The BBC reviews the political year for the Lib Dems

Over on the BBC News site, Gary O’Donoghue has a decent overview of what 2011 has meant for the Liberal Democrats. The only line I’d really take issue with is this:

A referendum on the voting system was the price Nick Clegg demanded for entering coalition…

Actually, of course, the price Nick Clegg demanded for entering coalition was the implementation of 75% of the Lib Dem manifesto.

Anyway, that’s a relatively minor quibble and the rest of the piece is worth a read.


* Nick Thornsby is Thursday Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs here.

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  • That line really annoyed me too. But the whole article was disappointingly all about election results and political drama – the things that matter to a political correspondent – rather than the policies and their results that are important to everyone else.

  • Malcolm Todd 29th Dec '11 - 5:45pm

    “implementation of 75% of the Lib Dem manifesto”

    Stop it, stop it, stop it! If it’s true at all, it’s true irrelevantly, trivially, on a basis that makes no sensible weighting of the value of different policies; and telling people it’s true all the time just gives the message “blame us for everything you hate about this government – it’s 75% down to us”. (Yes, I know that’s not the same thing; but it’s bound to be interpreted that way.)

    Still, at least you didn’t make the traditional and similarly false claim that 0% of Liberal manifestoes were implemented being 1922 (or whenever you want to count it) and 2010. That’s something.

  • The Lib Dems will continue even after the next election, which will be very poor I think due to the new bounaries & the publics dislike of coalitions. It will be a long slog back to being where the Lib Dems were 18 months ago, especially where the party has lost its Councillors & activists.

  • What Malcolm Todd said.

  • Greenfield,

    I’m not sure that the public dislikes coalitions, I only know it dislikes this coalition.

  • It’s about political judgement. Nick is a very able and genuine guy but Charlie Kennedy has more of that in his little finger than Nick will ever have, sorry.

  • Who says the public does not like coalitions – or indeed even this coalition? Is there any polling evidence for this?
    What they don’t like – or certainly don’t like as much as they did in May 2010 – is the Liberal Democrats. It is always difficult for the junior party in a coalition but the real damage was done by the tuition fees fiasco – not so much the failure to implement the pre-election manifesto but more the welshing on the solemn undertakings ludicrously and publicly signed by our leading candidates. Time and penance done through “victories” on other policies and the bearing of our leaders are the only healers for this and one can detect gradual progress in this respect, including encouraging results in some council by-elections. Whether or not it will be enough to save us from humility in the next general election remains to be seen. I for one am as determined as ever to make it so. With all its faults the Liberal Democrat Party is still the only acceptable home for me as 2012 dawns.

  • I don’t know if anyone heard the feature on the LibDems on the BBC’s “The World at One” on Wednesday. “At the Party’s spring conference in Sheffield, Nick Clegg was given a hard time by some party activists” – cue clip of people shouting “Nick Clegg shame on you for turning blue”. Totally dishonest and designed to mislead. And I’m a great supporter of the BBC.

  • “Who says the public does not like coalitions – or indeed even this coalition? Is there any polling evidence for this?”

    Our poll ratings were pretty good in the immediate aftermath of the coalition so people didn’t turn against us purely because we’d gone into coalition.

  • Tony Dawson 30th Dec '11 - 9:09pm


    “What Malcolm Todd said.”

    With knobs on. The manifesto was hardly the most important document in the world and, as a party member I do not associate myself with 75 per cent of what this government is doing. “Wait!” you cry, “that is something altogether different!” Well, I know that and you know that but most people who read newspapers/web sites etc do NOT know that. If the statement is true, it is not relevant, if it were relevant, it would still be politically stupid to state it other than in private. The statement in public makes the Lib Dems seem self-interested. The reality of the Coalition is that it had to be but it was always going to be self-sacrificial.

  • What Malcolm Todd, DunKhan and Tony Dawson said. The 75% figure is truely rubbish and people should be ashamed for using it.

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