Alright, we lost and the Conservatives won. A referendum on our membership of the European Union beckons and UKIP, plus a chunk of the Conservative Party, can be counted upon to campaign for us to leave. Labour can't be counted upon to make a pro-European case and the Liberal Democrats need to develop a more nuanced stance than simply being in favour of Europe as it is (not one of Nick Clegg's finest moments, might I suggest?).
So, the European Liberal Forum event on confronting the far-right and Eurosceptics was a potential source of ideas and I attended with some enthusiasm.
After some introductions by our hosts, Giulio Ercolessi spoke about the importance of treating people as individuals, as opposed to groups of, and within, minorities.
Han ten Broeke made another appearance, speaking about the Dutch experience. He believes that the VVD advances stem from an acknowledgement that telling people that they should be more tolerant is not good enough. You need to understand where the people are, and you need to be in government. That means, potentially, compromising on your principles in order to gain power. in the Netherlands, that meant drawing the far-right populists into government, forcing them to compromise. For such people, compromise is deadly, making them 'just like the rest of us' and thus neutralised. You need to bring them out into the open, rather than forcing them underground.
He noted that, in Britain, the Liberal Democrats had taken responsibility, yet had been unfairly punished. However, generally, the public like political parties who take responsibility. He accepted that, for many liberals, this is an uncomfortable stance, but it works.
Yousuf Gilani is a Venstre local councillor from Drammen, and the winner of the 2014 ALDE Committee of the Regions President's Award. He spoke of his background, coming as he does from a family who came to Norway from Pakistan in the 1960's.
He emphasised the importance of building bridges between communities. He had organised a protest in Oslo against Islamic extremism, with a huge turnout from the Muslim community to demonstrate their opposition to such extremism, inspired by the experience of his daughter.
Johanna Jönsson MP, the Swedish Centerpartiet spokesperson on immigration and integration, was next up. She noted the difficulty that mainstream Swedish opinion has had in dealing with the far right Swedish Democrats. How do you discuss immigration and integration without providing succour to such people? As a result, politicians and the media have chosen to duck the issue or raise potential tightening of the immigration regime.
Support for the Swedish Democrats is highest amongst those who feel threatened by the changes in society, technological and cultural. The campaign against them is dominated by accusations of racism and xenophobia, which merely reinforces their sense of alienation.
Johanna felt that the best solution is not to communicate through the media, but to take a more 'face to face' approach. She is travelling the country, meeting those who are worried about change, explaining how the immigration system really works, and about what happens. She wants people to exercise their brains, not their hearts.
We need to have a clear vision for our society, to explain how migration fits into that and what we need to do to make things work for as many of us as possible. That does not mean including the Swedish Democrats, as Han ten Broeke advocated, it means taking them on.
Delegates then intervened, talking about the issues of identity and integration. I spoke about my background, and about my family's migration. I firmly believe that we have to do something about those communities who have effectively become 'ghettoised' and isolated from our community, our civil society and our values. That means, as liberals, reaching out to them, expressing how our values offer them opportunities that isolation denies them.