Wednesday, 28th October 2020

On reflection we made a terrible mistake by standing for something

by Jo Swinson, leader of the Liberal Democrats

IN this election, nobody is in any doubt about what the Lib Dems stand for. And, on reflection, that was our fatal mistake. 

Previously, the Lib Dems have been a wonderfully, perfectly vague basket of ambiguity. Whatever your political beliefs, you could signal your dissatisfaction with Labour or the Tories by voting for us.

But in this election we decided to take a principled stand against Brexit, to reinvent ourselves as the anti-Brexit party, and in doing so have alienated many thousands of core voters who only ever backed us as ‘none of the above’.

We talked optimistically about a Lib Dem surge. We tried to pretend we could run the country. Instead, as punishment for our lone principle, we’re likely to end up with fewer MPs than the DUP.

Once we’re elected, with whatever pathetic handful of voters we’ve failed to alienate, I promise we will never mean anything to anyone ever again.

Though obviously it will be for a new leader to deliver that. I wouldn’t even give myself six months.