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US NewsThe Lib Dem Article 50 gamble is so radical it might just work

08:05  18 september  2019
08:05  18 september  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The Lib Dems ' motion said that if the party became the government at the next general election, it would In Brexit terms, revoking Article 50 could be considered the nuclear option, stopping dead the It 's just what the Liberal Democrats want and now they've adopted a policy to do exactly that

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It is certainly bal**y. It has filled the newspaper pages and the airwaves. It has generated controversy.

I’m talking about the Liberal Democrats’ new policy of revoking Article 50 should they win a majority in any upcoming election.

Is it a masterstroke, something that will generate some short-term excitement that will eventually die down, or a big mistake?

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At my first ever Liberal Democrat conference in 2005 the biggest controversy was a policy pledge to replace antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) with acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs). Acronym substitution was precisely the kind of reasonable, technical

Millions of people think that Theresa May is a discredited mediocrity and that Jeremy Corbyn When it came to attracting the young, the Lib Dems might as well have chosen someone who went So Mr Cable will save his party from being ignored. But the other points on his CV may not work in his favour.

No doubt the policy puts clear yellow water between Labour and the Lib Dems. It doubles down on the latter’s simple clarity of message in contrast to the continued confusion and endless contortions of Labour’s position.

It is now clear: if you are a committed Remainer, the Lib Dems are the party to vote for as long as Labour remains Janus-faced and confused.

The Lib Dem Article 50 gamble is so radical it might just work © Thomson Reuters The Leader of Britain's Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson delivers her speech at the yearly party conference in Bournemouth, Britain September 17. 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

It is also brutally honest, something that has been absent from our political life for far too long.

But the complaints are coming thick and fast. Prime among them is that such a policy is “undemocratic”. This accusation is worth examining.

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It may be obvious to the Liberal Democrats that revoke is a pipe dream and the realistic probability is a second referendum in coalition, but it isn’t obvious to It seems, moreover, to be a gamble the Liberal Democrats didn’t need to take. › A landslide for revoke shows the Lib Dem debate on Brexit is over.

Last time I looked, an election was a democratic exercise. If people vote for the Lib Dems, they are clearly voting for Article 50 revocation. Should they win, the Liberal Democrats will have a perfectly legitimate democratic mandate to revoke.

But, but, but, some will howl. The party could win an election without a majority of the votes cast. True enough, but that is our system of electing governments. The British model gives almost absolute power to a government that has won the majority of seats, if not the  majority of votes.

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The Lib Dems have long fought against this system and argued for a more proportional one. The two major parties have resisted change because it has, until now, suited their own interests. What goes around comes around. Having defended the current system to the hilt, the major parties must now live with its consequences.

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‘Revoke Article 50 if the House of Commons has not passed a resolution approving the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement one week ahead of the date on which the UK The speeches in support of the policy left no doubt as to why the Lib Dems are moving towards a more hardline Remain position now.

from just per issue. The Lib Dems are, as speaker after speaker in this morning's debate pointed out, Britain's foremost party of Remain - and nowhere is that clearer than at its grassroots. It might well be that people like Umunna and Cable, who warned members to stop their "pious finger-pointing"

And which stance is more democratic: Jo Swinson as an elected Prime Minister revoking Article 50 having made it clear in her manifesto that this is what she would do? Or Boris Johnson foisted on the British public only by a handful of Conservative party members, forcing the UK out of the EU without a deal when that option was never clearly put to the people in any kind of democratic exercise?

The Lib Dem Article 50 gamble is so radical it might just work © 2019 Getty Images BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson delivers her first keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 17, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Of course, the Lib Dems will only be able to implement the policy if they get an absolute majority. Otherwise Remainers will be hoisted by their own petard, having fought in court to establish the principle that any Article 50 decision has to be approved by parliament and cannot be implemented unilaterally by the executive.

Some will assume that a Lib Dem majority is impossible and that this is no more than a publicity stunt. Maybe, maybe not. Much will depend on the timing, and what has happened between now and polling day.

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Lib Dems are doing just that You can't turn back the clock. Nor ignore the 17m who voted Leave This doesn't strengthen our democracy. For their part, Swinson and other Lib Dem MPs argue that winning a majority at the next election would give them the mandate to revoke Article 50 .

Of course, it may be confidently asserted that the chances of the Lib Dems forming the next Just now they have a spring in their step, having performed well in May 's European elections, and Share or comment on this article : STEPHEN GLOVER: Once she demanded an EU referendum.

If the election remains a four-way race, all things are possible. It is one of the quirks of the first past the post system that when multiple parties are in serious contention, relatively small shifts in voting patterns can produce large shifts in outcome.

True, the party may find that it loses as many seats as a result of this divisive policy shift as it stands to gain. And an absolute Lib Dem majority certainly remains a long shot.

But impossible it is not.

The Lib Dem Article 50 gamble is so radical it might just work © 2019 Getty Images BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson delivers her first keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference at the Bournemouth International Centre on September 17, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

Swinson’s policy has, if nothing else, achieved two things. It has introduced a measure of clarity to our politics that many have been craving, when so many of our politicians still cling to what the late Sir Geoffrey Howe called in his resignation speech the endless search for separating words from meaning. And it has given committed Remainers a clear political home.

Many will doubtless be appalled at the bold Lib Dem move. Others will long for the Brexit debate to be out of their lives – however it is resolved.

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It makes the Lib Dems look radical . But why not suggest that university admission departments must only accept 7% of their undergraduates from private schools, given that this is the proportion of students they represent in the country as a whole?

The Lib Dems seem to have lost their old knack for snatching byelection seats; their share of the vote fell in both byelections this year. With Labour stumbling towards cataclysmic defeat, the Lib Dems should be the natural refuge for fleeing centre-left voters.

Having followed the Brexit snakes and ladders developments probably more closely than any sane person should, I am rapidly approaching that position – whatever happens, please just make it stop. And that is what the Lib Dems are offering to do.

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The Lib Dem Article 50 gamble is so radical it might just work

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