The Lib Dems are the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe

While the national emergency grows Labour and the Tory Party are pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job.

The look of wide-eyed, guilty panic in the eyes of Boris Johnston and Michael Gove on Friday morning hinted at what was later confirmed: the Brexiteers who had schemed for this moment all their political lives had absolutely no plan for life after Thursday.

But those of us who argued passionately that Britain should remain in Europe should also concede that there is little consensus among progressives now Britain has voted “out” – either how we will improve the lives of those who felt so left behind that they voted to Leave, or to build a winning coalition to rescue disadvantaged people from the clutches of right-wing escapism.

The Conservative Party has just crashed the economy, left Britain more alone than at any point I can ever remember, and betrayed the hopes of a generation – and while the national emergency grows, our governing party is pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job. Yet progressives must recognise that the reason we could face an early general election is because the Tories still think they can win one, despite putting a bomb under their much-vaunted reputation for economic competence.

And the basis for that frankly sickening Tory confidence is clear. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man, but he never even enjoyed the confidence of Labour MPs to lose.

I fought a positive campaign, working with others, setting out an optimistic, open vision of Britain. But sometimes Labour seemed keener to give a bloody nose to David Cameron [or Jeremy Corbyn – Ed] than to keep us in Europe, even though membership of the European Union is way more important.

For a Liberal Democrat, this is visceral. I am an internationalist, who believes we must work across borders to face the great challenges such as the world’s largest ever movement of people, climate change, the rising power of multi-nationals and terrorism, along with the arrival in the international labour market of a billion Chinese workers which has depressed wages across the western world. A progressive political settlement needs international co-operation, and it has been the EU that has guaranteed worker rights, consumer protection and environmental safeguards.

But if you are a progressive, pro-European who recognises that you need a successful economy to deliver social justice, I just don’t see a future for you in Labour. Even if Labour MPs achieve their “Jexit”, might not Labour members simply elect someone equally extreme – leaving the path clear for a Tory Party to beat up on the poor?

And this makes me furious. The IPPR has shown that the poorest will be hit twice as hard as the richest by new inflation caused by sterling’s slide. The pound is at its lowest in 30 years. There is now a £900bn hole in the pension funds.

Low-paid workers are worried sick today about their jobs, with Tata Steel now at risk. Some leftists might enjoy seeing trading in banks being temporarily suspended, but the reduction in the value of the state’s share in RBS has already cost taxpayers £7.3bn. And as with the last recession, it will be the poorest who pay.

But there is a rallying point for progressives who refuse to settle for a future of glowering across the White Cliffs of Dover. That rallying point is the Liberal Democrats. Since I announced that we would go into the next election as the only party calling for Britain to remain in the EU, thousands have joined our party, at the rate of one a minute.

By yesterday, almost 7,000 had joined, and the number’s rising.

We must be the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe. Young people – 73 per cent of whom voted to Remain – are determined to keep opportunities to travel, work and study abroad. More than that, these new members want to demonstrate that Britain remains an internationalist, open and optimistic country.

But as a progressive I am just as concerned about the 52 per cent who voted to leave. Many, understandably, feel marginalised, with stagnating wages, insufficient training to gain better jobs, a housing shortage and struggling NHS. Ironically, the vote was less a rejection of Europe as a rejection of a Westminster that seems disinterested in the problems of people it purports to represent.

It is the disadvantaged whose modest living standards face a further assault thanks to “Brex-trick”.

My number one priority has always been to transform education and training, better housing and healthcare to give real life chances. The British are naturally welcoming, and many concerns that have been attributed to immigration are actually about the disgraceful lack of opportunity to move into better jobs, to get a house, or a school space for your child. These are challenges that I am determined to fight for.

Liberalism is about championing the individual against the powerful. That means standing firm for our Human Rights Act, against internet surveillance and illiberal extremism orders. But it’s also about protecting individuals from those giant evils that rob people of their freedom: poverty, poor housing and inequality. This is my pitch – to centrist and centre-left voters.

I believe in four core principles. Freedom – the right of people to live as they see fit; the second is democracy – a state that supports freedom has to be democratic, with power dispersed, which is why we fought to democratise Europe.

Tim Farron – Lib Dem Leader wrote this piece for the Independent on-line newspaper

Sir Humphrey’s advice to a ‘brave’ David Cameron on the EU Referendum

Back in the days whilst David Cameron had the chance not to lurch the UK into a huge Brexit crisis this exchange may have taken place following months of advice about him resisting being too ‘brave’:-

Sir Humphrey – Can I present you with a box Prime Minster, it’s one we put before Ministers prior to them taking momentous decisions. Bring in the OSBOT box please Bernard.

Cameron – What’s this all about then Humphrey?

Sir Humphrey – Well Prime Minister it’s the job of Cabinet Office to spell out to a Minister or Prime Minister all the potential pit-falls of a potentially ‘brave’ decision which we feel could have dire consequences. This OSBOT box contains details of the dire consequences of your pursuing an EU Referendum.

Cameron – But I know the consequences and I know I will win anyway.

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister knowing the consequences is what one of your predecessors, a Mr Blair, said when we put such a box in front of him prior to the Iraq war being authorised. It’s also what Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg uttered before his U turn on tuition fees.

Cameron – But what’s that got to do with me, they were wrong and I am right?

Sir Humphrey – Yes they both thought they were right too Prime Minister. Mr Blair got it all very badly wrong though and Mr Clegg, well we all know what happened to him.

Cameron – So what purpose does the OSBOT box serve?

Sir Humphrey – It’s bit like Pandora’s Box Prime Minister – once opened it can’t be shut again and it’s your choice whether to open it or not. Blair and Clegg opened it, indeed you laughed yourself silly when Clegg did if you recall. Now its your turn Prime Minister.

Cameron – Do I have to open it?

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister if your are determined to hold an EU Referendum.

Cameron – Well open it I will because right is on my side, I say.

Sir Humphrey – Just remember Prime Minister all that you read in the box is likely to happen and you can’t shut the box once you have read of the consequences.

Cameron – Give me the key!

Cameron opens the box and this is what he reads:-

Most if not all of the following will now happen – The Country will vote to leave the EU. Financial meltdown will follow. There is no plan to deal with an EU exit. You will be blamed for opening ‘Pandora’s Box’. A Mr. B Johnson will dance on your political grave. Racists will emerge in large numbers. Xenophobes (a person unduly fearful of what is foreign and especially of people of foreign origin) will multiply. All the political barm-pots will have been brought together in one campaign group to campaign for Brexit – they will not be parted.

In short Prime Minister you have just read why you should not hold an EU Referendum but as you have opened the box there is no going back. Thank you for reading the most momentous political suicide note in living memory.

Cameron – But this is ridiculous Humphrey, none of this will happen mark my words.

Sir Humphrey – Yes Prime Minister I have marked your very ‘brave’ words and I have also taken the liberty of drafting a resignation speech which obviously, in your view, will not now be required?

Cameron – Look Humphrey I am confident nothing will really go wrong but if by some ridiculously small chance it does will the Country know that I was warned not to hold the EU Referendum? By the way what does OSBOT mean?

Sir Humphrey – No Prime Minister the Civil Service does not kick a Prime Minister when they are down, we find there is no need for us to join in a political lynching. And OSBOT – Only Stupid Buggers Open This.

Cameron – one of those leaders who will be defined in history by a single enormous mistake

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/26/brexit-eu-referendum-disunited-kingdom

Another powerful piece spotted by Roy Connell on the Guardian web site – have a read of it via the link above.

Did the Lib Dems hold back the worst excesses of the Tories?

www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/david-cameron-and-george-osborne-should-not-forget-the-lib-dems-know-where-the-bodies-are-buried-a6952641.html

The Independent has the story on its web site – see link above

I think even the most extreme Coalition hater (I await the rants to start) will concede that the answer to the question is yes especially as those worst Tory excesses are being played out now as there is no brake on the Tory right wing what so ever.

You see you have to try to see past the Clegg hating which for some, after his Tuition Fees U-turn, is all but impossible. To many voters if Nick Clegg said today was Monday they would automatically assume he was lying even if today was indeed Monday! What a legacy Nick has to live with.

But of course this Independent article makes some well informed comments, although it has to be said the electorate actually voted, under our utterly unrepresentative electoral system, for more right wing Tory policies in 2015. Well that was the effect if not really the intention because the Lib Dems were either battered for holding the Tories back or alternatively battered for not holding the Tories back enough. Only our first post the post electoral system (so loved by Tories and Labour) could deliver a new government of the Tory far right when more than 60% of the electorate was seemingly trying to create the opposite.

But to return to the Independent article, I was also taken by this quote from David Laws “The Lib Dem leader thought that a major weakness of both David Cameron and George Osborne was that they had little sympathy with or understanding of people on very low incomes, and were inclined to write them off politically as ‘not our voters’.”

Yes of course it sums up well how many Tories look at those less fortunate in our society but I have also heard Labour folk use a similar turn of phrase when talking about other matters. In other words if you come from a section of society or a place that does not return Labour MP’s/councillors why should we give a stuff about you.

It is of course pure tribalism and both Labour and Tories represent their own tribes and care little and indeed have great hatred for the other tribe. Sadly, UK politics is very much based on such appalling tribalism and that’s why we are in the mess that we are in.

With thanks to my spotter Jen Robertson

Especially for Kippers – UKIP’ers that is

I like the sense of humour at Melling’s Sandy Lane Nurseries and the plants are great too.

They seem to specialise in insulting national politicians who have got to big for their boots so to speak. They are not averse to picking on any politician, the SNP’s ‘Jimmy Krankie’ otherwise K/A Nicola Sturgeon and Mr. Cameroon were also in the firing line when we were there today.

But this one really tickled me:-

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Click on the photo to enlarge it.

I wonder if any other politicians have been ‘offended’, I certainly hope so.

Cameron’s poor judgement again exposed – Saudi Arabia!

www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jan/04/lib-dems-and-labour-urge-cameron-to-withdraw-saudi-arabia-support

How on earth can we continue to partner this state that has no respect for human life? Cameron needs to rise above all the money we get for arms sales to this despotic state as we can no longer be seen to be their partner in anything until they seriously mend their ways.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this article.