There can be few more exasperating political leaders that Jo Swinson, currently claiming to lead the Liberal Democrats. She wanted rid of the minority Tory Government, but would not countenance Jeremy Corbyn as interim Prime Minister, despite him leading the largest opposition party. She wants to stop Brexit, yet seems to lean towards the Tories, who want to go at it full steam ahead. And she has abandoned one key principle of British Liberalism.
It was Jo Grimond, that greatest of post-war Liberals, who stated unequivocally that his party was about “The realignment of the left in British politics”. Under his leadership, the party reversed its decline and became electable again. The Liberals’ manifesto for the 1964 General Election shows the party’s radical stance. His speech to the Commons in April 1960 on our failure to join the then EEC should be required reading.
But now the tradition of British Liberalism has lost its way: since the last great leader of the Lib Dems, Charles Kennedy, there has been an inexplicable detachment from Grimond’s key principle. Coalition with the Tories all too predictably almost ruined the party. Now it has a leader prepared to shun any arrangement with Labour, even as the Tories and their press pals muscle the Brexit Party out of the electoral calculus.
For Jo Swinson, the moment of truth is at hand: if she truly wants to give the UK a chance of either a Brexit that does not lay waste to jobs, or even an option to remain in the EU, there is no point in her being sniffy and refusing to deal with Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. The right is being realigned tactically: she has no option but to do likewise.
The frustration with a lack of arrangement between Labour and the Lib Dems has been expressed in characteristically forthright terms by Femi Oluwole of Our Future, Our Choice. It is not too challenging a task to Do The Math, as they say: Labour could get the Lib Dems over the line by pulling back in Cheltenham and St Ives, and the Lib Dems could help Labour by doing the same in Canterbury and Chipping Barnet.
There are many other seats where the two parties could do each other a favour. But what point is there in Labour deciding to do the right thing if Jo Swinson refuses to consider a quid pro quo? Here in Crewe and Nantwich, the Lib Dem vote all but collapsed in 2015, and has not recovered since. But even though their candidates poll a mere 1,500 votes or so, that could be the difference between Labour holding the seat, and losing it.
The forces of the right, those determined to impose the hardest possible Brexit on the electorate, and hoping not to be rumbled before imposing it, have already effectively realigned themselves. A recession three times worse than 2008? That, it seems, is fine with the Tories and the Brexit Party. So Jo Swinson has to ask herself a question.
Do you feel lucky? Because without getting real, you won’t be getting lucky.
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It's fair to say that the LD's lost their soul after Charlie Kennedy. (And in passing I would mention that Paddy Ashdown actually held informal exploratory talks with Blair about that realignment before the 1997 election)
After that the Orange Book neoliberals took over (Clegg, Laws, Alexander etc) and I think Swinson leans more towards them
But I wouldn't put blame for this clusterfuck entirely on her. The chances of Corbyn (and for Corbyn, read Milne) agreeing to any kind of deal are identically zero. They're just too bloody tribal.
The LDs and the Labour Party are locked into a self-destructive stalemat and they're going to watch while the Tories drive us over a cliff
The jazz-hands harpy Jo "Tution Fees/Nuke'Em" Swinson is a yellow tory, nothing more.
Consult her voting record and speeches for unequivocal proof.
Just the way she waves her arms would be enough to piss off a saint, to say nothing of her yellow tory "policies" and finger-nail-on-a-blackboard voice.
Anyone who votes for that tenth rate fishwife deserves all the bad Les Dawson impressions they get.
There's nothing "tribal" about "not doing a deal" with the Swinson gang.
The LibDems, like New Labour, long ago became a treacherous sub-set of the tories. Which is why, for instance, Clegg was ditched and humiliated in Sheffield - he couldn't say he didn't have it coming after "the deal" (read: betrayal) he and the likes of Swinson did with far right tories.
The people will not forget the LibDems role in the "austerity" scam.
Bloody hell, Anonymous 13.19
Reading you sometimes it's like Socrates has come back among us.........
I agree with your general thrust. However, it is a two-way thing. Labour members - particularly those posting on social media - also have to hold their noses and zip up their mouths, swallow their pride, recognise that Labour will not and cannot win this general election on their own, and may well have to form a coalition with the LDs (and others) before being handed the keys to No 10.
Both parties have flaws - historic and current. A change of leader doesn't alter that fact, whether Corbyn or Swinson. Neither can claim to be 'whiter than white'. Bur they have to co-operate for the greater good, and for the sake of the country.
As I wrote in a tweet a week ago;
Can someone let me know when Labour supporters and campaigners and LibDem supporters and campaigners stop tearing shreds out of each other and get serious about this election?
1. It's a Brexit GE.
2. Forget purity of political thought.
3. Focus on the damned Tories.
"Labour will not and cannot win this general election on their own."
Well, we'll see about that.......
Many of us haven't swallowed the Daily Heil bullshit whole.
And most of you are proving my point about tribalism
And you're watching the Tories drag the country over the cliff
Odd how that smear of "tribalism" always gets trotted out when New Labour and other righties are on the run.
Or maybe not.
We go round and round on these comments. As I said on another thread, my biggest concern is getting rid of the Tories. If that means I have to vote Labour, LD, SNP or Green to get rid of them, then I will. The fact that people can look at a potential Johnson-Farage government and think "nah, even though the LDs have the best chance of unseating the Tory MP in my constituency, I'm still voting for Jezza" boggles the mind. (And, to be fair, the exact same comment about LD members who refuse to vote Labour).
Anyway, I await a rant about "spivs" and an explanation as to how New Labour cost England the Rugby World Cup last weekend.
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