We need to go into the next election with a different strategy

The key issue for me in the leadership debate is our strategy for the next election. My take is based on feedback from electors.

On the whole, our manifesto is sound (although I can’t help adding a quick pitch for the addition of the term time attendance policy for tourism constituencies & to exemplify our trust in people over government/commitment to family life). There are just two huge, key exceptions.

  1. Ditch the referendum on the deal.

Nothing in recent history, from the AV referendum to Brexit to the Scottish Independence Reernedum, gives cause to trust referenda. The electorate had already learned that lesson. It’s our turn now.

Plenty agreed with Brenda from Bristol that “there is too much politics” and dread the prospect of another election soon, let alone another referendum on a complex issue in which passions ride high. Our system is deeply unsettled; elections/referenda in such circumstances add to the maelstrom, not calm it. More than that, Scottish Independence and Brexit weren’t just arguments between competing political factions, but caused tensions within families and friendships groups which still linger. Neither we nor the SNP gained by offering another such experience in the last election. We would be idiots to repeat the offer.

Remainers are aware the LibDems don’t want Brexit, know we can’t stop the juggernaut and know we will do all we can to represent their interests. They just want us to get on with it without bothering them again.

  1. Switch tack on Coalition.

We have to hold our noses on the prospect of coalition in the next Parliament (not in this one).   Once the 2nd referendum failed to generate a national tide, the argument that we would form the main opposition looked unrealistic, increasingly so once the unforeseen Corbyn bandwagon started rolling. In that environment, ruling out coalition made us an irrelevance.

If another election is called before the end of the full Parliamentary term, it will be because government is untenable. The country will be in a state of great uncertainty and risk, just as we were in 2010. We stepped up then in the national interest. We may well need to do so again. In the meantime we point out only the LibDems in coalition will be able to hold the extremes of either the Tory or the Labour party in check.

It won’t be comfortable and it may not reward us at a future election either, but it may well be a patriotic necessity. Ruling ourselves out of play and relegating ourselves to shouting negatively and ineffectively from the sidelines achieves nothing for anyone. Next time though, a Bill on changing the Westminster voting system.

Finally, we need to be a solution, not part of the problem

It’s about tone and balance. There’ll be a danger that whoever is seen as responsible for forcing this Government into another election will be punished in the ballot box. The ideal scenario for us is a collapse perceived to be the result of unnecessary Tory – Labour feuding. Tribal aggression and Pavlovian-response attacks on other parties are the biggest turn offs for the majority of the electorate.

We are in very turbulent seas, with the two great warships of our political system, Labour and Tory, blasting cannons at each other. We can’t kid ourselves that we have anything like their firepower. Getting in between and firing shotgun blasts at both from our rowing boat just doesn’t cut it, much as we might want to blow them out of the water. My sense is we pull back and offer instead a haven of calm; sanity in a mad world. Can we bite our tongues and position ourselves as healers not combatants? I appreciate it’s a big ask given the air time we get but I think we start not by attacking Tories and Labour in our press releases and speeches, but by explaining them.   “Tories say this because they see the world this way…Labour react because they see it this way. We see it this way…”.

* Karen Wilkinson was Parliamentary Candidate for Kingwood in June 2017

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44 Comments

  • William Barter 25th Jun '17 - 1:06pm

    The last time we were seen to ditch our principles (let’s not discuss whether we did) we lost nearly 90% of our seats in parliament.

    Why don’t we try – next time – speaking out clearly for what we believe in – a Britain at the centre of the EU. No fudge in terms of a second referendum – a clear statement that a vote for the Lib Dems will be interpreted by the party as a mandate to do all we can to stop Brexit – in both houses of parliament, and should we win a majority, in government.

  • Frances Alexander 25th Jun '17 - 1:30pm

    Have you seen Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury? Quoting a poem from Shelley? and being cheered by thousands? I am afraid we need a bit of inspiration! Best friend chats don’t work.

  • I find this article smart and perceptive. Let’s hope we get a proper leadership contest so the arguments can be challenged and given the attention they deserve.

  • Philip Knowles 25th Jun '17 - 1:52pm

    Yes there needs to be a change in strategy and that involves listening. The disenfranchised voice which voted Leave in protest are still there and still being ignored.
    The Grenfell Tower residents’ anger over their justifiable concerns being ignored by local and national government is testament that, one year on, politicians aren’t listening and haven’t learnt. Theresa May (and ourselves) have found that out.
    The election material from HQ was useless in our campaign. It was ruthlessly negative and not easily translatable into local issues. Being centre left should enable us to seek positive ground but we, instead, sniped at both left and right.
    Our strength is in localism – being part of the people and part of the solution. Listening to local people and campaigning to help them. We also need to be smarter. Rather than a blizzard of leaflets, get the marked register and go and TALK to the voters. Find out why they voted the way they did. Talk about what’s important to them. Talk about their MP’s voting record. It’s far easier to get them to persuade themselves than to force them. Use social media and word of mouth to subtly sow dissent about how they are being represented. It’s a slow process but it needs to start now.

  • Nicholas Cunningham 25th Jun '17 - 1:55pm

    A new strategy, what’s wrong in what we believe to be true.
    Can I add, if individuals are finding inspiration in Corbyn than our education system is totally kaput. Utopia does not exist.

  • David Becket 25th Jun '17 - 1:57pm

    @ Phillip
    You are right, the central campaign was terrible.

    Cutting down on the blizzard and concentrating on contacting those on the marked register is a step in the right direction. However unless our national campaign is positive and liberal we would be wasting our time.

  • Paul Griffiths 25th Jun '17 - 2:54pm

    Conference isn’t going to ditch the referendum policy as currently it’s the only route back to sanity. Tim’s statement on coalition deals explicitly said we weren’t ruling them out forever.

  • Peter Brand 25th Jun '17 - 3:48pm

    I agree these are the two areas to look at.

    I agree that such changes of policy need to be implemented only in a new manifesto.

    The policy of having a second referendum didn’t seem to win many votes because a lot of voters had resigned themselves to Brexit, and because of tactical voting to beat Tories in England and SNPs in Scotland. I agree that the hypocrisy of wanting another Brexit referendum and not wanting another independence referendum hurt us. But the mood is still swinging around, and depending on when the next election happens there may be more appetite for a referendum on the Brexit deal. So we should not decide this until the election is called.

    We should never rule out coalition. But we must put a lot of effort into detailing and publicising how we curbed the Tories on some issues last time, how they stopped us from curbing them on others and what we have learned from that so that voters have reasonable expectations of what we can do if we can get into a coalition again.

  • Tony Dawson 25th Jun '17 - 3:51pm

    I agree with Karen that the Referendum policy, while instantly superficially attractive, is not appropriate. We should be the Party which believes in Parliamentary representative government. Remember, please, that this was an advisory referendum based upon what the chief advocate of ‘Leave’ has effectively agreed was a successful pack of lies.

    As for Coalition. Forget it. No one really gives one as to whether a party of 12 MPs is up for coalition. They might be more interested if they felt that this Party stands for stuff which they can identify with as being in their own and the national interest.

    But Karen, as with everyone, PLEASE do not confuse all this tactical stuff with Strategy. Our Party has never once shown any interest in, let alone production of a ‘strategy’ since Chris Rennard ceased to be in charge of such things.

  • paul barker 25th Jun '17 - 4:05pm

    FYI Theres an interesting article in The Times, quoted on The Political Betting site & suggesting that Tory plotters plan to replace May with a Tag Team of Hammond & Davis & hold an Election in 2019. At that point it would make sense to drop the Referendum demand for a simpler policy of Remain/Rejoin.
    I agree with almost everything in the Article except for the idea of “Saving The Nation” again. In the Long term The Nation needs us as a strong Party, not a rump. Our condition for entering any Coalition should be that The PM be a Libdem & that all the components are enthusiastic about Reform.
    I shall repeat my usual warning about not making assumptions about what may happen in the next few Weeks/Months, its too soon to be pessimistic or optimistic.

  • Rob Parsons 25th Jun '17 - 4:55pm

    We should not take the electorate’s current mood as the yardstick for our policy. As I see it, many leave voters are still on a long journey. They still refuse to admit to themselves that they were lied to and conned. We are seeing opinion polls beginning to swing back in favour of staying in the EU as a proportion of them come to terms with what was said to them, and the realities that have begun to bite since.

    We should change our policy, but the other way from the original suggestion. We should stand by our guns and advocate a closer and better relationship with the EU.

  • Brian Evans 25th Jun '17 - 5:21pm

    I agree that, after another pre-term election, it might well be appropriate for us to enter a coalition with one or other of the two major parties. However, we need to educate the public – don’t ask me how – about how the formation of a coalition would inevitably distort our pre-election promises, while – hopefully – have a beneficially distorting effect on our those of our coalition partners. Many comments I heard last time were along the lines of ‘before the election you promised XYZ … why, now you’re ‘in government’ aren’t these happening?’. It’s a case of managing expectations so that we aren’t seen afterwards as having let our supporters down.

  • Paul Griffiths 25th Jun '17 - 5:35pm

    @Brian Evans
    While we can do more to make our manifesto “coalition-proof” or “coalition-friendly” I suspect we’ll just have to wait for the public to get used to coaltions. Could be a long and painful process.

  • nvelope2003 25th Jun '17 - 5:42pm

    The problem with being a moderate party is that while the majority of the voters might be moderate those floating voters who decide elections often like extremist policies as they seem exciting and interesting unlike the dull stuff put forward by responsible parties. The success of Jeremy Corbyn and even Mrs May in dramatically increasing their vote share and the success of the Leave campaign proves my point. The Liberal Democrats will only attract interest by presenting policies which are outrageous and attract attention even if it is hostile.
    The Labour Party put forward such policies early in the 20th Century and despite the most virulent hostility from the press they soon formed a Government.

    There is very little demand for a moderate party of the centre such as the Liberal Democrats and such a party would only get significant representation with PR which is very unlikely to happen in Britain as those who would have to bring it in are totally opposed to it because it would not be in their interest.

  • Peter Watson 25th Jun '17 - 5:44pm

    “We have to hold our noses on the prospect of coalition in the next Parliament”
    I don’t understand the approach of ruling out a coalition before anybody knows the outcome of a general election.
    If the party has a coherent vision backed by a consistent and well-understood set of policies and priorities (it does not, but that is a different problem!) then surely its aim, its duty even, is do whatever is required to deliver that. If the election does not result in a majority government, then realising the Lib Dems’ priorities might justify coalition or it might require supporting a minority government that (on balance) delivers what Lib Dems want or opposing one that does not.

  • There is a quote wrongly attributed to Trotsky

    “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

    to try to ignore Brexit is to paraphrase that quote

    “You may not be interested in Brexit, but Brexit is interested in you.”

    so while large number don’t want Brexit too bother them it will and saying it won’t would make us liars. So much as you might want to closing your eyes and wish it away, it won’t depart. It is the number one issue in the UK this year and for the foreseeable future. Ignoring it therefore not an option, you have three choices embrace it, tag along or oppose it. Personally i oppose it,.

  • Dave Orbison 25th Jun '17 - 6:59pm

    nvelope2003 – ‘floating voters who decide elections often like extremist policies as they seem exciting and interesting unlike the dull stuff put forward by responsible parties.’

    So following your logic when the LibDems gained some 2m votes in 2005 and 2010 cf 4.8m in 2001 these ‘floating’ voters were moderates because they voted for the moderate, responsible LibDems. Yet when in 2015 and 2017 they ‘floated’ off to other parties you would now have these same voters classified as supporters of extremist policies, extremists. Of course that is assuming you don’t believe the lost LibDem votes just stayed at home and somehow Corbyn found another 4.3m votes to vote for his Labour than Gordon Brown’s in 2010.

    Your contribution did prompt me to look back at the votes case for the Liberals then LibDems since 1979, then at 4.3m, before peaking in 2005 at 6.9m then plummeting to 2.4m in 2015 and 2017.

    I would venture an alternative explanation. Floating voters are simply floating voters. They may be fickle but I don’t believe they switch from Tory ‘extremist’ policies then to Labour ‘extremist’ polices as you describe. More likely the LibDems are increasingly seen as a fringe party with little appeal whose position was made worse having blown the trust of many through the Coalition years.

    Of course not all the extra 4m votes Corbyn received came from LibDem. Many came from those inspired by his appeal, many who would not otherwise be interested in voting. They are not extremists. They are voters and their vote is every bit as valid as any other.

    However, I do agree with you that the LibDems are in a bind. Having two consecutive bad election results and a shrinking base at local level just what can the LibDems offer that is attractive? You seem to be saying ‘Nothing, nothing at all’. On that I think we are agreed.

  • Seems everyone agrees we are in the …None of us know the way out!!!

  • Time theakes and events. Brexit will cause havoc with the Tories as will their cuts to the countries safety net. I expect Labour to be the main beneficiary but the Libdems will pick up some support. Then with Labour in power unless they can fulfil the expectations of their voters more opportunities present. I had thought this would take at least six or seven years but given the era we live in could be much less.

  • nvelope2003 25th Jun '17 - 9:19pm

    “Dave Orbison” In 2005 the party gained votes in Labour areas from those who were opposed to the Iraq war which was an extremist policy in British terms. It does not have any seats in those areas since 8th June 2017. In 1997 it benefitted from the collapse of the Conservative vote and the willingness of Labour inclined voters to support the party where that would result in the defeat of the local Conservative MP in for example the West of England, SW London etc.

    As there is known to be a lot of “churn” of voters it is very difficult to know whether particular people have changed their vote but possibly certain groups of people may do so. In 2010 Clegg aroused a lot of interest among younger voters and their parents because he seemed fresh and interesting and promised to abolish tuition fees which was an extremist policy in British political terms equivalent to, for example, giving tax relief on the cost of commuting which I am sure would be very popular amongst commuters but like abolishing tuition fees it would be very costly and require increases in taxation for other people. When the promised tax rellef did not happen the party would lose all those extra voters at the following election as it did in 2015.

    Unless the party can devise policies that are considered essential by a large group of people and can be implemented without causing a big loss of supporters elsewhere and which are opposed by the other parties it has no real future except as a minor party on the fringe of politics which is what it has become with its obsession with the EU, a cause which has little support except among younger voters who appear unable to make the effort to actually vote unless Mr Corbyn offers them another chance to have free tuition fees paid for by older people other than their own parents but then those older people go off and vote Conservative to avoid the higher taxes required to pay for the free fees. At the same time the progressive parties appear to favour seemingly unlimited immigration which keeps down wages and exacerbates the desperate housing shortage because our education system, which they support, has made many young people here virtually unemployable except for work which they deign to do.
    To win elections you have to put forward policies which are both popular and practical to implement and which do not have unpopular consequences. Yes the Socialist Workers party does not seem to have much luck.

  • Jenny Barnes 25th Jun '17 - 9:47pm

    I think it’s quite amusing how the Tories are struggling for a coalition/ conf/supply partner. They thought they were so so clever trying to destroy us when we went into coalition with them. If they had treated us well, we’d have more seats, and be willing to entertain another coalition. As it is, I’m not sure I’d vote for it even if the deal included PR, and continued single market membership – no referenda. I don’t think they can be trusted.

  • The only numbers that would stack up in the current Parliament is a German style Labour-Tory coalition.

  • Hello I’m interested in what the question would be in any second referendum and what would happen if the country voted against the government? We cannot now undo A50 and Remain after all, without the approval of the other 27 countries and they would not let us back without agreeing to Schengen and losing the rebate. So what would a second Referendum achieve? Would it not just be a recipe for more instability? I’m really scratching my head to know what a second referendum would achieve unless it was a straight choice between 1) Staying in single market and allowing FOM to continue OR 2) leaving the Single Market.

  • * Karen Wilkinson was Parliamentary Candidate for Kingwood in June 2017

    Where’s that? I thought she was the candidate for KingSwood??????

  • People favour a referendum on the deal and this is likely to grow http://survation.com/latest-polls-indicate-majority-support-soft-brexit/

    I think we now have a history that decisions on Europe (and other major constitutional issues) should be taken by referendum. It shouldn’t just be MPs that sign off on the EU deal.

  • I think we should stick to our guns on the Brexit position. We are the largest national party that is standing on a EU-friendly ticket. Many committed remainers opted for Labour in the belief that they were just playing lip-service to Brexit. I suspect many will be thinking that they may have made a mistake on that core.

    Labour is going to have a trust issue of its own that will eclipse ours over coalition if they do an about face on Brexit, having convinced many leave voters to vote for them, so I think that in all likelihood it will be remainers that finish up disappointed by Labour. As such, let’s make sure that we stick to our guns so they have somewhere to go.

    Your point about coalitions is absolutely correct, but I’d add a point that it should be a requirement of the Lib Dems to have introduction of STV via parliamentary vote, not referendum, as a prerequisite for entering into agreements with other parties. Let’s have a bit more militancy on this key issue.

  • Stephen Howse 26th Jun '17 - 10:02am

    I agree on both counts.

    1) Most people have now accepted that Brexit must mean Brexit – so we should respond, as good democrats, by listening to them and by instead pushing for the least harmful Brexit we can get, i.e. EFTA membership.

    2) Why would anyone want to vote for a party which has explicitly stated it cannot win the election and that it wants to merely provide a ‘strong opposition’? We set ourselves up as losers from the start of the 2017 campaign – if you set yourself up as a loser you will be treated and perceived as a loser. People might not believe us when we say we want to form a Liberal government of our own but that should always be our approach. A small-time mentality will, as we’ve just seen, inevitably lead to a small-time result. Corbyn’s politics repel me but he at least encouraged his followers to dare to dream of a Labour government, in the face of all logic and comment.

  • Michael – “I think we now have a history that decisions on Europe (and other major constitutional issues) should be taken by referendum.”
    No we don’t. We have a modest history of Parliament calling occasional referendums (referenda?) to inform the legislature. Parliament has never decreed that any referendum should supersede the decisions of the people’s representatives elected to Parliament. Public opinion polls do not change the constitution.

  • Peter Watson 26th Jun '17 - 10:18am

    In another thread (https://www.libdemvoice.org/vince-cable-announces-his-candidacy-54656.html#comment-445991) Tristan Ward links to an article which “should be read by every Liberal Democrat campaigner” – http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2017/06/richard-holden-how-and-why-the-libdems-went-backwards-in-every-seat-they-were-defending-last-month.html
    Its closing sentence makes it crystal clear why your party “need to go into the next election with a different strategy”:

    With seven of the nine Lib Dem seats in England now held with majorities of less than eight per cent of the vote, the next election offers a chance to take the Lib Dems out for good.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Jun '17 - 10:47am

    This article is premature as to Brexit policy. It is right about the AV referendum, which was an inadequate policy even if it had been achieved. Even then political reports were that David Cameron lied to a joint meeting of Tory MPs and peers saying that he knew for definite that Labour had offered this. Although Gordon Brown had said at Prime Minister’s Question Time that the Alternative Vote was his “personal preference” he did not make it Labour Party policy. If Gordon Brown had offered AV in negotiations Paddy Ashdown would have known and told us at the Guardian-Observer fringe meeting with Andrew Rawnsley at federal conference. Tory peer Michael Howard made much of a previous statement by Paddy Ashdown (as leader) that AV was not satisfactory, quoting experience in Australia. STV should have been a red line and applied to local elections first, as in Scotland.
    We have been pro-Europeans since 6 Liberal MPs divided the House of Commons in the mid-50s on the founding treaties. The SDP’s first elected leader, Roy Jenkins, had been head of the Commission, etcetera. The Tories failed to send Harold Macmillan of the FO to negotiate at the time of Suez. Invading Egypt was a serious mistake which led to the canal being blocked and the resignation of “Middle East expert” Prime Minister Anthony Eden, allegedly on health grounds. France and the UK drew different lessons from the episode. Israeli-Egyptian relationships continued to be military.

  • “Banging on about Europe” is William Hague’s biggest regret of his leadership of the Conservative party and it could turn out to be ours. We lost heavily in the South West where we used to be strong but this is a mainly Leave area. We need to find a USP other than Europe, to give a positive reason for prople to vote for us and not as an annex to another party or “vote for us to stop Labour/the Tories” etc. as in most areas, tactical voting will work against us. (In East Devon, we saw an impressive showing for an independent candidate, benefiting hugely from tactical voting).

  • Laurence Cox 26th Jun '17 - 11:22am

    The problem with our campaign was that despite a good manifesto, all the media picked up on was our second referendum pledge and value-signalling proposals like legalising cannabis. Because we were leading on the second referendum, we left the field open for Labour to make the anti-austerity arguments, even though their renationalisation plans were just spending money on a change of ownership with no obvious growth benefits.

    We really needed to make the case for a responsible approach to ending austerity with hypothecated tax increases like the 1p for the NHS and social care, while criticising Labour’s ‘magic money tree’ approach that assumes that raising taxes on the top 1% will provide all we need. Francois Hollande tried that in France and look at what happened to his Socialist Party in the latest elections.

    And if we did have a second referendum there is nothing to stop the EU insisting that our opt-outs on the Euro and Schengen, and our budget rebate would have to go before they would let us back in. Article 50 creates a cliff-edge on 29th March 2019 and all the EU would have to do to push us over it is – nothing.

  • Phil Beesley 26th Jun '17 - 2:56pm

    Laurence Cox: “Because we were leading on the second referendum, we left the field open for Labour to make the anti-austerity arguments…”

    Lib Dems were compromised in the austerity argument owing to the coalition years. Austerity means different things to government economists and household bookkeepers. A household bookkeeper provides meals on the table, maintains the roof, delays replacement of the family car and still gives a little to charity. Conservative Party austerity doesn’t work that way so Lib Dems were associated with nastiness and ministerial Jaguar cars.

  • Sorry, but I totally disagree with this article – particularly on the first point.

    If we change on this, the party membership will decline by at least one!

  • Tony Dawson 26th Jun '17 - 4:17pm

    @nvelope2003

    “Unless the party can devise policies that are considered essential by a large group of people and can be implemented without causing a big loss of supporters elsewhere and which are opposed by the other parties it has no real future except as a minor party on the fringe of politics. . . .

    “To win elections you have to put forward policies which are both popular and practical to implement and which do not have unpopular consequences”

    Neither of these statements appears to exactly be ‘rocket science’ yet can anyone explain to me who has been ‘pitching’ our Party in a manner which reflects these simple truths since about 2009?

  • Panicos Georgiou 26th Jun '17 - 4:27pm

    Brexit is a reality, it’s going to happen like it or not we need to accept it.
    People wanting any type of referendum on Brexit are really saying we want to continuously have votes until we win
    Lib Dems need to either move on or openly say we are the opposite to UKIP party we are going to fight for re-entry to EU at whatever costs.
    Such a move will see us die
    Accept the result and change accordingly

  • Panicos: If in a years time the opinion polls are showing say 60 – 40% to Remain, which is quite probable, the Government will not be able to go ahead with Brexit, (God I hate that word).

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Jun '17 - 8:07am

    Adam Penny

    Your point about coalitions is absolutely correct, but I’d add a point that it should be a requirement of the Lib Dems to have introduction of STV via parliamentary vote, not referendum, as a prerequisite for entering into agreements with other parties.

    The problem is while we might see that as important, most people do not. Had this happened in 2010 it would have been seen as the LibDems denying the UK a stable government over some obscure issue that the LibDems only support out of self-interest.

    The message we have failed to get across about the Coalition is that there wasn’t an alternative. It wasn’t a matter of choosing between a coalition with the Tories and a coalition with Labour. The distortions of the FPTP electoral system pushed the Tories up and us down in terms of number of MPs, with the result that we didn’t have enough MPs to give a Labour-LibDem coalition a majority. Our small number of MPs due to the distortion and the lack of an alternative meant we had very little power in the Coalition, all we could really do was swing things a bit towards the more moderate side of the Conservatives.

    The disaster started with the “Rose Garden”, where the impression was given that we had equal power with the Tories in the Coalition, and that we really liked all the policies that it was going to push through. The disaster continued in 2017 because nothing was done even then to counter this. Not mentioning the coalition in the hope that people would forget about it really would not work.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Jun '17 - 8:18am

    Phil Beesley

    Lib Dems were compromised in the austerity argument owing to the coalition years. Austerity means different things to government economists and household bookkeepers.

    Why is it called “austerity”?

    The word “austerity” properly means not having any unnecessary luxury. The Tory policy of keeping taxes low on the rich and cutting public services because of that means the opposite of that. The rich are left with lots of money so they can live luxury lives.

    Higher taxes in order to provide better public services would be austerity in the real meaning of the word.

    We are in a crisis because of this lack of austerity. Public services have reached the point where when cuts are made they cause so much damage that in the end it costs more. The political right follows this up by claiming we haven’t really made any cuts, so they make more and it gets worse.

    The line that keeping the rich rich benefits everyone hasn’t worked. It has led to a nasty unhappy society. We need to reverse that.

  • “The key issue for me in the leadership debate is our strategy for the next election. My take is based on feedback from electors.”

    The key issue for me in the leadership election and beyond is the strategy for winning back trust. My take is based on feedback from very many voters.

  • Judith Hartley 28th Jun '17 - 8:38pm

    I disagree with both points. LIB Dems must keep opposing Brexit at all costs, because we believe leaving the EU is a terrible mistake. Voters in the ref were badly misled and lied to. Secondly, the fall out from the last coalition was disastrous. No matter that we might have ‘tamed’ or reigned in a Tory government, the results were disastrous. We must stick to our principles.

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