Happy Vaisakhi

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

I’d like to wish all of our Sikh members, supporters and candidates a Happy Vaisakhi.

I know that today is a very special day for you as you celebrate not only the year that Sikhism was born as a collective faith, the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa (the collective name given to Sikhs who’ve been baptised), but also the start of the Sikh New Year.

As you spend the day visiting family and friends, swapping gifts, visiting gudwaras, perhaps being baptised into the Khalsa or taking part in nagar kirtan processions, I’d like to thank you for your contribution to our Party.

I spent some of my teenage years in Trinidad and Tobago, where it was normal to celebrate the various festivals that were important to each and every faith as if it were our own.

Thinking about the celebration of Vaishakhi here in the UK makes me trawl my memory for a taste of the food or a glimpse of a procession from sharing this day with my young Sikh friends and their families. My memories are dim, but what I remember most is the music – the Tabla (drums), the Shabad kirtan (distinctive hymns) and the playing of the Harmonium, which I am guessing might not be a traditional Sikh instrument, but certainly became a key feature of Sikh celebrations when I was growing up.

If you are reading this and are not familiar with today’s festival, I’d encourage you to look on YouTube where you can hear some of the beautiful music that is a key feature of today’s celebrations.

If you are a member of the Sikh community, please do share some of the photos and short videos from today with me on Twitter or Facebook and I will repost them – make sure you get the permission of others in the photos/videos before doing this though!

If you are not yet a member or supporter of our Party and would like to know more or, even better, if you’d like to help us to better engage with the Sikh community and focus on what’s relevant to you in our policy making, do join us.

Start making a political difference to this country as a member or supporter of a Party who cares.

In the meantime, Happy Vaisakhi to all!

EU elections are coming – and we’re raring to go

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

We’re now fighting TWO elections. Together, we’re going to deliver the best results in both elections that we’ve had in years!

On 2nd May we need to gain more councils and councillors across England. On 23rd May, we want to elect a Liberal Democrat MEP in every part of the country.

Our local election campaign is well underway. But we’ve got a lot to do to ensure our European Election campaign gets off to a flying start too.

Our manifesto is all but finalised. Our candidates will be selected by Tuesday. We have a clear strategy and message – we are the party of remain and we’re running in the EU Elections to stop Brexit.

On 23rd May, we want to elect a Liberal Democrat MEP in every part of the country.

But the opposition – pro-Brexit parties like the Conservatives, Labour, UKIP and Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party – are all mobilising. As the biggest Remain party, it’s our job to lead this fight and win.

We’re hearing very positive things from the doorsteps in our local election campaign. We stopped Brexit happening on 29th March, we’ve stopped it happening today and we are closer to securing a People’s Vote than ever before.

It’s going to be an exciting 6 weeks – with your support, we can elect more Councillors, Councils and MEPs.

We will show the country that the Liberal Democrats are on the rise and Brexit can be stopped. Help us win – donate today:

Five Farage Fails

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The time he campaigned for Roy Moore in Alabama. When nine women had come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.

Backing Republican loser Roy Moore is yet another triumph for Nigel Faragehttps://t.co/8yRG8dADC1pic.twitter.com/zBhVYNVs5J

— The Poke (@ThePoke) December 13, 2017

Fortunately, Moore lost the seat to Democrat challenger Doug Jones. Which is good, because much like Farage himself, Moore’s kind of the worst.

The Leave Means Leave March. All 30-odd people of them.

The head and the tail of the Leave Means Leave march in The Mall just now pic.twitter.com/YG2PE64beL

— Samuel West (@exitthelemming) January 19, 2019

Here’s what a real march looks like, Nige.

Huge Lib Dem crowd marching today to #exitfrombrexit#PutItToThePeople#PeoplesVoteMarchpic.twitter.com/Tfp1y5KnLN

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) March 23, 2019

The 7 times he tried to get elected to Westminster – and the 0 times he managed it:

It warms the heart, doesn’t it? (thanks Wikipedia)

The time he got fined £35,000 for misspending EU funds.

Nigel Farage hit with £35,000 fine for ‘misspending EU funds’https://t.co/3lJ8L03HuWpic.twitter.com/B2U5CgQZof

— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) January 12, 2018

He can’t even waste taxpayer money successfully.

Getting onto the EU’s fisheries committee. And turning up to 1 vote out of 42.

Watch @Nigel_Farage leave another #Brexit debate after he himself spoke (and recorded his YouTube video). This so-called leader of the Brexiteers never attends a full debate, never comes up with solutions and puts the future of ordinary citizens at risk #failpic.twitter.com/twMbemCpmy

— Esther de Lange (@Esther_de_Lange) March 13, 2019

He’s little better in general debates. He regularly just films speeches for his YouTube channel, leaves and takes his salary.

We demand better than Nigel Farage.

Farage likes to complain that the EU doesn’t represent us. He’s wrong – it’s him that doesn’t represent us, even when he bothers to show up.

He’s using his elected position to further his own interests and make our country poorer. Let’s put him out of a job come the European elections. Kick him out the EU parliament – vote for pro-Remain Liberal Democrat MEPs who’ll work for you. ✊

The Leader:Tory Fury, Labour Pretence and Lib Dem Optimism

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Brexit latest

Brexit is still paralysing government and parliament. But I think a significant corner has been turned with the decision of the European Council to extend the timetable for Brexit until Halloween on Oct 31st.

The sense of drama and crisis has abated somewhat, now that Brexit Day is no longer imminent.

If parliament has achieved one thing in the last few, messy, weeks when it ‘took back control’ from the government it has been to dampen the fear (and hope for some) of suddenly crashing out from the EU without an agreement. I was told by those who where there that at the 7 hour marathon cabinet meeting last week, the briefing by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, on the consequences of such an outcome, killed off whatever lingering possibility that Theresa May may take us down that road and over the cliff.

I think Theresa May handed Jeremy Corbyn a whole lot of votes.

The fact that parliament had been absolutely clear on that point, if nothing else, had created the political environment in which she had little choice but to abandon the threat (albeit after spending hundreds of millions of tax payers money, in parallel with a large amount of business spending on a hypothetical possibility which some of us thought from the outset was widely implausible.)

The odd interlude of Brexit talks between the government and Labour will, I think, be seen in retrospect as a piece of political theatre designed to buy time for the government and credibility for the Labour leadership.

Mr Corbyn may surprise us by signing up to a ‘soft Brexit’ agreement, but I doubt it. He will have been well satisfied to have had an opportunity to change the public perception of him away from revolutionary socialism, unilateral disarmament and anti-Semitism, towards business-like conversations about government.

I think Theresa May has handed him a whole lot of votes, which is why her own party is incandescent with fury.

An extension of the Brexit process until October will change the political dynamic.

The sense of immediacy, inevitability and energy around Brexit will fade. There will be a lot of quiet rethinking: is this what we really want? If this deadline can slip, why not the next one? Maybe we should be getting down seriously to some of the other issues which have been put on ice: social care, homelessness, violent crime? My booklet Beyond Brexit is intended to provide an agenda for that world.

However, there are two events which will keep Brexit in the headlines however much we would pray otherwise.

The first is the timetable for European Parliament elections. This is excruciatingly embarrassing for the Conservatives whose Brexit government has let this happen and is bitterly divided to boot. They must fear an upsurge of support for Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and would be right to do so.

The Labour Party is also badly divided and stands to lose ground to both Remainer and Brexiter competition. This is undoubtedly an opportunity for my party. One cloud on the horizon is the fact that the several Remain parties may weaken each other. Remain campaigners will expect a common front against Farage and I am prepared to work with other parties to achieve that; so far the feedback from other parties has been discouraging. But whatever the formation Lib Dems should still do well.

I want to see a serious election with televised leaders’ debates to focus the arguments.

I attended an enthusiastic People’s Vote rally in Church House earlier this week. The sense that a People’s Vote is just within reach is now palpable, reinforced by the signs that those were previously sceptical are now coming round.

In other news

The next big political event will, however, not be a European election, or a referendum, but local council elections. Last Saturday I went to Somerset to launch the Lib Dem campaign in Bath.

Bath is a booming city with two universities, lots of foreign visitors, high tech start-ups and house prices to match. It is strongly remain and our MP, Wera Hobhouse, has mobilised hundreds of volunteers behind an anti-Brexit, pro EU, campaign. The local campaign for council seats dovetailed closely with the People’s Vote.

The next big political event will be local council elections.

Politically we have a longstanding Lib Dem council in South Somerset which is well regarded, very competent and has enlightened initiatives like a new hostel for homeless families which I visited. No Brexit campaigning, but bread and butter local politics (and the fond memory of Paddy Ashdown, the former Lib Dem leader).

And finally

In the frenetic atmosphere last week, I was in more need than ever of a good book to sink into late at night.

I found one: Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door. I was initially off put by the blurb which has no pretensions to literary distinction beyond a recommendation from the Daily Mail. But I am glad I bought what is a superior thriller: brilliantly crafted; tightly written; absolutely gripping; really clever.

As someone who has tried to write a thriller (Open Arms is doing well but isn’t a best seller!) I was full of admiration for the author’s skill in turning the whole direction of the plot in a short phrase; and the ability to pile on surprise after surprise without ever being implausible. A great read: but it does go quickly .

European elections get more likely by the day

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

It’s our job to win big for fellow Remainers across the country in these European elections.

Last night Theresa May met with EU leaders and, in a dashing blow to her plans, was forced to agree to extend Article 50 to October 31st, with the ability to review at the end of June.

She’s still doing the hokey-cokey and dancing around the issue but as a result, it’s clear European elections are incredibly likely this Spring.

But we cannot wait for Theresa May to give us the green light – we need to be fighting-fit now.

Remainers across the country have been side-lined since the referendum in June 2016.

.@andrealeadsom still refuses to confirm that the Govt. will allow an indicative vote, on the PM’s deal linked with a #PeoplesVote, to take place when the May Corbyn – Blue #Brexit Red Brexit – talks fail

This vote will be the simplest way to escape the Brexit black hole.

— Tom Brake MP (@thomasbrake) April 11, 2019

And in that time, the Liberal Democrats have continued to be the only major pro-Remain political party.

With the Leave vote split across the country, the EU election voting system means we really can win big.

This is our best opportunity to send a message loud and clear to Westminster.

A big win will also take us a monumental leap closer to securing a People’s Vote and put us in a great position for winning that referendum.

Let’s cement our position, secure a storming victory in these EU elections and win an exit from Brexit ✊

Local Elections 2019: Party Election Broadcast

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

These past few months have been nothing short of a national humiliation.

For nearly 3 years, the government has used a wafer thin referendum majority to sow division in our towns, our cities and even in our families.

But those who seek to divide us will never win. We demand better than Brexit.

Labour and the Conservatives are fighting amongst themselves, and they have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to local services.

When it comes to local elections, you want someone who understands your community.

Someone who understands how important quality social care, strong local schools and well funded police and hospitals are to your local area.

We are campaigning for more resources to fight rising crime, to tackle homelessness and deliver the public services we all need.

And we are winning. Liberal Democrats have been winning council seats from Labour, the Tories and even UKIP.

We stand strong, with over a hundred thousand members and supporters, and a quarter of a million people backing our campaign for an exit from Brexit.

So when you vote, vote for the candidate that’s going to get things done for your local community.

Vote for the party who’s going to stop Brexit.

Vote Liberal Democrat.

Local Elections Are Just Around The Corner

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Vince Cable kickstarted our local election campaign today in Yeovil.

And what a place to get the ball rolling.

After the last lot of elections in 2015, the Liberal Democrat group was the largest on South Somerset District Council.

South Somerset is just one of many councils up for election this year which last elected councillors in 2015.

I’m sure you don’t need reminding that that wasn’t a fantastic time for our electoral chances.

But this time around we have the chance to win – and win big.

In the four year cycle of local elections, the most seats are up for grabs this year.

We need all hands on deck to get as many Liberal Democrat councillors elected as possible.

Lib Dems are fantastic activists. We get out, we knock on doors, we deliver Focus. It’s never too late to start that.

Don’t worry if you’re new to this – there will be more experienced people there to give you a helping hand.

Huge thanks to @vincecable for joining @hayleighhelium@SarahMedley91 and our fantastic @LibDemsOxon team out in #Blewbury and #Harwell today. A brillant start to the Vale of White Horse District election campaign!! #DemandBetter@ALDC 💛🎉 pic.twitter.com/KXEauYKJ9H

— Emily Smith (@emilysmithLD) March 30, 2019

But if pavement pounding isn’t your thing, worry not. There’s always plenty of jobs that need doing around a campaign.

Get in touch with your local party; they’ll be able to teach you new tricks and help you make the most of your skills and interests.

Liberal Democrat councillors work hard to represent their communities. They gain reputations for constantly writing emails about bins, pointing at potholes, and getting grumpy about litter.

But that’s what matters to local people.

And it can be bigger than that. If there isn’t a People’s Vote or European elections, this will be our only chance to tell the government what we think of their Brexit mess.

A vote for a Liberal Democrat candidate is a vote for Europe. We can only get those votes with your help.


So, do it for Europe or do it for bins. But do it. Volunteer in local election campaigns.

Recruiting Volunteers

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

One of our strengths as a party is our broad, committed base of activists. Sometimes, it can be hard to pick out who in your area might be willing to help – so we’ve put together a guide for you!

You likely already have a large amount of data that you can use to identify potential volunteers – even without canvassing. When someone signs a petition on the national party’s website, the data they provide is synced to Connect too.

We’ve seen this work astonishingly well with our Exit Brexit petition. In some cases over 50% of those in an area who’ve signed it have then gone on to volunteer for us. That’s a pool of a few thousand extra people you could ask!

(Note: you’ll need a Connect account. If you don’t, talk to your local party to get set up. If you’re new to Connect or need a refresher we have plenty of guides available on Lib Dem Learning.)

So how do I find them?

You can set up a list of volunteer prospects using Connect target pools. It’s easy enough to do:

Open Connect, and click Create A New List.

(If you’re struggling to read any of these images, click them to open them in a new tab)

– Scroll down to Target Pools

– Ensure that the option for including people is set to ANY and not ALL.

– Scroll down and select “Volunteer Prospects” options. This bit involves some trial and error – start with Tier 1, run a search and then add tiers by clicking “Edit Search” until you have enough people. (Hint: if you’re struggling to find them, press Ctrl+F [⌘+F on Mac] and search for “volunteer”)

– From the same list, scroll down further and select all four options that begin with “National Website Petition”.

– Run the search!

Note: the party’s new supporters scheme is another excellent source of potential volunteers. You can identify supporters through Salesforce – find out how here.

I’ve got my list of prospective volunteers. Now, what should I do with them?

– Give them a call where you can, or arrange a face to face meeting. It’s always better to have a two-way conversation! Listen to them – find out what they want to contribute and why.

– Ease them in. Don’t ask them to join the party or stand for election off the bat unless they seem interested in doing so. Keep it low-commitment – delivery is a good starting point.

– Give them a reason to volunteer! Get them to meet your candidate and explain how your volunteers’ work makes a difference.

– Hold group campaigning events. Make it a social event – people will be more keen to help out if they’re enjoying themselves!

– Make sure newbies are paired up with more experienced campaigners! Make sure they know they can take as long as they want, too. It’s better for them and your campaign for them to learn the ropes before you let them off on their own.

– Be accessible. Phonebanking is a great option for people who struggle with mobility. Clerical work can be offered to those who’d rather not talk to other people.

I can’t understate how important recruiting volunteers is. Whether local elections are looming for you or you’re gearing up for the next time around, a wide, diverse volunteer base is essential.

The more volunteers we have, the more Liberal Democrats we can elect to make a difference on every level. There are millions of British people who agree with our aims. Even a small percentage of them represents a sizeable force – and a big amplification of our voice.

We’re getting closer to a People’s Vote

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Last night, the People’s Vote option got more support from MPs than any other option.

When MPs get the chance to vote on it again, I want to make sure it passes with a majority.

We’ve asked you to help us by contacting MPs to persuade them to back a People’s Vote in the past.

You responded in your thousands.

And it worked.

Of the 45 MPs we’ve lobbied, 29 of them voted for a People’s Vote last night.

We’re almost there.

We’ve identified 32 MPs who abstained in the last vote. We think they can be persuaded to stop sitting on their hands and back a People’s Vote.

Will you help us contact them – and make sure that when the next chance to vote for a People’s Vote comes, we can secure it?

Of the 45 MPs we’ve lobbied, 29 of them voted for a People’s Vote last night.

Theresa May and her party have made an absolute hash out of Brexit – and they have been aided and abetted by Labour who continue to play politics with Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have been fighting for a People’s Vote for nearly three years.

We stand with the million people who marched for a People’s Vote in Westminster last month. We stand with the six million people who have signed the parliamentary e-petition calling for revoking Article 50. And we stand with the majority of the public who in polls continue to tell us they want a People’s Vote and want to remain in the EU.

We are closer than ever to getting a final say for the people – with an option to remain in the EU.

Help us to win a People’s Vote in Parliament. Lobby MPs today:

We could have delivered Brexit last night

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

Last night, the Liberal Democrats could have delivered Brexit.

True, it would have been a ‘softer’ version of Brexit than Theresa May is pursuing. But it would still be a Brexit that stopped the free movement of people, a Brexit which made us rule takers but not rule makers and a Brexit that does nothing to protect 80% of our economy.

But that’s not to say I’m not prepared to compromise. I am. I’m prepared to put any deal that is acceptable to the House of Commons to the people in a People’s Vote.

Had we voted last night in favour of the Customs Union, we would have killed all hope of a People’s Vote. We would have indicated our support for the deal Theresa May has negotiated with the EU, albeit with a revised ‘political declaration’. The upshot would have been the UK permanently leaving the EU in the next few weeks.

I’m a proud European and a proud Remainer. The United Kingdom is stronger and better off as a full member of the European Union with all the benefits that membership bestows on our security, economy and way of life.

A People’s Vote – and ultimately an Exit from Brexit – is what we’ve been working towards for nearly three years now. We’re closer than ever to winning. The People’s Vote option got more support last night than any other option.

#PeoplesVote nearly over finishing line tonight

If supporters of the Customs Union or Common Market were willing to link their ‘deals’ to a People’s Vote, there could be a clear majority for a plan that could be tested against staying in the EU

Let’s make it happen!

— Tom Brake MP (@thomasbrake) April 1, 2019

That’s not to say I’m not prepared to compromise. I am. I’m prepared to put any deal that is acceptable to the House of Commons to the people in a People’s Vote.

I’m currently working with MPs, from all parties (except the DUP), to put forward amendments that might combine the Customs Union, Common Market or perhaps even the PM’s deal, with a People’s Vote.

What we need to do now is work hard to persuade MPs who are warm to a People’s Vote – but have not yet voted for it – to vote in support of it over the next few days. The more signatures on our Exit from Brexit campaign, the easier this will be: