Just some of the Lib Dems who came to the Rally at St George’s Hall on July 5th to express our faith in our City and its European future
Yesterday about 6/700 people gathered at an event at St George’s Hall. Its purpose was to reaffirm our faith in our role as a major European City and to the multi-cultural City that we have become. We did this because, like it or not, there are severe consequences arising from the BREXIT vote and because there has been a massive increase in the number of hate crimes since 23rd June.
Speaking on behalf of the Liberal Democrats what I intended to say what is below. Inevitably I extended it a bit and arm waved a bit more! You can see the speech that I made in a full video clip at the Facebook page ‘Malcolm Woolton Lib Dems’.
“Last time I addressed a meeting on the steps of St George’s Hall it was with a crowd who had gathered at very short notice to reflect on the Paris massacres the day before. We met because we are a major European City wanted to show our support for another major European City. Nothing that happened on 23rd June changes that. We are still here; still European and still needing to trade and work with other parts of Europe if we are to prosper. Our job must be to minimise changes to protect the jobs and culture of our European City Region.
We must send the message out from Liverpool to the World that we are not a small minded, backward looking City but a world trader and a world entity that is open for business and looking for international partnerships
Whether you have come here from Paris or Berlin; from Spain or Italy; from Poland or Sweden if you choose to make your commitment to this City by working and living here we will choose to working alongside you and fight alongside you to remain here in our City.
But our message goes wider than Europe. For centuries people from other countries have come here, settled here and contributed to the development of our city. If you care about our City and want to live here and contribute to our growth and good fortune you are very welcome.
Our City has been enriched by the Jews who fled from the pogroms of Eastern Europe and provided us with 6 Lord Mayors; and by the Chinese who first came here as merchant traders 200 years ago. It has been enriched by the Doctors and medical professionals who keep our health services going from the Indian sub-continent and now from Africa. It has been enriched by the seamen from Nigeria and Ghana who liked what they saw and stayed. It has been enriched by the Irish who came here during the famines and at one time made up 40% of our City. It has been enriched by the Poles whose grandparents came here during World War 2 as they fled from fascism and turned to fight and die alongside the generation of my mother and father in the war in which we were victorious.
Internationally Liverpool must send out the message that we are open for business and are internationally minded. Inside the City we must send out the message that we are a vibrant and tolerant multi-racial and multi-cultural city whose communities will not be divided by hate crime against any group of our citizens all of whose individuals are welcome here in our wonderful city.
Our abiding message must be that Liverpool is not a City of small minded Little Englanders but of big hearted Scousers. We are open for business to any business or individual who wants to come here and bring their culture; their skills; their enthusiasm with them”.
One person joined us immediately last night after meeting us at the rally. I was also able to meet some of our new members for the first time both at the rally and over a pint afterwards. Many of our new members have joined us because for them the Europe referendum vote was the final straw. They have been liberals for a long time and decided to take that further by becoming Liberal Democrats. Internationalism is a proxy for compassion; environmentalism and an approach to life which recognises the contributions that all cultures and skills can make to our society.
More than 15,000 people young and old, but idealists all, have now joined us since June 23rd. I urge you to do so as well at www.libdems.org.uk/join.