Norman Lamb on Europe, the media and Lib Dem prospects

In an interview reported by East Anglia Bylines, former Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Norman Lamb talked of the government’s failures on Europe:

The UK Government’s flouting of international law, Brexit and the behaviour of Boris Johnson as prime minister, says Sir Norman, have diminished the nation’s standing on the international stage. When USA President George Bush was seeking European support for the Iraq War, he approached the UK and PM Tony Blair in the first instance. Lamb believes the UK no longer has its former credibility and influence: the USA would bypass Britain and go directly to France, Germany or another European state.

Leaving the EU has removed the UK from many international forums. Not only has this caused harm to the UK but, Lamb says, it also diminishes the EU. Previously the UK would forge alliances with other European states to amplify their voice or to temper a French German axis. Rather than a return to the EU, Lamb would prefer to see a reformed settlement along the lines of Macron’s proposed “two-tier Europe”.

He is however more optimistic about the local Liberal Democrat prospects:

Looking to the future, Lamb says he is “personally invested in recovering the North Norfolk seat” for the LibDems, with Steffan Aquarone as its MP. He praises the work of the LibDem-led North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), and in particular the work of Cllr Tim Adams and Cllr Wendy Fredericks. He believes North Norfolk is leading the way in “social prescribing”, which connects people to activities, groups, and services to address the practical, social, and emotional needs that affect health and wellbeing. NNDC, moreover, balances the budget every year, demonstrating that Liberal Democrats can govern successfully.

He also took a swing at the impact of the media on our politics:

“Can we as a party reduce the nonsense coming out of mainstream media?” Lamb is asked. “Honestly, I don’t think we can do anything,” he replies. Media owners have their own agenda, he explains, and the public give too much respect to old fashioned media. However, the online media bypasses the “biased press” and an increasing number of people get their news online. We must focus on that.

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