Too busy to read all the ‘Get Clegg’ smears in the rightwing press? Here they all are in one handy digest

Look, we have two choices today as Liberal Democrats. We can either get frustrated and depressed at the rightwing media’s decision to fling every possible smear at Nick Clegg and the party – or we can regard it as a massive compliment that, perhaps for the first time ever, the Lib Dems have got the vested interests of the Tory newspapers genuinely frightened that their cosy world is about to be disrupted.

We looked at the Torygraph’s desperate smears in a post last night. But even that weak story looks credible when placed beside the Mail’s attempt to link the words ‘Clegg’ and ‘Nazi’ in a single sentence (in seeming contempt of Godwin’s law). Quite how convoluted is the smear is hinted at by the complexity of the headline:

Clegg’s Nazi slur on Britain: Lib Dem says ‘our delusions of grandeur’ at winning the war are greater cross to bear than German guilt

I’ve read that headline three times, and I’m still none the wiser what it actually means, or how it’s supposed to discredit Nick.

You’d have thought the Mail would have some humility in linking others to the Nazis given its proprietor Lord Rothermere “sent a series of supportive and congratulatory telegrams to Nazi Germany’s leaders, including Hitler, just months before the second world war”. The two of them are pictured here in happier days.

The Express has the self-explanatory headline, NICK CLEGG’S CRAZY IMMIGRATION POLICY – which, to be fair, at least focuses on policy, an unusual trait in today’s newspapers.

And finally the Murdoch-owned Sun wraps all the stories up together in one convenient compendium of smear.

I stand by my view last night: the rightwing press’s attempts to target Nick Clegg will – deservedly – backfire. It’s no real surprise that the tabloids should gun for Nick. I am surprised that the Torygraph should be so willing to junk its news credibility in their desperation to ‘Get Nick’.

Lib Dem Voice has had its differences over the years with Tory blogger Iain Dale. But credit where it’s due. His post today – These Shameful Attacks on Clegg Will Backfire – is entirely fair-minded. I suspect it’s too much to hope that Tim Montgomerie’s strictly on-message ConservativeHome will follow suit.

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11 Comments

  • Good guess at the end, Stephen Tall. ConservativeHome is praising the media attack. But then again, they represent the foaming-mouthed anti-foreigner wing of the Tories, so no surprise that they approve of the entire flag-waving onslaught against reason.

  • Could you give us a quick rundown of the LD response ? Are we calling on Cameron to dissasociate himself from the smears ?

  • Of course it may be being helped from the “other” side – Labour have form on smear attacks too.

  • Mark Inskip 22nd Apr '10 - 2:00pm

    Great now to see the coverage that Twitter tag #nickcleggsfault is now getting on TV and radio.

  • I think Coulson, Murdoch, Rothermere and the Barclays have mishandled this badly.

    To be effective, smears have to be simple, intelligble to the layman and credible, and are ideally delivered by people who do not appear to have axes to grind. Like the Swift Boat Veterans (for Cheney).

    However, Coulson et al are firing off every scrap of tittle-tattle that it is possible to distort, in all directions and with all guns blazing. It will get lost in the cacophony and people will not know what to make of it. The sheer silliness of some it it (Clegg is a Nazi, Clegg is anti-British, Clegg is prepared to ruin the banks out of revenge for his exclusion from a school tennis tournament ,etc) leaves one wondering if the hacks who dream this stuff up have had their brains addled.

    Appealling to the lowest common denominator has a poor record of success in British politics. Many, many people agree with the “Daily Mail” about foreigners, scroungers, crime, marriage, etc, but they are also suspicious of politciains who exploit these issues to win votes, hence the failure of far right and racist parties over the years.

    The Tories would have been far better to deploy credible old hands like Ken Clarke do cast doubt on our economic policies and point to the alleged dangers of a hung Parliament. Trouble is, in the company of the likes of Osborne and Coulson, the few decent Tories look wildly out of place.

  • Burble Loss 22nd Apr '10 - 2:12pm

    Firstly, I will probably be voting Lib Dem at this election. I say probably but it’s 99% that I will. I have voted for the older parties before, for the past 8 years or so Tory. You might want to know why I am planning on voting Lib Dem.

    It’s not that I agree with all your policies, some I actively disagree about. But you are being upfront, honest and engaging. You are offering something a different and with the best intentions of the UK not of the cliques you serve. That’s why I am intending on giving you my vote.

    And I think the attacks we have seen today on the Nick Clegg only goes to highlight that he offers something different, upfront and honest and people like me (not very political) can see through the attacks. As a layman and sorry if this sounds like the wrong advice as a novice to all this, is just keep doing what you are doing. I think you have the best intentions of all the parties, it’s impossible to agree with everything every party has to say but the sentiment you guys are putting out is right.

  • David Allen 22nd Apr '10 - 4:32pm

    I wish I shared the general confidence that the Tory lies will backfire. That’s what we thought, locally, in 2007, when the Tories dished out a blockbuster multi-smear leaflet which we thought was just completely ludicrous and incredible. Ten days later, we’d lost a third of our support.

    Our worst enemies were our friends who cheerfully assured us that they weren’t taken in by any of it. Yes, but the Tories don’t aim for intelligent voters. They go all out to impress the stupid voters, and they find a lot of them.

  • Stanley Theed 22nd Apr '10 - 5:12pm

    We always knew that if things got desperate, the Nasty Party would be back. Make no mistake, the press are hounds for the party who support privilege. Much of the public will know this. Some mud will stick, but do well tonight Nick and reveal Cameron as the lightweight he is. The public are looking for leadership in getting this country back on its feet. Cameron is clearly not that man, he is a populist politician.

  • Kevin Jones 22nd Apr '10 - 9:08pm

    Does anyone know if theses donations to Nick Clegg’s personal bank account were declared to the Inland Revenue and the required tax paid ?

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