Tag: #referendum

The article below was published on Liberal Democrat Voice earlier today. Lib Dem Voice is the main forum where everyone from day-old members to party leaders expresses their hopes and angst for the future of an open, tolerant society. Love or hate the referendum decision, we now need to get on with the delivering what the electorate voted for. Few people, if any, think that in leaving the EU, we should withdraw from the world. I believe the Lib Dems now have a key role to play. We are internationalists and Europeans. It goes with the territory of liberal thinking. We need be the steadying, wise voice for Britain in a post-EU age.

The result is clear in Shropshire. On a 77% turnout, 57% of the voters in this county said we should leave. That bigger than the UK trend, where leave has 52% with some areas still to declare as I publish this at 5.35am. I don’t like the result. But it’s a democratic result and a result for democracy. People voted yesterday who had not voted before or very rarely voted. That’s a significant win. The worst thing that can happen now is that we hurt ourselves. George Osborne promised an emergency austerity budget if we voted out. If that comes true, we will damage our economy and support for vulnerable people in our country. I also fear with Scotland voting in, and England and Wales voting out, we are now a deeply divided country. I worry too that younger people voted in but older people voted out. It’s the young people that will have to live with this decision.

I don’t love bureaucracy. I am not a fan of the EU. I am a diehard localist. But I am also a realist. The big world out there is changing fast. We are either part of that big world or we step back. That is the decision we will make on 23 June. It is likely to be the biggest decision that will happen in our lifetimes. I am 61 years of age. I remember the Cold War. I remember from the real fear that ordinary people in ordinary homes felt day on day as the radio and black and white television scared them out of their wits. That fear was very real in a nation still recovering from the Second World War. I heard then from my elders and have since read in books that the level of fear was much the same in the late 1930s. At that time, it was not a question of whether war in Europe would happen but when it would happen. We are still frightened.

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