Nick Clegg: “Liberal Democrat Voice is intriguing, infuriating and inspiring”

Nick Clegg at LDV AwardsNick Clegg was due to come to our Liberal Democrat Voice Awards on Saturday night to present the award for Councillor of the Year, which was won by Abi Bell from Hull.  I fully expected him to breeze in at the allotted hour, present the award and breeze out again. Actually, he turned up for the start of the event at 10 pm in very relaxed form and spent time chatting to people. When the awards got underway, he even acted as Paddy Ashdown’s assistant, showing off the candidates for Best photo of a Liberal Democrat parliamentarian to the audience on my iPad.

Seeing him so relaxed in a room which contained some of his strongest critics made me think that all the combative briefings from his team reported in the press were at best exaggerated. He seemd happy to be there, exchanging friendly words with some of his strongest critics. He was full of praise for Abi Bell who has led a spirited fightback in Hull after bad election results in 2011.

Of Liberal Democrat Voice, he said that he found us “intriguing, infuriating and inspiring.”  I guess that’s kind of how he  should find us. It’s not good for a leader to only hear good about themselves.

I’ve already done a brief post with the results of Saturday night’s awards but there are a few things from the ceremony that I wanted to share with you.

The first was Liz Barker’s speech. She said that she was the least techie person imaginable, although she’s been trying to get to grips with Twitter. She talked about that long dark night when the House of Lords debated equal marriage, of dealing with depressing Tory amendments on adultery and consummation. She said the irreverent banter on Twitter kept her going through it.

The second was Paddy Ashdown’s. He was at his hilarious best as he renamed our fine BOTYs “The Lembits”. When reading the shortlist, for David Laws and Pingu, he asked which was which. He was a little disappointed that Laws didn’t win, but, let’s face it, Doctor Who is always going to triumph in this party, even over sweet fluffy animals.

The third was Willie Rennie’s outrageous suggestion that I had fixed his victory as Parliamentarian of the Year. I love the assumption that I’d want him to win in the first place!

Earlier in the day, I’d nipped home to go out with my family to celebrate my niece’s 21st birthday. We had a great laugh, a family indulging in fun and banter as we celebrated. The Awards had that same family feel, as we celebrated our achievements.

Richard Morris has written some kind words about this year’s awards over at A View from Ham Common. He said:

 Can I just say a big thumbs up to the team at LDV who have rejigged, reformatted and altogether transformed the awards this year – new categories, a combination of judged awards and elected awards, great communications. The BOTYS have their shine back no doubt about it.

What did you think, and what would you change for next year?

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

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  • Eddie Sammon 19th Sep '13 - 2:41pm

    This quote made me feel sorry for Nick, it must be hard having to read so much written about oneself and being unable to defend against all the accusations. It also reminded me how he is a father and it must be hard for their children to read stuff about him and for him to know it affects them too.

    I suppose it would help if we all, me included, would be more aware of who might be reading when we comment and the unintended harm we might cause. I don’t think any of us mean the attacks personally. It must be a very difficult job.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 19th Sep '13 - 2:59pm

    Eddie, Nick was very complimentary about the work we do here, and I don’t think he expects for one minute that we’ll agree with every policy position he takes. We ensure that there are no personal attacks on him in the comments or the articles, but we do occasionally disagree with things that he’s done.

    I think you’ll find much worse about him in the things that his kids are likely to see than on here.

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Sep '13 - 3:28pm

    I wasn’t criticising Lib Dem Voice and if that is how it came across it was not how I meant it.

  • Eddie Sammon @

    How old are Clegg’s children ? One is about four so unlikely to be reading LDV yet, unless forced indoctrination occurs in the Clegg household.

    Politicians are up for criticism. Clegg poured criticism on his political opponents yesterday.
    Did he hold back in case any of their children were upset ?

    Clegg’s children are living with wealthy, ambitious parents.

    Other children will be seeing their parents distressed and worried by bad policies like the bedroom tax.
    Those children are the ones to be worried about.

  • Eddie Sammon 20th Sep '13 - 8:25am

    Sandra, I am not saying we shouldn’t criticise, I always criticise! My point was we should just be a bit nicer because of who might be watching and I think it is easy to forget this. I wasn’t attacking anyone personally (except for myself) and I wasn’t criticising the level of moderation either (if anything I think it should be reduced). If anyone has been offended by my comment then they’ve taken it the wrong way.

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