Wednesday 5 January 2011

''It is not going to be a question of us propping up (another party) but of us insisting on the changes only we advocate'' : Nick Clegg!

Before the General Election in May the Liberals were recording voting intentions in the polls of around 30%. On occasions they were above on occasions below, but they frequently came close second behind the Tories and above the Labour Party.

Most recently they have flat lined at 9% (with an historic low in Wales of 6%).

I suppose we all knew that Nick Clegg was a kind of right-wing Liberal, with a deal in common with David Cameron, extremely rich parents, very good public school, then Oxford, as a right.

But I always had the impression that, even if I didn’t agree with all that he said, his views had been carefully thought out by a razor sharp mind, unlike David Cameron who seemed to have very little of substance to offer in a rather woolly mind, minimal intellect and no real political grounding. Cameron was a Tory because that was what rich boys who went to Eton and Oxford were. Because he had connections with the palace it seemed reasonable that he would go into parliament (with a little push from said palace) and would end up in Cabinet and possibly be prime minister. Clegg, from a similar background, having already worked in both Brussels and Washington and being fluent in several languages ... had though his way into the Liberals, or so it seemed to me.

So what is Clegg’s game?

Even if he truly believes that the Tories’ economic and social policies will, in the long term, improve Britain from a Liberal point of view, and that in five years’ time we will all be thanking the Coalition for delivering us from evil, does he seriously think that this will reflect favourably upon the Liberals?

Here is a man who promised to fight to keep student fees in England at no more than £3,000 pa and who said that to double them to £6,000 would be a disaster, but who oversaw the tripling of fees within 6 months of being elected, to £9,000.

Here is a man who, as the picture showed, berated the Conservatives, whom he suspected of plotting to increase VAT, overseeing the increase in VAT within 7 months of taking office.

Here is a man who said that on voting reform described the AV system proposed by the Gordon Brown as ''a baby step in the right direction'', and said he would not settle for ''a miserable little compromise”, accepting that miserable little compromise when it is offered by the Tories, along with the title of Deputy Prime Minister. What happened, Mr Clegg, to the assertion that the very least the Liberal Democrats would settle for was the Jenkins’ Commission’s AV+ proposals?

And now what is happening with the scrapping of control orders which was a plank of Liberal policy. It seems that Nick has to back down in the face of opposition from lightweight Theresa Wellingtons.

So remind me Nick, what was it that you were insisting on? And how do you think it will feel to be the man who reduced the Liberal numbers in the next Commons to around the same level as Jeremy Thorpe had?


  1. It's called the reality of power. Before the election and their new role in government Lib Dems were free to say pretty much whatever they liked even making up policy on the hoof as the various polls told them what the public approved/disapproved of. they were certainly notorious for having a different policy for different streets.
    Well now they have to decide what to do about Labours mess, where the money is going to come from, and who gets stiffed with the bill.
    Hard choices for a party and a leader who have never had to deal with reality before.
    Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of hypocrites.

  2. Too right! In actual fact they flat-lined in Wales on the regional list voting intentions at 5% (the same as UKIP). That would give them no Welsh Assembly members at all off the regional list. While the 6% on the constituency vote would possibly give them one member. That’s a bit down on the five they have at present.

    But in Lib Dem la la land they seem to think that not mentioning it, sticking your head in the sand and avoiding the awkward questions is they way to go. For example in Lib Dem blogging Andrew Reeves blogged back on 22nd December that Michael Moore was only being honest and that his views expressed in that taped interview were common knowledge and in the public domain. When I asked where in the public domain did Mick say that the Child Benefit proposals were unfair, I got a stony silence for over a week. Eventually I commented on that silence on the 29th and immediately got a reply claiming he had been too busy with Christmas, sick relatives etc to respond. Fair enough you might think I certainly do. But he had not been too busy to continue blogging and in actual fact done a second post later on the 22nd itself, then again on 24th, 25th, 27th, 29th 30th, 1st, and the latest great big long one on the 3rd. So only too busy to have the good manners to answer comments then?

    Maybe like Guido Fox or Iain Dale he gets so many comments he couldn’t possibly reply to them all? Well no, he gets on average none! If you want to have a look it’s here:

    I have replied, but once again Andrew is too busy being Deputy Director of Lib Dem Campaigns, taking down Christmas decorations etc to put it up!

    This is a typical Lib Dem blogging tactic that I have noticed and that eventually puts you off commenting on their blogs. They invite comments and then wait days and days and days before putting them up by which time the story is dead.

    I’ve asked Andrew to verify his comment policy and clarify if he only wants comments that agree with him, guess I should also have asked if he wants only rhetorical questions as well!

  3. Well QM, I’d quite happily wish them into oblivion, but that would leave us with the Red Thatcherites and the Blue Thatcherites... I suppose the Yellow Thatchetrites give us a little more choice... huh!

  4. Yes Munguin...

    I think to be fair that Libdem lifers are having a hard time trying to justify the mess that Nick has led them into.

    It’s easy to suggest that they should simply leave the party, but if you are a real Liberal why should you leave just because this wannabe prime minister has come along with alien policies...? After all Libdem leaders come and go with monotonous regularity. Clegg will soon be toast, and burnt toast at that.

    If I were a Libdemmer I’d be hiding in a hole somewhere till this idiot goes away and joins the Tories properly.

  5. Lib Dems have painted a target on their chests, and I can quite happily say I've never trusted them. I am, though, shocked at just how spineless they are. If they don't agree with Tory policies, they could stand down and really upset the system, but 'the system works for them,' and all they care about are the free meals, the free cash, the swish houses, the publicity and eventually, the book deal when it all comes to a close. 'Nick Clegg: Confessions of a Sodden Spankrag.'
    It's all very well to talk of realities, but the Lib Dems might concede on some things and make a stand on others, not sit meekly at their master's side.

  6. "I suppose we all knew that Nick Clegg was a kind of right-wing Liberal, with a deal in common with David Cameron, extremely rich parents, very good public school, then Oxford, as a right."

    Disgustingly peurile class warfare.

  7. Yep Laz.

    Of cousre in a coalition you compromise on some things, but you usually start off having some things in common. They don't.

  8. No it's not Dean.

    We did know. When he was up for the leadership we were told that he was on the right of the Liberal Party. We also knew that he was from a privileged background and that he went to a school the fees of which are, per term, more than some people earn in a year.

    If, before extras, uniforms, sports equipment and kit, your parents can splash out £30,000 a year on paying your school fees, you come from a privileged background.

    People pay to go to these schools so that they have an almost unquestioned right to go up to one of the better universities. It may not be Oxford; it could be Cambridge, Edinburgh, Sorbonne, London, or an Ivy League, but you don’t pay £40,000 a year for 13 years (over half a million pounds) so that your kid can end up at Wolverhampton!

    Whether you like it or not Dean, there is a class of people for whom everything is possible. The world is at their command. They may not have much in the way of breeding, although I’m sure the Cleggs do, but it one has that kind of money anything is possible. I think you should stop pretending that it doesn’t exist and that we are all equal and in it together.

    We’re not and we never will be!

  9. Never trusted 'a baldric molester' or Labour or Tory come to that. Its interesting to see how the far right look on things as a class issue when its all about fairness for all not the chosen few maybe that's why they cant be trusted.

  10. Yes CH. it's nt class. That's about royalty and aristocrats, middle and working class... No, this is about people with enough money being able to buy what they want.

    In a fair world it would be the cleverest of people who got to the best universities. As it is the best keep some places for people who can help them succeed at rowing and rugby, some places for those who can help them excel academically, some who will build a new wing, or repair the chapel roof (and to be honest, a few who have a title).

  11. Dean, in my experience the only people that ever call class war puerile happen to be at least fairly well off in the patriarchal, conservative hegemony that runs the country, or mislead by its media (anyone else remember the Sun's 'Our Only Hope' front page?)

    'We're all in this together,' and his false environmentalism show Cameron up for everything his upbringing set him up to be. If he were really committed to environmentalism and austerity for everyone, he'd make a show of it, not pay lip service.

  12. It's like the people who say that money doesn't matter laz.

    They're never the ones with only 50p to last them till next Thursday!