As Luciana Berger becomes the latest arrival, the Lib Dems get caught out lying

John Ranson

The ranks of the Liberal Democrats have swelled further with the arrival of Luciana Berger. But even as the party celebrated, people were quick to point out that it had overstated its hand.

In February 2019, Berger was one of the founders of what was then called ‘The Independent Group’. In June, she and several others left what was now Change UK. Today, she joins former Change UK colleagues Sarah Wollaston (originally Tory) and Chuka Umunna (originally Labour) becoming one of 16 Lib Dem MPs now in parliament.

Big claim

Understandably, the Lib Dems were cock-a-hoop:

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But the party’s dodgy claim to be “the biggest, strongest Remain party” didn’t go unchallenged:

And it’s true. Not only does the SNP have 35 MPs to the Lib Dems’ 16, it also has a larger membership. According to the latest figures, the Lib Dems have “around 115,000” members, compared to the SNP’s 125,500. So the only possible sense in which the Lib Dems could be bigger would be in geographical reach, as the SNP focuses on Scotland. But that’s probably not what they meant.

Uneasy coalition

And there was a further challenge to the celebratory mood:

On 3 September, Tory MP Phillip Lee dramatically marched over to the opposition benches and sat down next to Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. As with Berger, the Lib Dems celebrated gaining an MP. And as with Berger, the Lib Dems inaccurately claimed to be “the biggest party of Remain”. But there was also anger from Lib Dem members:

In fact, the arrival of Lee was too much to take for chair of the party’s LGBT+ group Jennie Rigg:

Rigg voiced her thoughts on her blog, announcing that she was leaving the party in response to it allowing Lee to join.

This begs the question: will Swinson’s apparent policy of welcome for any homeless pro-Remain MP make the party ‘bigger’ and ‘stronger’, or will it have the opposite effect?

Featured image via Wikimedia – Chris McAndrew / YouTube – Guardian News

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  • Show Comments
    1. Can you please educate yourself on the correct use of “begs the question”.
      This is not it.
      Perhaps use “raises the question” instead.
      You are journalists, this is pretty basic.

      1. Take a chill-pill dude.

        What a pointless, and hypocritical thing to write, your grammar is terrible, and your punctuation is poor too.

        1) most readers of this post would get the gist of the phrase “begs the question”.

        2) you are very rude demanding that the writer educate themselves just because you do not like their choice of phraseology, particularly as it is clear from your own words, that you do not posses the necessary linguistic skills to judge.

        3) you wrote – “Can you please educate yourself on the correct use of “begs the question”.”. This is grammatically incorrect, and should read ‘Can you please educate yourself ABOUT the correct usage of “begs the question” ‘.

        4) you wrote – “This is not it”. This is divorced from the demand you just made due to your punctuation, and as such is meaningless. What you should have written is this ;-

        ‘Can you please educate yourself about the correct usage of “begs the question” ‘, this is not it. Or, ‘Can you please educate yourself about the correct usage of “begs the question” as this is not correct. There are of course other ways of expressing the same.

        5) you wrote – “Perhaps use “raises the question” instead.”. – This too is divorced from the previous wording due to punctuation, and as you are not quoting someone else, “”raises the question”” should read as raises the question or ‘raises the question’.

        6) you have suggested to the author of this article that they use different phrasing to that which was used, however in your wisdom and experience, you have not explained why “begs the question” is the wrong phrase to use in this context.

        What is your problem with the usage of “begs the question”? Please elucidate, and help to make us all wiser.

        7) you wrote “You are journalists, this is pretty basic”, so an obvious question coming up … are you a journalist, an English language teacher, or at least someone with the requisite qualifications to make such a demand?, and also, what constitutes being pretty basic? Is this something you know to be taught at a basic level in Journalism?, maybe it is ‘Journalism 101’?, if so, please enlighten us.

        Personally I think you are just being a troll, or are having a bad day, and felt the need to irritably lash out , and even though my English language skills are not superlative, and open to further development, they are certainly better than yours.

        However, let me be clear about this, John Ranson’s Journalistic and English language skills are better than both of ours put together, another point you seemed to miss.

        This was also a grammatical error on your part, as well as a sign of poor observation, as this is not a ‘The Canary’ article, but a John Ranson article posted on The Canary, hence your “You are journalists, this is pretty basic.” comment is clearly aimed at The Canary as if The Canary is responsible for writing John Ranson’s article.

        All in all, if you feel it necessary to be ultra-picky about another person’s usage of the English language (particularly as it was literally the last phrase in an entire article), make sure your own posts are scrupulously clear of mistakes, and be prepared for someone else to point out your own errors in response if you don’t.

          1. I fail to see how I was “owned”. I certainly didn’t need 3 pages to make my point.
            The correct response was, “I will do better in future”.
            In a world where serial liars are trying to change the meaning of words The Canary should at least attempt to be accurate.
            Grammar is not the issue.
            Try not to exhaust yourself with more excuses.

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