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Lessons from Ukraine

March 20, 2014 1:08 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats


George Smid, a European Parliamentary Candidate in the East Midlands comments on the situation in Ukraine following the referendum. .

George Smid 1In 1994 there were three countries guaranteeing 'integral territory' of Ukraine: Russia, US and the UK. The involvement of Russia and the US position was clear - they were the super powers. But the UK - why was another country of roughly the same size as Ukraine brought in?

The UK was brought in because of the high moral standing of Britain. And it is the moral standing of Britain which must not be compromised. Clearing the negotiations for Angela Merkel might be expedient for the Tory party but is failing the UK: It is failing Britain's promise to Ukraine, it is failing UK's position in Europe, it is failing British interest - in Europe and in the world. It should have been David Cameron going to Moscow.

The Liberal Democrat position is clear - we must be in Europe to influence Europe.

Nick Clegg said it quite clearly: We must stay in to project UK interest and change Europe to reflect that interest: But you can't change it with one foot out the door. You change it by taking your place at the table - which is where you protect Britain's national interest and promote our values too.

Ukraine provides an illustrative example.

It is a European crises and our response should be British and European. It is also an illustration that the only party actively engaged, formulating responses, pressing for solution are Liberal Democrats.

In George's manifesto he declared the Tories failing the UK because they present non-European policies at home and non-engagement in Brussels. He also said that Labour was failing Britain by resigning the British interest. Today George would add UKIP to the mix: they are failing Britain because they are silent.

Our voice must be heard and must be heard unequivocally. In Europe and in Ukraine. As Paddy Ashdown said: the plainer Russians get the message, the better they understand it.

The Crimea Crises thus offers the platform for the Liberal Democrats to be visible and exposes the weakness of the Tories and UKIP 'out of Europe' sentiment. Labour's policy is to repeat the media headlines. What the crises exposes most is the lack of leadership in Labour, Tory and UKIP. And into this vacuum the Liberal Democrats successfully stepped in: Paddy Ashdown is rightly seen as the best 'conflict manager' the country has to offer. And he states quite clearly: If the West acts in unison Russia will pay the price, but the 'international community' must be utterly united.

To act in unison we need to lead. Step forward Liberal Democrats

George Smid is a Euro Candidate for East Midlands

George comes originally from Czechoslovakia having lived in the UK since 1981. His personal experience, his adopted home and his work makes him specifically interested and engaged in European issues

George welcomes any opportunity to become engaged in public debate about the need for Britain to stay in Europe and for the need for the UK playing a leading role in Europe

George can be contacted at

Mobile: 07950 021 062


Facebook: J George Smid

Twitter: georgesmid