Firstly, congratulations to Jo Swinson, the new and shiny leader of the Liberal Democrats. What she said clearly struck a cord with the Lib Dem membership because not only did she win, nearly 2:1 against Ed Davey, but the turn out for the vote was above 70%, which on any platform is great.
(On turnout Stats – Jeremy Corbyn initially won on 76.3%, then 77.6%. Teresa May didn’t, because they had a coronation, but Cameron was around 66% turnout.)
But lets look at the way this leadership campaign was conducted. For the most part, from the outside, it looked clean and fair, largely on the issues and mostly built on positive messaging. Compare that with the Tory leadership election and they are poles apart. Contrast them both with the last 2 Labour Leadership elections, and you are in a whole different world. She might just inherent a party that isn’t divided and isn’t tearing itself apart. They are united on the biggest issue of the day, and I guess any members who have stuck with the party for this long, can be counted as pretty committed.
I think both parties (Lab and Tory) should be worried. The local elections could be written off (as I did) as bounce on the Euros, the Euros could be written off because its a single issue campaign and to be fair, they are on the right side of history on it. But now, they are positive looking, positive messages and a dynamic new leader. Where they were looking for forgiveness from the electorate over the coalition, then it seems they may just have it.
And lets not forget, the Lib Dems are low in Westminster at the moment, but they are strong in local communities, their best game (and biggest persistent threat) is community campaigning, especially if they can get a press release out of it.
So, tomorrow we should find out that Boris will become Prime Minister (assuming the Queen doesn’t suggest they try again…). What will Jo bring to the table to unseat the Tories that Labour hasn’t. Would her election give pause for thought if Boris was thinking of a GE?
More fundamentally, will she visit Gloucester on Thursday and help Seb get elected to Podsmead????