Saturday, November 18, 2023

Jeremy Hunt's voters know the Lib Dems are his main challengers but haven't heard of Ed Davey

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News from the Blue Wall. Luke Tryl from More in Common writes in the Guardian about the findings from a focus group of voters in the in the new Godalming and Ash seat, which Jeremy Hunt will be fighting at the next election.

His conclusion?

Our focus group last night suggests the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has his work cut out – not just to bolster vulnerable colleagues but even to win back voters in his own back yard.

And the findings on the Liberal Democrats, the challengers to the Tories in this constituency, are encouraging in a rather backhanded way:

Nor was there any love for his opposite number, with the group saying Keir Starmer wasn’t the man for the moment. 

But that lack of enthusiasm might not matter - the group were well aware that Labour were not the main opposition locally, and many were tempted instead to vote Liberal Democrat. 

Indeed, it was striking that even though fewer than half knew Ed Davey’s name, they still thought there was a good chance the Lib Dems would topple Hunt.

This finding is of a piece with those opinion polls that show the Lib Dems struggling to get into double figures even when the Tories have fallen to below 20 per cent.

Given our plan to fight the next general election as though it were a series of by-elections, some would argue that it does not matter. 

Or they would say that Davey's profile is bound to rise during that campaign. After all, one reason for the brief outbreak of Cleggmania in 2010 was that few voters had noticed him before then.

But I think it does matter. Local elections show that, in areas where the Lib Dems are not active, our core vote is tiny. We are back to being a leaflet-delivering cult.

Davey, because of his own experiences, is passionate about the need to improve social care. And that passion has led to a policy we can shout about. For a Fair Deal, the document we adopted at this autumn's conference, say we will:

Ensure no one has to sell their home to pay for care by introducing free personal care based on the model introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government in Scotland in 2002.

That is a policy that would lift an enormous burden from those who are caring for elderly relatives. As well as all the work and emotional strain of caring, you face a financial lottery.

So if we are convinced that this policy is affordable, let's hear Ed talk about it. I think the voters would take notice.


nigel hunter said...

Back to a leafletting delivering cult.Depressing.Looks like we have to up our game by selling our NATIONAL policies as well as local ones.
Re Ed.A new Edmania sounds like a good idea.Sell him for the Local elections for there is a sense Sunak will go to the polls for then.

Andrew Kitching said...

I hope Lib Dem HQ and Campaign team know what they are doing. The Tories are going to focus relentlessly on the Shires. Davey needs a good message for 'one nation' Waitrose Tories.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid Ed is the invisible man and unlike Charles Kennedy is not really prepared to stick his neck out on issues of Liberal principle.

Ed had a chance to speak out clearly on the war crimes in Gaza but, as usual, waited to see what the Labour party was going to say and just mimicked them. If you can't speak out to defend international law I don't know what you are doing leading any political party, let alone a Liberal political party.

I have never known a poorer set of party leaders. No wonder local activists take comfort in their local Focus leaflets - they at least might be doing some good.