Brighton ’16: Proud irritant quits the Lib Dems after voting Leave

Paul BraithwaiteIF some amid their ranks are not quite sure that Tim Farron can stir a revival for the Liberal Democrats and make sure their latest lowest ebb is actually that, the lowest ebb, it seems most are at least convinced that Jeremy Corbyn might. After one disaster election after another since 2010, the likely leadership contest victory for Corbyn on Saturday is seen as an opportunity. That’s why in some meetings and conference speeches in Brighton, Labour was not referred to as Labour, but simply as Momentum, as if a complete Corbynite takeover had already taken place.

Although struggling to catch the media’s eye – a shortened conference and lack of MPs doesn’t help – the obvious strategy is to cast Corbyn and co as hard left dreamers, the Tories as heartless right wingers, and to try to take the centre ground from where electoral gains have secured from in the past.

It’s easier said than done when you’re no longer on the main radar, but the second hope of a comeback lies in the party’s out and out bid to establish itself as the only party truly convinced by the virtues of EU membership, especially while the story runs that Corbyn doesn’t seem too fussed if we take a speedier route to Brexit or not. And this is where, after a zillion letters to the local press, former councillor Paul Braithwaite drops out. He confirmed this week that while he is still a ‘liberal’, he had not renewed his membership of the party having voted to Britain to Leave in June. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him locally, though, only last week the man who wore a t-shirt proudly bearing the word ‘irritant’ on the day he was elected to the council, as you do, was up at the House of Lords in opposition to HS2.

1 Comment on Brighton ’16: Proud irritant quits the Lib Dems after voting Leave

  1. ‘Tis true – I declined to renew my membership to the Liberal Democrat Party.

    This, because I do not share the Party’s now unrealistic aspiration (IMO) to rejoin the EU. I believe the UK should stand on its own feet without the baggage of Brussels. I don’t agree with the aspiration of either a federal Europe or of a European army alternative to NATO. That we’ve been free, outside the Euro, to devalue by more than 10% means that we can be and are price competitive, with the highest growth rate in Europe.

    However, I do believe we must introduce our own new regulatory regime on Air Quality (AQ): This should be built upon the World Health Organisation (WHO) thresholds that are tougher than the current EU-wide Air Quality Directive, which was written in the noughties before the full extent of the health consequences of diesel PM2.5 (and smaller) had begun to be revealed.

    Sadly, our ministry responsible is Defra. It’s a farming ministry and as such a political backwater. Can you name either of the last two ministers responsible for AQ? FYI They are Therese Coffey and Rory Stewart. Defra is not fit for purpose and should be summarily stripped of regulation of AQ. Hopefully, they will again be pummelled and ridiculed on AQ compliance in the High Court on October 17/18th by ClientEarth and Mayor Khan.

    So, yes, I’m still passionately involved in AQ, HS2 at Euston and Cycling. But at the age of 70, with three lovely grand-children, a continuing fight for justice for Equitable Life’s victims (EMAG) and my bicycling adventure holidays in Burma, Sri Lanka, Vietnam etc, I made it clear when rejected by Cantelowes’ ward residents in 2014 that I will not again stand for elected office.

    PS: I will still continue to write the occasional letter to the CNJ. We in Camden are soooo lucky to have such a very fine paper, with such consistently good letters pages.

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