Author Archives: Paul Hodgkinson

Leaderless for another year – no thank you

As we all stay safe in our homes, we have time to think and reflect. Too much time for some I know but at least we can take a step back and see the wood for the trees.

First of all, I want to say that postponing the leadership election was the right thing to do due to the extraordinary and overwhelming nature of the crisis we’re facing as a country and as a planet. The focus has to be on saving lives and supporting our communities.

But postponing it for so long – another 14 months – puts us in a very difficult position as a party. We’ve just come out of a bruising general election. The Tories have surged in popularity due to the crisis and being seen to have ‘delivered’ Brexit (even though they actually haven’t yet and probably won’t now on the promised timescales) whilst Labour has been muted.

This will start to change this weekend with Kier Starmer taking over as Labour leader. He will get some traction just by being new – and lets face it he’s bound to be more effective than his predecessor. So where does that leave us? It leaves us with no democratically elected leader until the summer of 2021.

We have the double hatted interim leadership – both good and competent people by the way – but not the single figure with the backing and authority of the party membership. As a party we are what our leader is. Paddy, Charles, Ming, Nick, Tim, Vince, Jo – they set the tone and image of what we were all about.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 67 Comments

All I want for Christmas is my Party back

I’ve now had a chance to catch up on sleep and am able to think rationally about the election and what has happened to us as a party.

Go back to election day itself and, having spent 8 hours knocking on doors in Cheltenham in the cold and rain, I got home, had a hot bath and sat down to watch the BBC exit poll before going to my local count in Cirencester.

I can honestly say I loathe exit polls – I’ve only ever been pleased with two in my whole life (1997 and 2005) but the rest have …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 45 Comments

“I’ve never marched before”

Like a million others I marched for a People’s Vote on 23 March. It was the second time in six months I’d taken to the streets of London and once again it was an uplifting moment I won’t forget. My Queen-themed placard (“Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?”) raised a few laughs and provided good photo fodder.

But I’m a politician so I guess people expect me to be marching, campaigning and putting myself out there.

At October’s march I was joined by a friend from university days (a Labour supporter actually but disillusioned with Corbyn – aren’t we all?) and lots of fellow Lib Dems. This time I reached out to another friend from uni days – Tim. “Will you come along the march?’ I asked. Now Tim is a lovely guy, a Dad and husband, but not particularly political. I didn’t think he’d come to London but I asked him anyway. To my surprise he said yes. ‘This Brexit mess has got me angry” he wrote in a short email. And with that we were set to meet up.

The sun was glimpsing through the clouds around Park Lane on that Saturday and there were thousands and thousands of people milling around. To get to Tim we had to walk the wrong way through throngs of people. Politely saying ‘Excuse me’ we battled through the masses – my Bohemian Rhapsody themed placard drawing smiles and requests for pics. Well I had to oblige didn’t I?

We found Tim. He was surrounded by flag waving and poster holding hordes – and off we went to join the march.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 8 Comments
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    @ Martin, "These are votes more easily lost (particularly if the outcome is successful for us) than gained. " I don't understand what this mean...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Laurence, I’m going to do something unexpected, in that I agree with Brad. If the Scots want to do this, they should have the right to and the obligation...
  • Mark ValladaresMark Valladares
    @ Paul, I may cover it later but we always (within reason) welcome contributions…...
  • Laurence Cox
    @Brad Barrows I don't suppose that you even think about the consequences of what you write. I really should not have to remind you that for over 50 years ...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Paul Barker, You're cherry picking. In other words you're choosing a time when the Tory lead was at its recent highest, ie June, and simply saying tha...