Nick Clegg’s email on the election results

I wanted to get in touch immediately to thank everyone who has worked so hard in the elections. This was always going to be a challenging time. For the first time in most of our memories we were fighting as a party of Government – and a government dealing with the economic mess Labour left us in.

But there is no getting away from the fact that this has been a bad set of results – both the election results for the Liberal Democrats and the referendum outcome. I am certainly deeply disappointed. I know many of you are too. I am especially disappointed that so many hardworking and dedicated councillors, MSPs, AMs and campaigners have lost their seats.

I think it is clear that we need to do more to show people in the party and beyond what we are doing in Government and, perhaps more importantly, why. Because we are achieving a great deal. The BBC estimates that we are implementing 75% of the policies of in our manifesto, compared to just 60% of the Conservative manifesto.

Of course, as Liberal Democrats, we are all bitterly disappointed that the referendum on the Alternative Vote has been lost. We will always remain passionate supporters of reform. But we must respect the will of the British people. This time, we were unable to convince them of the merits of this particular change.

We’ve taken a knock. But I know from experience how resilient we are as a party. For my entire life, people have sought to write off the Liberal Democrats but we’ve always defied the critics and bounced back. We’ll do so again. We’ll get back up, we’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll get on with what we have to do. We have gone into a Coalition Government in the interests of the country. We have a mountain to climb to bring back prosperity, jobs and hope to Britain. But it is a job we’ve started and it is a job we will finish. And to do it, we’ll need your help and support.

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116 Comments

  • The economic mess Labour left the country in didn’t hurt the Tories, if the Lib Dems are going to think this is the reason they lost seats then things will not get any better for them anytime soon.

  • Dale Harris 6th May '11 - 10:58pm

    hugely disappointed with the result, but not with the party or Mr Clegg.

  • It is time for a rethink.

  • Whilst we continue to see LibDems parroting Tory attack lines, and see LibDems and Tories acting as a tag team against Labour, in TV studios up and down the country, we will continue to view the LibDems and Tories as a single entity.

    What happened to the ‘new’ politics? Seems like the same old tired politics to me.

  • Resign before you destroy the party I love!

  • @Jack Timms

    It is time for a new leader.

    It’s clear from this email that Clegg is either incapable of beginning to contemplate why things have gone wrong, or is incapable of being honest with liberal democrat party members about his opinions, or is incapable of not treating lib dem members and voters as dim children.

    Clegg is in the way of any change in prospects for the party, because he can’t being, for one reason or another, to articulate what the problems facing the party are.

  • Taxi for Clegg!

  • I speak for many people I know when I say that we, the voters in the North West, have given you a clear message: leave this coalition and get rid of Clegg or spend at least the next 80 years in opposition.

    For the sake of the students you lied to, the poor, the disabled and sick people you are attacking, the NHS, and all that’s good: go and go NOW.

  • @nick clegg
    “For my entire life, people have sought to write off the Liberal Democrats”

    I don’t believe this to be true Nick. On the contrary I’m sure you’ll remember the ‘Cleggmania’ just 1 year ago; there were many who were willing the Lib Dems to succeed and offer something new. Many showed a great deal of faith in you.

    Unfortunately you haven’t delivered.

    Don’t hide behind the idea you need to sell the message harder…. we’ve heard it. We just don’t buy it.

  • The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

  • The message isn’t working, its been heard but it’s been shown to be completely the wrong tact. Libdems need to change the message and the record. Fight the Tories every step of the way on those NHS ‘reforms’. Stop all these ‘added’ special extra’s that they’ve been adding in and stick solely with your two main priorities at hand, reducing the deficit and redistributing wealth back as fairly as you can.

  • Dave Thawley 7th May '11 - 12:02am

    Anthony – labour didn’t leave an economic mess – it was the world banking crisis and recession that did that – dont get me wrong I am not a labour voter – I just don’t think perpetuating mis-information is going to help anyone.

    We don’t need to dust ourselves down – clegg needs to resign. that would do for a start. Then the rest of the leadship should ask themselves if they are tory or lib dem. If they want to continue to be tory they should at least leave the party and join the tories. If they see themselves as lib-dem they need to immediately start acting like it again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this will help anytrhing in the short or medium term – since the population now think we are a bunch of lying muppets regaining trust will be practically (if not totally) impossible – but it is the only way forward.

    Anyway until then there is only one logical move that I as a lib dem member with lib dem ideologies can make – stop funding the mini tory party Nick has decided to turn us into. The leadership are not listening to us, they have garbed control and are operating well outside any mandate or desire the majority of supporters want – I certainly am not going got pay for them to do so and since they wont listen to me i have no function in the party over and above a funder for policies I don’t wan t to be implemented – so like many many true liberals I have just resigned. I wish for all our sakes Nick follows suite soon so I can return to this once great party.

  • @Dave Thawley, I don’t believe the economic mess is all Labour’s fault, but Labour did leave a mess, what I was trying to say was that the tough decisions and cuts didn’t harm the Tories, so if if the Lib Dems think this is the only reason they are losing seats, they need to wake up to reality.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th May '11 - 12:22am

    two policies which were not in the manifesto – […] deficit reduction

    Rubbish. Deficit reduction was in the manifesto of all three parties. The difference in timescales that were explicitly quoted in those manifestos was about one year. The timescale that we’ve actually got is about halfway between the Tory and Lib Dem proposals. (For all their ranting, Labour’s proposal was only one year slower)

    What do you want (or think) would happen if Clegg did resign?

    They want to win the early election that would result. Those people are Labour supporters calling for the one thing that would let them get back to abusing.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th May '11 - 12:24am

    Forget the love-in, Nick, Cameron shafted us, now give him both barrels in return.

    For comparison, this is what the actual Lib Dems are saying. They want Clegg fighting, not gone.

  • @Andrew Suffield, are you sure? Labour were looking to half the deficit, not eradicate it.

  • Barry George 7th May '11 - 12:34am

    What do you want (or think) would happen if Clegg did resign?

    Clegg is toxic to the electorate and the poison is spreading. It is possible to save the party. It may even be possible to save the coalition but not with Clegg at the helm. A new leader could give the party back its identity and start to reverse the two party polarization of politics that is clearly in affect from last night’s results

    The public no longer understands what we stand for. Clegg has made it very clear that there are large numbers of voters he does not want. He has shattered the confidence that the party once held with the student community. The public know what they get with Labour or Conservative. Sadly they now also know what they get with Clegg. He is simply another Tory.
    So why vote Liberal? if you agree with him you will vote Tory and if you Don’t then you will probably vote Labour.

    The lurch to the right and the poodle like behaviour of senior Lib Dems is despised by the voter. They simply are not buying it and it has nothing to do with how loud you shout.

    Remove Clegg and you remove the number one cause of the parties problems. Let him join the Tories, that is where he belongs.

    A new leader with true Liberal values who won’t trade Cleggomania for megalomania or principles for power.

    There is nothing wrong with a coalition in principle but you have to stick to your political compass and never at the price of trying to drag the party away from its core values, beliefs and promises.

    I think you would be amazed at how quickly the public would begin to trust us again if we ceased alienating the real progressive majority in this country and rediscovered our backbone.

    It is no good trying to persuade the voters that we are listening and changing when the man that put us in this mess still has a job.

    Resign.

  • “Those people are Labour supporters calling for the one thing that would let them get back to abusing.”

    Yes, of course anyone who disagrees with you must really be a supporter of another party in disguise. Do you not see that this attitude is just a little ironic for someone who calls himself a Liberal?

  • Cameron had a little lamb,
    little lamb, little lamb,
    Cameron had a little lamb whose rosette was quite yellow.

    Every policy that Cameron made
    Cameron made, Cameron made,
    Every policy that Cameron made, Cleggy was sure to follow.

    He followed him to Uni one day,
    Uni one day, Uni one day,
    He followed him to Uni one day,
    which cost everyone £27,000.

    And so the voters turfed him out,
    turfed him out, turfed him out,
    And so the voters turfed him out,
    But still Cleggy lingered near.

    And waited patiently about,
    Patiently about, patiently about,
    And waited patiently about
    Till the Lib-Dems disappeared.

    “Why does Cleggy love Cameron so?”
    “Love Cameron so? Love Cameron so?
    “Why does Cleggy love Cameron so?”
    The disheartened voters cry,

    “Why, Cameon loves Cleggy you know.”
    Loves Cleggy, you know, loves Cleggy you know
    “Why, Cameron loves Cleggy, you know.”
    Because he is one of us

  • Those who aren’t Orange Bookers had best unaffiliate from the Lib Dems and Join the Caroline Lucas camp as Independents – she is the one who sounds like a Lib Dem. Here in Lancaster the Libs have lost every seat including council leader

  • I speak for many people I know when I say that we, the voters in the North West, have given you a clear message: leave this coalition and get rid of Clegg or spend at least the next 80 years in opposition.

    For the sake of the students you lied to, the poor, the disabled and sick people you are attacking, the NHS, and all that’s good: go and go NOW.

  • Clegg is toxic at the moment, and that may be a permanent condition only time will tell. It’s way past time to change the tone of the coalition, but there is still 4 years before the GE (if Cameron can be trusted). Clegg needs to try to start turning things around, he will never totally recover trust, tuition fees saw to that. If after another 18 months there is no improvement in fortunes then it may be time to change, and in fairness I think he’ll no that. But if he can take the flak whilst altering the direction of the coalition he will at least pass the baton with the party still in the race.

    If he goes now he will leave the next leader with an impossible task. And I say that as someone who feels hugely let down by him…..

  • Lets get some backbone – we are in govt – we will feel the wrath of the electorate when they feel they want to protest – its what has happened before – when the Tories were in power – we picked up their seats in the south – when Lab were in power we picked them up in the north – the big question is – not what we want to do with Clegg – but do we want to help with the country’s recovery or stay on the outside as some kind of pressure group in local government. There is certainly no easy answer – we just have to hold our nerve and know that we are doing the right thing overall.
    People are not going to vote in local elections for what we have achieved on the national scale – but they will vote against us for what we have cut – unfortunately we have to cut – simple. Unfortunately the electorate is the one we have to deal with and a lot of them read the Sun or the Mirror!

  • @ ben – Don’t give up the day job, mate!

  • John Fraser 7th May '11 - 8:05am

    Encourged for the future of centre left politics that most of theses comments (from members of my former party of 25 years) sems to realise that there is FAR more to the unpopularity of Clegg that just policy presentation. I was fearing the Lib dems were still stuck in a sort of nigmarish ‘Emperors New Clothes ‘ Scenario (with no one wiling to shout to Clegg that he is anked of any decent ideaology) . It could be I was wrong.

    When Ashdown made some tremendous mistakes in his first year of being leader . he acknoledged this and turned the party around rather well. The letter (which was kindly sent to me dispite having resigned 6 months ago) is totaly blind to the fact that Clegg did anything wrong at all . Their is littel future for tthe Lib dems under a politician of this nature I sincerly hope that from the grass roots upwards you continue to make this very clear .

  • @david
    If Lib Dems hold their nerve thinking they are doing the right thing overall they will not exist come 2015. Clegg has sold you all for a bag of empty promises and Cameron is laughing all the way to the ballot box. Wonderful strategy by the Tories by the way adopting Lib Dems as a human shield and apologists for a rapid increase in social inequality.

    The only way that the Lib Dems can regain some respect is to walk away and deny the Tories the opportunity of pushing through their divisive policies. When I voted for this party I thought it stood for equality – doesn’t seem that way now.

  • I’m just amazed that anyone thinks that somehow Clegg and the rest are going to go to Cameron and start demanding more out of the coalition agreement following these elections. Bernard Jenkin is a senior Tory MP who is often the mouthpiece for Tory backbench opinion – he’s already said that Cameron should have no such dealings with Clegg. In a sad sort of way Jenkin is right – why should Cameron give anything away? – Clegg is the one who has shown poor political judgement over the last year on a number of fronts.

    Cameron if he can be admired for anything is a far more political animal – he knows that his actions over AV have emboldened his relationship with his backbenchers – why on earth at this point would he start giving concessions to a wounded animal? Of course we will see scraps tossed Clegg’s way but that’s all. Any talk of giving Cameron ‘both barrels’ now is fantasy.

  • John Fraser 7th May '11 - 8:23am

    @Peebee

    Its easy for anyone with political backbone peebee . SIMPLY vote againts those things the Lib dems dont like that are NOT in the coalition agreement . Stop being so tribal and start talking to other parties to give some ooptions should the Tories risk calling an election .

    THE TORIES DO NOT HAVE A MAJORITY

  • I am personally embittered and extremely angry about the stupid, vindictive and short-sighted way some people make up their minds to vote. First they scapegoat Nick Clegg personally for all the cuts made necessary by the Labour government they kicked out just a year earlier, then, having demanded massive reform just 18 months before, they go and ditch an chance of real change because they’ve got themselves into a lather about how much they hate Nick Clegg – the only politician who is trying to bring about constitutional change.

    It defies belief. I despair at this result. There used to be a saying that no-one went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. Well now we know: no-one ever succeeded in politics overestimating the intelligence of some the British electorate.

    @ Dave Thawley
    “Anthony – labour didn’t leave an economic mess – it was the world banking crisis and recession that did that – dont get me wrong I am not a labour voter – I just don’t think perpetuating mis-information is going to help anyone.”

    “Labour didn’t leave an economic mess”? I can’t believe you wrote that. You must be living entirely on another planet. This joke of an argument “it was the world banking crisis and recession that did it” is just the worst lie possible. Ever heard of Germany? Same banking crisis, same recession, now booming and with a 3.5% deficit. Sweden? Booming with a budget SURPLUS. The Netherlands? Growing healthily with 5.4% deficit – half the UK.
    What about Ed Balls, City Minister who boasted about light touch regulation? What about Gordon Brown’s Mansion House speech.
    Your comment is frankly a pitiful attempt to rewrite economic history and it simply won’t work.

  • Sadly the Lib Dems and Clegg don’t seem to grasp that if the electorate reject you despite 75% of your policies being enacted then the problem is perhaps that they don’t support the policies. It’s not good pretending you can carry on with the same policies as before if the electorate have taken away your mandate.

  • @john Fraser

    But this is the very trap that Cameron has created – the Lib Dems start doing as you say – Cameron points at them and calls them unprincipled for not sticking the coalition out (he wouldn’t exactly be wrong), calls an election and has a good chance of pulling it off with the Libs and Clegg’s standing with the electorate at the present time (and with Labour having no time to rebuild in Scotland).

    There is one way your argument will work and that’s for Clegg to step down. I can’t see it happening yet but I can’t see the electorate’s view changing by local elections 2012 – its typical Clegg I’m afraid – for him it’s a five year project – for local councillors its going to be year on year losses. Does he really care? – judging by his email above I fear not.

  • @Robert C

    The best way to lose your support is to blame the electorate for how they voted… instead have a good hard think about why that could be.

  • @ David Grace

    ” It is whistling in the dark to cite the shopping list of policies which are supposed to form 75% of our manifesto. They do not amount to a visible Liberal Democrat narrative. They weigh as nothing against the two policies which were not in the manifesto – raising tuition fees and rapid, unfair deficit reduction risking a double-dip recession.”

    You seem to have swallowed the ridiculous media/Labour distortion of reality hook line and sinker. Just because the press and the Labour party have chosen to ignore what is actually going on and focus on certain things doesn’t change the large number of Lib Dem policies being enacted.

    As for “unfair deficit reduction”, what would you have cut instead that would have made things “fairer”? Presumably you’ve got some ideas? I would say Labour leaving a massive 11% hole in public finances was pretty “unfair”, wouldn’t you?

    When it comes to the “double dip recession” argument, not even the most pessimistic commentators e.g. left-leaning think tank NIESR, say there will be a double dip. I hope you will be among the first to admit you were wrong if the economy strengthens further and the budget deficit is cut. Labour’s policy of “too little, too late” should be exposed for what it is: a complete sham and a cynical attempt to exploit the problems they left. Pity that you among others have fallen into their trap.

  • @ Peebee

    “@Robert C

    The best way to lose your support is to blame the electorate for how they voted… instead have a good hard think about why that could be.”

    Because they are justifiably angry about the economic mess left behind by the last government and the measures required to put it right and they have been manipulated by the media plus a nasty, rancid campaign funded by rich Tories to blame us for it. Pretty simple but totally regrettable.

  • @ Barry George

    “Clegg is toxic to the electorate and the poison is spreading.”

    That is because he has been remorselessly scapegoated in a disgusting personal hate campaign waged by both the left and by the right wing press – starting during the election debates a year ago. This has then been used as brush with which to tar the rest of the party. It has also happened with all of our other leading figures in succession, including Vince Cable and Chris Huhne whenever they have tired of baiting Nick.

    Any other leader of the party would have suffered the same fate. It is NOT Nick Clegg, just the situation in which the party has been put.

  • Philip Rolle 7th May '11 - 9:10am

    Get real. Clegg has been targeted because of pledge breaking and flip-flopping.

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 7th May '11 - 9:10am

    @Robert C

    “As for “unfair deficit reduction”, what would you have cut instead that would have made things “fairer”?” / “not even the most pessimistic commentators e.g. left-leaning think tank NIESR” / Your comment is frankly a pitiful attempt to rewrite economic history and it simply won’t work

    Therein speaks the authentic (if OTT) voice of orangebookist-rightism….and look where it has got you all! Thursday is only going to be repeated next year if you listen to these kinds of clarion voices.

    Its time for you to drop these proto-Tory Osborne-worshipers and as quickly as possible. They should go off and join the party they really belong to (and its colour is deepest blue).

    Far better for Lib Dems to listen to far more sensible people like @John Fraser

    “Its easy for anyone with political backbone peebee. SIMPLY vote against those things the Lib Dems dont like that are NOT in the coalition agreement . Stop being so tribal and start talking to other parties to give some options should the Tories risk calling an election .

    THE TORIES DO NOT HAVE A MAJORITY”

  • @ Rob Sheffield

    “Therein speaks the authentic (if OTT) voice of orangebookist-rightism”

    Totally wrong. I do not agree with the Orange Bookers at all. If anything I am on the left of the party economically. For example, I think we need to change our policy and renationalise the railways. However, the atrocious budget situation means painful cuts. Even Alistair Darling recognised that. That is the reality we are grappling with, and it is a pretty nasty one at that.

    “SIMPLY vote against those things the Lib Dems dont like that are NOT in the coalition agreement .”

    I totally agree with you there. We should be exposing mercilessly their right wing proposals on e.g. the NHS before they see the light of day and voting them down instantly.

  • Nick said “…we were fighting as a party of Government” – no we are not, Cameron is using you; wake up Nick or are you that naive?

    Olly Grender has been on TV talking about a study that showed 75% of Lib Dem policies are being enacted in government compared to 60% of Tory ones. About 1 in a million of the electorate know about this, so irrelevant when it comes to winning votes.
    More pertinent are the tens of millions of people:
    Who see the cuts being made to public services which they are unable to access.
    The rampant increase in the cost of living.
    The rampant increase in taxes such as VAT.
    The loss of jobs.

    The next 12 months will be even worse as the cuts bite even deeper…

  • “I am personally embittered and extremely angry about the stupid, vindictive and short-sighted way some people make up their minds to vote. … no-one ever succeeded in politics overestimating the intelligence of some the [sic] British electorate.”

    That really is a little gem. I presume you’ll be delivering a “F*** You” leaflet rather than a “Thank You” leaflet this year …

  • Philip Rolle

    “Get real. Clegg has been targeted because of pledge breaking and flip-flopping.”

    No, YOU get real. Clegg has been targeted because there weren’t several billions to spend on public funding of university tuition fees. Where was the money supposed to come from to pay for that, if the Tories weren’t going to increase taxes?

    The problem is, the left prefer simplistic slanging rather than talking about the reality behind university funding when there is no public money left – to quote Labour treasury secretary, Liam Byrne.

  • tony barton 7th May '11 - 9:29am

    As ever local elections produce uneven results which do not reflect the wider advantages of this coalition. Nick Clegg has been very brave to withstand the onslaught of critisism from all sides in an effort to position the party at the heart of government. Whilst all around him descend into their own little party points, Nick Clegg has stated his case for the coalition for the 5 years to provide stability and put the country before his own popularity. He is in a real position to affect change which his party should dwell on, but they should always remember it was not the Lib Dems who were elected to govern. He has shared in, and continues to do so with integrity, in order to attempt to clear away the years of Labour profligate spending, and steer the Country to a recovery. The Lib Dems may not have formed an alliance at all to agree to share power with the Conservatives, but perhaps this would have left them with their regular council territory and no influence at all. Or would it have been better to prop up Gordon Brown?

  • @ Beau Nash

    “More pertinent are the tens of millions of people:
    Who see the cuts being made to public services which they are unable to access.
    The rampant increase in the cost of living.
    The rampant increase in taxes such as VAT.
    The loss of jobs.

    The next 12 months will be even worse as the cuts bite even deeper…”

    1) So which party is saying there should be no cuts? Do you think somehow Labour cuts would have been “nicer”. Education and Health, the most important services, are not seeing real terms cuts.
    2) How is the government to blame for rising oil and commodity prices?
    3) VAT raises tens of billions. Labour would have raised it too. If not, where does the money come from?
    4) Unemployment is going down and more jobs are being created in the private sector than being lost in the public sector. If unemployment goes down further and the economy carries on growing, I expect you to post on this site admitting you were wrong and apologising.

  • Philip Rolle 7th May '11 - 9:32am

    Actually, inexpensive higher education could have been retained in the light of cuts in spending in other areas, particularly if the Coalition had been willing to bite the bullet and ration it on the basis of merit.

    But the greater political harm is done not by the policy, but by pledging one thing and then doing another.

    The attempts by the party to say “we couldn’t get our policy cos we didn’t win the election” have simply served to make the electorate even crosser and therefore compound the felony.

  • Andy Connell 7th May '11 - 9:38am

    The elephant in the room with the collapse of the Lib Dem vote is that many people who voted for them at the last election would not have done so if they had known they would join with the Tories. The Tory grandees must have been jumping for joy at the prospect of a cuts agenda being introduced under the smoke screen of a moderated coalition government.
    I think it may be a very long time before the electorate forgive the Lib Dems for this perceived betrayal. In England they moved their votes to Labour and in Scotland to the SNP. There may be worse yet to come at future elections.

  • “No, YOU get real. Clegg has been targeted because there weren’t several billions to spend on public funding of university tuition fees. Where was the money supposed to come from to pay for that, if the Tories weren’t going to increase taxes?”

    We spend several billion on tuition fees? News to me.
    Perhaps if Lib Dems stood up for what they believed in and actually did what they pledged they would do. Each and every MP who signed the pledge should have voted against it.
    I and I suspect, much of the country wouldn’t have been angry at Lib Dems if they just did that but your party deserves the focus and deserves to be targeted because no one lies liars.

    The simple fact is. Conservatives votes have held up because the Tories are delivering what they said they’d do to their supporters. Cuts are happening and deep ones at that.
    Lib Dem voters did not sign on for this and no, we did not foresee Lib Dems selling all their principles for a bit of power and agreeing to horrors such as the NHS reforms.

  • Don Lawrence 7th May '11 - 9:56am

    Nick Clegg, you are the weakest link. Goodbye.

  • Stuart Mitchell 7th May '11 - 10:07am

    Clegg’s e-mail amounts to the message :- “I am going to carry on doing exactly the same things which led us to electoral catastrophe on Thursday, until there is nothing left of the Lib Dems at all.”

    This is a true wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment for the Lib Dems. The signs so far are that the members have no trouble detecting the odour of caffeine but the leadership does not.

    Defending the existence of the coalition is pointless because I don’t think any serious person would question the correctness of joining the coalition in the first place. The Lib Dems’ problem is much more to do with style than content; the sight of Lib Dems cosying up to Tories while indulging in far, far too much Labour-bashing is what has resonated with the voters.

    The challenge for the Lib Dems is a tough one: operate as part of an effective coalition, while being seen to maintain something approaching political equidistance between your partners and the opposition. This is what you need to do. It won’t be easy, but at the moment the leadership don’t even want to acknowledge that they at least need to try.

    Hate to say I told you so, but I’m going to anyway… A year ago, in the wake of the infamous Rose Garden love-in, I posted the following. It’s a rare example of my political prophesying being uncannily prescient :-

    “The point is, if this schmoozing carries on for another five years, then your party will have a very hard time convincing the electorate that it is anything other than a fully signed up wing of the Tory Party. I don’t think that will do you any good electorally. Sadly, I don’t think it will do Labour any good either. These are great days for Tory supporters, who must already be dreaming about ditching you in 2015.”

  • Keith Browning 7th May '11 - 10:12am

    The starting point is NOW. 15% of the people came out and voted LibDem on Thursday and around 6 million wanted to change the voting structure.

    FOUR more years of GOVERNMENT to improve the country and to attract another 10-15% of the votors to the LibDem way of thinking.

    Too many in the party are still thinking with the ‘protest mentality’ and not enough about how to use the power to govern the country.

    I see the party as being to the left of the Tories and to the right of Labour, and including anyone with liberal social values. That is always going to be difficult when Cameron is definitely a ‘liberal’ Tory and Blair was a ‘liberal’ socialist (at least to begin with). The ‘squeezed middle’, and its hurting now but time to regroup and fight back.

    PR needs to improve and there is a massive job to be done with the mainstream media, particularly with the policies under major dispute. No-one mentions that university education is ‘free at the point of entry’. That seems to be a phrase that might have helped the cause.

    LibDems should hold their nerve and dont worry to much about the closet socialists who are just anti-Tory. If the coalition breaks it must be because the Tories break it. If the Libdems pull out it would show another U turn and that they could not be trusted with power.

    Fight harder round the Cabinet table and start to get the upper hand on policies that matter. it might be difficult, but then no-one ever said it would be easy.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th May '11 - 10:13am

    Nick Clegg

    I think it is clear that we need to do more to show people in the party and beyond what we are doing in Government and, perhaps more importantly, why. Because we are achieving a great deal. The BBC estimates that we are implementing 75% of the policies of in our manifesto, compared to just 60% of the Conservative manifesto.

    This is more disastrously poor presentation. It is essentially saying this government – which is hated by many – is more Liberal Democrat than Conservative. It is taking the blame for all it is doing that this country hates, and hates with good reason. Clegg just can’t seem to get it into his head that “Look at me, I have LOTS of power” is NOT going to win us votes, instead it just feeds the line “sold out for personal power”.

    My understanding is that the manifesto policies we are getting through are mainly minor technical ones. Good work, yes, but the main flavour of the government in terms of its economic policy is thoroughly Conservative and thoroughly NOT what was in our manifesto.

    If you accept, as I do, that the government is going to have to do difficult things because of the economic situation, it is just good politics to do what you can to distance yourself from them. We can easily do this because we can make the point we have many fewer MPs than the Tories (thanks to the electoral system the British public have just endorsed) and we did NOT have a choice to “jump into bed with the Tories” because there were not enough Labour MPs to form a coalition with them (thanks to the electoral system the British public have just endorsed). We can make the point that Britain in 2010 elected Cameron as Prime Minister on a First Past the Post basis, as he had most MPs, and since Britain has to have a stable government we had no choice but to go along with that, and use the opportunity to get a few little things in, while accepting most of what the governemnt does will be Conservative. If anyone says “But only a minority of people voted Conservative” we now have a cast iron reply – “Well, a majority voted in the referendum that it is better tha all poweer goes to whoever gets the most votes even if it’s far less than 50%”.

    This is not an unfair thing to do. If we led teh government, yes, we would be doing difficult things. But not exactly as the Tories are. Why should we take all the blame for Tory policies? Why should Nick Clegg, even now, issue statements which give that impression?

    And, as for “we need to do more to show people in the party”, Nick, stop patronising us. Why don’t you try listening to the party for a change?

  • andrew purches 7th May '11 - 10:17am

    These results were a disaster, and one that was waiting to happen from the moment we went into coalition with the Cameroonian,conservative,nasty party. From the outset,our Parliamentary party was going to be used as Cameron’s Riot Shield, with ever growing damage to our identity as a relevant third force in British Politics. In fact what we now have to offer the electorate as a whole,and our supporters in particular, is little more than an image of a hobbled lamb awaiting the final cut of a sacrificial knife on the altar of “I’m alright,Jack” self- seeking consumerism, that will leave us all just pissing in the wind. Our only achievement to date in this coalition is to postpone the evil day when the damned markets decide that we are a mickey mouse economy that has no relevance in the world order which will become more and more dominated by speculative movers and shakers. We are stuffed,my friends, trussed up like a bruised dead chicken. Come Conference: can we kick them, our PLP ,all out and find a new,revolutionary image to project to the electorate as a whole? I doubt it. Nick Clegg? the Ramsey McDonald of our day, and just as destructive to our values as he was to his Labour Party. Shame on him.

  • Folks, it was nothing to do with the rate of deficit reduction; the cuts have barely been felt – yet. It had very little to do with tuition fees. You got your backsides kicked because of the coalition ITSELF. There are just too many people who voted LibDem in order to keep the Tories out, not climb into bed with them.

    Even where there were no local elections, the AV vote was seen the same way. I think, in view of the numbers, everyone needs to accept that the overwhelming opinion of the British people remains in favour of the status quo; no advertising campaign (and there is certainly no denying that the ‘no’ campaign personalized the issue around Clegg). It didn’t help, at least in the case of more thinking voters, that the only choice was for AV. If the whole thing actually WAS a genuine constitutional issue rather than a party political one, all the options would have been there.. but we all know that was never going to happen. They could have thrown in a vote for an elected House of Lords whle they were at it if serious about constitutional reform but, again, that was never going to happen.

    Clegg needs to go not because he has an image problem, but simply because he is incompetent. Everyone not a LibDem – not least the Tories – can see Cameron has played Clegg and Cable like fish on a line since day one. Indeed on a personal front that has been about his only achievement of any note to date. Bad news? Get Vince to announce it. The poor man now has the permanent facial expression of a seal cub about to be clubbed to death.

  • Sorry, meant to say “no advertising campaign is that effective”

  • @Robert C
    “Clegg has been targeted because there weren’t several billions to spend on public funding of university tuition fees. Where was the money supposed to come from to pay for that, if the Tories weren’t going to increase taxes?”

    This is why people are so furious with the Lib Dems:
    http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/does-the-budget-hurt-the-rich-more-than-the-poor/2957
    – and if this is 75% Lib Dem policy I will never vote for them again.

  • @Robert C
    1) So which party is saying there should be no cuts? Do you think somehow Labour cuts would have been “nicer”. Education and Health, the most important services, are not seeing real terms cuts.
    2) How is the government to blame for rising oil and commodity prices?
    3) VAT raises tens of billions. Labour would have raised it too. If not, where does the money come from?
    4) Unemployment is going down and more jobs are being created in the private sector than being lost in the public sector. If unemployment goes down further and the economy carries on growing, I expect you to post on this site admitting you were wrong and apologising.

    1. Your point is willfully misleading. Few are arguing for no cuts, it is about the scale and speed of the cuts as I’m sure you well know. No cuts in education? Except of course if your school isn’t in a deprived area so benefitting from the fig leaf of the pupil premium or if your school has 6th form which is having its funding cut. Not forgetting freezing teachers pay, reducing capital spending, cutting EMA, reducing government funding for Universities….. except for all that you are right there are no cuts in education.
    2. The government isn’t to blame, although the rise in oill prices brings a rise in revenue through tax on fuel.
    3. Income tax. The Lib Dems used to believe in this until somebody persuaded them that VAT is actually fairer and more progressive, whilst also claiming that the colour red is actually blue.
    4. A big IF there. IFs can always be oppossed by other IFs … such as if cuts weren’t so steep then perhaps the economy would recover quicker.

  • Until recently the Conservatives’ main worry was that they would get the blame for all the ‘nasty’ policies whilst we took credit for the nicer bits. Clearly this hasn’t happened! We do have to stand our corner, make more of a fuss where we are concerned and more of the credit where we get things changed. I cannot imagine a council group in the balance ever agreeing to abstain to let through a policy to which it was strongly opposed – of course there are sometimes good reasons to abstain but never on an issue you feel strongly about. I fear our MPs have been captured by the Westminster tradition of majoritarian politics and cannot imagine a situation where all our MPs vote against the largest party on a point of principle.

    The other point is that more constitutional measures isn’t the answer, and if Clegg has any sense he’ll find some way of slow-pedalling on the Lords reform. If he presses ahead he’s simply falling into the Tories’ trap (noting that the coalition agreement doesn’t actually contain any commitment to any actual changes at all) and setting himself up for AV2 when it all falls apart. That’ll finish him for good, which is the last thing we want right now – whatever our views of Clegg (and most of us know he’s done well enough with the most horrendous hand ever dealt to any politician), a leadership contest is the last thing we need right now. Besides, Mr Huhne’s performance has hardly been a credit to us recently, his local council results excepted.

  • “This was always going to be a challenging time. For the first time in most of our memories we were fighting as a party of Government – and a government dealing with the economic mess Labour left us in.”

    That’s right, the Lib Dems were fighting as a party of government dealing with an economic mess… just like the Tories who gained 81 council seats…

  • A few posters are clearly suffering from ‘head in the sand syndrome’ a condition that can be quickly cured by a large dose of reality, unfortunately this treatment requires patient participation which many sufferers are reluctant to take even when the condition threatens to becomes terminal.

  • Isn’t it simply this. When the Conservatives left office in 1997 many predicted that the Lib Dems would be crushed between the stones of a revived and victorious Labour party and a Conservative Party renewing itself in opposition and reconnecting with dissident support that had gone elsewhere.

    However the party was not crushed. What few had foreseen was that from 1997 onward the profile of the wards and seats held by the party increasingly became ex-labour wards as the party projected itself particularly under Kennedy, and especially as a result of the Iraq war as a social democratic refuge from the Labour Party. Many party supporters assumed the party had signed up for the whole social democratic message of a heavily funded and expanded public sector, and the party achieved many easy gains at the expense of a very unpopular Labour Government especially in the final days under Brown.

    There was always going to be a re-adjustment when the electoral cycle turned and Labour left office and could return to the easy vagueness of opposition. A lot of these wards and seats were going to return to Labour, complaints of Lib Dem council leaders in Northern cities notwithstanding. What would have happened in the usual course of things is that the party, in permanent opposition, would once again have begun picking up dissident former Conservative support.

    However, in the current situation the party faces a quadruple whammy. With Nick Clegg’s leadership the party is identifiably more libertarian and less social democratic. This is more than emphasised by the coalition with the Conservatives. At the same time the party is passing through the excoriating experience of actually being responsible for difficult public spending decisions, and finally cannot attack a national Government it is actually part of.

    In these elections the social democratic support for the party garnered over 1997-2010 has more or less decamped en-bloc, principally to the Labour Party, though also and interestingly, to the SNP in Scotland. These people have experienced a keen sense of betrayal. The Lib Dems are plainly not the social democratic lifeboat they thought it was, and actually never really was.

    It seems the reaction to this amongst many party members, ex-councillors and ex-council leaders is that the Party must somehow continue to live in that noughties world which has now gone, and out-bid an out of office Labour Party for the social democratic vote. Plainly it cannot do that as part of the current coalition over the next four years, and to leave the coalition and change the leadership as these people suggest would simply destroy any remaining credibility amongst the remaining support for the party. This would in effect be cutting off the other leg.

  • Mike Barnes 7th May '11 - 2:03pm

    “Robert C
    Posted 7th May 2011 at 9:23 am | Permalink
    Philip Rolle

    “Get real. Clegg has been targeted because of pledge breaking and flip-flopping.”

    No, YOU get real. Clegg has been targeted because there weren’t several billions to spend on public funding of university tuition fees. Where was the money supposed to come from to pay for that, if the Tories weren’t going to increase taxes?”

    —–

    Where did he think the money was coming from when he was sitting in student unions signing personal pledges then? Or was it just a cheap tactic to win the student vote in university constituencies that he never thought he’d actually have to enact. Of course it played a role in the Lib Dem destruction and the No vote winning.

    Sorry Robert C, you are obviously very passionate and knowledgeable, but you are not spending enough time outside the political bubble. Try talking to some ordinary people who don’t live and die politics. The most obvious explanation is usually the correct one, people hate Clegg, they see him as untrustworthy, simple as that.

  • Andrew Suffield 7th May '11 - 2:22pm

    Where did he think the money was coming from when he was sitting in student unions signing personal pledges then?

    From tax increases that the Tories wouldn’t allow. There was a specific, detailed plan on how that was to be accomplished – and the Tories said no. Their proposal was unlimited tuition fees, around the £20k-£30k mark, and tax cuts for rich people. The current £6k-£9k policy was a compromise.

    The pledge was a blunder but it wasn’t just wishful thinking. An LD majority government really could and would have implemented it. An LD-Labour government might even have done it. The big mistake was that it was a plan which the Tories would never have accepted, in a year when a Tory-led government was likely.

  • Killer Queen 7th May '11 - 2:25pm

    First off – I’d like to state that I’m a Labour voter.

    I would, however, like to offer you some anecdotal evidence.

    I work in a small private company (that relies quite heavily on public sector funding) – based in the North East – there are 6 of us working there.

    Coming up to last year’s General Election this was the story:

    – one boss/director doesn’t talk about politics – wouldn’t have a clue who he voted for – but he gives the impression that he is cynical of all politicians.

    – the other boss/director, in his 50s, has always voted Labour – but said that he wouldn’t be voting for them again because of the Iraq War, handling of the economy, and because they introduced tuition fees (he had one son at uni and another one about to go). He said he would never vote Tory and would be voting Lib Dem because he liked what Nick Clegg had to say and because they promised not to raise tuition fees.

    – another colleague was the daughter of a former miner who endured the miners strike – she voted Labour.

    – two other colleagues were both first time voters who stated that their families/communities always voted Labour but that they would be voting Lib Dem – not because of any one policy (they probably wouldn’t have been able to name one) but because Clegg convinced them he, and the Lib Dems, were different and they bought the line about ‘no more broken promises’ and a ‘new’ kind of politics.

    One year on:

    – still don’t have a clue about the ‘cynical’ director!

    – the other director is embarassed that he voted Lib Dem, will now have to pay increased tuition fees for his son about to go to university, and says he ‘never saw it coming’ that the Lib Dems would end up in Govt with the Tories. He voted Green in Thursday’s local election.

    – the daughter of the miner voted Labour in the local election.

    – the 2 first time voters both say they feel ‘shafted’ (can’t state the exact words they’ve used!) by Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems because of broken promises and, most importantly, because they are in coalition with the tories.

    As I say none of the above is scientific, perhaps it doesn’t mean anything at all, but I believe that many people voted for the Lib Dems as an alternative to the Conservatives. To then see Nick Clegg in the rose garden with David Cameron, and to see him clap George Osborne as he announced those huge spending cuts – very very hurtful and galling.

  • Igor, Edinburgh 7th May '11 - 2:32pm

    Tuition fees were the biggest mistake, IMHO. Nowhere in Europe would they charge the students so much, and even in the American state universities it is often a lot cheaper (while some of those are really good).

    I’m not a member of the party (yet), but would suggest that it would be better to change the leadership now.

    By the way, when voting in the Scottish elections, I voted for the Tories this time around (although I count myself as a Liberal). The reason: I found the Scottish Lib Dems’ support of the Scottish income tax unpalatable and unfair. If not for that policy, I would have voted for the Lib Dems.

  • “Their proposal was unlimited tuition fees, around the £20k-£30k mark, and tax cuts for rich people.”

    I’m afraid this simply isn’t true. Such a policy would have been electorally toxic for them. The Tories got pretty what they wanted which is the story of the coalition in general.

  • Giselle Williams 7th May '11 - 2:46pm

    I came to this site via a link posted by a LibDem activist and, as a Labour Party Member for the first time at the age of 63 last year, I was interested to read the comments. First of all, may I say how sorry I am that so many hard working local councillors have been impacted in the elections. My best friend’s husband just stood as a first time LibDem in our local elections, in an area which was Cons/LibDem, and whilst he did quite well vote wise, coming from behind, he didn’t win.

    Not that you’ll be particularly interested in my opinion, but I will give it! My grannie and then my Dad, both now long gone, always taught me that, whatever my predicament, I should be true to my beliefs and never, ever, ever tell lies. I have often got myself in to trouble by following that truthful but honourable faith and I believe that is why the LibDems have got pasted in the elections. Sure, there was a deficit to be dealt with (and Clegg’s and Cameron’s mantra of “clearing up Labour’s mess” is just a shabby way of saying it) and I believe that everyone agrees that is the important issue. I also believe that the LibDem Tories (e.g. Clegg, Alexander, Huhne, and maybe Cable) in the Cabinet have badly let the local councillors and activists down by saying these shabby things. The fact that it has emerged that Clegg is utterly behind the other Tories in the Cabinet in privatisation of the NHS – where was this in the Coalition Agreement? – is another issue which has touched a nerve, at least with me. Slapping Osborne on the back when he announced such spiteful (in my opinion) cuts to the Welfare State was a huge error. And Clegg cheering Osborne without a thought of the impact of these unfair cuts on the disadvantaged, poor, unemployed, about to be unemployed, etc., was another huge mistake. I’m afraid that the LibDem Tory members of the Cabinet look more Tory than the Tory members. Clegg and Alexander are definitely Tories and a heck of a lot of people in this country do not want Tories. My late father was the bluest Tory you could ever have met, my late mother was always a Liberal. I have always been Labour. I always felt that Liberal values were more with Labour that could have ever been with Tory. Perhaps you need to rid yourselves of the Tories in your party and try to regain your true values. I know that I wish Labour woul regain its true values and not Tory! Hope this helps.

  • “Their proposal was unlimited tuition fees, around the £20k-£30k mark …”

    That’s pure fabrication.

    As a matter of fact, the Tory manifesto said simply that they would “consider carefully the results of Lord Browne’s review into the future of higher education funding.”

  • Nick Clegg is a decent, honest bloke doing what he believes is best. This is destroying the LibDems as a Party. And yet lots of bloggers refuse to see, let alone admit it. The LIbDems should never have touched the Tories’ version of a coalition with a barge-pole. The LIberal party and latterly the Liberal Democratic party have always had a large proportion of ‘leftish’ voters, these were jettisoned last May when Mr Clegg told them in effect to s*d off and find another party to vote for. And one year later that’s exactly (and predictably) what they did. cf. yesterdays election results. The LIbDems are determined to carry on with there “Thatcherite” persona, and thus inevitable annihilation. Solution? – There isn’t one – see “Lloyd George, David”. If the LIbDems want to salvage some of their voter support (and you need every vote you can get) ask Nick to resign Today, and leave the coalition also Today. Anything short of this is just whistling in the dark and hopeless hot air.

  • Philip Young 7th May '11 - 5:25pm

    I’m told it is members of Nick Clegg’s team that want that photo up alongside his statements – just take a look at this, at the top right at the start of this thread, for judgement. It’s Nick making the Zero sign “0” with his fingers…a photo which is some years out of date.
    Just what are they thinking?
    Nought judgement.

  • I’m not someone who gloats at other peoples misery but Lib Dems deserve it. I’ve no sympathy for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems. I’m not sure what Huhne is playing at but if it’s a leadership challenge then I’d say go for it for the sake of lib dems. So many of them are absolutely disgusted with Clegg.

  • Barry George 7th May '11 - 7:08pm

    Robert C

    I am personally embittered and extremely angry about the stupid, vindictive and short-sighted way some people make up their minds to vote.

    and

    Well now we know: no-one ever succeeded in politics overestimating the intelligence of some the British electorate.

    My God, the Lib Dems take a kicking at the polls and you blame the electorate!

    Not only does this show that you are still in complete denial, more importantly it shows utter contempt for the voter and that in itself justifies the voters’ utter contempt for the party. You do nothing but look foolish (and lose yet more supporters) by blaming the voter.

    Calling the voters ‘stupid’ is just about the most stupid thing a political party can do.

    Ditto blaming the Conservatives and Ditto blaming the Labour party.
    You can’t blame another party either for the choices you make in Government or the actions these other parties take against us. We are a mature political party and as such we should take full responsibility for failing to get our message across to the public.
    We should also accept that the public has given their opinion of our conduct in this coalition most clearly. Refuse to hear it at your peril.

    Accept full responsibility for the election and AV vote and don’t blame Joe public.

    The vote was an expression of anger for the choices we have made and Nick Clegg is focal point of that anger.

    The Choice is simple, ditch Clegg and start listening to the millions who used to vote Lib Dem but are now disgusted at the party for what can only be described as betrayal.

    On the other hand, you can always keep Clegg; Blame the voter for giving us a kicking and then blame the Conservatives and Labour for creating a scenario in which we are despised. That will go down well with the voter. It has clearly been the strategy up to now and it worked it treat on May the 5th, didn’t it?

    It is high time that the party took time to ‘reflect’ on these results and understand why the people voted so heavily against us…

    The simple answer is Nick Clegg.

  • @Barry

    Very well said

  • @Barry/@Jedibeeftrix

    Fraid to say @Robert C said something else interesting about the electorate’s voting behaviour…[They voted the way they did}…..

    Because they are justifiably angry about the economic mess left behind by the last government and the measures required to put it right and they have been manipulated by the media plus a nasty, rancid campaign funded by rich Tories to blame us for it. Pretty simple but totally regrettable

    So that’s it …. not one thought that it actually might be the behaviour of the Lib Dems in government that might just be something to do with it. Calling the voters stupid I agree is probably the most stupid thing to do – implying they are stupid by saying they are all capable of being manipulated and haven’t a brain of their own comes a close second.

    .

  • The strangest of things is that Lib Dems are not listening at all, when you read the articles and posts on LDV nothing is changing, you are still blaming anyone and everyone, so I will come back and read LDV in the hope of some change, but I don’t think I will bother posting until this time next year, when we can go through the recriminations and blame game again.

    It will be interesting to see how many councillors you will lose next year, and if you still fail to listen there is then 2014 to end the dream, 2012 will be without those who stayed in the hope of AV so maybe the losses will increase as those lose faith… October does not leave you much time to make an impact before the next LE, I have already said you cannot stop this process, you can slow it down and maybe survive if you withdraw from coalition, if you don’t, then sadly I think it is over for the Lib Dem party as we know it, if there is a split I expect to see a dozen or more defect to blue.

    Ah well good luck
    God bless

  • “I am personally embittered and extremely angry about the stupid, vindictive and short-sighted way some people make up their minds to vote. … no-one ever succeeded in politics overestimating the intelligence of some the [sic] British electorate.”

    Lovely response. You are mistaken if you think this was a vote against Liberal Democrats in some vindictive backlash. It is merely that the Liberal Democrats have lost their voters. No one voted for them. Labour and the Conservatives kept their voters. It is as simple as that.

    Who exactly did the Liberal Democrats think would vote for them this time around?

    1. Centre left voters who Clegg firmly told to shove off last year? Clegg clearly stated he was not and would never be leading a left leaning party. That’s goodbye to a huge chunk of those who voted Liberal Democrat in the mistaken belief they occupied a centre left position.

    2. Those young people, mainly students, who voted for them in the past because of the tuition fee policy. Whoops they have gone too.

    3. Right wing voters who already have their own laissez faire economics, small government party in the Conservatives? Er, why would they switch?

    4. Those who previously voted Liberal Democrat in defence against Conservatives in their area obtaining seats. Tactical voters were surely the most committed anti-Tories of the lot and were left wing. As already stated they were told to F* off by Clegg. So they have.

    5. Committed Liberal Democrats. It turns out there aren’t very many.

    The question now for Liberal Democrats is WHO is going to vote for you and why?

  • ROB SHEFFIELD 7th May '11 - 9:21pm

    Fantastic (IMHO) piece by the Lib Dem “norfolk blogger”:

    “Wake up and smell the coffee

    Yesterday, I made the point that I predicted the Lib Dem meltdown 12 months ago. So I’d like to summarise, without links, what my arguments were last year.

    1) Junior coalition partners always get punished without PR
    I made clear that we would be the Tories scapegoat, we’d take the flak, and the Tories would get off scot free. In that, I’ve been proved right. The argument people gave last year was that “If you believe in PR, then you believe in coalition”. Indeed I do believe in PR, and accept that this may lead to coalitions (but not in Scotland), but by having PR, the smaller party gets some protection, and a guarantee that they will not suffer electoral wipeout. That’s a prospect we are facing more and more, and delaying the inevitable for four more years (at which point we’d be several thousands councillors down, and many activists long gone), merely delays our recovery.

    2) We won’t get AV
    I said we wouldn’t, and we didn’t.

    3) People will no longer trust us
    Most of the things that made people want to vote for us, our concerns about raising VAT, our clear view that cuts shouldn’t be too fast so as to damage the recovery, and our opposition to tuition fees, have all been trashed. Taken with our opposition to Trident and new nuclear power, the things that really made people want to vote for us, have largely been abandoned. We need to forget all the spin about “75% of our manifesto pledges being in the coalition agreement”, if those 75% were the bottom 25%, not the top 25%.

    People voted for us because of the big marquee headline policies, not the ending of child detention. However, noble that might be, nobody has ever told me they voted Lib Dem because of their party’s pledge to do that.

    4) The Tories can’t be trusted
    I was told I was too tribal for suggesting it. Now even Vince Cable agrees.

    5) We didn’t need to go in to a coalition
    I made the point that a minority Tory government was viable and could work. See Scotland for evidence of this where the SNP obviously made a good fist of things. If it was an imperative to get the markets to see there was some stability, now we have avoided a Greece style meltdown, we can surely withdraw from the coalition ?

    In truth, the coalition is killing our party. We are going to loser activists, lose thousands more councillor, and will, by the time we are thrown in to oblivion in 2015, going to lack any ability to rebuild.

    Nick Clegg is a total liability. For every person I canvassed when I stood for election on Thursday who liked the coalition (usually Tories), I found 10 who didn’t, and Nick Clegg’s name is mud and he has no credibility with the public.

    For the sake of our party, we MUST end the coalition and Nick Clegg must go. “

  • Last post… sorry to go on but I’m very upset with Mr Clegg.

    I live in the so called ‘heartland’ of the Liberal Democrats… the South West. It was never a heartland. It is a Tory zone where the Liberal Democrats bridged the large gap between themselves and the Tories via borrowed votes. The South West will turn completely blue in the next election because those votes will no longer be available.

    There was no Liberal Democrat heartland except for the Orkney islands. It pains me more than I can say that Nick Clegg has destroyed any chance of holding back the Tory tide in my area. Cameron must be skipping with joy. There is no chance of Liberal Democrats recovering from this. If the governenent succeeds Cameron will ensure that his party get all the credit. I can already hear him sharpening those pre-election knives.

  • @Barry George

    Wow the first sensible post i have read on this site,

    Hopefully if more liberals like yourself who are in tune with reality and with the public, Can take on board the meaning of the local elections and AV.

    Hear what the nation is saying, then maybe, you can start to get your party back and it’s supporters.

    I think you will struggle though, with convincing the likes of Robert C, the hardcore defenders of the party and the coalition, who maybe better suited in reality with the Tories.

    I applaud you Barry George

  • dave thawley 7th May '11 - 11:29pm

    @Robert c

    Unlike you I can believe you have said what you have said. Unfortunately you are believing something which is distorted. Borrowing was nothing out of the ordinary until the banking crisis. Labour had then a decision. Let us go into a recession (a really big one) or do something. They borrowed to keep us going. I think where they went wrong was a few years before by deregulating the banks but the debt problem was the only sensible thing they could have done. I’m not a labour supporter by the way and I’ve been abusive to them more than once but what you are thinking is just a story (a convincing one at that) fabricated by the psychos and us for political point scoring. Have a look at this …
    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=206

  • Killer Queen is correct lots of people voted Lib Dem because of our policy on tuition fees and Nick Clegg talking about “new” kind of politics. These people are understandable upset that the Liberal Democrats broke their commitment on tuition fees and have changed their policy on the speed of deficit reduction.

    Moggy is right that during the Labour government we picked up ex-Labour supporters unhappy with the Labour government. There are also other supporters who support us because they see us as anti-Tory. Therefore working with the Tories is going to make lots of these people vote Labour. I think this explains why we lost more seats in the north than in the south.

    I agree with Rob Sheffield we were always going to be punished by the electorate because we entered a coalition. However I still believe it was in our interests to enter into a coalition with the Tories. I remember a comment from Ed Balls when talking about negotiating with the Liberal Democrats – “they had a list of what they wanted”. This gave me the impression that he thought we shouldn’t have asked Labour to agree to things that weren’t in their manifesto!

    I agree with Moggy to leave the coalition would destroy any remaining credibility we have. As peebee says, if we leave the coalition Cameron will call an early general election, and we will be slaughtered. We have to hope that by 2015 we will not be slaughtered.

    If there was an early general election we might be reduced to 6 MPs (which we had in 1970 and at other times before this); hopefully if the coalition lasts until 2015 we will have more than 20 (which we had in 1992) and that by 2020 we will have recovered from any reduction in our representation in the House of Commons.

    I think we are likely to continue to lose council seats with more losses in the north than in the south. I hope that those councillors who put out Focus’s every 6 weeks or less will hold their seats. We will have to work harder to keep each council seat. I expect that once we are no longer in government we will win lots of new council seats. We are in this for the long haul aren’t we?

  • Dunno if Nick reads this but, I would like to express my admiration for the mature politics shown by the lib dems since the election. Don’t listen to the short sighted people, the up swing in popularity will happen when the economy recovers. You can’t set your whole stall out for coalition government and then bunk at the first hurdle. Brave man.

  • Barry George 8th May '11 - 2:18am

    Amalric

    to leave the coalition would destroy any remaining credibility we have

    Does anybody outside the party actually believe we still have credibility ?

    , if we leave the coalition Cameron will call an early general election

    Which according to ALL opinion polls he would lose. Why would he commit political suicide by calling an election that he had no chance of winning ?

    We have to hope that by 2015 we will not be slaughtered.

    I wish that I shared your optimism but I fail to see how staying in the coalition with Clegg at the helm will lead to any other than a slaughter.

    If things go well for the Government then the Tories will take and get all the credit for it.

    If things go badly for the Government then the Liberals will be blamed by the Tories and the people.

    There is no happy end game for the Lib Dems. It’s all about damage limitation.

    Get out now whilst the Tories don’t have enough support in the nation to win a majority and by consequence prevent us from having to endure a painful thrashing at the election booth. This would give the party time to regroup and focus on regaining its integrity and political compass

    Or sit it out to see if the Conservatives do well enough to take all the credit and dump us like a bad date.

    There is no happy ever after for the party either way. The public will take a very long time to forgive us for allowing Thatcherism a new lease of life.

    Please don’t be fooled into believing that eventually the voter will see the light and come back to the party. This is a Conservative Government in the eyes of the electorate. Those who approve will vote Conservative. Those that don’t will vote Labour.

    As for the Lib Dems, there is an opportunity to claim back our identity. With one year of coalition Government our identity is destroyed.

    Of course the remaining and joining members will probably stay loyal but the wider public no longer have any reason to vote Lib Dem.

    The centre right is already far to crowded.. Nobody will hear us from the right and the left have been abandoned.

    So I vote to start the repair now and not in 2015 when there may not be much of a party left to repair . Clegg would have joined the Tories by then. His seat wouldn’t be safe today if there was an election and it can only get worse from here on in.

    The future of certain senior Lib Dems is secure. The future of the party is not.

    I think the choice is simple …

    Save the party or save Clegg.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th May '11 - 2:45am

    Amalric

    I agree with Moggy to leave the coalition would destroy any remaining credibility we have. As peebee says, if we leave the coalition Cameron will call an early general election, and we will be slaughtered. We have to hope that by 2015 we will not be slaughtered

    You can’t keep calling a general election because the last one gave a result you did not like. However, we do have to somehow get the message across we did not “jump into bed with the Tories” on a whim. Rather, it was because the combination of the way the people voted in 2010 and the electoral system to wich they gave their continuing support in 2011 left no alternative.

    If the people had wanted to bring down the current government, they should have voted against the electoral system which gave it to us. But they voted in favour of that electoral system.

    We have been ground between Labour lies which pretend there was some alternative available in 2010 other than the current arrangement, and Tory lies which most disgracefully completely misrepresent the electoral system that was on offer on Thursday. But those at the top of our party have made it far worse by the poor way they have presented our situation.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th May '11 - 2:58am

    Rob Sheffield

    People will no longer trust us
    Most of the things that made people want to vote for us, our concerns about raising VAT, our clear view that cuts shouldn’t be too fast so as to damage the recovery, and our opposition to tuition fees, have all been trashed.

    Yes, but why are we any more to blame for that than Labour? The Tories won the last general election. Not an absolute majority of seats, but they won enough seats so that even Labour and LibDem combined did not have a full majority. The British public have no right to complain because they’ve just voted to endorse the electoral system which twisted the Tory representation upwards and gave us that situation, and they’e just voted to endorse the “first past the post” principle, meaning the idea that whoever has the most vtes gets power, even if it’s well under half.

    It seems we are expected, with just 57 MPs out of over 600, to get through ALL our policy. How ridiculous is it that we are getting abused for not doing so? It ought to be so obvious that it’s a ridiculous criticism, so why can’t our leaders get that message across? I’m afraid, however, that remarks like “I think it is clear that we need to do more to show people in the party and beyond what we are doing in Government and, perhaps more importantly, why. Because we are achieving a great deal. The BBC estimates that we are implementing 75% of the policies of in our manifesto, compared to just 60% of the Conservative manifesto” just don’t help. It is just opening us up for attack. This is POOR leadership, they keep getting it wrong.

  • Old Codger Chris 8th May '11 - 3:08am

    I’m no great fan of Clegg or this government.

    But what would any of US have done following last year’s General Election? Coalition with Labour, with or without Gordon Brown? The Lib Dems would have been just as unpopular as they are now, even if Labour had won more votes and seats than the Tories – which, of course, they didn’t.

    Support a minority government on a vote by vote basis? A sure way to destabalise the country and cause an early election.

    Remain purists untainted by power or responsiblity?

    Of course certain mistakes have made matters worse for the party – and the country. But the party must learn from these mistakes – and learn some stickability.

  • Barry George 8th May '11 - 3:19am

    Matthew

    If the people had wanted to bring down the current government, they should have voted against the electoral system which gave it to us.

    I can see that there is an argument that could claim that voting yes to AV could prevent further one sided coalitions (I don’t agree but I accept that you do)

    However , I am intrigued to learn how voting yes to AV would have helped people “bring down the current government” ?

    Care to explain how that scenario could have happened ?

  • Old Codger Chris 8th May '11 - 10:13am

    Just watched this morning’s Andrew Marr Show. Is it just me, or did anyone else think Clegg’s performance was pretty good? George Osborne wasn’t bad either.

    Ed Milliband didn’t have much to say.

    And let’s have a little humility. Does anyone think Lib Dem enthusiasm for the Euro was a good policy? What about reducing the number of MPs to only 500, thus greatly reducing the ratio between payroll vote and backbenchers?

    No single party has a monopoly of sensible – or silly – ideas.

    We’ll have to wait and see whether last Thursday was an historic low point for the party, or a stage in continued decline.

  • The Tories have been expelled from Scotland; they hardly exist in Wales; in England they have been forced back into their heartlands and barely have a presence above the Trent. They came third in the Leicester South
    by- election. (The Lib Dems came second) The Tories didn’t get past the winning post at the last General Election. Despite their apologists in the media they are in a very, very weak position. They are absolutely dependent on the Lib Dems for their survival and need you to prop them up until they are able to deprive the Left of the fifty seats they need to pass the winning post. And when that time comes they’ll dump you agreement or no agreement. They are sharks and you are minnows. That’s why you must sack Clegg now, get out of the coalition and roast Cameron on the spit of Confidence and Supply. He is terrified at the prospect of having to go to the electorate at the moment. The Liberal Democrats brought their annihilation upon themselves by entering into their Molotov /Ribbentrop pact. Get out of it now. You may have lost 700 councillors for the next four years (Many to the Tories) but you might still be able to retain some of your MPs at the next General Election if you cross the House and join Labour now. Set up the equivalent of your 1922 Committee and act. It’s your only hope of regaining the respect of the electorate. And yes, I am going to say it —- I told you so!

  • correction: should read “Set up your equivalent of the 1922 committee and act.”

  • I can only support Rob Sheffield, Dave Thawley, and Barry George’s comments made above. Well said.

    In answer to @Old Codger Chris: “But what would any of US have done following last year’s General Election? Coalition with Labour, with or without Gordon Brown? The Lib Dems would have been just as unpopular as they are now, even if Labour had won more votes and seats than the Tories – which, of course, they didn’t. Support a minority government on a vote by vote basis? A sure way to destabalise the country and cause an early election. Remain purists untainted by power or responsiblity?”

    all I can say is it would have been better to force another election. The Tories in a minority government wouldn’t have been able to do what they’e doing now, all thanks to the Coalition. How would a minority government have “destablised the country” exactly any more than what is coming?

  • I would warn against too obsessive a focus on Nick Clegg. The root of the problem is not Nick Clegg, or any other politician, it is the coalition. While I have never had much time for Nick Clegg and consider he has led the party very badly, I cannot bring myself to believe that Chris Huhne, Simon Hughes, Tim Farron or anyone else could have presented propping up a Tory government in a significantly better light. Besides which, focus on personalities rather than bad policies, awful choices and rotten systems is dangerous because it obscures the real issues that we have to confront.

    What we, as a party, have to do right now is find an orderly, responsible and credible way of getting out of this terrible arrangement as fast as we can and leave enough time in opposition to build up our support and organisation for the next general election.

    Being mroe assertive is fine as far as it goes, but it will only go so far. Sooner or later we will have to make a stand and defy the Tories. As we should have done over student tuition fees and will absolutely have to do over the NHS.

    Just before the Autumn conference I was on the point of tearing up my membership card, and I would have done it if delegates hadn’t rejected the Health & Social Care Bill by an overwhelming margin. Therein lies the hope for the future. We are, at heart, a radical, liberal party of the centre left. And if we start behaving like one again, people will come back to us.

  • @Sesenco

    I agree with everything you say except in one respect. I think that Clegg is to your party now what Ramsay MacDonald is to ours: a name synonymous with betrayal. Ironically, Clegg also has become, like poor Gordon Brown, a leader to whom people close their minds the moment he starts speaking. If you are to re-establish yourselves as a national party the pre-requisite must be the removal of Clegg.

  • Sesenco, I agree with you whole-heartedly. Unlike you, I tore up my membership card after more than 30 years, because of the student fees broken pledge. My only area of divergance from your piece, is that I believe that this has been a real failure of leadership. The sucessfull leader must know where the soul of his or her party lies and how far it is possible to change that, before trying to take that party to a place it didn’t want to go. That surely is part of the art of leadership?

    I have in recent months become doubtful that the Lib Dems are any more a radical liberal refroming party of the centre left. If they are to become so again, then indeed they need to get out of the coalition now as painlessly as they can. To delay will simply reiforce the doubts in the public’s mind, that the party is anywhere near the left at all. With others like Caroline Lucas sounding like Liberal leaders that I recall when I joined, then maybe it’s time to ask whether Liberalism is safe with the Liberal Democrats?

  • I also see Clegg as a bit of a Blair figure – without the loss of thousands of innocent lies, of course. Like Blair he came into power on a crest of goodwill, with the public wanting him to stand his ground and use his moral compass. I believed in Blair up until Iraq. Then, after the Iraq lies, I never believed a word that come out of his mouth again.

    People like me felt comforted when the coalition was formed. I believed Clegg when he said he’d protect the NHS, the sick and disabled, higher education, etc. Sadly, he took my trust (and the trust of millions of centre-left, disillusioned Labour voters who you openly courted) and stomped on it, patting Cameron and Osborne on the back while their MPs shouted “more! more!”

    I will never forget that. I stopped listening to everything Labour ever said until Brown left. I listened exclusively to the LDs until Clegg decided his principles weren’t important. Like Labour in the Blair/Brown years, I won’t listen to the LDs ever again until you ditch Clegg and leave this nasty, Thatcherist government.

    And I’m no left-wing extremist, either. I’m a proud social democrat, believing we need both a strong private AND public sectors. I believe in the welfare state, the NHS, higher education, state schools, the environment/global warming, civil liberties, etc. My views are mainstream here in the North (and in Scotland and Wales).

    Millions of people like me care more about happiness, well-being, our health, the planet, etc. than we do about money or making a profit out of everything. You sold yourselves as having these same views. It’s a shame Clegg didn’t mean it.

  • Barry George 8th May '11 - 9:02pm

    I also see Clegg as a bit of a Blair figure – without the loss of thousands of innocent lies

    Interesting typo, if I didn’t know better I would swear it was a Freudian slip 🙂

  • Rick Donahue 8th May '11 - 10:59pm

    The only hope left for the party now is to do what Clegg ought to have done in the first place: refuse to work with the Tories any more, dump them, let them go it alone in a minority government and come crashing down. Labour won’t win an outright majority and a progressive alliance which will place the party back where it belongs on the political spectrum could yet save it, and see it rise to the pre-GE giddy heights in the polls we saw just over a year ago.

    Enough’s enough. We’ve been had. Don’t imagine for a second that Tory strategists didn’t foresee this anti-LD backlash 12 months ago. They played Nick Clegg and the party like a gazoo. They put the boot in, we get the flack. Nice.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th May '11 - 2:51am

    Barry George

    However , I am intrigued to learn how voting yes to AV would have helped people “bring down the current government” ?

    Care to explain how that scenario could have happened ?

    No, that’s not what I’m saying, I’m not suggesting a “Yes” vote would have brought down the government. But I am saying that a “No” vote was, if one applies logic, a vote FOR this government. This is firstly because it was the current electoral system that made this government the only possibility, and secondly the very idea of “First Past the Post” and the arguments used for it – that the biggest party should win even if it has less than half the votes – implies that Cameron should be Prime Minister and shouldn’t have to bend his policies to suit the feelings of the majorityy wh odid noty vote Conservative.

    A decent “Yes to AV” campaign would have used these lines to get people to see the logic of AV. To me, it is absolutely and completely illogical to vote “No to AV” and yet say the current government is illegitimate. To me, if you are a supporter of “First Past the Post”, by the very arguments you use for your system, the only possible criticism of Nick Clegg would be that he isn’t just sitting back and letting the Tories govern as they wish. An honest and logical pro-FPTP person would be be saying that as Cameron won the election to be Prime Minister First Past the Post, Clegg and the Liberal Democrats should not be intefering with his policies at all. So, anyone who says Clegg is bad for putting in the Tories and not doing more to change their policies, is, by logic, arguing against the FPTP principle, and so should be on the side of “Yes to AV”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th May '11 - 2:58am

    Squeedle

    I will never forget that. I stopped listening to everything Labour ever said until Brown left. I listened exclusively to the LDs until Clegg decided his principles weren’t important. Like Labour in the Blair/Brown years, I won’t listen to the LDs ever again until you ditch Clegg and leave this nasty, Thatcherist government.

    Yes, but what about the principle of democracy? You and I may not like it, but the current governent is WHAT THE PEOPLE VOTED FOR in May 2010. The argument “but a majority did not vote Conservative” has been DESTROYED by the decision of the people to vote “No” to AV. By that vote, the people of Britain have given a vote of confidence in the electoral system which made Cameron Prime Minister, and a vote of confidence in the “First Past the Post” principle, which says that Cameron should do what he likes because he has the most MPs.

  • Barry George 9th May '11 - 5:01am

    Matthew

    An honest and logical pro-FPTP person would be be saying that as Cameron won the election to be Prime Minister First Past the Post, Clegg and the Liberal Democrats should not be intefering with his policies at all.

    Correct me if I am wrong but we seem to have a different understanding of what ‘first past the post means’ ?

    in particular the meaning of the word ‘post’ . To my understanding, the ‘post’ that any party should get past is 326 MP’s , if you make it to that number then you can govern as you wish.

    The Tories FAILED to get 326 MP’s and by definition they did not make it to the post, never mind go past it. So it is incorrect to say that they won by FPTP

    The election in 2010 did not give the Tories the right to govern as they so choose. They failed to reach the target set by FPTP and the electorate only gave them the right to run as a minority government that would need to reach out to the rest of parliament to get support.

    As for the coalition, the Voter cannot be blamed in any way for that. It was a Lib Dem decision to interpret the failure of any party to make it past the post, as a sign that the people had authorised a coalition with the Tories. Quite an narcissistic interpretation considering the actual number of seats we won.

    That was a catastrophic misinterpretation of the election result. One that the party is paying dearly for.

    The electorate voted for a minority Conservative Government. Yet senior Lib Dems decided to place their own interpretation on the result and joined with the Tories to form a majority Government.

    Senior Lib Dems decided that the so called economic mess was so bad that they needed to form a stable Government. The people of this country did not make, nor were they consulted on this decision.

    In fact, it appears that a very large number of the public did not want it at all. So much so that Nick Clegg is probably the most unpopular man in the country right now.

    I understand that you are upset with the AV result. I agree that the NO campaign was vicious and that the YES campaign was very poorly run.

    However, the situation the party now finds itself in is entirely the parties fault. The low poll ratings, the atrocious election results, the terrible yes campaign, it is all self-created.

    Maybe next time there is an election, senior Lib Dems will decide not to place their own interpretation onto the results and assume that the country wanted a coalition.

    Maybe if the people actually believed that the economic crisis was so bad that it needed the Tories to go through the books with a machete then they would have given them 326 MP’s and told them to get on with it.

    They didn’t…

    This coalition is not the sign of the consequences of FPTP , It is a symbol of what happens when a party chooses to place its own interpretation on the votes of the people. It is a symbol of what happens when you abandon your manifesto and pledges (the reason why we got the votes in the first place) in favour of a ‘coalition agreement’ made behind closed doors , that the public had no say in and never voted for in the first place.

    We are paying the price for that decision now and we will continue to pay the price for a generation.

    The public perception of the Lib Dems as a party of betrayal is not entirely unfounded.

    The solution is not easy but as I have already said , now should be about damage limitation and rebuilding the party.The Tories cannot call any snap election because according to every poll they would not be the largest party, never mind win an outright majority.

    We have a window of opportunity, a time to reflect, a time to leave this coalition and to bring into question any senior Liberal member of this coalition and see if they are there actions show that they are fit for the party they represent.

    Nick Clegg certainly is not.

  • The main problem is that we have a dilemma between the logical party and the emotional electorate. When you mention the Pledge to the party they immediately start defending the policy. The ordinary people do not care what the pledge was about. Just the fact that is was broken. That they can no longer trust a man who had a powerful and simply message. “You can trust us”. Until you understand that for a proportion of the people trust is more important than policy you will continue to be punished without knowing why. You must do what it says on the tin.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th May '11 - 1:51pm

    Jim

    The strangest of things is that Lib Dems are not listening at all, when you read the articles and posts on LDV nothing is changing, you are still blaming anyone and everyone, so I will come back and read LDV in the hope of some change, but I don’t think I will bother posting until this time next year, when we can go through the recriminations and blame game again.

    Well, I have read posting after posting in the past year saying much the same, but NOT ONCE when I have asked “OK, what should we have done then?” have I got a workable response. The only semi-realistic response I ever get is the “supply and confidence” one, which as I have repeatedly pointed out actually means voting for the Tory budget i.e. the cuts (‘supply”), and for every other Tory policy they or Labour wish to embarrass us into supporting by labelling it a matter of confidence (“confidence”). Apart from that all I get is abuse on the supposition that I am some sort of Clegg loyalist, whereas there is probably not a more consistent opponent of Clegg within the party who regularly posts here than me.

    So I say, it is people like Jim who are not listening. To make it worse, many of these people said they would vote “No” to AV to “punish Clegg”, which is so ridiculous I find it hard to counter them and not get my posts rejected for rudeness. Essentially, the FPTP principle is that the biggest should win even if they don’t have a 50% support. Well, if that;s what you believe, you should be logic be a Cameron supporter, because he did win the most votes. If you think despite that he should not have all power, you should be an opponent of FPTP. Voting “No” to punish Clegg for his weakness in the coalition is as contradictory as voting BNP to oppose racism.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th May '11 - 1:58pm

    Barry George

    Correct me if I am wrong but we seem to have a different understanding of what ‘first past the post means’ ?

    in particular the meaning of the word ‘post’ . To my understanding, the ‘post’ that any party should get past is 326 MP’s , if you make it to that number then you can govern as you wish.

    The Tories FAILED to get 326 MP’s and by definition they did not make it to the post, never mind go past it. So it is incorrect to say that they won by FPTP.

    I am using the phrase “First Past the Post” in the way it has been used to describe electoral systems. I fully agree with you that it is a very bad and misleading piece of terminology, but it has become established. When I voted in the referendum on Thursday, the ballot paper used the word “First Past the Post” to refer to the current electoral system. Despite this, I did not vote “No” on the grounds that “First Past the Post” ought to there is a winning post of 50%. If FPTP means “biggest wins all, even if he has well under half the votes” when it comes to choosing MPs, I use it to mean the same when it comes to choosing PMs.

  • Matthew Huntbach
    “To make it worse, many of these people said they would vote “No” to AV to “punish Clegg”, which is so ridiculous ”

    I will brace myself for the !!*!* reply 🙂

    A lot of people voted no to AV to punish Clegg not because of the coalition but because they believe that the price for the AV vote was the breaking of the pledge. And just as you do not give a child the thing he has lied to obtain people did not give him AV. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people cut of their noses because they feared what lesson politicians would take from any success Nick achieved in the vote.

  • Of course we still have credibility we received 15% of the vote. I thought this was better than the bad days of 1988-89, but I was wrong, however it is better than 1980!

    Barry George is correct that according to the opinion polls the Conservative would lose a General Election if held today. If we left the Coalition and supported a minority Conservative Government with confidence and supply, we would be voting for Tory cuts and deficit reduction without getting any of our policies implemented. I believe we should be in politics to get as many of our policies implemented as possible.

    Providing confidence and supply would still mean our poll rating would continue to fall and over time the Conservative rating may increase. Therefore if we left the Coalition there may not be an election immediately but we could have an early election in 2012, we need to stay in the Coalition. Once the Fixed Parliaments Act is passed we may wish to consider our position, but it still seems likely we will get more of our policies implement in coalition with the Conservatives than any other option in this Parliament.

  • Barry George 10th May '11 - 9:45pm

    Amalric

    Of course we still have credibility we received 15% of the vote.

    Partly because of the excellent work done by Lib Dem Councillors at a local level, people vote differently at a local election then they do at a national election. The latest projected percent of the vote at a national level is 8% which is nearly half what we got at the local election.

    (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/3562 )

    Personally I believe that we currently would receive about 10 % of the vote in a general election. In other words 9 out of 10 people would not vote Lib Dem. I guess you can argue that we still have credibility with the 1 in 10 that would still give us their vote but there is no doubt that for the majority of voters our credibility has gone.

    If we left the Coalition and supported a minority Conservative Government with confidence and supply, we would be voting for Tory cuts and deficit reduction without getting any of our policies implemented.

    The whole point of leaving the coalition is that we could withhold our support unless we received the concessions we demanded. If the Tories refused our demands then they are free to look elsewhere for the required votes to pass legislation. I wish them luck with that…

    If they couldn’t find enough support from other parties then they would find themselves fighting a general election that they would lose. Its bluff and double bluff, it is all about who blinks first.

    The Tories know that the last thing we want right now is an election. It is time to realise that the Tories feel the same way and they have more to lose than we do.I have absolutely no doubt that the Tories would agree to any reasonable demand made by us rather than have to face the electorate again. They would look weak, they don’t have the support and they would lose.

    And the bonus is that by sticking to our political compass and our principles (even shock horror, our manifesto) our credibility will start to recover.

    Providing confidence and supply would still mean our poll rating would continue to fall and over time

    I disagree, 9 out of 10 people would not vote Lib Dem right now. The floating left voter, the students, the people who voted for us to keep out the Tories. They have already left, they are long gone. What we are left with is a tiny group of core voters (including large numbers of the orange book brigade) who will remain loyal to the end. So loyal that they have yet to realise that the wider public has stopped listening and stopped caring about the Lib Dems entirely. We betrayed them and by doing so we have lost them.

    Our poll ratings wouldn’t get any worse if Clegg decided to shoot every first born child in the country.We are already broken as a party and things cannot get any worse, not poll wise anyway…

    The problem is that the only Lib Dem Voices we hear are the ones who thought it was right to enter the coalition and believe that staying in the coalition is the right thing. That’s your undying 10 % . Everyone else has already left the party and gone home so the consensus of the loyal 10% is that they should remain loyal. Wow , big surprise eh !

    The other 90 % won’t touch us with a barge pole , not that anyone loyal is actually listening.

    There is zero possibility of regaining our support whilst being in a coalition with the Tories. It does not matter how well the economy does or even if we got 100 % of our manifesto through parliament. It has nothing to do with how well we communicate or not. The Tories will get the credit because in the eyes of the public this is a Tory Government.

    By all means stay loyal, that’s commendable, but please don’t kid yourself that there is a magic formula that will bring back the voters.

    The only thing that will make people vote for us again is to become an honest, independent party that severs all ties with the Conservatives and comes back home to the centre left where it belongs.

    Until that day, whether it is this year or 2015. Our poll ratings will remain at rock bottom and no amount of policy or spin will change that.

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