Christine Elmer, Lib Dem Councillor for Walton South and Chris Elmer, Lib Dem candidate for Walton South in May 2018
Vince Cable with Vicki Macleod, candidate for Weybridge Lib Dems in Elmbridge council elections in May 2018.
On 30th November Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, spoke to a packed village hall in Claygate. His message was clear, Brexit is a disaster, the government is in turmoil and divided, and three great problems are in the way of a successful ‘divorce’ of Britain from Europe.
Sir Vince Cable expressed much concern over how “the loss of European nurses and doctors in Kingston Hospital and other critical services impacts patient care negatively”. This is just one of the many consequences of Brexit.
Hospitality industries are beginning to suffer from lack of workforce, agriculture cannot get seasonal workers, universities are losing European students, research grants are being denied to our scientists and the list keeps growing.
According to Cable, it’s understandable why businesses in the City and beyond are preparing to relocate. Uncertainty caused by Brexit is bad for business as it makes future planning difficult and discourages much needed investment in skills and new enterprise. This feeds the downward cycle of low wages, low productivity, and poor economic performance.
Vince Cable spoke at the Liberal Exchange hosted by Elmbridge Liberal Democrats and outlined the serious challenges Britain faces in “tortuously complex Brexit talks”. He also explained why the Liberal Democrats are advocating the people’s right to choose between staying in the EU on current terms or accepting the deal negotiated by the government. “This will be the first referendum based on facts, not on fiction and fraudulent promises”, Cable argued.
The keen audience kept Sir Vince on his feet for the best part of two hours with questions ranging from a variety of Brexit issues to the government’s ongoing austerity measures, funding of higher education, apprenticeships and further education plus more. Disappointingly for Cable the current Tory government is “destroying the successful apprenticeship scheme with the ill-advised new levy”. In this context Cable emphasised the need for ‘non-tribal’ thinking in solving the country’s problems, although sadly “tribalism is rife in British politics and hampers progress”.
Sir Vince talked about Brexit’s debilitating effect on many government departments. “Their work has ground to a halt due to lack of resource or political ‘bandwidth’. The whole country suffers as a result.” “Yet there is much work to be done quite apart from Brexit to eradicate the plight of social exclusion, generational divisions, regional inequality and re-empowering local government. This is the agenda for us Liberal Democrats,” Vince Cable concluded.
Jaska Alanko, Liberal Democrat with Sir Vince
Vince Cable with Barry Fairbank, Lib Dem Councillor for Long Ditton