Time for us to be generous to Change UK

Yes, it is only one opinion poll

putting the Liberal Democrats in first place on 24% and Change UK in nth on 1%. But it is astounding, exciting, and further evidence of a real shift in public opinion. The political tide that swept us away in 2015 has turned again. Partly this is our doing, partly it is the weather.

So what next? I’ve long argued – even when Change UK seemed to be fighting against us more than anyone – that we would inevitably end up working together, and Chuk’s strategy was all about doing that from a position of strength. Well they failed, and we can crow. But perhaps we shouldn’t.

It wasn’t obvious 2 months ago that we would end up being the voice of remain and Chuk would be relegated to 1%, and it might have happened the other way round. What I think really worked for us is that the remain public understood that we were open to working with other remainers, and they saw that Chuk just wanted to fight us.

So. If we want this to be a trend and not a blip. If we want to build on this momentum and move above 24% in the polls into real mould-breaking territory, let’s double down on this success.

We don’t need to say to Chuk that you’ve lost and you can join us on our terms or do off what Boris Johnson would do to business. And we shouldn’t. This is a chance to build a broader alliance, to relaunch and renew, and be seen to be doing so. We have often said that no one party has all the answers. Let’s open our hearts in a spirit of self-improvement, to constructive engagement with people who have had sincere reasons for not joining us in the past. It is not easy. We are instinctively tribal political animals like all the others. But we can do it.

I believe that the voters will reward us for putting aside tribal differences of the past, embracing a broader church and finding a new way forward for the country. But I don’t think we should just do this for show. There are some weaknesses that we could put right here. We gravitate to policies that show how good we are and avoid those that show our ability to take tough decisions where necessary. We need to do both. The party machine is run by an alphabet soup of largely unknown and unaccountable committees. Even the elected ones are almost wholly unaccountable. Decisions as monumental as adopting diversity quotas can be made without consultation by persons unknown. The policy committee is unwilling or unable to deliver the digital collaborative policy forum on the Pirate Party model that any democratic 21st century party should have. You may disagree with my examples, but the point remains.

So lets be generous to Change UK and others. Use them as an opportunity to grow and learn and improve ourselves and show the public that we deserve a first place in the polls.

* Joe Otten was the candidate for Sheffield Heeley in June 2017 and Doncaster North in December 2019 and is a councillor in Sheffield.

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  • While the lofty principles of this article are all well and good, and magnanimity in victory is laudable, the fact remains that most of the ChUKkers are not even remotely liberal.

    We’ve got a supporters’ scheme now, largely because the leadership was scared of ChUK; they can join that and see how they fare.

  • Yes, but let’s also realise that we are far closer to the Greens than we are to Change UK.

    Change UK Mps voted to trigger article 50. Mike Gapes defends the Iraq war. Joan Ryan was minister for ID cards and helped run the Labour No2AV campaign.

    Whereas the Greens are in favour of PR and, for the most part, against Brexit

  • Yes, but let’s remember that we are far closer to the Greens.

    Change UK MPs voted to trigger Article 50. Mike Gapes still defends the Iraq war. Joan Ryan was minister responsible for ID cards, and helped run the Labour No2AV campaign.

    Whereas the Greens have more support, are against Brexit, and in favour of PR.

    Let’s build a big movement for change by all means, but why not start with those who agree with us on the main issues.

  • Paul Barker 31st May '19 - 1:40pm

    Change are not Liberal, neither are most people. Once we have transformed The UK into a genuinely democratic, Federal family of Nations & Regions then we can decide if we want to restrict ourselves to representing Liberalism. We have to get to those sunny uplands first & we can get there faster leading an Alliance of Liberals, Greens, Centrists, Social Democrats & Voters who just want to see Politicians behaving like Adults.
    This is our Time & we have to seize it with open arms & open Hearts.

  • Sarah Brown 31st May '19 - 1:44pm

    Having shared a political party with some of the chUkkers I can confirm they are neither liberal, nor democratic, and some such as Chuka and Luciana spent more time criticising and attacking the lib dems than they did the tories.
    Jennie is right here. They can join the supporters scheme. I know this Broxtowe Lib Dem wont be looking forward to Anna Soubry joining us.

  • Paul: the problem is that we won’t get to the position where we can transform the UK without articulating clear principles that people can believe in.

    The lesson of the local elections, the Euros, and yes the rogue poll that Joe quotes in his article is unarguably “be clear and unambiguous and voters will reward you”.

    Watering ourselves down after that is a blatant act of self sabotage.

  • Simon Alexander Foster 31st May '19 - 2:06pm

    I think if their members and MPs want to join this should be done on a case by case basis. The criteria? The same as any other member. Are you a liberal or social democrat? Do you share our values?

    I can see Heidi and Sarah joining us, but not Anna, amongst their former Tory MPs for example.

  • Sue Sutherland 31st May '19 - 2:08pm

    I may well be thick but I don’t understand how we can merge with them as a party, if they ask us, because they don’t seem to have a political philosophy they unite behind except for being pro EU. When the SDP and the Liberals worked together we knew what each party stood for and that there was a broad agreement in terms of the outcomes we wished to achieve.
    Even if the switch to Remain/Leave as a political axis rather than Left or Right grows stronger and lasts there will be many decisions to be made about the sort of society the country wants in the future. Each CHUK MP or member therefore should make this decision as an individual and determine whether they can sign up to the preamble of our constitution.

  • Martin Brelsford 31st May '19 - 2:11pm

    As you know Jo I spent many years fighting against Angela Smith. She despised us then and still does. Let’s not make the mistake again of getting into bed with a party that doesn’t like us and actually disagrees with us on many critical issues. In fairness though I like your optimism and I think it is a serious debate we need to have

  • Leekliberal 31st May '19 - 2:17pm

    My supportive comment was for Joe’s piece. While we should ensure we are not exploited when working with other parties our approach should be inclusive if we are to stop Brexit and win proportional representation. Churchill had some good advice for our commenters. He said ‘ ln defeat, defiance: In victory generousity!

  • Ian Patterson 31st May '19 - 2:20pm

    Chucka and his merry crew are part self entitled Blairities plus self entitled disgruntled Tory wannabes. There aren’t Barge poles long enough at this time.

  • We should stop obsessing about CUK and realise that the prize is coming to an arrangement with the Greens. If we offer them a decent deal – giving them a free run not just in Brighton where they don’t need it but in a range of other Green target seats – then a deal is there to be done, as Lucas was clearly indicating yesterday on R4. They feel they have championed inter-party co- operation and been taken for granted by the other parties. We must be big enough to prove them wrong, especially as a 2019 Brexit GE cannot afford to have the Remain vote split between three or more parties.

  • marcstevens 31st May '19 - 2:44pm

    If for some reason Change were ahead in a poll would they give a damn about the Lib Dems – No. Anna Soubry and her ilk have made that clear so why bother giving them more unnecessary publicity now. It’s far more important to concentrate on social liberal policies which will win over more votes and campaigning in Peterborough. Ian’s last comment is heading in the right direction, two social liberal forces co-operating where it is expedient to do so.

  • Paul Barker 31st May '19 - 3:15pm

    Yes we need clear principles but actually there’s already a lot of things that We, Change & The Greens (GPEW) could agree on –
    Internationalism – Europe & Immigration are good things.
    Electoral Reform.
    Deep Devolution.
    A Green New Deal.
    A push to reduce inequality.
    Theres enough there to keep a Coalition Government busy for 5 Years & more.
    Any General Election in the near future is likely to be mostly about Brexit & all 3 Parties say the same on that in any case.
    Its not about watering down its about reaching out.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 31st May '19 - 3:31pm

    I like and agree with the article from Joe, but some comments are correct too herein.

    As someone who welcomes cross party together as a way as a norm, something that leans me towards Jo in the leadership race a little, we need to think about what is said from little knowledge sometimes.

    Many with negative views here are only experienced in this party. It is obvious anyone like me who years ago was in another party, we are less tribal. Ditto Sir Vince, ex SDP, etc.

    Jennie and Sue, yes, principles, but yes too , in support of Paul, as well as Jo in yearning for a boll**** to tribalism! It is not true all these mps are not allies. It is only tribal Liverpool political fights gives the accusation here against Luciana, on issues, such as mental health , she worked with Norman Lamb as a colleague once each was beyond the post coalition antagonism.

    I think we should encourage the co op model. Liberal Democrat and Change uk on the ballot wherever they have mps, their group a separate one but they join us too if they stand in elections.

    We do not all have to be Liberal, but could all be Liberal Democrats.

  • Peter Watson 31st May '19 - 3:41pm

    Given that Lib Dems risk lost deposits and splitting the vote unpredictably (possibly weakening Remain representation in Parliament) in the current Change UK seats, the Lib Dems not standing in those seats (at least in any General Election in the short term) would be a very generous offer (lifeline?) to Change UK while saving a few quid in deposits and freeing up resources to campaign in better targets.

  • Not sure why on earth we need to think about other parties at this point. Let them come to us if they want to.

    To double down means to be even more boldly liberal and outspoken than we’ve been to date – and that’s not very much. We’ve seen great results despite years of faffing about staring at our navels and acting like commentators rather than campaigners.

  • Good points from Joe.

    I wouldn’t take Chuka Umunna’s reported comments on the Libdems in coalition too seriously. Vince Cable and Chuka Umunna penned a joint article on Tory budget plans in 2016 https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/autumn-statement-osbornes-obsession-with-debt-targets-could-lead-us-to-ruin-a6745021.html writing:
    “Numbers matter. A balance is needed between financing desirable public spending, reasonable and fair taxation, growth and maintaining fiscal prudence. With the change of government the Chancellor has redefined the numbers to suit his small-state, ideological, agenda. Both the Labour and Coalition governments planned to eliminate the so-called structural deficit in the current budget: the irreversible damage caused by the banking crisis. That task was just over half completed by the Coalition. The Conservatives now plan not only to complete that task but to eliminate all government borrowing by 2019/20, including for capital investment: and all by spending cuts, with no net contribution from taxation.

    There will be a sharp squeeze on public investment on top of the deep cuts since 2008. Neglect of public investment in infrastructure and building homes at affordable rents is already causing damage.”

    Earlier this month ahead of the European elections, Vince Cable commented https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/foreign-affairs/brexit/news/103977/fresh-remainer-split-lib-dems-reject-change-uk-call “I think now people look back, they see that period as one of strong and stable government after the financial disaster and we’ve had three years of chaos since under the Conservatives,”
    “I think a lot of people are now reappraising that period and we act as a massive restraint on the Tories over things like public expenditure. It could have been a lot worse as we now know it is.”

    There is no ideological barrier (real or perceived) in Change UK and Greens working in alliance with Libdems – firstly on Brexit and subsequently on wider economic and environmental issues.

  • Dennis Wake 31st May '19 - 4:36pm

    Is it a rogue poll ? YouGov was the first one to predict the outcome of the European Elections and IpsosMori had very similar figures on polling day. The YouGov poll seemed to go up in the last few days. This might be the moment for us. It is not impossible – there were sudden movements of voters in Ireland with Sinn Fein in 1918 and the Scottish Westminster results in 2015 which were not expected by most pundits. When a party is seen to be in the lead the voters can abandon their former party quite quickly. People like to be up with the times.

  • Change UK is a party formed by a bunch of MPs facing deselection who lack the principles to stand down so the voters in their constituencies can decide if they actually support Change UK or want them as MPS. Plus they flunked their big showcase.

  • I just wonder if these liberals who are the only true liberals eg opposing I.d. cards are the same true liberals who argued against CCTV in the 80s? I don’t see them starting up campaigns to get rid of CCTV. Liberalism can be fluid and should move with the times. I see myself as a liberal in my approach to many aspects of modern life but I know on some issues I disagree with people in my own party. Broad churches are a cliche but also the right thing to be. The one goal is PR and I hope we can all work with others to achieve this. No need for pacts if we get PR but we have to get there first. I would rather see green MPs and change MPs than lose more deposits. As long as they voted for PR. And under present circumstances we would not ask for a referendum presumably just legislation.

  • Nigel Jones 31st May '19 - 5:37pm

    @George Kendall: You are right about keeping our social democrat heritage; likewise our Liberal heritage and all those attitudes and principles that have made us what we are. Who can say at this stage whether it would work to form any kind of alliance with Greens or CHUK; I agree with those who say that some people in CHUK do not look attractive to work with except on one or two issues; likewise some people in the Greens who seem like authoritarian socialists. There is however, no harm in talking with them to find out the extent to which we can work together and to persuade some of them to come over to us, as Jennie says, using our supporters scheme, giving them time to decide whether or not they wish to become members.

  • The Lib Dems should be Labour’s friend if they’re willing to pursue constitutional reform; increase transparency and strengthen civil liberties. I’d be insane to shun the idea of a Labour supply and confidence arrangement that potentially gives the LDs : real Lords reform(elected second chamber – elected using a proportionate system); PR for local elections; moves to federalisation in England and strengthened devolution for NI, Wales and Scotland. The Tories betrayed the Lib Dems on Lords reform and the admittedly poor AV (Cameron campaigned against despite a pledge not to).

  • Charles Pragnell 31st May '19 - 6:15pm

    Interesting article on Change UK. Clearily they are not Liberals. However I think Heidi and Sarah are Liberal in there views. I think we could work with both of them, I am not sure about the others. Sarah and Heidi would most likely hold their seats, with the help of Lib Dem activists help. If Tig was to join with us it would have to be on our terms.
    We do not need folk to join us with big egos ! Remember David Owen. Shirley Roy and Bill were at heart Liberals and did great work for us. Remember our out going leader and Charlie were SDP , but both have liberalism in th heart. Such pity Paddy and Charlie are no longer with us but will be smiling down on the Lib Dems.

  • Change UK have so much negative baggage associated with them, for both Labour and Tory supporters who the LDs won over recently in the Euros and need to stay. Bringing any controversial CHUK people into the fold risks toxifying the Lib Dem brand as it recovers its reputation after the ‘austerity’ coalition. And where do they really stand on civil liberties and foreign military intervention: Dovish or hawkish? Bringing them in is a recipe for internal division.

  • Richard Underhill 31st May '19 - 6:54pm

    Proportional voting by party list helped UKIP much more than defections (2) and some gains in local elections.
    What we need is transferable voting, as they have in Northern Ireland, which is not strictly proportional. STV allows voters to express their preferences, in full, it is as simple as 1,2,3, etc.
    Transferable voting also helps alliances, whereas proportional voting, for parties, allows the party leaders to dictate who will be where on the list
    as Alan Beith MP said in the Commons when PR came in.
    (who chooses the list in the Farage Party? probably the self-appointed leader) .
    Vince Cable has already been nice to The Independent Group by offering that Lib Dems would not stand against them in the event of bye-elections for their seats in the Commons.
    They have eight ex-Labour MPs and three ex-Tories. Anna Soubry has said that her opinions have not changed, the Conservative Party left her. The eight ex-Labour MPs will need to seek re-election to the Commons, against tribal attacks from Labour and against that background.
    Page one of The Times today, 31/5/2019, has a headline
    “Poll surge puts Lib Dems on top” pro-Remain party most popular in country 70% of voters say Brexit is the biggest issue.
    On page 23 an editorial is headlined
    The Liberal Democrats have a historic opportunity’
    so, let us not quibble over whether the Times should have said ‘an historic opportunity’
    YouGov has us on 24%,
    Brexit Party dropping from 31.6% to 22% in a general election,
    Tories 19%,
    Labour 19%,
    Greens 8%.
    Change UK 1%

  • Eddie Sammon 31st May '19 - 7:18pm

    I’m in favour of working with Change UK but I have been gleeful of their demise after they refused to work with the Lib Dems and wanted to replace us. We can start a new relationship with them via electoral pacts and see where it goes.

  • Joe – tell me what ChUK stand for. Show me their statement of values and principles (akin to our preamble); tell me their policy on Health, Education, climate change, jobs, transport, energy, defence, farming etc.; show me their agreed vision of strategic goals, including how they see the LibDems and whether they even want to work with us; and finally show me evidence that they are all happily signed up to all of the above. Then we can have this conversation.
    In general, I think local agreements are fine (this applies to the Greens too) and should not be discouraged. But at national level, I think we should say we are open to working with people who support our values, but we should make clear that the ball is very much in their court. They need to take some time and sort out who/what they are.

  • To any party seeking to bring Joan Ryan, Luciana Berger and Chris Leslie into their ranks then expecting harmony…In the famous words of Ash : I can’t lie to you about your chances, but…you have my sympathies.

  • David Evershed 31st May '19 - 8:14pm

    On their foundation, Change UK said that the Lib Dems were their gratest enemy and Lib Dem members were their prime target to recruit.

    Political parties are in competition with each other.

    Change UK should be crushed at birth.

  • I think (as often on LDV!) we are confusing many things. The operation of our committees and our policies are almost entirely irrelevant to the discussion of CHUK – important though they may be in themselves. We can argue democratically about our policies at conference and (at least theoretically) we can put in constitutional amendments to change our committee structure.

    On CHUK. Two things strike me:

    Other than their 11 MPs (and that does obv. have some importance) they are a dead – or at least a zombie – party. I don’t say this with any glee. Other than when a party is taking 3%-8% of the (“same”) vote under FPTP or even D’hondt that is an annoyance. I’m in the Lib Dems – but it in essence it didn’t matter whether the Lib Dems or CHUK won so long as one did (or formed a workable alliance) and did so quickly. Clearly there has been a result declared and the Lib Dems have won!

    I would have had more time for CHUK if they had realised quickly that a political party needs to be just that – a political party and not a seminar for 11 MPs. And rumour had it that there were potentially some quite big backers financially for them and surely – even if you don’t think that elections are coming – you start putting in place people to do all the stuff that a political party needs – and that Farage has done.

    I think (may be sadly) that it is 99.9% likely what happens to CHUK now is of total irrelevance to British politics. I think they will probably mostly stay as an independent group of MPs (they have something of the David Owens about them!). Some may join us which would be welcome. But it is unlikely any more Tory or Labour MPs will join them. And they won’t put down the (vital) roots that the SDP did of council candidates standing for them (who would do that on 1%?), let alone getting elected or forming constituency parties etc.

  • We may need to reach some sort of accomodation with other parties in selected areas, however there are clear differences. My view though has changes somewhat on Change Uk, I never envisaged the Liberal democrats would have done so well at the Euros a few months ago and Change so badly but that had quite a bit to do with their approach and shambolic operation. Still to set out their stall and more in common with some than others. Could support not standing against existing Mp’s if warranted but not case at the moment for it to go further, previous argument that they could reach voters who would not consider us carries less weight now though would not get carried away by encouraging polls at this point. Some overlap with Greens but they have more in common with Corbyn’s Labour Party in certain respects. ok we were competing against each other but some of their social media campaign was crass.

  • Peter Hirst 1st Jun '19 - 9:48am

    The hustings provide an excellent opportunity for members to judge which candidate possesses the right balance of values, ethos and principles to lead our Party in the present political climate.

  • Richard Underhill 1st Jun '19 - 10:13am

    The BBC has a mantra “Other ….s are available”.
    When someone blurts out a remark on tv or radio the BBC person usually reaches for the mantra, but not today.
    They should apply it to politics, and use experts.
    On the BBC1 breakfast show today, 1/6/19, there was commentary on the Peterborough by election, forecasting a win for the Farage party, rubbishing the YouGov poll in yesterday’s Times, which DID ask electors about how they would vote in a parliamentary election. THAT IS WHY BREXIT WERE SECOND, LIB DEMS FIRST.
    They were correct to mention what the bookies are doing.
    BBC tv have a complaints programme, which has already gone out today.
    The next one is next Saturday, 8/6/19,but can often be a bit of a whitewash, on a wide variety of subjects.

  • chris moore 1st Jun '19 - 11:09am

    @Joe Otten “It wasn’t obvious 2 months ago that we would end up being the voice of remain and Chuk would be relegated to 1%, and it might have happened the other way round. ”

    I disagree. it was in fact very obvious, in spite of the blindness of the commentariat, Change UK themselves and other denziens of the Westminster bubble.

    The Lib Dems had – at the time – over a 100,00 members, 1800 councillors, several very competent MPs and a couple of decent potential leaders, policies, a philosophy, a capacity to persist in the face of adversity.

    What did Change UK have? A name – a poor one at that- , no philosophy, no poilcies apart from revoke, no councillors and its main weakness 11MPs used to complacent two party politics, deluded about their own prospects and those of the Lib Dems, their chosen enemy.

    it was only going to end one way.

    I’ve been in favor of a waiting approach and co-operation where

  • chris moore 1st Jun '19 - 11:16am

    @Joe Otten “Let’s open our hearts in a spirit of self-improvement, to constructive engagement with people who have had sincere reasons for not joining us in the past.”

    Their sincere reasons were that they wanted to rob our donors, councillors, members and replace us. DId they have any guiding philosphy in so doing? Any ideals beyond themselves?

    No, they did not.

    We need to wise up.

    I’d be in favour of standing down Lib Dem candidates in seats with Change incumbents. But the quid pro quo is Change endorse us in every other seat. And, frankly, even there, I’m not sure. Given Change’s lack of roots in the country, that endorsement isn’t worth a tin of beans.

  • Wiliam Wallace 1st Jun '19 - 11:25am

    There’s no hard definition of a ‘Liberal’ or a ‘Social Democrat’, no test we should impose on prospective members, beyond the preamble. Most of us have an instinctive view of people who are illiberal, authoritarian, in both Labour and the Conservatives – as well as others who have underlying liberal instincts. We should all be encouraging the latter to work with us, and come and join us. We’re a broad church already: I don’t agree with every bit of existing LIbDem policy, and I doubt if most others in this thread do either – but we have enough in common to hold us together, and discuss how to reconcile our differences as we campaign for common goals.

  • Nom de Plume 1st Jun '19 - 11:49am

    Change is as empty as the Brexit Party.

  • Change UK’s MPs will be booted out by the electorate at the first opportunity. By and large voters are voting for political parties and policies rather than “personalities”. This is why the MPs involved are not brave enough to let their local voters decide in the first place. I suspect the hype is mainly driven by a kind of “centrist” nostalgia for an orthodoxy that effectively died in 2008 and the idea that the Blair-Coalition era represented “realistic/sensible” politics, when actually it represented economic , social , military and political failure.

  • @chris moore

    “What did Change UK have? A name”

    Now come on be fair!

    They had two names…
    and three official twitter accounts
    AND four stripes!

    What MORE could you want for a successful political party?

  • Paul Barker 1st Jun '19 - 1:55pm

    A deal with The Greens (GPEW) is obviously more important for us than one with Change but Change does bring 2 things to the table :
    Newness. Not just their own Newness but the innovation of Parties working in Alliance; for a lot of Voters the 1980s are ancient History.
    Defections at the top level from both Tories & Labour. Small numbers so far but perhaps the thin end of the wedge that will break open both “Major ” Parties.

  • Bill le Breton 1st Jun '19 - 5:34pm

    When you are 2 or 3% in the polls no-one is going to jump ship to you.

    Even so nothing, absolutely nothing, makes up for the time wasted – the huge delays, the debates, the distractions, that occur when two Parties try to work together.

    If you haven’t experienced it. If you didn’t live through the early 1980s you just need to accept that this would be the case.

    In 1982 I had a meeting in County Hall, London. Simon Hughes attended. As it broke up he asked me as a favour to chair a meeting of the Southwark Council Joint Manifesto Group for the London elections. It took 8 hours of line by line examination and debate. Others will have horror stories and similar meetings to dicide which Party fought which ward or constituency.

    We don’t have that time of the strength to waste if we are to exploit the advantage we have. We need to be flexible and free to exploit each opportunity as it arises with lightning speed.

    That applies to us alone. Whoever becomes leader needs to be given our trust to get on with things as s/he sees fit with the minimum of delay and consultation. That is going to be hard enough without having to pass everything through liaison committees etc..

  • Paul Barker 1st Jun '19 - 7:32pm

    When I talk about a new Alliance of Us, The Greens & Change I dont mean that we should repeat all the mistakes of The 1980s – we should be finding new mistakes.
    Do we even need detailed Manifestos ? Ive been in & out of Politics for half a century & Ive never read one.
    Any cross-Party agreement should be 4 or 5 bullet points on general principles, the shorter the better.
    The experience of the last 2 Elections has shown that The Greens at least can attract Voters who won’t yet come to us while Change attracted a group of Labour & Tory MPs.
    Perhaps we can simply absorb Change but we can’t do that with The Greens.
    FPTP demands Electoral co-operation of some sort & Coalition in Government.

  • latest opinium poll has the Brexit party in first place with the Libdems in fourth

    The Brexit Party 26 (+2% change)
    Labour 22 (-7%)
    Conservative 17 (-5%)
    Liberal Democrat 16 (+5%)
    Green 11 (+8%)
    SNP 4 (no change)
    UKIP 1 (-1%)
    Plaid Cymru 1 (+1%)
    Change UK 1 (-2%)
    Other party 1 (no change)

    Just goes to show we should not be getting to over excited about polls as they are all over the place.
    One thing is for certain I am sure, the next election is going to deliver another hung parliament, which will hopefully see the tories booted out of office.

    It is time that Labour, Libdems, Greens and SNP start concentrating on more than brexit and start cooperating on policies for the NHS, education, Mental health, welfare the environment etc so there are areas of agreement to work on should another coalition be needed.
    Start cooperating now, rather than trying to do a last minute fudge in the so called “national interest” like last time

  • @matt don’t forget this is Opinium, the polling company who at the Euros significantly overestimated BXP support (by 7% I think) and underestimated us by, I think, 5%… as indeed they always understate LD support. The key thing is they identify a big increase in our support!

  • Paul Barker 1st Jun '19 - 11:50pm

    We now have 3 Polls to work with & it looks like we are “only” on 19-20%. Its worth reminding ourselves that before the Locals were probably on 10-11%.
    What we seem to have is 4 “Main Parties” all within 5% of each other.
    What we dont have is any real idea how that would translate into MPs, particularly whether Brexit will be any better at Westminster Election than UKIP was. We will have more idea about that after next Thursday.

  • Just to add to the confusion, Delta poll has Labour in the lead with 26%, we are 16%. Only things is that YouGov was the most accurate at the Euros and almost get the seat spilt right at the last General. Has anyone heard anything from the ground at Peterboro, it would be nice to think we are, for the third time in a month, coming through under the radar. I need cheering up after Spurs defeat last night.

  • Dennis Wake 2nd Jun '19 - 8:33am

    Matt: It was YouGov and Ipsos Mori who got the most accurate forecasts of the European Election results in the UK, not the other polls who were way out. The Liberal Democrats actually got more MEPs than predicted.

  • chris moore 2nd Jun '19 - 8:44am

    matt 1st Jun ’19 – 10:57pm
    latest opinium poll has the Brexit party in first place with the Libdems in fourth

    Opinum has constantly given the Lib Dems derisory percentages. They were way out on the Euro elections. And their scores for the Lib Dems prior to the locals gave absolutely no indication fo what was about to happen.

    Deltapoll – the other producing the latest poll – were even worse, having us on 5-6%.

    I suspect both these companies are systematically underestimating lib Dem support.

  • chris moore 2nd Jun '19 - 8:54am

    @Paul Barker “A deal with The Greens (GPEW) is obviously more important for us than one with Change but Change does bring 2 things to the table :
    Newness. Not just their own Newness but the innovation of Parties working in Alliance;”

    Paul, I think youa re a kind and open person, straining to find good things to say about Change UK.

    There is nothing new about them. They are quintessential Westminster insiders, some of whom have backward looking views: National Service, blind support for FPTP etc etc

    We have been their stated main enemy. It makes sense to be very very cautious.

    With regard to Change, Michael 1and others have it right: we have to build on our own success and make Change see that there is no future for them, unless they cooperate with us – as a very minor partner.

    Greens is another matter: they are a serious party with whom we have some áreas of ideological overlap.

  • Before people get too carried away in a feverish frenzy about whatever the latest opinion poll may or may not say they should remember it’s only nine weeks since the Liberal Democrats got only 36 (1.7%) votes out of 2,117 cast in a local government in Clackmannanshire.

    Polls come, polls go. Peterborough will be interesting.

  • Mark Sherratt 2nd Jun '19 - 9:50am

    ChangeUK are nothing more than MP’s who have left their existing parties due to being disgruntled with their leadership. They just arranged it under a single banner in the hope of becoming darlings of the media and get a big boost to their ego.

    If you want to avoid standing against the 11 in next general election, fine. In fact you could extend that courtesy to any other sitting MP who backs remain (Ken Clarke etc.)

    But don’t get tempted beyond that, these people could rejoin their old parties at any time if their old parties appointed the ‘(centre) right’ leader or adopted the more ‘right (not hard left)’ policy direction.

    Meanwhile the Greens are seeing a real boost in support both nationally and internationally. It would be a travesty if the LibDems don’t agree a pact to at least avoid splitting the ‘alternative to the big two’ vote because they were too busy navel gazing and flirting with 11 failed MPs…

    I say this as a former Lib Dem activist, post-coalition Corbyn-ite type who believes the UK needs a course correction slightly left to undo all the damage of a very right-wing Tory party. For god’s sake don’t stuff up this opportunity.

  • Peterborough aside, we may have a long wait until the next elections. A FPTP General Election will have a different protest vote pattern to the sort of proportional Euro system. The Tories have to get through a leadership contest without ending up as a laughing stock. Labour has to get through a conference and agree a policy on Brexit and another referendum without tearing itself apart. ChUK could either wither on the vine, or be boosted by another wave of defections.

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We have the luxury of a bit of positive media attention, and a leadership contest where the candidates are for the most part in agreement with each other AND the broader membership. We can spend the next few months calmly presenting a united front and a sane set of policies to an electorate who might actually be listening this time.

  • @David Raw

    With respect I guess in a thread in a thread about Tiggers it is appropriate that Eeyore chips in! (And Clackmannanshire was 36 votes more than we have ever got there before – which frankly I’d settle for!)

    While I somewhat rail against the Disneyfication of a British classic – “it’s not too bad being Liberal Democrat”


    But you are to a degree right! I know it’s my continual refrain but clearly hard work locally and clear policies (“messaging”) and drawing a line under the coalition (even if I would give it a B and it might scrape an F with you) have got us to an improved position and are the key to our future.

    But in our heart of hearts are we doing enough on those things? Or are we going to let it slip through our fingers? Somewhat eeyore-ishly I think we are!

  • OnceALibDem 2nd Jun '19 - 10:28am

    Given the flux in politics anyone making definitive claims about what they mean is basing their predicitions a lot on what they want to happen. That said…..

    There is clearly a huge move to the Lib Dems – and parties other than the old big two generally. The extent to which that survives a general election predicated on Corbyn or TBC is yet to be seen. Historically it hasn’t survived that too well (83 being the only time it nearly happened)

    This is also not just a UK thing – see for example https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-politics-poll-idUSKCN1T23F7?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5cf2e5192866ef00011d116b&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

    Maybe the key to the LDs riding this wave is to be a party about change, not just about Stop Brexit.

  • David Evans 2nd Jun '19 - 10:31am

    Michael 1, Namecalling is never acceptable for a Lib Dem. We are better than that. You should apologise.

  • @David Evans

    I of course apologise if I offended @David Raw.

    I think though it is fair to say that few are the polls or election results that come by that he doesn’t say how terrible they are! As I say I am an Eeyore myself (perhaps more than you know!) and I don’t consider that I have offended myself! (And Eeyore is a very loveable character in Winnie The Pooh). And we have our bouncy and too optimistic Tiggers and our “overly wise” owls and our timid piglets in our party and on these pages. I may just characterise them as such in the future… and I apologise for any offence I cause in the future. But really if we can’t accept a little criticism (which may or may not be justified and if not then push back against it) then we are certainly “doomed”!!!!

  • @ Michael 1 You don’t offend me whatsoever, Michael, ….. though on the odd occasion you do amuse me – especially in your more tiggerish moments.

  • @David Raw

    “@ Michael 1 You don’t offend me whatsoever, Michael”

    Good! I am glad!

    (I did think that it was marginally amusing and apposite given the context of the Tiggers and previous banter and highlighting of Disney Winnie the Pooh songs – but I know that you can’t attempt anything of kind on the internet!)

    “though on the odd occasion you do amuse me – especially in your more tiggerish moments”

    :)! Lol!

    Although I am an Eeyore! Unfortunately people will have noticed that I have become more Eeyore-ish since the Euros (!) as I share (basically) your analysis and I think that we are now unlikely to put in the policy reforms needed – or do (enough of) the work (especially over the summer) needed locally. But hey – what changes!!!!!

  • Just watched Jo Swinson on the Andrew Marr Show.

    Three comments :

    1. I like Jo. Full of cheerful energy and enthusiasm.

    2. I do wish she could get some proper advice about sitting still in one to one interviews instead of waving her arms about. It’s distracting and takes away from the message she’s trying to deliver.

    3. She really needs to be properly and professionally briefed on austerity.

    Quote : “The cuts we had to put forward were pretty much the same as those proposed by Alistair Darling”.

    Fact : Darling proposed £ 44 billion in cuts. Osborne £ 81 billion.

  • Nick Baird: hopefully there will be a by election at Breconmaybe as early as July.

  • John Marriott 2nd Jun '19 - 2:33pm

    I agree with David Raw about her excessive use of hands and arms. Toby Young comes to mind as a similar exponent. The Germans have a saying; “Er redet mit Händen und Füssen” (I don’t we need a translation) I think Dr Magnus Pyke probably started it off.

    It’s interesting that, now that the Lib Dems are appearing on the radar again, tge old familiar questions return on with which party they would form a coalition, tuition fees and, of course, austerity. What I found as interesting on Andrew Marr today was the performance of Richard Tice, who is fast emerging as Nigel Farage Mark Two. Like Trump, I gather that he made his money in real estate. Like Farage, he is convinced that the Brexit Party’s success last Sunday means that it’s all over bar the shouting. The fact that, even without the Labour and Tory votes, more people voted for avowedly Remain parties than for his party and UKIP.

    According to Mr Tice, it’s time to hand over EU negotiations to ‘business’ people like him, who know how to do a deal. For me, that would be a bit like putting Count Dracula in charge of a blood bank.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Jun '19 - 2:52pm

    We underestimate these people at our peril.

    Whilst we are thinking of ways of ‘getting’ a referendum, they are already preparing to win it.

    Of course they don’t want to be part of those negotiations, they want to be kept out of them.

    Of course they say they don’t want a referendum, but actually they want one. It is a win, win for them.

    Populists win when claims that an elite is running the show seem plausible. Populists win when existing institutions appear to have lost their legitimacy or failed to cope with some new challenge. Populists win when their proposed strategy of blaming ‘the other’ seems feasible.

    We were once the best campaigning party in the country. Therefore we ought to be a good bet to provide the best campaign against them. But not by failing to accept how difficult it is to defend people, institutions and policies that have failed so many people, especially since the Great Financial Crisis.

  • David Evans 2nd Jun '19 - 4:09pm

    Bill, Quite simply the most sensible and considered point made on LDV about Brexit in quite a long time.

  • Matthew Huntbach 2nd Jun '19 - 4:13pm

    The situation with Change seems to be rather like the situation with the Liberal Party and the SDP in the 1980s – except taking place in weeks rather than years.

    When the SDP was founded, they just did not realise (and neither did the media), the extent to which the Liberal Party was building up local activity, and that was giving it real strength. Local activity means interacting with ordinary people properly at their level, both listening to them and explaining things to them.

    The arguments between the Liberals and the SDP before their merger were to a large extent more about this than policy, with the SDP wanting a top-down leadership controlled party, and the Liberal wanting a more localised party. By the time the merger happened, many who had joined the SDP thinking it would lead to instant success had dropped out, remaining members were those who had come to appreciate the importance of local activity and what the Liberals had been doing with it, so merger went very smoothly.

    We were fortunate this time that our local activity leading to good local election results was noted, and that enabled us to push ahead of Change in the MEP elections, making Change redundant. Had this not happened, we probably would have ended up wasting huge amounts of time negotiating with them, and them demanding we stand down to let them have “winnable seats” i.e. ones where we have put in lots of local activity to make them winnable.

    However, I am concerned that we have become a little too complacent, taking instant votes from those who want Remain without having to do much to get them. That makes us a bit like the SDP at its start – gaining instant support in the polls, and so becoming rather arrogant about it.

    We need to understand why so many people voted Leave, and understand their concerns. We need to explain to them why leaving the EU won’t deal with those concerns. Many of the concerns that led people to vote Leave were about the way our economy has gone since the 1970s. The leading figures of Brexit are those who want to blame the EU for it to switch attention from the real cause of it – which is the sort of economics THEY have pushed, and actually want to leave the EU now in order to be able to push it even further.

  • Katharine Pindar 2nd Jun '19 - 5:21pm

    I agree with David Evans! This is probably the first time, David. 🙂 I believe Bill is right. Our country is in deep crisis, and we have a big job to do, to convince a majority that the right result from the proposed referendum is to stay in the EU.

    In church this morning I sat fulminating as our vicar preached on how we should be praying that more people we know regain their Christian faith. As I suggested to him over coffee afterwards, with the country in crisis I would hope that all our clergy will be praying for a wise outcome that can unite us all again. I also mentioned that the most moving part of the service to me (in fact the only part though I didn’t say so) was singing the great hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, with its plea for peace, especially: ‘Drop thy still dews of quietness till all our strivings cease. Take from our lives the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of thy peace.’ Now that would be a Change worth having.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Jun '19 - 3:44am

    If you have been contracted to perform tasks for someone, and they ask you to do something for a particular reason, and you know that it will not deliver what they say they wanted it for, you have a duty to explain that to them and ask them “Is that what you really want?”.

    If they have asked you to perform a task, and it turns out there are different forms of the task with contradictory results and none of them what they thought it would really be like, you have a duty to ask them “What form do you want, or do you want it at all if it won’t work?”.

    We need to explain this as why a second referendum is necessary – and the second referendum will need to take a form in which the various forms of Brexit that were proposed are there as well as no Brexit, and the forms are to be put in order of choice i.e. Alternative Vote. Let us make that clear, a second referendum rather than just not having Brexit shows that we do respect the first referendum. Also, here is an opportunity to explain how and why AV works: if there are several forms of Brexit, it would be unfair to split the Leave vote and let Remain win without it having a true majority.

    However, let us also explain that Brexit did not happen because when it came to trying to work out how it could be done, every possible attempt at it had a large number of MPs who said they supported Brexit saying they did not want that form and would rather stay in the EU if that’s what Brexit meant. I think we need to be kinder to Theresa May than we have been, and make clear that the form of Brexit she negotiated is probably the only form that can be achieved in practice.

    What sort of contractor would carry on doing a task they were asked to perform even when it was clear it would not deliver what it was asked for? What sort of contractor would in that case, when suggested they should ask the customer whether they really want it, reply “they asked for it, so they must get it” on an angry way? The answer is the sort of contractor who tricked the customer in the first place to ask for it, because it’s the contractor who really wanted it for their own purpose, one very different from what they told the customer it was about. Let us make it clear – that’s what those politicians now arguing for No Deal Brexit are like.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Jun '19 - 4:38pm

    1st Jun ’19 – 10:13am: Part of the ground war in Peterborough was active campaigning by Labour in the run-up to the recall vote. That may have helped keep their records up to date.
    The Faragists appear to have said that they did not have data from UKIP mark one.

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