Centrist Twitter is very upset with people pointing out Jo Swinson’s voting record

Jo Swinson

On 22 July, the Liberal Democrats elected Jo Swinson as their leader. As The Canary pointed out, the coalition-era politician is “more Tory than some Tories”. Other people pointed out the same thing. Predictably, this set off all the usual suspects:

Jo Swinson

As Fréa Lockley of The Canary highlighted, Swinson:

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.

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But are people right to call this stuff out? According to Dan Hodges – who coincidentally has a terrible record of his own – calling out people’s actions is a “hit job”:

One Lib Dem suggested that people calling Swinson out are “scared”:

Owen Jones suggested there’s a basic hypocrisy with this sort of thinking:

James O’Brien said this:

When Evolve Politics replied, O’Brien argued he hadn’t expressed any sort of opinion:

His initial argument has a big problem, though. A political party is not a football team; an MP is not a footballer; the (at least) 120,000 people dead to austerity weren’t just some hooligans. Football teams and their players play football – that’s it. Political parties and their politicians enact a wide array of policies and some of these hurt people. Disliking a politician because she enacted the austerity programme that’s worsened your life isn’t the same as disliking Wayne Rooney because he switched a blue jersey for a red one.

The Brex Factor

For some, Brexit really does heal all wounds. Take Caroline Lucas, who ignored Swinson’s record on the environment to highlight Brexit:

For those interested, this is Swinson’s environmental voting record in all its forest-selling, badger-murdering, climate-flip-flopping glory:

This left people wondering: if the Green Party and its politicians aren’t there to relentlessly call out politicians’ failings on the environment, then what are they there for?

Sticks and stones

If we can’t judge politicians by their actions, then what can we judge them by? If you ignore their records, then all that’s left is their words.

In 2010, the Liberal Democrats said they’d end student fees. How did that work out?

Featured image via Wikimedia – Keith Edkins

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