Jo’s Weekend – 21-23 June 2019

Jo’s interview with the New European came out:

I ask Jo Swinson why she should lead the Liberal Democrats and she takes a deep breath and manages to get it out in all of three sentences. “I’m the best person to lead the movement because I can reach out to new voters, through traditional broadcast media, where I have a high profile, and through social media, where I have a high following.

I also think I can reach out across the generations and across the country. I have cross-party relationships and a non-tribal style, which I think is exactly what we need at the moment.”

And she talks about the need for a more diverse country:

I recognise that ours is still a racist country. We have not dealt with those issues as much as we would have liked to, even if there has been progress in some areas. I would hope that one day soon we could have a black leader of a political party.

Ours should be a country where every individual has an opportunity to thrive. That is not currently the case – partly on the basis of race, gender, disability, socio-economic background, sexual orientation or whatever – and, as it is, we are probably in line for another Etonian prime minister. Quite frankly, a large number of people are still not achieving their potential in our country, and, as a liberal, I am not happy with that and want to change it.

In Wales, she met Welsh Leader and Brecon and Radnorshire by-election candidate Jane Dodds.


And in Cornwall she was helping campaign for fairer NHS funding for the county:

Finally, she  spoke to the Radical Associaton.

She talked about how, twelve years ago, she was campaigning against excess packaging and won commitments from manufacturers to reduce their plastic content:

Back in 2007, just two years into my first term representing East Dunbartonshire and long before it was fashionable to carry reusable water bottles and coffee cups, I tabled a Bill in Parliament aimed at reducing the amount of packaging used for products bought in our stores. As a result, I secured commitments from manufacturers such as Nestle and Cadbury to reduce excessive food packaging.

If I had a five-year term leading a government, I would want to enact electoral reform so that we finally do away with the broken two-party political system in our country. And that way we can have far more opportunities as a party to enact a radical, liberal agenda to build a better future for all.

What about radical policies like universal basic income to reduce poverty:

Not only is our future prosperity at risk because of Brexit, but the technological revolution ahead of us presents us with immense opportunity to do things differently. And I think this time we need to do whatever it takes to seize this moment because we are long past the point where tinkering at the edges will be enough to create a system that works not only for the planet, but also for people.

That means being radical, and the Liberal Democrats have a proud tradition in that. I can see how UBI is attractive, and I also think that ideas such as Universal Basic Services have merit too. But in order to debate the solution, I think first we need to debate and define what it is we want our economy to do and look like – and that debate should be with the public, not just Lib Dem conference.

The “Swinterview” had a few questions about internal party stuff too. Here’s what she said about the party interest groups:

Interest groups are hugely important to the party – we know that people who are members are more likely to stay members, and I think they have a key role to play in recruiting people with certain interests or from certain communities to be party members. I want to see AOs and SAOs treated like local parties so they earn money when they recruit members directly – and are rewarded for keeping hold of them. I also want to see these groups run as professionally as possible – really giving people with interests somewhere to get involved at an issues level if they’re not involved in their local party or if they joined us for a particular reason. We need to make more of them.

Jo’s website is here and you can follow her on Twitter here.

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This entry was posted in Leadership Election and News.


  • Sad to see Jo describe our country as “I recognise that ours is still a racist country”. No country’s perfect, but this is a disservice to our open culture, and negative labelling damages progress. We’re not going to bring the country back together by saying we’re all racist. If she believes this, what countries does Jo think are better, and what are the lessons we can apply? Nicola Sturgeon – much as I disagree with her – is far better at framing such issues. She doesn’t discredit everything, but recognises progress and that there’s more to do. Why would I vote for a leader who sees our country this way? I want someone who values our country, who recognises its cultural values of openness and tolerance, then puts this front-and-centre to inspire us to move forward.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Jun '19 - 1:36am

    I suggest Doug is right and wrong.

    I disagree with Jo, her choice of words was way to general, she could have said, this country still has racists. Doug is right, we are, statistically, anecdotally, the least racist country on earth , the most multiracial and highest mixed race population and this asa result of the greatest number of interracial partnerships between people who have children.

    I think Doug wrong to say this as a reason to not vote for Jo, is correct, not at all, she is a very good person and would make a very good Liberal Democrat leader, more in fact measured as a rule than the otherwise excellent Sir Ed!

  • Part of the reason I was sad to see read this was the two times I’ve been to see her speak I thought she was great. I expect the desire to totally discredit the country from the far-left, but not from moderate liberals.

  • David Becket 24th Jun '19 - 7:13pm

    I have been pondering Jo or Ed. I think my mind is made up now

  • I can see how UBI would be attractive seems to have a “but” coming. Constructive ambiguity ?

  • Paul Barker 24th Jun '19 - 9:07pm

    Some very ill-thought-out comments here, saying that Britain is still Racist is not the same as saying that everybody in Britain is racist. Racism, like Sexism is a common, everyday experience in Britain (see the article below about one of our London councillors getting abuse on the Tube) & many of our established institutions are riddled with Racism. Britain may well be better than many other places but that’s like saying that Boris Johnson isn’t as bad as Nigel Farage, possibly true but irrelevant as a defence of Bojos behaviour.

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