Friday, November 24, 2017

That new Lib Dem T-shirt does not reflect party policy

An excited email arrives from Lib Dem HQ:
Designed by Dave, this t-shirt represents the hopes and dreams of the tens of thousands of members who've joined our party since the EU Referendum - and our party's Internationalist values.
Nice work, Dave. But does this T-shirt reflect Lib Dem policy?

As Neville Farmer wrote in a guest post for this blog:
An unscheduled Sunday motion proposed that an elected Liberal Democrat government would reverse Article 50 without need for a further Brexit referendum. It was crudely drafted but it was strong and clear and answered Paddy Ashdown’s call for some party radicalism – "Put Vince in No 10 and we’ll end Brexit." Sounded good to me. 
When they heard that the planned and impotent Brexit 'consultation' had been changed to a debate, the party leadership flipped. A blocking amendment was tabled reverting to the 'first referendum on the facts' option, sweetened with votes for over 16s and expats. 
In the debate, the choice of speakers was skewed. Speakers for the motion included first-timers with off-subject anti-Brexit comments, while the amendment was backed by MPs and peers. 
Tim Farron said supporting the motion denied the will of the people, blocked the young and expatriated from a vote and showed an illiberal loyalty to first-past-the-post. Others claimed the motion would make us seem like a 'one-trick' party. 
The only party senior supporting the motion was brave former MEP Liz Lynne. 
The spoiler amendment passed by a mile and, instead of a shot in the arm for the party fortunes, we shot ourselves in the foot.
So Lib Dem policy is not to oppose Brexit: it is to hold a second referendum and abide by its result.

I am not sure there will even be time for a second referendum, given that agreement is always reached at the last possible moment in international negotiations and parliament has already agreed to a fixed Article 50 deadline.

Worse than that, our policy says that if there is a political earthquake and we come to power next year, a Liberal Democrat government would negotiate the best Brexit deal it could and then ask the people to vote against it.

Wouldn't it be simpler just to say we are against Brexit?

Still, it's a good design for a T-shirt and I get the Rick Astley reference.

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