Nick Clegg’s press conference: A new policy, looking ahead to an “independent, liberal” manifesto, Iraq, leadership and Smarties

Nick Clegg Q&A 19I promised you a bit more from Nick Clegg’s  monthly press conference this morning. Overnight, he had released his opening statement, but there was a surprise to come – a shiny new policy.  Now, obviously, that has to come to Conference so it’s not set in stone, but I suspect it will get a favourable hearing.

From cradle to college

Basically, all early years and school education funding, including the Pupil Premium, will be ring-fenced. This, says Nick, will give children the best start in life as Andrew Sparrow reported from the Guardian’s Live Blog:

He says children start learning from the moment they are born.

The government has invested in early years, he says, because if a child starts behind, it stays behind.

He wants the education system to start early, and to keep children engaged all the way through.

The Lib Dems would ring-fence the full education budget, covering the years two to 19, he says.

You can watch him do it here:

Iraq

Nick didn’t waste much time before reminding people who had supported the 2003 invasion an who had opposed it:

The one thing which has no force at all is for him to claim that what is going on in Iraq now kind of would have happened anyway even if the invasion of Iraq had not happened, I think is a completely pointless and rather academic attempt to sort of airbrush out what has happened 11 years ago and somehow pretend it’s got no connection with what is happening today.

As you know, unlike the Conservatives and the Labour party who were united at the time – many Conservatives seem to forget this – in supporting a headlong rush to war, we were the only party of the mainstream parties to say ‘no, we shouldn’t go to war’. My own view is that the legal basis for having gone to war in the first place remains extremely dubious to put it politely. And I think it is just completely pointless to try to reorder the chronology of things and say ‘oh, it would be just as bad now if we hadn’t invaded’.

On future action, he said that we wouldn’t get involved militarily but we wouldn’t stand in the way of the Americans. I’m hoping he’s listening to Paddy…

Silly questions

I guess you can’t really guard against journalists asking daft questions. Nick will often say liberal rather than Liberal Democrat which does occasionally irritate. One journalist asked him if he was rebranding the party. His answer was interesting. He said he wasn’t changing the name (as though he could) but he’d always thought of himself as coming form the liberal strand of politics.

Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail sounded like he had his column written before he even got there. He came out with a line about Nick looking like a spat-out Smartie. Like you would spit out a Smartie. Nick said he had read enough of Letts’ columns so was sufficiently thick-skinned – and he had more appetite for being in Government.

Coalitions past and future

There were the usual questions about red lines (we’re sensibly not pre-announcing them), confidence and supply (no thanks) and his leadership. His answer on the latter shows that he needs to understand that the party was happy to enter the Coalition. Where some people, probably all of us at some point or another, have a problem is on the things that we didn’t vote for in the Coalition Agreement like secret courts and NHS reform. He could, though, have made a virtue of the fact that our party is a democratic one. I think that’s probably too much to expect of any leader who basically just wants us to do what the hell he says. Liberal Democrats aren’t known for being terribly good at being led. Nick talked about the “interminable” meetings we had as a party in agreeing to the Coalition. Perhaps not the most diplomatic way of putting it. He also said that you wouldn’t be a good leader if you didn’t take decisions that some people opposed.

Reforming the system

The Silk 2 recommendations for further Welsh devolution would make it into the manifesto. He also seemed to be a bit non-committal on Lords reform. There is a divergence of views in the party. There are those people who thinks he shouldn’t have bothered with it this time because nobody cares and those who are annoyed that it didn’t go through when we had the chance. Wishing the next generation of Lords reformers well is not the place I’d have liked to see him. I want him to be full of fire and talking about change – and making it very clear who stopped him from doing it last time.

 Piecing the bits together

The Federal Policy Committee isn’t allowed to tell us very much about what it does, although Mark Pack has talked a little bit about the pre-manifesto deliberations here.  I’ve always said to politicians when they’ve talked about investing in education that it’s all very well to do that but if kids don’t have enough food in their tummies or somewhere halfway decent to live with space to do their homework, then they are still disadvantaged. Nick’s already talked about investing in building many more new houses and he’s delivering on free school meals. While those are welcome steps, the manifesto will have to do more to help the poor and the vulnerable who are still pretty disadvantaged in many ways by the institutions and policies of government. I haven’t yet heard an idea or combination of ideas that makes me feel hopeful that we are seriously going to tackle poverty.

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

Read more by or more about , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

54 Comments

  • Technical Ephemera 16th Jun '14 - 8:25pm

    At the risk of causing unnecessary trouble – does nobody here see the problem with Nick Clegg making promises on education?

  • @Technical Ephemera: Are the words on education a necessary and crucial part of your question, or could they just as well be left out?

  • Stephen Hesketh 16th Jun '14 - 8:40pm

    @ Technical Ephemera – No certainly not. It is probably better that he sticks to policy areas in which no one believes him already.

  • “As you know, unlike the Conservatives and the Labour party who were united at the time – many Conservatives seem to forget this – in supporting a headlong rush to war, we were the only party of the mainstream parties to say ‘no, we shouldn’t go to war’. My own view is that the legal basis for having gone to war in the first place remains extremely dubious to put it politely. And I think it is just completely pointless to try to reorder the chronology of things and say ‘oh, it would be just as bad now if we hadn’t invaded’.”

    He is deliberately conflating two separate and completely unrelated issues. The first issue is the legality of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The second issue is the likelihood that going to war in 2003 would lead to a better outcome than if we didn’t go to war. The current events are arguably related to this latter point (but it is a highly contentious idea – who is capable of predicting what is going to happen eleven years after a course of events?) but completely unrelated to the question about legality. If the current events are related to the 2003 invasion then the connection is entirely geo-political and not legal. The ISIS militants didn’t set about their murderous endeavour because of an issue about the ‘legality’ of an invasion in 2003.

    The discussion about intervening in the current situation is based around the likelihood of producing a desirable outcome, or whether it would worsen the situation, and if it is worth the material and human cost. Clegg deliberately fails to engage with the substance of the debate and tries to claim the moral high ground on the basis of the (disputed) legality of a conflict eleven years ago. I find this level of political discourse, on such a serious issue, offensive.

  • Jonathan Pile 16th Jun '14 - 8:55pm

    Good article Caron
    I note too on Nick Clegg’s incessant calling the party Liberal instead of Liberal Democrat – like he is airbrushing the 1980’s and 1990’s – the SDP and Alliance years – it’s insulting to Both Liberals and Social Democrats and what gives him the right to define our political philosophy just to follow his shift to the centre right project. the parallel with Tony Blair is striking and doesn’t go un-noticed by the voters . Why not use the term new liberal and have done with it. Also why ring fence a child’s education to 19 years and then consign them to a lifetime of debt. Too little , too late.
    # libdemfightback

  • Caron says — ” Nick will often say liberal rather than Liberal Democrat which does occasionally irritate. One journalist asked him if he was rebranding the party. His answer was interesting. He said he wasn’t changing the name (as though he could) but he’d always thought of himself as coming form the liberal strand of politics.”

    A previous leader of the party wanted to change the name of the party to “The Democrats”.

    Paddy Ashdown now sometimes talks a lot of foolishness about Nick Clegg being an adequate leader. But by and large we all liked Paddy when he was leader . By and large we do not all like, respect or even listen to Clegg as leader. Paddy was wrong about changing the name and to give him credit has since admitted that it was one of his biggest mistakes. Talking Nick Clegg out of resigning as leader the weekend after the wholesale loss of our councillors and MEPs will probably be up there amongs that list of Paddy’s biggest mistakes. But there is still time to put that right.

  • “I’ve always said to politicians when they’ve talked about investing in education that it’s all very well to do that but if kids don’t have enough food in their tummies or somewhere halfway decent to live with space to do their homework, then they are still disadvantaged”

    So true Caron, and sadly the inner Cleggites enthuse with the tory view that the route out of poverty is off benefits and into work – but they personally lead such out of touch lives they seem unable to grasp very many people in work are in poverty.

  • John: “But by and large we all liked Paddy when he was leader”

    I think you’ll find a large swathe of the party likes Nick Clegg.

    And I can remember people seething about Paddy cosying up to Tony Blair.

  • “… there was a surprise to come – a shiny new policy.”

    That the party won’t actually cut education spending? Wow.

  • Some of us wish that we could airbrush away the sdp. I never understand this rose-tinted glasses view of what became just a right wing socially conservative labour-ism!
    Liberal Party sounds right to me, but maybe after 2015…

  • Stuart Mitchell 16th Jun '14 - 10:22pm

    “the Conservatives and the Labour party who were united at the time – many Conservatives seem to forget this – in supporting a headlong rush to war”

    Typical Clegg – complaining about the airbrushing of history, then in his very next sentence airbrushing out the 139 Labour MPs and 15 Tories who did in fact vote against the war.

    He’s right to say that it’s pointless to speculate on whether things would be as bad without the war – however it’s just as pointless to speculate on whether things would have been better, but that’s not stopping Lib Dems doing it. It’s generally assumed that letting Saddam stay in power might have been the lesser of two evils. But that would only have been the case if (a) Saddam had not carried on slaughtering people by the tens of thousands, as he’d done in the ’90s, and (b) Iraq had not gone the same way as Syria during the Arab Spring. The “let a brutal dictator keep things in check” strategy has singularly failed in Syria.

    Clegg did have some important things to say about the potential threats to people in Britain as a result of all this, but that isn’t covered in this article.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 16th Jun '14 - 10:34pm

    John Tilley, have you forgotten Cix: Joint Statement? Really? Yes, we adored Paddy, but he drove us mad at times. That’s what leaders do.

  • Paul Weller – Of course Paddy was saved from the consequences of his secret wish by the Blair landslide. Nick has sadly got his wish.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jun '14 - 11:07pm

    I’ll give Nick credit for challenging China today, but what do we do about the asset boom engineered by the central banks? There’s little justification for this because no liberal should endorse state intervention to make the rich richer.

    House prices shooting through the roof.

    Check out the FTSE, I wonder what is going to happen next:

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5EFTSE#symbol=%5EFTSE;range=5y

  • Paul Walter wrote:

    “I think you’ll find a large swathe of the party likes Nick Clegg.”

    I don’t doubt you. But is that sufficient reason to stand by and let him destroy the party?

    Caron Lindsay wrote:

    “Yes, we adored Paddy, but he drove us mad at times. That’s what leaders do.”

    The key thing to remember about Paddy is that there was never any serious opposition to his leadership.

  • Caron, I always used to say “Leaders. They come just in time, but stay just too long.” Sadly, I am going to have to change that for Nick. 🙁

  • Technical Ephemera 17th Jun '14 - 12:09am

    Well in defence of Nick Clegg at least he is prepared to call out the Chinese government on human rights. The problem is you have chosen to enthusiastically support the actions of disgusting human beings like Michael Fallon.

    “Downing Street declined to endorse the remarks of the deputy prime minister as the Tory business minister Michael Fallon said that human rights should not be allowed to “get in the way” of growing trade links.” (Guardian).

  • @Johnathan Pile

    ‘Also why ring fence a child’s education to 19 years and then consign them to a lifetime of debt. ‘

    One could well ask, why offer free university education, when the majority of pupils will have been allowed to fall behind by a biassed and underfunded primary and secondary schooling system?

    In my opinion, the focus on early years education is the better policy. Offering free university education to a population which lacks the opportunity to meet the requirements of it seems almost mocking. It certainly served to entrench the old elites, anyway.

  • I agree with Caron “I’ve always said to politicians when they’ve talked about investing in education that it’s all very well to do that but if kids don’t have enough food in their tummies or somewhere halfway decent to live with space to do their homework, then they are still disadvantaged … the manifesto will have to do more to help the poor and the vulnerable who are still pretty disadvantaged in many ways by the institutions and policies of government. I haven’t yet heard an idea or combination of ideas that makes me feel hopeful that we are seriously going to tackle poverty.”

    I worry that the “Cleggites” believe that the solution to giving people opportunities is their education and improving their social condition, well-being and freedom to make their own choices without being coerced by the DWB are not included.

    I am concerned if Nick thinks being a good leader means he should make decisions that are opposed by lots of Lib Dem members (maybe that wasn’t what he implied).

  • Bill Le Breton 17th Jun '14 - 6:08am

    Michael BG, it’s called your ‘Clause 4Moment’. It is frightfully important in the Westminster Village. You are not really grown up as a leader until you have undergone that rite of passage at least once a year. All leaders are hard men. I am a hard man. My party? Look how I lead them. It is part of being a thoroughly modern Establishment Man.

  • Richard Harris 17th Jun '14 - 6:26am

    Did Clegg make it clear whether the promise on education was a cast iron commitment (dare I use the word “pledge”) or just an aspiration that will form part of the compromise of coalition? The former, of course, won’t be believed, and the latter is meaningless. You need a new figurehead because nobody will listen to Clegg.

  • Paul Walter And Caron Lindsay

    I remember seething about some of the things Paddy did and said as leader, only too well.
    In fact with the ghost of Blair haunting us in the newspapers this week in another bloodlust desire to invade Iraq again I remember it as if it were yesterday. And weren’t we right to seethe at his cosying up to Blair?

    I wrote reviews of all three volumes of Paddy Ashdown’s autobiography and still have the notes I made at the time. I stand by everything I said on the occasions when he was wrong. His efforts to change the name of the party to “The Democrats” was one of his dafter ideas. But he still managed to maintain the respect, admiration and the affection of members of then party.

    The membership of the party in the early 1990s was over 100,000, It is less than a third of that after seven years of Clegg.
    9 lost deposits in parliamentary byelections under Clegg: for those to not old enough to remember we used to win such byelections with Paddy as leader.
    Paddy used to turn up at byelections and win or even if we knew we were not going to win; unlike Clegg who presumably still thinks Newark is something to do with the story of Noah.

    As leader’s go Paddy Ashdown was always exemplary. I cannot even seriously think of Clegg as being in the same game.
    Clegg seems to think that politics involves behaving like an ineffectual character in a Richard Curtis romantic comedy.

    The irony in all this is that Paddy whom the party should be using to our maximum benefit as an elder statesman with real world experience is now being wheeled into the TV studios to get Clegg out of one mess after another.

  • Technical Ephemera 17th Jun ’14 – 12:09am
    “……………..at least he is prepared to call out the Chinese government on human rights. ”

    If you want to defend Clegg on China you have first to explain why he was only too keen to sign up to a Chinese State Company being given illegal subsidies from the UK for the New nuclear power station at Hinkley C .

    You might like to recall that this is against Liberal Democrat policy (even the appallingly revised policy slipped through last autumn on the false pretence that there would be no subsidy). It even goes beyond the Coalition Agreement.

    But of course the Coalitiom Agreement has been a one way street in which everything the Tories wanted has been delivered, whilst every clause that safeguarded Liberal Democrat policy has ended up in the gutter.

  • Tony Dawson 17th Jun '14 - 8:10am

    I am intrigued at Caron’s phrase:

    “Shiny new policy”

    Mr Sheen’s new thoughts discussed, presumably, with the kids at breakfast and with David Laws, are not a policy. They sound, actually, more like an act of pure desperation, cobbled together hastily as a Pakamac to help face the Tsunami. When did the Parliamentary Party, the Federal Executive or the Federal Policy Committee agree that mid-June 2014 was the time that Nick Clegg would start ‘bouncing’ the next General Election manifesto with his personal ramblings?

    The sad truth is that nothing from Nick Clegg is ever ‘shiny’ or going to be again. Not even if buffed-up’ with a Pledge. 🙁

  • Jonathan Pile 17th Jun '14 - 9:33am

    The way that Nick Clegg and his acolytes are bunkered down and are hijacking the manifesto makes it clear that even after 2015 – whatever shape the party is in, they have no intention of letting go and will continue on their project of creating a new liberal – libertarian centre party at whatever cost to liberal democracy. The fact is – they don’t want past voters or exparty members back and would be content to be long term alliance with the conservatives or as perpetual power brokers of the centre . The party should reject both ideas and return to our principles while we still have a party .
    http://www.libdemfightback.yolasite.com

  • Why does the parliamentary party seemingly do nothing about the overall situation. Why is it so apparently inept and happy to see the party self destruct/

  • Peter Watson 17th Jun '14 - 10:44am

    @theakes “Why does the parliamentary party seemingly do nothing about the overall situation. Why is it so apparently inept and happy to see the party self destruct?”
    Perhaps, now that the Coalition’s electoral reform means we know the date of the next election, they have returned to their constituencies to prepare. Also, many who fear that the incumbency bonus might not cancel out Clegg’s toxicity may already be planning for life after the Commons, and for some that might mean not rocking the boat if the leader decides who gets jobs in the Party, who goes to the House of Lords, etc.

  • Peter Chegwyn 17th Jun '14 - 10:58am

    One reason why the parliamentary party ‘seemingly do nothing’ is because many MPs know they will be ex-MPs after the next election… and Nick Clegg has greater powers of patronage than any other Liberal Leader in modern times. Message from the Whips, if you want a seat in the Lords, don’t upset Nick.

  • Why does the parliamentary party seemingly do nothing about the overall situation

    Because deposing Clegg would mean one of them having to drink deep from the poisoned chalice. Who in their right mind would want to lead the Liberal Democrats right now?

  • Jonathan Pile 17th Jun '14 - 11:27am

    @ T-J
    Yes I agree the importance of primary and secondary education but not at the expense of higher education. We ought to have been the party of education and defended teachers, pupils and students from the Goves of this world.
    I would like to see a clipping of ofsteds wings and a support of exam achievement and comprehensive education

  • Theres an interesting post on Labour List about Labour wasting the last week talking to themselves about things that wont be major issues next May. With a few words changed we could put it up on LDV. While we waste time & energy on the latest Coup Plot The General Elction creeps ever nearer.
    There was The Oakshott Petition, that flopped.
    24 Local Parties have met, 8 of those All-Member meetings & just 2 voted to force a Leadership Election. How many more weeks are we going to waste on this ?

  • The message is: too many parents are no good and we’d rather see them working than looking after their own children

    It’s the ‘technocrat’ strain in the Liberal Democrats: set up a committee of experts and do whatever they recommend. all questions have a Right Answer if only you consider the evidence.

    Anyway, you have to get children away from their parents as soon as possible. The parents might be religious, and you don’t want them passing that on to the children.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jun '14 - 1:50pm

    Caron Lindsay

    I guess you can’t really guard against journalists asking daft questions. Nick will often say liberal rather than Liberal Democrat which does occasionally irritate.

    Back in the 1990s, if you did that you’d be suspected of being one of those bearded sandalled lefties who hadn’t really accepted the party “modernising” (i.e. becoming more right wing and more leader-oriented) when it merged with the SDP. There was a big move from the “modernisers” to get the party name shortened to just “Democrats” in order that the L-word should disappear.

    Now, however, it seems in party terms the L-word is used to mean the exact opposite of what it was thought to mean then.

    The process seems to have been to ban use of the word for long enough for people to forget what it used to mean in order to be able to revive it to mean something completely different, but give it credibility by falsely linking it to the historical background of the party.

  • Peter Watson 17th Jun '14 - 1:51pm

    @Helen Tedcastle “It is the case that ‘evidence’ shows that children who are ‘intervened’ on early with books, activities designed to stimulate, do better in the long run at school”
    I notice that it is reported in a number of places (e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/jun/17/schools-fine-parents-ofsted-michael-wilshaw), “Sir Michael Wilshaw called for headteachers to be given the authority to impose financial penalties on parents who allow homework to be left undone, miss parents’ evenings or fail to read with their children.”
    This is the sort of issue that leaves me genuinely unsure of my position (similar to fines for term-time holidays, etc.). I’m uncomfortable with the illiberal nature of compelling parents to behave in a particular way, but the intention behind it is to make parents do the “right thing”. Is there a limit to what can be achieved by simply educating parents? Do we need more stick and less carrot? Is it a good thing (the greater good?) to force somebody to do a good thing?

  • Peter Watson 17th Jun '14 - 1:53pm

    @paul barker “There was The Oakshott Petition, that flopped.”
    Have you produced evidence to support your accusation that Oakeshott was behind the LibDems4Change website? I’ve asked before, but maybe I missed your reply.

  • Shaun Cunningham 17th Jun '14 - 4:21pm

    Latest poll from ICM Guardian.

    No matter what Nick comes up with there’s the slight problem with the electorate.

    Labour retakes the lead, whilst the Lib Dems hit a record equalling low with ICM in this parliament.

    Lord Ashscroft will be publishing his polling in the Lib Dem/Con marginals will be published at 11am on Thursday, if they are equally grim for the Lib Dems, then coupled with this polling, then Nick Clegg’s position may become untenable very shortly. Will Lib Dem MPs remove their leader? Nothing quite focuses the mind than the possibility that you might lose your job soon.

    http://www1.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2014/06/17/the-icm-poll-for-the-guardian-is-out/

  • Which currently held Lib Dem constituencies are not marginal at this point?

  • @Shaun Cunningham

    I note you miss the part in the same poll that gives Miliband a worse approval rating than Nick. I won’t for one second deny that Nick is far from a popular figure, but if Labour can be in the lead with the most unpopular leader then surely that says there is more to our current problems than Nick?

  • Shaun Cunningham 17th Jun '14 - 8:29pm

    ATF

    Sorry… The answer to your question is NO. You fail to grasp the scale of the problem. There’s only one solution which is for Nick to place the party interests before his. Labour will fail for the same reason we will fail. Miliband like Nick is political baggage. The electorate will not vote for a leader who in their eyes doesn’t have the charactistics they feel comfortable with.

  • Chris Manners 17th Jun '14 - 8:47pm

    Shaun, won’t a lot of the defeated MPs get peerages?

  • So now paul barker tells us that ordinary memberls in local parties voting for a leadership election are wasting their time. An interesting view of democracy within the party. But as I have commented before there seems to be a fundamental failure by paul barker to understand what is a rather simple constitutional provision.

    It does not matter how many local parties’ executives deny their members a meeting to vote on the issue. Because there is still provision for ordinary members to require a meeting to be held. An executive committee can delay such a meeting perhaps.
    It does not matter how many local parties who have had a meeting have voted against — that is not a factor in the constitutional provision — unless of course the Number reaches the point of being one more than the total minus 75. We are not anywhere near that point.

    It is really quite easy paul barker — either a total of 75 local parties reach such a decision at a general meeting, or they do not.

    It is not a race, it is not a simple majority of local parties. You need to get clear in your mind that your desired outcome is one thing , the facts are something else. Please try not to confuse them.

    If you want to draw any conclusion from your statement that there has been some sort of discussion in 28 local parties it is that this is a significant symptom of widespread disatisfaction with the present leader. As far as I am aware this is the first time ever in the history of the party that a leader is so unpopular that this constitutional provision is even being formally discussed at local level.

  • Helen Tedcastle — thank you for making this point —
    ” I am very uneasy with the way that politicians like Nick Clegg and Liz Truss think that the state should intervene educationally with children as young as two. ”

    It seems very odd that Clegg who follows a sub-Thatcherite policy of rolling back the state in so many other areas thinks that the state should be rushing in to grab our children as soon as they reach the age of two.

    In Germany children are not required to start school until they are much older. I am not aware of any educational or societal crisis in Germany resulting from this.
    Maybe we need those extra years in this country so that the children can be indoctrinated with Mr Gove’s “British values” whatever they are.

  • Paul In Wokingham 17th Jun '14 - 10:20pm

    @Peter Chegwyn – I may have misunderstood your comment, but are you saying that some of our MPs are sitting on their hands at the present in the hope of sitting on a red bench in the future? They know that inaction will lead to disaster for the party but at least they’ll get a per diem?

  • Technical Ephemera 17th Jun '14 - 11:17pm

    @ATF

    The figure is approval rating, not popularity. In fact it is the answer to the question – is the person doing a good job or a bad job. The media gets the two confused, but consider that technically it would be possible to be both popular and have a low approval rating.

    You cannot say Miliband is more or less popular than Clegg based on this poll.

  • @Shaun Cunnigham

    Nope, I do grasp it . The election results since 2010 are quite clear.

    But beyond Nick going you have no plan. Come up with a plan, or even just a strategy, of what you want to happen after Nick goes and I’ll listen more. Any such plan would have to factor in all of the cons as well – as it often seems that those who support your view don’t think there will be any. For one, no one else seems to want to be leader – even in the situation we are in no one is putting themselves forward. Are they not putting themselves ahead of the party as well? Also, do we stay in the government? Would the members or the new leader decide?

    If Labour can lead a poll with 36% but have the most unpopular leader then there is far, far more going on with the party’s current standing than just our current leader. Nick going is only a short term semi-solution to a far larger problem.

    I don’t want my party to be at 10% on the polls either and I care deeply about its future, that’s why I firmly believe that calls to solely remove Nick are simply not enough. As it stands there is not even agreement between those who want to Nick to go about what happens next, so why should a leader with the support of our MPs and (by the only figures we have), with the majority of members of the party not wanting an election and no current, realistic alternative to his leadership decide to step-down?

    Come back with plans about what happens after Nick goes and would carry support of over 50% of the party and you’re in business. Until then it is a movement with no cohesion bar one objective.

  • @Technical Ephemera

    I happily stand corrected, though I think that might even be worse for Miliband. For more people to approve of/think that the two leaders in an unpopular government are doing a better job, yikes.

    Also, happy to say it is firmly within the margin of error as well. Nick could indeed be lower than Miliband.

  • Peter Chegwyn 18th Jun '14 - 1:32am

    @Paul in Wokingham. No. you haven’t misunderstood my point. I am indeed ‘saying that some of our MPs are sitting on their hands at the present in the hope of sitting on a red bench in the future?’. One of our most senior parliamentarians said exactly the same to me last week.

  • @ ATF – “But beyond Nick going you have no plan. Come up with a plan, or even just a strategy, of what you want to happen after Nick goes and I’ll listen more”

    Maybe it is just me, but as a liberal I find this demand strange. Shouldn’t a new plan be agreed by the party? Wouldn’t a new leader want to have some influence over the new plan? I know I would like a new leader and for us to stay in the Coalition government until the result of the general election and a new government is formed, but I know there are some who disagree.

    Next ATF will be saying that those who wished Nick Clegg to be replaced as leader should have organised a caucus to agree a replacement candidate and a programme of reform for the party rather than just calling for him to resign and because he isn’t, calling for a leadership election, which is much more democratic and doesn’t impose a particular candidate and view on the party.

    What I haven’t heard from those who don’t want there to be a leadership election is why they believe that Nick Clegg can get the public to listen to him (they say we should have different people speaking on TV for us, which isn’t going to work for the leaders debates). They don’t say why they believe that Nick Clegg can motivate the disillusioned members and get ex-members to re-join. They don’t say how Nick Clegg is going to make us appeal to those members of the public who hold a traditional view of what liberalism is about, when he doesn’t share that view. Do they have a new plan or is it a small modification of the old failed one?

  • @Michael BG

    Fair points, but that is neither what I’m arguing or asking for any of those things. What I want is some sort of idea or some sort of plan of what would happen next. Of course the party would need to agree what happens next – and we know that wouldn’t be plan sailing – but as in policy areas at conference we don’t just say what we want and after its passing then formulate a plan of how to do it.

    We want a poli

  • *Continued

    We want a policy to at least be supported with a means of how it will be achieved – as such, is it iliberal to want to understand what people who want Nick to leave think should happen next? I’d say that it is practical and fair concern.

    But when no MP is calling for Nick to go and there is no majority opinion on Nick leaving, why would he leave? How is putting the majority view in such a matter going against the interests of the party? Given our current polling and recent elections figures, the lack of an MP calling fo Nick to go is telling. There will be some who do want to him to go and for them to replace him, but it seems no one else wants to be the leader at this time.

    And, to raise the point you make your belief that either way we should stay in the government (one which I agree with), I’d argue this would need to be decided by the party as well. If Nick was to go, would there really be time to hold a proper leadershp election, a decision by the pary, and develop a new platform depending on whether we stay in government that can be put before conference?

    I’m happy to admit that the doubts you raise may not be overcome, but right now it is the only course of action that we have. Time is not on our side regardless of what happens next.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarKeith Browning 11th Nov - 9:43pm
    As one of the active 'remain camp' living in Spain we are all despairing that Lib Dems seem to be fighting Labour as hard as...
  • User AvatarTony Greaves 11th Nov - 7:59pm
    As I say, Caron, good luck with your efforts.
  • User AvatarNonconformistradical 11th Nov - 7:37pm
    @Mick Taylor @7pm Seconded
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 11th Nov - 7:00pm
    Richard Underhill. You may be right but it doesn't invalidate my point. If leaders showed more concern about peace and less about their own status/machismo,...
  • User AvatarRuth Bright 11th Nov - 6:24pm
    It was touching to see Jo at the cenotaph because she so visibly represented a different generation.
  • User AvatarCathy M 11th Nov - 6:06pm
    David Allen missed out a third reason voters are looking at issues: the forthcoming general election is not in fact a referendum on Brexit. If...