Nicola Sturgeon challenges Nick Clegg to do the Ice Bucket Challenge

ice bucket challenge photo by University of Central ArkansasWe can’t look at our social media at the moment without coming across an avalanche of videos of our own friends or celebrities doing the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease and raise money for its charities across the world.

I have to say that I have actually refused to do the challenge. I am too much of a free spirit, I suppose. I don’t think I have the right to tell someone which charity to donate to or publicise, nor do I like being so told myself. This doesn’t make me a wimp (although I do not deny that I am about most things), or lacking in a sense of humour or heartless. I just don’t like the peer pressure element of it and I think it’s ok to say that you’re not going to conform. I felt particularly strongly about this after seeing one person say in their video that if those nominated didn’t do it, they didn’t care  and were basically evil.

I also have a bit of a worry about so much water being wasted. In so much of the world it’s such a precious commodity. I wonder what people in parts of the world where it is so scarce think of the waste.

Politicians who are nominated don’t have the luxury to do that, though. If they refuse, they’ll get pilloried. On Friday, actor James McAvoy (inexplicably left off LDHQ’s shortlist of actors to play Nick Clegg in the Channel 4 movie) challenged Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond to do it. Both readily accepted and have done it. There was one awful moment, though, when Better Together tried to suggest that Salmond was a “big feartie” when he hadn’t completed it in the 24 hours. It was a stupid thing to do, most especially for the reasons I outlined above. He’d already accepted, was clearly going to do it but if he hadn’t wanted to, it would have been ok and he would not have deserved to be called names.

Darling did his challenge for Better Together Research Director Gordon Aikman’s Just Giving page to raise money for MND Scotland. Gordon was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease earlier this year and wrote movingly for Scotland on Sunday about his experience. He has since set up Gordon’s Fightback, a campaign for better research on MND and improved care services for those it affects. Please take some time to read about it. He has also been fundraising for MND Scotland. The Ice Bucket Challenge has directly raised over £9000 since Tuesday and he’s now reached his £50,000 target. When I was challenged, I donated my £10 to this cause in lieu of the water and the video.

Watch Darling’s here:

Salmond did his this afternoon, nominating, among others, his Deputy Nicola Sturgeon who immediately took the challenge and nominated Nick Clegg. I expect, therefore, that he will be in for a soaking when he gets back to work. You can see Salmond and Sturgeon’s soakings here on the BBC website.

I think it would be a really great gesture if Nick would do it for Gordon’s Fightback, given that his challenge came from Scotland. When he does do it, I think he should make sure that, unlike many others, he includes in the video the details of how to contribute to the charity and say why he’s doing it. Also, I have been surprised by the sheer number of people who don’t have a towel standing by to dry themselves off.

Much as I admire the man, though, he will surely not do it as well as either Benedict Cumberbatch who made a great sketch out of it

or Patrick Stewart who was just classy.


Update: Nick is unlikely to be doing this any time soon as he’s in India with Ed Davey. From an email just sent to party menbers:

This week Ed Davey and I are leading a Government delegation to India, visiting Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore – the first high-level British Government visit under new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As Liberal Democrats we’re always looking to ensure the UK plays a strong and positive role in the international community, including having an open and engaged relationship with emerging powers like India.

So I’ll be meeting with PM Modi and senior members of his Government to strengthen our political and economic relationships. And I’ll be making the case for British business in India – building upon the work Vince has been doing to increase our exports to India by 50%.

Just as importantly I’ll be making clear to Indian students they are welcome in the UK, to study and then work. We’ve always been clear that Conservative party dogma on immigration mustn’t hold back Britain from attracting the brightest and best from economies like India’s.

There are already thousands of Indian students coming every year, and my top priority this trip will be to strengthen relationships between educational establishments – more student exchanges, joint research projects and learning. I’ll also be announcing new ways those who contribute to the Anglo-Indian relationship can be recognised.


Photo by University of Central Arkansas

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

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  • David Allen 24th Aug '14 - 7:17pm

    Nick should do it while in India, it will then be a pleasure…

  • peter tyzack 25th Aug '14 - 8:58am

    NO.. it would be so offensive to India to do it there, with all their water supply problems !!
    But really.. no, it’s not what our most senior politicians should be doing.
    Nick should do an Obama and do the publicity thing of donating the money… or else ensure that he does it with Cameron, at the same time..(in the rose garden?)

  • paul barker 25th Aug '14 - 3:29pm

    Nick should refuse this challenge for 3 reasons. First we dont need to give our enemies fresh, new photos of Nick looking stupid. Second this looks like Politicians crawling to the Voters – “Look ! We are just like you!” Third this sort of “Chugging” is bullying & if we dont oppose bullying, who will ?

  • By accepting this, Clegg would only be giving in to the bullying that’s become a habit with charities. A young man has already died from this and it’s stopped being funny (not that it ever was). I know people who can’t have ‘fun’ without bullying other people into doing things are an annoying fact of life, but we should be prepared to say no.

  • Tsar Nicholas 26th Aug '14 - 8:46pm

    Am I the only person to think that this is puerile and self obsessive?

  • What a shame any person or cause has to rely on ‘charity’ in modern Britain.

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