How does Clegg build on the success of The Last Leg?

Nick Clegg on The Last Leg 6I’m so glad I hadn’t watched The Last Leg ahead of Nick Clegg’s appearance last night. It would not have been good for my health because I’d have been worrying about how he’d fare in that pretty brutal, blokey environment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hilarious, but a massive risk for a politician. Even the next morning, in the light of day and the absence of red wine goggles, I still think, as I did last night, that he did very well.

Metro Last Leg pollThe press hasn’t been quite as sniffy about it as I’d thought, but it’s early. Many of his fiercest critics won’t have sharpened their keyboards yet. Funnily enough, the Daily Mail didn’t like it. Who’d ever have thought that would happen?

The Metro, though, was largely complimentary with a readers’ poll showing 94% of respondents saying he was hilarious.

If you agree with that assessment, why not give a donation to the party’s general election campaign? If you do so before midnight tonight, donors have pledged to double it. Mind you, if Mike Crockart learns his AM from his PM and we sort out the manufacturing and distribution process, we could have a nice little earner in BS Buttons.

The Independent really didn’t want to be complimentary but couldn’t help itself. The tweets quoted didn’t really reflect the rather sniffy headline. 

And look who’s right at the top of this Huffington Post selection of tweets.

But how does Clegg now capitalise on last night’s success? Well, people liked him because he was natural and funny and entirely himself. No other political leader in Britain could have come out of that unscathed. If you  meet him in person, you have to be trying really hard to dislike him. It’s a pity we can’t get him onto 40 million doorsteps. The reach of this programme is much wider than it would have been a decade ago so encouraging people to watch it (available here) is important. I also suspect that those who watch Channel 4 late night Friday night comedy programme may be more receptive to the things we’ve done in government that break down barriers for people – things like giving extra money to disadvantaged kids in school, massive investment in apprenticeships and improving mental health care –  than talk of balancing the books. I said the other day that I felt he should put this stuff front and centre of what he’s saying and then go on to the balance the books fairly stuff. I shall leave the last word to Alex Brooker, whose love of Nandos Nick exploited to persuade him to vote:

There is also a clear lesson for Nick’s team, if they didn’t learn it from the Farage debates last year. Let him be himself. He’s not going to have as much space in the leaders’ debates. Don’t over-script him. Leave him to his own instincts. You could see the odd flash of “how the flip do I answer this?” in his eyes last night, but he got the tone and the substance pretty much bang on. 

You can see The Last Leg with Nick Clegg on Channel 4’s On Demand service here.

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

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Gwyn Williams 31st Jan '15 - 12:11pm

    Nick Clegg played a blinder. His ability to pull out of the hat an outstanding surprise performance as in the Leader’s debates in 2010 cannot be ignored. However the Last Leg is aimed at a younger audience and that is the group who are least likely to vote. However MPs and candidates in seats with Universities should be cheering. Nick’s response to the tuition fees question has started to take the poison out of the debate .

  • This is the third LDV article in 24 hours on this Friday night TV programme.

    Are you perhaps getting a bit carried away?

  • Rabi Martins 31st Jan '15 - 12:57pm

    On the evidence of his performance last night I would say in the unlikely event of Nick giving up politics a highly successful second career as a star of TV and Cinemasurely awaits
    I am going to apply to be his agent …just in case

  • In an attempt to provide some sort of context — I thought folks might be interested in the official viewing figures for these Ch 4 programmes in order of popularity.

    One conclusion might be that Clegg should have spent 24 hours in A+E.
    I expect the person receiving a salary from the taxpayer to build Brand Clegg could arrange that.

    Channel 4
    w/e 18 Jan 2015
    7 day data (Millions)
    1 24 HOURS IN A & E (WED 2101) 2.46
    2 WALKING THE NILE (SUN 2101) 2.30
    3 RESTORATION MAN (WED 1959) 2.17
    4 8 OUT OF 10 CATS DOES COUNTDOWN (FRI 2101) 2.16
    5 FOOD UNWRAPPED (MON 2031) 2.14
    7 THE UNDATEABLES (MON 2101) 2.08
    8 ANGRY WHITE AND PROUD (WED 2203) 1.93
    9 FILM: THE SWEENEY (2012) (SAT 2103) 1.82
    10 CYBERBULLY (THU 2102) 1.76
    11 THE HOTEL (SUN 1959) 1.73

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st Jan '15 - 1:42pm

    JohnTilley 31st Jan ’15 – 12:31pm
    “This is the third LDV article in 24 hours on this Friday night TV programme. Are you perhaps getting a bit carried away?”

    I couldn’t agree more John.

    Three articles on a little known, little watched Ch4 light entertainment programme but none on the BBC’s excellent two-part ‘The Super-rich and us’ by Jacques Peritti.

    I would urge fellow Liberal Democrats, Radicals and Egalitarians to watch these programmes.

    If anyone is in any doubt as to what has befallen the 99% of people since the rise of ‘free market’ monetarism, global corporatism and the recent direct transfer of wealth from ordinary tax payers and users of public services to the super rich, they could seriously do no better than watch Peretti’s compelling analysis.

    It should be enough to make us all into Radical Egalitarian Preamble Liberals.

  • Mark Littlewood 31st Jan '15 - 1:49pm

    I can’t even work out from Caron’s opening paragraph whether she watched this programme or not.

    From what I can discern, she chose not to watch it, but also thought it was absolutely brilliant.

  • Being described as hilarious isn’t always a compliment though is it Caron ?

  • Stuart Reid 31st Jan '15 - 2:01pm

    I thought it was pretty obvious that she hadn’t watched the show in previous weeks but tuned in for the first time last night. I can’t see any other way to read it without wanting to find a different meaning.

    Also, I don’t think it’s wrong to get excited about last night. I watch the show every week and its demographic is exactly the sort of people that Nick needed to be in front of: younger folk who tend towards cynicism but are open to persuasion but only with honest argument. I thought the fear in Nick’s eyes wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in that context.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Jan '15 - 2:05pm

    No, Mark, I did watch it. I know that you follow me on Twitter so if you read my tweets, you’ll pretty much get a blow by blow account.

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st Jan '15 - 2:11pm

    PBBrown 31st Jan ’15 – 2:00pm
    “Being described as hilarious isn’t always a compliment though is it Caron ?”

    I agree PB; the same thought occurred to me. The 94% are surely split between those who thought the questions and NC being uncomfortable were the more funny and those who thought NC’s responses were funny.

    I had never heard of the programme before. I thought NC came across quiet well – just as I am sure the vast majority of guests would.

    The big question is would I want any of them to lead the Liberal Democrats?

  • Mark Littlewood 31st Jan '15 - 2:11pm

    Ah, okay. Thanks, Caron.

    I do follow you on twitter, I also follow c 2,000 others

    I’m afraid I don’t make a rule of reading every tweet you or the 2,000 others send though. I must try and do better

    I was therefore relying on your opening lines on this esteemed website. Which I think most people will find difficult to understand (if they, like me, don’t have the benefit of reading and digesting every tweet you choose to send).

  • @JohnTilley

    Or, in other words John, Nick reached over 1.5m voters the party needs to connect with and did so in a way that the majority have responded to positively.

    Much more work to do, but it is something to build on.

    Best as ever, ATF.

  • Tony Dawson 31st Jan '15 - 3:52pm

    @ JohnTilley

    “One conclusion might be that Clegg should have spent 24 hours in A+E.”

    He would have had to do that if the programme had been a ‘car crash’ 😉

    I have always thought that Nick Clegg is a really nice man with a lot of qualities. He has also made a number of very serious mistakes which have had more serious ramifications for the party rather than his person.

    People can recover from mistakes. One of the ‘golden rules’ of such recovery for ‘tainted’ politicians, however, is normally to get yourself out of the public eye for a bit and to choose your time of re-entry carefully.. Repeated exposure to a public who have a prejudiced view about you doesn’t normally help you much even if you start performing well. Prejudiced people largely just use what they see.hear to re-inforce their prejudices.

    I have long hoped that Charlie Kennedy will re-emerge with a powerful national role after his prolonged period of reduced public role. I am sensible enough to know, however, that this may not happen.

    People DO have the capability to forgive politicians who make huge cock-ups. Winston Churchill is a prime example.Whether it is Nick Clegg himself or his inner courtiers who is responsible for his ‘positioning’ and image over the past four years, heaven knows. I would say, however, that failure in this area is less likely to be forgiven. For a start, it should be a professional process and the prolonged repetition of rather obvious mistakes has made a real difference to our Party. For some it has meant the difference between political life and death. In Manchester and parts of Liverpool, a ‘pitch’ which had left our Party at 12-15 per cent in the polls rather than 6-11 per cent would have kept us with a core representation on the local councils, rather than a wipe-out or near wipe-out.

  • Stephen Donnelly 31st Jan '15 - 5:06pm

    John Tilley : “This is the third LDV article in 24 hours on this Friday night TV programme. Are you perhaps getting a bit carried away?” To put this in perspective the other articles are Fantasy Football League, and a LD PPC not hiding from students.

    Most people have made their mind up about Nick, and it will take an earth quake to change their minds in the short term. I suspect his contribution will be more fairly re-assessed in the years to come if we are out of government and the Tories destroy public services, or labour make a mess of the economy again, or we end up with a less stable party in a coalition.

  • John Roffey 31st Jan '15 - 6:18pm

    Osborne’s and the Tory’s primary contention, that they have ‘turned the economy around’ [along with NC’s justification for the Party’s support of their austerity program] took a rather serious blow with the publication of the revised ONS figures for our deficit and the national debt. These figures also undermine the claim that Labour, in office, would ruin the coalition’s ‘good work’.

    The new figure for the national debt is £1.4 trillion – £125 billion more than previously thought – and the current level of borrowing [deficit] is £99 billion – up £5 billion.

    However, it does not matter which of the two main parties forms the government or is senior partner in a coalition after May as they are both the clients of the giant global corporations. Whilst the multinationals [The Enemy Within] continue to suck dry the nation’s wealth – there will be no real relief for the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable in our society – nor for the majority of the rest of us.

    A new direction is needed.

  • So what should Clegg do next ?

    Well there’s always Strictly, or Great British Bakeoff, or if he’s really desperate for exposure how about I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here ?

    Can you imagine how many people would vote for him to eat grubs ?

  • Well, we won’t have Strictly, or Bake-off, till Autumn, by which time it will be too late! Not sure when next series of I’m a Celebrity comes on, but unsure whether it did either George Galloway or Nadine Dorries much good.

  • Stephen Donnelly – John Tilley is right – there are three threads devoted specifically to the Last Leg

  • @Simon Shaw

    Only 33? I thought every thread was there for the sole purpose of allowing John Tilley to cheer us all up.

    On-topic. I thought Nick did ok ( 7 or 8 out of 10?), but could have done better. Specifically on the tuition fees issue couldn’t he have said something like:

    “I feel terrible about it. We let people down. I’ve apologised, and I’m happy to apologise again. We made a promise we couldn’t keep. But, we move on and the deal we secured is actually pretty good for students.”

  • The simple answer is”he cannot”, it is far too late and electorally minds are predominately made up about both about him and the party. How many people even know the program existed, I did not. Sadly Caron there is no escape for us, we just have to grim and bear it. –

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st Jan '15 - 8:41pm

    crewegwyn 31st Jan ’15 – 7:36pm

    May I offer an extension to your sentence [[ ]]?
    [[Specifically on the tuition fees issue couldn’t he have said something like: “I feel terrible about it. We let people down. I’ve apologised, and I’m happy to apologise again. We made a promise we found we couldn’t keep]] … because the Conservatives were hell bent on introducing tuition fees. Another mistake we made was not to make it a red line issue. What we did do however was secure the best results available under the circumstances meaning that students won’t actually start paying back their loans until they are earning £21,000 instead of Labour’s £15,000. Additionally we linked this new higher figure to inflation. We also brought in measures aimed at helping poorer students. Finally, I must add that the numbers going to University suggest that … “. “In the next Parliament we will be looking to further assist students from poorer households and those taking degrees in science, engineering, technology and medicine.”

    It seems to me that mildly entertaining chat show guests and those briefing them are not able to construct a half decent political defence of their own policies.

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st Jan '15 - 8:56pm


    Back in the real world I have just followed the link to your blog/webpage

    The graph associated with your most recent article is pretty revealing concerning voter perceptions.

  • John Roffey 31st Jan '15 - 9:45pm

    @ Simon Shaw

    “If you looked at the graph that accompanied that article in the Telegraph you will see that all of that £125 billion adjustment occured under the last Labour government.”

    The graph entitled ‘The real size of our debt mountain shows that, although it is true that at Sept 09 – £90 billion can be attributed to Labour [because of the bail out of the banks following the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis] – very little was related to previous Labour Governments. It was clear, certainly after the event that Brown tried to conceal the fact the nation was living beyond its means during the leaders debates in order to gain an advantage at the 2010 GE.

    This was, to a significant extent, the cause of Clegg’s popularity at these debates. Brown knew and Cameron had a very good idea that the nation’s finances were in poor shape so neither made rash promises during the event. Clegg [and his advisors] being completely devoid of economic nous and having no idea of the true amount could promise all sorts of policies that could not be afforded.

    The extra £127 billion has been the increase, almost entirely under the Osborne’s stewardship and put into context by the Telegraph:

    “According to the figures, Britain’s debt mountain is £127 billion bigger that we first thought.
    To provide some context, that’s more than the government’s annual budget for education and housing put together.”

    However, even if the majority of this additional debt can be laid at Brown’s [or the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis] door – Osborne and the Tory high command were broadly aware of the actuality. This did not stop Osborne promising to reduce the deficit to zero by the time of the next election [2015] – this has increased by 5% – all accounted for during the coalition’s term in office.

    I am afraid a deficit of £99 billion, when this was promised to be zero by 2015, is far more significant than the fact that the national debt was understated – for the national debt increased because of the annual increased borrowing requirement – increased because Osborne could not do as he had promised and balance the books..

    That said – the fundamental problem is that Osborne has provided all sorts of incentives and tax avoidance schemes for the multinationals to ensure that they pay just a fraction of the tax that a UK firm operating solely in the UK would pay – this has been the reason that the deficit is so high. Osborne, with the eager assistance of NC, has allowed these global giants to suck the nations wealth dry – and I am surprised you are making any attempt to disguise this fact!

  • Paul in Wokingham 31st Jan '15 - 11:33pm

    I am currently in Australia where Adam Hills comes from (tenuous connection with subject of comment now established). Yesterday there was a general election for the state parliament in Queensland. Queensland elects its parliament using a sort of AV+ system. Last time round this resulted in 78 out of 89 seats going to the LNP (the Liberal National Party, no relation to us, of course) with the Labor Party reduced to a rump of just 7 seats. But last night in a quite staggering reversal the LNP lost the election (and the state premier lost his own seat) and Labor are set to form the new government.

    The Australian psephologists were not predicting this as recently as Friday. What happened? The big issue was the proposed sell-off of state assets by the LNP which was a policy disaster. There was also the negative personal ratings of the LNP leader. And a decision by Tony Abbot to award an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip was also deeply unpopular.

    overall the swing against LNP to Labor was about 15%. Looking at this as “home thoughts from abroad” I find myself wondering what lessons and warnings we can take. Unfortunately I see strong parallels with many of the mistakes made by the Clegg leadership.

  • @theakes

    As John Tilley had previously posted, last week it had 1.5m viewers – likely more this week. Many of these are people who are likely to be recpetive to the LD message – as proved by significant numbers saying how NC has gone up in their estimation after his appearence.

    Where in the fact that NC was seen by 1.5m likely target voters ,in a way which most thought was positive, is there a problem?

  • Are you expecting to see an increase in polling on the back of this performance ?

    Repeated exposure via Call Clegg doesn’t appear to have helped at all so I have my doubts that a one-off late night to show will have done anything for his own nor the party votes come May 7th.

  • Paul Walter

    Paul, no need to be so defensive. I was not complaining, I was just making an observation.

    My observation was inspired more by the title and the tone of Caron’s article as much as the fact that it was the third within 24 hours. Although I can understand that what I wrote could be taken as a criticism – that was not my intention.

    Let me elaborate —
    We have around 95 days to a general election.
    The Deputy Prime Minister, the man who boasts about leading a “party of government”, decides that it would be politically advantageous to go on a late night, light entertainment programme with a niche audience.
    Some people within his party have decided that things are so desperate in terms of the party’s electoral prospects that any TV exposure however trivial is better than nothing.
    That is where it might have started and finished.

    Caron decides that it is politically significant that people with nothing better to do around Midnight on a Friday picked up their phones and post one sentence messages commenting on this.
    She asks — “How does Clegg build on the success…. ?”.
    Her article might be described as “gushing” – it was certainly enthusiastic and full of approval.

    I thought she was getting a bit carried away.

    From my perspective that is how this free speech thing goes.
    Caron publishes an article, LDV asks people to comment, I comment. What’s your problem? 🙂

    In case people get too enthusiastic about Ch4 viewing figures –
     I should perhaps point out that in the same week the viewing figures for ‘Call the Midwife’ was over ten million compared to The Last Leg’s one point six million.

    1 CALL THE MIDWIFE (SUN 2000) 10.15

    I realise that those with responsibility for “Building Brand Clegg” would have more difficulty getting him a walk-on-part in Call the Midwife.
    Indeed getting him a walk-on-part in the UK General Election is difficult enough.

    Adrian Sanders MP correctly points out that his Torbay constituency is featured weekly in Ch 4’s ‘The Hotel”, which has higher viewing figures than The Last Leg.
    I am looking forward to LDV covering this programme and exhorting Liberal Democrat activists to go to help out in Torbay where an excellent MP can get re-elected with a little help from some friends.

    Perhaps we could agree that approach would be the best way to “build on the success” of any TV coverage?

  • Simon Shaw
    I note that your latest Focus features Ronnie Fearn wearing a mini kllt.

    Have you switched to “doing irony” full time now? Or have you hung on to the day job ?

  • @Paul Walter

    “How this free speech thing works is that editors of websites make decisions. Then web readers have the right to decide what to read. If they don’t want to read an article they don’t click on it.”

    Surely you meant to write “Then web readers have the right to decide what to read and whether to comment on it”? Surely? Or perhaps you intend removing the comments function? Do you think you will get the same traffic if you do?

  • Stephen Hesketh 1st Feb '15 - 8:39am

    If I were feeling satirical I might say, “Lib Dem Voice – the place for members and supporters to praise the leadership and their policies.” Thankfully it is too early for satire 🙂

  • Michael B-G 1st Feb '15 - 8:44am

    I can agree with Caron that Nick’s performance was good, but nothing he said would make anyone want to vote Lib Dem. I don’t think people vote for a political party because they think the leader is a good bloke. They may not vote for a party because they dislike the party’s leader.

    He said on a scale of 1 to 10 he feels 9.5 over his tuition fee decision, but he still pushes the dishonest position that he had no choice, of course he had a choice – over a quarter of our MPs kept their promise on tuition fees.

  • Paul Walter Paul Walter 1st Feb '15 - 9:12am

    I haven’t got a problem with you expressing your view, John. I was just expressing my view on the subject myself. I didn’t actually criticise you for making the comment per se, I was just responding to you with my opinion on the subject.

    And, no, Bolano, simply because I don’t mention the comment facility in one paragraph of my comment written at 4am is not an announcement that we are switching off comments. We’re very proud of our comments community. I even actually like John Tilley.

  • Jane Ann Liston 1st Feb '15 - 9:25am

    “Building Brand Clegg”? Oh, of course – BBC.

  • @ Michael B-G

    “He said on a scale of 1 to 10 he feels 9.5 over his tuition fee decision, but he still pushes the dishonest position that he had no choice, of course he had a choice – over a quarter of our MPs kept their promise on tuition fees.”

    What a brave stand, eh? To leave our universities without a workable basis for their finances. It’s easy to vote something down, but what were they proposing as a FUNDED alternative?

    What choice are you suggesting he could have taken instead?

  • @RC
    “What choice are you suggesting he could have taken instead?”

    The “choice” Clegg made was to sign a pledge and then do the exact opposite. Are you seriously suggesting there were no better choices open to him?

    Michael B-G is right – we know that Lib Dem MPs had a choice, because a few of them kept their word. Anyone who says there was no choice is being dishonest.

  • “The Metro, though, was largely complimentary with a readers’ poll showing 94% of respondents saying he was hilarious. If you agree with that assessment, why not give a donation to the party’s general election campaign?”

    Is the election now reduced to a stand-up comedy contest?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 1st Feb '15 - 11:35am

    @david howell: they would have been hard pressed to have conducted a poll between 11pm on Friday and when the Observer went to press on Saturday.

    I don’t expect a sudden increase in the polls yet – what may happen as a result of this is that people are more willing to listen to Nick and he needs to make sure that he says something that keeps them on board.

  • “If you meet him in person, you have to be trying really hard to dislike him”

    I don’t think that’s true at all – I thought highly of Nick, until I met him.

    I thought he came out of the show well, but John Tilley is on the money – it’s a late-night C4 show, if this is the foundation to build upon then that indicates the level of desperation. To me, this is a welcome bit of fluff but it won’t change anything – Clegg is still on course to remove the party from mainstream politics in the next 100 days.

  • @David Howell

    I hadn’t seen that poll, thanks!

    >I don’t expect a sudden increase in the polls yet

    That’s just as well, eh? 5%!?!

  • I encountered Nick in person a week before the 2010 election when he visited the university where I worked. He was not very impressive but both in his speech and in a subsequent conversation with the colleague standing next to me, he was pretty firm in stating his determination to work for the abolition of tuition fees and in asserting that we could all trust him on this. He sounded a bit like a cut-price Tony Blair but I thought that at least he couldn’t renege on so public a guarantee. I’m still in touch with many of the staff and students who were part of the large crowd Nick attracted. Many of them voted for the Liberal Democrats in the election that year. Since then, some have given up on politics. Others, who were members of the Liberal Democrats,, have resigned from the party. Some have joined other parties (Green or Labour) and are taking part in their election campaigns. Of all the people I know who heard Nick Clegg on that occasion, I can’t think of one who will work for the Liberal Democrats and quite a few erstwhile Liberal Democrat voters are determined to do all they can to see that their local Liberal Democrat candidate is soundly defeated. I’m among them. Do you remember 2010’s Liberal Democrat election broadcast “Say goodbye to broken promises”? The irony – and the deception – still hurts.

  • @ Paul Walter

    “And, no, Bolano, simply because I don’t mention the comment facility in one paragraph of my comment written at 4am is not an announcement that we are switching off comments. We’re very proud of our comments community. I even actually like John Tilley.”

    Good to hear! But I’m still curious – you don’t mention the comment facility in your rights of editor and reader, that’s true. But do you, personally, view the comment facility as a reader’s right in your free speech scheme? Or not ?

  • can we keep the 5% poll in context. These polls are all over the place. Two days ago Populus had the Lib Dems on 10%. That you won’t be surprised to hear isn’t being parroted much.

  • paul barker 1st Feb '15 - 3:20pm

    On polling, unless you can be arsed to keep up with all the polls (typically 10 a week) then I reccomend a respectable polling average like the one run by UK Polling Report. The disadvantage of averages is that they are always a week or two out of date but that doesnt matter if your polling stays the same as our does, we have been at or around 8% since last June.

  • Sadie Smith 1st Feb '15 - 3:46pm

    For pity’s sake, this was on a funny programme. One I often watch as I liked their panel of explanation of disabilities at the end of Paralympics days. The explanations were factual and funny..
    I am pleased Nick went on and got some positive response. He also put the tuition fees as well as he could on that programme – you can’t launch into a long political explanation. The answer was short and helpful.
    I agree we can’t ‘build on this’ but let’s not look gift horses in the mouth. It was good positive coverage.

  • peter tyzack 1st Feb '15 - 4:45pm

    ..and if the likes of Mark Littlewood can’t even understand the opening sentence of Caron’s article, then I despair of journalism ever becoming what it should be. It is quite straightforward, she had never watched the programme before.. I got it first time, why didn’t you..?
    The viewing figures will grow from here, and our membership and vote share will continue to do so too. As the ONLY party Leader to respond to Brooker’s challenge Nick was excellent, I think I had more nerves watching him than he did.

  • @Kathz

    Does the fact that the LDs didn’t win the election mean nothing?

    Does the fact the majority of LD MPs did not vote for the rise change your friend’s and your determination to see any Liberal defeated? Hoping Tim Farron loses as well? Charles Kennedy?

    Does the fact that Labour promised not to introduce or triple fees and broke both those peldges with huge majorities not give you pause for thought?

    Does the rise in tutition fees ever, ever compare to Iraq? Those planning on voting Labour again should always factor that into their decision.

    Does that simple reality that the Greens are proudly putting forward policies that reduce an individual person’s hope and dreams to an after thought matter to you?

  • Peter Watson 1st Feb '15 - 5:51pm

    @JohnTilley “This is the third LDV article in 24 hours on this Friday night TV programme.”
    @Paul Walter “The fact that each of the three articles has been well read and received plenty of comments tells its own story.”
    I think that multiple parallel articles is sometimes a real problem on LibDemVoice, especially when it is an important or contentious issue (I’m not sure that The Last Clegg falls into that category though). Often I’d prefer authors to swallow their vanity and join the discussion in an existing thread rather than start a new one to get their name and photograph at the top of the page. Inevitably, we then end up with similar discussions and the same people making the same comments.
    Having said that, I prefer the LDV approach to that on UKPollingReport and PoliticalBetting where each new article simply seems to punctuate an ongoing discussion thread. At least here each article is followed by a (usually) on-topic discussion which runs its course in a natural way.

  • Peter Watson 1st Feb '15 - 5:54pm

    You make a lot of good points (though it’s a shame you miss out the many Tory shortcomings). And it is heartbreaking that nowadays the Lib Dems are no better than the rest.

  • By chance I happened to see the Last Leg and carried on watching it because Nick Clegg was on it. I thought his giving 9.5 to a sleepless night score about tuition fees spoke louder than any words to the studio audience and I imagine to the wider TV audience as my daughter told me that Twitter was responding positively. Good , I’m glad he feels bad about it and that’s the first time he’s made me feel he understands why our party has suffered so badly since that happened. It’s simple nobody trusts us any more because we lied to get votes.
    Perhaps more importantly Stephen Hesketh urges us all to watch the Jacques Pillotti programme entitled The Super rich and us. I wholeheartedly agree. To some extent it must have been based on the Dec 2014 OECD report on Economic Growth and Inequality which advises that inequality damages growth and that this isn’t just based on the widening gap between the very poor and the very rich but between the bottom 40% of the population and the richest and that this includes the hard pressed lower middle classes. It also questions the belief that redisribution harms economic growth and turns that idea on its head.
    Is it too late to get this into the manifesto? In the form of redistributive economic policy? I am unable to lobby or take action towards this myself because I am disabled and also ill but I feel desperate that we don’t churn out the same bland old stuff that we’ve all read before.
    And to finish. I will be watching The Last Leg again even if it does have an all male line up.

  • @ATF Why should I ever trust the Lib Dems again? It was such a blatant lie – not something buried in their manifesto. I didn’t think I would ever vote Labour after Iraq but then I saw Vince Cable jetting off to sell arms and the implements of repression around the world and that sickened me too. I didn’t expect the Lib Dems to support so much illiberal legislation either, or to endorse the demonisation of the poor, until an election was just round the corner. I didn’t expect the previous Lib Dem PPC to tell me I didn’t understand universities or their admission processes – or to look incredulous when I informed him that I’m a university admissions officer. (His mixture of condescension and contempt was really unattractive. ) When I think that I once delivered leaflets for the Lib Dems and that I stool as a candidate for the old Liberal Party (pre-merger) I feel slightly sick.

    I may not feel happy about the electoral choices I have. I’ve considered not voting or spoiling my balllot paper. But when I look at the Lib Dems and know who I want to vote against. I am a bit sorry about Charles Kennedy, especially as he doesn’t seem to have been treated well by his parliamentary colleagues. Most of the rest seem like lightweights; Jo Swinson may be OK but I don’t hear much from her. But the main issue is one of trust. Your party has lost my trust and that of many people I know.

  • A Social Liberal 1st Feb '15 - 7:03pm

    I fail to understand how having the mickey, taken out of you is designed to gain popularity. Even if you aquitted yourself quite well, it is still someone taking the michael out of you. People will be watching in order to see you made a fool of, if you do quite well it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people (at least 1.3 million?) see you as a figure who is deserving of derision.

  • Michael B-G 2nd Feb '15 - 6:48am

    @ RC

    I am suggesting that an elected politician should be honourable and not make a pledge to vote against all increases to tuition fees and then vote for a massive increase to them.

    I believe that every one of our MPs who signed the pledge should have voted against the new system and stated that we as a party still believe in a graduate tax. If all our MPs had been honourable then the new system wouldn’t have come in and the old system would have continued unless some Labour MPs had supported the new system. Other alternative ways to increase funds for universities might have been suggested.

    @ ATC

    “Does the fact the majority of LD MPs did not vote for the rise …”

    The figures were against 21, for 27, not voting 8, plus a government teller which implies he supported the new system. So only a minority (less than 37%) actually did what they pledged to do. It could be argued that a majority of our MPs did support the rise if we count Chris Huhne and Mark Hunter.

  • @kathz

    You make many fair points – there are plenty of things about what the party has done in government which I neither like, though I make is necessary, or support at all. But for me, I have to come back to the facts of:

    a) we didn’t win, not by a long shot and this was the only possible government
    b) the sheer impossibility of 8% of MPs being able to implement what we wanted
    c) we have been living through the most damaged economy that the world has seen in generations

    In such circumstances I find myself accepting that pragmatism needs to be as important as ideals, or as Ted Kennedy liked to put it; not letting the good be the enemy of the perfect. I see things like extended childcare, free school meals, taking people out of tax, gay marriage, a real focus on mental health and stopping the real extremes of Tory policy.

    These policies will last well beyond the current difficulties and there will be a lasting Liberal stamp on people’s future chances. A perfect situaton, far from it – but would I rather the Tories were doing this by themselves? Certainly not, my great worry would have a been a Tory miniority government that called and won a second election like Labour in 1974.

    As much as I disagree with him on many things, Tony Benn made an excellent point about his membership of the Labour party – he was in it because of the party it could be, not what it is. I feel many here are the same with the LibDems, they can’t stand the current leadership but they see Liberalism, or their version of it, as an answer to the problems we face.

    We argue and debate with each other, often wonder how we could be in the same party, but underneath it all there a shared belief in Liberal values. These Liberal values need to last beyond this parliament – they are universal rights.If we erode the Liberal MPs in parliament beacuse of one five year strecth rather than looking at the broad sweep of what the party and similar values have done, then we are surely ignoring how important that Liberal voice is. Imagine there not being a Charles Kennedy in parliament in 2003 .

    It is perfectly fair to give the current leadership a kicking – though, I am on record is being more supportive than others as I see few other options they could have taken given the circumstances – but to actively want LibDems to lose is to also rob the party of the chance of becoming the party you want it to be. In five years, NC won’t be leader a new generation of MPs will be coming through – why not get stuck in try and help that next generation of the party be more in line with what you want to see? We’ll need to survive this election for that debate and change to happen though.

    (Also, my apologies for being curt in my first response. Was in a bit of a mood at the time!)

  • @Peter Watson

    Too many Tory shortcomings to mention and I assumed Kathz was likely not to vote for them!

    All the same? Not sure, but government forces a pragmatism that can be put aside in opposition. I still feel the party is a Liberal’sonly option. As such, I am happy to keep defending it and wanting to push it forward.

  • @ATF Thanks for the longer reply.
    There were good reasons for a confidence and supply agreement and Lib Dems were also in a position to have more effect than they did.
    Incidentally the tuition fees agreement was not only a betrayal but really stupid; all studies show that it costs more than the old system, even if some of the cost is deferred, and that was entirely predictable at the outset.
    You’re right in saying I won’t vote tory – but I won’t vote for their enablers either.

  • @Kathz

    But there were terrible reasons for Confidence and Supply – none more so than it just wouldn’t have worked. At a time when stability was essential it would have caused chaoes. All the Tories would have needed to do was put forward a budget the LDs couldn’t support, called an election and – given the mood in 2010 – would have likely won. Coalition was the only realistic way of stopping a 100% Tory government at the beck and call of the ultra hard-right MPs. Top-rate tax would now be 40% under the Tories and benefit would have been take awaty from under-21s if it was simply a Toy government. I’m glad they’re not.

    Enablers? You mean the 10.7m people who voted Tory and an electoral system that left no other option. 306 /258/57 seats is a reality we can’t ignore. Also, what about the LD MPs who didn’t vote for the measures with which you disagree? There are plenty of them. Are Julian Huppert and Charles Kennedy enablers?

    Tuition fees. Having gone to University under the old system where I had to stay paying back a larger amount whilst on a much smaller salary, I’d rather have gone under the current system. Yes, it would cost more – but it would be vastly easier to cope. As it was, I was clobbered as soon as I left. At least today, if people leave University then start on a usual fresh out of University salary they will be paying nothing. Maybe this is personal preferences, but I didn’t start earning over £21k till my late 20s. I’d rather have been paying more back now I’m in my 30s with a better job/career than when on £16k doing any job I could get.

  • Caron , 11.35 yesterday: a few months ago you said people were now prepared to listen, what has happened since , we have fallen lower and lower with the worst set of by election results in history. A poll last week said we WERE the most unpopular political party. Grit your teeth through the General, hope we have something like at least 15 MPS left and then rebuild in 2017.

  • matt (Bristol) 2nd Feb '15 - 1:36pm

    A bit late now… but I watched it; I liked it – thankyou Nick Clegg for introducing me to the Last Leg. I shall watch it again.

    More interestingly, my wife whom I watched it with, warmed to Nick Clegg far more than I thought likely (my personal in-house voting predictor has had her down as a Labour voter in 2015 since about 2 seconds into the coalition) and was very favrouable.

    I don’t think turning up on a satricial programme in the wee small hours and not being completely wooden is going to start a political revolution, and I’m still not overly ecstatic he’s leading the party I’m a member of, but it’s kind-of nice to see the Cleggometer of public opinion move from ‘lying git’ to ‘misguided but sincere and even likeable’. He deserved some kind of result from his moth-to-the-flame approach to public media appearances, after the Euro debate blew up on him so badly (Which I thought it was a good idea at first).

    I don’t think he did enough to dispell any impression he’s more comfortable in a Tory government than in a Labour one, but he managed to show that he’s not particularly comfortable in that Tory government. Which is progress, I guess.

  • Tony Dawson 2nd Feb '15 - 8:11pm

    @matt (Bristol)

    ” it’s kind-of nice to see the Cleggometer of public opinion move from ‘lying git’ to ‘misguided but sincere and even likeable’”

    A march of a thousand miles begins with a single step? 😉

    The thousand miles takes us to around October 2043. 🙁

  • Matt (Bristol) 3rd Feb '15 - 4:34pm

    Tony, it’s interesting to speculate what shape the British party system will take in 2043 – you never know, we might have reformed the House of Lords by then…

  • I’m in the rare position it seems of being a regular watcher (some of the stuff the week before on Page 3 was an especially good liberal argument against rather than ban it/freedom false dichotomies).

    That said I thought it was a car crash! Deer in the headlights – unable to answer important questions, politician BS a lot, and the Nandos analogy doesn’t even work (especially not in FPTP where only winning votes/orders count).

    We take the mick out of Farage for not being serious and cringe at Fabricant etc on Have I Got News For You. How is this any different?

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.

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 ...?


Recent Comments

  • Simon R
    To my mind, one ethical issue with a wealth tax is that, if your wealth was acquired legally, then you probably already paid tax on it when you first acquired i...
  • Big Tall Tim
    The ultra-purists who are complaining about the stunts, need to remember that what they have remembered, not what Ed said. The stunts are excellent and are bei...
  • Big Tall Tim
    You're wrong Russell. He's getting coverage, which otherwise we wouldn't. It's reminding voters it's more than the Rishi/Keir presidential contest....
  • Russell
    Davey needs to stop these ridiculous. The photos make him look" not serious"....
  • Andy Chandler
    Hi the author here. I pretty much agree with @Mick Taylor. Usually for third parties we traditionally attack the governing party in elections and I think this s...