Why should I join the Liberal Democrats?
By-elections in WalesFirst test for newbie Johnson
There are more sheep than people here. Brecon and Radnorshire, the constituency in Wales, has a population of just 70,000. Small towns and villages, fitted into a lush green and hilly landscape. Those who don't live on sheep run a bed and breakfast. Tourism and agriculture shape the region. A British idyll that the whole country is looking at today: It is Boris Johnson's first acid test with the electorate. Only a week after the new Prime Minister takes office, it will become clear: is there a "Boris Bounce", the leap up in the electorate for his conservative Tories? Or will he suffer his first sensitive setback? The woman who could take care of the latter is called Jane Dodds, head of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and candidate with a clear anti-Johnson agenda:
"For me there is no question that a no-deal Brexit has to be off the table. Mainly because of the consequences for the farmers, for agriculture, which makes up a large part of our economy here in Brecon and Radnorshire."
Emergency slaughter in a disorderly Brexit
Jane Dodds knows how to push the buttons. Many Welsh people, who three years ago still voted for Brexit with a majority, now see the consequences of their decision more and more clearly: 80 percent of the income in local agriculture currently comes from Brussels. And the business with the sheep in particular would come to an immediate standstill if Johnson were to leave the country in a disorderly manner. High tariffs then threaten from one day to the next. Tens of thousands of animals, the sheep farmers' association only warns at the beginning of the week, would have to be slaughtered.
The liberal politician has also succeeded in doing something else, which could become the model for the whole country: forging an anti-Brexit alliance. The Greens and the Welsh nationalists Pleid Cymru have renounced their own candidates and support Dodds. This is not a good starting point for the conservative incumbent Chris Davies. In addition, the voters have to go to the polls again because of him. The Tory politician had been convicted of bill fraud. In a popular initiative, a necessary quorum of voters expressed their distrust, which is why a new election now has to be made. The Tories have decided to go into the race again with Davis. A staunch Brexiteer who, if in doubt, like his new party leader and Prime Minister Johnson, wants to leave the EU without a deal.
"We shouldn't be afraid of a no-deal. And we should definitely not take the option off the table of leaving the EU without an agreement with Brussels," says the conservative.
Brexit party has to give up
With the change of course towards "Brexit without ifs or buts", the Tories could score points in the final meters of the by-election in Wales. At the expense of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party. It had become the strongest force in the constituency in the European elections. National polls show, however, that she has had to give up since Johnson became prime minister. It could get tight again for the liberal favorite if the Tories - as planned by Johnson - were to become the number one Brexit party in Great Britain. But possibly also because the Labor Party candidate will take important votes away from her. Labor, who have had no chance in the constituency since Thatcher's time, has not wanted to join the anti-Brexit alliance.
Labor candidate Tom Davis relies on other content than Brexit: Labor is clearly against austerity. You want to score with that. At least in Brecon and Radnorshire, this strategy does not seem to be working. Polls predict the Labor man to come fourth.
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