Liberal Democrats – for a better tomorrow

Chuka Umunna Campaign launch

It’s 2020 – a new year, a new decade. Once more, and I know it’s already February, I feel the urge to reflect on the gains and losses of the general election last year and set out why I believe that there has never been a better time to be involved in politics.

I think we can all agree: the general election result was disappointing. There is no way to spin it. We lost the election. We didn’t win the argument, despite the largest national increase in vote share of any party. In Tom Brake, Chuka Umunna, Jane Dodds, Sam Gyimah, Luciana Berger and Jo Swinson, to name a few, we lost some skilled and hardworking local MPs, but that shouldn’t deter us from moving forward and building a liberal movement to tackle the forces of nationalism and populism in this country when Labour fail to rise to the challenge.

There is so much to fight for. Like over 3.6 million people across the country, I chose a more progressive politics, because I believe that in a time where waves of nationalism are engulfing our politics, it is our duty as Liberal Democrats to challenge and hold this Government to account actively. While we may not have many MPs in the Commons, we should set ourselves no limit to what we can achieve when we work together, including with people in other parties with whom we share values.

I am proud that we led the fight against isolationist politics, against poisonous rhetoric underpinned by racism, xenophobia and misogyny, and against those who seek to divide us at every step along the way to building a fairer and more equal society. This country needs the Liberal Democrats, perhaps now more than ever. It requires players, not cheerleaders. This country needs you because of the groundwork and foundation to building a healthy and representative democracy starts with you.

I’m not going to pretend like the next four and a half years are going to be easy, but if ever there was a time to join a political party and fight for liberal values, that time is undoubtedly now. I am confident that the flames of progressive politics have not been extinguished, and that is why I will keep fighting for the country that I know we can be – a country that doesn’t turn its back on helpless child refugees, doesn’t limit the opportunities of future generations to live, work and study abroad and doesn’t turn a blind eye to injustice and inequality in society.

Fellow Liberal Democrats and would-be Liberal Democrats – this is the fight of our lives. This is the fight for the soul of our country. Do we want to look inward, shut ourselves off from the rest of the world and become vulnerable or do we want to work collaboratively with our friends and neighbours, harness the strengths of a diverse society and continue to play a leading role on the world’s stage?

Join us and let’s build a better tomorrow – together!

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5 Comments

  • Michael Berridge 12th Feb '20 - 8:37pm

    “We didn’t win the argument”. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean that the argument was false. The entire Leave the EU narrative was false and the instinct to revoke Article 50 was sound. The problem arose when we tried to get our message across. It was not what the wider electorate wanted to hear. “Let’s get Brexit done” sounded so much more positive to the average voter. What is the moral? Stick to our principles, but learn from our mistakes.

  • Michael Berridge. I think one of our mistakes, then and still today, is to allow focus on our principles to blind us to what in practice must be our primary purpose or objective. That is, to say things in such a way as to catch the attention of the millions of floating voters. How you say important things (well, anything,really) is in one sense more important than what you say. “Brexit” means ‘Brexit’. Pious principles go unheard unless they’re couched in the demotic lexicon of the New Blue refugees from the Red Wall. We must catch them on the rebound. So let’s practice talking and writing for the new multitude of floating voters — and especially the newly launched and launching generation soon to vote for the first or second or third time. Our ‘principles’ will remain the pie-in-the-sky our jeering rivals say, till we get the knack of getting them heard. To accomplish anything, first get the crowd to listen: we need their votes even more than they need us. So your comment above is a first class introduction to what I hope will follow us below.

  • Peter Hirst 13th Feb '20 - 6:57pm

    The country needs us slogan sound a bit too we know best to me. It did have the opportunity to vote for us and preferred the tried and failed. We need to – into the public mood and be ready to ride the wave when it appears.

  • Labour will do anything they can to attack Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna.

    For example with Smith – witness the horrible comments they make about “tinge” and the obsession they have about water nationalisation – using the bogeyman of the Chinese government as their argument.

    Chuka has been one of the most insulted politicians in living memory – and yet he is a true liberal and champion of diversity and freedom.

    We need to robustly defend these figures against the hard left. Voters are not ideological and support privatisation when it is explained to them.

  • John Littler 20th Feb '20 - 6:00pm

    Blair is now suggesting a formal pre-election arrangement with Labour. I would urge looking seriously at it

    Mr Blair even didn’t rule out a full-blown formal alliance with the Lib Dems – saying: “How this is done institutionally, that’s a matter for debate.” Asked directly he said: “I literally don’t know at this stage. It could go in a number of different directions.”

    He warned simply ditching Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing agenda wouldn’t be enough to win power – and said today’s Lib Dems must “aspire to govern” and show “clarity of purpose”.

    The ex-PM spoke on the 120th anniversary of the Labour Party as he claimed Brexit could have been stopped – if only there had been “serious opposition”.

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