Jo on Ridge on Sunday: Lib Dems could win General Election

In a clear and confident interview on Ridge on Sunday this morning, Jo Swinson staked her claim to be Prime Minister.

Any Brexit deal, she said, would be as bad for the country as the financial crash in 2008. This is why Lib Dems would be supporting amendments to give the people the final say:

This is another great interview from Jo. Clear answers to the questions she is asked and is clear about her ambitions for the party. She is totally serious about us going all out to win the election. She wants and intends to lead a party of hundreds, not just tens, of MPs. We’ve never seen the sort of volatility in our politics that we have at the moment so achieving that is entirely possible. We certainly have the best chance to do so.

Jo is offering a clear way to stop Brexit by democratic means and a government which will put people and planet first. Those are compelling arguments and she puts them across very well. We can feel confident that she will lead us well into any election.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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21 Comments

  • David Becket 13th Oct '19 - 11:54am

    If we do hold the balance of power, which is likely, but do not co-operate at all and prevent a functioning government the country will never forgive us. We are wise to say we will not go into coalition, but we should make it clear we will negotiate with another party to ensure that a government is in place that can run the country. Which party (or parties) we work with will depend on the election results.

  • Roland Postle 13th Oct '19 - 12:07pm

    @Geoffrey It can’t. So leadership change is forced in one or both of their parties, then presumably the policy can be reviewed, or perhaps there’s another GE where Lib Dems can build on the momentum demonstrated in the first one. I don’t think there’s anything tricky about saying neither are fit to be PM and so cannot be supported. That’s more fundamental than merely having policy differences with them. Stating they’re unfit to be PM but we’ll still help them be PM if they implement half our manifesto would be a plainly contradictory and selfish position to take.

  • The viability of a government is not the problem, or at least not solely, the problem of the “balance of power” party or parties. Isn’t it the problem of the largest party to do whatever it needs to do to compromise with others to achieve a viable government? As well as the obvious example of 1940, there were examples in Victorian times (when the political tectonic plates were moving, as now) of governments being formed by people who were not necessarily the leaders of their parties/groups.

    Also, for years the Libs/Lib Dems have been saying (rightly) that there needs to be a third alternative to the “big two” so, in my view, Jo S is absolutely right to rule out supporting one of them now. If she does, it gives a double message, does it not? Both Boris J and Jeremy C are nationally divisive figures apart from their dubious records on Misogyny and Semitism respectively.

  • Michael Cole 13th Oct '19 - 1:57pm

    We love you Jo.

    Geoffrey Payne: I appreciate your point, but we don’t want to get into the old trap of trying to answer endless questions regarding which Party we would support if the outcome is a ‘hung’ Parliament. Indeed, if that question is asked at all, it ought to be put to Corbyn and Johnson.

  • Nom de Plume 13th Oct '19 - 4:08pm

    How about a Labour&Tory Brexit grand coalition? They are both trying to appeal to a similar group of supporters. Closer to each other than the LibDems.

  • Jo is right to emphasise the volatility. But for me the interesting element is talking about authoritarianism versus Liberalism as the great divide – a message which resonates with millions of people. Donald Wade MP had a much tougher time getting people beyond the Liberal Party to see it that way more than half a century ago.

  • In December 1894, the then M.P. for Midlothian, and only a few months after he retired as a fourth time as a Liberal Prime Minister, a certain William Ewart Gladstone issued a clarion call to condemn the Armenian massacres by the then Turkish government.

    It would be good if the present Leader of the Liberal Democrats could echo her predecessor by issuing a clarion call about the betrayal of the Kurds by Trump and the current Turkish government.

  • David Allen 13th Oct '19 - 5:25pm

    “We don’t want to get into the old trap of trying to answer endless questions regarding which Party we would support if the outcome is a ‘hung’ Parliament. Indeed, if that question is asked at all, it ought to be put to Corbyn and Johnson.”

    Completely right in theory. Totally irrelevant in reality. The people who decide what questions will be put are the media, not us. They will put endless questions about hung parliaments to the Lib Dems, and perhaps also the SNP. The interviewers will characterise whatever the Lib Dems say as evasive, because they think that makes them look smart. The media won’t ask Corbyn and Johnson those questions.

    David Becket’s post makes a good starting point. By contrast, Roland Postle’s comments that “leadership change is forced in one or both of their parties” and “I don’t think there’s anything tricky about saying neither are fit to be PM and so cannot be supported” are over-the-top and are not sustainable. The tail cannot wag the dog, and unless we get (say) 100 MPs, we will be the tail. Neither Johnson nor Corbyn will necessarily be prepared to step down, and certainly not at the command of a Lib Dem minority.

    If we suggest to the nation that we could make stable government impossible, we will suffer at the polls. So we shall have to find way/s to show – before the election – that we would not do that. We are not there yet.

  • Alex Macfie 13th Oct '19 - 6:42pm

    It’s telling that the Momentum trolls are out in full force on Twitter (and of course, they usually deny they’re from Momentum, even though it’s blindingly obvious that they are), which shows they see Jo and the Lib Dems as a threat. Jo is absolutely making the right move.

  • Fully understand not going into a formal coalition after being badly burnt by Cameron. But ruling out supply and confidence is madness for a serious party that might end up with the serious leverage of 90+ seats and a potential ‘king maker’ role after the next GE. Are the Lib Dems really going to stick their fingers in their ears say we won’t cooperate with anyone, and risk forcing another election? Do you think the electorate would reward that behaviour?

    What if in exploratory discussions the Lib Dems were offered long desired policy for C&S support: PR for local elections and early HoL reform? Possibly another referendum on the Westminster voting system, with a genuinely proportionate option on the ballot, i.e., not AV? And the party offering it, presumably Labour, didn’t campaign against, as Cameron did AV.

  • Denis Mollison 13th Oct '19 - 9:03pm

    @Michael Cole – Absolutely, whenever Jo is asked whether she’d work with either Conservative or Labour, she should say she will answer once they’ve said who they would work with if they don’t have a majority.

  • “We don’t want to get into the old trap of trying to answer endless questions regarding which Party we would support if the outcome is a ‘hung’ Parliament. Indeed, if that question is asked at all, it ought to be put to Corbyn and Johnson.”

    There is a problem. The people who decide what questions will be put are the media, not us. They will put endless questions about hung parliaments to the Lib Dems, and perhaps also to the SNP. Interviewers may well characterise whatever the Lib Dems say as evasive, which will sound clever and combative. The media won’t ask Corbyn and Johnson those questions.

    David Becket’s post makes a good starting point. By contrast, Roland Postle’s comments that “leadership change is forced in one or both of their parties” and “I don’t think there’s anything tricky about saying neither are fit to be PM and so cannot be supported” are unsustainable. The tail cannot wag the dog. Unless we get (say) 100 or more MPs, we will be the tail. Neither Johnson nor Corbyn will necessarily be prepared to step down – and certainly not at the request of a small Lib Dem group.

    If we suggest to the nation that we could make stable government impossible, we will suffer at the polls. So we shall have to find way/s to show – before the election – that we would not do that. We are not there yet.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Oct '19 - 7:01am

    We can’t control what questions are put to us by journalists, but we can control how we answer them. And clear, unequivocal answers to the inevitable endless questions to us about hung parliaments and coalition would work far better than the evasions and triangulations that have characterised our answers in past campaigns. Our undoing over this question has always been that voters thought we were going to go into coalition with whichever of the main parties they didn’t want. So in 1992 and 2015 our vote fell back at the end of the campaign because of the fear of a coalition between us and Labour (+SNP in 2015).

    “Stable government” is not a virtue in and of itself, and when the Tory Party tried to present itself as a “strong and stable” party of government in 2017, the voters responded by denying it a majority. Lib Dem refusal to prop up the Tories (forcing the to rely on the DUP, and now on the DUP plus Lexiters) in the resulting hung parliament does not seem to have hurt our popularity since then.

  • Alex Macfie 14th Oct '19 - 7:18am

    David Allen: Your comments show an alarming lack of ambition for the party. 100+ seats is perfectly possible under current polling..
    Andy: Confidence & Supply would give us the worst of both worlds. We’d get the stigma of association with the governing party, with no real influence in its policies. We are not the DUP, a regional party that can just be bought off with a bung for NI in return for supporting policies that do not affect its voters. And the DUP can’t easily be shafted. If you think a Johnson or Corbyn government would not shaft us if it promised us all the stuff you mention? It would be a trap, like last time. Cameron said he wouldn’t full-on campaign against AV. A government can’t “force” a general election anymore, due to the FTPA.
    Nom de Plume: Yes, a grand coalition would be the most logical result of a hung Parliament.

  • Michael Cole 14th Oct '19 - 9:52am

    David Allen 13th Oct ’19 – 5:25pm: I say, “We don’t want to get into the old trap of trying to answer endless questions regarding which Party we would support if the outcome is a ‘hung’ Parliament. Indeed, if that question is asked at all, it ought to be put to Corbyn and Johnson.” You say, “Completely right in theory. Totally irrelevant in reality.”

    But of course, the questions will be mostly asked by the media. Did I say any different ?

  • nigel hunter 14th Oct '19 - 10:28am

    Yes,we can support the Kurd’s as in the 1800’s
    The media being both left and right in persuasion will put suspicion doubt ,uncertainty in the voters minds to deter people from voting for us. It is in their best interests. If this is the wrong tactic we are using it will show in decline in the polls. Our best communication devise is the internet and leaflets (we do not have media fans) to sell ourselves and policies.

  • @Alex Macfie thanks for the reply.

    As a progressive party, it seems just plain wasteful to turn down some potential offer in advance; an offer that may never be repeated or may take decades to return. I’m not saying those things will be offered, but if they were…. it’s certainly worth exploring.

    The party could have regular reviews(monthly) of any C&S support, it’d never really lose its autonomy, the arrangement’s continuation would be completely at the Lib Dems’ discretion. The coalition stigma is indeed real, but it was largely a product of the Lib Dems offering Cameron unconditional support and to the loss of respect due to remaining in that coalition, like some partner trapped in an abusive relationship. That wouldn’t be the case with C&S as outlined.

  • Alex Macfie 15th Oct '19 - 9:33am

    Andy: The same sort of regular review could be part of a formal coalition agreement. The mistake made in 2010 was that we went into coalition, but how the party leadership negotiated and executed the Coalition.
    Neither Corbyn nor Johnson can be trusted to hold to any sort of agreement, that is the point. They can promise whatever is in our wildest dreams, but there would be absolutely NO point in entering into any sort of agreement with either of them, as they would shaft us as sure as night follows day. The only way we could join a government involving either Labour or Conservatives is with someone other than their respective leaders as PM.

  • Denis Loretto 15th Oct '19 - 11:06am

    I think it was Paddy Ashdown who used to say – here is our manifesto, the more Liberal Democrat MPs you elect the more of that you get. Jo can add – put us in power and you get the lot. As to questions about coalition etc. can she not say – “There has never been a more fluid and unpredictable situation prior to a general election. I and my party are fighting to win. If we fall short of that we will act in such a way as to give this country the best chance of advancement and building of liberal and progressive values.” And refuse to predict beforehand what other parties, if any, this might entail working with.

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