Autumn Leader’s Speech

We missed our usual Leader’s Speech in September when conference was cancelled following the death of the Queen. So instead Ed Davey will be delivering a major speech tomorrow (Sunday 6th November) from 12.50pm.

You can watch the speech live here.

Whilst most of the speech is under wraps until tomorrow, we have had some trailers, most notably in his proposal to make it a legal right for patients to see a GP within a week.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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20 Comments

  • Let us hope this is where we turn a corner and define a clear set of themes. Just hoping that moderate tactical voters come our way in target seats on polling day will not be enough

  • I agree. There was a time when we were rightly concerned about losing the leave vote. But now with all that is going wrong Brexit can be seen to be a mistake. Commit now to either single market or customs union and fill a huge void

  • Peter Davies 6th Nov '22 - 8:40am

    I’m afraid this is not an opportunity for ‘us’ to define a clear vision. ‘We’ could have done that at conference but Ed is constitutionally incapable of doing that (party constitution obviously but possibly his as well).

  • Chris Moore 6th Nov '22 - 8:43am

    We’ve got to show guile plus patience.

    Even though more electors are recognising Brexit was a mistake, that doesn’t mean there are large numbers of voters who want to de-Brexit.

    We managed to alienate even “moderate” Remainers at the last election; let’s not make the same tactical errors again.

    Unfortunately, any suggestion of re-joining on our part is going to alienate many potential Leave and moderate Remainers who would otherwise vote for us. Nor will it win over many keen Rejoiners, as they are already with us.

    So it’s a vote loser and won’t therefore help the pro-European cause.

    I think we should be arguing for close relationships with our European allies. Particularly important given the threat from Russia. And pointing that the Tory Brexit is going badly.

    I think arguing for re-joining the Customs’ Union could work. Argue it as a solution to red tape issues, which will lower prices.

    But we should damn well do serious in-depth psephological research first to make sure it isn’t going to distract from our strong lines on ambulance waiting times, sewage in rivers and cost of living issues.

    These latter are what interest the vast majority of voters.

  • Peter Watson 6th Nov '22 - 8:45am

    Another “leak” seems to be £300/month for home owners (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-63514047).
    The headline-grabbing statements for these policies being trailed before the speech reinforce the impression that the party is all about a “blue wall” strategy these days. It will be interesting to see if UBI/GBI is quietly ignored to avoid scaring that target vote or if it is emphasised as a counter-balance.

  • Chris Moore – You say we alienated moderate remainers but in 2019 we received 21% of the remain vote – more than the Tories – and gained 1.3 million votes. Polls now say we’re not holding on to those voters.

    I was uncomfortable with revoke but the real issue as shown by post election studies was that we didn’t convey to voters what our policies were *apart* from stopping Brexit.

    You accept a Customs Union so why not the EEA and single market as well?

  • David Evans 6th Nov '22 - 11:00am

    This morning we saw a mini version of that ‘A speech from Ed will save us’ idea with his Laura Kuenssberg interview. In it, Ed made a generally good job of getting his mortgage subsidy idea over, but it was undermined by the total lack of detail on who would get it. As a result, a lot of time was wasted batting around the “Exactly who will get it?” and “what about the well paid teacher?” questions and any chance of discussion other important points in Ed’s speech were lost.

    This is the fundamental problem with the view that Ed making a keynote speech based on ideas generated by his inner circle will compensate for cancelling conference is clear. The inner circle didn’t ask the hard questions – who should not get it and why? Should it be a loan or a grant? Why should those who didn’t move to a bigger house because they were wary of the economic situation, pay for those who jumped and hoped for the best? Inner circles never do.

    Also because it is just Ed, one interview and it is all over. Debates in conference on well thought out proposals would have answered these immediately, and also provided a clear out from the issue by emphasising that there are a lot more important matters than the fine micro detail of one policy.

    Cancelling conference was a blunder but no one who took that decision is owning it. The membership really have been let down once again.

  • The way I see it, we need those who voted for or supported Brexit to realise it was bad, but we need them to work it out for themselves, or at least feel like they’ve worked it out for themselves. That doesn’t mean ignoring the elephant in the room, but not does it mean being overly confrontational or impatient about it. At this point in time it means letting people see the damage of Brexit and if need be helping them see the connection, but without rubbing it in their faces.

    People don’t like being wrong, and it can be hard to change your mind, but harder still when someone is crowing about it.

    It looks like more people are realising the damage of Brexit, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to reverse Brexit. Many will find the idea that Brexit has been handled poorly appealing, and we can tap into that by suggesting improvements. The Leave campaign were careful not to pin down what they meant by Brexit, which worked to their advantage then, but can work to our advantage now.

  • Chris Moore 6th Nov '22 - 12:32pm

    Yes, exactly, Fiona. Spot on

    Marco, gaining 21% of the Remain vote is utterly useless, if in so doing you alenate all Leave voters. As 2019 proved. 11 seats!! Woopee!!

    Also, it’s not a question of me “accepting” the Single Market or EEA. I live in Spain; I speak several European languages. My partner is regularly at the Europen Commission for work purposes. I’m not a Leaver, you know….

    Both yourself and Martin with his “foot-dragging on damage” remarks miss the psephological point.

    I personally am a unilateralist, pro-EU, republican.

    However, a manifesto majoring on Rejoin, abolish the Monarchy and give up the independent deterrent would not be the wisest option.

    Advocating rejoining now will simply reduce our vote. Well, if that’s what you really want….

  • Jason Connor 6th Nov '22 - 3:53pm

    Yes but we know that re-join is not an option at the moment but you can’t just have closer ties with the EU without joining the single market. How many international trade deals have now replaced those lost to the EU, I would love to know. At least I haven’t seen the chlorinate chicken in the supermarkets or is that still to come? No dictator republican president either please, as a country we are in a much better position with a constitutional monarchy and King. Fine on the windfall tax but as I read elsewhere no mention of UBI which would be a vote winning policy enough to entice some labour voters. Winning elections is not just about appealing to tory voters, offer voters in labour facing seats some hope please Mr Davey.

  • There’s quite a lot we can do without joining the Single Market. I think that will come, but the general voting public (in marginal seats where their vote counts) aren’t yet persuaded.

    Even the term Custom’s Union remains loaded. When emotions were high there was a lot of talk about THE Custom’s Union, then A Custom’s Union, so a lot of people have views on this without ever taking the time to find out what it meant. So there’s scope for being smart about bringing back some aspects of THE Custom’s Union with a different name without upsetting too many people.

    But before all of that there’s a lot of low hanging fruit. Schemes like Erasmus and Euraton and improving how we deal with visas for musicians and everyone else. It’s a lot more faff to do it piecemeal, but a lot of people who voted Leave wouldn’t have any objection to these changes, especially if they are presented as Tory mismanagement, rather than overturning a core part of Brexit.

  • Peter Watson 6th Nov '22 - 5:26pm

    @Chris Moore “I personally am a unilateralist, pro-EU, republican. However, a manifesto majoring on Rejoin, abolish the Monarchy and give up the independent deterrent would not be the wisest option.”
    That sounds like a strategy of telling voters what Lib Dems think voters want to hear, even if it contradicts what Lib Dems actually believe! 🙁

  • Chris Moore – Losing said remainers is also useless if we don’t actually win over that many leave voters in their place.

    At one point in 2019 the Lib Dems were clearly on course to win 15-16% of the vote and 30-35 seats. Mistakes were then made but that it is not a reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.

  • Chris Moore 7th Nov '22 - 12:04pm

    @Peter Watson: most LDs are not republicans or unilateral disarmers! Those are my personal views!

    To get anywhere, to have any weight electorally, we need to have a viable electoral strategy.

    Focusing our campaign on issues such as Single Market, Customs’ Union, PR et al will simply cement in the vast majority of voters’ minds that we are utterly irrelevant to their lives and concerns. It’s a real turn off.

    We have to get away from out own internal obsessions and respond to the dire issues facing ordinary voters.

    @Marco: I don’t how long you’ve followed LD fortunes. In the 80s, 90s and 2000s, we were either in the high teens or low to mid twenties at General Elections.

    That’s of the whole electorate. Not just Remainers. We had many Euro-sceptic voters and indeed members.

    To me, 2019 was a very poor result indeed; direct reward of a psephologically self-defeating strategy which alienated 50% of voters up front. Such a strategy will never be successful in a FPTP system.

    If we had a PR system in Holland, well then we could become a tiny liberal party that didn’t welcome Eurosceptic voters. We’d get our 11% and possibly end up in government – Coalition. Another Coalition member might be the tiny liberal party that was Eurosceptical.

    But in a FPTP system, we need to be a broad-based party that doesn’t just appeal to our tiny core support.

  • Chris Moore 7th Nov '22 - 12:06pm

    That should read, “If we had a PR system, LIKE in Holland….

  • “In the 80s, 90s and 2000s, we were either in the high teens or low to mid twenties”

    Yes and now as “respecters of The Result” we’re on what, 9% on average?

  • Peter Watson 7th Nov '22 - 8:04pm

    @Chris Moore “most LDs are not republicans or unilateral disarmers!”
    More’s the pity! 🙂
    I do sometimes wonder what the Lib Dems are actually for! 🙁
    Unfortunately, the strategy of looking like nice Tories for the last couple of years makes some sort of sense (and sadly, the party looks very comfortable in that role), but I think it’s very fragile.
    Having defined itself as an anti-Brexit one-trick pony for several years (which I think was also a mistake, but such a small-c conservative focus avoided the division that seems to arise when anything radical is considered), appearing to have abandoned even that has left the party looking like a no-trick donkey!

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