LIB DEM NEWS
The biggest shock for the Lib Dems when the election result came through was not the loss of Jo Swinson or the reduced number of MPs - let's face it : they are very used to the latter phenomenon - but in they immediately recognised they had only two credible possible leaders or they felt they did. There is a twist in this tale as the rest of this piece will tell. When I say credible, I mean credible to them and their mindsets. I can't speak for everyone else or can I? Lol. Ed Davey deserves credit for having come through a truly difficult childhood and risen to become a Government Minister and a "Sir" But his ongoing dogmatism on the EU is a problem that is only secondary to the way in which he combines a weird clicking sound in his sinus with loud squeaking as he swivels on any chair with wheels. So that on paper only leaves MP Layla Moran.
Moran is undoubtedly the darling of Oxford University students who again were largely responsible for voting her in. But she had decided unexpectedly not to race against Swinson in the last leadership election and that was announced without much explanation. The tabloids had rummaged, not that most of the public took note as most of the public had never heard of her. The same is true now. And in that rummaging they found some incident from her past in which the police had been called to an argument in which she had allegedly punched her boyfriend. Whatever, with Swinson gone, she turned up on the airwaves early in 2020 to proclaim she is now in a relationship with a woman and is actually pansexual.
Iain Dale, gay, interviewed her on LBC. In a fascinating exchange, he asked her what a pansexual was, explaining that he had never heard of the word, and he invited her to describe how it was different from being bisexual. In fairness to her, she did as good a job as anybody could do in the circumstances in presenting some sort of coherent response. It was based on the idea that she was attracted to people of either gender but without an over emphasis on sexuality. Still, it was pretty obvious to the neutral listener that the majority of the public, even though they are increasingly liberal in inclination, would be struggling with the advanced logic of it all. Isn't that simply what we used to call friendship only being taken to an uncommonly intimate level and why choose a word in which two thirds of the letters spell "sexual""?
This neutral listener is not simply a neutral listener. He is a neutral observer of political potential. He had assessed the thumped boyfriend as an obstacle that could be politically overcome. Now he assessed that much the same was true of a relationship with a woman under the rather pained label of pansexuality. But taken as a combination, he felt pangs of a political clang. Was this really the easiest start for a leadership bid from the woman concerned? No - but, hey, still why not? The past is the past. Now is now. Except then we were introduced to a difficult third factor. It transpired that the woman with whom she is in a pansexual relationship was the Lib Dem press officer. I say "was" as in the last few weeks she has either been sacked or been obliged to step down from her role. The allegation is that she had falsified documents with full agreement "from the top" for which don't necessarily read Moran but rather from or near the ditched Jo Swinson.
Shortly afterwards, that slightly other worldly air of modern Lib Dems became accentuated by two other findings. First, it turned out that they would not have got themselves into this mess had Swinson agreed to the sports centre in her constituency housing the local old boys' crown green bowls club. Because she hadn't, they had plotted together with their mates and their families to ensure that they all voted SNP purely on the grounds that she hadn't been helpful on that crucial issue. As campaigns go, it couldn't have been more successful. And then I happened to view an episode of Schitt's Creek following which I had Googled "what is this nonsense?". Flabbergasted by the fact that it had actually won awards, I read on to discover that it had been especially credited for its portrayal of a "pansexual" character. A "comedy" first by all accounts. So Iain Dale should have known better but more significantly should it be surprising that a leading Lib Dem would principally have found affinity in the programme? Currently all Lib Dems do often seem to be without a paddle.
And yet that isn't quite "all". As luck for them would have it, St Albans elected a Lib Dem who just by being elected has somehow managed to go further than anyone in potentially breaking the mould. That she is a brand new MP is obviously why she has not been seen by most as a possible leader. As John Pienaar once said, it took him a full two years of broadcasting from Parliament to even begin to understand how Parliament works in all of its complexities. Consequently, no political party in its right mind has ever been led by a newly elected MP. Nevertheless, the previously little known Daisy Cooper, 39, has arrived in the House with levels of confidence that are equal to "all" the other Lib Dem MPs put together.
She speaks well. She is a natural in the vicinity of camera and seems to be sufficiently uncomplicated so as to appeal to Jack and Jill Swing-Voter. I am not aware that the Lib Dem leader before the temporary leaders and another two leaders, Tim Farron, has provided us with his insights on this development but my guess is that he would consider her to be a miracle sent from God. As for we neutral observers and assessors and voters, we note on behalf of the Brisih electorate as a whole that we all find ourselves in a peculiar position. One in which the third favourite in the betting for leader of what still claims somewhat laughably to be the third party is the very same Ms Cooper at 4-1. A person who is still learning how to locate the House of Commons cloakroom and bar. Someone who as recently as November half of Lib Dem MPs would not have recognised. If you fancy a bet, place your big money on her. And then prepare to marvel at the anointed one.
Meet Daisy Cooper : She Hopes To Be The Next PM - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejsxJssSC5s
Interestingly, there are rare pictures from two years ago of Ms Cooper with the one figure of all figures who in the last half century was chosen by the Establishment to ensure with careful strategy that a too radical Labour Party would never get elected. His name was Paddy Ashdown. Arguably, Ms Cooper was his final clever card before his death. Her Caroline Lucas style appeal was obvious. She had earlier fought a seat in Suffolk but St Albans was known to be ultra European. They felt they could swing it to the Lib Dems and then with her as a leadership candidate if the election overall went pear shaped for them which it did except for her victory. That victory was extraordinary but maybe not quite as random as it appeared.