Fortune favours the bold


And so we head into an election campaign as ‘the goose is getting fat’ and Brenda from Bristol boards up her front door to keep out invading journalists.

We’ve whirled around and around the entire gamut of constitutional and Brexit permutations many times, and so we end up with a general election when the Rubic’s Cube of parliamentary arithmetic will be re-spun. Then the whole darn thing will start again.

It is somewhat forbidding to face the prospect of knocking on doors in the ‘deep mid-winter’.

Even carol singers get cold-shouldered as they try to spread Christmas spirit.

I’m now going to go into my natural old codger mode to say that I can’t remember anything like the current crisis for a long time.

You have to go back to 1974 and the extraordinary events of the “Three day week”, with power cuts and the TV going off air at 10.30pm to save power. That’s about the only precedent I can remember like this.

But I am extraordinarily emboldened as a Liberal Democrat. PM Johnson is a right wing disaster. Jeremy Corbyn just isn’t up to any form of leadership.

But in Jo Swinson we have an extraordinarily strong and resourceful leader.

The events of the last week have underlined that.

Jo seized the initiative by tabling a bill to amend the FTPA. By doing so she played a blinder. In loose chess terms, she moved Johnson and Corbyn into “check”. By doing so, events then flowed that forced Johnson to accept the EU’s three month Brexit extension and abandon his EU Withdrawal bill.

That was quite an exceptional turn of events.

Imagine if, as could have easily been the case, Johnson was going into an election as the victorious PM who took us out of the EU, and the Liberal Democrats no longer had the cachet of being the only UK-wide party promising to revoke Article 50 if we are elected as the government.

It would certainly be an altogether different scenario than the one we are facing.

Instead, we stand up to a PM Johnson who is in a weakened position. He didn’t take the UK out of the EU as he said over 35 times that he would. He is presiding over the melting down of ‘hundred of thousands’ of now obsolete commemorative “31st October” 50 pence coins. And he has not died in a ditch.

We have everything to play for!

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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11 Comments

  • Mick Taylor 30th Oct '19 - 9:25am

    We must unite behind Stop Brexit. There must be no hedging bets as our party has been too fond of doing. Our campaign must be revoke or bust. Labour is a Brexit party. We are now the only major party fishing in the Remain pond. Everyone else is trying to fish in the leave pond. Under FPTP it will be possible to win seats with just over 25% esp if the Brexit Party fights seriously, and given their leader’s antipathy to the Johnson deal I expect they will.
    Fortune does favour the bold. Get out there and fight to win!

  • We need a simple message/sound-bite/slogan. “Vote Lib Dem and Revoke” is all very well, but I would suggest instead:

    “If you don’t want to be poorer, vote Lib Dem.”

    As well as using this to attack the Conservatives through the consequences of Brexit, this will allow us quietly to co-opt Conservative attacks on Labour and the economic consequences of their plans.

  • Yeovil Yokel 30th Oct '19 - 10:20am

    I’ve got a poster up already!

  • John Marriott 30th Oct '19 - 10:42am

    @Mick Taylor
    “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Are we really facing another ‘Battle of Britain’ or are we going to do ‘a Dunkirk’ and use a defeat to claim a kind of victory?

    The problem I have with revoke is how, once released, you can possibly put the Brexit genie back into the bottle? If we go back to the status quo ante we are in effect ignoring many of the reasons why Remain lost in 2016. Yes, if we leave we will undoubtedly be poorer; but that may be the price we have to pay to get some kind of resolution.

    Sorry if I can’t rustle up much enthusiasm for the coming battle. As I have said a few times before, as the late great Yogi Berra famously said; it all feels like “déjà vu again”.

  • John Marriot
    The revoke stance might boost the Lib Dem vote temorarily, but there are is no chance of the Lib Dems actually winning the election and every chance of a Conservative majority which will make “revoke” the dodo of politics soon after the result of the election is announced. This is the problem with single issue politics. People on here keep talking about the other parties being pro Brexit, but they have other policies whilst the Lib Dems have turned themselves into the mirror of the Farage cult, which will ultimately alienate as many people as it attracts and damage long term viability.

  • Cheekily, I was also going to suggest ‘Say no to Boris’ chlorinated chickens’…

  • Sandra Hammett 30th Oct '19 - 12:10pm

    Seeking parallels with Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez with this poster?
    With such fresh new ideas we can’t fail.

  • The past 4 Years have been a contest of strength between the Institutions of The UK, including The Union itself & The Labour/Tory Duopoly. So far The duopoly are winning & The UK is falling apart. We have 6 Weeks to reverse that.
    Both Labour & The Tories have ben weakened but sitting back & looking at things from the outside they still seem likely to Win this round.
    Dont lets sit back, lets stop thinking about whats likely to happen & devote the next 6 Weeks to making things happen. If we fail, lets be able to look back & say that we gave it all we had.

  • Paul Barker – and the hereditary head if state, who I think, (was led by errant advisers to) made two mistakes, the first in asking Johnson to form a govt without requiring him to show he could command a majority, and the second in agreeing to the illegal prorogation. The U.K. is falling apart!

  • As far as most people are concerned there is no crisis. No power cuts. Goods in the shops.
    What is happening is that there is a group of people in the Commons behaving in ways that people cannot believe. The Speaker has become an international celebrity as the world watches the strange farce on the TV.
    In the meanwhile no one is talking about the real issue. That is our membership of a democratic international organisation in which we can work with our partners to deal with issues which are usually dealt with behind closed doors in government offices.
    Who is prepared to stop clowning around and start to treat the electorate with respect?

  • Richard Underhill. 2nd Nov '19 - 9:57am

    In loose chess terms, she moved Johnson and Corbyn into “check”.
    I do not understand the analogy, in chess terms this is impossible, not even a zugzwang.

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