We’ll always have a pro-EU message – but it’ll take time to get to ‘rejoin now’

“That’s the final straw.”

“This isn’t our conference policy.”

“I’m furious – we MUST form a new pro-EU party.”

Those of us who speak with fellow members and supporters will have heard a lot like this over the past few days.

Ed Davey’s interview on Marr may not have fully captured the nuance of our position or even our long-term aim.  But as much as we are all still upset about Brexit, contesting the content of that one interview misses the point about the challenges we face.

As we know, the context for us is very difficult.  The UK has left the EU.  We have lost the biggest political fight in a generation.  Our party has only 11 MPs – partly as a result of our failure to get the message right.

But to get a better view on the how we make our case from now, it may be instructive to consider how we became the most pro-EU party in the first place.

The day after the 2016 referendum our then leader Tim Farron addressed a public demonstration at a time when nearly all other politicians were silent.

Tim’s brave decision placed us at the heart of the pro-EU movement.  But his message was not a blunt ‘overturn the decision’ – and nor was that our policy.

Tim started with a simple call for a referendum at some point in the future.  The formal policy followed to push for a public vote on the government’s deal.

By the 2017 election, the message was that there would be a referendum and we’d campaign for remain.  As a candidate in that election, my Eurosceptic Labour opponent told me in hustings to “be honest and just say the Lib Dems want to cancel Brexit”.

When we reached the 2019 European election our position was a punchy ‘bollocks to Brexit’, with a pledge that a vote for us meant a vote for MEPs who would reject the Brexit deal.

And then in autumn 2019, for better or worse, we adopted the position of revoking Article 50.  It turned out that decision was for the worse.  We polled just 11% soon after.

I can absolutely understand the calls for an immediate rejoin policy and why some members and supporters reacted badly to Ed’s answer.  It’s a gut reaction and it would make me feel better too if we took that uncompromising stance.

But in the same way that our position and message evolved before, our position needs to evolve from now – starting from the imperfect reality that we are in.  As difficult as it seems, starting from a position of broad pro-Europeanism is the best building block for our stated aim of rejoining when the time is right.

Many have argued that time is now, citing polls showing that half of voters think Brexit was a bad idea and stating that internationalism is a core Lib Dem value.  But we should be cautious.  Those polls do not mean half of voters want to rejoin the EU tomorrow.  We found to our cost that the 6 million people who signed a petition to Revoke Article 50 were unwilling to vote for a party that pledged to do just that.  We shouldn’t make a similar false link with rejoin, as attractive as those numbers seem to our internationalist eyes.

For now, being pro-EU with a long-term goal to rejoin is exactly where we should be – as Ed clarified on social media following the interview.  We must give our leaders time and space to make the case.

* Max Wilkinson is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Cheltenham. He was the candidate at the 2019 general election and is a cabinet member on Cheltenham Borough Council.

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44 Comments

  • I think the 2 big problems of Rejoin/EEA are as follows

    1. Freedom of Movement, whilst it may be popular amongst the Twitterati and the Metropolitan Liberal Elite Twitter =/= the rest of the UK. I don’t see the rest of the UK ever voting for Freedom of Movement.
    2. The EU, they will not want a Hokey Cokey rejoin, where the UK is in out in out in out in out etc. If Brexit harmed the UK that would be nothing compared to the Uk rejoining then leaving again. I can’t see them allowing the UK to rejoin unless there is a settled majority wanting it. It would not surprise me at all if the EU required a supermajority of 60% plus

    That said I do feel that the Lb Dems should become a explicitly Rejoin party as there is a significant minority of the electorate for whom this is the No 1 issue and they and they need a voice

  • Michael Hopkins 21st Jan '21 - 7:38pm

    This piece is the most sensible thing I’ve read this year from any Lib Dem about Europe and the realities of the world.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Jan '21 - 7:47pm

    Any rejoin would be in effect a ‘hard remain.’

    Single currency, schengen the lot. Good luck with that at a referendum.

  • Geography and trade relations means Britain will remain close to Europe. Asia is a more daunting prospect when it comes to doing business.

  • “Ed Davey’s interview on Marr may not have fully captured the nuance of our position or even our long-term aim.”

    I feel that you’ve taken understatement to the point of dishonesty there.

    Ed Davey went on national television and said the Lib Dems do not want to join the EU.

    He directly contradicted party policy. Not the details of that policy, but the broad thrust.

    This wasn’t a failure to capture the nuance of the policy, it was him outright rejecting that policy. If he made a mistake he’d have said so, but reading his social media comments since it seems an awful lot like he said exactly what he intended to on Marr.

    Little Jackie Paper: we wouldn’t be forced to join the Euro. That’s a popular misconception but – for example – Sweden hasn’t joined, because meeting the criteria for joining the Euro is entirely voluntary and they’ve never chosen to meet them.

    Similarly Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania all still have their own currencies even though they don’t have an explicit opt out like Denmark does and the UK did. We can keep the pound indefinitely if we like.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Jan '21 - 8:43pm

    Phil – It is true that as yet the Commission has not tried to force the issue. Yet. The fact remains though that there is still a treaty obligation and for me that will be a showstopper.

    Sweden voted no to the single currency in a referendum treaty notwithstanding. I would be very interested to see what the Commission would do about that.

  • kenneth gardner 21st Jan '21 - 8:46pm

    First thing i notice is the concption that the E.U27 would require 60% of a popul;ation vote for a rejoin, some seem to have short memories in this respect, pre brexit. the polls inculuding yougov were givine a figure of 73% of the population wanting to remain and cancel brexit. Now, today, with the brexit conscequences coming to the fore, very shortly this percentage will greatly increase. With the May local elections coming i feel sure there will be a fair weeding out of conservative seats giving the Libs or a renamed libs the chance to increase your present M.P numbers. A general election will almost certainly whittle down the Tory numbers in the parliament. It is my opinion, that the last twelve months has not readily seen much activity from the party and this needs to be reversed to make the population more informed of theLiberal policy, if one does actually exist ? Also the Liberals must be looking towards a stronger alliance with the S.N.P and other Tory opposition. The Libs had a great chance to topple the Tory Govt but, wnen trying tyo form a Govt6 of alliance, the leadership simply squabbled the chance away. For the next general election ,the opposition parties have time to formulate a Govt .from the Libs, SNP and Labour, be sure this tory govt will fall due to the failures of their Brexit and the dismal approach to the Covid plague. The E.U 27 , would welcome a U.K return which would give confidence and returned commercial viability- Along with a population that could once again be free to enjoy the heritage of the 27 along with the educational benefits and employment. Yes, freedom of movement could well be retrieved with the U.K implimenting a means test to all would be entrants, who would be obliged to show verification of self support for their stay. Yes the 27 would gladly accept the U.K returning in all respects, but only when the U.K IS UNDER A NEW MANAGEMENT. May i add that frequenting face book, i must congratulate M.P Christine Jardine, a online friend , for her constand advertising her good works,on behalf of her constituents and her party. Something the Libs should take notice of- advertise more where most people are in abundance. My friends in Brussels and in the E.U Parliament are saying-we want and look to the U.K Rejoining- So please do not advertise otherwise..

  • James Moore 21st Jan '21 - 8:54pm

    The big problem in 2019 was that many centre-left Remainers wouldn’t touch the Lib Dems with a barge pole after the broken promises of the coalition and tuition fees.

    If the party shows an inclination to do another U-turn and ditch Rejoin it will lose what little credibility it has left.

    No one is suggesting we can Rejoin straight away. We do, however, expect the leader to support the agreed policy.

    I don’t know how far grass-roots reaction has influenced this latest ‘clarification’, but the whole episode is deeply concerning.

  • Paul Fisher 21st Jan '21 - 9:10pm

    Let’s see what happens in May!

  • Christopher Curtis 21st Jan '21 - 10:54pm

    The saddest thing is that putting political expediency ahead of principle (and party policy) is showing not the slightest sign of working. The party is pretty much still at exactly the same place in the polls as it was before its leadership suddenly decided to pretend that our relationship with the EU is a closed issue.
    Of course it would be impossible to wave a magic wand and undo the destruction and “uncivil war” that has been raging since our ill-fated decision to go into coalition with the Tories. Our relationship with the EU is going to be complicated and difficult for decades, just as our domestic politics will be, and both will take a superhuman effort to establish some sort of decency and rightness again. What has happened has happened and can’t just be reversed, but I still believe that Brexit is a disastrous error, forced through by deceit and against the will of the people, and that the whole panoply of attitudes and policies that go along with it should be anathema to any liberal or social democrat and that we have an existential battle on our hands.
    I am afraid that the interview was a car crash because Ed meant what he was saying, as he and the leadership have made clear all along, and I want nothing to do with it.

  • “Ed Davey’s interview on Marr may not have fully captured the nuance of our position“

    What is the point of nuance at this time

    The raison d’etre for the Lib Dem’s they are radical, liberal and internationalist. That is what attracts a lot of people to the party and ensures it’s survival.

    Nobody cares much for a potholes party.

  • William Francis 21st Jan '21 - 11:50pm

    Somehow pro-EU stances are not credited for the party’s successes in the local and EU elections of 2019.

    Yet they are at the same time to blame for Tim Farron’s answer to the question of whether gay sex was sinful, or the how we marketed revoke article 50.

  • Max, there are so many cases of economy with the actualité in your article it is difficult to know where to begin.

    So let’s start with “Ed Davey’s interview on Marr may not have fully captured the nuance of our position …” For true Lib Dems who believe in democracy, there is no nuance, only clarity. Our policy as set out by Conference in accordance with our constitution clearly states that “Conference resolves to support a longer term objective of UK membership of the EU …” That makes us a Rejoin party, not a party where nuance is used as a synonym for dissemble.

    Then let’s look at “contesting the content of that one interview misses the point about the challenges we face.” Actually it does, because one of the key Recommendations of the Thornhill Report (for all its weaknesses) was to “Ensure that none of the leader, CEO and president should be able to unilaterally overturn agreed strategy, manifesto, messaging or branding.” To which it should have included policy which Nick did overturn, whereas Jo didn’t do it, but instead got conference to ratify a bad policy (Revoke) largely based on excess enthusiasm for a new leader.

    Thirdly, and three are enough to show the straw man you have created, “Our party has only 11 MPs – partly as a result of our failure to get the message right.” No. Our last three results were 8 MPs, then 12 and now 11. What created this disaster was leaders believing they could do no wrong, but particularly those in coalition, and we still have one.

    We are now a tiny party on the verge of parliamentary oblivion. Unless we and our leaders actually embrace change, face up to the consequences of their mistakes in just hoping things would improve, and change our mindset back to being a small party and what that entails, we will fall into the abyss, and all the “It wasn’t me” excuses will be just so much self justifying hot air.

  • “Any rejoin would be in effect a ‘hard remain.’
    Single currency, schengen the lot. Good luck with that at a referendum.”
    We wouldn’t be required to join Schengen, UNLESS Ireland has joined Schengen by then (Unlikely because that would break it away from its common travel area with the UK). Ireland would fight our corner.
    As for the Euro, yes, we’d have to sign up to join the Euro, as did Poland when it joined the EU in 2004. What’s the current currency of Poland? The Zloty! Of course the “Stay Out” campaign would argue otherwise. We would not, of course, get our rebate back.

  • I agree that an early attempt to re-join the EU, may indeed put a lot of people off, including a number of remain supporters. We need to test the ground, prepare the way, and take a step forward, and repeat.
    Next I want to come to, what steps we could take on the outset. Well, I think it is a no brainer. No one wants worse food than what we had in the EU. Do workers want less rights in the workplace? Of course not! Do we support environmental protections? I think we do. Do we want to accept rowing back on them by climate change deniers? I don’t thin we would have any difficulty selling that to the people, nor the other parties. So one thing we could do from the outset is to agree with the EU to harmonise with Brussels on those three points. I can’t see anybody objecting.
    Secondly, we want to get our trucks rolling. I should think that also is a no brainer. Furthermore banking and the movement of finance are issues we want resolved.
    So far, I think that all the above are non contentious and I am sure Labour, the SNP and Greens would all support Lib Dems on these issues.
    Would it be our fault however, if when trying to negotiate these deals with the EU if they said. Yes, but you have to take the whole package. The full four freedoms. So we could come back and say we agreed, because it was in the best interest of the UK.
    All this could then pave the way to getting back into the Customs Union, at which point we could make a bid to re-join.
    Now comes the hard bit. Of course the EU has not forced any country to join the Euro. In fact, there are some who are of the mind, that you shouldn’t invite any country to join the Euro unless their economy is strong enough. Notwithstanding, the EU could say:- ‘Before we let you back in, we need a demonstration of your commitment to a future within the European Union. So we want you to commit to join the Euro.’
    I feel that successive governments have been Eurosceptic and because of that, they have never attempted to educate the public about what the EU does for us, and what our rights are as EU citizens. If they had have done. maybe BREXIT would never have happened.

  • Simon Hedges 22nd Jan '21 - 1:11am

    We need to be a party in favour of rejoining the EU as a longer term aspiration.
    We need to be a party that doesn’t bang on about it all the time.
    We need to be a party that supports practical alternatives.
    We need to be ready, should the public mood turn significantly towards rejoining, to surf that wave.
    This way, we remain principled, but don’t make an electorate sick to death of Brexit debate feel we want to drag them back into years and years of discussion and hassle over this issue.
    The issue we need to push is fair votes, and encouraging the Labour party to do the same. Without that, anything else is pretty pointless.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Jan '21 - 2:38am

    David Evans

    Correct, this party needs to wake to reality.

    I favour pragmatism on many issues EU particularly. But Ed has put his foot in his mouth. The policy is a good one as it is pragmatic. Too many think pragmatism the opposite of principle. It is not. a pragmatic and definitely a principled one, is one that says, we shall do this, when the possibility of it getting anywhere,is there more.

    you think me a dreamer because I would like an alliance with Labour or a bigger centre left party like the Democrats. But it is pragmatic and principled, and possible one day.

    Biden says america to him is…possibilities!

    Many an occasion I wonder if I should have moved there twenty five years ago, in my twenties, when I married my American wife!

    this party needs to change. Much of what you say is correct, on this.

  • Colin Paine 22nd Jan '21 - 7:53am

    Very much agree with Max’s article.

  • David Garlick 22nd Jan '21 - 10:12am

    Well said.

    To others I urge them to take a breath and to think things through. Certainly past the next year or two.
    Events are not in the Governmnets favour and Brexit may well turn out to be a bitter pill for them.

    Patience friends, patience

  • Indeed Martin and Lorenzo are correct and many of the points they make are very accurate. To which I would add just one.

    For more than 50 years we have been the pro EU party, in favour of the EU in principle (but not naive enough to believe everything it did or proposed was perfect), and in favour or us being members so we could benefit from it and influence it and equally so it could benefit from us and influence us.

    We fought a clear campaign, a campaign people knew us for and many supported us in, which was to stay in the EU for the benefits, but also because we all knew that the only thing the Tories could be relied upon to do was to make a complete mess of it.

    So now we have Boris Johnson’s deal, with exporters tied up in red tape,

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/brexit-uk-manufacturers-import-export-orders-b1790270.html

    fishermen in dismay

    https://nffo.org.uk/news/miniscule-marginal-paltry-pathetic.html#.X-dQM-jinws.twitter

    and lorry drivers in chaos

    https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/134740/brexit-lorry-protest/

    and what does our leader decide to do?

    Does he lead the attack on the Tories for their arrogance and incompetence? Does he point out the total shambles that is Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal?

    No. He walks off the battlefield, saying to himself ‘It’s time to move on. The danger of us being seen to be right on Brexit are too great and we might not be able to cope with the increase in support we would get from exploiting that. Let’s leave the SNP to get all the rewards so they can destroy us in May.’

    The logic is clear. The only question is are Lib Dems prepared to say this to Ed and force (not request) a retraction (or as people love to call it these days a pivot) back to where is the only hope for our party to recover.

    It really is up to our MPs and members and party president now. Are they and we up to it?

  • ……………But as much as we are all still upset about Brexit, contesting the content of that one interview misses the point about the challenges we face……………

    Max, Sadly, it is you who has ‘missed the point’..This party gets little enough coverage on national political programmes and for Ed Davey to have said what he did was a major mistake; the country, unlike LDV, doesn’t follow every ‘nuance’ and they saw, perhaps for the only time in months, this party leader’s stance on the EU..

    Not for the first time I’m left wondering if our leadership could find their backsides with both hands..

  • Helen Dudden 22nd Jan '21 - 10:53am

    This is what happens when topics become a political football. The NHS is another. Stability needs to be in to education and policy.
    Whatever Johnson does, as one Conservative MP stated, we were elected.
    The WHO have written on the false positives with certain tests, Johnson does not agree. Can we exist as a population, without dentists and regular checks to health?

  • Kieran Seale 22nd Jan '21 - 12:05pm

    Surely we have to start with freedom of movement. It is:

    1. Popular
    2. Deliverable
    3. Supported by lots of wealthy donors
    4. … oh yes, a core Liberal Democrat value.

    See Peter Foster’s excellent coverage for the Financial Times:
    https://twitter.com/pmdfoster/status/1352582210298195968?s=20

  • Helen,

    The NHS belongs to Labour. So does education (ever since Tuition Fees). we get no publicity on it at all.

    Europe belongs to us. It is the only national policy that belongs to us. And it is going disastrously wrong for the Conservatives. So now is the time to attack!

    Looking for succour elsewhere is accepting failure once again, whether it is Ed who wants to walk away or members like you wanting to look elsewhere for something that isn’t there.

    We need to advance. Not retreat.

  • Helen Dudden 22nd Jan '21 - 1:01pm

    The NHS belongs to us all. I disagree. If we can’t stand up for the wrongs in society we should all give up.
    The EUROPEAN union belongs to all communities. That’s the problem, it’s more than politics.

  • Christopher Curtis 22nd Jan '21 - 1:04pm

    Being positive, there are real opportunities in the years immediately ahead to benefit the country by working more closely with the EU, even though Brexit has happened. The only real answer to the many difficulties Brexit is creating is to use the mechanisms that the EU put in the agreement with Johnson to align regulations and practices with European norms, stop threatening meaningless divergence for the sake of populism and reduce the frictions that are deeply damaging us already.
    The Tories are never going to do that. Labour has walked away and accepted the current situation. For us to do so too would be unconscionable. We should surely be arguing, specifically and practically, to reduce customs friction, with a view to rejoining the customs union as an alternative to spending billions creating a massive customs infrastructure, to continue to align rights and environmental protections and urgently agreeing the “work for 90 days out of 180 without visa” provisions and re-commit to Erasmus.
    If we are truly a pro-European party, that is the minimum.

  • David Evans 22nd Jan '21 - 1:34pm

    Helen, Yes the NHS belongs to us all, but as you and I both know, as a political issue it belongs totally to Labour.

    Likewise when you say “The EUROPEAN union belongs to all communities”. True, or at least to all member communities, but as a British political issue it belongs to the Lib Dems.

    And the only way the EU can be dealt with in the UK is through politics. Do you really want us to choose to say nothing about the biggest issue facing our country (equal with Covid).

    Do you really not care if our party fails because we don’t want to make issues we have fought for our own?

  • Helen Dudden 22nd Jan '21 - 1:54pm

    No, I don’t want to not let others have the freedom of speech. I left the Labour Party after a very short time, the comments to me were very narrow minded to say the least. Just because I attend a Synagogue. I could have no comments on Children’s Law, I still have comments now. My grandchild is Spanish. I can remember the encouragement of Sir Graham Watson, as I was able to visit my grandchild. I think Graham realised I would learn the language, and the law to hold my own.
    I also comment for an international charity on disability. I’m writing on Power Wheelchair safety and Social Housing.
    Since, not only my sight was an issue, then the ability to walk, became another.
    I don’t judge anyone, but I’m frequently judged. DNR, is used with the USA, as a topic.
    It’s people like myself who need to access good medical treatment, no good my talking with the Labour Party we have nothing in common.

  • James Moore 22nd Jan '21 - 2:05pm

    There are three policy areas that the public associate with the Liberal Democrats:

    1. Education – still important, even through the tuition fees debacle wrecked our credibility. There is still much to be said on the creation of a world-class higher and further education system, but we aren’t saying it.

    2. Environment – to be fair to Ed he has a good record on this, but where are the new initiatives? Where are our plans to reverse Beeching and support light rail throughout our towns and cities?

    3. Europe – even though this issue gave us a boost at the last election (despite the silly Swinson policy) and half the electorate agree with us, we now seem embarrassed to talk about it.

    We’ve got to go back to talking about the issues that matter to OUR likely voters – not worrying about UKIP voters or trying to appeal to those who wouldn’t look at us twice. That’s the way back to winning seats and building a respectable national profile. Locally, we can talk about many other things too, but there has to be a sense of national strategy and direction.

  • Dare I ask, if Brexit had not occured would we still be awaiting our supply of vaccine as seems to be the case in the E.U?

  • I agree with Phil – at least the first half. “Not capturing the nuance” is a polite way of saying “misrepresented the spirit and letter” of our approach.

    I voted for the policy, and did so with a heavy heart, because I knew that we’d gone beyond the point of ‘remaining’ and attempts to claim that re-joining would be easy, or in any way allow us the equivalent benefits and influence to what we had before, would be dishonest.

    But it really is fundamental to our approach that we don’t make the kind of gaffs made by Ed on the Marr show. Unfortunately for us, LDV doesn’t get the same kind of reach as the Marr show, so efforts to finesse his argument on here are not particularly useful. It might steady a few nerves of those who thought they’d misunderstood the policy, but it won’t do anything to help us on the door-step or to stop our political rivals describing us as anti-EU.

  • The party’s position on the EU is a mess.
    If the party wishes to rejoin then it will be on new terms, including Eurozone entry. Does the party wish to do that? What will be the selling point to the voters? Be real about this, otherwise you are just playing at politics.
    That is just the start of the debate. I am bored with hearing statements of emotion but no evidence of reality. Lib Dems must get real and face reality.

  • David Hewitt 22nd Jan '21 - 9:31pm

    Since Ed’s Andrew Marr interview the membership of the Volt UK Facebook site has grown by 137. Should we be worried about this?

  • So, why does this argument not apply to Electoral Reform.
    Clearly The Libdems will not be in a position to simply bring in Reform in 2024 so why are we still arguing for it ? Shouldnt we say “Its too soon to call for full Reform” & argue for some minor tweak to the existing system ?
    The logic for Proportional Representation & Rejoining The EU are much the same, we are not going to be in a position to put either in effect at The next Election, both need either massive Political shifts or adoption by Labour so why is it OK for us to call for one & not the other ?

    This whole argument is about guts & honesty – do we have the courage to say what we mean when all the big Voices are against us ?

  • Christopher Curtis 23rd Jan '21 - 1:33pm

    Paul Barker’s comment nails it.
    Putting political expediency ahead of principle does not work and is fundamentally dishonest. Political dishonesty might appear to work in the short term (see Vote Leave) but it comes at a huge cost. If it wins you seats and power, you are there under false pretences and have to double down on lies in order to do what you wanted to do all along plus it destroys consensus, accountability and trust. It’s an affront to democracy and participation and LibDems just shouldn’t do it, whether it’s dodgy graphics in leaflets, pretending that the “precautionary principle” allows you to appeal to anti-vaxxers or anti-5Gers let alone pretending that Brexit is not too bad or that our corrupt and destructive politics urgently needs reform to represent the people more fairly.

  • Rob Kinnon-Brettle 23rd Jan '21 - 5:14pm

    Max argues that our leader’s interview on the Marr show was not a departure from the policy agreed at the Conference the preceding September. That may be the case. The fact that Ed had to explain himself on social media afterwards should the the warning light in itself – if our leader cannot eloquently explain party policy, should that person be the party leader?

    I declare an interest, I voted against the policy at conference, as it was a fudge. It was equivocal and open to interpretation. Ed’s interview on the Marr show proves that. The Liberal Democrats’ policy on the EU may have evolved in the months following the referendum, but we have always been an internationalist party – which puts us automatically on the opposite side to the pro-Brexit lobby. Brexit is a narrow-minded “Little Englander” policy that is the antithesis of internationalism.

    My fear is that the politicians in power at present will steer this country to a position where the divergence from the EU will make it almost impossible to rejoin … and that could be a deliberate tactic on behalf of the pro-Brexit lobby. We will be in almost permanent recession and could fall way below North Macedonia and Albania in the list to join the European Union. Some elements in the ruling party seem to want to take away a huge chunk of our human rights, that might place us even below Turkey! I hope that will prove not to be the case, but it is a worry. I only hope if the standard of living falls dramatically in this country the case for a realignment with Europe would become a rallying cry amongst the majority of our citizens. This could be a long game, but we must not lose sight of the eventual goal of rejoining the European family of nations as a full member again.

  • Geoffrey Dron 23rd Jan '21 - 6:48pm

    LibDems spend too much time arguing about rejoining the European Union when the union which is the UK is under existential threat.

  • @ Geoffrey Dron I’m afraid that’s not the case, Mr Dron. The Union is under threat because of the arrogance and sheer incompetence of the Westminster model….. a model dominated by a ruling party so out of touch with majority opinion in Scotland.

  • Teresa Wilson 24th Jan '21 - 1:13pm

    The problem with us is we are too keen on nuances. If you have to explain something for ten minutes it was too complicated in the first place. I found that out in 2019 trying to explain why our revoke policy wasn’t undemocratic. Really, voters aren’t thick but they aren’t that interested in detail either. If it sounds undemocratic, they’ll see it as undemocratic. If it sounds like we don’t believe in the EU any longer, that’s what people will hear.

  • eresa Wilson 24th Jan ’21 – 1:13pm…………….The problem with us is we are too keen on nuances. If you have to explain something for ten minutes it was too complicated in the first place. I found that out in 2019 trying to explain why our revoke policy wasn’t undemocratic. Really, voters aren’t thick but they aren’t that interested in detail either………

    Far earlier; post coalition, trying to explain away why doing the opposite of ‘no more broken promises’ lost hundreds of LibDem representatives at all levels..

  • James Fowler 24th Jan '21 - 2:41pm

    Good article from Max.

  • Andrew Tampion 24th Jan '21 - 3:19pm

    Rob Kinnon-Brettle.
    “Brexit is a narrow-minded “Little Englander” policy that is the antithesis of internationalism”
    If that is true how do you explain the current Government’s proposal to join the CPTPP. Or the enthusiam among some but not all Conservative Brexiteers for the CANZUK proposal? It seems to me that it is the EUphiles who have a limited view ofr Internationalism.
    “My fear is that the politicians in power at present will steer this country to a position where the divergence from the EU will make it almost impossible to rejoin”
    As opposed to politician formerly in power who tried to converge so closely with the EU that it would be impossible to leave?

  • Idiotic party policy and all the ” quwaffle ” around the edges makes no sense. Have some balls of conviction. Rejoin should be the centre pilar policy. Once again the Party fail to see the opportunity presented and fail to understand the climate of the support it should be gaining.

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Recent Comments

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