Another snippet from my chat with Vince on Sunday.
He talked a lot about young people in his speech, showing that the Liberal Democrats have a lot to offer the younger generation who stand to lose so much from Brexit. I observed that he seemed to be saying to young people: “I’ve got your backs.”
Exactly. That partly reflects the new membership in the party – as you know it’s doubled and most of the new members are young and they came into a party that’s relatively old. But the average is now lower than the Labour Party and the Conservatives, which is good.
We see that as positive. I was very struck with the polling data that says that 25-30% of young people are considering voting for us and there’s a much bigger majority amongst young people and it’s reinforced whenever I go round universities. Despite that there are some tricky issues for us at universities as you know, actually the reception is very good, lots of people with an open mind.
I think the Brexit issue is probably number one on their list of priorities and we are the only party that’s giving them what they want and thinking about their future. I’d say that for many of those, things like climate change and environment are way up there and we are the only one of the major parties with a strong green message.
One of the other things that polling showed was that Remain vote has huge subset hasn’t yet forgiven us for the coalition. How do we get over that?
Well it is a subgroup but it is an important group. I don’t think you can bury history and pretend it didn’t happen. It’s important to talk about the coalition to acknowledge there were mistakes as well as successes, minuses as well as pluses, I try to do that myself. But I don’t think we should be ashamed or embarrassed about that period. When you are in government you are forced into making compromises but there is a long list of positive things we should talk about.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings