Clegg: Lib Dems bring conscience and stability to a Coalition

As the Lib Dem manifesto is launched, with a headline of giving opportunity to kids, which is much more inspiring than the Tory extend right to buy in middle of housing crisis caused by right to buy and Labour waffle on deficit, Nick Clegg has been talking to the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour. His theme is that we know that the election is not going to give anyone an overall majority, and asks who people want to be walking into Downing Street with Cameron or Miliband.

the looming question in the next phase of this campaign is whether there is to be a coalition of grievance, or of conscience. The last thing the British economy needs is the instability and factionalism that those coalitions of grievance of right and left represents

He talks about UKIP and the SNP offering the “politics of grievance”. Though he uses the same theme of Labour being forced to dance to Alex Salmond’s tune, he stops short of the ridiculous things being said by the Tories on that. He also makes a very important part about the failures of the Labour Party:

The SNP has one sole mission in life and that is to pull the UK asunder and to take Scotland out of the UK. Everything else is subservient to that long march so they would use any influence they have over a weak Miliband administration to force the Labour party to bring forward the day on which a referendum is held.”

He added that “the enormity of the collapse of Labour in Scotland is staggering. It is the equivalent of the whole of Surrey, Sussex and Kent turning Ukip overnight. I think the Labour party have been criminally complacent north of the border and just assumed that no one dare represent areas that they have represented.

Clegg also said that the five pledges on the front of the manifesto would have a “near religious” status – those are: £8bn on NHS with heavy investment in mental health, balance the books, 5 green laws, raising tax threshold to level of minimum wage and to increase education funding “from cradle to college”

Wintour says he sidestepped the issue of an EU referendum, saying that:

You cannot have a split-screen arrangement where something of such huge constitutional importance is dealt with only by one wing of the government and the other half of the government carries on blissfully uninvolved.

That seems to leave the question open, but it makes me wonder if there is scope for the referendum to be held on the status quo, rather than Cameron trying to negotiate away some rights that are beneficial to us.

He is pretty scathing about the Conservative approach to foreign policy:

the destination of Conservative foreign policy is drifting like billy no-mates in the mid-Atlantic with America no longer looking to London but to Berlin for decisions on Europe

You can read the whole interview here.

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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7 Comments

  • John Roffey 15th Apr '15 - 9:19am

    Isn’t the outright condemnation of ‘Market Forces’ as a political concept the most important issue of our time? It seems a pity this was not central to the Manifesto.

    Just as in the game of Monopoly – if Market Forces reign supreme, whether on the tiniest island or globally [as is fast becoming the case] – eventually one person, or at least a few, will own everything.

    Whereas a degree of competition does benefit customers – a system that results in:

    “Oxfam made headlines at Davos last year with a study showing that the 85 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the poorest 50% (3.5 billion people). The charity said this year that the comparison was now even more stark, with just 80 people owning the same amount of wealth as more than 3.5 billion people, down from 388 in 2010.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/19/global-wealth-oxfam-inequality-davos-economic-summit-switzerland

    … has to be fundamentally condemned.

  • John Roffey 15th Apr ’15 – 9:19am

    Very true. Especially the ‘Free Market’ espoused since Reagan/Thatcher. A system that brought about the global crash in 2008 and has resulted in increasing wealth inequality to obscene levels (US wealth inequality – top 0.1% worth as much as the bottom 90%……UK wealth inequality – top 1% worth as much as the bottom 55%)……

  • He added that “. I think the Labour party have been criminally complacent north of the border and just assumed that no one dare represent areas that they have represented”……

    Absolute rot!. The Tories had nothing to lose in Scotland so their “Better Together” cost them nothing…The LibDems and Labour both face near ‘wipe-outs’ by association with the ‘Toxic Tories’….

    To single out Labour, when LibDems will find themselves even worse off is risible…

  • Caron, don’t you think it is appalling that Clegg is pretending Salmond is still leading the SNP? He’s trying to pretend that that Alex will play the tune that Nicola dances to, which is a grotesque insult to the abilities of Sturgeon, even her worst political enemies would not deny that she is a strong, capable leader. Pure political sexism on behalf of Nick.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 15th Apr '15 - 11:05am

    G, I don’t think so at all. We all know that Nicola Sturgeon is a very capable politician, but she’s not going to be in the SNP group at Westminster. And it also gave him the opportunity to remind people how to make sure he didn’t make it that far by voting for Christine Jardine.

  • expats 15th Apr ’15 – 9:40am
    John Roffey 15th Apr ’15 – 9:19am

    “Very true. Especially the ‘Free Market’ espoused since Reagan/Thatcher. A system that brought about the global crash in 2008 and has resulted in increasing wealth inequality to obscene levels (US wealth inequality – top 0.1% worth as much as the bottom 90%……UK wealth inequality – top 1% worth as much as the bottom 55%)……”

    A popular US comic asserts that the US’s contribution to human endeavour is ‘The Perfection of Greed’!

  • Sorry Caron, whatever Salmond does in Westmisnter, it will be with the permission of Sturgeon. Everybody knows this, it’s why the Tories have changed their position so they’re using Sturgeon masks rather than Salmond ones. The only other party making points about Alex Salmond in Downing Street are UKIP.

    Now, leaving aside that, nobody actually thinks Alex Salmond will be in government anyway, the SNP have ruled it out, Labour have ruled it out, the Tories have ruled it out, and the Liberal Democrats have ruled it out. So it’s a dishonest line to take in the first place. I also predict that Labour will get more seats than the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, so for Nick to accuse Labour of taking their vote for granted (although they have) while neglecting the collapse in his own (and not just in Scotland) is quite staggeringly hypocritical.

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