Vince Cable says some Brexit voters nostalgic for era when 'faces were white'

Posted On: 
11th March 2018

Vince Cable has said some elderly voters who backed Brexit did so out of nostalgia for a time when "faces were white".

Vince Cable was addressing Lib Dem delegates in Southport
Credit: 
PA Images

The Liberal Democrat leader told his party's spring conference that the 70% of over 65s who backed Britain quitting the EU had crushed the “hopes and aspiration” of the three-quarters of under 25s who voted Remain.

Mr Cable said despite previously thinking Brexit must go ahead following the 2016 vote, he changed his mind when he saw “the evidence that Brexit had overwhelmingly been the choice of the older generation”. 

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“Too many were driven by a nostalgia for a world where passports were blue, faces were white, and the map was coloured imperial pink,” he told Lib Dem delegates in Southport.

“Their votes on one wet day in June, crushing the hopes and aspiration of the young for years to come. 

“The excuse for this outrage – a vision of a Global Britain signing lots of new trade deals– is a fraud. 

“Far from opening our arms to the world, we will be tearing up preferential trade deals we already have with 27 countries in the EU and 74 outside it.” 

The Lib Dem leader went on to blast Jeremy Corbyn, who he said has let down the working class voters Labour are supposed to represent with a confused Brexit stance.

“You cannot speak up for the poor and be complicit in making the country poorer," he said.

“You cannot claim to love the NHS knowing that Brexit will starve it of cash.

“You cannot be an advocate of strong rights at work, and stand by while your country walks away from the organisation which has most stood up for workers.

“The Labour party has imported into politics the principles of quantum physics where an object can be there and not there, at the same time.

“They believe you can be for Brexit it and against it. But politics is not physics. Jeremy –The time has come to decide.”

Mr Cable also took aim at the “poisonous rhetoric" around the Brexit debate and suggested Theresa May’s 2016 claim that “you cannot be a citizen of nowhere” helped form “a toxic brew which fuels the populist right.”

He added: “What a disgrace that the fools’ errand of Brexit…embarked on to paper over cracks in the Conservative party has resulted in hate crime on our streets.”