Dear fellow Social Liberal,
Instead of talking about securing Liberal Democrat electoral successes, I wanted to use this New Year’s message to talk about the importance of the task we face in securing the UK’s place in the European Union.
2016 could bring us an in-out referendum. The leave campaign is storming ahead. They are well funded, focused and are feeding the tabloids, The Telegraph and The Times, with daily EU scare stories.
We are a party of instinctive multilateralists and internationalists. Unlike us, the other parties (with the exception of UKIP) are divided over the issue of Europe. Liberal Democrats of all persuasions, agree on the need to stay inside the EU and to reform it from within.
As liberals, we want to build prosperity, security and liberty, and the European Union is an imperfect, but crucial instrument for achieving that vision.
We know that immigration boosts our economy and helps to pay for vital public services.
We know that isolated from the world’s largest trading bloc, will mean our government has to forge dozens, if not hundreds, of bi-lateral trade agreements and that, meanwhile, our businesses will lose competitive edge.
And we know that Europe has helped secure human rights for us all and fostered decades of peace.
This year there will be elections for the Scottish parliament, Welsh & London assemblies, as well as locals up and down the country, and we must fight them. But the referendum on our membership of the European Union, is possibly the most important election for a generation.
The polls are perilously close. The government has ruled out holding the referendum on 5 May, but it could be held soon after, as early as June. So please don't exhaust yourselves completely in May. We need to reserve enough energy to get people out to vote to remain in Europe. We need to work with progressives in all parties, to get our vote registered, and to get it out on polling day. We must put partisan issues behind us, and focus on the shared goal of securing a majority in the referendum.
What Can I Do To Help?
- Help the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign – register your support.
- Volunteer – Sign up to help the SLF with everything from writing a blog to hosting an SLF event in your area.
- Help us grow – recruit your friends and colleagues to the SLF. Membership is open to either Liberal Democrat members or those who aren’t a member of a political party.
- Donate – SLF is run by volunteers and we achieve what we do purely through donations, so if you’re able to help us, we would be incredibly grateful.
Happy New Year!