Thursday, August 27, 2020

Congratulations to Ed Davey, but we must look beyond the South East of England

Ed Davey is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The result of the ballot was:

  • Ed Davey - 42,756 votes (63.5 per cent)
  • Layla Moran - 24,564 votes (36.5 per cent)

Worryingly, that is a turnout of just 57.6 per cent - 117,924 ballot papers were issued to Lib Dem members, but only 67,320 were returned with valid votes - there were also 540 abstentions and 39 spoilt papers.

I voted for Layla but I congratulate Ed and wish him well.

He has pledged to listen to the voters, which is good. Mind you, we have received the clear message from our former voters ever since 2010 that they did not like us going into coalition with the Conservatives. 

And this result suggests that, as a party, we are still unsure whether to listen to them or tell them they are wrong.

What worries me most about the future is the refrain from Ed's supporters that we have to concentrate on appealing to Conservative voters in our target seats.

Given that most of these are in London and the Home Counties, there is a danger that not upsetting people in Esher will become our party's principal reason for existing.

And that is no basis for a radical political party. 

Yes, the affluent middle classes express progressive social values, but I suspect they will remain as sharp-elbowed about their financial interests as they ever were.

Ed said in his brief speech today that he will listen to voters "from the North, South, or somewhere in between".

That could have been better put and it had better be true, otherwise this party does not have much of a future.


Mark Stephens said...

Should the party’s priority be to increase support across the country over winning target seats in the SE?

nigel hunter said...

140 thou members? but only 57.6 turnout! What happened to the rest?That needs to be looked at.
I note Starmer and Davey are Sirs (Johnson will be later). Is this not a nod that they are establishment figures and therefore wish to maintain the status quo rather than be real progressives?
I note Layla has done cross party alliances (Virus etc) appeared on media and
therefore has been noticed. What has Davey done? He WILL have to pull his socks up to make an influence.
We do need those south east (and others) but equally we need to develop nationally,there is a lot to do
Also we need to encourage new members to STAY and give SUPPORT not to tell them to piss off!

Frank Little said...

only 67,320 were returned
Not quite true - there was an "abstain" box on the ballot. It would be good to know the number of members who ticked that box rather than ignoring the ballot altogether.

Jonathan Calder said...

You are right, Frank. I have added those figures to the post.