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“Bollocks to Brexit!” will be a net vote gainer not a vote loser for the LDs

May 10th, 2019

Lots of talk over the past 24 hours about the Lib Dem slogan on one of its leaflets for the European parliament election campaign. Clearly the word “bollocks” is one that is on the very margins of what is acceptable in polite society but it does get home the message well.

Also “Bollocks to Brexit” has the added advantage of alliteration and it is very clear where the party stands. This in sharp contrast to Corbyn’s LAB which is hamstrung in this election by not being able to be unequivocal. Is it for Brexit or against?

When like the LDs you’re not one of the big two parties, or Nigel Farage, it is very hard to command the attention of the media. This is still the case even after last week’s local elections which saw enormous gains for the LDs against both Labour and the Conservatives.

There’s another battle that’s taking place on May 23rd and that is which is the strongest voice for Remain. These are elections when normal party loyalties tend to be abandoned and it is all about simple positioning.

It was interesting that CHUK’s MP, Anna Soubry, has been one of the most vocal in attacking Lib Dem choice of wording. For it this new party that is most vulnerable to a revived Liberal Democrats. CHUK, a breakaway founded by CON and LAB MPs in February didn’t contest the local elections at all but quite clearly, is hoping for a boost in the May 23rd vote.

It has run into issues with its logo which does not appear on ballot papers but clearly it is aiming for a part of the market that the Lib Dems are competing very actively over. The yellows of course are an established party with strong organisation in areas where they have achieved local government success which is in marked contrast with CHUK.

The Lib Dems are also competing for the unequivocal remain section of the electorate that with the Green Party which of course is much more established and has a Westminster presence.

What last week’s local results have done is to make it easier for the Lib Dems to present themselves as the prime voice of Remain and it will be interesting to see how they perform. It is possible that they could get into third place ahead of the Conservatives.

Mike Smithson