Welcome to my day: 1 August 2022 – no more gallant losers…

Greetings from Maine, where your Day Editor is recovering from the excitement of watching an England football team actually go all the way. Congratulations to the Lionesses, who’ve brought a bit of joy into our lives at a time when joy isn’t available in abundance. Made us sweat a little though…

Meanwhile, the other big final grinds on, with Rishi Sunak making ever more unlikely promises and Liz Truss attracting key supporters. You’d think that it looks increasingly good for the latter but there’s always the question of whose team is better organised and able to reach ordinary Conservative members more effectively. But given that key media appear to have opted for Truss, I’d expect a few “knocking stories” against Sunak to appear this week, just in time for ballots to hit doorsteps.

I know that at least one reader has wondered why we’ve spent some time looking back to Liz Truss’s Liberal Democrat past. From my perspective, it’s because it offers a glimpse into her backstory and, in some cases, because it’s rather funny. And Liberal Democrats don’t always do dull respectfulness – authority figures are there to be challenged through humour and satire.

But, whilst politicians do develop as they get older, do their basic instincts change much? And the answer to that question offers clues as to how she might respond to events and situations going forward. If what she purports to believe isn’t popular with the electorate, what does she do next? Can she inspire, persuade, convince?

Here in the US, the talk is of Democrats picking themselves up off of the polling floor as Republicans possibly overreach. Depending on your pollster of choice, up to 85% of Americans believe that abortion should be available, albeit with some limitations. Indeed, historic polling suggests that the proportion opposed to abortion under any circumstances has fallen steadily over fifty years. That doesn’t suggest that overturning Roe v Wade is a vote winner, potentially the opposite. And that’s important because what happens in American politics has an alarming habit of coming to our shores sooner rather than later.

At home, Keir Starmer’s cautious stance on Brexit opens up more opportunities for a political party which is overtly internationalist in tone, i.e. the Liberal Democrats. It’s almost as though Labour’s strategy is to avoid annoying anyone.

If you are convinced by the polling evidence of buyer’s regret over Brexit, then having the confidence to talk about what might be done to improve matters and why offers a connection to those who might want to register their unhappiness. Such people weren’t really there in 2017 or, indeed, 2019, but they’re evidently there now. The $64,000 question is, can they see the Liberal Democrats as a credible choice? The answer, it increasingly seems, is “yes”. And, against a Truss-led Conservative Party which can’t admit to any difficulties stemming from Brexit, and is increasingly vulnerable to tactical voting, the opportunities look promising.

And, with that, it’s time to return to my grandparenting duties, so I hope that you have an enjoyable week, don’t waste too much water and keep cool.

* Mark Valladares is the Monday Day Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice.

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  • There is a useful piece by Nesrine Malik in todays Guardian Journal which unpacks the impact of post-Brexit border crossing. For many people who can afford to go on holiday in the EU this will be the most frustrating experience resulting from leaving the Single Market. I admit that drawing attention to this is only the soft end of challenging Brexit!

  • Anthony Durham 1st Aug '22 - 6:27pm

    Since Truss lives quite close to me, I looked up her voting figures in Greenwich Council elections on the Rallings Thrasher Plymouth website. Truss, E. Ms stood unsuccessfully in two relatively rich wards (Vanbrugh in 1998 and Blackheath Westcombe 2002), and in 2006 shifted to Eltham South and defeated a sitting LibDem councillor by 57 votes. I cannot remember noticing her at the time, but that was at the far end of our borough and a lot of Greenwich councillors are mere nodding donkeys.

  • David Garlick 2nd Aug '22 - 9:43am

    I make no apologies for saying again that it is great failure to spend too much time on the two potential leaders of the Tory Party even if they will become our new and unwelcome PM.
    Scietists are now saying that we are not spending enough research effort on the possibility of the extiction of the Human Race (you, me our parents, grandchildren and everyone else). Makes Defeating the tory naysayers ever more important and campaigning on Climate Change ever more important too.

  • Peter Hirst 5th Aug '22 - 1:46pm

    The Conservatives are winning- at least by getting their policies in front of the electorate. This leadership election is harming our democracy. A select few are determining our next PM. Is it time for us to speak out about this egotistical exercise in public while the country plunges into decay? It reminds me of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • Brad Barrows 5th Aug '22 - 3:41pm

    @Peter Hirst
    Sorry, but I don’t see how an election for leader of the Conservative Party can harm our democracy. We are a parliamentary democracy rather than a presidency – the Conservatives won a 5 year term in 2019 and it is a matter for the Conservative Party if they choose to change their leader mid-parliament. As for the Conservatives ‘winning’ by getting their policies in front of the electorate’, that only follows if more of the electorate support what they hear rather than oppose what they hear. That said, the last general election at which the Conservatives did not secure the largest share of the vote in England was in 2001….so maybe we should be worried that whatever these people hear will not shake they willingness to continue to vote for them.

  • Peter Hirst 5th Aug ’22 – 1:46p……….The Conservatives are winning- at least by getting their policies in front of the electorate…………

    My impression is that, far fgrom ‘winning’, their ‘policy announcements, last about as long as Johnson’s…
    Truss spent most of last night distancing herself from a policy promise made a day before and I reckon Sunak will backtrack on his Tunbridge Wells pledge…

    They are making it up as they go along and it shows..

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