On Comments is Free, Richard Reeves argues that, in 2013, Nick Clegg needs to establish a more assertive identity and win voters over for bold, new reasons:
The coalition will be a play in two acts. Act one had the parties acting largely in tandem – reforming public services, reversing Labour’s encroachments on civil liberties and, above all, gripping the public finances. In act two, the Liberal Democrats step away from the Conservatives. Still partners, but an arm’s length apart.
…The government is established. The boat can be rocked without serious risk of capsizing. Next year will be crucial for the Lib Dems and, by implication, for the coalition.
On 17 December Clegg will set out his own script for the year ahead, testing the idea that coalition governments can function even as the two parties clearly show their separate colours. The inner workings of government will be on display as never before. The Lib Dems will make their own position clear long before the government does. The necessary compromises will become badges of pride for a mature, open government, rather than dirty secrets, tucked away.
You can read the full article here.