Farron: I understand why people feel bruised, but it would be foolish to turn in on ourselves

Tim FarronTim Farron has done a stonkingly good interview on the Andrew Marr Show. He struck absolutely the right tone, showing great empathy to those activists who are concerned, anxious and fearful. He was clear, though, that the last thing we need to do is to turn in on ourselves.

First of all, he said that Liberal Democrats need to be looking to the General Election under Nick Clegg’s leadership, proudly defending the good things we have done in government.

He added that we were always going to suffer as a result of going into government – that much was predictable at the time. However, “it was the right thing to do for the country.” He added, though, in what appears to be a bit of a rebuke to the party’s email writers, that you can’t just treat people who have lost their seat as “collateral damage”. They are human beings who have worked their socks off and served the party and their communities well. And the absence of this “where we work we win” narrative will be appreciated by many.

He also emphasised the patchy nature of some of the results. While there were some true horror stories in London and Manchester, there were also good results in Eastleigh, St Albans and other places in Hertfordshire, Hull, Newcastle and Southport.

He was asked if we needed to do more differentiation from the Tories. His reply was more nuanced. He said that he’d have liked to do more of that from the beginning but you have to make sure that the differentiation doesn’t become destructive. He pointed out that coalition, plural politics, is on trial too and we need to make sure that it works.

Asked about John Pugh’s comments, he said that he didn’t want to dismiss people’s concerns but he repeated that turning in on ourselves was not going to help.

This was an interview that ticked all the boxes – respectful, honest and full of empathy.

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

Read more by .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

73 Comments

  • Radical Liberal 25th May '14 - 10:51am

    It must be sending the Orange bookers mad to have to praise Farron for helping Clegg out – that’s what you lot have been reduced to. Of course, Farron is working on the principle that he who wields the knife never wears the crown, there’s not much more than this to the interview. Clegg is a dead man walking, let’s see what happens after the Euro results.

  • Tim Farron made much of the fact that members were consulted and agreed to the Party entering the Coalition. That was an admirable approach to such a major issue.

    Whether NC should continue to lead the Party is also a major issue – why not apply the same admirable qualities and ask the members whether he should continue to lead the Party?

  • Or you could take what he says at face value. Which is after all what his ‘supporters’ tout as his great strength. Confusing business this politics.

  • @ James

    It would not be unseemly, in any shape or form, if NC’s dismissal as party leader was as a result of a ballot of the Party membership.

  • James,
    Rather than letting Thatcher carry her unpopular fight to the ballot box the Tories knifed her in the back and won the election.

  • On thenTwitter column at the right hand side of this page the rightwing Conservative Blogger who calls himself Guido Fawkes tries to rubbish those Liberal Democrats calling for change.
    Similarly on Marr this morning well known Conservative Iain Dale voices support for Clegg.

    You do not need to be political genius to read these runes.
    Of course our enemies want Clegg to cling on until the General Election, he is the best bet for their success.

  • Well, Tim did his job in that interview, he is, after all, the President. But no need to ‘gush’ over him quite so much. Remember Clegg-mania!

  • Shaun Nichols 25th May '14 - 11:30am

    Before we get excited about holding seats in places such as Southport, we should take time to analyse the results e.g. 17% swing in vote away from LDs.

    It’s funny how bloggers and those close to the leadership are so dismissive of fellow members who wish to hold NC to account (for his record of failure at the ballot box). Some nasty and some childish comments on social media.

    #Libdems4change http://www.libdems4change.org/

  • I have no time at all for Guido Fawkes, and I am not necessarily sold on the idea that Nick Clegg is the proper person to be our Leader at the next election, but it has to be said that to judge by the number of those who have so far signed the letter calling for Nick’s resignation, there is not exactly a tidal wave of demand for it.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 11:32am

    There was less of a need for differentiation from the beginning because UKIP hadn’t dragged the Conservatives to the right yet.

    Tim has gone up in my estimations after today’s performances. I just ask that social liberals look out for small businesses and the disaffected white working class more (they don’t seem to have a problem with women or minorities).

  • it’s pointless changing the leader and remaining in the government.

  • Philip Rolle 25th May '14 - 11:40am

    I would have thought that the question of whether Nick Clegg should be deposed as leader turns on whether Lib Dems have had enough of coalition. Arguably, this is the time for a review of whether to stay in the coalition. If party members were to decide to leave, then that would I think be the right time for a change of leader. If not, then you should stick with Clegg for another twelve months.

  • @ James

    It may not be constitutional – but in practical terms – how can NC lead the Party into a GE after past losses, likely greater losses from the EU election and a clear undercurrent of dissatisfaction from the grass roots?

    A ballot is needed to give him confidence, during the difficult time ahead, that he is wanted by those he desperately needs – if he is to have any chance of success.

    Without one, the issue of whether he should stand down will mar every media interview he gives from now on.

  • Shaun Nichols 25th May '14 - 11:51am

    @John Roffey makes a good point.

    @James – the horse bolted a long time ago. I don’t think the brand has been contaminated everywhere but NC is not an electoral asset. As the ‘chief executive’ of this organisation, he has a mixed set of results from the Coalition and a record of epic failure in elections (where the sovereign people express their opinion).

  • I’ve wanted Tim to lead us into the 2015 election ever since the tuition fees fiasco back in December 2010. But I haven’t signed the letter because I think after all this time Nick deserves some space to talk to colleagues and decide what he and they want to do next. Replacing our leader when we are part of a coalition government would not be easy.

  • In pakistan my cousin got 142 per cent of the postal vote – why can’t we do the same here?

  • @James :

    “My point is that it’s the whole LibDem brand which has been “contaminated””

    Really?

    We in Southport got our best EVER local election results in 2012, following our best EVER general election result in 2010. – and we increased our vote share in 2014 over 2012. We’d have done better without our national leadership. I artwork most of ur leaflets and I have a whole pile of centrally provided artwork lying untouched in a computer folder somewhere. John Hemming in Birmingham appears to have done rather well as has Tim Farron in Westmorland. If we are contaminated, we appear to have self-inoculated.

  • The process of holding a leadership election will have a massive negative effect. You might rationally advocate it nonetheless if you believed that a change of leader would be so beneficial that the three months of hell now would be worth it for the party thereafter. My guess is it wouldn’t but obviously all have their own view.

    Who would the new leader be? If it were a current senior minister, what really changes for the better? Which senior minister wouldn’t be vulnerable to being trashed along the same lines as Nick by our opponents and the media? If it isn’t a senior minister, it’s a junior one or Tim Farron but, more significantly it means leaving the coalition. I really don’t see how, politically, we could stay in given those circumstances. They would be ridiculed for wanting to have it both ways.

    This maybe what those calling for Nick to go want. If so, they should explicitly say that, so that this debate is about something real, rather than a hope that we can somehow take the current political pain away through a change of face.

  • Tim has got the message out 4 years too late, the party turned in upon itself 2010 that’s the problem, but no matter; the whole of the remaining party members from top to bottom got behind the leaders even with special voting to do so, and that is why removing Mr Clegg will do nothing.

    The public watched in disgust as the party did this, and you the party still don’t get it, no matter how many times you say or think you do, the party has let down so many who did vote for you which is bad enough but you also let down the poorest and most vulnerable, there is no sweetness in what the party has done only sour bitterness

    The party will either heal or it will not, personally I think it is going to take a while and may even mean one or two MPs will cross the floor (not to red) some of the party MPs are too comfy with similar values working with blue.

    Jim

  • @ Dal

    I would have thought this was a case of ‘one step at a time’. If the grass roots want NC out – and will not make every effort under his leadership – then any newly elected leader is already a huge improvement on NC for they will be given a chance to show what they can do.

    The Party simply cannot be successful unless those on the coal face are on board.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th May '14 - 12:19pm

    Fantastic from Paddy Ashdown on Sunday Politics just now. “It’s not serious politics”. These signatories might be able to campaign against the bedroom tax, but they won’t be able to stop Putin ramping up the gas prices (my words not his).

  • @John Roffey
    I guess I’m more pessimistic than you over the ‘chance they will be given’ when weighing up the pros and cons.

    @Dan
    I’m not saying there is no alternative or that there wouldn’t be candidates. I’m sure there would. Just that I fear they would make no better progress and therefore the cost of change wouldn’t be offset by the fresh start.

  • I honestly do not believe getting rid of Clegg would make a difference – like the junior party in Germany – we have serious probs because we are in government but Clegg is still an articulate politician – and the best we have in the Commons by far. However……if he goes – the only politician who could take the job on would be Paddy Ashdown – and he has the added bonus of definetly not losing his seat as party leader.
    Clegg and his family must be going through so much crap – just read the Mail attack on him – outrageous – this is the sort of thing that should unite all liberal thinkers – but what do we do ? turn on ourselves.

  • Paddy on BBC and then Sky makes the same apparent off the cuff joke about Lib Dem Friends of Cake in a attempt to rubbish the hundreds of members calling for change.

    This would have been better if Lorly Burt was not making exactly the same off the cuff joke on Radio 5.

    The line obviously dreamed up by some “jolly clever young thing” at party HQ would also have had more credibility if there had not been a sudden increase in “likes” for the Facebook page in the last 24 hours.

    Of course increasing the numberof “likes” on a Facebook page is a very easy thing to do. But this is not serious politics and Paddy Ashdown should have known better than to fall for this sort of nonsense. It demeans him and it demeans the honest and committed members of the party who are openly declaring the,selves in favour of change.

    #Libdems4change http://www.libdems4change.org/

  • Paul Pettinger 25th May '14 - 12:58pm

    Brave Sir Farron ran away.
    Bravely ran away away.
    When danger reared it’s ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Yes, brave Sir Farron turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet,
    He beat a very brave retreat.
    Bravest of the braaaave, Sir Farron!

  • Paul In Twickenham 25th May '14 - 1:12pm

    @JohnTIlley – re. Guido Fawkes. I won’t be asking Guido to do my tax return. Looks like he can’t tell a percentage from a fraction!

  • John Roffey 25th May '14 - 1:31pm

    @David

    ‘Clegg and his family must be going through so much crap – just read the Mail attack on him – outrageous – this is the sort of thing that should unite all liberal thinkers – but what do we do ? turn on ourselves.’

    I think if you stand back a bit further you will recognise that any leader, in NC’s position – who was not prepared to thoroughly undermin their dignity, would have offered to resign some time ago – and if the EU results are as bad as expected – would resign as soon as they are declared.

    Any suffering on behalf of the Clegg family can be be blamed fully on husband/daddy!

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 25th May '14 - 1:38pm

    If, after yet even more disastrous Local Election results and having expressed its absolute commitment to Britain remaining in Europe, your party sees its MEPs wiped out, then surely your leader will have to walk.

  • John Broggio 25th May '14 - 1:59pm

    @ Paul in Twickenham

    Ummm, only state school educated and all but a percentage is – by definition – a fraction isn’t it? GF is innumerate though.

  • PaddyAshdown looks tiredof it all, not suprising, he is one of the elders now and is probably thinking why am I bothering.
    Seems to me that those attempting to rally the Clegg flag are not doing it with any great relish, it is as if they know the game is up and it is only a matter of when. I have always thought Tuesday 27th would be the day.
    My favoured timetable would be a leadership election in July, then the party conferences, with us leaving the coalition in Late November, giving just enough time for the new leader to distance him or herself from the coalition and create a limited independant identity for the party at the general.

  • Mack
    I am sure you remember who said it,”A week is a long time in politics”
    and it takes years to recover from a massive financial crisis.

  • Paul Pettinger 25th May '14 - 2:19pm

    Paddy says ‘let them eat cake’?

  • Mack
    .”…..had to step down, claiming he was “damaged goods” and “not a prime minister”. Well, well well
    Clearly Cameron is hated by many in his party so that leaves us in a situation where all party leaders are disliked because no one can deliver an instant economic miracle.

  • Tony Greaves 25th May '14 - 3:20pm

    Oh wad some pow’r the giftie gie us
    Tae see oorsels as others see us

    (Apols for what is probably rubbish Scots from memory

    It would fra monny an error free us
    An’ foolish notion

    Nick Clegg did not only front the Euro and Local election campaigns nationally, he monopolised them. And every time he went on TV (the debate, the PEBs, and the rest) he lost us votes. If he cannot see that, it’s time for the likes of Ashdown and Farron to tell him and hand him his sword.

    Tony

  • Tony Greaves 25th May '14 - 3:21pm

    fra = frae

  • @Mack

    Never underestimate how much remaining members are willing to lose in order to retain Clegg. They’re going to make this change brutal, bloody and force long-term damage on liberalism because they can’t accept that someone that says one thing and does another is a spent force in UK politics. So that can be address now, or later because he won’t survive the GE as leader (my money has always been on him standing down directly after the GE – worst case scenario for the party).

    If you want liberal representation in the UK in the next 5 years speak now or forever hold your peace!

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 25th May '14 - 3:34pm

    @Manfarang
    “Mack
    .”…..had to step down, claiming he was “damaged goods” and “not a prime minister”. Well, well well
    Clearly Cameron is hated by many in his party so that leaves us in a situation where all party leaders are disliked because no one can deliver an instant economic miracle.”

    I’m sorry. I don’t understand or recall the context of this. Was it actually intended for someone else? Or are you suggesting that Clegg should not go because other leaders were once in the same position? Please clarify.

    As for Clegg, well, I simply can’t understand why the Liberal Democrats had no difficulty in defenestrating a leader who was successful in electoral terms, ie, Charles kennedy, but are reluctant to remove one who is a complete electoral liability.

  • Tim has gone up in my estimations after today’s performances. I just ask that social liberals look out for small businesses and the disaffected white working class more (they don’t seem to have a problem with women or minorities).

    What’s the point of this stupid attack on us. Talk of stereotyping, I am white working class and live on a Council Estate why should I have a problem with women or ethnic minorities and what have they got to do with issues of house building on brown field site, more representation of working class people in law, accountancy etc My sister runs a business and she has no time for your Orange Booker brigade and their right wing privateering policies.

  • As for Clegg, well, I simply can’t understand why the Liberal Democrats had no difficulty in defenestrating a leader who was successful in electoral terms, ie, Charles kennedy, but are reluctant to remove one who is a complete electoral liability.

    This is exactly what I think. Charles Kennedy was kicked out in a nasty sinister way now that’s what I call backstabbing when the party was enjoying its highest popularity ever.

  • Mack
    Clegg is in a coaltion Kennedy wasn’t. I am sure Nick would have been just as popular as Kennedy as an opposition leader.

  • Tony
    The luck of the Irish.
    ‘Ireland was a shipwreck…. we had to do things we did not want to do’ – Labour’s Pat Rabbitte
    The Irish Labour Party is having a bad time too as the junior partner in a coalition government.

  • Paul In Twickenham 25th May '14 - 3:58pm

    @John Broggio – GF tweeted that 0.0045% of members had signed the letter. That means the party has about 4 million members 😉 Wow, the membership team have been busy!

  • Just seen Paddy Ashdown on the BBC. An excellent performance.

  • Chris B
    It’s a coalition not a Liberal Democrat government.
    Memories of the 1930s economic slump have faded as there are not many who lived through it who are still alive.
    The 2008 financial was a very serious crisis but it seems few realise this.As with the the asian 1997 crisis there is resulting hardship.

  • Ali
    Was he eating a bacon sandwich?

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th May '14 - 4:20pm

    Radical Liberal

    It must be sending the Orange bookers mad to have to praise Farron for helping Clegg out – that’s what you lot have been reduced to.

    Why? I’ve never understood why Farron gets painted up as a man of the left when he’s always been a relentless cheerleader for Clegg and the Cleggies. I’ve never seen anything coming from Farron which suggests a capacity for independent thought. What he’s written here is, to me, just more evidence that he is NOT the person to be “the candidate of the left” in the forthcoming leadership election. I’d rather vote for an Orange Booker who at this point in the game shows an understanding of why Clegg needs to go now than for Farron.

  • Stephen Howse 25th May '14 - 4:27pm

    “It must be sending the Orange bookers mad to have to praise Farron for helping Clegg out”

    I’ve read the Orange Book. I found much in there to agree with and thought its general premise and approach to be sound.

    I also have a huge amount of time and respect for Tim Farron, a thoroughly likeable bloke who is a consistent and sensible voice within the party and when communicating its achievements (and honest failings) to others.

    It’s not an either/or. Stop being so divisive and seeing the party as a war between opposing camps, where if you believe in or like X you cannot believe in or like Y. It’s only EVER people on one side of their supposed ‘war’ who do this and I for one am effing sick of it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th May '14 - 4:29pm

    david

    As for Clegg, well, I simply can’t understand why the Liberal Democrats had no difficulty in defenestrating a leader who was successful in electoral terms, ie, Charles kennedy

    Well actually they had great difficulty in getting rid of him. It has become clear that his problems were well known for a long time, but he kept on because there wasn’t an easy way to get him to go.

    I disagree with you that Kennedy was a wonderful leader. I think the reason he was a good leader was not because of anything much he said or did but rather that for reasons we now all know he DIDN’T do much. That had the great advantage of allowing others to come forward, so our party didn’t come across as a one-man-band, it was never the “Charles Kennedy Party” as it has become the “Nick Clegg Party” and was the “Paddy Ashdown Party” before. We had a more communal and co-operative and distributed leadership, which is surely more in line with liberal principles anyway, and it worked.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th May '14 - 4:38pm

    JohnTilley

    Paddy on BBC and then Sky makes the same apparent off the cuff joke about Lib Dem Friends of Cake in a attempt to rubbish the hundreds of members calling for change.

    Yes, and how liberal is that?

    Ashdown and co are arguing the case for dictatorship, that we don’t have the right to say that the person WE the members employ as leader is no longer the person we want there. The letter in the petition was politely worded, and well explained. If we can’t out our case in this way, how can we put it? What Ashdown and co are saying is that the party is OWNED by its leader, that we have no choice but to carry on with that leader for as long as that leader wants to stay there, so that if we disagree with that person being leader, we have to resign, not the leader.

    What’s the word for the political philosophy which says all power must be with a leader who can never be criticised and is there forever?

  • Stephen Howse – hear hear. I didn’t join the party to have to endure the class-based claptrap spouted by david, I joined it to get away from such nonsense.

    He is a self-confessed Green voter, and I suggest we don’t let this divert us from unity in difficult times.

  • Linda Schmidt 25th May '14 - 5:14pm

    I am not or rather have not been a Liberal democrat to date, however I would wish to say that I think Nick Clegg is an excellent leader of your party and as correctly stated by your president, Tim Farron, NIck Clegg is the only politician I know who of, despite knowing the probable consequences of joining a coalition with the Conservatives did so I believe in the very best interests of this country. He was the only leader who stood up to debate with Nigel Farage, that is something in itself. Traditionally, there is an expression of slight derision if you will excuse me termed as “wishy washy Liberal democrats” well Nick Clegg dismissed that image and actually gave your party kudos within the coalition, rather than LibDems only being known at a local level. Paddy Ashdown was also superb. Give your party a chance with Nick and I am certain that more will support you going forward. Stop bashing him. Honestly you don’t see Labour supporters trying to oust their leader. His brother would have been a far better party leader.

  • Stephen Howse 25th May '14 - 5:36pm

    Linda – if you believe in what we’re doing and want to help us in our fight to hold as many seats as we can in 2015 (and it will be some fight!)… have you ever thought about joining the party before? Indeed, have you ever been asked? It’s a piece of cake, you can pay by direct debit or a year at a time up front, and it costs from just £12. Membership’s been growing recently and it’s been great to see that despite the soundings off and negativity in some quarters, there are people out there who understand and support what Nick and the party have tried to do.

    We need to build as broad a coalition of liberals as we can – as Tim said, we have been united till now and it has been a great strength of ours.

  • Linda “Give your party a chance with Nick and I am certain that more will support you going forward. ”

    He has had six years! Yes six years and every year the Lib Dems have lost votes. He has delivered 1 out of his 10 responsibilities as DPM – all of which he chose to take on. If I performed so badly in my job, my line manager would have initiated capability proceedings against me a long while ago! He is out of his depth and moreover no-one believes anything he says any more. He is the very definition of ‘political liability’

  • Stephen Howse “we have been united till now and it has been a great strength of ours.”

    Unified yes but 20,000 members have left the Party and every year there are fewer and fewer people voting for the LibDems.

  • Nick Clegg is only part of the problem that LibDems have. He is the figure-head of failure in terms of the things that he has failed to achieve in terms of parliamentary reform. The real problem for the LibDems are each and every one of their MPs who have voted hand-in-hand with their Tory brothers and sisters and unleashed the most ill-liberal set of political policies I and the rest of the children of Thatcher have ever witnessed on our shores.

    Please do not talk to me about how this was all done in order to to save the country from economic destruction or try to convince me that LibDems have adhered to collective cabinet responsibility to keep the coalition together for the good of us all. The admiration that Tall, Alexander and Laws have previously expressed for their colleagues IDS, Osborne and Gove has been sickening, but predictable – it all began one sunny day in a rose garden.

    Farron and Ashdown know that there is nigh-on zero chance that a change in leadership would rejuvenate LibDem electoral fortunes. The long game is in play now – they understand that the LibDem brand has been torched by their generation and that it will take years to regain trust; and they understand that this will only begin when the public have had their blood-lust satiated on election day with the heads of those they hold responsible,

    Clegg’s last sacrifice for the LibDem’s will be to go down with the ship and take the blame – a plump European job and a peerage being the reward.

  • You do and there are calls for Ed Milliband’s head after their election campaign as Ukip took many seats of them up north so that’s a misnomer. It suits the right and their ilk for Clegg to stay to give the tories a better chance of getting into power of their own volition next year and I am sure they’re are also stirring it up on this site as well as the Orange Bookers for their own ends. Rather than being dismissed by the poster above, Mr Howse, it spurs me on to get the party back to social liberal values and bring others with me. Nick Clegg isn’t an advocate for social liberalism as he has been ambushed by the right wing clique think Browne, Laws, Alexander et al. He is putting many people off I know who have always voted Lib Dem in the past for ever supporting the party again and has to go. His time is up and so is the time of Candide and Pangloss whose utilitarian philosophy of it’s for the best in the best of all possible worlds is running its course. If you are reading this thread and are ex Lib Dem but are voting labour then do come back as with your support we can take on the OBs and get the Party back that has been so brutalised since 2010.

  • jedibeeftrix 25th May '14 - 6:19pm

    “Clegg’s last sacrifice for the LibDem’s will be to go down with the ship and take the blame – a plump European job and a peerage being the reward.”

    I tend to think the same, Jimble.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 5:34am

    Linda Schmidt

    I am not or rather have not been a Liberal democrat to date, however I would wish to say that I think Nick Clegg is an excellent leader of your party and as correctly stated by your president, Tim Farron, NIck Clegg is the only politician I know who of, despite knowing the probable consequences of joining a coalition with the Conservatives did so I believe in the very best interests of this country.

    No, almost every Liberal Democrat took the same position. But perhaps other Liberal Democrats could have made a better job with the consequences of that decision.

    He was the only leader who stood up to debate with Nigel Farage, that is something in itself

    Again, that’s no particular argument for Nick Clegg. Perhaps someone else would have made a better job of challenging Farage.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 6:13am

    Stephen Howse

    We need to build as broad a coalition of liberals as we can

    Except, of course, anyone who disagrees with you on the dangers of the party moving to the economic right – they can be dismissed in an abusive way.

    Mostly those who are unhappy with this direction HAVE done what they are being urge to do here – kept quiet, got on with the local campaigning work. But many have got to the point where they’ve got fed up of being treated like this, as if they are just slaves of masters who can order them to do anything. Everyone has had their own personal line, the point at which they give up. Most have gone quietly when that line has been crossed, but there’s been many. I suspect a great many decided to stick it out and see this current set of elections through, but will drop out after that

    So, Stephen, the party IS yours now. You and people like you have managed to force out all those who dare express concerns about economic inequality and the way free market policy seems to work to increase that. You may dismiss that as talk of “class”, well fine, class divisions have been growing steadily greater in this country for decades, just because it’s not fashionable to talk about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    If the party carries on as it is, it will have very few people working for it in the next general election. So you who are still keen on Clegg had better work harder than ever, because there won’t be many left to help you.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '14 - 6:38am

    Jimble

    The admiration that Tall, Alexander and Laws have previously expressed for their colleagues IDS, Osborne and Gove has been sickening, but predictable – it all began one sunny day in a rose garden.

    I think this is very unfair. You name a few people who have been very keen to push the party in this direction as if their views are shared by all members. There a great many members who accepted the reality of the Parliamentary balance in May 2010 meaning we had little choice but to accept the coalition, but who did not think this should be portrayed as a love-in. What has happened, however, is that the small clique of people who were always very keen to push the party in an economic right direction have surrounded Clegg and he has largely chosen people of that sort to be his advisers and to have the top posts. This has made it MUCH harder to push the defensive arguments for the coalition and what it has done on the basis of necessity, because this clique really do give the impression they are loving it, and so just using the excuse of the situation to push the party their way.

    While most ordinary people in this country have little interest in politics and so are unaware of the details, what seems to have happened is that the Cleggies at the top of the party, and party opponents to its left have had a joint interest in seeing this image of the party become widely accepted, and that has filtered through to the population in general.

    So I do think it is urgent to get rid of this clique NOW, and I include Tim Farron in it, because though he may have made a few token gestures the other way, he has always been a relentless cheerleader for what the clique has been doing, enthusiastically pushing their line. Even if he thinks he is doing it to save his skin, I think it needs to be made clear that the rewards if Clegg and the Cleggies are toppled should go to those who were brave enough to start the toppling, not the likes of Farron who will probably come out with a “me too, I always thought that way really” when it is safe to do so.

    If we don’t get rid of them now, well as I said to Stephen Howse, the party, or what’s left of it will be theirs. I don’t think it will be capable of an independent existence, so will end up as a permanent adjunct to the Conservatives, maybe allowed by them to fight a few seats without Tory opponents. I know myself having put so much effort, time and money into the party over the years, I can’t be bothered to throw any more of it down the drain, so if Clegg is not overturned now, that’s it, I’m not going to try and rescue the party after what will inevitably happen to it in 2015.

  • @Tony Dawson

    There was also a council by-election in Redcar on the day of the euro elections, defending a majority of 35 in a ward the Labour party once viewed as its private property. It was a Lib Dem hold.

    I do think that if local councillors are failing to get reelected by their neighbours, the people they have presumably been working for and been in regular contact with for the last four years, because those neighbours are treating the election as a referendum on then national party then those councillors need to think about how they differ from the councillors who held seats. A following wind from the national party should be mostly helpful to new candidates trying to get themselves known.

  • It is a matter of leadership judgement when a party ceases to to put over its program.
    The Lib Dems should have used every opportunity in the campaign to communicate the liberal reforming agenda on locally, nationally as well as European levels.
    Locally: reform of council tax, constitution, electoral and environment, and nationally economic security.
    Instead, Nick Clegg presented the party as a single issue option of accepting EU membership the way it is now or rejecting it.
    This party is not a single issue party.
    As we know the EU needs a lot of reforming. The LDs should have been telling the public in political broadcasts what reforms are needed and why it will only happen by voting Lib Dems.
    In the election many pro-EU particularly those parties in power in their countries suffered electoral setbacks.
    In the EU the largest grouping is the right wing EPP/Conservatives: their agenda is to protect and bail out the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
    More and more people are rejecting this in Britain and across Europe!
    Does Liberal Democrats want to be the alternative ? If so, we need the leadership!!

  • Linda Schmidt makes a case for the Clegg leadership and she is right. Unfortunately she does not represent the electorate and hasn’t mentioned Tuition Fees which branded him as damaged goods and which is how he, and we are seen by the electorate. He also managed to divest our party of a campaigning asset envied by all other parties.
    .

  • clarification: by ‘campaigning asset’ I meant an individual who I am not allowed to mention on this site.

  • Peter Chegwyn 26th May '14 - 8:29pm

    @ Brian D. Do you mean CR? Frozen out by Nick Clegg but oh how the party could do with his campaigning skills and political acumen right now!

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Paul Fisher
    Interesting reading!...
  • Ruth Bright
    Andy the party still makes no formal provision for maternity leave. It is just a matter of hoping your local party isn't full of neanderthals when you raise the...
  • Brad Barrows
    @David Raw The Liberal Democrats have not gone down the plug hole yet - the party managed to beat the Social Democratic Party candidate by 69 votes at the rece...
  • Katharine Pindar
    I wonder whether the Greens, with their similar kind of polling results to us and rising numbers of Council seats, are to be considered rivals to us or allies i...
  • Peter Watson
    @Alex Macfie "The best chance of the seat falling to Lib Dems is for Labour to stand but not campaign seriously." I agree, but I don't think it is in Labour's ...