Some have said – mostly Lib Dems – that I’ve been a bit harsh on the party Peter Bone likes to describe as the “yellow peril”. That in the midst of #libdemfightback and the retaking of local seats, I’ve refused to be moved in regards to the rebirth of Lib Demery post-2015. The latest example of this being my prediction of the Lib Dems ending up with between 15 and 20 seats after June 8th, in the face of predictions from Lib Dem circles of double digit Tory-majority-ending proportions.
I preface with all that to remind you that I haven’t been liberal in my praise of the Liberal Democrats for some time, and so bear that in mind with what I’m about to say. The Lib Dems are off to a great start in this campaign and they’ve done most things right. Farron’s wobble on the “homosexuality is a sin” thing is the one unforgivable misstep – but again, the only one. Let’s list the best of it.
1. Ruling out coalition of any kind
While this seems blatantly obvious in retrospect, all great political moves inevitably do. Farron saying that the Lib Dems won’t go into coalition with either Labour or the Tories no matter what both cuts down May’s “coalition of chaos” line significantly while allowing Tory-Lib floating voters to worry a lot less about voting Lib Dem equalling PM Corbyn, all while allowing some centre-left voters to feel that voting Lib Dem does not equal an endorsement of a revived Lib-Con government. Great move – whomever thought it up deserves massive credit. Particularly given a Tory majority really is inevitable, so there is nothing of value lost anyhow.
2. Targeting north London Corbynista seats
I have no idea how gettable any of these seats actually are – I suspect none of them are, remotely – but announcing that the Lib Dems are targeting Corbyn’s, Abbott’s and Thornberry’s seats is another masterstroke. I’ve always thought that post-Article 50 these constituencies were at least worth looking at in a pragmatic sense – and even if there is no way in hell that they will actually go LD, targeting them sends a great signal when related back to the central campaign message around Brexit. To be honest, I didn’t think the Lib Dem campaign team would have the cojones to go for it – well done to them for proving me wrong on that front.
3. Targeting Vauxhall
Again, who knows how winnable this seat actually is for the LDs (worth reminding ourselves that Hoey is sitting on a massive majority), but again, this sends out all the right signals. And if the Lib Dems do win it, just this seat alone backs up the whole of the campaign’s thrust.
4. The press team being excellent
The LD press team already gets a lot of kudos in Westminster, and rightly so. Okay, partially it’s down to a reflection of how tortuously terrible the Labour press set up is at the moment, but nonetheless, it still deserves a lot of credit. On everything that is coming out, the Lib Dem press team gets its messages out very quickly – all while Labour twist in the wind at every opportunity.
For now, I’ll be sticking with my 15-20 seats prediction. But if the LDs can turn this very good start into an ongoing brilliant campaign, and the London Labour seats that are being targeted are actually weaker than anyone thinks, that could go up by 10 or even 15. Keep it up, chaps.
If the ukip votes (in the south west for example) transfers lock stock & barrel to the tories, presumably that means much more difficulties for us in winning seats. I think your small-c conservative prediction is about right/even on the generous side- for now at least….
What I don’t believe is that the Lib Dems will win more than a dozen or so seats without favourable movement in the opinion polls before election day. Brexit won’t allow them to defy the constraints of arithmetic any more than incumbency did in 2015.
LORENZO CHERIN says
I thought it up :on Liberal Democrat Voice ! I sad it very clearly , and Tim agreed , no coalitions under present leadership or direction of the Tories and Labour !
Didn’t we all think it !
LORENZO CHERIN says
Said , not , sad !
Although sad at the time ,thinking others might advocate otherwise and want a coalition with May or Corbyn!
Juke Hatting says
Disagree, more dithering than I wanted to see.
I think it was the press that pushed Tim on ruling out a coalition, at first he wouldn’t, Its done now fair enough but should of been done right from the start.
Again, dithering on the question on if being a homosexual is a sin. Tim should of known that one was going to raise its head again, took a few days to sort out an answer but I’ve seen the backlash on twitter/social media… not nice, its caused damage.
The mess Farron got himself into over homosexuality is unbelievable, considering he’s had two years to work out how to handle it, following the last gay sex cock-up (so to speak).