WATCH: The online leadership hustings

You’ve seen a few comments on Ed’s Day and Jo’s Day. Now see the whole online hustings which took place tonight.

500 questions were submitted in advance of the event, chaired by party President Sal Brinton. It was the first of its type for a UK political party.

And it showed us off at our best. We have much better quality leadership candidates than anyone else at the moment…


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  • Still can’t make up my mind. Both are really very good. I can tell that in the end I’m going to have to force myself to pick one little thing that swings it, but it will be something fairly trivial. The mental equivalent of tossing a coin.
    It’s a very nice feeling though, to not really mind who wins because you have confidence that either could do the job well. I also like the very obvious respect and friendship they have for each other, so we know whichever wins the other will be a big part of the team. (So many contrasts to the Tory contest!)
    How are the rest of you here deciding who to vote for? Or are you like me, still on the fence?

  • We are so lucky that both candidates behave like grown-ups and overall I agree with both of them on just about everything!

    I’ve not entirely made up my mind, but I’m leaning heavily towards Jo because she comes across as more ambitious and forward thinking who wants to challenge us to think bigger and better. Ed comes across as very knowledgeable as well, and steady, but perhaps a bit too steady. Watching the online hustings last night, in and admittedly artificial environment, there were times when he came across like a primary school teacher talking to younger children.

    I was also concerned that he seemed to think that having evidence-based health policies, such as our proposals on drug regulation, are a distraction from our core message. Whereas I think this should be a big part of our core message and that we should be proud of taking an evidence-based approach, listening to experts, and not being dictated to by dubious newspaper columnists who are just looking for a headline.

    Although it shouldn’t really matter, I have a niggling concern that replacing one older white middle-class man with a knighthood and a south-east London constituency with a middle-aged white man with a knighthood and a south-east London constituency isn’t the best way to reach out to a wider demographic and to the rest of the country.

    But I feel I’m nit-picking now.

  • Lynne is right in her assessment – the vision thing is sadly sketchy at best, missing at worst.

    However, we have to be careful when we say “As a grass roots party of course when it comes to policy – we make it democratically.” However, as those who attended conference found during coalition, conference made policy (twice) on Secret Courts and Nick and the parliamentary party ignored it and voted with the Conservatives.

    To me that is a key vision question. Are the Lib Dems an open, participative, democratic party, or can leaders just ignore what we say when they choose to, and just rely on our loyalty to the party and its values to see them through?

  • I was at the Leeds hustings with over 300 others.
    Both candidates are good and the telling question really is how they will achieve ‘cut through’. Jo talked about her social media presence while Ed talked more about the brand and the vision.
    We need both. We are getting a lot of attention and gained a lot of members from our stance on Brexit. Keeping both the attention and members needs a bold idea which builds on what we stand for. We need to show that we’re different.
    For example, the UK 2070 report talks about the imbalance between London and the regions. That imbalance is one of the core reasons for many people voting leave. Equalising funding and decentralising decision making by devolving to the regions sits well with our Constitution, attempts to address the reasons why the ‘left behind’ voted leave and, crucially, gives ‘back control’ to people in a way Brexit never can.
    Ideas like that take the Liberal Democrats to where we should be – radical, edgy and people-centric. The candidate who best articulates our raisin d’etre will get my vote.

  • @ Fiona. ” A white middle class man with a knighthood representing a South East constituency ?”

    Competing with a white middle class woman with a C.B.E. representing a relatively prosperous Glasgow commuter constituency ?

    It should be about policy, competence and charisma not identity politics.

  • I am usually wrong but have decided to go with the younger candidate as I feel she represents the best opportunity to regain our Scottish constituency support, we were second there in 2005.

  • Just wonder if we should bring the result date forward to get in before another party and a possible by election date at Brecon.

  • David Becket 18th Jun '19 - 12:09pm

    I can agree with most of the comments and I am still unsure as to which of our leaders to back, so over the next week I will be asking myself the following.

    Assume Boris gets PM and loses a vote of no confidence.
    Brexit is delayed for a General Election.
    We have a TV leaders debate:
    Johnson, Corbyn, Farage, Lucas ??

    Who would I wish to see representing the Lib Dems?

    It will be a make or break election for us.

  • @David Becket
    If ‘Mr Johnson’ gets elected there is a good chance of him going to the country to change the numbers in the HoC.
    The danger is that, whatever ‘Mr Farage’ says, they will form a Leave alliance.
    At that point the only defense will be a Remain alliance. If the remain vote is split it will fail in the FPTP system and we will get a hard Brexit. For that reason alone I am backing Jo at the moment. She has been far clearer on her willingness to engage in this.

  • @ pmknowles “the telling question really is how they will achieve ‘cut through’. Jo talked about her social media presence while Ed talked more about the brand and the vision.” I’m afraid it’s not.

    I’m sorry Mr/Ms Knowles but mere talk about social media presence, or brand and vision are superficial. It says nothing about how to achieve a fairer society with more social justice and by definition building a less divided society.

    I find Peter Wrigley’s contribution disturbing. If the party is to be worth supporting it needs energetic leadership with knowledge and conviction about the big issues facing this country and this society. Not a word yet about the UN Report on poverty or an in depth message about climate change, world peace and the grosser excesses of global capitalism.

  • @David – I said it shouldn’t really matter, and I doubt it makes much difference for people who are already on board with the LibDems and what we stand for. But I can only presume you are yourself a Londoner or from the Southeast if you don’t think that people in the rest of the country aren’t complaining (for right or wrong) that politics is too London-centric. This doesn’t mean that MPs of London constituencies can’t understand the needs and concerns of the rest of the nation, but we’d be naïve to think that, when nit-picking, this wouldn’t be a campaigning gift to many Leave campaigners and more so the SNP who already campaign against us by calling us one of the ‘London parties’.

    I noticed a few people used Vince’s Knighthood against him and us, but on the whole, his status as an elder statesman of British politics meant introducing him as Sir Vince wasn’t such a big deal, but replacing him with another leader who most people hadn’t heard of until now, for him to be introduced as Sir Ed comes with risks. You might argue that Jo has a CBE, but that isn’t the sort of thing people mention routinely in the media, so in practical terms, it’s a huge difference in public perception.

    Ed’s got a lot going for him, and if he were the only candidate, I’d be happy enough, but it’s hard to get away from the fact in many ways he’s a younger version of the outgoing leader, which happens to be a group that’s already over-represented in politics. Some might think that’s a good thing, because it means he already looks and sounds like a political leader, and that will give him an edge for some voters.

  • @ Fiona “I can only presume you are yourself a Londoner or from the Southeast”..

    Not so, Fiona. Grew up in West Yorkshire, many years in Cumbria, lived in Scotland now nearly fifteen years…… call me a naturalised Scot. Chair of a Scottish Foodbank, fan of Hibs (mourning Berwick Rangers) , Proclaimers, Andy Murray, John Bellany, Jo Grimond & Elsie Inglis. Former Convenor of Social Work, Lib/Lib Dem Councillor in England & Scotland for many years. Have personal MSP friends in the Lib Dems, Labour and the Greens.

    Fact is, agree with you about the knighthood (a Lib Dem male MP addiction… including some Scots). Just think it’s unfair to ignore the CBE from East Dunbartonshire – which I know isn’t the Gorbals.

    Just wish there was a potential Leader half as good as Jo Grimond (sorry, there isn’t).

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