Since the European elections are just 10 days away, let me take this opportunity to tell you more about the Liberal Democrats, who are standing in the elections and hope to win at least 2 of the 8 seats here in London thanks to the regional proportional representation system in place for these elections.
First of all, I’m a Lib Dem. I’m a Lib Dem because the Lib Dems are the Remain party. We are the party of social justice. We have, along with the Greens, the best policies for the environment, but we also believe in a well-regulated, socially and environmentally responsible brand of capitalism that neither the Greens nor (it seems) Jeremy Corbyn do.
Now, because we’re set to leave the EU on 31st October, I’m not going to focus on the things that the Lib Dems promise to deliver as European parliamentarians, such as better oversight by sovereign parliaments over the European parliament, or infrastructure investment for the most under-invested parts of the UK.
Instead, I’m going to emphasise that a vote for the Lib Dems signifies a vote for a second referendum, something for which we were the first party to call, and we have a real chance of getting if you signal that you want it too by voting Lib Dem.
We believe that the referendum of 2016 no longer reflects public opinion, for two reasons:
- First, the demographics have changed. Many of those who voted for Brexit are now dead. Many who didn’t have the chance to have a say in the 2016 elections are now 18, 19 and 20. To quote Jon Snow, “We’re all on the same side. We’re all breathing.”
- Second, the electorate are better informed. We now know that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage told us porkies about the savings to the UK economy.
- In fact, we now understand that our auto industry, our financial industry and any industry involved in exporting goods and services to the EU are under threat.
- We now understand that UKIP, the extremist wing of the Tory party and the Brexit Party don’t care at all for the health or lives that their No Deal Brexit would jeapordise for patients reliant on uninterrupted supplies of insulin and other medicaments. We’d also stand to lose 63,000 NHS workers, including 10% of our doctors.
- The electorate doesn’t yet perhaps realise that other aspects of our lives are also better because of our membership of the EU, and these are things we would hope to bring to light. For example,
- losing membership of the EU would make us less safe because of the extent to which we rely on Europol’s intelligence-sharing.
- Losing EU membership would lessen our commitments to the highest environmental standards on transport, carbon emissions, nature, green buildings and waste set in EU law.
- Losing EU membership would diminish UK residents’ ability to sue our own government in a court abroad should it abuse its powers against us.
- Finally, and this will of interest to many of you here, losing membership of the EU threatens the prestige of UK academic research. Europe is THE world superpower when it comes to academic research, well ahead of America. Most of the UK’s research output comes from international collaborations, and international science papers have far more impact than domestic only research.
In summary, voting for the Lib Dems in 10 days is a vote for democracy because it will be a clear signal to the UK government that the electorate demands a final say on Brexit.