Call Clegg: On the Somerset floods and Sochi

Nick Clegg LBC squareOn his weekly phone-in today on LBC, Nick was asked what the Government was going to do to help gay people in Russia, in the light of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. This is what he said:

I am appalled as you are about this law in Russia. It’s just the most regressive law imaginable, it has a very chilling effect, intimidating effect, on many people in the lesbian, bi-sexual, gay community in Russia and elsewhere.

I’m not in favour of sports boycotts, in fact I’m  a big fan of winter sports. We’ll be cheering our athletes as much as anyone else when watching the Sochi games, but I am not going to go and I certainly wouldn’t want any Liberal Democrat minister to go there given the strength of feeling in my party, and I feel this very strongly as well, that what Russia has done, on that legislation, is just plain wrong.

He was also asked why the Prime Minister hadn’t been to the flooded areas of Somerset. He explained that Cameron had been co-ordinating the national response to the flooding through chairing Cobra.

If you’re  a family in Somerset who have seen your livelihood, your home, your business utterly ruined, a visit from a politician is not the most immediate solution. What you want is the emergency services there, you want help in order to avert the worst, and you want help to get yourself and your family back on your feet.

We’ve just announced £130 million of additional money to help deal with this and hundreds of millions of pounds go into flood defences all the time.

It’s just horrific what is happening in Somerset and the marines are out there now putting down sandbags, but none of this is a consolation to the distraught families who have had to move their livestock, in the face of this unprecedented weather.

We’ve got a lot to do to try and restore normality to that area of Somerset which has been so badly effected but it is not because of a lack of investment over a long period of time.

He dealt with other questions about carers, the appointment of the Chair of Ofsted, on the fallout from the William Roache case, and whether the Lib Dems have a problem with women.

You can hear the podcast here. The videoed version is not ready as I write.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • I watched the dispatches program last night called “hunted”

    I was really upset about the level of abuse and hatred towards LGBT community. They where literally being hunted like animals and then subjected to horrendous torture and abuse. Worst of all, the government seems to be endorsing this treatment towards the LGBT community, they certainly are not acting which seems to give the green light to these vicious gangs to carry on with these attacks.
    I was so upset then any human being can be subjected to this level of abuse and hatred.

    If this was happening towards ethnic communities or people with faith I am sure the UN and the international community would have a lot more to say and condemn Russia for its abuses, failures to protect its citizens and human rights abuses.

    In my opinion what Russia is doing by introducing these propaganda laws and not doing anything to stop these violent factious animals, deserves economic sanctions. The international community needs to step up to the plate.

  • So today Clegg says– “I’m not in favour of sports boycotts”
    Anyone remember what he said when Nelson Mandela died?

  • To save everyone looking it up, this is what Clegg said in December in his Commons speech on Nelson Mandela — note in particular the specific reference to Peter Hain, who like many of us at the time was involved in the stop the seventy tour campaign and subsequent sports boycott.
    “They are just three examples of the individuals and organisations who deserve our loyalty and support just as much as the British campaigners in the Anti-Apartheid movement in London showed unfailing loyalty and support towards Nelson Mandela in his bleakest days, and here I also want to pay tribute to the Rt. Hon Member for Neath and his fellow campaigners for what they did at the time.”

    So were Clegg’s tributes to the AAM, Peter Hain and his fellow campaigners just hollow, empty words?
    Has something changed between December and February?
    Or is it just that he does not believe in sports boycotts today, that he only believes in sports boycotts when they are safely in the past and he will not be required to take a stand himself?

  • Stuart Mitchell 8th Feb '14 - 9:50am

    Russia’s anti-gay laws are not that dissimilar to our own anti-gay laws which existed as recently as November 2003. Let’s not forget that several members of the current cabinet voted to keep those laws. The strength of condemnation of Russia seems a little sanctimonious when one remembers that we’ve only just stopped doing this kind of thing ourselves. Sport should be kept out of politics full stop. How would we have felt if people had wanted to boycott, say, Euro ’96 or the 2002 Commonwealth Games when our own anti-gay laws were in force?

  • Julian Dean 8th Feb '14 - 4:25pm

    I heard Clegg on Liverpool this week, very interesting and probably the final nail in the coffin of ever ruling the city again.

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