Once a Lib Dem, always a Lib Dem
On 22 July, Swinson won the leadership contest, with a large majority over her opponent Ed Davey:
Liberal Democrat leadership election result:
E. Davey: 28,021
J. Swinson: 47,900
Jo Swinson elected.
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) July 22, 2019
After securing victory, Swinson reportedly labelled Boris Johnson “unfit to be prime minister”. She continued:
I stand before you today not just as leader of the Lib Dems, but as a candidate to be prime minister. There is no limit for my ambition for our party, our movement and our country.
I am ready to take my party into a general election and win it.
But any hope from people on the left that she may take a strong stand against the Conservatives would be very misplaced. For a start, she’s already ruled out any possibility of a coalition government with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. And concerns about Swinson’s track record don’t stop there.
An architect of austerity
“Jo Swinson sat at the top table of the coalition government and voted for vicious attacks on the most vulnerable and tax cuts for the super-rich and big businesses. Austerity couldn’t have happened without Liberal Democrats." – @IanLaveryMPhttps://t.co/5JqNoSVbeD
— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) July 22, 2019
Indeed, Swinson’s voting record shows that she consistently voted to reduce welfare and benefits, including cutting payments for people with illnesses or disabilities. She also voted to cut the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16-to-19-year-olds. And she helped to raise university tuition fees, despite promising not to as one of the key policies that helped elect many Lib Dem MPs in 2010. Her track record on environmental issues, meanwhile, shows she supported the badger cull, fracking and HS2.
Many others, including the SNP, were also quick to point this record out:
— The SNP (@theSNP) July 22, 2019
Jo Swinson CV
• Warned against rises in Minimum Wage
• Defended Tory Tribunal Fees
• Scrapped EMA
• Cut Disability Payments
• Backed Bedroom Tax
• Tripled Tuition Fees
• Voted to bomb several Muslim Countries
• Backed Austerity
Just your regular Liberal Democrat, really
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) July 22, 2019
Jo Swinson was Minister of State for Employment Relations when the Coalition Government introduced Employment Tribunal fees.
This is what it did to people fighting for justice at work. Well done @unisontweets for overturning this injustice in the courts pic.twitter.com/qKkwBtAv3W
— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) July 22, 2019
The Labour Party gave a quick reminder of all the things Swinson would rather we didn’t know:
Here’s what new Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson doesn’t want you to know… pic.twitter.com/DrP2crVu0d
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) July 22, 2019
As the editor of Tribune noted, she’s also a “darling of the liberal press”:
Jo Swinson, darling of the liberal press, used her role as Minister to oppose increases in the minimum wage, sing the praises of zero-hour contracts, and hike up the fees for employment tribunals – placing justice out of reach for thousands of workers. 'Progressive'. https://t.co/KXYLUIVsqh
— Ronan Burtenshaw (@ronanburtenshaw) July 22, 2019
And if her true blue credentials needed any further testimony, she also wanted to honour Margaret Thatcher:
Jo Swinson has just been elected Leader of the Lib Dems: pic.twitter.com/2KgAIv6MTG
— Liam Young (@liamyoung) July 22, 2019
In fact, as activist Rachael Swindon noted, Swinson is actually more Tory than some Tories:
During the coalition years of 2010-2015 it seems Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson voted with the Tory whip on more occasions than Michael Gove or Jeremy Hunt.
She is more Tory than the Tories.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) July 22, 2019
And #YellowTory started trending on Twitter in Swinson’s honour:
What does a Yellow Tory #austerity enabler who uses identity politics to gloss over their intrinsically Thatcherite/neoliberal economic policies look like?
Could you show one grinning like a maniac because they can’t believe the free ride the media gives them?
Thanks Siri pic.twitter.com/EocnLqcAQ0
— Damian from Brighton (@damian_from) July 22, 2019
With the ongoing attack against Corbyn’s Labour, and the likelihood that Boris Johnson is set to be the next prime minister, Swinson’s election casts further stones in the UK’s murky political soup. But there’s a big chance that she’d also rather many people forgot (or didn’t know about) her cruel and vicious political history. So it’s up to all of us to make sure she can’t hide that.
Featured image via Flickr – Liberal Democrats
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?