+++Breaking news – our campaign slogan for the general election

The Liberal Democrat slogan for the General Election has now been unveiled. It was heavily trailed in advance so it should not come as a surprise to anyone!





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  • I’m disappointed that it isn’t just “Make it Stop!” 🙂

  • Good slogan
    My suggestion would have been “Bin Brixit. Keep the UK”
    because I think the break up of the UK will motivate many to vote against Johnson

  • I mean Bin Brexit, keep the UK

  • @Graem

    They had to change that because they are using diesel polluting vans to advertise their campaign slogan in and around parliament square.
    It would have looked a bit odd to be tough on climate change with such a campaign logo saying “save Britain” whilst it’s idle diesel polluting vans where pumping out fumes.
    Still, I am sure the campaigners sitting in the van where nice and warm with the heaters going 😉

  • The problem is that the Lib Dems have not acted to stop Brexit. They have taken actions which have helped keep Brexit on the table. They show no sign that this will change. Their claim to be the Stop Brexit party is basically just a pose, which they hope will win them votes.

    Labour’s vote, however badly Corbyn performs, will not evaporate. Labour and the Lib Dems will inevitably divide most of the Remain vote between themselves, in roughly equal shares. If we had had a People’s Vote, that wouldn’t have mattered, and Remain would probably have won. But instead, we have an election – and, unless the Lib Dems can find a way of co-operating with Labour, the Remain cause is almost certainly down Dominic Cummings’ toilet.

    The Lib Dems have avoided co-operation with Labour like the plague. As soon as Labour belatedly came out with a Referendum policy, the Lib Dems hurriedly abandoned theirs, and instead promoted the bombastic promise to revoke Brexit, in the fantasy land of an overall Lib Dem majority. Why did they do that? To put clear water between themselves and Labour, and to appeal to pale pink Tories.

    This summer, a brief window of opportunity for a unity government opened up. Did the Lib Dems use it wisely, and press for a Brexit referendum? No, they begged the independent ex-Tories to rule it out, because it would have meant co-operation with Labour. Swinson was determined to be the first to show the world that the Lib Dems would not work with Labour. In other words, to show that the Lib Dems would not genuinely try to stop Brexit.

  • Daniel Walker 31st Oct '19 - 12:45pm

    Is there a PDF / SVG / EPS or other vector format version of that logo, for print purposes?

  • So if not Brexit it might have been ‘Build a brighter future’ – I wonder if the Brexit negative will cancel out the brighter positive!?

  • Alex Macfie 31st Oct '19 - 1:30pm

    David Allen: Ridiculous conspiratorial nonsense about us “begg[ing] the independent ex-Tories to rule [a PV] out, because it would have meant co-operation with Labour.” No, we did not. Most of them ruled it out, because they wanted Brexit, but only with a deal.

  • Paul Barker 31st Oct '19 - 3:09pm

    Both halves of the Slogan are entirely positive, Stop things getting even worse & help them get better; wheres the Negative in that ?

  • David Allen 31st Oct '19 - 4:03pm

    Alex Macfie – Yes, many of the ex-Tories would probably have rejected a unity government whatever we had said. But the Lib Dems spoke up before the ex-Tories did! That’s clear evidence that the Lib Dems were more concerned to avoid cooperating with Labour than to pursue an avenue that might have stopped Brexit.

  • Yeovil Yokel 31st Oct '19 - 5:01pm

    Hmm, safe but dull.

    How about: “Johnson / Corbyn + Brexit = Lose + Lose
    Jo Swinson + Remain = Win + Win” ?

    Or: “Britain Needs a Breath of Fresh Air – Jo Swinson!”

  • Alex Macfie 31st Oct '19 - 5:17pm

    David Allen: Are we talking about a PV or a unity government? They’re not the same thing. Jo Swinson attempted to table a PV amendment in the 2nd reading of the WAB, but it wasn’t accepted for debate. How is she trying to avoid it happening?
    Some of the ex-Tories who could not be pushed to a PV could perhaps have been pushed to supporting a GNU, but ONLY if it was not led by Corbyn. This was, again, coming from them, it did not need Jo to encourage them. What would be the point in trying to push for something (a Corbyn-led GNU) that was impossible because of others who would not support it? It’s not Labour that the Lib Dems are avoiding cooperating with, it’s Corbyn.

    Also you wrote:

    “Labour and the Lib Dems will inevitably divide most of the Remain vote between themselves, in roughly equal shares … and, unless the Lib Dems can find a way of co-operating with Labour, the Remain cause is almost certainly down Dominic Cummings’ toilet..”

    You are making a massive assumption here, which is that the proportions of the Remain vote going to each party will be roughly equal across all constituencies. But it won’t be. There will be a lot of tactical voting, and a lot of Remain voters who won’t touch Labour. I suspect you’ve been playing around too much with Electoral Calculus, or a similar system, which has a major failing for this election in particular in that it projects swings uniformly across the country or region it’s working in. It is therefore totally unsuited to the highly localised swings we are likely to see in this election.
    Lib Dems will be focusing their ground effort almost exclusively on their target seats, most of which are Tory-facing. This means they have to win over Remain-supporting Tories, who are the ones who won’t touch Corbyn with a bargepole. This is the reason Jo is distancing herself from Corbyn (apart from the fact that he’s a Brexiteer at heart). And because most Lib Dem targets are Tory-facing, Johnson almost certainly cannot win an overall majority if Lib Dems do well.

  • Alex Macfie 31st Oct '19 - 5:17pm

    Lib Dem success at winning Parliamentary seats in this election will not depend much on the national polls (there are very few seats we can win on Uniform National Swing anyway unless our nationwide vote gets to about 35%), but mostly on our ground campaign in our target seats. Uniform National Swing worked reasonably well for UK elections back in the days of almost-pure 2-party politics. It has never worked well as a predictor of Lib Dem fortunes.

  • David Evans 31st Oct '19 - 5:47pm

    Alex. It worked in 2015. The problem was that far too many senior Lib Dems really, really didn’t want to believe what it was telling them. Now we have people pretending that same old, same old again.

    And how many constituencies can mount a ground war to overcome a 10,000 Conservative majority? That would give us just 13 gains.

  • Richard Underhill. 31st Oct '19 - 5:52pm

    David Allen 31st Oct ’19 – 12:37pm
    “They have taken actions which have helped keep Brexit on the table.”
    If you were one of us that would be we, or something more specific.
    Ask yourself what did Labour MPs do when we were trying to get votes at 16?
    Not very much really.

  • Richard Underhill. 31st Oct '19 - 6:00pm

    31st Oct ’19 – 5:17pm Leave him alone, he is obviously not a friend.

  • Alex Macfie 31st Oct '19 - 6:47pm

    David Evans: actually it didn’t because our vote fell much more in seats where we were strongest in 2015. Logic would tell you that UNS wouldn’t work because it would have led to negative votes for us in our weakest seats. Normally we do better than UNS would suggest. In 2010 and 2015 we did worse.

    But we are not in 2015 now. We haven’t just been in government. Our election loss streak has reversed. We have had our best euro results ever and our best local results for over 10 years. Our strategy is also totally different from then. So there is no “same old” and it is really time for you to move on.

  • David Allen 31st Oct '19 - 7:03pm

    Alex Macfie

    “David Allen: Are we talking about a PV or a unity government?”

    Well, I made a comment about a unity government, to which you responded by talking about a PV.

    “Jo Swinson attempted to table a PV amendment in the 2nd reading of the WAB, but it wasn’t accepted for debate. How is she trying to avoid it happening?”

    The Speaker can recognise when a single-party amendment has been put forward merely as a statement of position, and he prefers (or I should say, preferred!) to call multi-party amendments which have a real chance of success. To get somewhere, you have to collaborate with other parties.

    “It’s not Labour that the Lib Dems are avoiding cooperating with, it’s Corbyn.”

    Comes to the same thing in practice, doesn’t it?

    “I suspect you’ve been playing around too much with Electoral Calculus ….which has a major failing for this election in particular in that it projects swings uniformly across the country or region it’s working in. It is therefore totally unsuited to the highly localised swings we are likely to see in this election.”

    There may be something in that, but whether the Lib Dems get the 31 seats EC is currently predicting, or something a bit higher, it won’t be 320 seats! So there won’t be any Revoking, and this “kinder, gentler” party is just going to have to try to work something out with Labour, if it really wants to stop Brexit. Right now, it is not trying.

  • David Allen: “Labour and the Lib Dems will inevitably divide most of the Remain vote between themselves, in roughly equal shares.”
    David how on earth do you know that? Seriously, just take a step back and look at that statement. You declare it is ‘inevitable.’ What evidence do you have to prove that?

  • David Allen 31st Oct '19 - 7:22pm

    Richard Underhill said: “(David Allen) is obviously not a friend”

    I have been a member since 1981. Up until 2008 I loyally organised, wrote literature, knocked doors and stumped the streets. Since 2008 I have been far more critical.

    I said that Clegg was an untrustworthy right-wing politician – and now look at him, earning a mint of money as an apologist for surveillance capitalism. I campaigned against the Coalition decision – and now we all know that that was another disastrous mistake. Now I am trying to persuade Lib Dem members to wake up and smell the coffee once again, this time over the disastrous way we are mishandling Brexit.

    It’s like hitting my head against a brick wall. I expect the outcome will be the same as previously. When Boris has won a khaki election which the Lib Dems played a key role in facilitating, when he has bankrupted the nation with his hard Brexit, and when he has sold it off to Trump, the Lib Dems will have another rethink. They will recognise that, for fear of any taint of cooperation with Labour, they sold out on the Remain cause.

  • David Allen 31st Oct '19 - 7:44pm

    Ross McL – Well, Labour are on 25% in current polls, Lib Dems on 18%. It’s possible that these figures will change, though the betting odds that Labour will stay ahead of the Lib Dems are seven-to-one on. All I’m saying is that it’s pretty obvious that they will stay in the same ball-park. So, Labour falling below 20% is a possibility, Labour falling below 10% and losing most of their seats just isn’t reasonably plausible. Would you disagree?

    If Lib Dems are planning for an overall majority, if Lib Dems think that they can wish Labour out of existence by sheer willpower – Then their faith in the Kingdom of Unicorns transcends the faith of the most ardent of Brexiteers!

  • Alex Macfie 31st Oct '19 - 9:08pm

    David Allen: Your diatribe about Clegg and the Coalition misses one important point: that our strategy now is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what Clegg would have done, and actually your preferred approach is much closer to what Clegg would have done. Regarding his Facebook role, frankly I don’t give a t*ss. He’s not active in UK politics, he’s a private citizen, he has no role in the party.

    We failed in 2015 because (among many other things) we tried to triangulate between the Tories and Labour (a bit like the SDP in the mid 1980s) and therefore failed to give anyone a reason to vote for us instead of either of the two main parties .Our revoke & remain strategy does the exact opposite, as it makes us the opposite of both main parties.

    The way to deny Johnson an overall majority will be to take seats from the Tories. when the Lib Dem vote collapses, the Tories benefit, as shown dramatically in 2015: it was our collapse that gave Cameron his overall majority. And most of our targets are Tory facing. So that’s why we are going after (among others) soft Tory remain voters, and we are doing that by DIFFERENTIATING OURSELVES from the Tories. In particular, our stance on Brexit is as different from the Tory stance as it could possibly be. But to achieve this we also have to differentiate ourselves from Labour.

    And just to reiterate how our strategy left the Clegg era behind us from the moment Tim Farron got elected. Clegg would have withdrawn us from the Richmond Park by-election to facilitate Zac Goldsmith’s vanity resignation, the same as he did in the Haltemprice & Howden by-election with David Davis. Clegg would have taken Goldmith’s claim to be regisning on “principle” at face value. Clegg would not have taken us into the 2017 election on a “no coalition” platform, or followed through with that even if he had done so. He would also not be ruling out coalitions at this election (at least not with Johnson, remember Jo has ruled out working with him as well), nor would he have taken the Revoke policy and run with it. He was far too timid, and so are you.

  • Alex Macfie 31st Oct '19 - 9:29pm

    David Allen: And “khaki election”?!??! GIVE US ALL A BREAK we are NOT at war with the EU. This is another respect in which you are like Clegg: you accept uncritically the propaganda of our political opponents and think that we have to base our campaigns around their narrative, lacking the imagination to define one for ourselves.

  • I share some of David’s concerns over the way we’ve ended up with a General Election over Brexit, which is what Johnson wanted all along. I’m far from confident that come December 13th, we’ll be in a better position than we were at the start of this week. However, the Labour party has to share some responsibility for the position that has been reached, while the differential way that dissenters from the Labour party wobbly line on Brexit have been treated with Mr Corbyn treating much more gently those who’ve adopted a Leave stance than those backing Remain options, following on from his near neutral approach to the referendum itself, always meant there would be doubts.

    Despite this, in 6 weeks time, I’m likely to vote for the sitting Remain-backing Labour MP who has a narrow 3-figure majority over the previous Brexit Conservative MP, as the Lib Dems have no hope in this seat under current circumstances.

  • David Evans,

    And how many constituencies can mount a ground war to overcome a 10,000 Conservative majority? That would give us just 13 gains.

    I hadn’t realised the size of the mountains which we need to overcome. If we look just at the Conservative seats we find Thornbury & Yale (13th target Conservative seat) with a 12,071 Conservative majority.

    In 1997 we overturned a majority of 10,749 in Sutton & Cheam, 11,861 in Northavon, and 12,175 in Lewis. In 2001, 2005 and 2010 we didn’t overturn any majorities over 10,000. We might be able to win another six Conservative seats with majorities of less than 15,000 with really good local and national campaigns.

  • Also have some sympathy with David Allen, it was madness to force an election to suit the SNP’sDomestic circumstances and just because Boris wanted one. Why do over entitled Tory twist always get what they want. The only hope is that the nats scalp enough Tories in Scotland and we win back enough of our former seats elsewhere to stop the Tories having a majority. That’s of course to ignore the DUP! The rest then really is up to the West Midlands and north – and that’s a Lab defence job for the most part. So if we are on 20% concentrates where it matters, and Lab on 24% also concentrated where it matters, and the Tory 40% is concentrated where it doesn’t matter, we might get another hung parliament and a
    Referendum (which is what we should have had all along to resolve this single issue). I can’t help think the 2017 parliament was getting there ….

  • Humphrey Hawksley 1st Nov '19 - 7:47am

    I will be adding to the slogan. Stop Brexit, Go Europe.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Nov '19 - 8:01am

    Johnm: Actually Johnson didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to ram through the WAB before an election, and he probably would have got it through. MPs fixed the date of 12/12 in law because they couldn’t trust Johnson not to move the date unilaterally following a standard FTPA motion. And there is no majority in the 2017 Parliament for a referendum, as there are too many pro-Brexit Labour MPs, and not enough of the Tory rebels want one.

    David Allen: Betting shops set odds based on the volumes of bets they are taking, not on any specialist knowledge. Labour’s vote in its (former) industrial heartlands is indeed very tribal, and this is where Johnson’s strategy to gain an overall majority could easily fail. He is essentially conceding seats like Richmond Park (Tory but Remain and mostly with Lib Dem challengers) and hoping to win seats like Workington instead. Well [sarcasm]good luck with that[/sarcasm]. In 1983 Labour’s vote generally held up in its safest seats in its worst post-WW2 showing. By contrast, in the Tories’ nadir of 1997, the Tory vote fell hardest in its safest seats, leading to many shock losses. This is how Lib Dems managed to gain seats like Sutton & Cheam, as well as Kingston & Surbiton (a seat we weren’t even targeting, as I know from speaking to people in my local party). And where was Carshalton & Wallington anyway? All this on a slightly reduced share of the national vote compared with 1992. People say the Lib Dems are running a risky strategy. But at least we’ve done something like it before. The Tory strategy is even riskier, in seeking to turn people who vote Labour out of habit towards a party led by an Old Etonian. Even Thatcher didn’t manage it in 1983.

  • To anyone who believes that we should have attempted to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister, take a look at last night’s council by-election result in Bromsgrove:

    Bromsgrove South (Worcestershire) result:

    CON: 40.2% (-0.3)
    IND: 22.8% (+22.8)
    LDEM: 18.7% (+13.7)
    LAB: 18.3% (-32.2)

    The mighty Labour Party not only lost the seat but came fourth behind us. The Tories, who won the seat from Labour, did so on a very slightly reduced vote share.

    Jo has played the whole thing right. As George Kendall pointed out in a recent post, attempting to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister would have driven our support back to 2017 levels overnight. At every general election in my lifetime the Tories have claimed that a vote for the Liberal Democrats (Liberals, SDP before that) risks putting Labour in power. And it almost always works. Is Johnson able to say that this time? Perhaps he will try, but I have yet to hear it.

    The reason why Jo agreed to a general election on 12th December is because there are not enough Remain MPs to push through a third referendum. That is a fact supported by evidence.

    My one real fear is that Labour’s collapse is so catastrophic that the Tories will be able to win Leave voting Labour seats. We may require Nigel Farage to come to the rescue.

  • David Allen 1st Nov '19 - 11:25am

    “The reason why Jo agreed to a general election on 12th December is because there are not enough Remain MPs to push through a third referendum. That is a fact supported by evidence.”

    The fact that it’s “a fact” which is supported by “evidence” about which no evidence is provided, tells its own story!

    In truth, it would have been a knife-edge vote. A concerted joint campaign by Labour and Lib Dem proponents might have made it a live issue and generated enough momentum to get it over the wire. But that never happened. Labour proponents like Watson were too bound up with their internal party struggles, while the Lib Dems stayed aloof. Incidentally, that fact gives the lie to the claim (Alec Macfie) that “It’s not Labour that the Lib Dems are avoiding cooperating with, it’s Corbyn.” The Lib Dems did nothing to help Starmer or Watson win their internal battle.

    This is a khaki election, in the sense that an embattled Prime Minister has chosen to run to the polls and seek electoral victory, on the dubious basis that this would strengthen him when negotiating with his interlocutors / adversaries (take your pick) at the EU. It is patriotism, the last refuge of the scoundrel. It is contrived and nonsensical: as Ken Clarke ruefully pointed out, Brexit could very easily have been “Done” with only a slightly extended length of time for discussion in Parliament. Johnson actively chose to say “I can’t / won’t do Brexit, I need an election first” when he could easily have said “OK, let’s take a week or two more and get Brexit done”. He can only have done that as a cynical ploy for five more years in power.

    It follows that sensible opponents should have done their utmost to foil his ruse. Most of Labour understood that. But three useful idiots emerged to help Johnson get his khaki election. The SNP, with their own fish to fry: Corbyn, intoxicated with his own verbosity and desperate to hit the campaign trail: and Jo Swinson, who first and most clearly gave Johnson the green light to push forward. Why?

    I fear the answer is – Because a few Lib Dem gains were in prospect, and that mattered more than avoiding five more years of Johnson, hard Brexit, and a Trumpist UK.

  • Peter Martin 1st Nov '19 - 12:47pm

    @ David Allen,

    “He can only have done that as a cynical ploy for five more years in power.”

    BJ is a politician so why wouldn’t he want a few extra years? JS would behave no differently! It’s the nature of the animal.

    But this is probably a secondary consideration. His primary motivation was to avoid his WA agreement being subjected to amendments. Particularly a referendum amendment. If we’d not had an election the Govt would have pulled the WA and nothing much of consequence would have been debated in Parliament. There would have been a prolonged stalemate which would have pleased neither the EU nor the UK electorate.

    Something had to happen and we should all, regardless of which side we’re on, be pleased it has.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Nov '19 - 1:27pm

    David Allen: Lib Dems are aiming for more than “a few” gains, and nearly all from the Tories. so the party strategy, if successful, will deny Johnson his coveted majority. If recent rumours are true, Johnson is scared he might lose his own seat and is seeking somewhere safer, possibly in rural Norfolk or Kent. it’s certainly possible: Uxbridge is heavily Remain. Oh, and Farage is threatening that his party will contest every seat. This will take potential votes mostlyu off the Tories in exactly the areas he is seeking to win.

    I think you fundamentally misunderstand the party’s electoral strategy. It’s not about gaining a handful of seats from a national uplift. That’s been tried before (in 1974 and 1983, for instance) and it didn’t work. We probably wouldn’t even win all of the seats that the arithmetic suggests we would win, because where we are strong, we’ve already got most of the swing voters who make up the national uplift. So we need to target like we did in 1997. And BTW the 2017 election results are probably not a good guide to what seats are winnable for the Lib Dems, as so much has changed since then in politics, in particular the Euro results. You may say “but people vote differently in Euro elections” but that’s not the point: what it shows is where we’ll find people who are persuadable to voting Lib Dem. This is why, for instance, Best for Britain is advising a Lib Dem vote in places such as Cities of London & Westminster and Kensington, where Lib Dems have never been strong at any level. This is no more risky than, say, Johnson trying to win over voters in Wigan.

  • Stop Brexit, go Europe. Nice one, Humphrey. We should have two or three slogans and see which one takes off

  • Alex Macfie,

    The situation now is not like 1997, where there was a popular leader of the Labour Party which had no radical economic policies and a very unpopular Conservative government. In the 1997 campaign we didn’t attack the Labour Party or its leader as being damaging to the UK. This made it much easier for Labour voters to vote for us where we were second place to the Conservatives.

    In 1997 seats were put into triers and Kingston & Surbiton was a second trier seat, meaning it was not expected to send its workers out of area and it was expected to do as much work as in a first trier seat with only national support and no helpers from outside the constituency.


    I am not convinced we should be going after life-long Tory voters. We should be targeting “soft-Tories” who are strong “Remain” voters. If we demonise Jeremy Corbyn I think it is more likely that voters thinking about voting for us will instead stay with the Conservatives. Generally we do best in general elections where the Labour Party are seen as an alternative government and we benefit from a movement away from voting Conservative (the exception is when there is a Labour government).

    It seems that the only realistic route to a referendum is a Corbyn government (hopefully a minority one). After this general election the number of Conservative MPs supporting a referendum on the deal will be reduced.

  • Alex Macfie 1st Nov '19 - 2:29pm

    Michael BG: ““soft-Tories” who are strong “Remain” voters” are exactly the kind of voters we ARE targeting, and are also the ones who would be put off voting for us by a perception that we are too close to Corbyn. And in places where we have never been strong, they generally ARE “life-long Tory voters”. Most of the voters we targeted and got to vote for us in seats like Kingston & Surbiton in 1997 were originally “life-long Tory voters”.
    We did well in terms of votes in 1983 when Labour had a very unpopular left-wing leader. The trouble was that we didn’t target, so our strong vote share failed to translate into many seats. I don’t think we should give up just because Corbyn is no Blair. It just means we need different tactics against Labour, and mainly it means we must publicly distance ourselves from Corbyn so that “vote Jo get Jeremy” type attacks cannot gain traction, and why it would be absolute folly to be seen to be helping Jeremy Corbyn into No 10.

  • @ Alex Macfie “soft-Tories” who are strong “Remain” voters” are exactly the kind of voters we ARE targeting, and are also the ones who would be put off voting for us by a perception that we are too close to Corbyn”.

    What sort of party will the Lib Dems be after Brexit has been dealt with one way or another ? Will it be a replay of the Clegg pale blue years when we stopped being a radical party ? And, if your target voters revert to type, they’ll rush back to the Tory Party leaving an empty shell.

    To the historian in me it sounds like a re-run of 1924 and 1931.If the Liberal Democrats aren’t a radical party what’s the point ? And is it really sixty years since an idealistic generation revitalised the Liberal Party when Jo Grimond declared, “The Liberal Party is a radical party. It is a party of reform”.

    No marching to the sound of gunfire, Alex, only a pale blue damp squib.

  • nvelope2003 1st Nov '19 - 3:54pm

    David Allen:
    Since 1918 the Labour party has refused on principle to do deals with other parties so there is no point in trying. Mr Corbyn reasserted this policy only this week.

  • Perhaps it’s just as well that this party goes into the election on a ‘Brexit ticket’.

    When in coalition this party, and especially Jo Swinson, doesn’t have a ‘liberal’ record of voting on Welfare and Benefit issues.

  • Peter Martin 1st Nov '19 - 4:18pm

    @ MichaelBG,

    “It seems that the only realistic route to a referendum is a Corbyn government…”

    As no-one else is offering one, it is the only route. Period. But has the Labour Party thought it through? A second referendum with one option chosen by Remainers and the other by Leavers could resolve the issue. Just possibly.

    A second referendum with both options chosen by Remainers, ie a Labour ‘deal’ vs Remain, won’t be accepted by the Leave side. It is a recipe for disaster. It could even lead to civil war. I’m not sure revoking Art 50 would be much better, but at least it has the advantage of being straight with the electorate and not offering a rigged outcome.

  • Malcolm Todd 1st Nov '19 - 4:45pm

    Peter Martin

    You used to be a serious, thoughtful voice on the Brexit side of the debate on this site. Now you’ve not only appointed yourself spokesman for “the Leavers” (a role you should surely have been elected to, given your intense respect for democracy), but you’ve descended to the ridiculous rhetoric of “civil war” in the event of a referendum between options you don’t approve of. Weren’t you one of those who not long ago was insisting that talk of a country riven over the issue was just Remainers’ hyperbole and nobody you knew was at daggers drawn over Brexit? I guess election campaigns are no place for reasonability, or even reason; but even so, I’m a little disappointed.

  • Richard Underhill. 1st Nov '19 - 4:52pm

    Peter Martin
    Corbyn can resign at any point, but should not leave it as late as Michael Foot did in 1983
    (after the miners rally).

  • David Allen 1st Nov '19 - 5:46pm

    OK. Sesenco and Alec Macfie think I have got it all wrong, because there was no possibility of a Referendum vote in the current parliament. But Peter Martin thinks I have got it all wrong, because Johnson was terrified that the present Parliament would have voted for a Referendum.

    Well, they can’t both be right – but they can both be wrong! My own view is that it would have been very close-run. The Lib Dems who are claiming that PV was a complete no-hoper are making that unjustified claim in order to deflect criticism of the course they chose in preference, which was to play into Johnson’s hands.

    Johnson, by contrast, is exaggerating the risk that Parliament might not have let him get Brexit done. He was gagging for an election before he produced his last-minute-rabbit-out-of-a-hat Deal, and he was gagging for the same thing afterwards. Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” argues that hard Right politicians can win elections by deliberately creating shock and instability, then posing as the “strong man” who can get things done and bring back stability. Johnson and Cummings have played it by her book. The prorogation of Parliament, which did not stop MPs passing the Benn Act but did ratchet up tension, was a striking demonstration of the technique – pure Shock Doctrine and nothing else.

    So where do we go next? Two points:

    To treat Corbyn (ideological, muddled, indecisive) as on a par with Johnson (a monster to match Trump or Mussolini) is just morally indefensible. Dicing up voters into categories and arguing that a lean to the Right might win more Lib Dem votes than it loses does not make it morally defensible.

    Stopping Brexit means working with Labour. Yes nvelope, Labour will not supply the ministerial limos (and the Tories will, if Lib Dems are ready to be bribed, that is). But as we see now, minority government gives a lot of power to non-governing parties. We could work toward co-operation by calling on Labour to change and elect someone we could work with. If we don’t, we will be rumbled as offering no genuine way to Stop Brexit.

  • Alex Macfie,

    In 1997 we and the Conservatives achieved just over 36% of the vote in Kingston and Surbition with Labour on 23%. About three-quarters of those voting for us voted for us in 1992 (c. 15,000). In the 1980’s the Alliance achieved over 30% of the vote. The electorate of Kingston was about 51,085 in 1992 and that of Surbition was about 42,442. The new seat included all of Surbition and the southern part of Kingston. Therefore of the nearly 74,000 electors about 6,000 were new to the constituency. So most of those voting for us in 1997 were not “life-long Tory voters”. As I have pointed out the Conservative government in 1997 was much more unpopular than this one. There was momentum for a change from the Conservatives, which doesn’t exist now.

    Previous Conservative voters are looking for an alternative and we need to present ourselves as a good choice. We don’t need to demonise the Labour Party or say we will not support a minority Labour government, we just need to make clear we wouldn’t support all of Labour’s policies.

  • Peter Martin 1st Nov '19 - 11:04pm

    @ Michael Todd,

    It seems you haven’t quite understood the danger that we are all in at the moment. You can see for yourself, if you care to look, that individual remainers and leavers still, largely, can work together side by side. Families might have heated arguments on the EU question but they usually hold together. We haven’t drawn our daggers – as you put it. At least not yet. Therefore we can be optimistic that some form of resolution is possible.

    BUT that doesn’t mean a future government can do what it likes in the most insensitive way. Another referendum is a possibility. But there has to a credible option offered to both sides. It really doesn’t matter if I personally approve or disapprove of any deal which a future Labour government might renegotiate with the EU. It is what everyone else thinks that will matter, and you can bet your last penny that hardly anyone on the Leave side will have a good word to say about it. It simply won’t be acceptable.

    That’s when the trouble will really start. The clash won’t be between Leavers and Remainers. It will be between Leavers and the government.

    The Labour Party have come up with a policy designed to keep both their Leavers and Remainers onside, but haven’t properly thought through the implications of actually trying to implement it.

  • Peter Martin 1st Nov '19 - 11:36pm

    Sorry. I meant @ Malcolm Todd….

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Nov '19 - 1:07am

    Peter Martin
    In other words: “There won’t be any trouble so long as we get what we want.”

    I’m thorougly unimpressed by your ersatz threats.

  • Arnold Kiel 2nd Nov '19 - 7:43am

    @Malcom Todd

    “a serious, thoughtful voice on the Brexit side of the debate”????

    I have not heard one yet. My test would be: a specific tangible benefit of leaving for a sufficiently large group of people that would outweigh damaging side-effects on all others. I am waiting now since 4 years and have heard nothing.

  • Neil Sandison 2nd Nov '19 - 11:02am

    We still need to underpin the slogan with core messages on key policy platforms like the environment developing a wasteless circular economy run on renewable energy .an education system that invests heavily in early years and those that need educational support (SEND) An economy that promotes well being not just GDP .Enpowerment of local communities to shape their own future and reform of the out of date business rates system that does not encourage small business to grow and is punitive in its valuation of property particularly in our failing town centres . Underpinning with sound messages along these lines will counter our opponants line that we are a one trick pony only interested in Brexit.

  • Peter Hirst 2nd Nov '19 - 12:27pm

    Is it meant as a visual or auditory message? For auditory purposes it would be best to omit the full stop and add an and as one follows from the other. We really need two similar slogans.

  • Peter Martin 2nd Nov '19 - 4:21pm

    @ Malcolm Todd,

    Methinks you are trying to put words into my mouth! Fake quotations such as you’ve used are well out of order. “Ersatz” is generally taken to mean a poor subsititute for the real thing. You’d be better off avoiding “ersatz” quotes yourself and only using quotation marks when you can copy and paste what goes inside them.

    Incidentally, it doesn’t matter in the slightest what may or may not impress you. If it’s any consolation I doubt that Jeremy Corbyn will be able to repeat his 2017 performance. But, he’d have to exceed it to ensure a cancellation of Brexit. So we’ll probably never know what would have happened if an angry electorate had been faced with a choice of two very unpalatable options.

  • Alex Macfie 4th Nov '19 - 1:30pm

    @David Raw: If the Cleggites were still in charge of the Lib Dems, the leadership would have tried to do a Confidence & Supply agreement with the Tories after the 2017 election. The rationale would probably have been that it was “essential to keeping the DUP out of power”. The fact that we refused to even negotiate with the Tories shows that the Cleggies had long left the building.
    Our target voters may well “revert to type” if we run a bad campaign like in 2015, where we did not give soft Tories any reason to vote Lib Dem instead of Tory, because we’d allowed Cameron to portray a vote for the Tories as a vote for Coalition 2.0. But we have ruled out working with the Tories. There is clear differentiation between us and the Tories, and there will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

  • @ Alex McFie “the Cleggies had long left the building.”

    Yes, quite right, Alex. Off to rich foreign fields with knighthoods etc., but unfortunately there are still plenty of foot soldiers lurking in the woodwork.

  • “Unfortunately there are still a lot of (Cleggite) foot soldiers lurking in the woodwork.”
    So we we don’t want old Tories contaminating our party, ex labour types may be a bit “authoritarian ” in temperament and we must purge the orange bookers. Tell me, is it ok if some of these dreadful people vote for us on Dec 12th, for would that taint our ideological purity ?

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