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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Why the Lib Dems should look beyond Brexit in the Euro election

The Independent reports that Vince Cable has lashed out at Change UK (CUKoos?) and the Greens for rejecting his pleas to stand joint candidates on 23 May, to boost the number of MEPs demanding a second referendum.

The paper says that the Lib Dem leader has revealed that his party proposed fighting together – a move that one election expert has predicted could have delivered an extra six seats in Brussels. Somehow Vince forgot to ask the membership what they think about such an electoral pact.

There is a myth growing up amongst some Remainers on social media that because the European Elections will be fought on a form of proportional representation, then there is no need for electoral pacts or tactical voting. On the face of it, this is factually incorrect. If you want a Remainer party to win seats then you do need to consider which one is best placed to secure a valued MEP-slot.

That is because the party list system we have adopted does not allow for preferential voting, nor for the transferring of preferences, as say, STV does. For the record, I have campaigned in an STV election in Northern Ireland where much of the Alliance Party literature was asking for a tactical vote, namely a request for a high preference to keep Sinn Fein out. It worked.

However, my view is that Vince Cable's approach to these elections is entirely wrong-headed. Important as an 'exit from Brexit' is, we are in danger of painting the Liberal Democrats as a one-trick pony, who will be left with nothing to say once this matter is resolved. I also think that we have missed the boat on another referendum and should concentrate on a Parliamentary solution, possibly by revoking our notice to quit under Article 50.

If we are to make any progress as a party and win seats, we actually need to differentiate ourselves from the other Remain parties by espousing a Liberal Democrat view of Europe, including reforming European institutions to make them more democratic and accountable. It is no good offering people the chance to vote again on membership if we do not also address some of the criticisms that people have of the EU.

It is also time that we started to talk about some of our other policies apart from Brexit. People are fed up to the teeth of the whole European issue. They want politicians who are going to address their concerns about health, education, social care and the economy. Even if we put it into the context of the impending disaster that faces us if we do leave the EU, at least we would show that we are listening and are in tune with people's own priorities.

In short, we must take the opportunity presented by the European elections to relaunch the Liberal Democrats as the fully-rounded party we really are, complete with policy solutions for the key issues facing voters. If we just focus on Brexit, we will become indistinguishable from the other pro-EU parties, and leave ourselves with nowhere to go afterwards.
The D'honte PR system allows a party with more than 10% of the vote in with a chance of an MEP. However if we have Lib Dems ,Greens,Tiggers running on less than 10% they are excluded from continuing thus ,no seat. It was put into operation to endeavour to allow the big parties to get the advantage over minority parties. In other words to split the vote. We could get a bloody nose due to this. WE MUST NOT BE SEEN AS A ONE TRICK PARTY.We must fight for change both at home and in the EU
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