether it backs a People’s Vote.

Next up was Layla talking very personally about her childhood travelling around the world with her father seeing the good that the EU was doing in trade and aid.

Finally, Vince looked back on the campaign. How the narrative has changed from the early days when commentators confidently predicted that we were going to be humiliated by Change UK. Then we rose in the polls and overtook both Conservative and Labour in some. And now he’s being mobbed by hen parties in Malaga and commuters on Birmingham New Street station, which, he said, was an unlikely scene for a Lib Dem revival.

He highlighted how nurses are heading back to the EU because they feel unwelcome here and how that is becoming disastrous for our NHS.

The news about British Steel today, he said, was just the beginning of the jobs that will go in our industries if we Brexit.

He urged us to do all we can to deliver a strong result on Thursday so that we can work in the EU to tackle the climate emergency and join a strong group of Liberal MEPs to stand against the rising tide of populism, racism and fascism that is spreading across Europe and here.


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

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  • Andrew Mackinlay is a great bloke. I knew Andrew when he took a leading part in the successful ‘Shot at Dawn’ campaign fifteen years ago to get pardons for the three hundred or so First World War soldiers who were shot at dawn. – and before anyone says it was a long time ago there are still relatives who feel the injustice. A real champion of human rights, a determined campaigner,(and a great sense of humour).

  • Richard O'Neill 21st May '19 - 9:36pm

    I do miss the days when Tim was leader. Doesn’t get enough credit for the role he played stabilising the party post 2015. He was – and still is – a very effective campaigner. Even if you don’t agree with him on an issue, you can’t help but be swept along with his enthusiasm.

  • John Marriott 22nd May '19 - 10:14am

    Tim Farron – from Boy Scout to inspirational speaker. Why, oh why, did he allow his religious beliefs to get in the way? He really does have that Heineken effect when he is in full flow. That’s what the centre left needs today if it is to counter the ‘rhetoric’ of the far and not so far right. We need a bit of passion in our politics, or has the PC brigade finally taken over?

    The analogy with the Warsaw Pact countries has featured in his speeches before and is well worth repeating. As I have said several times in LDV, the hubris that enveloped the West when the Berlin Wall came down has led us to ignore the faults in capitalism that have largely led to the current problems around the world and more pointedly on these shores. As Dean Acheson famously said back in the 1960s, we have lost an Empire and failed to find a rôle. One thing ought to be clear by now and that is that any rôle we do end up with will not Involve our standing alone.

  • Janet Franklin 22nd May '19 - 12:26pm

    In response to the hypocrisy of the bleatings that a second referendum would be “undemocratic”, can we please have an official figure for the number of teenagers who have become eligible to vote since the first one? Surely they should have their democratic right to a vote on the Brexit threats to their future, but I have not seen this line pursued as vigorously as ig surely deserves ?

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