Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Monday, 24 September 2012

Jo Swinson could be our next leader

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia
I have followed Jo Swinson's career with interest. Until recently she was PPS to Nick Clegg and she was recently promoted to minister for employment and equality.

She is always keen to talk with activists and others on Twitter. She is relentlessly polite and engaging on issues and having observed her speaking at a number of fringe events over the years is an excellent public speaker in that sort of forum.

But where I have noticed her potential most of all is how she handles the much bigger stage in the main conference hall. She always appears to effortlessly have full mastery of her brief, whatever it may be and has a very persuasive manner. A good example was today during the "Generating jobs and growth in a time of austerity" debate which she summated. She very deftly handled the task of pulling together the strands of what everyone else had said as well as gently but firmly explaining why she thought an amendment that had been moved to try and change the nature of the motion was not in her view the right way to go. In fact there was a flash of steel at one point where she essentially described it as crazy albeit by utilising the device of quoting what Tim Farron had actually said about something else entirely. But there was no mistaking what she meant.

I was actually reminded a little bit of a young Tony Blair. Jo certainly has a lot of political charisma and it could take her a long, long way.

I was going to say in this post that she might be in contention to be "the next party leader but one". But on further reflection, I see no reason why she should not go for it the next time there is a vacancy. Cable and Farron will be the obvious runners but an insurgent campaign from the MP for East Dunbartonshire could yield great dividends. There will be lots of opportunity for her to demonstrate her political and debating skills during a leadership contest and I suspect that many party members will, like myself find their respect for her as a candidate increase the more they see of her.

I don't expect there to be a vacancy for a while (as I have repeatedly said to various radio stations in the last few days here at conference!) but when there eventually is, I would urge Jo to go for it.


Nick said...

The problem I have with this is that for all the great political skills she possesses, you don't mention anything about what her political views are. Aside from her (very good) work on equalities, the only other policy I've known her to be linked with is happily abandoning her views on tuition fees when the leadership wanted it.

Neil Monnery said...

I have said for a while that if Nick leads us into 2015 then I really see Jo as the person to takeover from him.

If Nick leaves before then I think Vince will be the guy but after 2015 I think Jo is very much potentially the person for the gig.

Anonymous said...

To be our next leader, she has to be a Westminster MP. Look at the 2011 Scottish parliament results for that area and ask yourself if you seriously think she is going to hold her seat?