LibLink: The eminently quotable Nick Clegg

If you haven’t read it yet, can I urge you to click here to read a fantastic interview of Nick Clegg by Mary Riddell in today’s Telegraph. For a start, it’s well-written; for another it covers a fair chunk of policy ground accessibly; but most importantly it is one of Nick’s most quote-tastic interviews. Here are a few of the highlights:

On taking over as party leader:

When I took over, morale was low. It was a horrid time, and I made mistakes. You get thick-skinned pretty damn quickly or you just get knocked over in the animalistic culture of the Commons. They scented blood.”


On the prospect of a hung Parliament:

Anything could happen. All bets are off. It’s not just that [David] Cameron hasn’t sealed the deal. It’s worse. He’s actually gone backwards.”

On whether he would do a deal with either Labour or the Tories:

I’ve looked very carefully at my predecessors. Look at how Ming got led up the garden path. Look at the way Paddy was left at the altar. I’ve spoken to people. Paddy is vociferous about it. He says ‘Just don’t go anywhere near them again. It might have made sense then, but don’t [do it].’ ”

On the failure of the Blair/Ashdown ‘Project’:

It was a conspiracy of Blair’s mendacity and Brown’s obduracy.”

On David Cameron:

I have no idea why David Cameron wants to be PM. Except that he’s ambitious, and it’s his turn. … Our private polling shows that people think he is dynamic, ambitious, energetic, but fake. The voters are as lost as I am. I am literally lost. I do not know what the Tory party stands for.”

On MPs’ expenses:

We have our blemishes. I had a thing about gardening [he had to pay back £910], and there was Chris Huhne’s trouser press. You should see his trousers; they are beautifully pressed. But in terms of the two big abuses – MPs flipping property and becoming spivvy property speculators and/or avoiding capital gains tax — not a single Lib Dem MP did that.”

On deciding to vote for the Alternative Vote in Parliament next week:

… much as I despair of Gordon Brown’s crablike inability to do anything for 13 years, and his grubby, cynical [approach] now.”

On the Chilcot inquiry:

I don’t think it’s quite a whitewash yet. But Blair was questioned with a feather duster. I told [Sir John] Chilcot and Gordon Brown privately that the panel should appoint a special counsel skilled at cross-questioning. They refused.”

On John Terry:

God, part of me thinks it shouldn’t have much to do with his role as captain.’’

On the Pope’s criticism of Britain’s equality legislation on gay people:

I’m married to a Catholic, my mum’s a Catholic and my children are brought up as Catholics. But the Catholic Church can’t seriously object to someone like a janitor being discriminated against on grounds of sexuality.”

On the coming election campaign:

Both Brown and Cameron will oscillate between love bombing me in the air war and being absolutely vicious on the ground.”

You can read the interview in full here.

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4 Comments

  • toryboysnevergrowup 6th Feb '10 - 2:07pm

    Looks who has been rehabilitated at the recent Tory bloggers event – not clear, however, whether he has repudiated his original views

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/conservative-councillor-in-mandatory-sterilisation-uproar-quits-2421.html

  • Anthony Aloysius St 6th Feb '10 - 5:39pm

    “Previously, Mr Clegg has refused to favour either party, saying that the leader with the “strongest mandate” would have the right to form a government. Neither leader, he says now, will get his support without signing up to his “fairness” agenda, which includes raising the entry to income tax to £10,000, extra taxes on the rich, a “pupil premium” to help poorer children, breaking up the banking system and electoral reform. ”

    I wonder what this actually means.

    Does it mean that if a potential minority government fails to agree to all those Lib Dem policies, the party will support a no confidence motion and try to force a fresh general election?

    In particular, what does “electoral reform” mean in this context? Would a referendum on AV count?

  • Cllr Patrick Smith 10th Feb '10 - 5:39pm

    When Nick Clegg becomes our next PM all of these pearls should go into the next `Oxford Book of Political Quotations’ Well done our Leader!

    The Arts and British Arts Council should be also be fully funded and remain a L/D Federal Policy commitment.

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