Thursday, March 14, 2024

Party like it's 2005: Ed Davey announces new decapitation strategy

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Liberal Democrat leader targets senior Tory seats at UK general election

runs the headline on the Financial Times interview with Ed Davey today.

Older Lib Dems will immediately be put in mind of the 2005 general election, when the party boasted of its 'decapitation strategy'. The seats held by a number of leading Conservatives had been chosen as targets and we expected to deal a mortal blow to the Her Majesty's Opposition on the night.

In the event, David Davis, Oliver Letwin, Theresa May and the rest survived. It was our Labour targets (Cambridge, Hornsey and Wood Green, Manchester Withington) that fell to us at that election.

Our only leading Tory scalp in 2005 was a long-forgotten figure called Tim Collins. It was he who had briefed the press back in 1993 that John Major's 'Back to Basics' speech was about personal morality. and thus done much to ensure that the Tories became figures of ridicule for the rest of Major's time in power as one juicy scandal followed another.

Collins lost to another Tim: Tim Farron.

As to Ed Davey's interview, the big news is that he is happy to discuss Europe:
He said his party would be pushing for a new trade deal with the EU to replace the “appalling” one signed by Johnson when he was prime minister. He added his party’s long-term policy was to rejoin the single market. 

“If you don’t put a better trading relationship with Europe in as part of that mix, you’re not going to get the economy sparking again,” he said, though he noted his EU counterparts had been clear that for now “the single market ain’t on the table”.
And, something that is hard to reconcile with his bullish talk of Lib Dem prospects earlier in the interview, he thinks there is a good chance of a hung parliament.


Tom Barney said...

Oh dear, do you have to be an 'older Lib Dem' to remember 2005?

Anonymous said...

If I was a bit older I might have developed sufficient memory loss to start to forget it! It was a dire strategy, far too obviously signposted to the Tories, who knew exactly what was going on. In the Thames Valley we all poured into Maidenhead on Polling Day, but it wasn't enough. I seem to remember that one constituency (Windsor?) came over at lunchtime with the extraordinary idea that what was really needed was a triumphal motorcade through the town - but without any placards, flags, or electioneering paraphenalia, it just looked like a traffic jam. At least we got Tim Farron out of it!