Talking Politics: We should have the right to ‘return’ Brexit

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We, the British public, have bought Brexit. It was advertised as coming with £350m a week extra for the NHS, control of our borders and the ability to maintain free trade with Europe.

As weeks go by, though, it appears that the supplier is experiencing some problems in delivering our order. In fact they haven’t even started production on it yet!

Furthermore we have no idea if what they actually build will be anything like as it was advertised. Once it is built we are told we will have to accept whatever it is that arrives, even if it lacks the key features we asked for.

The Liberal Democrats are fighting for you to have the right to examine this Brexit product on its arrival and either choose to accept it or send it back. Once we have a clear idea of the deal actually on the table we believe we should have a democratic vote on whether to accept that deal or reject it.

If, as is rumoured, Theresa May goes for a ‘Hard Brexit’ then that will mean no single market access for Britain. That will be a disaster for British jobs, businesses and our economy. With Labour’s ineffective opposition and infighting the Lib Dems are now the only party fighting for Britain’s membership of the Single Market.

The levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are now unlikely to ever drop below 400 parts per million. This marks an alarming landmark in global warming. At the same time climate trends continue to break records. July and August 2016 have been the hottest months ever recorded on the planet. 2016 is set to be the hottest year, beating the record set in 2014 and we have a record low level of sea ice in the Arctic. Global warming is real, and it’s happening right now.

Greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are contributing to man-made climate change. On the Council the Liberal Democrats have consistently pushed for measures to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions. In the coming months we will be renewing our efforts and keeping the pressure on the Labour administration to meet the Council’s target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 based on a 2005 baseline.

Liberalism has a long tradition of progressive reform in British politics. It was a Liberal who first introduced the state pension in 1909, compulsory health insurance and unemployment insurance via the National Insurance Act in 1911, and in 1942 the Beveridge report written by Liberal economist William Beveridge set out the foundations for our modern day NHS.

If Beveridge had been writing his report today, he would have not only set about trying to establish the health service, he would have sought to create a health and social care service. This is why the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb is establishing a cross-party Beveridge commission to save the NHS and why Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats has set out plans to rebrand the NHS to include a fully taxpayer-funded care service.

As a party we will be honest about the costs of making social care fully government funded. If the only way to fund a health service that meets the needs of everyone is to raise taxes, Liberal Democrats will raise taxes. Currently the Social Care system and the NHS are facing a crisis, but it isn’t enough for us to simply love the NHS: we also need to be prepared to pay for it too.