Thursday, May 16, 2019

Vince Cable must stop advocating a referendum with 'no deal' on the ballot paper

James is right.

A referendum with 'no deal' on the ballot paper was ruled out by the policy motion the party passed at its spring conference.

More than that, it is likely that people attracted by the Bollocks to Brexit on the Lib Dem tin will be put off if they open it and find such a referendum being promised.

As James says, it is entirely wrong to put something in front of the people in a referendum if you believe, as we Lib Dems do, that it will seriously damage the country.

If you put a number of options to the people in a referendum they are entitled to assume that each is viable but has its advantages and disadvantages.

Which is why the person most at fault for the mess in which Britain finds itself today is David Cameron.


David Evans said...

The problem is that the country is already very seriously damaged democratically, and not putting it on the ballot would actually make things much worse. I'm afraid that too often Lib Dems are now being as illiberal as the rest and just because we don't like something we increasingly portray it as wrong, simply to close off debate and not have to even think about it.

'We know best. So you can't have what 52% of the voters voted for only three years ago', is the way of authoritarians and dictators not democrats.

We abandon Liberalism and democracy at our peril, and should never have anything to do with such manoeuvrings.

Jonathan Calder said...

Fifty-two per cent of voters did not vote for a no deal Brexit. The possibility was dismissed as "Project Fear" throughout the campaign.

David Evans said...

I note your comment Jonathan, but I can find nothing in it that is relevant to my comment whatsoever.

In your article you state "it is entirely wrong to put something in front of the people in a referendum if you believe, as we Lib Dems do, that it will seriously damage the country." But lwt's be honest, Lib Dems generally believe that every Conservative government would 'seriously damage the country', as would every Labour one, BNP one etc. However we know it would be thoroughly illiberal to propose preventing the Conservatives from being on an election ballot.

Most Lib Dems do believe that a no deal Brexit would seriously damage the country (and damage Europe too), but other people believe being in the EU has seriously substantially damaged the country and will continue to do so, and that anything other than a total break, based on going to WTO terms and then negotiating deals on our own, will simply make things worse.

These two views are based on a different sets of values being put on different things in society. However you are proposing that one of those set of values should not be allowed to be an option on the ballot. That remains fundamentally illiberal and we should not be seduced by its easy charms.

However to me, an even more fundamental problem with that view is what it says to those many people in the 'left behind' group who for whatever detailed reasons voted for Brexit. Putting it simply, what it says is "the views of people like you don't count" and even more fundamentally "you don't count, you never did and you never will". And that feeling of betrayal will be exploited by those wanting to further undermine our Liberal society.

That would be much, much worse than putting 'no deal' on the ballot.