A tale of two leadership elections

This has to be the tweet of the day for me. It fair summed things up.

I woke up to sunshine streaming through the window this morning and smiled.

And then I remembered that 100,000 or so of the most reactionary people in the country are about to choose the next Prime Minister.

That’s a spirit-dampening thought if ever there was one.

These are people who think climate change is a myth, who would remove hard won rights from women & LGBT people, who think workers’ rights have gone too far & who want to inflict the catastrophe of no deal Brexit on us. You wouldn’t want them voting on X Factor, let alone choosing our PM.

These are people who think that drug use decades ago is more of a problem than fronting a campaign which told a massive lie on the side of a bus and stoked up racism and division. The two frontrunners of the discredited Vote Leave are in pole position to run our country.

These are people who are signed up to a small state with few regulations. They are mostly affluent people who want to pay less tax and who have no understanding of what it is like not to be able to pay rent or put food on the table.

So we have a lot to worry about. Whoever wins the Tory leadership is very bad news for the country.

The opposition party with most seats is dysfunctional and useless and can not be relied upon to do the right thing.

The one bit of hope is that we finally seem to have knocked ourselves into shape at the time when we are most needed. We just ran a stonkingly good national election campaign with a simple, heartfelt message.

We can be very proud of our two leadership candidates. The upcoming choice for Liberal Democrat members is going to be very much about who you think is best, not least worst.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th Jun '19 - 12:15am

    A contrast shown here realised by us all, good to see this very clear exposition of the real leadership election, and the comedy fictitious, sit com, soap one!

    I love to watch on dvd or tv, old soaps from my childhood and youth. My wife and I currently enjoy the original Dynasty, very good to pop an episode on, in fact we are hooked, as in days of yore!

    This Tory shower haven’t a Blake, or Geoff amongst them, though one or two might fancy themselves thus, or as Alexis! Soap opera it is nonetheless!

    Or about as funny as a really awful old British sit com. Though even eighties sit coms were not as bad as this farce!

  • Venetia Caine 11th Jun '19 - 4:23am

    I wake up depressed and stressed every morning. I can quite understand those who have fatalistically opted out of worrying/caring about Brexit.

  • Jenny Barnes 11th Jun '19 - 7:00am

    “The thick of it “ is available on iplayer…

  • The defining principle of the Tory party is it is a Reactionary Party masquerading as a Conservative party. It is full of delusional chancers who are being cheered on by an aging membership to return to days of yore. Strangely enough that chimes in with the majority of Brexit cheerleaders, deeply reactionary and thirsting to return to days of yore. Now some want to return to the 1970’s (the Lexiteers), some want to return to days of Empire and some wish to return to a rural idyll, all are dangerous and no matter how much they claim to be “nice” they are not, their reactionary views are powered by a sense of failure and bitterness dressed up with platitudes about “doing it for the grandchildren” when they are actually “doing in the grandchildren”.

  • @ Frankie ” The defining principle of the Tory party is it is a Reactionary Party “.

    Correct – and Lib Dems should be careful who they associate with after the evidence demonstrated over the last 150 plus years.

  • John Marriott 11th Jun '19 - 9:52am

    What an unedifying spectacle the Tory leadership campaign is turning out to be. For the men on display yesterday it appeared to be a case of “mine is bigger than yours” (note to editor – please feel free to alter this to something like “My Brexit is bigger than yours”), while for poor old Esther McVey (Lorraine Kelly; “Esther who?”) it was a case of proving that she was actually the one with the cojones (aka ‘b…..s’ to all fun loving Lib Dems). I’m just awaiting the arrival of Bozza to liven things up even more.

    Compare that to the Lib Dem ‘campaign’ and, from what I have seen of the clips kindly provided on LDV, it’s a bit like comparing the ‘quality’ of the Vauxhall Conference with that of the Premier League. To be honest, if I had a vote, I would find it hard to decide whom to support. Couldn’t Ed and Jo ‘do a Green’ and have a joint leadership?

  • Hmm. @John Marriott. I challenge anyone on here to name either of the two green leaders. After all, even Richard Kemp thought their leader was Caroline Lucas!
    I am not sure that example is one to follow.

  • I see Boris Johnson kicked off his campaign by pledging an income tax cut for those who earn more than £50,000 a year.

    BBC News this morning reports that he has now won the endorsement of ‘The quiet man who failed to turn up the volume’ and designed the blighted Universal Credit, former party leader Iain Duncan Smith. What a shower.

    Michael Crace in this morning’s Guardian says it all :

    Tory hopefuls prove you don’t need to be on drugs to … – The Guardian
    13 hours ago – Dominic Raab was buccaneering, Esther McVey ranting and Michael Gove vanishing before our eyes. …..

  • Michael Cole 11th Jun '19 - 10:24am

    The chaotic Conservative leadership contest is receiving wall-to-wall coverage on the major TV channels. But has anyone seen any recent coverage of the Ed-Jo hustings ?

    Ok, the former contest is to decide the next PM, but is this another example of media bias against us ?

  • John Marriott 11th Jun '19 - 10:41am

    @Mick Taylor
    My post was actually intended to amuse as well as to inform. At my age, which, judging by what you have revealed in your previous posts, would be similar to yours, you have to laugh, otherwise you would cry at what purports for governance in this country at the moment. At least you still have your faith in the ultimate triumph of liberalism, unlike yours truly. My ‘idea’ of a joint leadership was an attempt at a lighthearted way of not having to make a decision, a decision, which clearly would be yours not mine.

    PS In answer to your question, it’s Jonathon(?) Barclay(?) and some lady (but not ‘goody two shoes’ Lucas).

  • Venetia, at 4.23am. There are reasons to be hopeful, and perhaps even cheerful! Which of the nations which suffered most in the European WW2 now prospers most? It can take a disaster to re-set a culture. Taking today’s view, might it not be said that Britain’s misfortune was to emerge from that war somewhat battered, but unbowed; and that that unbroken back preserved the system of government — FPTP etc — that has brought us to this present ironic humiliation. With a Johnson Government surely one Parliament will finish the Conservatives for ever? The Lib Dems’ opportunity now at last begins! (Good to be young, though, if you are!) (Of course, I did vote remain: but here we all are.)

  • Yes the Conservatives have lost it but Rory Stewart does seem to be living on the same planet as the rest of us. On Radio 4 World at One yesterday he dealt very skilfully with an advocate of No Deal and WTO rules but I do not think he will be the next Prime Minister.
    It is time to change the rules so that when a Prime Minister leaves office during the five year term of the House of Commons his/her successor must be elected by MPs only and not by party members.

  • John Marriot at 10.41. John, surely your sneer at Caroline Lucas is ungenerous and ill-considered: indeed, unLibDem? I am not writing this to praise her steady good humour and temperate good sense, but to remind you that Climate and Environment loom ever larger in innumerable serious young minds — and so they should — and that we do ourselves and our country no good at all by disparaging her and the party of which the is still the figurehead as the only MP.

  • The Green co-leaders are Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry. The latter seems to hate the Liberal Democrats. She was interviewed on the Today programme recently and despite some helpful (to us) comments by the BBC interviewer she just could not seem to stop. I understand they hoped to do better than us at the recent elections but looking at the locals most of their gains seemed to be in places where we did not stand. Presumably some of the more left Labour voters turned to the Greens at the European Parliament elections but not many in Scotland.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jun '19 - 2:03pm

    frankie 11th Jun ’19 – 8:14am “some want to return to the 1970’s”.
    The key act took effect in 1973 and was endorsed by a confirmatory referendum in 1975.
    Working together with others in parliament and in Europe was a key attraction of the SDP under its first leader and the name he most preferred, which was Alliance.
    The European Parliament was directly elected.
    Those were days of leadership and progress.
    You will note that I did not mention above the late Ian Paisley.

  • Sue Sutherland 11th Jun '19 - 2:14pm

    I’m hopeful that we are seeing the last gasps of Toryism. They will have a PM who pleases the members but not most of the country. They have so many ghastly people wanting to be their leader, while one OK candidate didn’t get enough support to stand and Rory Stewart found it difficult, so everyone can see how truly dreadful they are. Trying to deselect Dominic Grieve is another symptom of the fact that they have lost the little dignity they had.
    Meanwhile Labour are still facing two ways over Brexit because they have given themselves up to the extreme left, who appear to be trying to achieve the chaos required to instigate the revolution which they believe will usher in an opposite world of unicorns to the Tories’ dream. The country has never bought in to the extreme left and I’m very hopeful they won’t buy in to the extreme right either.
    I think the Tory privatisation rampage may be falling apart too. In Liverpool there’s a new hospital which won’t be able to be used for several years because of faulty construction. Several schemes in various places have foundered because private companies have gone bust. The answer isn’t to go on an opposite rampage of nationalisation. It has to be pragmatic, considering how privatisation works and perhaps going for quality rather than the cheapest option. We would chose what is best for the national community and regulate to improve standards.
    However, first we have to fight for our country’s soul against the idea that hatred, meanness, anger and fear should rule us. We used to have a reputation for fairness and I think it’s about time we reminded people of that.

  • John Marriott 11th Jun '19 - 4:41pm

    @Roger Lake
    Sorry, Roger; but she’s just too good to be true. I have to confess that I feel the same whenever I see another article by George Monbiot in The Guardian. I wonder what would be Ms Lucas’ ‘cornfield moment’, if she were ever to own up to an indiscretion? As for being ‘unLibDem’, that may be one of the reasons why I am no longer a member of the party, which I represented for thirty years as a councillor. If you ever want to see a Lib Dem participation in any future government you have got to broaden your church.

    As regards the environment, we need to see past the zealotry towards the practical. As I have said before, everyone wants to go back to nature; but nobody wants to go on foot!

  • Well, I am afraid here in this part of Devon, I was defeated (into 4th place in a 3 member seat by a combination of Greens and Independents! In a seat I had won in a by-election last year!

    Seriously, though, Jonathan Bartley has been a very good Green co-leader for the last number of years, always in my view speaks sense. Sian Berry, their new co-leader, has been a Green London Assembly member for several years, and certainly has become well-known, especially in London and the South East.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jun '19 - 7:03pm

    Most of the decisions in the Conservative party will be made by MPs, including a late change in the rules. The selectorate gets a short period to change their minds between rounds of voting. The candidates get a short period to change their policies between rounds of voting, which they would not get if they were to use transferable voting, (which would have been used after Mrs. Thatcher withdrew, but Douglas Hurd and Michael Heseltine also withdrew.)
    Consider the French system. There can be two rounds of voting for the Presidency and there can be rounds of voting for the National Assembly. Transferable voting would be quicker and simpler, but statements of policy would need to be thought through before being uttered. There would be no role/s for the Tory spin doctors. House of Cards?
    Roger Lake 11th Jun ’19 – 10:46am: Please remember Marshall Aid.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Jun '19 - 7:12pm

    matt 11th Jun – 6:53pm
    One of the reasons for Prohibition (of alcohol) in the USA was the money being spent which was being denied to other members of a family. Other expenditures, such as gambling or drugs have the same effect.

  • Denis Loretto 11th Jun '19 - 9:31pm

    Does it not occur to any of the Conservative party members thirsting to vote for Boris Johnson that there is something rather worrying about a candidate for PM whose team are congratulating themselves on their success in keeping him away from the media in case he makes a fool of himself (again) ?

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