There’s a good, in-depth and upbeat interview with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg in today’s Newcastle Journal:
A chipper Mr Clegg declared the North East would be his key hunting ground at the next general election and predicted that regional minister Nick Brown could even succumb to a Lib Dem sweep. … he stressed the North East was “one of the most important areas” for the Lib Dems after “astonishing” local council gains in Northumberland and ongoing success in Newcastle.
However, with tomorrow’s inaugration of Barack Obama dominating the media, Nick was very careful to avoid coming over all ‘me too’, while stressing the similarities between the soon-to-be-President’s programme of change, and the Lib Dems’ platform:
“If you look at policies and if you look at values in terms of opposing the Iraq war, which he did in America, we were the only party to do it here. In terms of giving big tax cuts to people on low and middle incomes, paid for by closing the loopholes at the top, we are the only party to advocate that here.”
He also linked his party’s emphasis on “green” economic growth with investment in public transport, insulation, housing and offshore wind farms that could create up to 80,000 jobs in the North East.
“Those are all themes which Obama is saying, but I mean I have never entered into this silly Dutch auction which Gordon Brown and David Cameron did – the me too auction saying I am just like Barack Obama. Of course, I am not like Barack Obama but I think it is clear that the Liberal Democrats share all the policies and values that have proved to be very popular in America.”