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General Election 2019

March 15, 2020 10:22 AM
By Kevin Daws and George Miles in GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20

facebook Reflections on the 2019 General Election

Voting box graphic - Demarchy from wikimedia.org (Demarchy from wikimedia.org)There is no question that the 2019 General Election was a disaster both for the Liberal Democrats and for this country.

Where did we go wrong?

When Jo Swinson was elected our new leader following the skilful leadership of Sir Vince Cable and the fantastic results in the May 2019 local elections and the June European Election, she had a hard act to follow. Any new leader wishes to make their mark and Jo was no exception and she made the decision to move from 'Bollocks to Brexit' to 'Revoke Article 50' and, in my opinion, she wanted to make that move not just to make her mark but because Labour would move their position at their Annual Conference to supporting a Peoples' Vote which would squeeze the LibDem Vote. On this basis many LibDems, like myself, did not speak out and say that this was a mistake but we should have done. Whilst Jo made a mistake we as members also made a mistake by not questioning and challenging her new strategy.

In my opinion the second mistake that the Party and its leadership made was to oppose moving the date to achieve Zero Carbon date from 2045 to 2040 or earlier. Climate Change and the environment was a major issue for the LibDems but we were marginalised both because other parties were credibly arguing for an earlier Zero Carbon date and also because of the perception that our leader failed to positively promote and explain our policies during Channel 4s Climate Change debate.

The third mistake was that as a party we appeared to have ditched our targeting strategy and I think this contributed both to the defeat of Tom Brake in Carshalton & Wallington as well as to Jo's own defeat.

Green & Radical Liberalism

Since the removal of Charles Kennedy as Liberal Democrat leader most, if not all, of his successors have conveniently forgotten that the LibDems do best when we fight on a radical platform rather than wooing the Tory vote. You only have to look at the election successes under Charles Kennedy's leadership in 2001 and 2005 and it was those same radical policies that contributed to our success in 2010.

Whoever the next leader of the Liberal Democrats is they need to have the courage to adopt radical policies along with radical and targeted campaigning strategies.

Kevin Daws

Liberator magazine has many reviews of the November 2019 General Election campaign and many ideas of how to do better next time, from Tony Greaves and others.

'YELLOW TORIES' was a hurtful insult to me, a Green Liberal!

Ed Davey, Don Foster Chris Huhne and other LibDem MPs did great things in the Cameron / Clegg coalition to fight climate change, but, because all ministers had to vote with the coalition whip, the voting record of Jo and our other MPs looked far less green than most of Labour's. They used this in their F*c*book memes.

Libdem strategists believed Farage when he promised to stand a Brexit Party candidate in every seat,
but then he didn't.

George Miles

Duncan Brack published 'Policies on climate change: Liberal Democrats, Labour, Green Party, Extinction Rebellion' ' on our website

Progressive Alliances:
First Past the Post is an unfair voting system where we vote for the likeliest candidate to defeat the worst, not for our favourite.
See my article "Towards a progressive politics"

% Votes Seats
Labour 32.2% 202 216
Conservatives 43.6% 365 288
LibDems 11.5% 11 70
Brexit Party 2.0% 0 10
Greens 2.7% 1 12
SNP 3.9% 48 28
Plaid 0.5% 4 4
Others 4% 1 4

from www.electoral-reform.org.uk

From GLD Challenge magazine 2019-20

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