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Presidents Words

March 7, 2020 1:02 AM
By Martin Horwood in GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20

Martin Horwood MEP (Martin Horwood MEP)

Martin Horwood MEP

facebookLiberal Democrats gather for our spring conference in York, licking our wounds.

Our great cause of recent years, stopping Brexit, is lost - at least for now. Hopes for a breakthrough against indescribably awful opposition delivered a million extra votes at the General Election but our infuriating voting system translated that into a net loss of one seat, leaving us bit players again in the Commons.

Myself and 16 other liberal UK MEPs were duly turfed out of the European Parliament on 31 January, losing us another political platform.

The Tories combined a simplistic call to 'Get Brexit Done' that appealed to weary Remain voters as well as Brexiteers with a relentless tactical message that voting anything but Conservative in swing seats would hand No 10 to a far left Labour government.

Our 'stop Brexit at all costs' message appealed to dedicated Remain voters, and had our only task been to consolidate the Remainer vote behind the Lib Dems, (as it was in our successful European campaign last May), that might have worked. But it wasn't and it didn't.

Our new leader will have to find fresh simple messages that we believe in, that distinguish us from this most right wing of Tory regimes and which win votes.

They could do worse than look in the pages of Challenge and come along to the Green Lib Dem fringe in York.

The environment is in our DNA, the Tory record on green issues has deteriorated sharply since the coalition and the political and economic aftermath of Brexit may well compromise it further.

Yet the interconnected environmental crises are a top priority for many electors, particularly young people demanding urgent, international, evidence-based action.

So Green Lib Dems can be an engine for successful new ideas for the whole party to show the electorate we're still here, we still care and they need us back in power.

Martin Horwood
Green Lib Dems President (and ex-MEP)

Challenge 2019-20 Front Cover - Green Liberal Democrats' Magazine (Wikimedia and George Miles)

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From GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20

Bollocks to Brexit (Jane Brophy)

Bollocks to Brexit