WATCH: Jo Swinson’s speech to the CBI

Courtesy of the Guardian’s You Tube channel.

Jo talked about the Lib Dems being the party of business and set out our strategy:

The speech went down reasonably well. Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI head said afterwards:

It was good to hear commitments from the Liberal Democrats on working with firms to tackle climate change, improve skills and backing business as a force for good.

“Increasing investment in infrastructure will better connect the UK’s regions and nations, close productivity gaps and facilitate a step change in exports.

“The Liberal Democrats recognise the broken business rates system needs fundamental reform. But moving to a land value tax is mired in complexity, and it remains unclear how it would cut overall costs or provide a level playing field. Much more detail will be needed.

“Employee engagement is hugely important, but there are numerous ways to ensure staff views are represented at the highest levels rather than simply asking employees to sit on boards.

Earlier, she had expressed concern about the PM’s Brexit plans.

Action at home must be accompanied by the right type of Brexit certainty. That means a new relationship with the EU that maintains frictionless trade, keeps close regulatory alignment and supports our services sector. Unnecessary deadlines and damaging cliff edges should be replaced by taking the time needed to secure a sustainable, ambitious relationship.”

She isn’t going to get certainty from a PM who has been selling his deal to his party’s hardliners as no deal in a year’s time.

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  • Bernard Aris 19th Nov '19 - 5:29am

    According to The Guardian (quoting a number of entrepeneurs in the CBI auduience), Jo’s speech got a far more enthusiastic response than either Johnson (insouciance about ability to realise a trade deal next december) or Corbyn. see:

  • Roger Roberts 19th Nov '19 - 9:22am

    I watched the three speeches and agree with the Guardian. It was a first class speech and did us a power of good. The Prime Minister,s handling of questions showed him to be short on knowledge and slow and bumbling in his responses. Jo was fresh and sharp.

  • I assume there is omerta on this site about the ‘revelation’ that the more the electors see of our Leader, the less they warm to her?

    While I concede she was a superior choice to her opponent, that has been my experience too, and I am a Party member.

  • Richard Underhill. 19th Nov '19 - 4:19pm

    Boris J. might have considered BBC4 ‘How to be an Ex-Prime Minister’ on 22 July.
    Jeremy C. perhaps not.
    Michael Cockerell tells the story of how PMs have coped with life after No. 10, from Harold Macmillan to Tony Blair. John Major went to the Oval to watch cricket.
    Cockerell omits Alec Douglas-Home (
    who became Foreign Secretary in Edward Heath’s government of 1970-1974, and, recognising the power of an incumbent, designed the electoral system which caused Mrs. Thatcher to cease to be PM although she had a small majority of Tory MPs’ first round votes.
    After the election result of 28/2/1974 Ted Heath went back to Downing Street. He had no other home. Harold Wilson became PM of a minority government, but realised that he had studied his opposite number in great detail and was a bit lost without him. He resigned, perhaps in bad health and interviewed Winston Churchill MP on tv–2010)
    about former PM Winston Churchill.

  • What I find most frightening about populist bluffers like Johnson is that their followers simply do not care how disreputable they are. This is an international phenomenon. On the other side of the Atlantic we have Trump. In Europe we had Berlusconi. Both are far more disreputable characters than Johnson, of course, but both share with Johnson a combination of fumbling buffoonery, an aversion to facts and details, an elevation of style over substance, a visible over-indulgence in self-love and an aura of minor celebrity.

    If I were Jo, I would major on Johnson’s character. I would ask what it is likely to do to Britain’s international reputation to have someone like that as Prime Minister. I would also try to focus in on detail. Johnson can handle generalities. He can bluff his way through interviews. But he is hopeless on detail. Vince Cable would have tied him up in knots. Jo should do so too.

    Jo’s CBI speech was good, but she could have done better in some minor regards. For instance, when she called for the replacement of the UBR with a tax on commercial landlords, the first thought to come into my head is that landlords would offload the tax on to the tenants. And lo and behold, Jo was asked just that. Did she answer the question? Er, no. She could have responded by saying that commercial landlords are unlikely to price themselves out of the market, but reasoned response came there none. One feels that Vince would have been quicker on the uptake.

    People who vote for Johnson’s party will deserve everything that the old Etonian chancer and his cronies visit upon them. The rest of us will find ourselves prisoners of the all-encompassing though intellectually vacuous weight of the “will of the people”.

  • John Marriott 19th Nov '19 - 4:48pm

    Today’s Times has a story with the headline “Voters dislike Swinson the more they see her”. Yes, I know it’s The Times; but does anyone wish to comment?

  • chris moore 19th Nov '19 - 5:18pm

    David 19th Nov ’19 – 3:39pm I assume there is omerta on this site about the ‘revelation’ that the more the electors see of our Leader, the less they warm to her?

    John Marriott 19th Nov ’19 – 4:48pm
    Today’s Times has a story with the headline “Voters dislike Swinson the more they see her”. Yes, I know it’s The Times; but does anyone wish to comment?

    Dear David and John, it’s always worth reading the polling for yourself. The headline is not supported by the data. It’s fake news.

    The poll shows that more people now know who Jo Swinson is. It also shows her net ratings have declined.

    It DOESN’T show that people who know her MORE, like her less.

    Those who did know who she was before were disproportionately Lib Dem.

  • @John Marriott — The only comment I have is to suggest we ponder for a moment why the people at the Times think it’s worth giving a page lead to the cause of undermining Jo. And then to suggest we all get out and deliver some more leaflets. That’s what I’m doing.

  • Paul Barker 19th Nov '19 - 6:19pm

    To expand on Chris Moores point, British Politics is both highly Tribal & fractured so that there is always a majority for supporters of all the other Parties. Thats why Leader Ratings are usually negative, its not a general dislike of Politicians, just the other lot,s Politicians.
    Its hard to compare Jo,s ratings with other Leaders because so many Voters dont know how they feel about her yet but she usually comes ahead of Her Party, unlike Corbyn.

  • chris moore 19th Nov '19 - 8:21pm

    Yes, Paul, you are right on all those points.

    The campaign has stuttered in the first couple of weeks. But I feel we’re beginning to make some headway. The very poor polls of 11% and 13% of the last couple of days are not I think accurate reflections of where we are.

    We’ve got many more volunteers than before and decent funding in our marginals. It’s all to play for.

  • I’ve just forced myself to watch the dreadful Jezza/Bozza ‘debate.’ It was even worse than I had expected. I still think it was disgraceful that we were excluded, but at the same time I now wonder if ITV didn’t do us a favour: it may have been tough to shine in that dreadful pit.
    There has to be a huge opportunity here for us to win over those who can’t stomach either of these two. We’ll see how Jo does in her interview at 10pm, but I hope she can move on from process issues now and start talking about our own key messages.

  • Richard Underhill 28th Nov '19 - 11:46am

    Jo Swinson will be on ITV1 @ 1930 today 28/11/2019

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