Letter from Bassetlaw – February 14th 2016

Leon Duveen 140920aFinally, I managed to spend a little time in the garden earlier today trying to tidy up the bushes and spread some compost.  Since the New year, I have hardly had time to stop and am grateful that this week I have a short break between finishing one job and starting the next.  Time to get my office tidied up & cleaned and all my paper work (as I am self-employed, there is plenty of that) brought up to date.


Later this week David Cameron will be going to Brussels to try to finalise the renegotiations on British membership of the EU.  If he succeeds, then the chances are he will set the date for the Referendum on British membership of the EU.  The date that seems most likely is June 23rd so we will be in for few months of campaigning by both those who believe that the UK’s future lies in being part of the EU and those who (mistakenly in my view) think that the UK can survive & prosper out of it.

In the run up to the Referendum, be it in June or later in the year, there will be much written for and against staying in the EU.  I will not doubt be contributing my efforts as well but for now I just want to give some advice on how to judge what is written.

As I know, it is all too easy to sit at a computer nowadays and put out a post expressing views as if they are facts, dressing up opinions as if they are the indisputable wisdom that has been passed down from on high.  This is true of both the Remain & Leave campaigns (although I hope not me) so how can you tell what is worth reading & paying attention to and what is just, to put it simply, unsubstantiated codswallop?

My advice is trust none of it unless the writer has taken the time to reference the sources of the facts they claim support their views   By this I mean the source data, not just someone else who supports their views.  Look for links to reports from authoritative bodies, not think tanks, or to statistics collected by governments.

Most of all use your own mind to think through the decision.  Read what is written & listen to what is said but you will need to draw your own conclusions and vote in the Referendum accordingly.  Don’t forget, the Referendum is not to join the EU, we are already members and cannot turn the clock back 40 years.

You will be voting to decide if we should leave the EU, will this make the UK more Prosperous, give us more Opportunities, help protect the Peace that Europe has enjoyed for over 70 years, secure our Environment from pollution and climate change and, finally, improve our Security against international criminals & terrorism?

If you, like me, think that leaving the EU would not be able to deliver on all these issues, then don’t vote for it, vote to Remain In.


I was saddened to here of the death of Lord Avebury earlier today.  I never met him but Eric Lubbock was one of the first Liberal politicians I became aware of & the Orpington by-election (which I don’t remember but I can recall hearing about as the original Liberal revival) has become a standard which all our election results are judged by.  By all accounts he was a decent honest man who worked hard as an MP and was respected across party lines for standing up for what he believed in

His death marks the end of an era and a reminder that even though at times the Liberals (and now the Lib Dems) may have been down to single figures of MPs (there had 6 before Orpington), the party can never be written off.  I just hope it doesn’t take another 50 years to get back into power though as the UK need a strong Liberal voice.

Indeed, at a time when we have one of the most right-wing, regressive Tory Governments we have ever seen (even more so than Thatcher’s Government) and a Labour Party in opposition that seems more intent on fighting itself than opposing the Government, we need a strong Liberal voice to stand up for ordinary people, to make sure we all get a chance to get on in life, not just those with rich families or links to those that run the Unions, as the Preamble to the Liberal Democrat Constitution puts it “. . . to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full.”   If you agree with this statement, your place is with us in the Liberal Democrats.


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