Liberal Democrats

Highlights from Jo Swinson's speech to conference

Read the highlights from Jo Swinson's speech to conference

By Lib Dem Conference, Sep 17, 2017 2:09

Jo Swinson speaks at Lib Dem conference.

Jo opened her speech by talking about the politics of the bully...

When calm heads and brave leaders are needed more than ever, global politics seems broken.  A few years ago it would have seemed inconceivable that in such a crisis, China would be a voice of reason, and Russia more measured than America. 

The politics of the bully is back. Human rights are trampled. Climate change is denied. Hate and division are spread like poison into society.

...then criticised Donald Trump...

Trump is a bully, a misogynist and a racist. He boasts about sexually assaulting women.  He cruelly mocked a reporter for his disability. He has rolled back trans rights. And for someone who makes much of being straight-talking, he won’t call a Nazi a Nazi.

Yet the Conservative Government thinks it is right to offer Trump the honour of a state visit to the UK.  They are wrong.

It is a sign of our weakness in a Brexit world.  How easily will our values be cast aside in our desperation to sign trade deals to avoid economic catastrophe.

...Jo said that we're right to fight for an exit from Brexit...

We are absolutely right to fight for an exit from Brexit. Brexit will make it harder to follow our values, to protect human rights, to tackle climate change, to solve global problems.

An exit from Brexit is necessary, but not sufficient. Because this culture clash continues. And the populists stoke this tension. They do it deliberately. They talk in simple soundbites that scapegoat different groups. It’s all someone else’s fault.

As liberals we know this is nonsense. The Faragey, Trumpy, angry, arsey, shouty, slogans aren’t a solution to anything.

But we do need to offer our own alternative solutions. We need to be much more radical, both in what we propose and in how we craft it.

...she set out a bold, liberal vision for how to defeat populist politics...

We need to get out of our own echo chamber and start bridging the divides in our communities. We need to bring people together to create the answers, leaving no room for the populists to sow their seeds of division.

Creating the bold vision we need is bigger than any single political party. Indeed it’s bigger than party politics itself.

We need to reach out and collaborate across society, with thinkers, activists, the young and the old, faith groups, trade unions, entrepreneurs – and with all of you who want to change the world.

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