Monday, 12 December 2011

Lib Dem reactions to Veto.

This is not a statement about whether or not David Cameron was right or wrong at the negotiations table last week just a review of what the fall out and party line is.

Nick Clegg coming out of the dark on Europe.
I regret that last night it proved to be impossible to find a way forward as a group of 27 on European  Treaty change.
The demands Britain made for safeguards, on which the Coalition Government was united, were modest and reasonable. They were safeguards for the single market, not just the UK.
What we sought to ensure was to maintain a level playing field in financial services and the single market as a while. This would have retained the UK's ability to make tougher, not looser regulatory action to sort out our banking system.

Nick Clegg, Friday's Evening standard.

I gather Cameron phoned out illustrious leader before he decided to do this. There must have been reasons. I don't see them at the moment.

Loreley Burt, Chair woman of the Lib-Dem parliamentary party.

It is a black day for Britain in Europe.

Lord Oakeshott, Lib Dem Peer.

Britain will suffer outside the EU deal-making room.
If you get out of the deal-making room as he has done over the last year, you end up losing influence.

Ed Milliband, Labour leader in the Standard.

The Liberal Democrats have always been pro- European, it is in our very make up. The ideals of Liberalism and Democracy are an ideology that can be used in the greater European scale. As a group the Party voted with the Government against the call for a referendum in November. When David Cameron rightly or wrongly wielded the veto on Friday many Lib Dems were outraged, not just at him but by Nick Clegg's seeming support.
Was this a case of Nick Clegg just agreeing to another golden tenant of the Liberal Democrats being consigned to the waste paper bin for the good of the Coalition and another solid Conservative aim being put ahead of ours as well as a possible violation of the Coalition agreement?
More Lib dem grass roots found themselves looking at Ed Miliband and the Labour party and wondering if they were in fact in the wrong party...

Then at some point this weekend Nick woke up...

Now he has come out all guns firing and exercising Tough Liberalism and reasserting the Party's identity. According to Toby Helm and Daniel Boffey in their article Clegg is tired of being the Coalition's whipping boy and is indeed defending his policies and against ones he and the Party disagree - after all how can the party stand in 2015 on issues we had backed down over.

Party big hitters such as Lord Ashdown had said the Coalition "Must" survive but the damage done by this was enormous

Shirely Williams also said;
It will diminish our influence far beyond Europe, in Washington Beijing and New Delhi, Capitals that value the influence they believe we have in Brussels.
and finally Lord Oakeshott has stated;
Many of us were shocked and stunned on Friday. But we are now finding our voice. Nick Clegg and our Liberal Democrat leaders must force Cameron back to the negotiating table to fight for our vital interests in Europe, not leave an empty chair and Britain isolated, impotent and ignored.
On the Andrew Marr show Nick Clegg stated;
I'm bitterly disappointed by the outcome of last week's summit, precisely because I think now there is a danger that the UK will be isolated and marginalised within the European Union.
I don't think that's good for jobs, in the city or elsewhere, I don't think it's good for growth or for families up and down the country.
Also vowing elsewhere to Fight tooth and nail to keep Britain involved in Europe.

The media, as always, are ready to paint this as another great rift between the two parties of the Coalition and to be fair it is a pretty big ideological gap. The thing is, as Nick pointed out, the Coalition is more important and should it split then there would be serious problems for the country at a time that it really needs a strong Government.

This is, to my mind, an example of Nick and the other Libdems demonstrating an obvious Ideological difference and standing up for what WE believe in rather than the Conservatives. This is an example of Tough Liberalism and showing our true colours. Something we should have done over Tuition fees and the NHS... in Europe the party has taken its stand and Nick has shown real leadership to stand up and define us rather than nodding alongside David Cameron on another issue that really deep down he doesn't agree with.

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