And we’re off: Lib Dems welcome the 4th July General Election!

Who would have known when I booked my dentist appointment for 5:30 tonight that the Prime Minister would choose 5pm on a wet Wednesday in May to make the most farcical General Election launch announcement I have ever known.

It could have come straight from The Thick of It. The Prime Minister standing in the pouring rain, his suit getting shinier by the second, his words drowned out by anti Brexit campaigner Steve Bray blasting “Things can only get better” by D:Ream, Labour’s campaign anthem from 1997.

Our Press Office tweeted: “Things can only get wetter.”

Ed Davey welcomed the General Election as a chance to kick out the Tories and deliver the change the country needs. He said:

This General Election is a chance to kick Rishi Sunak’s appalling Conservative government out of office and deliver the change the public is crying out for.

For years the Conservative Party has taken voters for granted and lurched from crisis to crisis while the problems facing the country are getting so much worse.

The NHS has been brought to its knees, people’s mortgages and rents have soared by hundreds of pounds a month, and water companies have got away with pumping filthy sewage into our rivers and beaches. All because this Conservative Government is more interested in fighting between themselves than standing up for the needs of the country.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats at this election is a vote for a strong local champion who will stand up for your community and health services. It’s clear that in many seats across the country, the best way to beat the Conservatives is to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton highlighted his ambition to see liberals replace nationalists as the third party in the House of Commons.

The Conservatives and the SNP have taken people for granted and made a mess of our country for too long. People have had enough, it’s time for change and Scottish Liberal Democrats are here for it.

We want to help everyone who can’t get a GP appointment or see an NHS dentist, lift up our schools and deliver for business. We’ll reduce your bills and tackle climate change by rolling out a national insulation programme, and we’ll get the government-owned water company to clean up its act and stop filling our rivers with sewage.

Scottish Liberal Democrats want to bring people back together, putting Scotland at the heart of a reformed UK and fixing our broken relationship with Europe.

People deserve a fair deal and local champions who will work tirelessly for them. From Milngavie to Mallaig, Cupar to Cape Wrath, people are choosing the Scottish Liberal Democrats to make that change happen.

It is absolutely within our grasp to have more liberals than nationalists in the next Parliament, so liberal voices are heard at the very front of the House of Commons once again.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said:

After months of speculation and rumours, Rishi Sunak has finally decided to face the music by calling a general election for this Summer.

It’s about time the public had a say in who is running the country, after years of Conservative chaos and disorder we have finally been given the chance to show them the door.

This is a chance for the electorate to send a message to both Westminster and Cardiff Bay that they want to see some meaningful change.

Make no mistake, neither the Conservatives or Labour offer anything different from the current status quo.

The Liberal Democrats have always had a proud history of standing up for the interests of people here in Wales, and this will not change.

This is not only an opportunity to kick the Conservatives out of Westminster but also our chance to send a message to the Welsh Labour government that Wales will not put up with their nonsense for much longer.

Today’s soggy Sunak speech will be the stuff of internet memes forever, but the Conservatives have money, ruthlessness and the ability to bombard their campaign messages into people’s homes almost under the radar. There are times it will get nasty, but we have the positive, hopeful campaign themes to counteract them.

To all Liberal Democrats standing, their teams and agents, all the very, very best of luck. I hope you get the amazing results you deserve.

A special thought to those who have piles of election expense returns from the locals to get in at the beginning of June on top of all the General Election stuff they will be doing.

And a massive hug to all those whose holiday plans have been thrown into turmoil by the date. There are bound to be some people in Scotland will have had holidays booked for when their children’s schools break up on 28th June.

We have so much to play for over the next 44 days. The end of a truly rotten government, and enough of us in the Commons to make a big difference. Let’s go for it.

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

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10 Comments

  • Nonconformistradical 22nd May '24 - 7:52pm

    “There are bound to be some people in Scotland will have had holidays booked for when their children’s schools break up on 28th June.”

    Big LD postal vote campaign – now?

    From BBC:
    SNP: ‘Disrespectful’ to call general election in school holidays
    SNP: ‘Disrespectful’ to call general election in school holidays

    SNP leader John Swinney says “not a moment’s thought” was given by the Conservatives to hold the general election during Scotland’s school holidays.

    While Mr Swinney said he welcomed the General Election, he added it was an act of disrespect and showed “contempt” the government had for Scotland to hold it on 4 July.

  • If today was the best Sunak could do it looks as if his theme tune for the GE will be, “Whinging in the Rain”

  • Graham Jeffs 23rd May '24 - 8:03am

    If only the public knew what we stand for other than a list of policy promises! We still lack definition. Not being the Conservatives isn’t enough. We need to be strident in promoting our fundamental beliefs.

    That aside, very good luck to all our candidates. I sincerely hope that my concerns prove to be misplaced.

  • @Graham Jeffs – I don’t know where you live but people in our target seats, and some others, will have a very clear idea of what we stand for by now. At constituency level we can get our message out to them, even though the national coverage is skimpy. In my constituency we have been delivering one leaflet and one target letter every month, and weekly during elections.

  • Graham Jeffs 23rd May '24 - 8:46am

    Mary Reid – you are very very fortunate. But I regret to say you are in a minority.

    In addition, I question whether there is any wide perception of what we stand for. That is going to make creating general momentum much more difficult.

  • David Garlick 23rd May '24 - 10:22am

    Given in his speech his dismissal of action of climate change, so appropriate that the climate chose to give him a good soaking. A drip being dripped on.

  • I wouldn’t normally encourage people to spend time reading Conservative Home website, but this article is well worth a read:
    https://conservativehome.com/2024/05/23/john-oxley-if-tories-arent-disciplined-we-risk-the-complete-collapse-of-the-general-election-campaign/

  • @Graham Jeffs – yes, I am fortunate to be living in a target seat, although I was campaigning for about 20 years before we won it. It’s a long game.

    My point is that the only way we can get traction with the media is for us to substantially increase the number of MPs, and that can only happen with rigorous targeting. In 2019 we aimed at increasing our national appeal and look where that got us!

    Once we have more MPs, especially if we regain our position as the third party in the Commons, then we will get more national coverage, more Parliamentary questions, more exposure on programmes like Question Time etc. That’s when we can get our values out to a wider audience.

  • In 2005 as I recall we didn’t really talk about Iraq until the last week or two of the campaign so hopefully something similar might happen with Brexit this time. If not, this will be “the most dishonest election ever” as Michael Heseltine put it for not addressing the elephant in the room.

  • Peter Davies 23rd May '24 - 2:36pm

    “In 2019 we aimed at increasing our national appeal and look where that got us!”
    We targeted reasonably well going into 2019. The problem was not that we aimed at increasing our national appeal but that we succeeded in reducing it. If our national campaign had added votes to our local campaigning we would have won most of our targets.

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