Joey Essex on the Liberal Democats and “nice” and “honest” Nick Clegg

Liberal DemocatsIt’s fair to say that one of the last people we expected to turn up at a Liberal Democrat press conference was Joey Essex from TOWIE.

He was there this morning, though, as he’s doing some briefings for young people.

He managed to grab a selfie with Nick Clegg:

The Mirror has details of the conversation between them when Joey revealed that he thought we were called the Liberal Democats:

I’m A Celeb star Joey even admitted he thought the Lib Dems’ name was cool because it had “cats” in the title – leaving the party leader feline confused until he corrected Joey that it was “Democrats” rather than “Democats”.

he DPM said: “There used to be a Liberal Party and then the Social Democrats and they got together.”

Essex replied: “I was wondering that. I thought it was quite a weird word in it – it’s got cats in it. What’s the cats about?”

Mr Clegg, laughing, said: “It’s not ‘cats’, it’s ‘crats’.”

The reality TV star will also question Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage and the Prime Minister David Cameron for an ITV2 special which will air in the run-up to the May 7 election.

Joey is hoping filming the series will make him more knowledgeable about politics and help him decide how to vote for.

In an interview with the BBC News Channel, Joey said he thought that Nick Clegg was “nice” and “honest” which has to be a good thing.

We love the way that the party website has now changed the party name. Let’s just hope they haven’t done that with the Electoral Commision or lots of Designated Nominating Officers will be scratching their heads…

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  • Please fire everybody who thought this was a good idea. It’s infantile, embarrassing and demeans your party, and by association, politics in general.

  • Well, that may be one more vote.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Mar '15 - 2:24pm

    Do you know what, G, perhaps you might want to think about approaching ITV2 as they were the people who sent him to the press conference as part of the programme he’s making for young people about the election. Might not be your cup of tea, but if he can get more young folk voting, that’s got to be a good thing.

    Am I to take it that the Labour Party will be banning Joey from meeting Ed, then?

  • @g

    Surprised you are able to type whilst on your high horse.

  • Am I to take it that the Labour Party will be banning Joey from meeting Ed, then?

    I’ve no idea. I don’t work for them, I’m not a member of them, and I don’t always vote for them.

    I was actually objecting to the name change on the party website… but that said, getting somebody semi-famous for being nice but dim as your strategy to engage the youth in politics is also worthy of quite considerable criticism. The country is full of bright, young people yet ITV go for a reality TV star whose personal wealth means he is completely out of touch with the financial realities of most people.

    It’s lazy, at best, at worst it’s the cynical use of intellectual property ITV own to advertise their own shows under the pretence of engaging young people in politics.

    Caron, living as you do in Scotland, you know the single best method of engaging young people in politics is to make the political choice they face really matter. It’s to make it clear to them that their vote, their choice, will have profound implications on their future, and that of all those they know.

    Political parties obviously must take most of the blame for not offering that choice, it’s there of course, but no one wants to talk about it, but the situation is not helped by the use of celebrities, whether dimwits from Essex, or ageing actors who have always voted Labour, rather than any serious challenge to the way politics is done.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 31st Mar '15 - 2:55pm

    Then I suggest you take your argument to the ITV2 producers, not to the Liberal Democrats.

    The choice does matter in this election for young people and everyone else. A majority Conservative government is a real possibility and it’s important for every vulnerable and disadvantaged person in this country that that does not happen.

  • At this point in the 2010 General Election we were on 21% in the national opinion polls. Today we are on 8%.

    The HQ strategy is therefore to accept an invitation from an unwatched cable TV channel (ITV2) who according to Caron – “..sent him to the press conference as part of the programme he’s making for young people about the election”.

    Letting ITV2 determine what our leader does in a general election campaign may be a master-stroke of political campaigning. Perhaps this sort of thing goes down a storm in The Western Cape? But at least nobody is suggesting a head-to-head debate with Farage, like last year.

    ATF. — I hope I do not sound as if I am on a “high horse”. I feel more “ground down” by it all.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 3:23pm

    @John Tilley “At this point in the 2010 General Election we were on 21% in the national opinion polls. Today we are on 8%.”
    So we’re going to pick some more votes up by election day?

  • WildColonialBoy 31st Mar '15 - 3:38pm


    You speak as though it had nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats, as if they have to do what ITV tells them. If that is true, then I despair for how Lib Dems would fend off the demands of vested interests while in government

    You are right to say that a Conservative government is a possibility; that possibility becomes greater the more Lib Dem MPs are elected. The only guaranteed way to contribute to staving off that possibility is to vote Labour

  • Stephen Hesketh 31st Mar '15 - 3:39pm

    Philip Thomas31st Mar ’15 – 3:23pm
    [[@John Tilley “At this point in the 2010 General Election we were on 21% in the national opinion polls. Today we are on 8%.”]]
    “So we’re going to pick some more votes up by election day?”

    Philip, with so many of our foot soldiers giving so generously of their time and money, I would like to think so. Afterall, left to their own devices, improving our standing in the polls has elluded the leadership for several years now.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 3:47pm

    @ WildColonialBoy
    There are numerous seats where Labour cannot beat the Tories and the Lib Dems can. In those seats, voting Labour makes a Conservative government more likely- especially a Conservative MAJORITY government which is what Caron was talking about it.

  • Philip – WildColonialBoy is clearly a Labour troll come to sow discord. He has a ready audience with several regular posters.

    Failure to recognise the difference between a conservative majority and a coalition is a giveaway.

  • Paul Pettinger 31st Mar '15 - 5:15pm

    This is just the beginning. In a few weeks Paddy will have escaped to a Saigon Russian roulette bar and Ryan Cotzee confined to a wicker man cage, replaced as head strategist by Dennis Hopper. By the weekend before poll SPADS will have begun reinterpreting opinion poll data through the use of Hegelian dialectics and acid. By eve of poll Liberal Youth members will have been appointed as field generals in command of imaginary armies of activists in target seats. Welcome to 2015 – the journey in the heart of (political) darkness.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar ’15 – 3:47pm
    “@ WildColonialBoy
    There are numerous seats where Labour cannot beat the Tories and the Lib Dems can. In those seats, voting Labour makes a Conservative government more likely- especially a Conservative MAJORITY government which is what Caron was talking about it.”

    That’s the real tragedy here – the people who do not want the Tories to be in power have no real choice. Voting LibDem just lets the Tories in again. So those voters are effectively disenfranchised.

  • I’ve never heard of Joey Essex. Please don’t enlighten me.

  • @ Philip Thomas

    I think the problem is that tactical voting for Lib Dems may well have max’d out at the last election. This time around, it’s not just the issue of tactical voters returning to Labour; in the South West, many will have the option – for the first time – of turning Green, too (and there will be others switching – incredible as it may seem – to Kippers).

    Caron is right to say that “a majority Conservative government is a real possibility and it’s important for every vulnerable and disadvantaged person in this country that that does not happen.” Sadly, what she’s not acknowledging is that in those key Lib Dem seats that may fall to the right the major determining factor will be Lib Dem MPs’ acts over the last five years.

    You can’t quietly hold hands, for instance, with a party that’s let hundreds kill themselves over benefit sanctions over the last five years and then only leap up with indignation over the prospect of harm to the vulnerable a little over a month before an election without appearing insincere. The time to take up arms on behalf of the vulnerable is not now but was quite some time ago – both for their benefit, and the party’s reputation.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 7:00pm

    There is a difference between a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition and a Conservative Majority government. I really hope that no one ever gets to find out the true magnitude of that difference. Because once the Tories have adjusted the franchise and altered the constituency boundaries and driven the Scots into independence, it will be too late to stop Tory majorities by returning to the tactical voting of old.

  • Philip Thomas, when people are committing suicide because of the actions of the Con-Lib Dems, how much worse can it get??

  • Bolano. Unlike, it appears, you, I have lived through conservative majority governments. As you seem to wish for another I will wish you good luck.

  • Tabman, I lived through the Thatcher years. Then I saw Cardboard City and people begging on the streets of London and other cities. Now I see people having to resort to food banks and people committing suicide because of Con/Lib Dem welfare reforms.

  • stuart moran 31st Mar '15 - 7:27pm

    Hodges….Labour supporter ha ha ha ha. Funniest thing I have read today

    I you pay attention you will find all he does is attack Labour in the Labour paper ‘The Telegraph’ whilst bemoaning the lack of Blairite principles. He pretends to be Labour butif you read closely he never says anything positive about them.

    I am a Tory by the way….look it is easy to say but the truth is different, especially if I am paid to pretend!

    If you want to be on the side of the Tories and the Blairites then be my guest!

    I lived under previous Tory Governments as well – this has been as nasty and vindictive as they have always been in the past

  • @Tabman.

    You really are all over the place. I’m in my 50s, I’ve only ever previously voted Lib Dem. I certainly won’t be voting for UKIP or the Tories this time round. Currently, and for the first time, I doubt I’ll be voting Lib Dem unless I see a substantial reason for doing so.

    Only a fool would deny that Lib Dem MPs in the south west are going to lose to Tories this time round – it’s unpalatable, but it’s unavoidable. Frankly, the best thing I think I can realistically hope for is a Labour-led Coalition. I’m immensely disappointed that the Lib Dems have boxed themselves in with Clegg for the foreseeable future, but I remain optimistic that at some point common sense will prevail and the party will return to sanity, and to receiving my support. But currently it appears over-run with recently-joined young soft Tories, filling the void left by departed older and wiser heads, agitating for TTIP and all sorts of sub-Thatcherite nonsense, propping up a handful of Orange Bookers. I suspect that after the election the vast majority of them will be off to more fertile ground.

  • I also lived under the Thatcher and Major governments and neither of them attacked the poor and the sick like this government. Difficult decisions had to made just as they were needed when Maggie came to power, but IDS is just plain nasty and the leadership of both coalition parties have supported him all the way.

  • Stuart Moran. You’re a tory???

  • Malc. I think you’ve got the rose tinted specs on.

  • Tabman, my first job was with the DHSS as it was then (c1984) and my job was to get urgent cheques ready to give to unemployed people who otherwise they would have no food that week. Now we hear that JobSeekers staff are told to be as punitive as possible to avoid giving money to people who would otherwise starve.

    Believe me, bad as it was, the Thatcher government was not as awful as this one – it really has moved the bar on how to put the boot in to the most vulnerable in society. I wish it were not so, but sadly that is the reality.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 8:27pm

    @Phyllis: Much, much worse. My friend, who intends to spoil her ballot paper on May 7th, welcomes a Tory majority because it will be so oppressive as to trigger revolution. But I do not want a revolution in the United Kingdom.

  • Philip Thomas. I can’t believe I’ve read that. It’s the worst sort of Marxist claptrap that I thought had been disabused by what came out of the Soviet Union, China and south east Asia.

    Democracy may be the worst system, until you see the alternatives.

    Revolution. She is beyond contempt.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 8:56pm

    It is a good thing she doesn’t read this website!

    And there’s always the possibility that she was kidding me. (About the revolution part, I think she was entirely sincere in saying she would spoil her ballot paper).

    Revolution is unlikely. Oppression is certain.

  • There are lots of sorts of potential revolutions other than Marxist ones! There is even non-revolutionary Marxism (though doubtless Marx would have scorned it).

    However, quite aside from the economic aspects (which in my opinion are window dressing and beside the point) the weakest link in Marxist revolutionary theory is its underestimation of what elites are prepared to do to maintain themselves in power. Oppressive states do not breed their own revolutions these days but crush them. Propaganda is now such an art that the use of force can be very selective, with “the masses” applauding their own loss of power.

    It is difficult to imagine what would create a pre-revolutionary situation in the UK — presumably a combination of economic collapse, violent civil unrest, and a loss of nerve at the highest levels of government — but in any case the Left would be very unlikely beneficiaries of such a situation. UKIP, or an even worse successor or splinter of UKIP, would be more likely to pick up the pieces. Perhaps Philip’s friend is a kipper?

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 9:11pm

    Lol, I think calling her a “kipper” would be a worse insult to her than “beyond contempt”!

  • @John Tilley

    “ATF. — I hope I do not sound as if I am on a “high horse”. I feel more “ground down” by it all.”

    By no mean, John. Sure your feet have long been on terra firma – but if we ever turn our nose up about directly communicating with voters who may not, like us, spend the day reading about politics then we should be have to give ourselves a long, hard look in the mirror. As Liberals, we should go to where the people are and many of them watch his programmes.

  • stuart moran 31st Mar '15 - 9:28pm


    I am as much of a Tory as Hodges is Labour

    Saying you are something when you are not is very easy, especially when paid to say it by your employers who have no interest in employing a real Labour supporter – do you think that the Barclay brothers would employ a Labour supporter?

    I would not use Hodges’ articles for anything other than cat litter paper – he is a parody and no-one takes him seriously apart from himself

    There are plenty of reasons to criticise Labour but in the end the Government will either be led by Miliband or Cameron (if he survives the week after the election, heaven forbid Boris) and to me one of those is much better than the other. The Lib Dems seem to be veering to supporting the Tories no matter what (most of the scenarios being done are lumping Tory/Lib Dem together as if it is a certainty that there will be at least an informal pact).

    I cannot ever ever ever (recurring) give my vote to a party that will put the Tories in power……..especially one with as venal a leadership as Cameron and Osborne

    If anyone on here suggests to me that the current incumbent is Prime Ministerial in any way shape or form I will laugh in their face. His PMQ behaviour, misogyny, elitism and to cap it all his underhand attempt to get change the rules for speaker election has been a disgrace to his office. I cannot express the contempt for which I hold the man

    A true heir to Blair…..Miliband for all his faults is a much more attractive character, to be honest even Clegg would be a better option than Cameron. And I mean ‘significantly better’.

  • Philip Thomas 31st Mar '15 - 9:49pm

    I am certainly not veering to supporting the Tories no matter what.
    There are two realistic scenarios in which we might face a choice: 1) Labour+LDs would be a majority- choice being, d we go into coalition with Labour? My Answer, yes, provided Labour agrees to our red lines.
    2) Cons+LDs would be a majority- choice being Do we go into coalition with the Tories? My Answer, yes- provided the Tories agree to our red lines. (FWIW, I think Tory agreement less likely than Labour agreement, but then maybe I draw the lines in different places from the leadership!).

    It is stupendously unlikely that 1+2 would both be true at the same time. That wasn’t the case in 2010 and all the signs are the three main parties will have less seats between them in the next Parliament. So there will be no choice between Labour and the Tories.

  • ATF 31st Mar ’15 – 9:15pm
    “….. As Liberals, we should go to where the people are …”

    Most certainly agree with that, ATF.

    Less than forty days to go and we are still stuck on 8% (even lower in Scotland).
    Using the leader’s time on an obscure programme with Joey Essex may be a sensible approach. The view of many activists (and quite a few of our MPs) since the Farage debacle last year has been that the less the voters see of NC in this General Election, the more Liberal Democrat MPs will get elected.

    Meanwhile, I just wish I was in the state of blissful ignorance that tonyhill has managed to maintain —
    “. 31st Mar ’15 – 6:36pm
    I’ve never heard of Joey Essex. Please don’t enlighten me.”

  • stuart moran 31st Mar '15 - 9:57pm

    Philip Thomas

    I do not care about ‘red lines’…….I do not trust the leadership of either party to keep to any agreement (it didn’t happen in this Parliament)….I will not accept my vote being used to prop up a Tory Government again…and to see that vote added to the Tories’ to show how many people supported the ‘Government’ parties in 2010

    No chance…..

  • Paul in Wokingham 31st Mar '15 - 11:20pm

    You’ve never heard of Joey Essex? The bard of Billericay? The sage of Southend? The prognosticator of… somewhere in Essex beginning with ‘P’? You’ve really never heard of him? Oh you lucky man…

  • Stevan Rose 1st Apr '15 - 12:40am

    Joey Essex. The strongest argument there is in favour of requiring an examination before being granted a vote. The boy has made a fortune out of acting thick. No doubt he will be selected by the Tories as prospective successor to Boris.

  • A Social Liberal 1st Apr '15 - 2:55am


    We gain Joey who likes the Lib Dems because it has ‘cats’ in it, we lose Daniel Radcliffe because we were too closely associated with the Tories. He joins the likes of Colin Firth and Kate Mosse (the author not the model) in an exedus away from our party.

  • By way of research I have been talking to a young person about Joey Essex.
    This is what she said — “Joey is not as stupid as he makes out. You can see what he has done can’t you?”

    “….So the party’s name does not end with the “cool” letters CATS.
    The party’s name ends with the 4 letters RATS.”

    Suddenly it all makes sense. Youth is another country, they do things differently there.

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