Coffee House

Lib Dem conference: Is Jo Swinson the answer to the Lib Dems’ women problem?

26 September 2012

1:03 PM

26 September 2012

1:03 PM

Jo Swinson has just given what, by my count, is her third platform speech of the conference. All of them have been competently delivered and got her message across. She has an impressive ability to carry the hall with her. One can see why so many of those around Nick Clegg view her as the solution to the Lib Dems’ women problem. At the moment, all five of the party’s Cabinet ministers are men.

Given her qualities as a communicator and her age—she’s 32, one would be tempted to tip Swinson as a future leader. But her seat is a problem. Her majority in East Dunbartonshire is only a touch over two thousand with Labour in second place. Given the unpopularity of the coalition in Scotland, she’s probably going to be reliant on tactical voting by the constituency’s seven thousand odd Tories to stay in the Commons.


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  • Hexhamgeezer

    James, you cannot be serious in that hint regarding those ‘seven thousand odd Tories’? Do you think they are cameroons? What possible benfit will it be for any one of them to vote Lib Dem?
    BTW. What do you think this sort of stuff and Ms Hardman’s is going to do to your subscriptions – even with the go-ahead trail blazin’ online ones?

    • Noa

      Absolutely right Hex. as the Spectator’s relentless march to the centre left continues I have decided to forgo the delights of Liddle and Taki.
      Standpoint offers a more coherent view-and it’s available on line.

  • Wilhelm

    She looks about 16, how can you vote for, she has no life experience.

  • In2minds

    Swinson looks scared, as she should be.

  • CraigStrachan

    East Dunbartonshire voters also booted a massively incompetent and unpopular Lib Dem council a couple of years ago. Jo Swinson will have a hard time holding that seat, whether the residual Tories vote tactically for her or not. Which is a shame, as I think she’s good news on the whole.

  • David Ossitt

    “Given her qualities as a communicator and her age—she’s 32,
    one would be tempted to tip Swinson as a future leader.”

    No way it will never happen, these are the LibDems not the
    Green party, the LibDems and in particular the Liberal wing have a tradition of
    selecting only the very weirdest of men, so weird in fact that one might say
    each and everyone has been odd if not downright queer.

  • Just Bob

    Jo Swinson is the answer to where I put my pint whilst discussing important stuff with the men around me. Or is that Sarah Teather’s head? Well it’s some vertically challenged Lib Dem in any case

    • Noa

      Your pint? Mine is normally kept securely in hand so I suppose she’d have to make do as an elbow rest…

  • UlyssesReturns

    Speaking of Jo Swinson, why is it that poliics attracts such ugly women in this country? Don’t get me wrong, I would rather have a competent ugly woman in charge than an incompetent bimbo, but I am as superficial as the next red-blooded, right-wing hetero and would prefer to have my austerity served with a nice pair of legs and full pouty lips. My worry is that so few of our wimmin representatives, with the notable exception of Margaret Thatcher, the greatest female politician on the world stage since the redoubtable Golda Meir (herself no oil painting), would barely get to mid-level management positions in a mid-size company, let alone be allowed to manage a major governmnet department. We hear that Mrs Thatcher had abundant sex appeal, quod vide Alan Clarke and Francois Mitterand, but I struggle to get excited by any on the government or shadow benches. Even the slightly photegenic Caroline Flint is I fear a low resolution fox and spoils it all whenever she opens her gaping mouth. I am reminded of one of my last corporate positions, on the executive board of a fair-sized global company. Our CEO was a reasonably capable French woman but we had no other females in senior positions. I asked one of my senior Human Resources managers why there were so few women in top management; was it because of the ‘glass ceiling’, or because they were crap? His immediate answer was, the latter. Perhaps men in this country are just better at business and politics then women. Perhaps exceptional female politians, business leaders, chefs, hair dressers, clothes desigers, scientists, authors and painters, are the exception rather than the rule. A pity really because, in this one instance, the French and the Italians really do seem to have the better of us.

    • dorothy wilson

      You could actually make the same comments about a good many men!

      • Dimoto

        You could indeed.

  • james102

    Why is the LibDem Conference being given so much attention?
    The party is finished, it will be decimated at the next election and its
    membership will join the Labour party.

    Ukip will get stronger as the situation in the Eurozone gets
    worse—any news about Spanish banks? The LibDems are now associated with Euro
    Federalism just when that ideology is going out of fashion, they will be
    supporting multiculturalism next which is now the flared trousers and wide
    lapels of political fashion.

    • telemachus

      Actually a fitting epitaph

    • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

      The LibDem conference is being given so much airtime here because the Spectator is being positioned as a LibDem supporting left wing publication. They can’t take the position already held by the New Stateman so they are going for the sandal-wearing fascist market.

      They are making it rather more obvious than they might have intended. Still nothing here at all about the most scandalous aspects of current events.

    • Noa

      Quite right James. Quentin Letts counted, I think, 32 attendees in the main hall yesterday. 32! Including one journalist. The journalists assigned (resigned?) to attend (including presumably the Specc-ulators’) were firmly esconced in the Press Room, playing with their Blackberries and wistfully dreaming of covering Gate-gate 2. Or maybe they were just trying to avoid contracting seasonal or social diseases from the delegates.
      Whatever the reason for this Libby fluff gazing it detracts from any consideration, however poor or inept, of issues that really concern us; the EU crisis, the BAE merger, international waste, the extent of predatory ISS sex gangsterism….but enough! Back to Tubby and La La land.

    • Dimoto

      “Why is the LibDem conference being given so much attention ?”
      Probably because it goes on and on and on. Nearly a week now by my reckoning, and abundant leaks and “savaging of the Tories” to keep the media interested.
      You have to admire their ability to keep it going with such very thin gruel, but they are like the warm-up act for the Labour main event, sometimes there is a delay while the lead singer of the main act sobers up.

      • Maryam Omitogun.

        LibDem conference is giving much attention now because their manifestos is full of facts that will help the country. But they lack the skills of putting this to action.The most important aspect of manifestos is to act on all the promises and have skilled member in the party to put them to action for the benefit of the public.

  • Austin Barry

    Having carefully studied her photo and seen her on the occasional Question Time, I’m pretty much convinced that Jo Swinson is Fraser Nelson in drag. Nothing wrong with that, but it would account for the Speccie’s continuing retreat from conservatism.

  • Nicholas

    No.

    • telemachus

      Further evidence of well argued erudition

      • Nicholas

        My single word answer to the question posed by this article’s headline query is evidence of nothing except my opinion which I am entitled to.

        And why should anyone bother to posit any well argued erudition to you, of all trolls, who have never accommodated it, addressed it or answered it but instead just post your predictable Labour slogans, your vacuous socialist soundbites, your tedious clichéd abuse of anyone who disagrees with your wretched cant and your nonsense about how much you admire monsters like Stalin and Beria or blabbering idiots like Balls.

        • telemachus

          Thanks
          I at least will try to be civil
          Jo Swinson has come across well as seen on BBC Parliament
          She is young and will fly the flag of the fairer sex in the LibDems
          She of course happens to be wrong in most of her beliefs but appropriate to the party

          • Nicholas

            Yes, about as civil as a cockroach. Disgusting to contemplate, you don’t want it in the house but you’d probably never accuse it of rudeness.

            • telemachus

              Cut to the quick I am
              You are truly crazy
              Please return to your home counties foggy snug

              • Nicholas

                That’s me. Crazy as a fox. And for the umpteenth time I don’t reside in the Home Counties and my snug is not foggy.

        • telemachus

          PS Balls has 10 times the charisma of your Nigel

          • Nicholas

            He is not “my” Nigel. I am not a member of UKIP despite your sad little nocturnal fantasising. But Balls 10 times the charisma of Mr Farage? Hmm, don’t think so. By making such declarations you cement yourself to the plinth of incredibility on which you have stood here for quite some time and by the height of which we all see you and know you. So excellent is your spoofing of a left-wing parroting drongo that many no doubt take you for real rather than as a staffed agent provocateur of the Speccie.

            • telemachus

              Fraser and me are hand in glove!
              Now you have turned the corner into the funny farm

              • Nicholas

                “Fraser and me are hand in glove!”

                Thought so. Which one is the glove puppet and which one inserts the hand?

          • Nicholas

            He is not “my” Nigel. I am not a member of UKIP despite your sad little nocturnal fantasising. But Balls 10 times the charisma of Mr Farage? Hmm, don’t think so. By making such declarations you cement yourself to the plinth of incredibility on which you have stood here for quite some time and by the height of which we all see you and know you. So excellent is your spoofing of a left-wing parroting drongo that many no doubt take you for real rather than as a staffed agent provocateur of the Speccie.

  • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

    I’d rather vote Labour than LibDem. I am sure that many other conservatives think the same. So I expect that she will lose her seat.

    • telemachus

      This of course is music
      Soon the party of growth will be in power and the Nation saved

    • David Ossitt

      I do hope so but some nutter will put her in the House of Lords.

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