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After the Autumn Statement, where now?

November 23, 2016 9:34 PM

Brexit - what? when? how?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement warned today of "government finances [...] £122bn worse off than previously expected by 2020".* Yet despite the UK's confirmed forecast of spiralling debt**, downgraded growth** and increased uncertainty, long predicted by Remain campaigners, the government remains implacable in its insistence on proceeding with an undefined Brexit.

As part of the 48.1% who voted to remain in the European Union, if we all sit back and let things take their course, where will we end up? What sort of future are we building for our country and our children? And what will become of the European Union? It isn't enough to sit at home, shaking our heads sadly and muttering "I told you so", or discussing the myriad ways in which the UK will be dragged down by this headlong rush to oblivion.

Perhaps the best attitude we can adopt is the one that President Obama has told the New Yorker magazine that he has promoted to his daughters, in the aftermath of Trump's election victory: "What I say to them is that people are complicated [...] Societies and cultures are really complicated. . . . This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it's messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there's going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn't stop. . . . You don't get into a fetal position about it. You don't start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward."***

For Liberal Democrats, that is the big question for us now. As a party, we are pushing for a new referendum on the terms of Brexit -- but as individuals, where are the places where each and every one of us can push to keep our principles moving forward? What can each of us do to mitigate the government's unquestioning "Brexit means Brexit"?



* [accessed 23 November 2016]

** [accessed 23 November 2016]

***[accessed 23 November 2016]