The Swinson Surge is under way

So we’re gaining more new members and supporters on the back of Jo Swinson’s compelling speech just after she was elected leader.

1200 by the time she made her rally speech three hours later.

Here’s a selection:

If you are wondering what we mean, watch her speech here.


If you like what you have seen from Jo, sign up here. 

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

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This entry was posted in News.


  • I hope Jo does well but I’m afraid her speech and her performance on the BBC “hustings” underlined why I feel it was right to vote for Ed. I fear her tone is too abrasive for where we need to go.

  • On the other hand, it is refreshing to see a major party leader (I use the word “major” to reflect the euro and local election results) who is not London-based, like the Con (presumably Boris) and Lab leaders.

  • Too abrasive? Really?

  • Colin Paine 23rd Jul '19 - 7:24am

    I voted for Ed but although he came over well to seasoned activists, I can accept that Jo will cut through better to the wider public. Let’s just not get too close to the Greens, they aren’t Liberals.

  • Andrew McCaig 23rd Jul '19 - 8:19am

    I voted for Jo and a combative approach is probably what is needed to consolidate our recovery.
    However we do have to make it clear that on every issue other than Brexit we are on the side of Leave voters just as much as Remain voters. Up here in West Yorkshire surveys show than almost exactly 50% of the 45% of voters who helped us gain my local council seat voted Leave.
    We make it clear in Focus that at local level we treat Leavers and Remainers equally. It would be nice if we occasionally heard that message nationally.

  • chris moore 23rd Jul '19 - 8:35am

    @ Andrew Mc Caig.


    Points I and a couple of others on here have made repeatedly, but have been rather drowned out amid the hype about Remain alliances.

    We used to have a large amount of support amongst Leave voters; and a significant % of our vote still comes from Leavers.

    We must be thinking at every point how to appeal to such voters; how NOT to ram anti-Brexitism down their throats. We are already identified as the most persuasive home for Remainers. We don’t actually need to be highlighting our anti-Brexit credentials at every point anymore. There will be a not very high ceiling to our support if that is all we do.

    PS Delighted to see Jo elected! I voted for her, in spite of Ed impressing me more in the hustings. I feel she could be a real star ie there’s huge potential.

  • Paul Barker 23rd Jul '19 - 9:13am

    All the Polling evidence suggests that most Voters who support us at The British/Westminster level & most who are open to Voting for us are Remain. At a Local level Voters face different issues & many Vote differently.
    Its our constant banging on about Brexit that got us from 10% to 20% & will get us farther.

  • Colin Paine
    Many Greens at local level are liberal, and Liberal. Equally quite a few Lib Dems are not necessarily very liberal (heresy, I know!)

    Things like the Climate Emergency, and the desperate growth of inequality, force us to enact rules and regulations that in a 19th Century conception of Liberalism could not be considered liberal – in the sense of individual freedom. I am afraid that is where we all are, where the world is.

  • chris moore 23rd Jul '19 - 9:51am

    @Paul Barker 23rd Jul ’19 – 9:13am
    All the Polling evidence suggests that most Voters who support us at The British/Westminster level & most who are open to Voting for us are Remain. At a Local level Voters face different issues & many Vote differently.
    Its our constant banging on about Brexit that got us from 10% to 20% & will get us farther.

    Hi Paul, yes, most are Remainers. but even in the Euros we had significant support from Leavers.

    We have, of course, lost most of our previous Leave support, for obvious reasons and solely appealing to Remainers will put quite a low ceiling on support. If 50% of voters are Remainers, those votes will split between Lib Dem, Labour, Tory, Green, PC and SNP. We don’t have a monopoly on Remainers, many of whom are not liberals, so will not vote for us.

    We need to do serious thinking about how to appeal to Leave voters.

    BTW historically, we have often polled in the high teens, low twenties and we’ve done that without having to alienate many of our core voters.

  • primroseleague 23rd Jul '19 - 10:01am

    must be about a decade since I last commented here – in those days, indeed over my life, I was on the extreme left of the One Nation wing of the Tories.

    anyway, I’m now joined the LibDems, and would echo those above who are wary of becoming too defined by Brexit. Why? Well because, as they correctly identify, there’s more to deal with than Brexit. I voted remain, but in a very much head v heart way, and *would* have voted for EFTA membership had that been an option on the ballot as that’s what I actually *want* – not full EU membership and not a hard Brexit.

    Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I come to the LibDems because of the mess in the Tories, not because I believe in the remain message. The entire Tory party is a mess, people on my wing aren’t welcome on voyage any longer, so I’ve chosen the LibDems on competence and a policy raft that I’m in broad agreement with except Brexit.

    I can’t be the only one (actually I know I’m not, because I’ve been having similar conversations with my Tory Left friends). This could really be the homecoming of the Liberal Unionists. Certainly, if I’m being bluntly honest with myself, I was like a lot of the One Nationers who were LibDems that were only in the Tory party for pragmatic reasons to do with a chance to influence a party of government. I’ve always agreed most with the LibDem manifesto since 1997, but continued to vote blue to (try and) keep the flame burning within the “broad coalition.”

    I have friends on the Labour right who are in the same position currently, but everyone needs to blow the candle out when it’s right for them.

    So, if I was answering a polling question I’d probably go with the one that makes the LibDems look good – your policy is the clearest and easiest to understand. I don’t actually agree with it, because I want no more involvement with the EU than free-trade (and wanted the Norway option long before the referendum), but I disagree with it less than the lunacy and fence-sitting on offer from everyone else.

    I wonder how many others are in the same position?

    Consequently the chaos Brexit has wrought has brought me to the LibDems despite the LibDem policy on Brexit…. which is probably another manifestation of the Brexit chaos…

  • @chris Moore. Whilst it’s true we have polled in the mid 20s, we have never got our score into the low 30s where FPTP suddenly brings huge dividends in the way of seats.
    And I don’t agree with you about the remain vote. I can tell you from conversations on doorsteps that Remain voters who previously supported either Tory or Labour almost certainly won’t do so again. Leaving aside SNP and PC voters will have to choose which candidates can beat the leavers. Whilst there may be a few seats where this could be the Green Party almost everywhere in England it will be the Lib Dems and in Northern Ireland it will be the Alliance. Scotland and Wales are less easy to call, but we have already had a revival North of the border and are about to start one in Wales.
    So whilst I agree that we have to reach out to leavers by tackling the very real problems of alienation, poverty and austerity, we cannot weaken our Remain stance.

  • David Becket 23rd Jul '19 - 10:02am

    Not on our out of date web site there is any surge. Main picture still Vince knocking on doors and main article “meet the candidates”
    All observers agree we will be fighting for air space, and we need to put meat into Jo’s vision of the UK beyond Brexit.

    That should be the lead on the web site.
    If we win Brecon and Radnor that should be splashed on the web site on the day.
    It would also help if a common story on Jo is made available to all owners of My Councillor sites.

    We deserve better.

    The first thing she should do today is to sort this web site out, it is both boring and out of date. It has been like this for ages. The one media outlet we control and it does not measure up.

  • @Mick Taylor 23rd Jul ’19 – 10:02am
    Whilst it’s true we have polled in the mid 20s, we have never got our score into the low 30s where FPTP suddenly brings huge dividends in the way of seats.

    Indeed, that’s true, Mick, ( except in the early Alliance days). But we aren’t at that level now, either!

    To get there, we need to appeal to Leave voters too.

    Look, it’s great that you’ve come across Remain voters who’ve abandoned Labour and Tories to Remain. But they are not all going to do that. If we manage to get 40% of the Remain vote, that would be stupendous. that would give us 20% of the overall vote; so we’d still need those Leave voters.

  • @ primroseleague

    Welcome to the party!

  • David Becket 23rd Jul '19 - 11:20am

    They now have an article on Jo on the web site. It should have been there on the day

  • John Marriott 23rd Jul '19 - 11:57am

    It was the Falklands War that saved Thatcher and it was the Iraq War that, for the opposite reason, gave the Lib Dems their highest post war representation in Parliament. It looks as though the ‘Brexit War’ might have the same effect on the party again but, who knows whether the bust up in the Strait of Hormuz and how HM government reacts to it may have a jingo effect on its fortunes, which would crowd out the current Brexit torpor.

    On the subject of Hormuz, it’s interesting to compare this situation with that in the South Atlantic nearly forty years. As now, we were caught napping, having withdrawn naval support and thus dropping a seemingly broad hint to the Argentinian Junta that we were not that bothered about sovereignty. We currently have one destroyer in desperate need of a refit, trying to police the whole area. Some hope.

    But I digress. What I wanted to say regarding Jo Swinson’s strategy is, to work a biblical saying, that “the Lib Dems cannot live by Brexit alone”. As Walter Mondale asked fellow US Presidential candidate, Gary Hart, all those years ago; “Where’s the beef?” Whenever it happens, there has got to be life after Brexit, whether staying in, getting out or trying to get back in again. In the meantime, schools implode, social services wither and businesses go to the wall. Talk about taking your eye off the ball.

  • @David Beckett. Very unfair comments. Do you know how few people we have working for us?

  • Have to agree with David Beckett. It doesn’t matter how few people we have working for the party – I’ve been a party staffer myself and yes there’s always too much to do, so you have to prioritise. Our own website, on the day our leader is elected, should be a priority. If it’s been sorted now that’s good, but let’s just be honest it should have been done yesterday, the moment the result was declared (content pre-written).

  • @primroseleague
    Thank you for that.
    One of the most interesting comments I’ve seen in a while.
    Hope you put down roots and feel you’ve found a home.

  • David Becket 23rd Jul '19 - 2:34pm

    @ Mick Taylor @ Martin
    Yes I may be being unfair. The point I am trying to make is that we need to up our game, and with a new leader and a possible win next week now is the time to do it, and try and make our voice of reason heard over the noise that Johnson will make.
    It is reasonable to ask members for help on running the web site. There must be a few members among our 100.000+ members who could help, unfortunately I do not have the skills required. However scarce resources and volunteers need management. It should have been possible to have two draft web pages, one with Ed winning, one with Jo, and just put the appropriate one up on the night. Likewise the winning Brecon should be prepared up front, and launched when the result is know,

  • Geoffrey Dron 23rd Jul '19 - 2:45pm

    The division between Leave and Remain isn’t clear cut. I voted Remain in 2016 but would be concerned about continued/renewed membership of the EU if it goes much further down the federalist route under von der Leyen/Michel.

    I’ve recently resigned from the Conservatives and am considering joining the LibDems. I’d appreciate clarification on LD policy with regard to UK participation in the federalist programme.

  • Nigel Jones 23rd Jul '19 - 3:30pm

    I was impressed with Jo’s speech and feel she has the personality to take us forward. There were 2 major holes in it. One is inequality. How can anyone wishing to improve this country leave out mention of those at the bottom of the economic scale ? In her list of words about the sort of country she wants, she missed out the word fairer.
    The other is democracy, starting with local democracy and role of local government. This is crucial to transforming participation and reduction in centralised diktat.
    Jo, please, please build around you a team of people to help you; no one does leadership on their own, AND include in that team special work on inequality and local democracy.

  • @ Nigel Jones “Jo, please, please build around you a team of people to help you; no one does leadership on their own, AND include in that team special work on inequality and local democracy.”

    Yes. Spot on….. The party needs a cutting edge that goes beyond Brexit.

  • YouGov Poll Con 25 (25), Lib Dem 23 (20), Labour 19 (21), Brexit 17 (19), Green 9 (8)

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