Iain Dale 7pm - 10pm
The Lib Dems are embracing their whacky side with more outlandish stunts, but will it cut through at the ballot box?
3 January 2024, 16:44
It was less James Bond and more Johnny English when Sir Ed Davey arrived at the Old Guildfordians rugby club donning a bright orange high-vis jacket as part of his latest stunt.
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After the recent successes of driving a tractor into blue haybales in Berkhamsted, and smashing a 'blue wall' with an orange mallet in Amersham - the party has developed a reputation for the election-themed fun activities - and this was no exception.
Driving a van with a huge poster on the back saying “ED DAVEYS TORY REMOVALS”, Sir Ed was accompanied by four 'removal workers’ donning orange jump suits (who one party official did concede looked more like Lib Dem themed prisoners). Their task was to help 'remove the Tories from office' - classic Lib Dem subtlety.
Sir Ed eventually addressed the crowd of around 40 Liberal Democrat activists who had braved the cold and wet weather to tell them that this was “the year the voters finally get to pack up this awful, out of touch, Conservative government” and “clean up the sleaze stains from the carpet”.
The Lib Dem leader also boasted of his new “Ed Davey’s Tory Removals” campaign which he joked was the “Blue Wall’s premium unseating service for Conservative MPs”.
The former Cabinet Minister had a clear message, that ‘Blue Wall’ Tory MPs in Surrey like Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt should be worried. He told activists “we are Britain’s best campaigning force, and we are ready. Let’s have a general election on May 2nd and get the Tories out of government”.
Aside from the slightly whacky stunts, however, and rallying cry from their leader, this is clearly a key election for the party.
The Lib Dems have undoubtedly struggled since the Coalition days to redefine their message, and to garner their own unique identity. Despite being buoyed by recent by election triumphs, the party is desperate for their message to translate at the ballot box at a General Election this year.
This is not the first, and it certainly won’t be the last, the Lib Dem stunt with the party now wholeheartedly welcoming their ‘whacky’ side.
The party will be trying seeking to make as much noise as possible this general election year.
The question for voters is whether they will be willing to turn up the volume on Sir Ed Davey, or whether they will find him best ignored.