Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge 394

My own position on Brexit is more nuanced than is currently fashionable (more below), but I am strongly against a no deal Brexit. Jo Swinson’s successful deflation of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a caretaker administration purely to organise a general election, makes no deal much more probable.

It says a great deal about Swinson that she is emphatically in favour of a caretaker government led by arch Blairite Harriet Harman. Let us remind ourselves of Harman’s voting record:

If the Liberal Democrats are refusing to work with somebody, you would expect it to be the person who shared Cabinet responsibility for initiating illegally the death of millions in the Middle East. It is also worth recalling that while Acting Leader of the Labour Party Harman instructed her MPs to abstain on both Tory benefit cuts and Theresa May’s “Hostile Environment” immigration policy.

Yet Swinson actively promotes warmonger Harman as caretaker PM and would refuse to work with Jeremy Corbyn, who is apparently anathema to Liberals because he espouses social democratic economic policies and rejects neo-imperialist aggression abroad. I am confident my old friend Charlie Kennedy would have taken a different view.

Swinson was one of the Lib Dems who was least uncomfortable in coalition with the Tories, and her attitude now is based entirely on the wishes of Chuka Umunna and other actual and potential Blairite defectors to the Lib Dems. Swinson is more interested in playing to the Blairite visceral hatred of Corbyn than she is in stopping no deal Brexit, and it is proof if any were needed that the arrival of Blairite and Tory defectors is moving the Lib Dems still further to the right. I see not a single hint of the party’s old radicalism or principle.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have shown maturity and common sense in welcoming Corbyn’s initiative, with due reservations and caveats. Had the Lib Dems done so too, it would have encouraged Tory rebels to join in an all-party initiatvie. Swinson’s refusal to work with Corbyn, on the grounds that Tory rebels would also refuse, was as she well knew a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making it about Corbyn, Swinson made it impossible for Tory MPs to go along when the Lib Dems had refused.

Institutional and personal loyalties are very difficult things to shake off. The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary policies are motivated by nothing but racist hatred of immigrants. It is extremely hard for decent people like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve to accept that this has happened and it is irreversible.

If Westminster cannot stop hard Brexit and it goes ahead, it will be enabled by Swinson’s ambition, the hatreds of Blairites, and the failure of decent Tories to process psychologically what has happened to their party.

I suspect that the chaos caused by hard Brexit would be much less than generally predicted after three weeks, but that the economic situation caused by no deal would be very much worse than generally predicted after three years. Priti Patel’s announcement that free movement will end on 31 October is a nonsense. Over 80% of lorries arriving at Dover have non-British, EU drivers. Instituting immigration controls would be a physical impossibility.

My own euro-enthusiasm was dealt a fatal blow when the Spanish paramilitaries clubbed grandmothers lining up to vote in Catalonia, and all three constituent parts of the EU – Parliament, Council and Commission – rushed to congratulate the Francoist government in Madrid on upholding the Rule of Law.

I would therefore be content to live in a country which had a relationship with the EU similar to Norway or Switzerland, but was politically separate. I am entirely in favour of free movement, which I believe has been one of the greatest advances for liberty in my lifetime, and I support the single market. I also believe in democracy and am strongly convinced that England and Wales ought to leave the EU, because that is how they voted, while Scotland and Northern Ireland should remain in the EU, because that is how they voted.

On second referenda, I do not believe it is democratic to have one before the result has been respected and it has been tried. Thus the result of the Scottish referendum was respected, continuing in the Union has been tried, and proven not to be what was promised. After five years of respecting the result, it is perfectly legitimate to vote again.

The EU referendum is different. The people of England and Wales voted to leave and have not had the chance to try that for five years and see if it works out. I believe it would be undemocratic to have another vote before the result has been respected. Another referendum in England and Wales after five years out of the EU seems to me perfectly reasonable.

I appreciate none of those thoughts correspond with the generally held and remarkably polarised viewpoints of Leavers and Remainers, or sets of positions you might find from a political party or in mainstream media articles. The entire point of this blog is to ask you to consider different ways of thinking about things. I do not in the least insist or expect you to agree with me. But courteous consideration of the arguments is always welcome, even where opinions sharply differ from mine.


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394 thoughts on “Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge

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  • Johnny Panic

    “The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary policies are motivated by nothing but racist hatred of immigrants.”
    The Tory Party represents the interests of capital.
    Those interests adore immigrants.
    Having sucked the life out of the Irish; the Afro-Caribbeans and the Asians where on earth can capital find its next tranche of untermensch to exploit.
    I give you: Romania, Poland, Estonia et al.
    The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary polling strategy is motivated by buttressing and exploiting the fears of its voting fodder who are too tired, skint, lonely and afraid to think.

    • J Galt

      While I fear your use of the term “Untermensch” may get you in hot water you are essentially correct – Capital/Money is non racist but not in a good way.

      It’s not at all fussy about who it exploits!

    • Antonym

      Parties like the Tories like immigrants as cheap (personal) labour; parties like UK Labour like immigrants as extra votes.
      Neither want to ‘discriminate’ by ideology carried along by these immigrants, plus EU laws forbid it, to Europe’s own detriment: tolerance towards intolerants is a losers’ game. A few other parties in the EU do want brakes on this blind immigration and see only XXexit as a way out of this club.
      Present EU conundrum in a nutshell.

  • mike cobley

    “The EU referendum is different. The people of England and Wales voted to leave and have not had the chance to try that for five years and see if it works out.”

    Actually, what has happened in since 2016 is the process which should have taken place before and up to the referendum itself, ie, criticism and analysis from a broad range of commentators and sources, risk assessments, detailed appraisals of proposed outcomes in all the likely options, and a serious compiling of worst-case scenarios from the point of view of experts. All this has come out, in spite of the activities of the establishment media, not because of it – and that same media continues to softball any interviews with Tory mouthpieces. As for second referenda, Ireland has done that twice: 2001/2002 Treaty of Nice (2nd ref changed outcome of the first), 2008/2009 Lisbon Treaty (similar change in position), and Denmark in 1992/93 when they changed their position on Maastricht. So other countries have altered their position on EU matters without necessarily ‘trying out’ their first referendum on the issue.

    The Johnson government of clowns, though, is an international embarrassment – the closer we get to high noon, the more minds will be focused.

  • Paul Reed

    The 2016 referendum was pre-legislative or, in the parlance, ‘advisory’.

    Cameron’s ‘promise’ that the government would implement what the people voted for, was not only a huge mistake, it was directly in contempt of the legislation that enabled the referendum. Since that date, we have been badly let down by politicians of all parties bowing to this false notion of ‘the will of the people’.

    The 2016 referendum was not a mandate. The correct procedure would have been to kindly thank ‘the people’ for their opinion. Perform due dillegence on the various options available, then go back to the people with a choice of planned, distinct options, or remain.

    The fact that this was not done has led directly to the situation that we find ourselves in now…

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      Agree with just about everything but the winners would always claim ‘the will of the people’. I also wonder how we were bundled politically down this road so easily. It is clearly a folly. However I also sense that we have been sold some very dodgy ‘goods’ by the populist leave faction. Farage is certainly a phoney ( not at all what he appears to be) but the scales are well and truly pulled over the eyes of the electorate.All very frustrating.

      • Deb O'Nair

        If you remember correctly *everyone* (not just the pro-Leave advocates) appearing in the media was constantly talking about “respecting the democratic will of the British people” from the day after the refernedum – almost as if they had been instructed to place this absurd notion into the minds of the public. It’s straight from the propagandists handbook, repeat the lie over and over again until no one questions it.

        Paul Reed is perfectly correct in his assessment; the referendum should have been an initiator to the process of leaving and not the excuse, moreover it should have been a cross-party effort so that the national interest would not be consumed by party political interests, and this should have been made glaringly obvious from day one, instead the public’s reason was constantly assaulted with “respecting the democratic will of the British people”.

  • Deepgreenpuddock

    My MP, Jo Swinson is surely one of the least credible leaders of recent times.My impression is of someone who has been politically lucky and has never been put under real pressure.My impression is that she lacks any intellectual heft or ipersonal ntegrity. I sense she is in the mould of some of the other dilettante, unfit, grossly over rated mediocrities we now see striding the political stage (mainly Tories)Grayling/Duncan Smith/Pritti Patel Villiers ,Truss, Rees Mogg,S chapps, Esther Mcvey(truly a thicko, she is very poorly read and painfully ignorant) etc not to mention the chief dilettante of them all the, fuehrer Doris Johnson.
    If there is an election soon I will be trying my best to unseat Ms Swinson

    • Goose

      I agree entirely.

      She’d be out of her depth in a sixth form college debate, never mind frontline politics. Zero ideological underpinnings, superficial and glib. Any of : Barbara Castle, Clare Short; Margaret Beckett, Nicola Sturgeon, Shirley Williams would make mincemeat out of Jo Swinson. I don’t agree with all of those listed on everything, but I respect their ability.

      Surely, Swinson gets found out in an election if we have TV leaders’ debates? If Corbyn can’t expose her and her party’s hypocrisy there is something wrong.

      • Dave

        The irony is the Lib Dems were recused by Change-UK (who lacked the wit to call themselves the Remain Party) and gained by being the anti-Brexit Party despite their record of failure in government including supporting the in or out referendum, which they expected to deliver a Remain vote to facilitate membership of Euro!

        The other irony is Change-UK was set up to remove Corbyn, but resulted in their own demise and promotion of Lib Dems, which some have now joined.

    • Deb O'Nair

      Jo Swinson has already made a national embarrassment of herself on Radio4, showing complete lack of logic and reason. She seems to have teamed up with Tom Watson for no other reason than attempt to portray Corbyn and Labour as pro-Brexit in order to get some of Labour’s vote share. Corbyn’s pragmatic and entirely sensible suggestion to break the Brexit impasse should have been grasped with both hands by the LibDems, who’s platform is to remain in the EU, as his suggestion would have put a remain option on a future public vote, instead she dismissed it out of hand. Her dodgy little chats with Watson and being influenced by Ummna that have exposed her as a tool of those that are working overtime to prevent Labour and Corbyn achieve electoral victory. LibDem members must already be kicking themselves at electing her, just another Nick Clegg; politically ambitious with no principals.

    • Ros Thorpe

      She’s got the gravitas of a sixth form debating society member who doesn’t know a great deal about politics.

      • giyane

        The libdem management now in their 80s look at the coalition in 2010 as master piece of political strategy. Too stuck in their ways to see that it totally wrecked their party and too old to change.

        Jo Swinson is two-faced , simultaneously promising to back the Tories and claiming to be Remain. In these days of human longevity politics will always be the battles of yesterday forced into the present by old fossils whose faculties outlast their relevance to the present.

        This is true of all political parties .
        An effluence of geriatry totally unable to comprehend the basic problem of today – not enough money to buy a house because the older generation blames the younger generation for having the temerity to want houses to live in.

        Without the concept of a next life we life in constant competition for resources with our superannuated parents who are unwilling to think about God in a small room.

          • giyane


            That’s my point . The octogenarian Libdem degenerate chose a Tory to attract Tories. They’re still playing the old stupid game of coalition because they don’t realise it lost them all their votes.

            Ga ga land

  • Goose

    Like others, my feelings on EU membership are mixed. One possibility from Brexit is the ending Tory misrule should it prove painful for the Tory Shires. It could also obviously assist the drive to Scottish independence.

    The amusing thing about the UK’s ‘democratic deficit’ objections to the EU, which led to Brexit ,i.e., the central theme of all Eurphobe criticism: its non-directly elected Presidents(Council and Commission), is how the UK has been the major roadblock to EU democratic reform: The UK was one of the loudest voices in objecting to the elected European Parliament gaining more competencies and powers.

    The European Parliament isn’t respected as a result by Europeans precisely because it can’t initiative its own legislation; most European citizens see it as an expensive ‘talking shop’, it has to be said, with some justification.

    That’s why a period of UK exile might do both the EU and UK , a world of good, if (big if)the EU can get consensus in the UK’s absence.

    • Tony

      Goose, the EU is a globalist project. It was never designed to be democratic, and any and all discussions about it becoming more so are just chatter to keep all of the people fooled all of the time. Mark my words: none of it will ever come to anything, ever.

      • Goose

        It doesn’t have to be that way though…

        The European Commission is the source of the problem; it’s deeply problematic on many levels, from democratic accountability to transparency in terms of the decision making process.

        “The European Commission is the executive branch of the European Union, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.”

        Completely unacceptable to anyone who’d like a more democratic EU. The elected European parliament however has the potential to remedy those unelected elites. And it was always the UK fighting the idea of the European Parliament getting more responsibility.

        • Tony

          You don’t get it. The EU is a globalist project. If it’s ineffectual parliament ever got a sniff of taking any kind of control, it would be reformed back to inefectuallity forthwith. The EU is a globalist project. Keep reading this last sentence over and over again until you understand it.. And the British forces that work against the EU parliament are a part of the globalist network.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            The word ‘globalist’ does not actually explain itself in the way you wish it to do, Tony.

          • Tony

            Oh, I think it explains very adequately what the EU is really about. The fact that the EU’s leaders have an open door policy toward George Soros cuts through any pretence that the EU is anything else..

        • Jimmeh

          The European Commission is a body of people appointed by their national government; i.e. it consists of government placeholders. The commissioners represent the governments of their home countries. That is how the founders of the EU (the founding countries) wanted it; they did not want a EU that could run away with themselves, they wanted an organisation that would serve the constituent nations.

          The Council of Europe is even more closely bound to the national governments of its members than the Commission is; the Council is not a body with a fixed membership. It consists of ministers (members of the government of the constituent countries) that attend the Council depending on what the Council is deliberating about. That is, if the Council is deliberating about fisheries, then the Council will consist of fisheries ministers (for that day).

          Neither body will ever do anything that undermines the autonomy and authority of their own national government. And each (still) has more power and authority than the European Parliament – the only body in the EU that has any democratic legitimacy at all.

          The EU was not designed to be “democratic” – it was designed to suppress democratic aspirations in favour of those of industries – originally the iron and steel industries. It’s drifted since then; the Commission, in particular, is a golden target for paid industry lobbyists. Commissioners have no constituency to answer to; they propose regulations and legislation, which the Parliament then has the huge privilege of commenting on. If the Commission and the Parliament can’t agree, the Council has the final say (after several rounds of the Commission and the Parliament batting the ball to and fro).

          Nobody can pretend that this is a constitution that was designed so that the will of the people of Europe could be implemented!

          The EU is essentially a collective of national governments, and I for one don’t want to be part of a collective that includes the likes of the present governments of Hungary and Poland.

  • Dave

    Exactly! Before the referendum the UK was not a full member, so what did Remain mean? Was it a vote for a half-way in membership or full membership. Full membership involves joining the Euro, but did all Remain voters support joining the Euro? I think not!

    This is why the Leave vote was stronger than the Remain vote, because Leave was voting against a half-way in EU against full membership. But was the Leave vote against a half-way in membership or because they feared a Remain vote would result in full membership? The problem with the in or out referendum is it didn’t offer the choice of a half-way in membership.

    Personally I think a half-way in Brexit compromise would sweep the board in a new referendum, which is why Corbyn is positioning Labour for a landslide victory by promising a new referendum with a choice between a Brexit compromise (remain in the customs union) and Remain.

    • Dave

      And the reason a half-way in option wasn’t offered was because Cameron wanted to use an expected Remain vote win to join the Euro – and trump an earlier (Lab/Con) promise to hold a Euro-referendum before joining the Euro.

      • Old Mark

        Dave- I very much doubt that; even Ken Clarke, the best by far of the Tory Europhiles, has serious doubts about the long term viability of the Euro as presently constructed. He devotes a couple of pages to the Euro issue in True Blue, his excellent autobiography.

          • michael norton

            That is twaddle, the pound is as sound as a pound, it has been around for quite a time, everybody knows the euro is failing, even the goats up the Alps know it will not last.

          • Jo Dominich

            Michael Norton, I don’t know where you are getting your facts from but I will say this. Some years ago, over 3 years, the USA dollar tanked, really tanked, the European Union propped it up. The third time the greenback was in trouble the EU refused to help. The EU and the Euro will be here for eternity just like the USA with its 50 and (51st state soon to be the UK if BoJo has his way) each State with its own legislature, its own politics, its own parliament so to speak. What’s the difference? The pound – unless you haven’t noticed, crashed at Bojo’s being appointed as Prime Minister. It surged, according to City analysists, at the prospect of a Corbyn led Government. Strange that isn’t it?

          • michael norton

            The Bank of England started in 1694, one of the oldest central banks in the World.
            Initiated before Scotland and England joined in Union.
            So it has been going since before the Agrarian and Industrial Revolutions, both those happened here in Britain.
            The Eurozone has only been going for twenty years.
            Now, go figure.

        • Dave

          “As presently constructed”, hence the way to solve the Euro-crisis was with further fiscal integration, which was being planned until Brexit threw a spanner in the works.

          Clark’s reputation as a good Chancellor was underserved. He supported membership of ERM, but once that blew up, Major made Chancellor Lamont the scapegoat and Clark inherited the resulting recovery from leaving the ERM.

          • Yr Hen Gof

            Agreed on Clarke’s enhanced reputation as Chancellor being undeserved.
            He was a disaster in Health and Education, hated there by the teachers as much as Hunt was more recently by the doctors.
            Then of course there’s been his lifetime lobbying for British American Tobacco and the little ‘smuggling’ episode that he obviously knew about but pretended otherwise.
            A political charlatan who’s had a great life on the public teat.

    • Jimmeh


      Before the referendum, the UK was not a full member of what? Of the EU?

      No doubt I have missed your point.

      • Dave

        Britain had opt outs, so was not fully in the EU,so were remain voters voting to join the Euro or for the status quo?

  • Conall of Ballindrait

    Keep going Craig! I’m on the same wavelength as you are on Brexit. Perhaps we could show a bit more respect for English pride, English identity, English achievement. Englishness has almost become the nationality that dares not speak its name. Let them re-discover themselves, and in due course find a positive way of getting back into the EU club.

  • Alan Crerar

    Completely agree with every single point – Swinson, Spanish grannies, English democratic choice etc, etc…….but for one little thing. Scotland needs to remain in the EU (I’m sure that can be arranged) as a defence against a weak, lonely and vindictive England. The same 5 year choice should be accorded to Scotland. Give us a chance to see what EU membership is really like without the baleful influence of Westminster for 5 years, and if it doesn’t seem to suit us, ask again.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “as a defence against a weak, lonely and vindictive England.”

      Hadrian’s Wall should suffice for that.

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        aye and the squads of west highland terriers and aberdeen terriers deployed along the border to nip the heels of any intruding sassenachs.

  • Northern

    Nice to see a more conciliatory tone being adopted, and some genuine ideas for moving forward. As a leave voting English supporter of Scottish Independence, my main question would be – how do we get rid of the ‘six toed, born to rule ponyfuckers’ in the Tory party, along with the infiltrators in Labour and the Lib Dems? The national media is practically bent double in it’s pro-tory bias, which is undoubtedly continued as a pro-union bias in Scotland. Leaving the EU is moot if it just enables us to be asset stripped even faster. Any practical suggestions on how to advance common interests is genuinely appreciated.

    Also, I’ve asked before but I’m yet to see anyone have a crack at answering it – is there any actual legal precedent to England leaving the EU and Scotland taking over it’s membership? I see it being put forward plenty in comments sections but I’ve not seen it addressed by anyone with some actual real world know-how – is it just wishful thinking? I can see plenty of reasons why the EU would want to admit a newly independent Scotland but I don’t see how they’d do so without opening the tin of worms that is Catalonia in the process.

    • Iain Stewart

      The simplest way would be for England to leave the UK, letting the rest of us carry on.

      • Doghouse

        Guffaw – nice one.

        Actually, the safest bet for Scotland would be for the SNP to propose their referendum be held in England rather than Scotland. The middle ground majority of voters in England would be apathetic and not feel it worth leaving the house for and the question would attract the minority bigots of both English and Scottish persuasion. The irony being that both would be voting the same way and Scotland would be home and dry. It would have the added bonus that if it didn’t quite work out the way hoped with the new govt swelling itself and sucking the public dry in the same way Westminster does, well, the SNP could claim foul and quite rightly point the finger at England……..

        As an aside – whilst the majority of Welsh voters did apparently vote to leave the EU, I can assure you that listening to local media it often isn’t portrayed that way. Spooky devilment eh?

        • RandomComment

          Haha. Have to say, that when Craig wrote “Do both sides have to agree to a divorce?” – re England’s participation in IndyRef2 – my first thought was “no”, my second was “But it would be very helpful if both agreed” 😉

      • Jimmeh

        Ha-ha, yes that would solve many problems. England out of the EU, Scotland gets to stay without having to apply for membership (or adopt the Euro). Nice! (Nasty porous border between the EU and England though – just like NI and the Irish Republic. But on the upside, if you can solve one problem, you can solve them both!)

        Which way would Wales jump? If they stayed, then arguably you’d have a United Kingdom of Wales and Scotland (or would that be the United Republics?), within the EU. And yet another porous border between the EU and England.

        No, I don’t know whether Scottish Nationalists are generally republican, in the sense of wanting to overthrow the monarchy. I suspect that topic is little discussed, because it might create division in the ranks. I’ve been a republican since I started thinking about these matters, as a young teen. All of the Kings and Queens of England have been dismally oppressive, especially the Scottish ones: James II of England was a particularly nasty piece of work.) If England left the UK, I’m afraid it is likely that we’d maintain the monarchy, at least for a while – until the truth of our isolation in the world began to sink in.

  • RandomComment

    I applaud the nuance, and good article. When we talk about democracy, which we all support, we can agree it should not be applied selectively.

    You draw a correct (imo) parallel between the Welsh/Engllsh democratic desire to leave the EU and the Scottish desire to leave the UK. You are also, I believe, a fan of Burke and believe in the representative flavour of democracy. As you say, not all of our representatives are fit for purpose – ie by representing the best interests of those whom they are elected to serve.

    By making this connection, I think you are implicitly disagreeing with certain members of your audience which characterise Brexiteers as xenophobes, racists, nazis etc.

    Relying on the will of the people means that the people need to be well-informed. We all know the power of the media. And Google 😉

    Therefore we need to be well-educated, not in partisan propaganda, or pushing out a narrative, but in the free market-place of ideas.

    I.e Activism sucks

  • Chris E

    I think having referenda every five years is unreasonable. Is it realistic for Scotland to potentially be in and and out of the UK, like a yo yo, every five years for the foreseeable future? Or for the UK to be in and out of the EU every five years? The voting was very close and polarised in both cases and it is not unrealistic to anticipate that such a scenario could be the result. Would the EU accept the UK leaving and returning every five years over the next twenty years? One only has to pose the question to see how absurd it would become.

    One referendum is divisive enough. Doing it every five years would be hell.

    No, a referendum on such important issues should be for a minimum of at least a generation – 25 years. And the referendum majority should be more than 50% to make it a clear and undeniable result. Two thirds, or at least 60%, of the electorate should be the majority for a change from the status quo. That is the only way to end all the bad loser whinging. A two thirds, or 60%, majority would be a decisive enough result to silence the poor losers.

    I don’t think the SNP has accepted the result of either the Indref or the EUref. They have never stopped whining about the results of either. They have denied the validity of the result of both refertenda and have not stopped campaigning for their reversal or for new, immediate (not even five yearly) referenda. What is the point of having referenda if the results are not accepted?

    • StephenR

      You make a very good case for restricting voting to people who have demonstrated an ability for critical thinking.

      • Mr Shigemitsu

        “You make a very good case for restricting voting to people who have demonstrated an ability for critical thinking.”

        Only those with no ability for critical thinking would advocate anything other than age as the qualification for suffrage.

        Attempting to restricting the franchise by supposed intellectual ability – an appalling proposal that I have read, and heard, several Remainers support (the last one, ironically, being a black man to his white, fellow-middle-class, remainer companions on a London-bound commuter train) – results in disgusting atrocities such as this:

        I can only assume he was in ignorance of this disgrace, and can only hope that others are too.

    • Jeff

      To Chris E; Erm…sorry to burst your bubble old boy – the SNP were voted in on a manifesto promising a new referendum if we were dragged out of the EU against our will….end of.

  • Ros Thorpe

    I do agree with your pragmatic solution and also have a similar antipathy to the EU after they all but destroyed Greece and I despise their fanatical adherence to austerity for the masses. TTIP was a thing before the referendum and that was also a disgusting assault on democracy. This made me vote Brexit but I support a customs union, membership of the single market and free movement which we should extend to common wealth countries. Nations that voted remain should find a way of respecting that but I do wonder why you’d want to rid yourself of one union and sign up to another. It doesn’t fit with a purist independence and I’m guessing you’d be storing up the same old issues.

    • StephenR

      Greek politicians and Goldman Sachs all but destroyed the Greek economy, but why spoil a good story with inconvenient facts.

      • Tony

        Uh…..German banks, with the connivance of the EU destroyed the Greek economy. Greek politicians were led a merry dance by the pair. Maybe you can factor in Goldman Sachs, but most mainstream commentators would label you a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

      • Jo Dominich

        Stephen R thanks for telling the absolute truth about Greece. It was the fault of their politicians however much they bleat on about it.

        • Tony

          So the EU didn’t break it’s own rules to allow Greece access to debt it couldn’t sustain then? Congratulations! You’ve just re-written history.

  • Sackerson

    If you are strongly against a No Deal Brexit then I hope you will put pressure on the EU’s representatives to offer a suitably revised deal. Otherwise what you are really campaigning for is a No Brexit. No?

    O/T – Julian Assange: I have followed the advice of some of your other commenters and written to the Home Secretary, my constituency MP and to Julian himself. Thanks all, I hope it helps.

    • StephenR

      As yet there is no ‘deal’, there is the Withdrawal Agreement and a vague ambition to arrive at a ‘deal’ during negotiations that were intended to be conducted over up to two years, while the Single Market and Customs Union (regulated by the European Court) protected the UK and EU economies from any ‘bumps in the road’ until we reached the ‘future relationship’.

      Perhaps you would like to explain where in that there is a ‘suitably revised deal’ to be done by 31st October 2019.

    • nevermind

      Thank you Sackerson, it can’t be said enough how important it is to write Julian some encouraging words.
      My MP is a lost cause, not sure whether Priti Patel would like to extradite him, I dare not remind her.
      I’ll think about it.

      • Sharp Ears

        John Pilger has been to visit Julian.

        ‘Pilger reports back on his latest visit to Belmarsh prison, 10 days ago, in second half of this edition of Going Underground
        … starts at 20 minutes in.

        Isolated detention for a bail issue; delayed medical treatments; lack of reading spectacles and chance to phone certain lawyers.
        This case is billed to be the biggest extradition case of the decade. If Assange is sent to the USA, he won’t be allowed any lawyers in the closed Virginia courtroom – there he will be alone and will have to speak for himself and thus it’s imperative (a human right?) he’s able to engage with documents:

        h/t Margo TLN

  • Jo Dominich

    Thank God to read a sensible article about Brexit. For me, Swinson has sabotaged a perfectly sensible, constitutionally correct proposition to break the impasse and block a No Deal. The bloggers here are right in their statement that she is being influenced by Chukka F****ka. However, it is unconstitutional to request that a Back Bench MP who is not a Leader of a political party is put in as head of a Caretaker minority Government. Corbyn is the Leader of the Opposition and has the greatest number of MPs in the House in opposition. He is quite sensibly saying that he should be appointed as Head of a Government of National Unity with two tasks, and only two, to deal with. The first is to seek an urgent extension of Article 50 and the second is to call a General Election and put it to the vote. No more No Less. Swinson’s stance is therefore ridiculous. It is deliberate sabotage. I am sure when a No Deal goes through, the pound crashes, the petrol prices go through the roof and many other impacts, she will try to blame Corbyn, just as Chukka F****ka did in a recent interview where he said Corbyn had a chance to bring a vote of No Confidence in July but he ‘blew it’. No he didn’t it was the likes of CF, Swinson and the Tories who blew it for the sole and simple reason they wanted to avoid a General Election.

    This is the same reason why she (and I say she not the Lib Dems) is blocking this proposal. To prevent a General Election and Senior Tories have said they do not want one. Now, they either no something that we don’t and that is the Corbyn, despite all these so called polls, actually is in the lead and a serious contendor to be the next Prime Minister and the Tories will be a seriously diminished Party, or they do not want the public to see Jeremy Corbyn as a Caretaker Prime Minister because right now, he is the only Politician and Leader who has put forward a sensible proposal to get us out of this serious constitutional crisis and who has the gravitas and seriousness to state and know what this country needs at the moment. Not only that, he would provide a serious, thoughtful anti-dote to BoJo and set the tone for what a Prime Minister of this country should look and act like – i.e. putting the needs of the Nation before that of their own.

    Jo Swinson is not only a habitual liar where Corbyn is concerned but is an irresponsible, corrupt, power mad individual who is more Tory than the Tories and who, by her actions with regard to the proposal on the table, has just consigned the UK into economic decline, international obscurity and the shafting of the poor and vulnerable by a Fascist Government (one in which she hopes to take part I assume). Shame on her, shame on the Lib Dems and shame on the Tories.

    Oh how she will be in her element when we get taken over by the USA and right royally shafted by Trump, Pompeo and Bolton. When we can’t get access to medical treatment because insurance companies won’t pay for it and the rest that comes with it. Maybe if BoJo bends over as far as he can Trump can give him a right good bu********ing so that BoJo’s a*****hole becomes so big he will be consumed into it. I’ll leave you with that happy thought.

  • Mist001

    The thing is, an independent Scotland won’t be in the EU. It’s not even in the EU now, so how can it remain? It’s not even an argument, it’s simply a lie that has been allowed to spread unchecked by people who have a vested interest that Scotland wishes to ‘remain’ in the EU. If an independent Scotland wishes, it can apply to join the EU but that’s going to come at a cost, probably fishing rights, oil rights and adoption of the euro.

    I’ve lived in France for the past 12 years and in my experience which I’ve gained in all that time, I can tell you that Scotland has nothing in common either politically, socially nor culturally with France and likely the rest of the EU countries. These are all ‘socialist’ (read communist) countries and the EU is simply moving to create a USSR V.2.0. Membership of the EU should be avoided at all costs.

    As for the ‘good’ things that the EU has done, are people seriously trying to tell me that the people of Scotland (or indeed the rUK) don’t have the wit, flair or imagination to adopt in law, the EU directives which are already in practice and maybe, just maybe, come up with their own directives?

    Unfortunately, Sturgeon has wrecked any real chance of Scotland becoming independent anyway, spending the past three years trying to reverse the result of an English referendum, when she should have spent that three years trying to reverse the result of a Scottish referendum. October would have been the perfect month to hold an independence referendum or declare UDI but there’s no time now and Sturgeon and the rest of her sycophants had neither the wit nor the guile to have seen it coming.

    • Old Mark

      Excellent points Mist001- not least your rebuttal of the fantasy that Scotland is a western outpost of the Scandinavian EU countries, when in reality it is more a northerly adjunct to Ireland.

    • Goose


      ‘..don’t have the wit, flair or imagination to adopt in law, the EU directives which are already in practice and maybe, just maybe, come up with their own directives?’

      Not if it becomes a race to the bottom. Look at the US, where people aren’t entitled to statutory leave – sick pay or holidays.. all because companies hate unions.

      • There is no law that requires US employers to offer paid holiday time to their staff.
      • America is one of the few developed industrial nations that does not guarantee paid sick leave by law.

      • Mist001

        Well, my point was that someone in the EU must have woken up one morning and had an idea which over time, was discussed and eventually implemented. Surely Scots and/or rUK people are capable of coming up with good, common sense ideas of their own in the same manner as people in the EU do. I even come up with some good ideas of my own from time to time. Why does anyone solely need the EU to come up with these ideas and issue directives?

        • Goose


          In theory, sure we’re capable of matching EU standards.

          But unlike the rest of the EU, in the UK we have gawd awful FPTP and the results it produces to contend with. A system that allows unrepresentative absolute seat majority govts to be formed with around 30% of the vote in a GE.

          The Lib Dems are currently polling at or around 20-25% in the polls with Labour at or around 25-30% . The Lib Dems risk being this generation’s SDP, if they split the anti-Tory vote. And you’d surely accept the very right-wing Johnson cabinet is more likely to take inspiration from the harsher ‘dog eat dog’ US model of capitalism, than the social protection oriented EU model.

          Just look how they wouldn’t incorporate the EU’s Charter of fundamental rights into UK law during this Brexit legislative process. Look how the Tories bang on about the non-EU , European Convention on Human Rights(ECHR) – the convention that enshrines human rights and political freedoms in Europe. They’ve talked about not only removing it from UK law but leaving that convention altogether and no longer recognising the ECtHR.

          We are being led up a blind alley by these people.

        • Jeff

          “Surely Scots and/or rUK people are capable of coming up with good, common sense ideas of their own ”
          Yes, but England keeps voting Tory. And as we all know Scotland gets the UK government that England votes for…

          • Goose


            Tribal loyalties, and if a party moves rightwards- as the Tories have -party loyalties don’t necessarily notice.

            It’d take something economically calamitous to really shake off support for the Tory party in parts of SE England.

    • jake

      Mist001, having lived in France for the past 12 years I take it you use the EURO everyday. How has it worked out for you? Have you adapted or do you still do conversions in your head to “old money”?

      • Mist001

        I very seldom use ‘proper’ money here. 99% of transactions are done by bank card or cheque, even for the most trivial, low value items, such as a stamp or something but in terms of thinking about money, I’m very conscious that the currency is euro and I don’t convert. If something is 5 euros, I don’t do a euro to pounds conversion in my head, I just pay for the thing. The only time I think in pounds sterling is when I’m back in Edinburgh. I do compare prices though and a few years ago, toys were far cheaper in the UK than they were in France but most things now seem to have achieved parity more or less.

    • bevin

      “..France and likely the rest of the EU countries..are all ‘socialist’ (read communist) countries and the EU is simply moving to create a USSR V.2.0. ..”
      Perhaps you could explain what you mean by this? It is usually held that the EU is actually neo-liberal and that the Central Bank is decidedly opposed to anything smacking of socialism. Macron, far from being a Communist, appears to be dead set on dismantling the more social aspects of the French Welfare State, privatising enterprises such as the Railways and emphasising the importance of the market.
      Perhaps these are all features of what you call socialism and add up to a campaign to re-found the USSR, in which the former Warsaw Pact states are eager participants.
      Nobody could fault you for stating the obvious. Or the evident.

      • Mist001

        Macron is only temporary, it looks like he’ll be out of office next time around. As I say, France is a ‘socialist’ (Communist) nation at heart. It’s in its psyche, so Macron will be replaced by someone more in line with the national psyche. The only reason France is called ‘socialist’ is because it’s viewed as an friend/ally of the USA. If it wasn’t, then it would be simply called communist. That’s the only difference between the two in France and you’ll find that this socialism/Communism applies all across the EU member states.

    • kathy

      If you don’t mind my saying so, maybe it is something to do with your attitude why you dislike Europe. Don’t project your ideas onto the entire Scottish nation. That is a bit insulting.


    I have two concerns about Scottish Independence and Scotland remaining in the EU. The two for me are contradictions in terms which would become very extreme should the Scots join the Euro. Borrowing a foreign currency instead of creating its own currency would render Scotland a vassal state like Greece. At the evry least it must have monetary sovereignty. The second concern is entirely selfish and hypocritical, as a English person I would rather have the Union under a Corbyn Labour Government!
    A very good Australian posT keynesian economist explains monetary sovereignty here.

    • Jeff

      Let me assuage your fears Sandra – There are currently no proposals for an independent Scotland to join the Euro. And Scots have realised that England is lurching to the right, equaling Tory governments forever….and ever… – cheerio!

    • Hatuey

      So, all those countries currently using the euro are vassal states (because they use the euro)… not just Greece. And all the states in the US (the richest country in the world by gdp) are vassal states too.

      But somehow Scotland isn’t a vassal State despite using sterling which, as our benevolent neighbours were quick to point out, doesn’t belong to us and we would have no right to use it if we were independent… and of course we have virtually zero control over sterling right now.

      Lol. Good luck with that argument.

  • SA

    The Lib Dems success in the European election has gone straight into Jo Swinson’s head and she took it to mean that the Lib Dems will be the king makers in the next elections having recovered in the polls. What she does not seem to realise is that the European election results are unlikely to reflect the voting intentions in a general election. She is an extremely poor tactician who is basically saying a hard Brexit is preferable to a temporary Corbyn led government.

  • simon brelsford

    UK column news had an article that said that if we leave the eu under article 50 we automatically default to eea terms and have to give 12 months notice to leave it. This is disputed by some but my concern is why this option is not being has information about this which you can find by googling do we default to eea rules if we leave Europe without a deal.

  • Tony

    “Over 80% of lorries arriving at Dover have non-British, EU drivers. Instituting immigration controls would be a physical impossibility.”

    I must admit that, whilst I disagree with you for the most part over brexit, I never had you down as a propagator of Project Fear, Craig. But here you are, doing just that. Lorry drivers entering the UK with deliveries post-brexit will be virtually unimpeded, their passports scanned upon entry. If they don’t leave the country in due course, they will be flagged up. This is just a non-issue.

  • Tom

    I tend to agree, Craig. I voted Remain and think full-on Remain is a better option than full-on Leave. However, Swinson’s position is in a lot of ways just as divisive as Farage’s, taking no account of the fact that half the country voted Leave and many Remainers have the nuanced view you do. How tenable would it be to ignore the referendum result, throw ourselves back into the EU accepting “ever-closer union” and pick up where we left off in 2016?
    To me, Corbyn’s position is completely admirable – attempting, unlike Swinson and the Tories, to unite the country and ease the divisions, while not damaging the economy. The fact his moderate policy attracted a torrent of scorn and mockery even in the Guardian suggests that dividing people in Britain is actually an aim of Brexit and that New Labour and the Lib Dems are using Remain as a weapon as surely as the right-wingers.
    Swinson’s attitude of being willing to work with a Johnson government but not a Corbyn one is outrageous and raises a lot of suspicions not only about her judgement but what the real motives of the Lib Dems are in being stridently Remain, when such a policy has no hope of uniting the nations of Britain.

    • Jo Dominich

      Tom food for thought indeed. I think you are right about dividing people. It is a strategy, a deliberate one, in the spirit of ‘divide and rule’. People in the UK should back Corbyn as should any serious minded, intelligent politician who cares deeply about the future of their country. Corbyn has put forward by far and away the best, constitutionally correct proposal to end the impasse. Jo Swinson will go down in history as the person who plunged the UK over a cliff because she put herself, her irrational dislike of Corbyn and the protection of the Tories before her own Country. Shame on her. She doesn’t deserve to be in Parliament let alone Leader of a weak, idiotic, unprincipled Party such as the Lib Dems. Any country who would take Chukka F****a as an MP should be laughed out of politics.

  • djm


    You tag along with those who wish to ignore/thwart a clear instruction given by the electorate to Leave the EU. Noted.

    • Deb O'Nair

      If the referendum was legally binding then it would have been a clear instruction but it was advisory. If you ask someone for advice you are not bound to accept it, let alone act on that advice. This is an important point because a legally binding referendum would have been subject to electoral laws and regulations and the process of the referendum legislation through both houses of parliament would have met far stronger scrutiny – to avoid the very mess the country is now in.

  • michael norton

    Thje LibDems are collecting M.P.s who are unelectable at the next G.E. because they are turncoats.
    So how will this bolster Swinson’s long-term position, it will not, it just makes them look like unprincipled scum .

  • Sharp Ears

    Swinson is married to Duncan Hames, an ex Deloitte accountant, ex LD MP Chippenham 2010-2015 and one time PPS to Clegg in the Coalition. Now with Transparency International, whatever that is.

    He did well for donations.

    It would appear that he was in the wrong party judging from his voting record, eg to reduce welfare benefits and the like.

  • gwp3

    It is not possible to “try out Brexit for 5 years”. This is not a realistic proposition.

  • kathy

    Craig, I would respectfully disagree that another vote would be undemocratic for the following reasons: 1) The poll was not legally binding; 2) People were not properly informed about what they were voting for and many outright lies were told like the 350 million going to the NHS claim printed on the side of a bus. 3) Evidence of interference from abroad and huge amounts of dark money being poured into the campaign. 4)Polls conducted that suggest that voters have changed their minds and now favour “remain”;
    5) Finally, the evidence emerging of the huge damage brexit will cause to the UK makes it an unthinkable act of self-harm. All of these before we even mention the constitutional damage it will cause with Scotland and Northern Ireland, both voting to remain and especially the possible war that could erupt in Northern Ireland with the re-introduction of hard borders.

    Contrary to what you say, I would contend that to go ahead with Brexit is undemocratic.

  • Piotr Berman

    If the Liberal Democrats are refusing to work with somebody, you would expect it to be the person who shared Cabinet responsibility for initiating illegally the death of millions in the Middle East. <– is it a comedic line?

    For example, what a Labour MP can do when she or he dislikes tepid and hostile attitudes in Labour towards wars, war crimes, nuclear weapons or atrocities perpetrated by Israel, Saudi and other "good friends"? Join Liberal Democrats!

  • fredi

    ” no deal brexit”

    Is a pipe dream, there will be a deal, the game’s rigged folks, all the huffing and puffing of the last few years has always been theater, nothing more than a pretense, the illusion of a choice that was made for you all from the start..

    • nevermind

      I dont agree either, should not have laid down on a wet bed, hoping somebody else will change the sheets.
      You fail to see that the EU had enough of this s..tshow and its integrity is not for some bounder to kick over.

      The Irish will not allow anyone to build another fortress for past bigotries to be violently played out. To ignore a Good Friday peace agreement by removing the backstop means that the Toroes want to divide Ireland by force, again.

      That alone is worth a well written article, if one is not inclined to chime in with the usual bullying tactics so well known from past Irish experiences. Sigh….

  • Dave

    Corbyn is positioning for a landslide victory if he can get to a General Election before a 2nd referendum.

    Maybot was deliberately sabotaging Brexit with her Remain+ deal. Remain+, because at present its a UK decision to leave EU, but the backstop made it an EU decision whether UK can leave EU, hence why it never had a chance of getting through Parliament on Conservative votes alone.

    She knew this and therefore should have promoted a Brexit compromise deal that could get through Parliament with Labour votes, but refused to do so in order to run the clock down and in dismay say she done her upmost to secure Brexit but due to the intransigence of others will have to call the whole thing off.

    It was working until the spectacular success of Brexit Party forced a no deal panic on the conservative MPs now facing the same meltdown suffered by Lib Dems following their betrayal on tuition fees. And this is why the Remainacs are pushing for the 2nd referendum now to make the choice between No Deal and Remain.

    But by Corbyn holding off the Remainiacs (including with the latest idea of a caretaker government), the cards are now falling in place for a Corbyn victory with his promise of a 2nd referendum with a choice between Remain and a compromise Brexit.

    This promise keeps all the Remainers happy (except those who know they will lose the vote and don’t want Corbyn to be PM), but a Brexit compromise will sweep the board, because it will win the votes of all no dealers and the vast majority of leave and remain who are content with a “half-way in” membership. I.e. Leave the political institutions (ensures don’t join Euro and restores state aid), leave the single market (restores control of borders) but remain in the customs union (keeps soft border in Ireland and reassures those concerned about jobs and growth).

    • Ian

      A fantastically contorted piece of ‘reasoning’, to produce the fantasy that Corbyn will get a ‘landslide’ victory. Such fantasy. All through May and now Johnson Corbyn has never had the kind of lead that would produce a victory, never mind a ‘landslide’. The best he can hope for is a hung parliament. Decent man, good policies, hopeless leadership.

      • Deb O'Nair

        “Decent man, good policies, hopeless leadership.”

        How many times are we told that we have a system of governance based on the parliamentary parties? The PM is just the leader of the largest party who by default becomes the PM, they are not the supreme leader of the country (although that is how they like to behave). We do not elect PMs but rather parties, this is evidenced from the three PMs this century who were not leaders of their party when their party won an election. As for Corbyn’s “leadership” credentials he has to take on the Tories, the LibDems, the media, two-thirds of his own back-benchers and the entire British establishment; he’s doing remarkably well (which is why the media are running around like hysterical headless chickens trying to undermine him). What this country needs is a PM that is a decent person with good policies and not some media friendly puppet of big money that the public can be brainwashed into believing is a “good leader”

      • Dave

        Its not fantasy under first past the post because it means Labour will retain both their Leave and Remain supporters and a compromise can be promoted as keeping the country together unlike the reckless so-called conservative unionists, prepared to risk the union to keep their English seats.

  • Wilfrid Whattam

    Do you subscribe to all the ‘crashing out’, ‘going over the cliff’ and similar hysterical claims of Remainers (most particularly The Guardian)? ‘No Deal is really no great issue, but it has dishonestly been blown up as one. My sources of information include eminently left wing economists like Bill Mitchell – please read his blogs – and The Full Brexit site. I believe your fears for the economy long-term are unfounded, and that the Single Market is a disgusting neoliberal arrangement. Just leaving, no Norway arrangement or anything else, is the right course of action. There wilkpl be plenty of time to finalise (finalise: because many have already been completed or thereabouts) trading arrangements. Existing arrangement can be preserved for up to one year in any case.

    With regards to your desire for an independent Scotland, it would be worth your while reading Bill Mitchell.

    Best wishes to you in any event.

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