Jo’s weekend – 7-9 June 2019

Jo is used to a long commute home to East Dunbartonshire at the weekend.

She had a few hours’ extra to get to Aberdeen, though, for the first of two Scottish hustings.

The Edinburgh hustings was very busy1

And , finally, Newcastle.

And in an interview with the Independent, Jo said that her style matched the political zeitgeist:

She said there was “more agreement on policy between us than you would find with the Tory contenders”. But said she believed her “non-tribal” approach to politics and ability to cut through to voters outside London and the southeast and young social media users gave her the edge.

“I’m the leader that can be the rallying point for the liberal movement that we need to create to take on the forces of nationalism and populism, the likes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson,” she said.

“The non-tribal way I do politics is perfect for this moment.”

And under her leadership, you can forget any coalition with either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn:

Ms Swinson said she would absolutely rule out propping up a minority government led by either Mr Johnson or Mr Corbyn, describing both as “Brexiteers hell-bent on a course of action that would be hugely damaging to our country”.

But she said that, with the party taking second place in the European elections, topping one recent national poll and recording its highest ever membership figure of 105,480, the Lib Dems should no longer be thinking about being the junior partners in a coalition.

“I have no limits to my ambition for the Liberal Democrats,” she said. “I think the fracturing of the two-party system that seems to be under way right now, we need to position ourselves as the liberal-minded people who want to see a positive progressive future for the country, where every individual can live with dignity and have opportunity, where we tackle our climate emergency and our economy is transformed to be able to focus on these priorities.

She also spoke to The Sunday Times (£) about combating nationalism and about how Scottish independence didn’t make sense.

She warned: “You don’t solve the current Brexit chaos by creating more chaos and breaking up the family of nations at home.”

Predicting that in any case there would be no pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament in 2021, she added: “The best way to strengthen the Union is to stop Brexit, and then to strengthen the UK economy.

And finally  – meeting someone she had long admired.


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  • OK so this may be removed for being off-topic, but I need to say it somewhere and hopefully get some answers. What exactly happened with Chuka Ummuna last night and today? Several media sources have been confidently running a story about him definitely standing as a LibDem in his seat at the next GE. Does this mean he has joined the party? And has the party promised him the nomination in Streatham? Has the local party there agreed to this? That all seems unlikely to me, but I note the story has not been squashed by the LD press office, or by CU himself, and it’s now a full 24 hours since the story first appeared. What exactly is going on?? Does anyone know?
    (Mods if you do remove this for being off-topic, fair enough but can I suggest you re-post it as a main story in its own right, because it seems a bit odd that we may have acquired a 12th LibDem MP – only our second ever BME one – and nobody is talking about it!)

  • BBC News today : “Tory leadership contest: Boris Johnson pledges income tax cut for high earners”. So now we know.

    Let’s hope the two Lib Dem leadership hopefuls realise who their real enemies are – and give a ringing endorsement to Philip Alston’s U.N. Report on poverty in the UK. Waiting to hear if they can come up with proposals to deal with it. No mote Osborne cuts of the top rate and trickle down economics, please.

  • Richard Underhill 10th Jun '19 - 9:07am

    Both of our leadership candidates have ruled out Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn as partners. Good.
    The second leader of the SDP (formerly Labour, now a peer) had said that we should not try to tell another party who their leader should be.
    We are not doing that. We are only setting out coalition terms. They should be familiar with the ideas.
    Red line.
    Translating what the Tory rival candidates are saying. “Competence” means they do not want Boris Johnson. ‘Competence’ was also a rallying cry for Theresa May. A variety of skills were needed and she did not have them all. The job is too difficult for Boris.
    If Class A drugs are an issue, Boris made admissions on tv, on Have I got News For You. If Tory party members think he is a vote-winner they should consider that all the Tory leadership, including Theresa May, have been demonising Jeremy Corbyn, albeit with typically British understatement, which Boris might not deploy. He defeated Ken Livingstone, twice, but so what?
    No deal.
    Jeremy Corbyn is stuck with Labour’s 2018 policy and claims to believe that Labour can win a general election (with an overall majority). He is not Harold Wilson (who had worked under Beveridge). The circumstances are very different from 1945. Corbyn also claimed that he voted Remain in 2016, but that is inconsistent with his actions before, then and since. Why should we believe him?
    Tim Farron said “I do know Jeremy Corbyn, because when Labour was in power he was often in the same lobby as us”.
    Corbyn’s attitude to Northern Ireland was different from Tony Blair’s. High risk.
    Corbyn’s judgement is in question. A general election result comparable to Michael Foot’s might cause a change of Labour leader, but probably not a change of attitude.

  • Paul Barker 10th Jun '19 - 2:44pm

    It would certainly be good to pick up some more MPs but more important is to get more Voters. Right now on a Westminster scale we have 4 “Main” Parties, all within a few percent of each other & then The Greens
    The big question for both Candidates is “Do we try to build some sort of Alliance/Umbrella movement with The Greens?”
    Ed seems to have ruled that idea out but Jo hasn’t.
    Look at the Polls & the Prize is obvious for both Parties, a Voting Bloc around 28-30%, well ahead of The other 3 Parties. Sian Berrys recent statements have made a deal harder to get but Berry is not The Green Party, she’s not even The “Leader”.
    There is a lot to gain if Tribalism can be faced down on all sides.

  • Leekliberal 10th Jun '19 - 6:33pm

    I am undecided as to whether to vote for Jo or Ed in the leadership race but have come an attack on Jo’s eco-campaigning record In the Scottish Daily Record – see link below

    It would be good if Jo’s team can give a line-by-line rebuttal of the claims made in the article.

  • Jo might lose support in areas like Blackpool, with her support of and funding for the fracking industry. She might want to clarify her position.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Jun '19 - 8:16am

    Refitman: The BBC’s Jo Coburn asked Jo Swinson about this on Politics Live on 12/6/19, near the start.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Jun '19 - 8:21am

    Leekliberal: The going will be tough in the run-up to October.
    In your judgement which leader is less likely to buckle under the pressure?

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