In today’s Guardian, Menzies Campbell says that Nick Clegg has turned the corner and his role as leader is no longer under threat:
Coalition politics is not for the faint-hearted. Nor is leadership, as Nick Clegg will tell you. As he contemplates his fourth party conference as deputy PM, his thoughts, and his leader’s speech, need to be turning to the general election, now less than two years away. He can do so with more confidence than 12 months ago. Last year’s atrial flutterings over his leadership have died away. His policy of differentiation between the Liberal Democrats and their Tory partners has become overt and even reciprocated.
Saying that the Syria vote was a personal defeat for Cameron, he questions Milband’s credibility:
The Labour leader’s August has been a wicked month. One by one Blairites and foot soldiers alike have queued up to question his ability to win.
And he has a message for Lib Dems doubting the coalition:
You signed up to the coalition in the national interest because of the economic crisis. At last, albeit slowly, we seem to be on the way to resolving that crisis, just hold your nerve.
In yesterday’s Telegraph, Paddy Ashdown said that the party would have to give up ‘‘childish’’ strategies of scooping up protest votes from all sides and campaign instead as a party of government.
We will be judged, the Lib Dems and the Tories, on how well we have governed. That’s the fundamental thing.
Looking forward to the 2015 election, he said:
The days of easy oppositionist politics are over. From time to time we could take the basically liberal vote and add to it coalitions of others in Eastbourne and by-elections and in constituencies. ‘Now we’re a party of government, and we have to put aside such childish things. We have to behave like a party in government and we have to fight an election like one.
Ashdown said it would be “mad” to start preparing for possible coalition deals ahead of the election.
* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem living in Shropshire, and a former editor for Lib Dem Voice