Nick’s minding the shop – what are the papers saying?

David Cameron is on holiday so Nick Clegg, as Deputy Prime Minister, is minding the shop.

Most of the papers want to find an angle that rains on the Lib Dem parade and does Nick down. The problem is, none of them can agree on which invented line to take.

The Guardian wants to portray Nick Clegg as about to actually become Prime Minister and snubbed that he isn’t.

It is the most power a liberal politician has had since the 1920s, although Nick Clegg’s hopes of becoming only the second liberal politician in almost a century to run the country have been rather set back by David Cameron’s insistence that he will remain in charge from his Cornish holiday bolthole.

The Mirror manages impressively to claim that Nick has been humiliated

Nick Clegg was humiliated yesterday after Downing Street removed claims on its website that he will be in charge while David Cameron is away.

Readers of the Daily Mail are being told that, when Simon Hughes ruled out an electoral pact with the Tories, it was a backlash. No, really.

Nick Clegg faced a Coalition backlash last night as he prepared to become the first Liberal leader to run the country in more than 80 years.

But Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes immediately cast a shadow over the Coalition by categorically ruling out the prospect of any electoral pact with the Tories at the next election.

The Telegraph doesn’t mention any of that, and takes a more balanced approach.

Becoming the first Liberal to take on the mantle of power since Lloyd George left office in 1922, he will use his fortnight at the helm to promote his party’s pet policies such as electoral reform and social equality.

The Liberal Democrat leader has drawn up a full programme of speeches and speaking engagements, in which he will promote projects close to the heart of his party which have largely been soft-pedalled by his Conservative colleagues.

The description of social equality as a Lib Dem “pet policy” perhaps says rather more about the Daily Telegraph than it does about Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.

For anyone surprised that the Lib Dems are at fairly common August poll ratings (the party was also polling around 14% through summer 2007, for example), the media provides a clue.

Yes, the party is in Government but the main change in our media profile is that we’re ignored a little less and attacked a little more.  That makes it even more important to get out there and deliver those leaflets telling people the positive differences the Lib Dems are making in the coalition government.

There are lots of good Lib Dem achievements in government, but don’t expect the media to report them or our opponents to even acknowledge them. It’s up to us.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Andrea Gill 16th Aug '10 - 8:26am

    Rather shocking when the Telegraph provides the most balanced view while the graun and Indie slag us off and twist things.

    I switched from graun/Indie to the Times a few months ago and haven’t looked back.

  • gramsci's eyes 16th Aug '10 - 8:30am

    “There are lots of good Lib Dem achievements in government, but don’t expect the media to report them or our opponents to even acknowledge them. It’s up to us.”

    Is the article meant to finish at that point? If you are not going to tell us “lots” of good things then why have a pop at the media.

  • Couldn’t agree more on the need for getting out on the doorsteps and spreading our own message. We recently fought a tough double by-election here against the Tories in our patch and once we’d started and campaigned it was surprisingly easy to establish our ID as a separate party etc.. In the end we more than doubled our vote to 46%, took one seat and just missed the other.

    What the coalition does is it means our national spokespeople are burried in a mixed ID inevitably dominated by Cameron and the Cons. No problem for me with the coalition – just that this is inevitable.

    But it means we have to work hard to create / maintain our separate party identity. Same as Simon Hughes is doing nationally, we’ve got to keep our end up locally.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 16th Aug '10 - 8:52am

    “… the party was also polling around 14% through summer 2007 …”


    The range of poll ratings in August 2007 was 15-18, and the average was 15.6%.

    Of course, that was the part’s worst summer of the last parliament for the poll ratings, which were on their way to their nadir of 11%, after which Ming Campbell was dumped.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 16th Aug '10 - 9:51am

    “At least one major pollster had us at 14% through August 2007 though.”

    My mistake – the range was 14-18%. Two out of the ten polls had the party at 14%.

    But I do think to characterise a range of 14-18% as “around 14%” is rather misleading; and it’s even more misleading to say that “around 14%” is “fairly common” for August, when 2007 was the only August in the last parliament when the ratings were anywhere near that low – and when the party ditched its leader a few months after that because of his perceived poor performance.

    If people were really as unconcerned about the polls as they make out, there wouldn’t be any need to do that sort of thing.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 16th Aug '10 - 10:17am


    “what would be misleading would be to compare the lower end today with the mid-range in the past”

    But of course that’s precisely what you’ve done.

    You’ve taken the mid-range of this August’s ratings (14% from 12-16%) and compared it with the lower end of the ratings from August 2007 (14-18%). Either way, if you compare like with like the ratings this August are a couple of points lower than in August 2007 (which was the worst August of the last parliament).

    ” to try and read too much into differences of 1-2% is a fool’s game anyway”

    I’m afraid you’re the one making the assertion here – that these ratings are “fairly common” for August. I’m simply pointing out that they’re not.

    I thought it was rather revealing that you felt the need to bend the truth in the first place, and the more you argue the toss – when, after all, this is a matter of simple arithmetic – the more that impression is reinforced.

  • Andrew Suffield 16th Aug '10 - 10:23am

    I switched from graun/Indie to the Times a few months ago and haven’t looked back.

    Problem with that is you don’t know when the Times is going to flip on you again, or when they’re going to bury a real story because of editorial politics. I have yet to find a more trustworthy news source than Private Eye, which is irritating and kinda sad.

  • Yes the Guardian’s coverage today is totally comical. It’s the relentless anti-Lib Dem spin in most of the media that has driven the poll ratings down to an artificially low value. The moment they find something else to pick on (if indeed they do) I expect the poll ratings to rise. Perhaps when the coalition doesnt crack, the Guardian will realise that by relentlessly attacking the Lib Dems all they are achieving is letting the Tories off the hook…

  • Peter Venables 16th Aug '10 - 10:48am

    Or maybe just maybe, Some pressure from the Guardian, centre/centre left is what you need.
    All the real pressure on the LibDems is coming from the right of centre, they are the ones you are compromising with. If you start using more of the pressure from the centre/centre left , instead of fighting it, you might get more of what you want out of the coalition.

    The Guardian is hardly a Marxist newspaper, and actually supported the libdems at the election.

  • Peter: The Lib Dems are in coalition with the Conservative Party, not the Guardian.

  • “Rather shocking when the Telegraph provides the most balanced view while the graun and Indie slag us off and twist things.”

    I see. “Balanced” is a euphemism for “things I agree with”.

    “How dare those papers be beastly to our coalition. Clearly they are unbalanced. “

  • Especially amusing as the Telegraph is objectively the least accurate of the papers you mention.

    “Becoming the first Liberal to take on the mantle of power ”

    Nick has no power. It’s been stated by downing street. you seem to be aghast that papers actually have the temerity to point this out.

  • @Iian Roberts..i see censorship is alive and well at the lib dem politboro,you must be one of the liberal democrats who thinks the liberal part is more important that the democrat eh.
    Just becuase you censor my posts doesn’t stop me thinking it mate.

  • Paul McKeown 16th Aug '10 - 1:39pm

    @Andrea Gill

    Yeah, the Guardian has become a bit silly, publishing little else but straightforward anti-coalition propaganda. Disagree with you about the Independent., I still pick up it for a train journey. Couldn’t stomach supporting Murdoch.

    For those just looking for straight reporting, surprised no one has suggested the FT?

  • @Iian’re OK, we don’t censor posts just for bad spelling.
    Maybe not but you did delete my post about Andrea Gill being a hypocrite.
    I am sorry about my spelling but i was one of thatchers failed generation,i left school at 14 and am mostly self taught,so you can mock me if you like but i thought that was more of a tory occupation to mock the less educated not the liberals but they do say you often end up mimicking your closest friends don’t they.

  • Andrea Gill 16th Aug '10 - 3:04pm

    @Paul McKeown: Not sure I would want to support the paper that brought us the Brokeback Coalition scoop – plus I find it hard to read in paper format

  • @Iain Roberts ..I did post it twice so you maybe right about the spam filter,so there are no hard feelings for you personally.But Mr Clegg on the other hand is a…..i think i better leave it there eh ;o)

  • Anthony Aloysius St 16th Aug '10 - 4:39pm

    “Are you sure it wasn’t caught by our spam filter and a polite note from you would have got it sorted out?”

    If it helps, I saw the comment in question here earlier – so it does seem to have been deleted, rather than filtered out before appearing.

  • gramsci's eyes 16th Aug '10 - 5:03pm


    Have a good look at every article on your front page. Nothing at all about the Lib-Dems good works. Point me to an article that deals with any achievement of real substance or otherwise. Go back even further and point me to this list of achievements. Your article points out there are “lots of them”, so therefore a basic content analysis should suffice.

    Also absent is any article on the real negative stuff. The austerity talk which will contribute to a double dip and most importartly, how the story of the city’s bail out has turned into a discourse about the underserving poor.

    Did you see the IOS about the who and the where of the cuts. “We are all in it together”.

  • @ Anthony Aloysius St ..thank you for letting me know that,i’d better not make any fuss about it now though as it seems to be frowned upon to disagree on hear.
    Have a good evening 🙂

  • @• Rosalind ..Plenty of Labour Trolls grinding their axes!
    Don,t assume they are all labour troll Rosalind,some well may be from the11% of the 23% of lib dem voters you had back in may,you know what they say never assume because it makes an……you know the rest.

  • republica – as the school leaving age has been 16 since 1972 it’s a bit unfair of you to blame Margaret Thatcher for your lack of education. For you to have left school at the age of 14 must mean that you must be at least 77 years old.

  • Patrick Smith 16th Aug '10 - 6:34pm

    It is with a swelling of the breast that Liberal Democrats relish that for the first time,since 1922, a Liberal is in charge of the Country, albeit not from Downing Street but from the democratic vantage point of `Meet Nick Clegg Town Hall Q and A`s’ around Britain.

    Let us remember that in the `Peoples` Budget’ and Constitutional Crisis in 1909 Lloyd-George and Asquith pledged to create 1000 Liberal Peers, if necessary to get the Budget passed.

    Churchill and L-G toured the whole of Britain to speak in packed Town Halls to take the message of constitutional reform to the People as a prelude to the passage of the transforming Parliamentary Act 1911.

  • @ tonyhill .. For you to have left school at the age of 14 must mean that you must be at least 77 years old.
    Very funny ,i was removed from classes at 14 and spent the last two years in a youth program due to getting smacked about at home and a very messy divorce,my father went onto serve 7 years for battering my mother so your sarcasm is not really very clever tony,i hope you have a warm feeling of satisfaction for making your not so clever jibe.

  • republica – if you want to be a Labour troll on a LibDem website you should at least be able to handle a bit of gentle humour. Typical of a humourless socialist to read it as sarcasm though.

  • @ tonyhill .. I actually have a good sense of humour tony,i just don’t think your very funny,if you want to be a comedian try edinburgh fringe but i’m sure your jokes will fall flat there too.

  • republica – you did post that you had left school at 14 and the inference was that it was Margaret Thatcher’s fault, so sarcasm doesn’t enter into it.
    Lighten up and join the Liberals!

  • @Sean Blake
    Lighten up and join the Liberals!
    I have just seen the sky news poll online and its 8% for lib dems but 43% for the cons so i’m in a catch 22 really,don’t really want to laugh or cry thanks.

  • @Iain Roberts ..Yep,your right,in fact i was just coming back on here to clarify that the poll was unfairly weighted to the tories which is no surprise really as we all know who the grand dragon behind sky is.I thankfully stopped my sky subscription in a couple of moths ago thank goodness when freeview became available down here in the sticks of north somerset and i aint never going back.

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