Nick and The Sun – a missed opportunity

Nick Clegg and the SunI know I am coming late to this, having been out and about for most of the day. It’s only a few minutes since I logged on to Facebook and saw a picture of the leader of my party holding up The Sun. It was not a good idea for him to do this, especially given the renewed pain that relatives of those who died at Hillsborough are going through with the new inquests taking place at the moment. Nick’s picture can only be seen as a support for their unprecedented marketing initiative in delivering a free copy to every home in England at the start of the World Cup.

Now I don’t think for a moment that Nick Clegg has anything to prove when it comes to standing up to Rupert Murdoch. Let’s be clear about that. He instinctively did the right thing on press regulation. He has pandered to nobody unlike some others I could mention. Nothing can take away from that.

However, there was absolutely no need for him to go along with the rest of the herd today. At least he had the good grace to look slightly uncomfortable with it, but what would have been wrong with a statement that he wasn’t going to pose with the Sun because he didn’t need to in order to show support for England and he didn’t think it was appropriate given the behaviour of its parent company in recent years? When Vince Cable made it clear why he wasn’t taking part in the King of Saudi Arabia’s state visit when he was acting leader, it won him many friends. Staying out of the Sun today might have done the same for Nick. It’s a wasted opportunity to show that Liberal Democrats are different.

After all, he’d already done this video:

That was enough.

I know that many of you disagree with me on this, but I don’t like to see anybody who cares about gender equality as much as I know that Nick does holding a paper that thinks it’s ok to print a photo of a topless woman on page 3 five times a week. A lot of the good things that this government has done for women, including the revolutionary shared parental leave, are directly and personally associated with Nick. Posing with a thoroughly misogynist  publication is not the best way to consolidate that.

For me this is a bit of a facepalm moment. It’s not the end of the world, but I so wish that common sense had prevailed. To be backing the Sun and criticising Oxfam on the same day is not the sort of positioning I was hoping to see after the Bloomberg speech the other day. To be fair, he has a point with the Oxfam Perfect Storm poster. New  jobs are being created, Nick, personally, has made sure that the Government will be helping considerably with childcare costs, especially for those from poorer backgrounds, the rich are paying more tax and Vince is taking action on zero hours contracts. The poster does not reflect that reality, which is a shame. However, it’ll be Nick attacking Oxfam, not the substance, that people will remember.


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

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  • Umm Clegg out?

  • Harry Hayfield 12th Jun '14 - 11:32pm

    As I said on Twitter when that picture was published “Oh, no, Nick, what are you doing? I have never bought the Sun because of their Page 3 and now this. I agreed with you in 2010, stood for you in the 2012 local elections and defended you online after the Euros and this is the thanks I get? Perhaps I need to reconsider my options!”

    The village I live in in west Wales is a village full of pensioners and the Sun is the one newspaper that is always left ay the end of the day, this was the biggest mistake ever.

  • Joshua Dixon 12th Jun '14 - 11:35pm

    Found a lot of this agreeable. However, I found the shaming of the woman who pose for page 3 a little uncomfortable. The real misogyny is on every single other page of The Sun where reporters and photographers stalk celebrities and women for the benefit of a nasty smear article or gossip piece. Other than that, some good points made.

  • This is what you do when you’re the leader of a ‘serious party of government’.

  • Joshua Dixon 12th Jun '14 - 11:37pm


  • A few weeks ago Clegg defended the Bedroom Tax on Radio Merseyside. Now he insults the memory of the 96 by posing with this loathsome rag. He might as well put up two fingers to us in Liverpool and other parts of Merseyside. Absolutely disgusting.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 12th Jun '14 - 11:50pm

    Joshua, I’m not shaming any woman for anything. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a national newspaper to carry photographs of semi naked women. We can’t ban it but I don’t have to like it. And you are right about the paper dripping with misogyny.

  • ::Sigh:: Not Nick’s finest hour…

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Jun '14 - 12:14am

    If there were ever a time I would want a 1984 style memory hole to drop an image in and it never to return it would be this. There is kind of a regional solidarity in Merseyside that says you don’t buy the Sun. It is not just to do with Hillsborough, it’s everything else the paper does too. I hope Nick apologises, but not a meaningless one, he needs to understand.

  • Richard Dean 13th Jun '14 - 12:22am

    It may surprise people to know that a lot of women couldn’t care less about the page 3 picture. They’ll read around it, but may sometimes glance or even study it. Look around in places like airports or Ryanair flights and you’ll see.

    I presume the Sun is now funding the LibDems. There wouldn’t be any other reason for the leader to pose with it, would there? I hope their donation is duly registered wherever it has to be duly registered.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Jun '14 - 12:30am

    Goodness me, Ed Miliband has done it too. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  • Richard Dean 13th Jun '14 - 12:31am

    The Sun is funding Labour too?

  • Peter Chegwyn 13th Jun '14 - 12:32am

    Yet another own goal by our Leader.

    And if Nick read The Sun he’ll have seen that it contained a YouGov poll putting us on 6%, the lowest that YouGov have ever shown since they started polling in 2001.

    Need one say more?

  • Richard Dean 13th Jun '14 - 12:34am
  • Matt (Bristol) 13th Jun '14 - 12:39am

    Ugh. I feel dirty; my political party and my favoured spectator sport both linked together by a paper I dislike which would sell its grandmother for increased circulation; why does he feel this ridiculous need to kowtow to them (and to Murdoch) in this way when they’d stick the boot in the minute an opportunity presented itself?

    All I hate about the World Cup’s fetid miasma of themed all-pervasive marketing and bandwagon jumping in one picture (and I genuinely like football and am looking forward to watching England matches).

  • Dreadful! I would rather Nick Clegg supported the Dutch than this.

    Lately The Sun has been hounding Jean-Claude Juncker and his family, apparently finding significance that his father had been conscripted into the Wehrmacht when Luxembourg was under occupation. Since the alternative for Luxembourgers was often death, this ugly campaign does not travel well.

    The Sun’s nationalism is an illiberal, xenophobic and spiteful nationalism, not something for Nick Clegg to associate himself with.

  • Who is advising our dear Leader???

  • Steve Comer 13th Jun '14 - 2:46am

    Absolutely agree Caron – a wasted opportunity, and in marked contrast to Vince Cable’s boycott of the Saudi King’s visit.

    RichF: I’m sorry its not a question of who is advising Nick Clegg, its yet more evidence of HIS appalling lack of judgement. We had a good record in standing up to Murdoch and “cling-on Clegg” ruins it by endorsing this reactionary red top tabloid. Miliband may be prepared to sup with the devil, but we should not have touched this with a barge pole.

  • Stephen Tall was taking the mickey out of the pic of Ed Miliband, saying :

    “@stephentall: I will never vote for a politician who eats a bacon sandwich messily or holds a newspaper awkwardly. Those are my only two criteria.”

    Guess he hadn’t seen this photo when he made his jibe…….

  • Steve Comers I agree that Nick should have some common sense. I am not letting him off the hook by any means I think Nick should have either stepped down or called a leadership election straight after the Euro results.
    But should Nick go I am worried that the people behind the scenes will remain, and I worry that the parties overall communications strategy will not improve because they didn’t have the sense to point out that the leader was about to score another own goal.

  • Chris White 13th Jun '14 - 5:34am

    I have over the past few days made clear on FE my concern over the Party’s and Leader’s communications team and the problem of who is actually in charge when it comes to some of the dreadful decisions over messaging and communications that have been acutely evident in recent weeks. In this instance there can be no doubt that it was Clegg who was in charge. While the advisors are a significant problem, the buck nevertheless stops with him. This is an abject decision and suggests that his judgement has finally deserted him entirely. After Oakeshott I was on BBC WATO saying we should rally round and move on. Thanks for making me look a complete prat, Nick.

  • Yesterday I used the Sun’s FREEPOST to return the copy it sent me to whence it came. Did I post it to the wrong address?

  • I can’t say I’m particularly happy with any politician posing with a newspaper from an organisation whose two most prominent editors are currently being discussed by a jury, but Clegg’s behaviour is understandable. Who wants to make an unnecessary enemy of The Sun over an innocuous campaign to wish the English national team well in the World Cup?

  • Please stop blaming the people around Clegg. He is the leader and political savvy is an essential requirement. Sadly he hasn’t got it. If he had any he would have resigned by now in the interests of the Party.

  • Naff and crass.

  • If I didn’t already want Nick to go I would certainly be calling for his resignation after this

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Jun '14 - 7:57am

    G, The Sun was never going to be nice about us.

  • At the moment even if he vaguely expresses an occasional liking for lukewarm blancmange he is damned to being burnt alive in an hysterical firestorm of reaction…..

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Jun '14 - 8:04am

    My teenager fell out with him when he said he preferred strawberry milkshake over chocolate and had to be gently reminded about not enslaving people by conformity. This is slightly different, though, because it is controversial, was bound to upset people and was completely avoidable. The gain is zero, the loss is much bigger.

  • Shaun Nichols 13th Jun '14 - 8:06am

    I wonder if Nick or his SpAds had taken a minute to browse through the content found in this particular edition of The Sun. Complete and utter rubbish.

  • Paul in Twickenham 13th Jun '14 - 8:08am

    What about that Brazilian player, whasisname… Referinho. Played a blinder last night. If Nick Clegg really wants to engage with international football and join fellow Lib Dem Greg Dyke in calling for Sepp Blatter to step down over the whole Qatar thing.

  • Caron,

    The Sun was never going to be nice about us.

    The Sun has often been nice about Lib Dem politicians, including Nick Clegg, in its Hero of the Week slot, and its political editor probably has a deeper understanding of the Lib Dems than most such people.

    I’m not a fan, but it is a broadly centrist paper that doesn’t start from an ideological viewpoint, unlike the Daily Mail, and is mildly socially progressive most of the time.

    I wouldn’t get too worked up about this.

  • Andrew Emmerson 13th Jun '14 - 8:13am

    Can we have a sense of perspective on this. Politician poses with one of the best selling news papers in the country is not a reason to start flogging him publicly.

    Minus the FT all the papers have major faults that’d upset anyone, but it’s still the parties job to try keep as many on side as possible. Even if that means we move away from relentless attack go occasional criticism that’s a win.

  • Firm Liberal 13th Jun '14 - 8:16am

    AS someone who has been critical of our leadership in recent months I really don’t think it is helpful to jump on nearly everything Nick does and castigate him for it. Critics would have far more influence if they emphasised what really mattered.

  • Jonathan Pile 13th Jun '14 - 8:24am

    Nick and the Sun – now were all hacked off ! What more does he have to do to get sacked?
    NEW LEADER NOW – www.

  • Whether we like it or not, the Sun is read by a substantial proportion of the population, and this particular issue of the Sun is going to be read by an even larger number of people. Again, whether we like it or not, a very substantial proportion of the population is football-mad, and just imagine the negative vibes that would be created by Nick distancing himself from what is on the scale of things a pretty harmless instance of newspaper promotion. If the last few months have shown anything, it is that people such as ourselves who are keen on Europe, civil liberties, and so on, have failed to appreciate that our priorities are not those of the ordinary person on the street. Obviously we should do more to persuade our fellow citizens that our priorities should be their priorities, but for us to get all worked up about an issue such as the present one is frankly rather silly and elitist.

  • Charles Rothwell 13th Jun '14 - 8:24am

    I think RichF sums it up best. Nick appears to be living in some bubble like Charles I and is being advised by people around him telling him that a stupid stunt like this will bring him plaudits among “ordinary people” and make him appear as “one of them”. I worked in Liverpool (of ALL the cities in England, considering the party’s past there and the outcome of this year’s local elections in contrast!) for 12 years and very many people who live there and were alive at the time of Hillsborough will never, ever touch a copy of the “The Sun” again and will regard anyone appearing to support it with loathing (and, most likely, tell their children and grandchildren the same). Like the stupidly condescending Tory adverts suggesting the proles can spend any extra income they gain on booze and bingo, such stunts in fact will only drive home to most ‘ordinary people’ just HOW far the Westminster ‘political establishment’ is out of touch with them (and we all know who has really reaped the electoral benefits of those kinds of gut feeling to date!) There MUST be someone at the top of the Party (Tim Farron?) who can cut through the blather and sycophancy of the advisers, “media experts’ etc and tell Nick what is really going on out there? (My reaction when I got my free Sun supplement, by the way, was to think it had been misdelivered. When I then ascertained this had not actually been the case, it just went straight into the paper recycling bin, where anything associated with the Sun truly belongs in my view).

  • @Caron Lindsay

    Not only is “I don’t think it’s appropriate” not an argument, it’s an admission that you haven’t got an argument.

  • Simon McGrath 13th Jun '14 - 8:36am

    @kevin white “Now he insults the memory of the 96 by posing with this loathsome rag. He might as well put up two fingers to us in Liverpool and other parts of Merseyside. ”
    It as 25 years ago. The Sun has apologised, News Intl has apologised, James Murdoch has apologised. This Govt (which you so much dislike) has set up a proper enquiry.

    Maybe people in Liverpool should get on with their lives and put it behind them ?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Jun '14 - 8:37am

    I think the two are slightly different. The New Statesman piece comparing Ed and Nick eating bacon butties perfectly showed the paucity of political debate in this country. Like I say, this isn’t the end of the world because Nick already has a strong record on standing up against all the things the Murdoch empire is for, but it’s created an entirely avoidable firestorm for zero gain.

  • I’m sorry to say it, but whenever things get so bad you think it can’t get any worse, Nick finds a way to do it. He has to go now.

    If anyone wants to join a grassroots campaign that started just a week ago and will help us get rid of him quickly, please contact me on [email protected].

  • Nick Barlow 13th Jun '14 - 9:08am

    Simon – The Sun only got round to apologising 23 years after it printed the initial lies, so on the same schedule, I think the people of Liverpool have until 2035 to accept the apology and put it behind them.

  • peter tyzack 13th Jun '14 - 9:13am

    in the interest of balance, when will they all be posing with a copy of another paper? What about giving publicity to the ‘I’ which is never displayed in newsagents and is always hidden away with the Racing and Fishing papers.

  • John Broggio 13th Jun '14 - 9:13am

    @Simon McGrath

    Let’s see. Under a headline of “The truth”, the grieving families were told that their loved ones were to blame (being drunk and/or violent – both unsupported by evidence) and that those who tried in vain to help the dying were urinating on the dead/dying or picking their pockets. A story which was defended for over 20 years by that tawdry little rag.

    One single apology (presumably another “humble” day) & they “should get on with their lives and put it behind them”?

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Jun '14 - 9:18am

    Lib Dems are happy to sit round the cabinet table with people who voted for Putin-style anti-gay laws a little over 10 years ago. Maybe it’s time to take a similarly forgiving attitude to the Sun for its Hillsborough coverage of 25 years ago, especially as it’s now well established that the Sun had been lied to by police and an MP.

    Regarding Page 3, you may not want to shame Page 3 models, but you do want to deny them employment. Around 44% of Sun readers are women, and according to the Sun’s own research “practically none of them wanted it removed from the paper”. If Page 3 is misogynistic, most of the women who see it don’t seem to have noticed.

    By the way Caron, knowing how much you loathe misogynistic Twitter abuse, I’m sure you will be alarmed by the following (from the above article) :-

    “The paper announced this campaign [“Page 3 vs Breast Cancer”] as a page one lead – a move that, of course, enraged the anti-camp who myopically saw the move as ‘cancer exploiting’. Predictably, a barrage of expletive-riddled tweets ensued. Some directly targeted the Sun’s Page 3 models – and the Coppafeel charity, whose founder, a 23-year-old woman, is dying of cancer – to tell them just how angry they felt. Some of the anti-woman vitriol in those tweets – by other women – was so acidic it moved me to tears. The debate had turned spectacularly ugly.”

  • Charles Rothwell 13th Jun '14 - 9:22am

    Sorry, Simon. The people of Liverpool I mentioned (who lived through Hillsborough) know very well that it was 25 years ago, they know full well that News Corporation, The Sun and even Kelvin Mackenzie in person have all apologised and they most certainly know that a full enquiry is on-going but they will never just “forgive and forget” the obscene and revolting baseless allegations which the publication felt it had the right to publish in the immediate wake of the tragedy. Like a parent who loses a child in a hit and run motoring accident, they have learned how to carry on living but to say they should “put it behind them” is going too far. Again, I am just amazed that the people who have Nick’s ear cannot make this kind of background clear to him. (Big Lovable Boris likewise came a major cropper, of course, when he also referred to “Liverpudlians wallowing in their own self-pity” or words to that effect and it will also be a very, very long time indeed before he finds himself welcome in that city again as well).

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Jun '14 - 9:39am

    Stuart Mitchell, the internet can be a horrible place much of the time, especially for women. The appalling tweets you mention are, of course unacceptable. That’s not the point, though.

    And as for denying women work, it’s not as if Page 3 is the only job opportunity for women who want to do that kind of thing. The damage to society of having such a feature in what purports to be a family newspaper is a bit more important.

  • Personally i’d have tramped over `enemy territory` by `looking in the mirror`

  • Tony Dawson 13th Jun '14 - 9:55am


    “The Sun ……is a broadly centrist paper that doesn’t start from an ideological viewpoint, unlike the Daily Mail, and is mildly socially progressive most of the time.”

    Even when it is blaming ‘drunk’ scousers for being responsible for their own deaths and those of children at Hillsborough? 🙁

    Actually, Nick Clegg does not look anywhere near as uncomfortable in the picture as Miliband does in his. But this was a clear opportunity to stand out separate fro Cameron and Miliband against the Murdoch manipulation. And he muffed it.

  • One thing that occurs to me is whether anyone in the party’s (or CLegg’s) communications team is monitoring social media to see what issues are concerning people. Surely they should have noticed that there were a large number of people complaining about the Sun this week and realised posing with it might not be a good idea?

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Jun '14 - 10:09am

    @Matthew Harris
    “And why has my household not received a free Sun?”

    Was literally just about to type the same thing when mine popped through the letterbox. It’s not a proper edition, just some sort of “special” extolling the wonders of Englishness. At first glance it reads like a Private Eye spoof (“Queen Elizabest: Her Maj No. 1 treasure. Roast dinner No. 1 food”).

    Lib Dems will be pleased to know that the Page 3 girl (“No. 1 English Rose Kelly Brook”) is discreetly covered up with a camisole, and according to the Sun’s poll of its readers, the no 1 characteristic that best reflects Englishness is “respecting fair play”, with “being tolerant towards others” coming in a decent third. Maybe Sun readers aren’t all a bad bunch.

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Jun '14 - 10:15am

    @Caron Lindsay
    But where is the evidence that the sight of women’s breasts is damaging to society? If you look around the world, you’ll find that societies which ban such things tend to be societies with very poor women’s rights.

    I regard the right of Page 3 models to work as important.

  • Richard Schwedhelm 13th Jun '14 - 10:18am

    This is a disgrace. The LibDems have lost a member and a vote because of this ill-judged publicity stunt.

    A mockery to the 96 in my view. No excuse for it at all, and no stupid ‘I’m Sorry’ video will compensate.

  • Paul In Twickenham 13th Jun '14 - 10:18am

    @Stuart Mitchell – and that poll in The Sun says that the 9th greatest English person of all time is “Ant and Dec”. Private Eye eat yer heart out!

  • Cannot believe, Liverpool where we were so strong and he does this. He really seems to be on a course to destroy the party full stop. What is the matter with the man. The Royal mail are refusing to deliver this spreadsheet in Skelmersdale because of the feelings of all the Liverpudlians and others with Liverpool connections living there. I am even stronger in my belief that he must go, clearly his judgement and those around him is just so lacking. This is the last nail in the coffin for me. Lived in Liverpool earlier in my life, watched football and Anfield and Goodison, and can associate myself with their local feelings on the whole issue.
    Nick give someone else a chance to rebuild the party, preferable not with a southern background.

  • Richard Schwedhelm 13th Jun '14 - 10:42am

    You know what, I’ve argued with people in defence of the party amid the Tuition Fees scandal, etc., against staunch Tory, Labour and UKIP voters and Clegg goes and does THIS for some cheap publicity???

    Are we trying to promote a liberal society, or just get in power, because there is a vast difference in my eyes.

    Sorry, Mr. Clegg, but I will defend you no longer – this is a kick right in the crown jewels.

  • @Stephen Tall

    Apologies – I mis-read the meaning of your tweet but maybe given all the over-hyped nonsense of these pics being played out, it was understandable.

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Jun '14 - 11:17am

    @Helen Tedcastle
    I’m having difficulty reconciling your dislike of sexism and misogyny with your use of the word “bimbos”.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Jun '14 - 11:29am

    Stuart, when men are photographed in national newspapers displaying their genitals to the world (for that is the equivalent), then I won’t get annoyed about women doing it.

    Page 3 is not a sign of an equal society.

  • @Caron Lindsay

    Bring it on. The sooner we stop considering the human body as something dirty, embarassing and shameful, the better.

  • I agree with everything said by Helen and Caron.

    It’s so sad to see the Lib Dems, through their Leader, becoming just like the other parties. One of the key things when the whole hacking scandal was exploded was that Lib Dems had never courted Murdoch et al and where therefore ‘squeaky clean’ unlike any of the other parties. I remember Cameron saying something about ‘we all made mistakes’ and Nick Clegg sitting beside him shaking his head and mouthing “no, we didn’t”. I really admired the Party for their moral stance. Sadly no longer.

  • The problem isn’t the southern background per se, the problem is a lack of awareness of the world outside London and the home counties, and the fact that he is unable to see this limitation and to perceive the need to get other people to cover this gap for him. He should ask his advisors where they didn’t tell him this would be a problem, and if they give answers like “Where is Liverpool?” “How should I know how things will play in the North?” – both of which translate as “I don’t know how things are seen across the UK” then they should be sacked or transferred to a local elections team in a place they do know about.

    And people who are not happy with him generally should get local parties to organise SGMs or keep quiet till after the election.

  • @Caron, isn’t something like boxing a direct equivalent of men’s bodies being consensually objectified?

  • Charles Rothwell 13th Jun '14 - 12:08pm

    Phyllis and others are right. Apart from the morality of this (Hillsborough, sexism), to my mind it is just stupid politics. I thought the whole point of the recent Bloomberg Speech was to show how the Party was different from the Reds and the Blues and now here is its Leader falling into line with precisely the leaders of those two parties so as to….what? Gain the support of Sun readers (??????!!), show how the Lib Dems are “just like the other two main parties”, prove the party’s ‘patriotism’? No, I am sorry, I just do not get it. I can well imagine the media advisers around Clegg must be mindless automatons who are so ‘on message’, they have not got the faintest idea what people in places like Liverpool actually think, but has Nick lost all sense of political sensitivity himself? The most urgent thing the Party needs is to separate itself from silly past decisions and show how precisely it is NOT like the other two. If it were, why on earth would people bother supporting it and why (so many Greens would argue) would they not leave to seek a real alternative elsewhere?

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Jun '14 - 12:10pm

    @Helen Tedcastle
    There’s nothing wrong with being frivolous from time to time. “Bimbo” is indeed a derogatory word though, since it usually implies a lack of intelligence. I do find it quite a sexist word, especially when used to refer to women about whom you know next to nothing.

    Plenty of men make their living from being good looking. There are lots of male models, and male actors who are not good at acting. These men do not have to suffer anything remotely like the scrutiny and downright abuse that female models and actresses do. That’s the real “misogyny” here. A lad who lives on my road is a successful model. Recently his naked torso was displayed on posters for a major fashion chain on many high streets across the country. Nobody sent him abusive tweets or campaigned for him to lose his job. He’s simply allowed to make the most of what he’s got and get a good living out of it. Good for him. Women should be allowed to do the same without harassment. If you want to see a good example of “objectification” of women, you could do worse than re-read your own post in which you labelled female models as “bimbos”.

  • As a side issue, the loyalists on this site frequently try to kid themselves that all the anti-Clegg posters are Labourites in disguise. Well, most of them aren’t, but one or two are. They can be identified on this thread. They are the people who are squirming around with comments like “Maybe it’s time to take a similarly forgiving attitude to the Sun for its Hillsborough coverage of 25 years ago”. Why are Labourites saying things like that? Because Ed Miliband has also played along with the Sun’s stunt.

    The great majority of anti-Clegg posters are not Labourites, they are people who want the Lib Dems to kick out Clegg and rediscover their principles, and they know a stupid stunt when they see one. Unlike Clegg, who will buy any stupid stunt from anybody, the NUS (tuition fees) and the Sun alike!

  • Have to admit, that’s a lovely office, though. Heck I wouldn’t resign and give that up, would any of you?

  • To be fair to Stuart Mitchell whose words I quote above, whilst he hasn’t declared a political loyalty on this thread, I believe he has acknowledged a pro-Labour position elsewhere on LDV. He is of course quite entitled to join debate here. However, I do think it helps when those who support other parties are as open as possible in saying so. It helps to show, by contrast, just how many Lib Dems and ex Lib Dems are posting who genuinely want the party to recover and change.

  • Simon McGrath 13th Jun '14 - 12:40pm

    @Nick Barlow , John Broggio

    They actually apologised 10 years ago and have done so at intervals since

    @Charles Rothwell “Gain the support of Sun readers (??????!!),
    Large numbers of Sun readers vote for us (or at least used to).

  • Jonathan Pile, that’s an interesting point about Miliband, you’re right, he has at least tried to make an apology, but Clegg hasn’t.

  • Anonymous Coward 13th Jun '14 - 12:57pm

    I am a card carrying member and voter. One of my best friends just became a LD councillor and I celebrated. I maintain my support for the party itself…

    But this has absolutely and irrecoverably eroded my already wavering faith in the leadership and parliamentary party. Who as a LD can really support them anymore?

    What a stupid and indefensible thing to do! It is not one of the many difficult decisions, sacrifices and compromises we have tolerated either in the name of maintaining the coalition, or the economy. We have stomached and even supported the unpalatable and damaging because we understood the need… and trumpeted the few victories to anyone who would listen

    But this was an advertising stunt in support of a media company and a newspaper that LDs should have no part in. It shows a complete and utter lack of judgement – maximum hurt and pain, and absolutely no gain.

    No one is going to see these and say “Oh this chap supports our boys, let’s vote for him and his party – what ho!”

    No player is going to see this and think “Yes, I’m going to win for me mum, me wife, me kids, God and Nick”

    The Liverpool players will be disgusted on the team. Anyone who is “Hacked Off” , against Page 3, in Sheffield or Merseyside or with any connection to Liverpool or Hillsborough is going to see this and think “What a muppet!” or worse.

    It can’t be blamed on his SpAds. It is his decision, and anyone who didn’t tackle the camera man/woman and stop this happening should step down to spend more time with their goldfish.

    Is there really a LD fight back?

  • Carl Pierce 13th Jun '14 - 1:04pm

    I’m shocked, completely shocked and angry.
    Who on earth thought waving around this Murdoch paper was a good idea ????
    The media adviser(s) who waved this by are clueless, utterly clueless.
    Could a simple polite refusal out of respect to the victims of the Stadium disaster in Sheffield ffs been far better ?

    I’m sick of t his seemingly endless stream of utterly predicable disasterous mistakes. Does the leadership get that things like this drive public opinion.

    (Chair Hounslow Lib-dems)

  • Part of the problem here is we’re the sorts of people that vilify The Sun, but I don’t remember the last time I actually read it. All I know is there’s page 3, poor journalism and a load of sport at the back…and the Murdoch crime family run it. I love Nick bashing as much as anyone, but this is the sort of thing senior cabinet members have been doing for a long time now. It’s sad he has chosen to continue that trend, but it’s also not that big a deal.

    I’ve emailed the Sun,offering my genitals for photography so that Caron won’t have to get annoyed any more. I’ve got a feeling as hard as I try, it’s going to be a tough sell getting them to objectify me. Am I being discriminated against? My main issue with Carons stance is if it were universalised I can’t see how we’d differentiate between art and porn. She’d ban revolutionary LGBT artists like Mapplethorpe and Naturist magazines don’t just have a page 3; I don’t know how she’d do it. She’d have to be the censor, I’ve got a feeling she’d let all the highbrow stuff through, so then it would be class division that separates art from porn.

    It is, of course, an impossible distinction to make, so I think Caron is logically wasting her time with this authoritarian prejudice. She simply couldn’t enact her beliefs, and if she did there would be enough unintended consequence to make it unworkable. She’s never attempted to address these issues AFAIK.

    RE: Helen Tedcastle – she told me off the other day for saying “chavs”. She was right about that, but the boots on the other foot and she’s defending the indefensible. Take it on the chin, we all slip up!

  • Stephen Campbell 13th Jun '14 - 1:12pm
  • Can you believe that Nick Clegg fell for this? I thought it a catastrophic error for Miliband to have posed before realising that The Sun, whose political editor is especially antipathetic to the LibDems, had also dazzled our leader into being used as a Murdoch special delivery – even as the verdict from the hacking trial is imminent.
    I suggest returning your copy in thick marker pen to The Sun, FREEPOST, London E98 1EX

  • Oh dear – what a colossal misjudgement. Whether or not you think the reaction has been warranted it was entirely predictable. Locally the Reading Chronicle recently sacked it’s editor for a Hillsborough related gaffe

    It didn’t need a genius to see that there would be an outcry. Now in a party steeped in campaigning, where Liverpool was an important (and much trumpeted) part of our local government base, you might imagine that the party is full of senior people particularly sensitive to the nuances of Hillsborough issues. Furthermore you might imagine that some of these people might be close enough to the leader’s office to counsel against posing with the Sun.

    But apparently not – and there lies the problem. And not for the first time cf the Daily Mail inspired local election document.

  • In case Nick Clegg and his very highly paid press advisors and twenty plus SpAds have forgotten —

    Phone-hacking trial : Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson

    Jury re-sworn before retiring to consider verdicts

    Court reconvened just after two o’clock for it’s final session before the jury retired to consider their verdict. Judge Saunders concluded his summing up by going through articles from the Sun newspaper while Rebekah Brooks was editor which, the prosecution say, were sourced from a Ministry of Defence civil servant, Bettina Jordan-Barber. The judge reminded the jury that there were 11 emails where Brooks approved payment for the stories, the defence case is that the former editor was not made aware that the source was a public official.

    After reading through the list of stories and accompanying emails, Judge Saunders told the jury that the main question they had to consider Brooks’ state of knowledge at the time she was asked for payment. He noted that in her evidence the former editor had said she would have agreed to pay a public official for some of these stories as she believed they were “in the public interest”, exposing issues such as bullying in the armed forces which the Ministry of Defence may have tried to cover up.

    The judge then turned to his “snagging list” of errors he had made during his three day summing up. This included getting the date wrong of when an email was received by Brooks, the source of a list witness Dan Evans mentioned and a mix-up over who recorded a message left by Jude Law. Saunders also told the jury that he had been asked to point out that in their search for the source of the Royal directories the police had not fingerprinted members of the “Royal household”. “It would have been quite a job,” Saunders added, as there are around 1,200 people who are considered part of it.

    The jury were then shown an electronic index designed to help them find documents they might wish to consult during their deliberations. Judge Saunders told them this was to help them but certain items, such as newspaper bundles, were not included. The index will be placed on an external hard drive and placed on a computer containing no files. The scale of the number of documents the jury will have to consider can be estimated by the fact the index alone is 304 pages.

    Mr Saunders then told the jury that if they needed any explanation of law or a piece of evidence while they were considering their verdict they should tell him. He told them that they “were under no pressure of time” and should act according to their oath. The judge told the jury they should concentrate only on the evidence they heard in court. Mr Justice Saunders said that “it had been a privilege to work with you” and the jury were then re-sworn and left the court to consider their verdict.

    The Drum’s James Doleman will be stationed at the Old Bailey until the jury arrive back with their verdicts in one of the biggest media trials Britain has ever seen.

  • paul barker 13th Jun '14 - 1:51pm

    An excellent piece. Its always seemed to me that Nicks biggest flaw is that hes just too nice, too reasonable. He doesnt have enough of the “darkness within” to recognise it in other people & Institutions. Its a failing I really envy.

  • Iraq plunges into civil war and the Lib Dems focus on a picture of a newspaper front page… and people wonder why we’re on 7% in the polls.

  • paul barker 13th Jun '14 - 2:00pm

    On Bimbos, its actually Italian for a young girl, definitely Pre-Teen. How it came to its present British meaning Ive no idea.

  • David Allen 13th Jun '14 - 2:02pm

    “Iraq plunges into civil war and the Lib Dems focus on a picture of a newspaper front page… and people wonder why we’re on 7% in the polls.”

    The news media in general, including the BBC, are agreed that the Sun front page, and what Miliband and Clegg did with it, do deserve to be leading news items, alongside the Iraq debacle.

    Maybe that’s because catastrophes like Iraq are partly to be blamed on the defective judgment of UK politicians. So, stupid behaviour by politicians matters. It indicates what they will do in future.

    Blair got Iraq appallingly wrong, Kennedy got it right. What chance is there of Clegg getting any such issue right?

  • The Sun journalist Tom Newton Dunn, son of Lib Dem former MEP Bill Newton Dunn has just tweeted
    Nick Clegg’s spokesman has also been in touch. “We will not be apologising for being associated with you today.”
    Ed Miliband has apologised for any offence he may have caused to the people of Liverpool

  • Paul in Wokingham 13th Jun '14 - 2:15pm

    @Thomas Long – why are we being forced to talk about a newspaper? Not only was it crass for Clegg to allow himself to be compromised in this way, but Ed Miliband has issued a prompt apology. So if and when Clegg follows suit it will look tactical rather than sincere. Clegg loses. Again.

    As I said some hours ago here: if Clegg wanted to discuss international football then he might have been better advised to joing Greg Dyke in calling for Sepp Blatter’s resignation that in posing with that rag.

    I note that on the photo on the front of The Sun, Clegg is just to the right of Jeremy Clarkson.

  • Thre are people in this thread trying to defend Clegg.

    Have they never listened to the advice about putting down the shovel when you are at the bottom of a very deep hole?

    In the week that Clegg attacked Oxfam but agreed to advertise The Sun, I would advise Clegg’s supporters to just keep quiet and hope that there will not be another disaster from their hero in the next 48 hours.

  • Stuart Mitchell 13th Jun '14 - 2:23pm

    @David Allen
    “I believe he has acknowledged a pro-Labour position elsewhere on LDV”

    Yes, thanks for that. I believe I declared myself a Labour voter (but never an activist or member, except a now-lapsed affiliated member) in my first post on LDV back in 2010, and have repeated it many times since when it seemed relevant.

    I’ve also said on several occasions that I only post on LDV because the site invites non-Lib Dems to do so, and that if this policy ever changed, I’d stop posting. (I can picture a light bulb illuminating above Caron’s head right now…)

    @Helen Tedcastle
    “these women are demeaning their gender ie: all women by their behaviour. Maybe they are desperate for a break but what dies it tell us about an industry that entices young girls to parade themselves in the mass media in this objectifying way? What message does it send young boys about young women?”

    One of the problems I have with this kind of view is that it’s never expressed about boys. Male models are not told they are demeaning themselves and all other men. So what message does this send to all young people, girls as well and boys? That boys can do what they want and not be criticised for it; but if women do the same thing they will be condemned for it. I’m struggling to tease any pro-equality meaning from that message.

  • Loathsome.

  • Martin Pierce 13th Jun '14 - 2:45pm

    Caron, can you now see why so many of us are saying Nick has to go not because he’s a bad person or because of the Coalition but because he just has REALLY POOR JUDGEMENT. Tuition fees, NHS reform, secret courts, defending the bedroom tax, alarm clock Britain, handling of the Rennard affair, the Party of In, appointing the Chair of Campaigns and Comms Ctte to do a review into failings of, er, Campaigns and Comms, and now this

  • ChrisB

    Caron is right and you are very very wrong.

    I’d also make the point that it’s not just about the picture of a topless model but the demeaning captions, which accompany the pictures. Those captions positively encourage these young women to be thought of as ‘bimbos’.

    I don’t come across any naked men in newspapers so your comparison with male ‘models’ is completely meaningless and pretty disingenuous. Naked male torso does not equate to bare female breasts.

  • Has anything changed in Liverpool or Sheffield over the last two months ??
    Nick Clegg put out this press statement in April, —

    “. 25 years ago, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest met to play each other in an FA Cup Semi-Final. In the tragic events which followed at Hillsborough Stadium, 96 fans lost their lives, hundreds were injured and the lives of these families and communities were changed forever.

    Today, we remember them. We also pay tribute to the courage, determination and dignity of the Hillsborough victims’ families, who have campaigned so tirelessly in memory of their loved ones.

    These families have faced a long and painful road to the truth – and yet they have refused to give up.

    Their fight for justice for the 96, and all those impacted by this tragedy, goes on.

    Our government will continue to do all we can to support them.

    So as we mark this anniversary, in Liverpool, Sheffield and across the country, we do so in support and respect for the families bereaved by Hillsborough, its victims and survivors. And we commit – together – to ensure this can never happen again. “

  • John Tilley
    Did you get sent a copy of this newspaper?

  • Helen Tedcastle “What message does it send young boys about young women?””

    That it is completely normal to want to look at attractive women, to want to see attractive women undressed, and that if they feel that way that they are no different to about 90 percent of men in the world and should not feel guilt, despite the efforts of an vocal minority to make them feel that way.

    As for why there is no equivalent the other way (although they published pictures of Prince Harry and not Princess Kate), well you could certainly find the young men willing to pose for cash, so I would say it relates to the demand side. I am no expert but perhaps female sexuality isn’t a mirror image of male sexuality.

  • I got sent my China Daily Asia Weekly today (Its been 25 years since Tiananmen Square).
    Plenty in it about Abe and the new Japanese militarism.Lets not forget about the Rape of Nanking in 1937. Pictures of which would never be published in a British newspaper.

  • Richard Dean 13th Jun '14 - 3:56pm

    I’m an old man, and I would be quite willing to pose if paid for it! The more often the better. But what would women find interesting? Size maybe? Shape? Degree of hairiness?

  • “I’m an old man, and I would be quite willing to pose if paid ”

    they are not interested in old men – or old women. They are interested in near-naked 16-year olds.

  • CORRECTION: near-naked 16-year old ‘GIRLS.

  • Richard Dawson 13th Jun '14 - 4:20pm

    I think that Nick and Ed Milliband in particular were ill advised. Those who live outside Liverpool and its vicinity really don’t understand how deeply feelings run on this. So many will see reactions to this as extreme.Last year a Tesco Cashier nearly got herself sacked after showing her displeasure at a customer buying The Sun see #LiverpoolTescoGirl
    Had Nick been better advised he could have differentiated himself very nicely from the Ed and Dave by refusing on principle to pose with a copy of the Sun.-A missed opportunity .
    However in context here there will will not be much resonance about this around the UK other than re-inforcing how out of touch those politicians are.My friend in Southampton is baffled by the outrage as many of his builder mates buy The Sun every day.Had to explain it all to him.

  • Steve Comer 13th Jun '14 - 4:24pm

    Interesting that Miliband has seen the error of ways and apologised (and/or been pushed by others to do so). Yet ‘the klingon’ will not apologise, and appears to be oblivious to the offence he’s caused. An what timing too, just the judge in the ‘phone hacking trial sends the Jury out to deliberate!

    Nick Clegg is a Sheffield MP, Hillsborough is in Sheffield, can he not join up the dots and understand why this is so offensive.

  • I told my mother to put it in the cat’s litter box.

  • In retaliation for the disaster that is almost certain to hit them after the unwanted promotion of their popular organ by our not so popular leader I expect tomorrow’s headline will be “Up Yours D. Laws”!

  • Astrology is true by any sensible criterion. It really only takes a few minutes to think about it.

  • Jonathan Pile 13th Jun '14 - 4:49pm

    @ Sophie
    Re: nick Clegg’s not sorry tweet to the sun. So there we’re have it – who does nick Clegg respect the most – Rupert Murdoch and the sun or the liberal democrat parties in Liverpool and Sheffield. Contempt able. CLEGG must go. Join lib dems who are working to rid the party of this liability.
    [email protected]

  • Carl Pierce 13th Jun '14 - 5:05pm

    This is only in part about the Liverpool stadium disaster.
    This mostly about many of us wondering why on EARTH is Nick promoting News International, the Company responsible for employing the people who hacked into a murdered teenagers mobile phone during the trial of the people responsible. Are you really trying to alienate yet more of us ?

    To those saying its just a picture…….why are you getting so animated. You simply don’t get it.

    It makes Nick look like he has no moral compass at all and blows in the wind for whatever advantage he can get it is EXACTLY the weapon used so successfully to attack us time and time again.
    He missed a HUGE chance to win back a lot of the high ground here.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Jun '14 - 5:11pm

    It’s important not to over-react to this, but I still think it was a mistake.

  • @Carl Pierce
    I have nothing but contempt for Nick promoting News International.

    In addition to the hateful hacking into the murdered girl’s phone messages, Murdoch is responsible for the US channel Fox News which peddles lies and distortion in the US to help support an immoral Republican party which actively tries to discourage people from voting and nearly caused the US to default on payments. If Clegg is not aware of this, he should be better informed.

    @Jonathan Pile
    You might want to consider updating the LFB website to point out that keeping Clegg would prevent any kind of LibDem recovery.

  • Peter Watson 13th Jun '14 - 6:09pm

    After Lib Dem support and electoral reform, … maybe Clegg has realised that the best way to bring down the Murdoch empire is by publicly associating himself with The Sun.

  • Jonathan Pile 13th Jun '14 - 6:19pm

    Brilliant wit Peter Watson they say that tragedy breeds comedy . We will be rolling in the aisles in 2015.

  • Jonathan Pile 13th Jun '14 - 6:44pm

    @ “anonymous..”
    Is there a lib dem fight back – yes there is, we just ordinary lib dem members like you are it’s early days but were recruiting more members every day so join us!
    don’t get mad at Clegg – get even – let’s get him out. His support team is rattled and making more mistakes every day, so join your voice to ours. We only want 3 things – Clegg gone, a united party behind a new leader determined to win back 2010 supporters with a return to democracy and 2010 policies.

  • paul barker 13th Jun '14 - 7:28pm

    LibDem Economic plans, 19 comments. Nick Clegg holds up Newspaper , 119 comments. Perhaps we all need a Holiday ?

  • Jonathan Pile 13th Jun '14 - 7:39pm

    Paul barker
    They say a picture says a thousand words, maybe Nick should try pictionary for policy presentation because we’re not listening. LFB SC

  • David Evans 13th Jun '14 - 7:55pm

    Paul Barker – We need Nick to take a holiday – starting now, 20 years should do it.

  • @paul barker
    When The Sun comes gunning for Nick Clegg , if he is still leader, in 2015 won’t this message of support for the paper risk being remembered as at best pointless, at worst crass to many voters in his Sheffield constituency?

  • Roy Sheward 13th Jun '14 - 8:40pm

    At a loss for words really.
    The Sun should have gone the way of News of the World long ago.
    So many reasons why it was wrong for Nick to have anything to do with this.

  • Paul in Wokingham 13th Jun '14 - 10:02pm

    @JohnTilley – “I would advise Clegg’s supporters to just keep quiet and hope that there will not be another disaster from their hero in the next 48 hours.”

    48 hours? You only had to wait about 48 minutes.

    Apparently Mr. Clegg has decided that it will be better for the party’s economic policies to be presented during the election by Danny Alexander than by Vince Cable.

  • @Caron Lindsay
    “Nick already has a strong record on standing up against all the things the Murdoch empire is for, but it’s created an entirely avoidable firestorm for zero gain.”
    All the things? I’m afraid that’s woolly and, if I may say it, not true. For example, when he was asked on -air to stand up to Murdoch over claims made in The Sun that under AV a candidate coming 7th in the 1st ballot could actually win a seat in parliament he just laughed it off. All right he didn’t fall over laughing, but he certainly didn’t stand up……..just displayed that irritating Nick insouciance LibDems have learned to accept.

  • @Richard Dawson:

    “I think that Nick and Ed Milliband in particular were ill advised. this”

    What is with this giving political ‘Leaders’ ‘cover by blaming their blunders on advisors?

    I am a councillor for the ward where the Liverpool FV captain and manager at the time of he Hillsborough disaster live. The Murdoch Empire decided they should each receive a copy of ‘The Sun’, a periodical which published shameful attacks on Liverpool supporters without foundation. Our postman today showed me the contents of one post box as he emptied it tonight. Full of copies of he Sun saying ‘return to sender’ and far worse.

  • @paul barker:

    “LibDem Economic plans, 19 comments.”

    What iLb Dem plans? As far as I can see, we have a ‘back of the envelope’ presentation which has been approved by no Lib Dem body at all.

  • Jonathan Pile 13th Jun '14 - 10:51pm

    Nick Clegg will be feeling happy that Cambridge Lib Dems have voted not demand a leadership election in their SGM. His Tories allies and backers will take cheer. This is inline with our soundings . The majority of engaged local parties do not want disruption and fear change. The wider membership is however disgusted with Nick Clegg’s calamitous leadership. The vote shows division with the deputy leader and councilors calling for Clegg’s exit. We are divided party who has lost it’s way and it’s supporters, Let Clegg drive us out of the Party or let the Party unite behind a winner. The party must decide, division means defeat and Clegg cannot unite us .
    Join the fightback against Clegg. We won’t give up on the Party.

  • This looks like a deliberate attempt to arouse the wrath of activists. Why are they doing it?

  • Just to mildly wind up John Tilley, I don’t really think this is an issue to go to the barricades about. I’m not the world’s greatest fan of The Sun, but all 3 Party Leaders holding it ? So what ?

  • Jonathan Pile
    A long time ago in the Liberal Party there were perennial calls for a change of leader.It seems a few devoted all their time to it.The wish to be nice and ineffectual lives on. The cosy sidelines where it is all talk and no do appear attractive to those who lead comfortable lives and don’t want real change.
    Making a scapegoat .will simply confirm the view thet liberals are really very weak people .
    Coalition government(or the EU) is something that is not understood by people in Britain. As is pointed out here the real questions are addressing Britain’s industrial decline and the creation of new industry.Maybe something of the spirit of the Free church industrialists is what is needed then maybe the fightback can continue against the real evil that has arisen in todays Britain..

  • @Manfarang: I do not get the impression from Jonathan Pile’s remarks that he wishes “to be nice and ineffectual” or to stay on “the cosy sidelines where it is all talk and no do.” Moreover, it is difficult to see views of the Lib Dems being much more negative than they are, although I suppose there are six percentage points yet to lose.

    A scapegoat is a thing, or an individual, that has no connection to and bears no responsibility for a disaster and yet is ritually blamed, in the hope that by magic its punishment will relieve the community of its burden.
    If Nick Clegg is a scapegoat, then it must follow that Clegg has never been anything other than a figurehead, that he bears no personal responsibility for the direction of the Party, that he is not involved in setting its policies, that he does not speak for or act for the Party in an official capacity, that the public do not view him as representative of the Lib Dems, and that he never got on the tele and debated Nigel Farage. In fact, he’s just some chap who wandered in off the street and got randomly picked out as the target of the membership’s wrath.

    Do you really think all of that is true?

  • Keith Sharp 14th Jun '14 - 8:02am

    I was appalled to see Nick posing with the Sun special. What are he and his ‘advisers’ thinking of? (Are they thinking; or just reacting?)

    Previous posters have said he shouldn’t allow himself to be a marketing tool for the Murdoch press; that the DPM should have other priorities; that he be prepared to stand out and be different.

    I agree with all this; I certainly did not join the Lib Dems just to be ‘another party’, indistinguishable from the establishment.

    I also though had my free copy of the Sun special delivered and flicked through it — before I knew Nick had given it his personal endorsement. It reads to me like sponsor and celeb-driven jingoistic dogma; exactly not the stuff an internationalist party should be promoting. This narrow nationalism surely goes against our values . Did N Farage endorse it?

    Of course, you can say this is football and so a bit of jingoistic bias is OK. Precisely so: but that is making the case for keeping sport and politics separate.

    Is it too much to ask that some judgement be exercised before the party signs up to this type of commercial promotion?

  • Jenny Barnes 14th Jun '14 - 8:47am

    There have been many comments about how the LibLabCon parties are “all the same” and therefore ” what’s the point of voting” . The pictures of the 3 leaders coyly holding up the Sun looks to me like evidence of that, and that they have all been bought by Murdoch/ the 0.1%. 3 pictures worth 3,000 words.

  • Jonathan Pile 14th Jun '14 - 8:59am

    Politics is the art of the possible – a quote from RAB Butler who tried to sell us out to Hitler in 1940 and Churchill never trusted. I don’t live in a cosy world and neither do the millions using food banks partly as a result of our party. We have neither victory or honour right now. principles matter just as much as power .

  • Keith Sharp’s reaction to the content of this Advertisement is very similar to my reaction.

    The content of the UKIP and BNP election material of three weeks ago were rational and well thought out compared to this advert for The Sun nonsense.
    The connection with football was minimal.
    What Keith describes as “sponsor and celeb-driven jingoistic dogma” is blatantly obvious.

    So —- who thought it was a good idea for Clegg to provide his personal support for an advert for The Sun?

    Nobody defending Clegg in this thread or elsewhere has explained why they thought that it was a good idea for the leader of the Liberal,Democrats to endorse the works of the Devil Incarnate

  • Some myths have been built up over decades about the political influence of The Sun.

    In 2010 in LDV Mark Pack published some figures on the number of Liberal Democrat voters who read The Sun.
    Mark’s figure was les than 800,000.
    In the light of the continuing reduction in the number of people who read The Sun and the dramatic reduction in the number of people voting Liberal Democrat since 2010, it seems reasonable to assume that the number of Liberal Democrat voters who read The Sun in 2014 is less than 200,000.

    So I repeat the question — who thought it was a good idea for Clegg to provide his personal support for an advert for The Sun?

  • Tony Dawson 14th Jun '14 - 9:47am

    @paul barker

    ” On Bimbos, its actually Italian for a young girl, definitely Pre-Teen. How it came to its present British meaning Ive no idea.”

    Why not? It is quite clear that most of those depicted and certainly those depicting them are trying to promote sexualised images of bodies as close to ‘pubertal’ as possible.

    @ Richard S

    “they are no different to about 90 percent of men in the world and should not feel guilt”

    I am quite sure that (a) the percentage of men today who want to see images of naked females in their waking hours is well below 90 per cent. and (b) that more than 90 per cent of British men once thought it was OK to pull their wives around the kitchen by their hair ‘without guilt’.

  • David 1
    So Nick Clegg was responsible for the financial crisis and the de-industrialising of Britain the fallout from which we are trying to do something about. I don’t think so.
    John Tilley
    I know millions are overweight. Without indusrty there will be no jobs.It is not enough for the British economy to be a service economy. The financial sector will shift East where the economic power houses are then where will Britain be?

  • Nick looks awkward holding the Sun, agreed but to imply he is somehow disrespectful of Hillsborough is ludicrous . All of the leaders of all 3 parties past and present have wrote guest pieces for The Sun at some point. Equally all media outlets have published/broadcast pieces that was not their finest hour! The Mail does most days. The Sun is not anti-Liverpool or anti-Hillsborough and has apologised for its mistakes over 20 years ago. This is a complete non news story not worthy of all the debate above.

  • Stuart Mitchell 14th Jun '14 - 12:17pm

    @Helen Tedcastle
    “I remember seeing these naked pictures of young girls as a seven year old when I flicked through my Grandad’s copy of The Sun”

    Sounds like your quarrel should be more with your Grandad than the Sun. Newspapers are not really marketed at children.

    ” – is that normal – for young girls to be exposed to such pictures?”

    Well why shouldn’t it be? What’s the harm?

    The closest personal equivalent to your experience I can think of is when my daughter (aged around 8 at the time) was watching a DVD of “The Goodies” (an episode called “Lighthouse Loonies”). At one point there’s a joke which involves the showing on screen of a Page-3 type topless model. My daughter laughed like a drain (at the joke, not the mere fact that the woman was naked). She can’t have been traumatised too much by it since she’s watched the same episode at least 20 more times since. Do you think I should have done more to protect her from this?

  • Jonathan Pile 14th Jun '14 - 1:49pm

    So we the party who stood free of Murdoch and all his minions are now happy to take his shilling and sup with the devil. It didn’t take long did it – why remember the past ? – Phone hacking & Hillsborough. Past history to a few, a living memory for most.

  • Nick Collins 14th Jun '14 - 2:08pm

    The unsolicited copy of the sun (the absence of capital s is deliberate, in case anyone is wondering) which came through my letter box went straight into the bin along with the rest of the day’s junk mail. If and when the local LibDems get around to delivering any literature again, I’m currently minded to give it the same treatment.

  • @Helen Tedcastle

    Your question that I was answering was about (heterosexual) boys and their views of women.

    I wouldn’t leave the Sun around either, for all kinds of reasons.

  • @Tony Dawson,
    I just mean about 90 percent of men enjoy seeing attractive women, not always in the context of page 3 or pornography (which surveys seem to show large majorities of men use). So the “message” of page 3, “here is an attractive woman, enjoy”, isn’t a particularly objectionable one for boys, which is the question Helen asked and I was responding to. The real problem is that women are not represented enough on the other pages in the paper because they are underrepresented in so many other areas of real life. The message it sends to girls is more of a problem.

    As I said above, female sexuality isn’t an exact mirror image of male sexuality but I arranged to meet someone in Leicester Square this year and found the premiere of Monuments Men was on. I got the general impression that the overwhelmingly female crowd enjoyed seeing Matt Damon and George Clooney arrive too, so maybe it is not diammetrically different.

    By the way, did anyone see any England fans at the match on TV expressing their support for the team by holding up copies of the Sun? Why the 3 party leaders think The Sun = The England Football Team is mystifying.

  • Stuart Mitchell 15th Jun '14 - 10:50am

    @Helen Tedcastle
    “It’s a desperate attempt to sell papers by appealing to the lowest common denominator and allowing some men to think that women are simply there for their gratification.”

    But as Richard S points out, it’s the lack of women on other pages that is more likely to give that impression, not the presence of Page 3. The under-representation of women in politics (which the Lib Dems contribute to more than any other party) is more offensive to me than Page 3.

    For an example of women who feel very differently about this kind of thing to what you do, I suggest you go and Google Scout Willis and the “Free the Nipple” campaign. They’ve even made a feature film about their efforts to “end this insane war on women’s boobs”. Good liberals all of them.

    Incidentally, at least one newspaper did attempt to even things out. A friend of mine used to buy the Daily Star, and I recall they used to have a feature called “Star Guy” which was a naked male equivalent of Page 3. I only ever saw it a couple of times so I’ve no idea how long they did it for. I doubt they do it now, as I presume they don’t even do the topless women any more since you never hear it mentioned.

  • Stuart Mitchell 15th Jun '14 - 11:57am

    @Helen Tedcastle
    Objectification (if it exists at all) is very much in the eye of the beholder. You dismissed these women as “bimbos” purely because they make a living by having their photo taken. You are objectifying them in just as bad a way as any of the men viewing the pictures.

    “The message being sent is…”

    Similarly, any messaging is in the mind of the receiver of the message. Printing a picture of a pretty girl may have no more deep a meaning than: “it’s nice to look at a picture of a pretty girl”. I believe you are a Catholic – what sort of “message” would a picture of a gathering of cardinals send out about the place of women in society? Perhaps newspapers should remove such pictures too, if this is your main concern.

    In the article I linked to earlier, Martin Daubney argues persuasively that Page 3 may well have died a natural death soon were it not for the NMP3 campaign galvanising support for it amongst the Sun’s publishers and readers. Good.

  • Stuart Mitchell 15th Jun '14 - 12:29pm

    @Helen Tedcastle
    Whether the Sun prints pictures of cardinals every day is beside the point. The Sun prints pictures of powerful and influential people every day and they are usually men. I chose cardinals as an example for obvious reasons. If you seriously want to improve the standing of women in society, there are a million better ways of doing it than getting rid of Page 3. You could start by doing away with the religious and cultural control structures that have kept women in their place for centuries. Page 3 is not a symptom of that.

    Perhaps you can give me an example of a society where pictures of topless women are banned and women have more equality, power and influence than they do in the UK.

  • Jonathan Pile 15th Jun '14 - 6:04pm

    @ Stuart
    I agree with Helen. The party should listen to our women a bit more, treat them with more respect (your lordship) and also we should have more women candidates . page 3 is not clever or nice.

  • Stuart Mitchell 15th Jun '14 - 7:55pm

    @Jonathan Pile
    The trouble is, the kind of “respect” Lib Dems have for women seems to be the same kind of “respect” women are given in the average patriarchy, i.e. telling women that they can’t do something they want to do, even if men are allowed to do the same thing.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '14 - 4:49pm


    The cosy sidelines where it is all talk and no do appear attractive to those who lead comfortable lives and don’t want real change. Making a scapegoat .will simply confirm the view that liberals are really very weak people . Coalition government(or the EU) is something that is not understood by people in Britain.

    What has this to do with posing with THE Sun newspaper?

    The whole point of this thread is to show that unhappiness about Clegg’s leadership is NOT just because he was the leader when the coalition was formed. It is about many other things, some of them small on their own like this one, but put them together and you get an overall picture of a man who is incompetent, keeps making mistakes, isn’t in touch with the feelings of the members of his party and those who voted for it, seems to be over-influenced by a sort of shallow Westminster bubble view of politics, which never gets our party right.

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