Welcome to my day: 25 April 2022 – perhaps it doesn’t need to be so bad?

It’s always nice to see some positive news, and the re-election of Emmanuel Macron to the French Presidency yesterday was reassuringly clear cut. Mind you, given that 42% of those who voted chose such an overt friend who of Vladimir Putin, one should remain alert in terms of what happens after Macron’s second term ends, especially given the current weakness of France’s traditional “big two” political parties. But that’s a problem for another day.

Slovenia also had elections yesterday, and a political party formed only a year ago, the Freedom Movement has swept to power, defeating the outgoing Prime Minister, Janez Janša and his Social Democrats. The Party names might give the impression that this is not good news, but whilst the Social Democrats lean very much towards a Victor Orban style of politics, the Freedom Movement are social/Green liberals.

So, not a bad night for liberals across Europe.

Nearer home, Angela Rayner is apparently distracting Alexander de Pfeffel Boris Johnson by having legs. Now, whilst this sounds a bit like the thankfully discredited argument that women’s clothing choices impact on their personal safety, it also doesn’t say much for the Prime Minister. Are his “friends” really saying that he is so easily distracted by the sight of a woman’s legs, or perhaps that he is so lecherous that he can’t control his urges? And isn’t it funny how her ability to lambast him at the dispatch box doesn’t seem to rely on the existence of her legs?

It’s a big week in the Lords, with the Report stage and Third Reading of the Elections Bill to be debated, as well as ‘ping pong’ on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the Building Safety Bill and the Nationality and Borders Bill. Will the noble Lords continue to reject some pretty vile policies, or will they yield to the elected House eventually? My money is on the latter, but expect the Liberal Democrat Peers to resist as long as possible.

With just ten days to go until this year’s round of local elections, Liberal Democrat candidates across the country are ratcheting up the pressure, in the face of some rather more promising circumstances than in previous years. Whether that means significant gains is hard to tell, but there’s a sense of positivity which perhaps reflects that we’re back in the game.

And finally, will news of more Fixed Penalty Notices, or worse, leak out this week? Given that most Conservative MPs seem to have determined that it’s not the behaviour of the Prime Minister that is the problem but his ability to deliver wins at election time, you do wonder if there is a principle left amongst them. Might I ask them that, if lying to the House of Commons and breaking the law is not enough to justify getting rid of him, how far does he have to go before they act? Their failure to do so make all of them complicit in his actions – they could stop him, but are seemingly too weak, or too compromised, to do anything about it.

But would his opponents rather have a wounded Prime Minister limp on a bit further…

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

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9 Comments

  • having watched Angela Rayner eviiscerating Johnson at PMQ’s the qoute “She knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks.”, is risible; I’ve yet to be impressed by any of Johnson’s ‘debating skills’….

    The Mail/Express are nasty little rags that pander to the most ignoble prejudices in our society but that article strikes a new low in ‘gutter journalism’ even in that paper..

  • Peter Martin 25th Apr '22 - 11:14am

    Is Macron the moderate centrist he claims to be?

    Not according to Political Compass. On the economic scale he is well to the right, and even more right wing than Marine le Pen

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/france2022

  • Steve Trevethan 25th Apr '22 - 12:09pm

    Might we have some thoughts and even policies on the economic crisis we are entering?
    https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2022/04/25/

  • CATHERINE HODGKINSON 25th Apr '22 - 12:22pm

    There are strong indications that the Tory backbenchers will not move against Johnson until after the local elections and if their Party does better than expected, they probably won’t move then. The Labour Party has made quite a lot of the fact that they are defending many seats and suggesting therefore that they may not make many gains. Therefore it seems to me doubly important that the Liberal Democrats perform really well for the sake of the whole country.

  • It seems to have been forgotten that if the left were a little more united there would have been a different opponent for Macron. There will soon be elections for the assembly, so we need to see how things work out then.
    To me the main lesson of the election is that the worse the electoral system, the worse the result. However this is already clear from the UK’s behaviour.

  • Michael Cole 26th Apr '22 - 12:07pm

    I quite agree with Tom Harney. France has an electoral system that is almost as bad as ours.

  • Mick Taylor 26th Apr '22 - 4:17pm

    Hm. France’s run off system is an improvement on the UK, though not by much. How many of the seats where we are second to the Tories would we have won in a run off? Probably many more than the 11 we won in 2019. How many Red Wall seats would Labour have won in a run off? Would Johnson have had a majority under the French system? Quite possibly not. All pointless speculation, but quite fun.

  • There were 12 candidates in the first round of the French election. The old mainstream parties were nowhere to be seen, and the political scene in France now (party-wise) has changed vastly from the old PS/PC on one side the RPR/UDF on the other.
    Only three candidates got votes in double figures, percentage-wise.

    None of that is the fault of the electoral system!

    If French voters chose Macron and Le Pen for the second round, it wasn’t for lack of options in the first. If they reject the old mainstream parties, that’s for the parties to ponder on.
    And at least they can express their first choice in the first round, knowing they’ll get another say in the second.

    As for the left (there or here) being ‘more united’ – thanks for the best laugh of the day!

  • Laurence Cox 27th Apr '22 - 5:57pm

    Sophie in ‘t Veld from our Dutch sister party D66 on the ‘totally dysfunctional’ EU Council (essentially she is complaining about lack of Parliamentary oversight):

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/27/totally-dysfunctional-sophie-in-t-veld-on-the-eus-relationship-with-democracy

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