Clegg on Today

Party leader Nick Clegg got the 7:24am slot to defend the party’s position on Europe and flag up today’s launch of new health policy.

On Europe we’re sticking by our guns to say that the only real referendum that matters is in or out, and any vote on the constitution is a mere proxy for what’s really going on. Abstaining on the issue is not helping the Government beat the Tories, Clegg said. He’ll have a tough time convincing the London Standard’s readership (see the comments here). But see also the tough questions the Tories have failed to answer.

And on health, we look forward to much greater decentralisation of our NHS, putting patients and communities in control of the service they receive. Coupled with our plans for much greater local taxation, this will mean that communities can choose to pay more to get a better local service – or indeed that communities can vote to remove finance from their local NHS trust.

If you have RealPlayer, (or even RealAlternative) you can hear the slot here.

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8 Comments

  • Andrew Duffield 22nd Jan '08 - 10:14am

    “Coupled with our plans for much greater local taxation, this will mean that communities can choose to pay more to get a better local service…”

    What a pity that local people still won’t be able to choose HOW such additional funds are to be raised. Despite our long-standing lip service to CHOICE in local revenue raising, it’s more taxes on local jobs or, er.. nowt.

  • I think that the stance Nick has taken on a referendum vote will prove to be a costly mistake. Firstly, we need to be attacking Labour – after all they are the government! Secondly, we need to be attacking Labour – as they are the most illiberal, authoritarian and undemocratic party of all (identity cards, detention without trial etc etc). Thirdly we need to be attacking Labour – for their dishonesty, they promised a referendum in their manifesto and then resorted to telling a series of lies to justify it (“It’s just a reform treaty – honest guv!”).
    The fact is that a large and increasing number of people look on politicians as self serving and untrustworthy; also incompetent (loss of data, Northern Rock etc); and worst of all politicians are people who will lie to get elected and then renege on what they said. If we are seen to stand against this it will increase people’s confidence that of all politicians we can be trusted. If we lose that it would be much worse for this country than even losing a referendum on Europe.

  • Terry Gilbert 22nd Jan '08 - 11:40am

    Interesting health initiative or not, the main focus of this grilling on Today was Europe, and I don’t think Nick had a very clear line – if he was going to say we would vote against a referendum on the treaty, (which he did, eventually, though I had to listen again to be sure) perhaps he should have said it up front, rather than be pressed into it by the interviewer. Was he really hoping he wouldn’t be pressed on the point? There is no point in trying to sit on the fence by abstaining now, which was never a convincing idea, in my view. Shame the Govt won’t risk a referendum on In or Out – I would love to see the Tories after that. Nick’s interview is headline news on the BBC Politics site, btw – Today just love to MAKE the news, don’t they…

  • Terry Gilbert wrote:
    “if he was going to say we would vote against a referendum on the treaty, (which he did, eventually, though I had to listen again to be sure) perhaps he should have said it up front, rather than be pressed into it by the interviewer.”

    He seems to have got himself into a fine mess over this.

    He _did_ say on “Today” we would vote against a referendum on the treaty, and that is the lead story in the politics section of the BBC website.

    But on the “Daily Politics” he has just pointedly refused to say whether we will vote against a referendum or abstain.

    Chris Phillips

  • Masstricht – we had a clear policy; the Euro – we had/have a clear policy; the EU Reform Treaty…errmm sod it lets just brush the issue under the carpet and hope no-one notices!!

    Sorry, but Clegg is rapidly establishing himself as a clear as mud waffler.

  • Cheltenham Robin 22nd Jan '08 - 11:09pm

    On a minute point, my non political mother listens to the Today programme, I don’t.

    She said Nick was saying ummm far too much for her liking.

  • It didn’t help that John Humphries was determined to spin us as a Labour-annexe… kept phrasing the question as “are you going to prop up Labour”… well, no, we’re taking our own line, for our own reasons. That it happens to lead to our MPs being in the same voting lobbies as most of Labour is neither one way or the other. We’re not propping up anything, we recognise that this is just another in a line of treaties that does little to alter the relationship, and is suitable for Parliamentary ratification.

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