Ed Davey: “Lib Dems are a progressive, liberal party and we believe in investment in public services”

There’s a great interview with Ed in the Observer today. He talks about how the Liberal Democrats will hold Labour to account and push them to do more radical things in the next Parliament. In fact, he says some Labour people want more of us there to keep a cautious Labour Government on track.

He sets out what the Lib Dems are about:

“We are a progressive, liberal party and we believe in investment in ­public services,” Davey said. “We believe in making taxes fairer, and we believe in really transformative environmental action. I think people who want to see that level of change in our country can vote Liberal Democrat knowing that we’ll have lots of Lib Dem MPs in the next parliament championing that.

“Frankly, if you want the change, I think we’re offering the most ambitious change. I even have Labour people saying that they’re really Labour people, but they hope we get lots of Liberal Democrat MPs in because they can hold the Labour party to account.”

Where would we push them to go further? Issues like the two child cap, and closer relationships with Europe.

“On things like our relationship with Europe, the Liberal Democrats are passionately pro-European. It’s been a tragedy that we have seen the Conservatives poison that relationship with our closest friends and allies. Are we going to campaign for a better trade deal with Europe? Yes. Are we going to campaign for allowing young people to move across Europe with an agreement on youth mobility? Yes we are.

He’s not getting wildly over-excited about polls which show the Conservatives in third place, citing their deep pockets and capacity to get their message out in the last two and a bit weeks of the campaign.

However, Davey said it would be a “historic mistake” to underestimate the Conservatives, despite some high-profile mishaps during their campaign.

“I just think people who want real change should be cautious about the polls,” Davey said. “The Conservatives are not going to give up. They’ve got more money than any other party. They’re going to spend it in the last few weeks on attack ads on social media. Get ready. I remember 2017 when everyone thought Theresa May was going to get a landslide. I thought she was going to get a landslide. I didn’t expect to get re-elected in 2017. Certainly, Liberal Democrats are not going to take voters for granted.

He’s right to be cautious. If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in politics and drinking up every Conservative muck up with a healthy dose of schadenfreude. However, for a reality check, go and talk to friends and family who have nothing to do with politics to see if they have heard of things like the election announcement in the rain, Sunak’s gaffe in Wales about the football, the disastrous national service announcement, the visit to the Titanic quarter, the discredited £2000 claim about Labour’s tax plans and the ill-placed photo opps that made it look like his comms team don’t like him very much. The only one that really cuts through is his D-Day debacle.

Their message at the moment is “We’re losing, but don’t let Labour have too much power” which we might laugh at but might just pull some voters in key marginals back to them. We obviously have established ourselves as the challenger to the Conservatives in the seats where we are competitive but we should not count any chickens and keep working in those seats all the way to 10 pm on polling day.

It is really encouraging to see our campaign going better than many of us expected. Some were worried that our message was not emotional enough and it seems like those crafting it have taken that on board. We do seem to be connecting with the public with our positive messages. People like Ed and his combination putting forward serious ideas that they like while living his best life and clearly enjoying himself.

At the moment we seem to be making the best of every opportunity open to us and running a campaign that we can be proud of.

It’s really interesting to see how well our ideas are going own with the voters. If you have a look at the YouGov analysis of what people think of the ideas in the parties’ manifestos, seven of our policies are the most popular of all. The most popular policies in the Conservative and Labour manifestos have support of 73% and 78% respectively. The top 7 of ours have much higher rates than that. Our idea of a guarantee of starting cancer treatment in 62 days, our guarantee of seeng a GP within a week or 24 hours if urgent and our plan for free personal care are supported by 93, 90 and 88% of people.

The Tory attacks on us will come thick and fast as the campaign progresses. But is anyone actually listening to them any more? We can only control the campaign we run, so if you haven’t been to a target seat to help yet, or done some phoning, or given money, please do so this week.

People are voting now by post. By the middle of this coming week, millions of people will have received their postal ballots and most of them will return them immediately. Let’s all do our bit to deliver as many Lib Dem MPs as possible on 4 July.

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2 Comments

  • Does this increasing the rural duty exemption increase run counter to our climate change policies? Woud it be better to offer discounts on electric vehicles, renewable energy installations or discounted renewably produced electricity?

  • David Allen 17th Jun '24 - 1:47pm

    In principle it could make sense to discourage fossil fuel consumption by shifting the overall tax burden away from income tax and towards fossil fuels, and at the same time, bring in a rural duty exemption to help those who can’t readily get away from fossil fuel consumption. However, if that’s your approach, you wouldn’t talk about “outrageous pump prices”, as Ed Davey has done.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cedd744kq40o

    The Lib Dems can’t afford to look shifty and two-faced on policies like this. They won’t win votes if people don’t really know what they are voting for.

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