Welcome to my day: 13 June 2022 – take a deep breath (and a glass of Sekt) and carry on…

Dobré ráno! Liberal Democrat Voice is brought to you today from Starý Smokovec, in the Slovak Tatras, where your intrepid Day Editor is spending the day. As befits a member of the Party’s Federal International Relations Committee, I’m on a rail odyssey across the continent, from Stowmarket to here and back (the pretty way). And I’m drinking beer in half-litres…

Slovakia has benefited from its accession to the European Union, with the average Slovak worker earning 70% more than they did twenty years ago. Inward investment has been consistently high, and GDP has risen significantly over that period. This was rather what was envisaged as a result of the 2004 expansion of the European Union into Eastern and Central Europe, with everyone benefiting from a larger single market. It’s galling to hear various Brexiteers suddenly rediscovering their enthusiasm for free trade with our neighbours but think of it as the first baby steps towards a rather better relationship with the European Union.

The Johnson administration haven’t got the memo yet, it seems, as they continue to deny the inevitable. And they’ve got good reason to do do because, as they keep saying, they “got Brexit done”. To admit now that, rather than being free to blaze a free market trail across the globe, they’re likely to be negotiating a series of small deals to resolve some of the more glaring failures for years to come, rather destroys their own campaign narrative.

Do they have the “bottle” (or the stupidity) to actually defy international law over the Northern Ireland Protocol, or are there enough Conservatives with backbone and a memory of what their Party once stood for to stop them? I’ll admit that my hopes aren’t that high but I’d love to be proved wrong. But it leaves a space for Liberal Democrats to campaign in, looking to rebuild our relationship with the European Union, standing up for the principle that you stand by the treaties you sign, for honour and decency. I think that there’s a genuine base of support out there for a political party that has a vision of our place in the world that is collaborative and not confrontational.

But Johnson continues on, dragging the country lower with every passing day. As Andrew Rawnsley reported yesterday, one senior Conservative is quoted as believing that nobody in the Cabinet is willing to strike, saying;

My judgment of the entire cabinet is that they are just too cowardly for the job, they are just too fucking cowardly.

Ironically, the Conservative dilemma is that – much like Brexit – there are many reasons for defenestrating Johnson, but there aren’t enough people with the same view on what happens next to actually produce a coherent outcome. And, after all, their hands have been dipped in blood every time they’ve gone onto the media to justify the latest moral and ethical outrage.

Which is what makes Tiverton and Honiton so important. If morality and ethics don’t influence Conservative MPs, then fear of unemployment might be the only thing that persuades them to do the right thing. They’ve written off Wakefield, and most of the Cabinet don’t care about that anyway. But the loss of a historically true blue seat will start rattling nerves where it matters, so if you can lend a hand, please do.

And now I must move on, literally, as I need to be in Bratislava this evening. I hope, gentle reader, that you are where you need to be too.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice. He is delighted to discover that Slovak trains serve Sekt in first class and urges Greater Anglia to do the same.

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2 Comments

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 14th Jun '22 - 10:37am

    Ian,

    Good to hear from you. Oddly, they appear to have replaced the New Yorker with… an Australian. At least the announcements are easy to understand!

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