Manchester What Next?

Cath Cathedral

The Metropolitan Cathdedral in Liverpool where many of us met tonight for a vigil for those who died in Manchester yesterday

I have just got home from a Mass which was held in the Catholic Cathedral in honour of those who died in the massacre in Manchester yesterday. I am not a person of religious belief but somehow Archbishop Malcolm summed it up when he said, “When you are in sorrow this is the place to be”. We always get together in Churches, Mosques, Temples and Synagogues when we want to commiserate or celebrate. Many do it because they believe in the power of intercession and prayer. Others because it is a place where belief can be manifested. Some like me go because there are places where wider things can be easily considered.

The Pope has sent a Prayer of Peace to be read out by all assembled. Two paragraphs of this struck me forcefully and I reproduce them here in full:

“O Jesus, Prince of Peace, we pray to you for the ones who have been wounded in these acts of inhuman violence; children and young people, old people and innocent people accidentally involved in evil. Heal their bodies and hearts; console them with your strength and at the same time, take away any hatred and a desire for revenge.

Touch the hearts of terrorists so that they may recognise the evil of their actions and may turn to the way of peace and goodness, of respect for life and dignity of every human being, regardless of religion, origin, wealth or poverty”.

Of course I don’t get the religious bits but somehow these two paragraphs summed up the two sides if what we need to do:

  1. Work to heal and support those who have been maimed or bereaved. These were mostly young girls with a life full of hope and future still unwritten. For the rest of their lives their mums and dads will miss the; wonder about how they would have done at school or Uni; about whether they would have got good jobs; found a partner or had kids. There will always be an aching void in their hearts where their child would have been.

 

  1. Work to change and convert those who even think in their darkest moments about conducting such atrocities.

 

What we should not do is to rush to judgement about a whole religion and way of life on the basis of what a handful of people who claim to be its adherents say and do. I have lived in a Moslem Country for three years. Millions of us go on holiday to countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey which are largely composed on Moslems. Do we feel threatened when we are there? Of course not. We come home saying what a lovely holiday and what friendly people.

To say that this is a Moslem problem is to say that all the Catholics and Protestants who live in Northern Ireland were terrorists because of the Catholic and loyalist paramilitaries. The handful of terrorists who cause atrocities are extremists who are cast out of Moslem Society. Most Moslems are like every most Christian, none-believer, Jew, Sikh or Hindu et al. They want to bring up their children in peace, have a decent life and live in a warm and safe home.

There are those who are seeking to make trouble from this. We must not let them win. We must work on both sides of the ignorant spectrum if we are to achieve long-lasting peace. We must understand what is changing a small number of largely British people into extremists. Most Moslems are not changed in such a way. Is it personal circumstance where they have been touched personally by events in the Middle East? Is it the internet? Is it a psychiatric problem? It could be any of those.

What about those who seek to cause divisions where divisions need not exist. The vermin from the English Defence League who get on a train to revel in every tragedy and the newspapers writers who get off on scurrilous writings. With them as well we must work to show them that what they espouse is both wrong factually as well as wrong morally.

But somewhere in the middle of those extremes there are a lot of people who are scared. Scared of changes in the communities in which they have lived for decades; scared of new food; new ways and new clothes. It would be too easy to scoff at those concerns as being those of ignorant people. We must work with them to and the communities in which they live to try and ensure that problems are dealt with and communities are integrated.

I have not sought in this matter to give you 10 easy points which will solve the problems of society. If I did that I would be a genius or a fool. I don’t believe that easy answers exist. If we are to stop other atrocities we have to work together and work consistently to reduce tensions in the Middle East and then reduce tensions in our fractured communities.

In the meantime it is right that the political parties have stopped their General Election wrangling and have jointly agreed this. Sometimes we must forget divisions and come together. Perhaps today as a none-believer I heard the words of the Pope telling us how.

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Chief Executive of Liverpool Arrested and Questioned over LDL and OCL scandal

anderson

The Mayor of Liverpool should resign after his lack of judgement in this moral and financial crucial issue

Statement from the Liberal Democrats

“I am delighted that after 3.5 years investigation by the Lancashire Police four men are being brought to justice and will presumably appear in court. In 2014 I and two knowledgeable and professional members of the public presented a 1,000 page dossier on what we considered to be major problems with the running of LDL. In addition I gave evidence about activities in Lancashire which I considered to be totally inappropriate.

This investigation has now cost almost £3million but will be worth it justice is finally done. In the immediate future the Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council should be suspended, without prejudice, until the matter is finally dealt with through the Courts. I hope that the court action will take place as soon as possible so that the council tax payers of Liverpool and Lancashire can see how the systems that safeguard their money have been flouted.

I must make it absolutely clear that although the Labour Party will try and throw as much sand as possible in the eyes of the people of Liverpool and Lancashire these problems have arisen since Labour took control of the Council. As I understand it the Mayor took personal control of these issues and was, until recently, a Director of LDL.

It is also clear that the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, should tender his resignation over this issue. He has supported the Chief Executive Mr Fitzgerald through thin and thin and should have taken immediate action when the council offices were raided about this in 2015 and again when he was questioned by Police earlier this year.”

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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How much do Labour really care about those in poverty?

Corbyn

Corbyn talks a good talk on poverty but doesn’t walk the walk

For the past 7 years I have sat in Liverpool Council listening to Labour speaker after Labour speaker deriding the Lib Dems for austerity. These Braveheart Trots always missed the fact that for every £10 that the coalition introduced in cuts Labour would have cut £8 according to their own figures. Even now as they thrash around trying to hide from the inadequacies of their own Party’s manifesto they seek to blame the Lib Dems for things done since the 2015 General Election.

I did not like everything the Lib Dems did as a junior partner in Government but I was proud of 4 things that would not have happened if they had been there that made a real difference.

  1. The triple lock for pensions was introduced in the face of Tory opposition. For 25 years under both Tory and Labour Governments pensioners had drifted way, way behind the increase in earnings. This measure made significant changes to the pensioners.
  2. By increasing income tax thresholds well above inflation those at the bottom of the earnings ladder made significant savings in tax. In total more than 25 million workers benefited from this reduction with about 5 million being taken out of tax paying altogether.
  3. Free schools meals were given to all infants school children. This [presents a saving of about £450 per child and improved the quality of education as children with rumbling tums cannot concentrate.
  4. The pupil premium redistributed money for schools from wealthier areas to poorer areas to try and bridge the gap between rich and poor.

In addition there was another real benefit for 18 year olds. The introduction of improved grants massively increased the uptake of children from working class families going to University.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of an article that I have read in today’s Guardian. This is reproduced in full below. In it the Guardian reveals the research of the Resolution Foundation, a highly respected independent think tank that of the £9billions of welfare cuts planned by the Tories up to 2020 Labour will keep £7 billion of them! In fact this will get worse because the estimates of £9 billion depended on a much lower rate of inflation than seems to be heading our way. Earlier this month we got information which shows that earnings as a whole are falling behind inflation. This is exacerbated by the Tories Benefits Cap which is now being supported by Labour.

Lib Dems have made it abundantly clear in our fully coasted manifesto that one of our priorities would be to remove the benefit cuts. But are we surprised that Labour are not doing likewise. No, Not really. Just look at what they have done in parliament.

In 2015 the Labour Party twice supported benefit changes that discriminated against the poor. This year the Labour Party abstained no less than 3 times in the House of Lords when bad benefits policy could have been defeated.

Why does Labour behave this way? Who knows? I have a suspicion though that the well-heeled Islingtonites who control the Party have little idea of the effects of their policies on people outside their own bubble. They can fulminate against the Tories but when given the chance to beat them they raise the white flag and fail to accept the problems that are being faced by those at the bottom of society’s ladder..

As always the decision about who is working on these issues is up to you and I would be delighted to get feedback from you. In the meantime here is the Guardian article. At the very least it will make you think about the gap between Labour’s rhetoric and its reality.

Article from Today’s Guardian

At least £7bn of George Osborne’s plan to slash welfare will go ahead after the election Labour wins power, an analysis of the party manifestos has revealed.

Three-quarters of the huge package of benefit cuts announced by the former chancellor in 2015 are yet to be implemented, including a major reduction in support given to the low-paid, and limiting payments to families with more than two children.

The Conservative manifesto suggested that the party would plough ahead with the cuts, should it win a majority. However, despite opposition to the cuts within Labour, the party’s manifesto only pledges to reverse £2bn of the £9bn cuts to come as part of a review, according to an analysis by the Resolution Foundation thinktank. Jeremy Corbyn was among 48 Labour MPs to rebel against the party whip in 2015 to oppose the cuts. Corbyn also criticised the decision by the party’s frontbench to abstain during his first leadership campaign.

There are three areas in which big cuts are scheduled to be made in the next parliament. A further two-year freeze to most working age benefits, which includes Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefit and child benefit, is expected to save £3.6bn a year by 2021.

Reductions in the payments given to people in work through the new universal credit system are set to save £3.2bn. Meanwhile, limiting support to two children per family and reducing payments to new families will save £2bn a year. Labour’s manifesto includes a pledge to hold a “review of cuts and how best to reverse them”. However, the Resolution Foundation said that the £2bn Labour has allocated for the review would reverse less than half of the £5bn cuts to universal credit and support for children

It would also leave the benefits freeze intact just as inflation begins to bite. The foundation said that, under Labour’s proposals, 78% of the welfare cuts would still go ahead. It also said that neither party’s pledges to increase the minimum wage would come close to offsetting the welfare losses that low-income families face.

However, Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said Labour’s spending plans included £20bn over the next parliament to reverse Tory cuts to social security. She added that the party was committed “to ending the benefits freeze at the earliest opportunity”.

“Our plan will improve support for young people, sick and disabled people, unpaid carers, working families, bereaved families and pensioners,” she said.

Torsten Bell, the Resolution Foundation’s director and Ed Miliband’s former policy chief, lambasted both main parties for their failure to deal with the welfare cuts.

“Tackling the renewed squeeze on living standards that risks seeing incomes actually fall for low and middle income families in the years ahead, should be front and centre of the next government’s purpose,” he said.

“Instead both parties are guilty of neglecting the living standards concerns of working families by allowing George Osborne’s welfare cuts to be rolled out, either in full with the Conservatives or largely intact under Labour’s plans.

“The concerns of low and middle income families are at the heart of Theresa May’s rhetoric but this week was a missed opportunity to live up to it. Improving the living standards of working people is the reason the Labour Party exists at all – something it’s time they remembered.”

The cuts are “heavily concentrated” on low-paid working families and will reduce their incomes by around £1,200 a year, the Resolution Foundation said. In some extreme cases, families will lose up to £3,000 a year.

It comes with the Lib Dems attempting to outflank Labour on welfare by promising to reverse all of Osborne’s cuts package, including the benefits freeze.

The party said that as a result of the freeze, a family with one low-paid working parent and two children under-seven living in London would be around £787 worse off a year by 2020-21. With other welfare changes taken into account, the family is likely to be £1,630 a year worse off by 2021.

Simon Hughes, the former Lib Dem justice minister, said: “Soaring inflation and higher prices as a result of Brexit will worsen the impact of the benefits freeze for millions of families already struggling to get by.

“But after having voted to give Theresa May a blank cheque for Brexit, Labour is now is refusing to help vulnerable families cope. It is a double betrayal.”

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The Future of Calderstones and Stanley Parks

key_candidates_parks

We believe a way can be found to bring innovation into our parks and cut costs BUT local residents and park users must be a huge part of the process

At its meeting on Friday the Cabinet of Liverpool City Council will consider a procurement exercise for the management of Calderstones and Stanley Parks. The council is trying to save money and find new ways of managing the parks. The Liberal Democrats have no objection to this in principle but we do have great reservations about the process. I cannot speak in detail about Stanley Park which has only just entered the frame. Originally the Council was looking at Calderstones and Walton Hall Parks. I can however say that the process for dealing with this to date is badly flawed and that gives me little confidence for the future.

This all started after the Mayor said that there would be no money to maintain any parks in Liverpool from 31st March 2017. Fortunately that was not correct and the council are still operating all our parks albeit with reduced maintenance budgets.

The Council’s response to this was to set up two ‘task and finish’ groups to take forward proposals for Walton Hall and Calderstones Parks. The one for WHP never met. The one for Calderstones met twice; had its December 2015 meeting cancelled and did not meet again until April 2017. This was despite me making numerous attempts to find out what was happening and when decisions would be made.

To help the process Cllr Makinson and I worked with the Friends of Calderstones Park and held an open day in October 2015 the details of which were widely circulated. More than 120 people actually came to the day and a further 75+ filled in a questionnaire and posted it to us. This enabled Cllr Makinson to write up a report about what would and would not be acceptable to local residents and park users. That report was given to the council and would have been the subject of the December 2015 meeting.

Since then I have had several discussions about this with Cllr Munby and have made clear what I consider the process should include or have included:

  1. That there should have been meetings with the various user groups in the Park including, of course, the Friends of Harthill & Calderstones Park before a procurement exercise took place so that the right information about what was possible should be included in the tender documents. This would give all tenderers the knowledge beforehand of what was required without hindering their ability to be innovative.

 

  1. The Ownership of the Park should remain with the Council. We are pleased that with the exception of the Harthill and Beechley parts of the Park that are being sold to Redrow this will be the case.

 

  1. That a private section solution is unlikely to be acceptable. There are already concerns about the number of children’s fairs taking place in the Park at Christmas, Easter and Summer times. There is, of course, room in our Parks for fairs etc but there is a strong feeling that this has now been overdone.

 

  1. That the best way forward would be a local, regional or national none-profit charity or trust with a local or green space remit. This should not preclude local residents forming a Trust to do this. Indeed the new none profit making Community Interest Company established by local green space campaigners would enable them to do just this. The model for this could be the successful use of the Mansion House and other buildings by the Reader Organisation inside the Park.
  2. That whatever happens the ability of users and residents to influence ongoing park use should be built in to the tender process and subsequent running of the Park.

 

Because we are not satisfied that these five conditions have been fully met we will ‘call in’ the report for scrutiny. This will give Lib Dem councillors and the various Friends Groups the opportunity to ask questions at the Neighbourhood Services Committee.

If this is handled well it could be the best thing that could happen to the Park and will safeguard its future. If handled badly it could damage the integrity of the Park as a place of quiet enjoyment and beauty for the people of South and Central Liverpool.

I hope that at the Neighbourhood Services Committee a way can be found to enable the council to look at the possibilities for the Park and a mutually supported way forward can be found. But at the back of my mind are the problems when the Council tendered the former International Garden Festival site. It actually put money into this but at such a low level that the operator could not perform the basic functions for running a public open space and the opportunities to find money making activities for parts of the park were found to be minimal.

At the end of the day a park is a park and not a financial asset. I don’t believe that they can be run with no council taxpayer input. We can however, find acceptable ways of appropriately increasing park usage and reducing running costs. That must be in everyone’s interest.

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Change Britain’s Future

Farron2

Our manifesto for the 2017 General Election is full of ideas for change which will lead to a fairer, more caring, more supportive nation

Having been involved with the production of our manifesto as a member of the Federal Policy Committee you might guess that I am pleased with the result. You would right. You can see it in detail if you look on to the national Lib Dems website www.libdems.org.uk. Change Britain’s Future is a plan for a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy.

Nothing is more important to our children’s future than Brexit. A bad Brexit deal, with Britain outside the Single Market, will wreck the future for our children, our economy and our schools and hospitals. That’s why at the heart of the manifesto is a commitment to give the people the final say on the Brexit deal in a referendum, with the option to reject it and remain in the EU if they don’t like the deal they are offered.

This election is about your choice over your future. A vote for the Liberal Democrats can change Britain’s future. I have already identified the health commitments made by the Party in another blog so apart from those these are some of the highlights that I think are the most important in today’s announcements.

Liberal Democrat policies to support young people

The manifesto has a raft of policies to give our children and young people a brighter future. These include:

  • Helping people buy their first home for the same cost as renting, with a new model of ‘Rent to Own’ homes
  • Restoring housing benefit for young people
  • Creating a discounted bus pass for 16-21 year olds, giving a 66% discount
  • Introducing votes at 16 for elections and referendums across the UK

As well as:

  • Investing almost £7bn in our schools and colleges
  • Doubling the number of businesses that take apprenticeships
  • Tripling the early years Pupil Premium
  • Extending free school meals to all primary school students

We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy. Not Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain.

A new “start-up allowance’ to help budding entrepreneurs 
Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of a thriving economy but the early months can be really tough.

The Start Up Allowance: budding entrepreneurs would receive £2600 over the first six months (£100 a week) of setting up their new business. It is to help with living costs in the testing early stages. This will really help get small businesses off the ground and let the economy grow.

It takes courage to set up a business, and we are on the side of entrepreneurs.
While the Conservatives focus on giving tax cuts to giant corporations, our focus is on small businesses seeking to grow. And unlike Labour and the Conservatives, we would stay in the single market.

Other key policies include reviewing controversial business rates and expanding the state-owned British Business Bank to make it easier for firms to borrow.

Liberal Democrat Funding for the Police 
The Liberal Democrats will give £300m of additional funding to local police forces over the next Parliament.

Under Theresa May at the Home Office, and now as Prime Minister, the police have suffered over £2.2 billion worth of cuts in real terms. This represents a 22% real terms reduction.

As of 31 March 2016 the total strength of the 43 police forces in England & Wales reached just over 124,000 FTE officers. This is the lowest number of police officers recorded under the current strength measure.

This extra funding is essential to increase police visibility on our streets – key to reassuring communities, preventing crime and gathering intelligence. Conservative cuts meant that last year violent crimes actually increased, reversing a normally declining trend.

We are leaving it to local police forces to determine how they direct this spending in their communities.

Public Sector Pay

The Conservative Government have imposed a cap on public sector pay of 1% for each year between 2015 and 2019. They have given no indication that this policy will change. This means that public sector salaries are falling behind inflation – a real terms cut. The cap will mean that the average civil servant will be around £800 a year worse off by 2021, losing out on £2700 of pay over the next four years.

The Liberal Democrats would remove the 1% cap on pay rises in the public sector. Instead wages would increase in line with inflation. Based on the Office of Budgetary Responsibility’s inflation forecasts, this would mean a pay rise of £779 for the average public sector worker.

Unlike the manifesto commitments made by the Labour Party each of these policies has been fully costed and is deliverable. Labour’s plans have a huge black hole in them. The Tories have already made clear that there will be further cutbacks and that new spending will be dependent on growth. But growth is highly unlikely given the hard Brexit supported by both Tory and Labour Parties.

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Take control of drugs away from the gangs that dominate some Liverpool communities

Cannabis

We need to licence, regulate and tax cannabis like tobacco if we are to have any chance of controlling drugs and crime on the streets of Liverpool

“Liberal Democrats will take back control from criminal gangs, take ‘skunk’ off the streets, and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis”.

Hearing this statement last week was music to my ears. For many years I have been aware that ‘fighting the drugs war’ in the way that we have been doing has been totally useless. Large amounts of police time taken up with arresting minor users and minor dealers. The small fry getting caught while the big boys (and it is usually boys) getting away with it scot free.

We see this failure on all our streets on a regular basis. At the moment one part of my ward in Liverpool has been subjected to a range of break-ins. These are petty but damaging crimes. Small objects which can easily be fenced are stolen, only a couple of hundred pounds in most cases. BUT the break in can cost £100s to put right. What is more difficult to assess is the effect that it has on people who no longer feel safe in their own home. It can take years to recover confidence particularly amongst the elderly.

The Lib Dems have unveiled a manifesto commitment to bring the sale of cannabis under a system of strict legal regulation.

We know that cannabis is freely available and widely used. It generates significant health problems and vast profits for organised crime. The current approach is a disaster for young people, whose mental and physical health is being harmed by an increasingly potent product. There are no age checks, and no controls on quality or strength. ‘Skunk’ is widespread and the only ID you need to buy it is a £20 note.

Successive governments have ceded total control of a significant public health problem to organised crime. The honest and pragmatic response is to take responsibility for this situation and regulate the market. Liberal Democrats will take back control from the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis.

We will restrict the market to over-18s. We will make cannabis safer by limiting THC content and requiring all products to contain CBD, which has been bred out of ‘skunk’ and counteracts the harmful effects of THC.

But the benefits will not just be for cannabis users but will act in a major way to stop people progressing from this to more serious drugs. Just as we can detect people who are drunk and in danger of becoming alcoholics because they buy their product in places that are licensed and controlled the same would happen if people were buying their product in somewhere similarly licensed and regulated.

The public health benefits of this are obvious, and we will invest the tax revenues of up to £1bn in education and treatment. The community benefits of this are also obvious – less petty crime leading to less serious crime. The economic benefits of this can be discerned with a reduction in days off and illness. We need our young people to be safe and our streets to be safe and gun free. After much thought and much outside advice Lib Dems have ‘bitten the bullet’ and come up with a practical, fundable policy. Those that don’t like it either have to pretend that current policies are working or come up with solutions that they think are better.

Doing nothing is not a tenable or sustainable position. This is a debate that we must all get involved with and I am proud that the Liberal Democrats have started it.

The precise wording that will appear in the Lib Dem manifesto is:

“We will break the grip of the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis. We would introduce limits on potency and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18.”

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How UKIP broke a rational political system

UKIP

Although UKIP will disappear their baleful influence will live on for decades

So the foul UKIP is no more. Less seats contested than even the Greens and a microscopic level of support in the opinion polls shows that when their MEPs disappear so will UKIP as a whole. But as Nigel Farage says, “Job Done!”

I wasn’t surprised that there are no candidates in the Liverpool area. Who would want to be a kamikaze pilot for UKIP round here after the way that Nuttall ‘misremembered’ his Hillsborough involvement for what appear to be political purposes. The person who described himself as a ‘bad Bootle Meff’ has disappeared to parts east where he will sink to the ignominy of a lost deposit.

Never has a rout been so complete. Defending about 140+ seats (having already lost about 30 of their 2013 gains to defections and by-elections they defended not 1 council seat in the whole of the UK. They did, however, gain a seat in Pendle which had previously been held by the BNP!

But it is not only the seminal role that UKIP played in the EU referendum last year that will affect our policies and politics for many years but the way in which fear of UKIP moved the Labour Party and Tory Party into places where they would not otherwise have been.

Let’s take Labour first. It was clearly fear of what UKIP might do to the white Labour working class vote in the North that led them to forget their internationalist principles and do minimal campaigning during the referendum and then do even less in Parliament to stop the triggering of Article 50. The vast majority of Labour MPs voted for Corbyn’s whip and against their Party’s principles to trigger Article 50.

On the other side of the Chamber the fact that there was a UKIP threat and fear amongst the right of the Tory Party led Cameron to have the referendum in the first place. He thought he had bought UKIP and his right wing off with a referendum that he could win. He was clearly wrong.

The Liberal Democrats, by contrast, did not tack to the headwinds of UKIP storms. Our position is clear, principled rational and sustained. We know that the UK depends on international trade and international educational and tourist and scientific links. Almost everything that this Country does for the next 20 years will be affected adversely by the Referendum vote and the consequent negotiations with the EU.

In another world in another Universe there is a different agenda being played. In that World the Labour and Tory Parties would have stuck to their principles alongside the Liberal Democrats. The three main strands of contemporary political thought would have combined to beat off the extreme right as they have done in places like Austria, Germany, Holland and France.

Instead we hobble into a negotiation with the EU with the vain idea that the size of the majority gained by the Government will impress those dreadful foreigners. It will make no impression at all. Whether the Government has a majority of 1 or 101 makes no difference in negotiations. What will make the difference is the UK Government having a clear view of what is required and a clear view of what the UK needs to get out of the negotiations.

It seems unlikely that our Government will have that clarity when there is:

  • Clear misunderstanding of the processes involved in negotiating an exit
  • Clear misunderstanding of the rules by which the EU will rightly defend the remaining 27 nations
  • A view of the World which is already seen to be totally unrealistic.

If we just look at two of the things that will cause difficulties:

  1. A hard border with Northern Ireland. We were continually told during the referendum that there would eb no difference to the ‘soft’ border between Eire and N Ireland. That was never true and has now been shown to be untrue. The EU rules say that there must a hard customs border between an EU Country and any other. Even if the EU were to sympathise with the soft border idea it would involve the change of a complex set of regulations and principles which would need to be discussed between all 27 Countries. Folks, it isn’t going to happen.

 

  1. That Countries would be desperate to sign new trade agreements with an independent UK. The first foreign visitor to meet President Trump was Theresa May. Her reward was to be told that the UK would have to take second place to discussions taking place with the EU! The Commonwealth has not responded in the way that it was supposed. The Asian Countries have also made clear that a renegotiation with the UK is not as important to them as continued trade with the EUY. The idea that the colonies would flock back to support a freed Mother Country was always complete tosh!

 

So the UK limps on. Bereft of political principles; lacking in knowledge of the way that the World works and totally lacking negotiation skills we are set for a hard Brexit that will damage our Country for the foreseeable future. Liberal Democrats ask for 3 things:

  1. We must stay in the Single Market on which so much of our exports and services depend.
  2. There must be free movement of labour on which our companies, institutions, and universities depend.
  3. Having established a will to leave in the advisory referendum last year the British people must have the final say in a second referendum.

The reason we do things is in our name. Liberal means tolerant and international in nature. Democrat means involving people to the maximum in the work of governance. If only Labour and Tory Parties had such principles and stuck to them!

 

 

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