What do you make of the “Vote her, get him” poster?

Vince Cable launched a new Lib Dem campaign poster today.

This is how he explained it:

This week has been about manifestos

To understand what is going on you have to listen to the voices of the people who are Mrs May’s cheerleaders and admirers.

Nigel Farage. He purrs like an elder statesman, his job done.

He said of the Prime Minister “she is using exactly the words and phrases I have been using for 20 years. I’m thrilled”

He should be. She has adopted wholesale the UKIP model of Brexit. No half measures. Out of the Single Market. Out of the customs union. Out of all the sensible cooperation around science and environment. The agenda of the hard right.

And not just on Europe. Do you remember the man who smiled with President-elect Donald Trump in a gold-encrusted lift? Who used his good offices to secure a meeting for our Prime Minister. Her hand-holding. Backing for the Trump administration. The close bonding. The treat of a state visit to come. Not that it achieved anything. The tough American trade negotiators have made it clear that economic size, not sentiment, determines priorities: the EU before the UK.

Then, refugees. Nigel Farage posed in front of a poster of Syrian refugees fleeing the war. Spreading fear and distrust. But Mrs May is just as determined to keep foreigners out. Refugees. Students who are not immigrants and help our economy. Essential workers. They all fall under her net immigration target. As George Osborne has reminded us the more thoughtful Conservatives regarded the target as absurd and damaging and she hopelessly failed to meet it in any event. But UKIP is cheering her on.

Farage is ’thrilled’ for her. And that is because he is the architect in chief of her Brexit strategy.

It didn’t have to be like this. She could have taken as her inspiration the most politically successful Conservative Prime Minister in peacetime: Margaret Thatcher. But Mrs Thatcher is the creator of the Single Market.The Four Freedoms. Nothing to do with Brussels and Juncker. A British creation and a fine one which served Britain well. But Mrs May wants to trash her predecessor’s legacy.

And this is more than a meeting of minds with the UKIP hard right. There is an alliance. Not a Progressive but a Regressive Alliance. UKIP are standing down in a third of their seats for the Tories.

They realise that there is no need for a UKIP candidate when the Conservative will represent them!

That is what we believe the public should be reminded of until polling day

It’s upset the Daily Mail, so that has to be a good thing, right?

It certainly sums up how the Tories have assimilated the UKIP agenda pretty comprehensively. I shudder to think what’s happened to the husky David Cameron hugged. With its harsh measures on social care and destructive restrictions on immigration, it’s clear that the nasty party is nastier than ever.

These ideas never come out of nowhere. Anything that gets put before the public by any party has usually been tested to make sure that it motivates its target audience to act in a certain way. In a shorter campaign there is less time and capacity for testing, but it will have been done. My husband, though, didn’t recognise the face as Farage’s. He had to think about it for a few seconds before he understood it. And he is pretty switched on to politics. You kind of have to be in this house. I would be lying if I said that it had done anything for me – but then as a peace-loving hippy committed Lib Dem, I’m not its target audience.

Accompanied by specific examples of how the Tories have adopted the UKIP agenda on things like brexit and immigration, it could actually make the moderate, centre ground Tory Remain queasy about what Theresa May is doing and encourage them to vote for us. A downside would be that it might also encourage the few UKIP voters left into the Tory fold which would not help us in our target seats.

Whether this and subsequent attacks on the Tories (which I think will be stepped up in the next few days) will be enough to send our poll ratings up again remains to be seen. When we talked about Brexit all the time, we were making small steps forward. Then we got a bit side-tracked into a bit of a retail list of policies that nobody really cares about. 5p for coffee cups is a very worthy idea, but not one which necessarily needed emphasising when we’re facing Brexit and a crisis in our NHS. In fact, we probably need to be emphasising that if Brexit reduces the size of our economy by as much as most people think it will, havina a small-state government that doesn’t much care for public services is a very bad thing indeed.

We seem to have found our way again in the last few days and Tim did well in the debate the other night. This poster probably isn’t going to be a game-changer on its own. Sticking with a simple, clear, coherent message will pay dividends for us, I suspect. In Scotland, our pro EU, pro UK, progressive, invest in mental health and education mantra has been reflected in all our press releases and other messaging. It’s been pretty disciplined and it is working where it needs to.

What we absolutely should not do is water down one tiny bit of our opposition to the extreme version of Brexit that Theresa May wants to force on all of us. It is really important that we convince people that they should have a final say on the deal. If it’s a good deal that people want to unite behind, fair enough. All we are asking is that they get the chance to mark the Government’s homework.

Tim’s manifesto launch speech was a good example of the sort of thing we need to be saying all the time. Brexit, health and education are the big things on people’s minds. Let’s make sure that they hear what we have to say as they start to cast their votes in just three days’ time.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Eddie Sammon 20th May '17 - 11:06pm

    I don’t think we should water down opposition to hard-brexit, I just think there’s so many attacks on the Tories and so few on Labour that you’d think Labour and the Lib Dems agreed on everything else besides brexit.

    Let’s see how it goes over the next week, but if it is a doubling-down on the strategy so far, besides some of the minor policies, I don’t think it will do well.

  • Well, I loved it.
    BTW strange Polling news. If this is a real shift Mays landslide may not be inevitable after all. A hung Parliament ?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th May '17 - 11:22pm

    I laughed and do , it’s very funny about something not quite so funny, good as satire and thus , social commentary, and Sir Vince, spot on !

  • Sums up the Lib Dem campaign so far – it’s just doesn’t work.

  • Martin Clarke 20th May '17 - 11:30pm

    If anything I think it will strengthen Conservative party support. Especially amongst floating UKIP voters.

    I don’t see it as helpful for the party at all.

  • Gregory Connor 20th May '17 - 11:39pm

    A very poor effort indeed and if this will be the tone of the remainder of the campaign then all the hard work rebuilding the party since 2015 will be undone on 8 June.
    We have enough good policies in the areas that matter – especially health, social care and education – and enough open goals to aim for courtesy of the other parties that it is negligent to paint ourselves into a corner by focusing so intensely on Brexit.
    Brexit is one of the biggest threats to our country but it is going to happen and we should lay out our negotiating position on residency, immigration, market access and defence, intelligence and regulatory co-operation to show why a Lib Dem Brexit – a close future partnership with our neighbours and allies inside a reformed EU – is the best for the UK. Instead we are increasingly seen to be adopting a King Canute approach which lacks credibility with the voters we need to break out of our current share of votes and seats and allows us to be painted by our opponents as at best irrelevant and at worst anti-democratic.
    We need more high calibre MPs to hold the Tories to account and lay the ground for a much better government in 2022. We need Vince and many others inside the Commons pressing Theresa May to back her one nation words with actions. This is not the way to go about it.

  • Nom de Plume 20th May '17 - 11:40pm

    I don’t think the LibDems are trying to appeal to floating UKIP voters. They are trying to appeal to those who dislike Farage. I guess they have done their calculations. I agree with the point that is being made.

  • Peter Watson 20th May '17 - 11:42pm

    “She could have taken as her inspiration the most politically successful Conservative Prime Minister in peacetime: Margaret Thatcher.”
    Just when I thought the Lib Dem election campaign could not get any worse.

  • I’m with your husband who didn’t recognise Farage’s face – and I too am very switched-on, politically. So I kind of guessed that’s what it was meant to be, rather than recognised him. I also showed it to a non-political friend I happened to be with and he didn’t get it at all. In fact he thought we were implying the PM looks like a man.
    I think the point about this stuff is that if we are going to do it, I has to be crystal clear. I’m not saying the message is bad but the imagery is not clear enough, for me. I’d much rather have seen separate pics of May and Farage, with the same headline. That would’ve worked.

  • It just doesn’t work – it seems a bit amateurish and desperate

  • TJ

    ” I’d much rather have seen separate pics of May and Farage, with the same headline. That would’ve worked”

    I agree that would have been simple and effective.

  • Diane Reddell 21st May '17 - 12:37am

    I hope they have a counter poster on what the Lib Dems can do – with the tagline “Instead of a race to the bottom, Let’s support each other to the top. #Believe and succeed.”

  • Peter Watson 21st May '17 - 12:38am

    @TJ “I’m not saying the message is bad but the imagery is not clear enough, for me.”
    In contrast, even years down the line it seems easier to recognise the two politicians in this mash-up: https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/ad_158058610.jpg?w=620&h=307&crop=1

  • ITV news are focusing on criticisms of this poster being “transphobic”. Not for one moment do I believe that that was the intent, but if someone doesn’t immediately recognise Farage then I can understand why someone might think that.


  • Eddie Sammon 21st May '17 - 1:22am

    Just had to search the Lib Dem policy on winter-fuel allowance, it looks good, protected for everyone except higher rate tax payers. Affordable and reassuring for the poor. This is the sort of thing votes are flipping over. I shouldn’t have to search these policies, I should have stumbled across them from people banging on about it.

    Just saw the criticism of this poster being transphobic, I can see the point, but it obviously wasn’t the idea behind the poster.

  • Campaign poster ,very childish.

  • I thought it was funny, made a point, if bluntly, and got some attention on the main tv news.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st May '17 - 3:04am

    Even when I am scathing, I am being at least a little tongue in cheek, overblown , taken as overly serious. Fine on some things, not others.

    What has happened to sense of humour at the heart of political development ?!

    I suggest people look at their cultural political history, see the British wartime comedies, such as the extraordinary “The Great Dictator ” , in which Chaplin satirised Hitler , yes, Hitler, during the war , the but of humour, by an Englishman, in America !

    Where are peoples funny bones?!

  • Shift the focus on fighting the snooper charter and use Benjamin Franklin’s quote on liberty and security to back it, please. Focus strongly on young people to gain support for this fight for freedom and liberty.

  • I think it is childish and a very poor picture of Farage (perhaps one with less teeth and more eyes would have been better maybe http://www.europarl.europa.eu/mepphoto/4525.jpg). The wording should have been Vote May Get Farage to make it clearer.

    I don’t think it is the right strategy either. Hopefully after the general election in the report into what we did any results from audience testing will be published.

    Now the manifestos have been published it is time to change the focus of our campaign to our 1p on Income Tax for the NHS and social care (and hopefully our commitment to bring into force the cap on social care of £72,000 we got passed during the coalition), keeping free school meals for infant school children, keeping the triple lock and reversing over £9 billion of the Tory welfare cuts and increasing the amount people can earn before paying National Insurance contribution into line with the Income Tax personal allowance.

  • Michael BG – I agree.

    Libdem policies, as good as they are, never change the status quo. As I know, all other parties never talk about a specific industrial policy and trade policy. By doing so, Libdem would break the STATUS QUO.

    – I personally want the party to introduce an export-led strategy. Now, not just reducing out large trade deficit, but, more importantly, most studies have shown that productivity is positively correlated to export, especially for firms exporting to high-income countries, due to technological spillover and “learning by doing” effects. So, this is evidence-based and would totally distinguish us from Labour’s fantasy.

    – Now, to reap the full profits from exports, we must focus on developing regional supply chain to increase the percentage of domestically sourced input and intermediate components. For example, domestic components only account for 40% of UK car industry. We should pledge to double the percetage by 2030. If the likes of Nissan can source more of their inputs in the UK, they will be less likely to move away.

    – For diesel vehicles, you should delay the ban to 2030. Besides, in medium-term, to adjust, you can shift the domestic production of diesel vehicles away from domestic consumption and to export, while reducing the import of such vehicles.

    You may ask me why I focus so much on economic policies. Simple, because they are about wealth creation.

  • David Becket 21st May '17 - 5:08am

    Project fear

  • Yeovil Yokel 21st May '17 - 5:46am

    David Becket – No, Project Sensible Advice from Uncle Vince: Vote Her, Get His Outlook on Life.

  • Yeovil Yokel 21st May '17 - 6:35am

    I have mixed feelings about this, but on balance I’m in favour:
    (1) It’s amusing – my first reaction was to laugh, and first impressions are vital in an election poster.
    (2) It’s neither illegal, immoral, or threatening ( it’s not like “Enemies of the People” or “Crush the Saboteurs”).
    (3) On the whole I like Tim Farron’s punchy style and this poster reflects that. It is not designed to appeal to the readers of and contributors to LDV, it’s meant primarily to be glimpsed by busy people in passing cars and buses in a world overloaded with visual distractions. A few people might not know at first who is depicted and will ignore it, but at least it might make some floating voters think, and FPTP elections can be won or lost with tight margins.
    Too many people I meet still think of the Lib Dems as the Cute Puppies Party or, worse, the Irrelevant Party, so if this poster encourages people to reflect on what might be a desirable alternative to the Tory/UKIP vision, then it will have done it’s job. The Tories have a well-resourced and highly-effective election machine, led by Lynton Crosby (?) who learnt the dark arts in US elections, backed by their rabid friends in the Press, so Lib Dems need to counter that with a more assertive style – tempered with wit and humanity – so that our outlook and pragmatic policies actually register with people and become more closely-aligned with their aspirations.

  • Yeovil Yokel 21st May '17 - 6:48am

    PS – It also makes Nigel look quite fetching……

  • Andrew McCaig 21st May '17 - 7:08am

    Add me to the list of people who just thought it was yet another photo of Theresa May pulling a strange face. I still don’t recognise Farage with that wig on. This is an interesting question of cognitive process, but like colour blindness people (the people who designed the poster) who see Farage clearly just will not understand how others cannot see it… I suppose that might get people talking about it, and perhaps that is the cunning plan….

  • I thought it was Dave Davis.

  • Forget gimmicks like this: it’s time to push just three or four key messages at this stage including:
    1p in pound on tax to fund health and social care – it’s a good policy.
    Our green credentials: preventing 40,000 premature deaths a year by cutting air pollution; tackling plastic waste
    Supporting small business and entrepreneurs – pushing message of economic revival
    Criticising Tory plans to cut free school lunches (quote Jamie Oiver!)

  • Peter Watson 21st May '17 - 8:21am

    @Judy Abel “Criticising Tory plans to cut free school lunches (quote Jamie Oiver!)”
    Lib Dems used to oppose the idea of universal free school meals (originally from Labour) – a quote from Simon Hughes could also be used to embarrass him in his campaign. Also, when the policy was dropped on surprised Lib Dems by their leader (looking a bit like a bribe to middle-class voters as a quid pro quo for allowing the Tories the married couple’s tax allowance that cost the same), the research showed better educational results could be achieved by spending the money on other schemes, so championing it now (spending £500 million a year on parents who can afford to pay for school meals) is not as straightforward as it might appear.

  • It is a fact that UKIP has dragged the Conservatives off to the right, this campaigning image understates it. Immigration is now more important to the Tories than the economy. Why the fuss about this image

  • @Peter Watson – you are possibly right, but Nick Clegg has been saying this in the media to be fair. I am sad to see what is happening to the party. People can apparently only really absorb three or four key party messages. If we don’t start getting something powerful across, that resonates like the Labour Manifesto is starting to do, we could be toast!

  • John Minard 21st May '17 - 8:53am

    I actually think there’s a good chance of ‘Vote May Get Leadsom!’ Who knows the composition of a Tory landslide intake. If May falters in the Brexit negotiations, and if she tries and fails to get her way with her social care policy then they’ll drop her like a stone!!

  • @john Minard – I don’t think it’s going to be a landslide now – the tide is turning – the Tory margin is reported to be down to 9% now and I think this slide could continue. Eighteen days is a long time in politics

  • Corbyn for once has it right. Pensioners vote, in every target seat we should be writing to every pensioner pointing out the Tory triple whammy compared to our policies. In my safe Tory seat, was at an event with loads of pensioners who when told were up in arms.

  • Caron Lindsay, What do you make of the “Vote her, get him” poster?

    To quote Eric Morcambe, “Rubbish!”

  • Chris Lewcock 21st May '17 - 10:12am

    Ambiguous gimmick. I’m with Judy Abel.

  • I hate the poster. It is like a gutter press offering – and is not what I associated with the Liberal Democrat ‘brand’. I am desperately trying to hang on to my intention to vote LD – as I have done for many years – but I’ll be honest and say that posters like this leave me questioning whether or not I want to be associated with the party.

  • phil 21st May ’17 – 9:44am…..Corbyn for once has it right. Pensioners vote, in every target seat we should be writing to every pensioner pointing out the Tory triple whammy compared to our policies. In my safe Tory seat, was at an event with loads of pensioners who when told were up in arms……….

    Absolutely right…Instead of silly ‘photoshopped’ posters we should be targeting pensioners about the loss of their homes to the state…Even, evoke the ghost of Thatcher, “Your home should be your children’s legacy”, etc….

    May has portrayed herself as ‘Maggie2’; prick her balloon!

  • I think it’s sexist. If May were young and beautiful no-one would use her portrait in that way. It’s only “funny” because we have exchanged one “old bag” for another by putting Farage in her tweed and pearls.

    Judging by the number of diamond posters everywhere Lib Dems in Vauxhall are running an amazing campaign but the Kate Hoey’s face spliced with Farage’s face poster was horrible.

  • “These ideas never come out of nowhere. Anything that gets put before the public by any party has usually been tested to make sure that it motivates its target audience to act in a certain way. In a shorter campaign there is less time and capacity for testing, but it will have been done.”

    You don’t sound too certain – and you’d be in a position to ask – demand – such answers. The problem is you can test such things in a way that get the answers you want. Lets, for want of an alternative, call it Ryan Coetzee syndrome. And the time to test such things out is massively at a premium in a general election. To meaningfully test something you’d need a number of alternate designs and test which had the more positive response (when I did this with a party poll pre 2015 I was told “that was interesting we’ve not done that before. It was impossible to take Ryan seriously as a political strategist after that.)

    And presumably then the much malgined Blu-Kip stuff in 2015 had the same sort of testing.

    You’ve had the good sense to check this on a real person (Bob being definitely one of those 🙂 If it doesn’t work on him then question who it is going to work on. But that’s something you should already be doing as a Federal Board member.

    I don’t think it works – it needs a huge amount of prior knowledge about WHY TM is Farage in disguise and that isn’t the general view of her.

  • the old ones where the best – https://goo.gl/images/w53Fpp

  • the old ones were the best – https://goo.gl/images/w53Fpp

  • I hated it, sorry. The responses above calling it funny illustrate why.

  • I think we have done Brexit to death by now, and have our answer in the polls. Hopefully our campaign supremos do have a Plan B.

  • I’d prefer one with her as nurse Ratched with the tag line “she’s coming to take your house”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st May '17 - 12:06pm

    As for some lacking humour on it , that is a shame ,as for confusion, that is an issue.

    If some are unable to see who the he is , the her , looks like she is getting insulted .

    The mention of the names would be better, thus.

    I think its a laugh. Is it that some of us just want some advance for us somehow ?!

  • Or even her telling poor Oliver he can’t have a meal.

  • Sue Sutherland 21st May '17 - 12:43pm

    I thought it was funny too but also made the point well. We are all in a bit of a panic Lorenzo because we aren’t shifting in the polls which is why we’ve become rather morose. Obviously we need to attack the Tory manifesto now because it shows May taking her traditional supporters for granted, behaving like an autocrat “my this and my that”, and will allow a future Tory government to support its rich cronies at the expense of everyone else.

  • Chris Strahan 21st May '17 - 12:43pm

    It’s excellent. The poster intends to shock (I think!!) and it does. It communicates a clear and fair message which the Conservative party don’t wish to be “out there”. The fact that the Daily Mail is offended by the poster is a further ringing endorsement!

  • It is far from perfect but IT GOT NOTICED! Sorry for the capitals, but, that’s the point. Not much else we say and do gets noticed. We need to get noticed!

  • I don’t want to be part of a party that will do anything to get noticed.

  • Dave Orbison 21st May '17 - 4:06pm

    Phil – Corbyn for once got it right?

    For all the vilification often, sadly, repeated here, Corbyn has led the Labour Party to putting out the most radical manifesto in a generation. Policies for the elderly, the young, disabled, LGBT, supporting housing, education and the NHS. Progressive taxation too.

    And still he doesn’t resort to personal attacks on his opponents. That is Leadership.

    Despite the rough water Labour have gone through not that many appear to be looking to the LibDems. The Tories have been boasted by the absorption of UKIP . I’d urge LibDems to focus all their efforts on the Tories. A Tory Govt for another 5 years will do untold damage to the UK.

  • Jenny Barnes 21st May '17 - 4:09pm
  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st May '17 - 5:39pm


    As we are on this thread , you can see my liking for satire, and take some of what you call, vilification, of Corbyn or anyone or anything, with a pinch of salt.

    Your decent attitude on this subject is one I am warming to.

    My loathing for the polarisation of let vs right and my natural inclination to the centre left and defensiveness because those left of me, once in Labour, even in this party , sometimes on this site, who tend to harangue those like me happier with radical moderate , not considered leftist enough or purist enough , has made me angrier at the state of things, combined with a real attempt to be fair to all !

    Actually, as a bearded vegetarian , who also loves the movie Casablanca, me, as well as him, that is , I quite like the Corbyn the man of today ! I could, like Begin, of Israel, or Adams, in Northern Ireland, et al, forgive his associations, past , if he were party leader only , not a non starter as potential PM, and if I did not see the missed opportunity of an Andy Burnham led coalition , with Tim Farron as deputy , for May is eminently beatable !

  • Dave Orbison 21st May '17 - 6:08pm

    Lorenzo – I love satire and a sense of humour- sometimes in bleak times that’s what gets us through. I don’t want to be preachy or pretend to be virtuous either when it comes to labels etc

    I have been genuinely struck by the decency of Corbyn. Yesterday around the corner from me he was at Tranmere Rovers and he heard someone call Ester McVee a witch. He quietly rebuked them and said we don’t do abuse.

    Of course there are those that support him, as in all parties, who do not show the same self restraint. In that way he really is a leader.

    As for those events of the 1970s and 1980’s to pick at his record – we all have the right to move on. Even Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley taught us that.

  • As for those events of the 1970s and 1980’s to pick at his record – we all have the right to move on. Even Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley taught us that…..

    Corbyn interview…”All bombing has to be condemned and you have to bring about a peace process. In the 1980s Britain was looking for a military solution in Ireland. It clearly was never going to work,” he said.
    “Therefore you have to seek a peace process. You condemn the violence of those that laid bombs that killed large of numbers of innocent people and I do.”

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st May '17 - 6:16pm

    It took me a while to work out who and what what the image represented, but now that I have I find it unpleasant and deeply offensive.

    I am no fan of Teresa May’s policies, but I don’t find it in the least clever to splash enormous posters around that make her look like a drag queen.

    Shame on you.

  • Add one more to the number who didn’t recognise the face.
    I first thought it was leadsom then Thatcher. Only by reading the first few comments did I work it out – Nig really does make a very convincing drag queen it has to be said 🙂

    In all seriousness though – the shift in the polls over the last week is astounding –


    Not sure what the tories are playing at
    but they either have a ‘cunning plan’ or have got over confident and scored a massive own goal?

    The discussion around their social care announcement has finally ignighted this election like a blowtorch – we may be walking into a trap, but unless anyone can work out a real danger I say we go for it big time.

    Frankie’s suggestion/attack above seems good enough for me.

  • I.e. – she’s coming to take your house!

  • Probably dreamt up by the same person who sent round those naff ‘I made Richmond Park happen’ badges. They were a complete waste of valuable time and money as well. Bury this poster quick!

  • “They were a complete waste of valuable time and money as well”

    Because thanking people never results in them doing more or donating more in the future, or produces any benefits whatsoever.

  • Alex Macfie 21st May '17 - 9:30pm

    Dave Orbison, expats: Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table, and the British government played a major part in doing this, along with the Irish government. Corbyn is simply wrong, the British were not the ones seeking a military solution, the IRA were, and he was cheering them on. Peace became possible when the IRA was forced to confront the reality that bombing the UK and Irish governments was never going to work, and that a united Ireland was never going to happen in the foreseeable future (ironically recent unrelated events have made it considerably more likely).

  • I’ve seen a clearer/bigger copy and I don’t even think it is well done. It is not clearly either May or Farage so the imagery isn’t great. Unlike Labour’s Hague/Thatcher poster which was a clear image.

    And glad Jennie has called this one out – given the love shown for Rachel Johnson despite a pretty unpleasant anti-trans article she wrote a few weeks before joining it seems like the Lib Dems aren’t interested in the trans community.

  • Alex Macfie 21st May '17 - 9:59pm

    If this is “transphobic”, then so’s The League of Gentlemen.

  • Alex Macfie.
    Peace happened because both sides eventually admitted the situation was going nowhere. The real irony is that some people want to present themselves backers of peace but insist on using the increasingly dim past to demonise opponents for cheap political gains at election time. It’s not edifying and it sends out frankly odd mixed messages.

  • Glenn: The “increasingly dim past” of Corbyn’s past association with IRA terrorists when they were still active is relevant because it shows his poor political judgement, and also because of his continued false claims that he was doing the same “talking to the IRA” as successive UK governments were doing, and that he was “proved right about the need to talk to Sinn Fein/IRA”. If he were to admit that he was wrong to support the IRA and give their spokesmen uncritical hospitality in the 1980s, then it would be much easier to “move on” from his past.

  • Dave Orbison 21st May '17 - 10:44pm

    Alex Macfie the smearing of Corbyn by alleging or inferring is really quite desperate.

    Are you seriously suggesting that he advocated the use of violence? That would be a very serious accusation. Is that what you are saying? Really or is it just an inferential smear. If you are saying this then presumably you have proof. Proof, as in evidence, not just more smears.

    In any dispute progress can only be made by talking, and by talking, I mean to both sides. The point I and others make is that this is 2017 and we have peace in NI. If the best you can do is to go back 40 years and criticise someone, it seems to me that they must be doing OK. There are many in NI politics, on both sides of the divide, that took hard and fast positions then, even made errors of judgement. But even if we accepted this, there is nothing, nothing, to be gained by going back 40 years and asking who said what. You could equally have done that in the 1970’s re Germany and Japan.

    Smearing Corbyn by suggesting he supported terrorism is frankly pathetic. It is supremely ironic given that the Tories try and smear his as an alleged pacifist. If you want to criticise Corbyn by all means do so but why not focus on what he says or has said ( making sure it is not something lifted from The Sun etc) rather than create an image devoid of any factual statements to support your smear. Expats on the other hand quoted Corbyn ” he condemns all bombing”, not a bad starting point.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st May '17 - 11:40pm

    I think it would be fair to say ,humour, like beauty , is often in the eye of the beholder.

    Yet , similarly, wouldn’t most of us recognise their is such a thing as objective beauty, and objective humour?

    If some do not find it funny , that’s fine, it’s not exactly a classic ! But offensive ? Sexist ? Transphobic ?!

    Why does our regularly sensible Ruth , think anyone would even describe the Prime Minister as any more a target for satire because she is not a Scarlet Johanson lookalike, I cannot think ?! Indeed , the very politically vociferous Ms. J is a target for just such satire from the political right in the US, especially if , as many think, she is going to get into politics more !

    The most wonderful with humour , and I say this as one steeped in professional “showbiz ” have always been the drag acts, my goodness , La Cage Au Folles , is written by gay men in book, music ad lyrics !

    Are we not taking political correctness too far, a daft , light bit of fun, with a sensible message ?!!

  • Alex.
    I say cheap shot mixed with guff and bull.

  • Corbyn has rightly pointed out that the Loyalists also used bombs and that all bombs are bad.

    It was the “Conservative and Unionist” Party whose obvious bias in favour of one side provided the biggest obstacle to peace in NI. John Major tried hard to overcome that reputation of bias, but it was probably no accident that it was a Labour PM who eventually succeeded in brokering the peace.

    Corbyn shouldn’t sound so chummy when he is talking about people like Hamas, but there is no real evidence that he has given terrorism any substantive help. Let’s leave smear campaigning to the Tories.

  • David Evershed 22nd May '17 - 1:25am

    Whoever is in charge of Lib Dem campaign tactics should be removed forthwith.

    We were told we would be running a positive campaign. So far it has been heavily negative.

  • Alex Macfie 22nd May '17 - 6:41am

    No, not cheap at all. Until Corbyn and his supporters stop trying to justify his honouring of IRA terrorists when the IRA was active, and admit it was an error, it remains an issue, and he can reasonably expect people to bring it up.

    And the main obstacle to peace in Northern Ireland was terrorism (on both sides).

  • Terrible poster. It took me a good while, as someone who follows politics more than most, to identify who was pictured. The message comes across and personal and negative – the use of the words ‘her’ and ‘him’ are really quite derogatory. This is the worst kind of negative personality politics and it always backfires. Why would anyone find this funny?

    So, the current polling suggests we’re heading towards a hung parliament. It is inconceivable that May can carry on in such circumstances given her reasoning for calling the election, which would leave Corbyn to form a coalition with everyone except, presumably, the unionists. And the Lib Dem(s). Even if you do still have MPs in three weeks, are they really going to refuse to join an anti-Tory coalition and risk complete oblivion?

  • “Do you have a problem with pointing out that the Conservatives have taken over Farage’s agenda and that there is no prospect other than damage from Brexit?”

    That might be a better poster. Unfortunately, the poster above has a picture of Farage and May and uses the derogatory words ‘him’ and ‘her’ without any explanation, leaving the impression that the attack is entirely personal. It would still be poor though – how about a poster that promotes a positive Lib Dem message?

  • Alex Macfie 21st May ’17 – 9:30pm……………………….Dave Orbison, expats: Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table, and the British government played a major part in doing this, along with the Irish government. Corbyn is simply wrong, the British were not the ones seeking a military solution, the IRA were, and he was cheering them on. Peace became possible when the IRA was forced to confront the reality that bombing the UK and Irish governments was never going to work, and that a united Ireland was never going to happen in the foreseeable future (ironically recent unrelated events have made it considerably more likely)…………….

    The UK had troops fighting in N.I.; if that is not seeking a military solution then I don’t know what is…
    The peace process happened because BOTH sides (not just the IRA) faced the fact (not ‘realised’; as that was obvious for many years) that (a) From the IRA side that bombing wouldn’t work and (b) From the UK that continuing using troops was not the answer…

    BTW, if memory serves, the IRA did not use a bombing campaign in Eire…The 1974, etc. incidents were the work of the UVF (interestingly, a month before the 1974 bombings, the British government had lifted the UVF’s status as a proscribed organisation…Should we read that as UK support for them?)

  • As far as I can see, the Lib Dems have made two huge strategic errors in this election:

    1. Assuming that the 48% feel equally strongly about the EU. In reality, people like me, who think Brexit is going to be an absolute disaster, are in a small minority of maybe less than 20% of the voting electorate. Quite a lot of people voted to remain without much conviction.

    2. Assuming Labour were on the verge of collapse. Farron pitched his campaign on a high stakes strategy of displacing Labour as the main opposition. This was foolish given the very low number of MPs the party now has. His refusal to go into coalition looks absurd – what then is the point of voting Lib Dem? Is the party going to refuse to go into coalition if there is (an increasingly likely) hung parliament?

  • Alex,
    Not a Corbyn supporter. Just not a fan of cheap shots.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 22nd May '17 - 8:49am

    Those who are defending the poster on the grounds that it is “just a joke” do need to stop and think. They are at risk of sounding like the people who used to say that the Black and White Minstrel Show wasn’t racist, because it was “just a bit of fun”. Obviously the poster wasn’t intended to be transphobic, but it has caused offense and distress, and should therefore be withdrawn immediately. Ruth is also right in pointing out that it is sexist. It is in the pantomime dame tradition of regarding middle aged or older women as figures of fun.
    Also, it is simply untrue to suggest that Theresa May’s policies are identical to Nigel Farage’s. It is true that when she was Home Secretary, her approach to immigrants and asylum seekers was often harsh and illiberal. But she is not anti immigration in the way Ukip is, and I don’t think there is any real evidence that she is actually racist. Ukip have said they want to ban the burqa, whereas Theresa May has made it clear that she is opposed to any such ban.
    I am also surprised that no-one seems to have made the point that the poster just attacks Theresa May, without giving any reasons at all why people should vote Lib Dem rather than Labour.

  • Even a cursory reading of the background to the troubles quickly reveals that the IRA only launched their offensive operations two years after the British Army were sent to NI.

    I’m not much of a fan of Corbyn but the right wing press’s hysterical reaction to him is self-defeating. The telegraph’s desperate attempts to smear him on this only play to their own audience, who were never going to vote Corbyn anyway.

  • Paul Murray 22nd May '17 - 9:57am

    Frequently in parliament a politician says something and their colleagues laugh uproariously as if it’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard, whereas I am left scratching my head wondering what on earth they found so amusing. This poster falls into that category.

  • Back to our campaign…Please keep Clegg away from the media!
    His attack on Labour’s promise to abolish ‘student fees’, because it’s “the wrong choice now”, just makes us look foolish…,
    If it’s wrong now it just reminds people about how ‘wrong’ it must have been in 2010 and about our u-turn on a signed pledge…

  • From BBC news this morning:
    Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said scrapping fees was the “wrong choice”

    Just as there was a chance to get back on the front foot yesterday – this appears.

    Has Nick got some kind of death wish – simply unbelievable

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd May '17 - 1:15pm

    I dare say, that the 3.9 million who voted UKIP at the last election will get the message and vote tory this time around.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd May '17 - 2:15pm


    I always admire your view and usually agree strongly, but not here on the detail of the comparison with other offences caused by humour. Why do you and others pick May for the sympathy , when it is Farage in the picture and he looks utterly absurd ?! He is the target as much as May.

    Why is age something you mention, I do not see middle aged , young or older as the issue, its the politics , the personalities , that are mocked or satirised, herein, whether done well or not , surely ?

    As for the reference to the minstrels, I cannot see an equation, that was white people blacking their faces, the derision was not of two very powerful people leading the country , a party or anyone or thing, rather , of a minority based on their ethnicity, made fun of, sent up, by the powerful, of the culture at the time, the sainted BBC !

    We as, Liberals , surely can see , however hamfisted, taking the mickey out of those at the top making them, and that means a man , Farage, and a woman, May, is an even handed , albeit , not subtle, form of targeted getting a message out .

    As for your comments on her policies and Farage, you are correct , in that she is no right winger like some say, but she is authoritarian in her ways , policy wise, very much on the Home Office agenda, and we should never forget, UKIP is left on some areas , anti benefit cuts and student fees.

  • True, but poor taste and poor choice, sorry. Best to focus on positive campaigning, on the future – not fear – and not fantasy.
    Let’s focus on what you get if you Vote LibDem: funded NHS and social care; training bursaries; pupil premium; student maintenance; right to privacy; balanced and strong economy; personal and digital freedoms; international and 21st century Britain; fully costed and people-powered policies born out of our shared values; your voices heard.
    Not promising a pie in the sky, not robbing Peter to pay Paul – but a clear course.
    LibDems have so much to offer – just urgently need to get that seen and heard.

  • Nom de Plume 22nd May '17 - 2:41pm

    Unfortunately, fear is a strong motivating force. What emotions do you think “strong and stable” is trying to exploit?

  • “and we should never forget, UKIP is left on some areas , anti benefit cuts and student fees.”

    Are you saying UKIP are actually better than the Tories or that those things are somehow bad?

    I’m really confused as to what our message is. I’m hoping the Tories shooting themselves in both feet over social care and our excellent candidates on the ground will deliver us modest gains in this election but I’m nervous we are missing a big chance with a weak government and weak opposition.

  • Peter Watson 22nd May '17 - 10:54pm

    The most recent poll by ICM (which shows Lib Dems on 9%) (https://www.icmunlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017_guardian_poll_campaign7_may17.pdf), with all of the usual caveats about digging too deeply into a subgroups within a single poll, shows that after weighting (Table 6, page 11):
    127 people intend to vote Lib Dem in 2017, of whom 84 voted Remain and 28 voted Exit in the EU Referendum;
    138 people voted Lib Dem in 2015, of whom 84 voted Remain and 43 voted Exit in the EU Referendum.
    Might the Lib Dem strategy of focusing exclusively on blocking Brexit have been counter-productive, driving away more previous voters than it has attracted new ones?

  • John Littler 24th May '17 - 9:05pm

    The poster made me laugh out loud in what has otherwise been a dour campaign generally. A lot of Labour people seem to like it.

  • Peter Watson 25th May '17 - 12:13am

    @John Littler “A lot of Labour people seem to like it.”
    That raises an interesting point.
    While being anti-Tory and anti-UKIP, the poster is not particularly pro-Lib Dem (especially with the party logo looking relatively discrete in the bottom left corner). It could drum up votes for other parties at least as effectively as it does for Lib Dems.

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