Opinion: 2014 – What’s next?

Steve Richards suggests Nick Clegg, as a pluralist in the Blair tradition and as a sincere and patriotic person, will be open to an agreement with either the Tories or Labour if a balanced Parliament results in 2015.

Clegg is a pluralist, a pragmatic, a believer in good management as good politics and as such sincerely believes that Liberal Democrats in Government are beneficial to the county’s future.

However, his vision cannot be achieved under a Clegg-led Party in 2015. He remains a toxic ingredient and, waiting poll after poll for this to change, only endangers his own vision and the chances of the Party’s survival as an independent force.

That independence depends not only on our winning as many seats in the election as possible, it also requires the creation in 2015 of the next generation of ‘winables’. There is a danger that the post-2015 party will resemble an archipelago of islands in a sea of darkness as it did sixty years ago.

Richards reveals, perhaps unintentionally, the obvious next move for the party as this year progresses when he points to the importance of Vince Cable’s pre-Christmas interview with Andrew Marr. He saw ‘Cable’s new emphasis on the dangers of more sweeping public spending cuts’ as evidence of a ‘pivotal breakdown’ of the ‘remarkable unity in relation to economic policy’ between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives in Government.

Cable may not have been ‘on manoeuvres’ – he resembles more a native scout attached to a cavalry squadron – but nor was he articulating the leader’s line. That line had been expressed in the Autumn Statement, when Clegg and Alexander sanctioned a ‘fiscal compact’ with Cameron and Osborne.

The central issue for 2014 is our economy policy. It has the potential either to limit the strength of the recovery or to further energize it. It will either be seen as concentrating the fruits of recovery unequally or fairly. The measure of success will be determined by the levels of unemployment, underemployment, and wages. Cable clearly sees the Coalition’s five-year ‘fiscal compact’ as a threat to a sustainable recovery that decreases inequality.

In the first instance therefore Clegg must give Cable command of and the lead in the communication of our economic policy, as was the case at the start of the 2010 campaign. He must allow the popular and Teflon-coated Cable to far greater prominence, as he did in 2009/10. Clegg should concentrate on a just distribution of economic gain. There must be total intolerance of the undermining of Cable by those in the leader’s coterie. The entire Parliamentary party must enforce this.

Practically, the Quad, as soon as possible, must become a Sextet with Cable replacing Alexander and with the introduction from both coalition parties of a campaigning Parliamentarian who has oversight and authority to ensure that immediate policy positioning and communication bolsters and gives materiel to existing, former and potential Liberal Democrat campaigners across the whole country.

When the Coalition dissolves, or before if necessary, Clegg must sacrifice the leadership of the party, as a good Liberal Democrat, and make way for Cable to be the clear and constitutional leader for as long a period as possible prior to the election.

If he does not, or if the Parliamentary parties do not enforce this, the chances of continuing influence and the electoral survival of the party’s talent is slim.

* Bill le Breton is a former Chair and President of ALDC and a member of the 1997 and 2001 General Election teams

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30 Comments

  • I really do not get this lionising of Cable at the expense of Clegg. I respect most of what Cable has done (apart from his penchant for privatising things that needn’t be privatised e.g. East Coast Mainline and Royal Mail). However, the only reason for Clegg’s supposed “toxicity” is that he has been scapegoated and trashed in a very deliberate and personal manner by established interests on left and right as a means of undermining the Liberal Democrats’ position in power.

    If Cable had been leader over the past four years, he too would have been targeted for vilification in exactly the same way as Clegg has been and commentators like Bill le Breton would now be labelling him as “toxic” and calling for his replacement.

    The proof of this is that Cable has not pushed for the leadership in any definite way, because he knows that he would attract all the hostile fire that until now has been directed at Clegg.

    So this article is just wishful thinking. Cable has been just as much part of the government as the Deputy Prime Minister. I’m not sure bringing him in at the very last minute would have any particular beneficial effect.

  • Hat-tip to politicalbetting.com who have highlighted the difficulty that 78% of the 2010 LD -> LAB switchers (according to the Lord Ashcroft polling with a sample size of a staggering 22,000) say they will definitely not change their minds. They are lost to the Lib Dems for next time, however hard that is for us to admit.

    So the idea that they will suddenly come rushing back in gratitude were Nick Clegg assassinated and replaced by Vince Cable doesn’t match up to reality (both this polling and my own experiences on the doorsteps.) What it would do would lose the people who appreciate the stable Government we’ve brought, admire us for sticking the course, want the LDs to continue in Government and get some policies implemented, as well as making us look totally disunited. So maybe we should enjoy this article as a bit of wishful thinking for the New Year.

  • Tony Dawson 2nd Jan '14 - 12:36pm

    “Steve Richards suggests Nick Clegg, as a pluralist in the Blair tradition ”

    OUCH! As comparisons go, that’s WAY bit below the belt!

    @tpfkar

    “What it would do would lose the people who appreciate the stable Government we’ve brought, admire us for sticking the course, want the LDs to continue in Government and get some policies implemented,”

    So that’s about half the present Lib Dem membership and a few of their family members? 🙁

    @RC:

    “If Cable had been leader over the past four years, he too would have been targeted for vilification in exactly the same way as Clegg has been and commentators like Bill le Breton would now be labelling him as “toxic” and calling for his replacement.”

    We can not tell this. In politics, unfortunately, often it ain’t whatch do, it’s the way that you do it. A lot of the criticism of Nick Clegg from the electorate a well as ‘commetators’ (sic) has been about presentation as much as/more than content.

    What I am pretty sure about is that there would be differences in electoral outcome between Nick Clegg being ‘putsched’ and if he chose to leave himself.

  • Stuart Mitchell 2nd Jan '14 - 1:06pm

    I remember as a Labour supporter back in 2006/07 looking forward to the removal of the “toxic” Tony Blair and his replacement by Gordon Brown, who was widely respected at the time.

    Things didn’t work out quite how I anticipated.

    The Lib Dems’ problems would not be solved by Cable taking over, though it might help a little. I agree though that Nick Clegg’s position will be completely untenable unless anything other than a second Tory/Lib Dem coalition results.

  • Liberal Neil 2nd Jan '14 - 1:58pm

    I agree that we are in for a tough sell with Clegg as leader, but the logic that replacing him with Cable before the election is as flawed as the logic that led us to replace Kennedy with Campbell.

    If we were to decide we needed a new leader, and in my view, for some of the reasons that have already been stated, I don’t agree that we should, we should elect the best person we’ve got to be our next leader, not think that Vince in a ‘caretaker’ role, will solve our problems.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Jan '14 - 3:32pm

    We have bet the farm on the economy.

    The Fiscal Compact has huge significance for both the pace/strength of the recovery over the next five years and for the future of public services. I am not sure that this has been fully appreciated by the party at large.

    Safeguarding the situation will need our best economist in a position to keep matters under review, especially in my opinion, monetary policy. (In many ways our party’s future has been given hostage to the MPC.) This would be a major change from the present Quad/Treasury view.

    @RC, we are where we are. It is possible that the reputations of others might have been damaged in the way you suggest but that is not relevant. Today, 2nd January, our present leader is a liability and a change in leader has to be finessed if we are to remain an independent force in UK politics.

    @RC and @Joe, perceptions about Cable matter. All you say about him may or may not be true, but his sense and his reassuring communication on economic matters continues to shine.

    @Joe, nowhere in the piece does it say that by making him leader in the run up to 2015 we would be campaigning against our record in Government. That would of course be suicidal. You are better than needing to resort to strawmen.

    The distinction between ourselves and the Tories needs to be about a different story on the economy and a just distribution of the benefits of recovery in the future.

    We are a party of public service, equality of opportunity and of careful ‘husbandry’ of the talent and resources of our country’s people and environment – all of which are threatened by the Fiscal Compact agreed by Clegg and Alexander (and very obviously opposed by Cable).

    @Tpfkar: the most significant polling suggests that our ‘tactical’ voters are still highly likely to ‘lend’ us their support. Clegg looks this gift horse in the mouth. Our MPs cannot afford that strategy. Under Cable we shall receive more tactical votes.

    @Tony D: what I am suggesting is a route map that allows us to finesse the ace.

    @Stuart, I may not win many friends by saying so, but Gordon Brown’s leadership at the height of the crisis will be regarded by history as a piece of good fortune. And Cable played his part in providing Liberal Democrat support for those policies. I think having Cable in the heart of economic decision taking over the next 18 months (and hopefully more) will be similarly critical to the country’s fortunes.

    @Neil, we must disagree. Your individual task is much harder under Clegg than it would be under Cable. That is true for 70 key campaigns … and for the creation of the next 20 winables.

    We also need a campaigning Parliamentarian at the heart of weekly decision taking. Big decisions are taken and civil service initiatives accepted by those who have no clue as to how they will affect our campaigning morale and potential. That will not change under Clegg and the team of advisers he has put in place.

  • Bill le Breton sums up saying we need in the Sextet (improved Quad) a campaigning Parliamentarian who has oversight and authority to ensure that immediate policy positioning and communication bolsters and gives materiel to existing, former and potential Liberal Democrat campaigners across the whole country.

    I would hope hat everyone can agree on the wisdom of this suggestion.

    I also hope that it will be acted on sooner rather than later.

    Unlike three years ago the Liberal Democrats no longer have time to spare; immediate action to bolster the party is needed now.

  • Bill re:

    Practically, the Quad, as soon as possible, must become a Sextet

    You must realise how impractical and unrealistic this is. To reopen the coalition agreement would unravel the whole government and make fools of both sides: it is not going to happen; let’s not even think about who the Tories might add into the mix.

    I do not see the point of fantasising over near impossibilities.

  • RC 2nd Jan ’14 – 11:37am
    … .. the only reason for Clegg’s supposed “toxicity” is that he has been scapegoated and trashed in a very deliberate and personal manner by established interests on left and right as a means of undermining the Liberal Democrats’ position in power.

    RC continually repeats this mantra. It becomes no more true through his repetition. This has been pointed out to him in a number of threads by a large number of people who are clearly and openly Liberal Democrat members and activists (who use their real name rather than hiding behind initials).

    The Steve Richards piece makes this point – ” What can Cameron offer Clegg in 2015 compared with the box of gifts handed over to the Lib Dems’ leader in 2010? I can think of no equivalents to the offer of a referendum on electoral reform, Lords reform and the rest. Clegg failed to make the most of the gifts”.

    Clegg had Lords Reform as his personal responsibility. He had the manifesto pledges of all three party leaders as well as The Coalition Agreement to bak up legislation. He blew it. He failed to get backing. He managed to upset everyone and to please nobody. It was either inexperience of the Westminster Parliament, or just his personal inability to work with anyone from the Labour Party or the blocking third of the Tories. This he brought on himself. He was responsible, he failed. This is not denigration of Clegg by mysterious vested interests, it is the simple fact of what happened. Clegg threw away the best chance for Lords Reform in one hundred years.

    Clegg has failed in a number of key areas. His failures have often been self-imposed. The Party needs to take that into account when planning for the future.

    Bill le Breton’s piece provides a positive suggestion of a way forward.

    The uber-loyalists’ only alternative is an inexplicable blind faith that “something will turn up” before the General Election in 2015.

  • Tony Greaves 2nd Jan '14 - 5:08pm

    The Quad was not part of the Coalition Agreement, which set up a Coalition Committee that. rarely met and was sidelined and disbanded (insofar as you can disband something that hardly existed). The Quad emerged by some process (ie by the respective leadership taking it upon themselves to be the overarching and dispute resolving body within the Coalition).

    One thing emergence of the Quad did was to entrench the Treasury at the centre of the coalition, effectively by putting Osborne in over the head of Letwin. With, in the view of many of us, disastrous consequences.

    Tony Greaves

  • -> Tony Greaves: interesting, the quad was formed at such an early stage, I had assumed it must have been part of the coalition agreement. Even so to unravel the structure now would be enormously destructive and impractical.

    -> John Tilley, your faith in the potential good will of the Labour party and the right wing of the Tory party towards Nick Clegg is touchingly naïve.

    In retrospect it seems that the AV should not have been accepted and PR at a national level should have been shelved. But there would have been an enormous fuss if this had happened. With Labour seeming to back AV in 2010, the AV option seemed the most practical for the most widespread support. Anything further would automatically have attracted full opposition from both Labour and Conservative.

    A similar error happened with Lords reform in that the proposals were a compromise that sought the widest acceptance. However Labour saw a tactical opportunity to derail the government. The only alternative would have been a ‘reform’ that was acceptable to the all the Conservatives. I doubt that would have been remotely acceptable to Liberals.

    There was a danger that by changing boundaries and reducing the number of seats, the Coalition could have left Westminster less democratically representative than before. The proposal only made sense in the context of some significant electoral reform. Thank goodness the failed Lords bill allowed Lib Dems to quash these proposals.

    There are many areas where Clegg can be justifiably criticised, but not so much on these issues.

  • David Allen 2nd Jan '14 - 5:42pm

    “Hat-tip to politicalbetting.com who have highlighted the difficulty that 78% of the 2010 LD -> LAB switchers … say they will definitely not change their minds. They are lost to the Lib Dems for next time”

    If a pollster asks you a question like that, you don’t say to yourself “well, what would I do if the Lib Dems underwent some sort of Damascene conversion, and changed beyond recognition?” You say to yourself “This pollster wants to know if today’s Lib Dems might possibly tempt me with a few smart-looking ideas, or whether I’m too disillusioned for that”.

    A leadership change, and the sort of seismic change that Blair wreaked upon Old Labour (in magnitude not direction, you understand), could make Lord Ashcroft’s poll irrelevant. But it would have to be a big unambiguous change, not a little one. To aid credibility, it should really have happened two years back.

    Then again, perhaps Ashcroft’s poll has it right. In that case, we may as well give up, go away and grow tomatoes.

  • Bill le Breton 2nd Jan '14 - 6:16pm

    Martin, Tony seems to have put you better in the picture. I would also have thought that , as the election draws closer, our Coalition partner might also want,say, their Party Chairman in such a post. Certainly, you don’t get if you don’t suggest.

    And of course, it is in the nature of these things that a Lib Dem side pre-meeting would take place. We just need campaigning scrutiny … dare I suggest Paddy … involved before decisions are made by people who probably have enough on their plate without having to think ‘how does that play’ with ‘this’ audience?

    You must admit (for Tories and ourselves) the Quad has appeared to take some ‘Treasury’ positions that have made no sense to campaigning and manifesto-guided politicians.

  • Martin 2nd Jan ’14 – 5:40pm

    I don’t know who you are Martin as you hide behind a single name. But with your selective memory of what happened over Clegg’s failure you are not someone to be relied on when it comes to advising the party on what to do for the future. Trying to blame the other parties for the dog’s dinner that Clegg served up to Parliament by way of a reform bill is a pathetic attempt at trying to change the facts after the failure has become manifest.

    By way of comparison look at the success of David Steel on abortion law reform. Steel did not have one tenth of the advantages that Clegg squandered. Steel’s work with people from all parties and in the teeth of opposition from all sorts of political and religious bigotry has stood the test of time.

    Clegg will be forever remembered as the man who failed, who threw away his advantages, who allowed himself to slip into cheap name-calling of both Tory and Labour people who might have actually voted for the reform, which was their own policy. Was it arrogance by Clegg? Was it stupidity? Did he allow himself to be conned by Cameron into believing that there were enough Tories voting with the government in both Lords and Commons?

    You tell me, Martin. If I am naive on this subject, perhaps you could enlighten me why Clegg chose Lords Reform as the one single policy for which he took public and personal responsibility, and then proceded to come away with nothing. Absolutely zero. A complete and utter personal failure. He started with all the aces in the pack, but failed to win a single hand. Why did he decide to do that, Martin?

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Jan '14 - 1:18am

    RC

    However, the only reason for Clegg’s supposed “toxicity” is that he has been scapegoated and trashed in a very deliberate and personal manner by established interests on left and right as a means of undermining the Liberal Democrats’ position in power.

    No, Clegg is undermining the Liberal Democrats’ position by the way he has, since the coalition was formed, continued to exaggerate what the party can achieve as very much the junior partner of the coalition, and the way he has made out that this rather disappointing position is something we in our party all find wonderful.

    I appreciate the result of the 2010 general election dealt Clegg a very difficult hand, but he has played that hand SO badly. The exaggeration and boasting about being “in power” has given the impression that all our party really wanted was these government positions for Clegg and a few of his mates, and has given the impression that we are fully in support of all the policies of this government, even though the reality is that they are right-wing Conservative policies with only a little influence from us, so very far from what would be our ideal.

    Since 2010, I’ve defended the Liberal Democrats’ position in the coalition, arguing that though it is very far from our ideal, it was the best we could achieve under the circumstances. But I feel I have been CONSTANTLY UNDERMINED by Clegg and his closest supporters, with the way they make our this coalition was not the miserable little compromise it really is for us, but something wonderful and the fulfilment of our dreams. This undermining has been so much that after 35 years active membership of the party, I just can’t bear going out any more campaigning for it while Clegg remains as leader, so I have given up.

  • Bill: having reflected on your suggestion of expanding the quartet, with possible inclusion of Paddy Ashdown and the Tory Party chairman, it has become obvious to me how dreadful this would be: it would be widely interpreted as evidence of a pre-election agreement between the coalition parties.

    As the election draws near, it could be turned to advantage that the business of the quartet is essentially that of Treasury related, economic management rather than wider issues.

  • Matthew Huntbach 3rd Jan ’14 – 1:18am

    As usual Matthew provides a necessary response to the blind faith of those suffering from coalition myopia.

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Jan '14 - 8:33am

    Martin, thanks for reflecting on the suggestion. That’s truly refreshing in these parts.

    You may not know it but I have been predicting a 60 seat Tory majority post 2015 for a little while now. It is based on the 1983 election as the model for electoral behaviour following a deep recession. Were you involved then? We, learnt a lot about winning in such circumstances.

    My idea for the Sextet fits with that. If its tighter, I don’t think your fears will have much effect. The tactical vote’s resilience is surprising many pundits.

    But the real issue is when will 30 of the non-retiring MPs start to panic? If/when that happens, my blueprint is in ‘the draw’.

    Best wishes to you in 2014

  • Bill: I was deeply involved in Simon’s re-election in1983. The overwhelming difference of course is the fall out from Falklands war, without which the Alliance would have been much more successful. I am not sure what parallel you draw to for a sextet (do you mean David Steel and the gang of Four?). The Alliance certainly lacked balance, dominated by SDP at the top and dominated by the Liberals on the ground. The Coalition is very different to the Alliance (a shot gun wedding rather than a marriage of convenience) and will mean that the 2015 election will take place under exceptional circumstances, which is the caveat for all predictions. A parallel with 1983 is the possibility that the Labour party will be unable to offer a coherent set of economic policies. Since the pattern has been that Lib Dems win seats more easily when the swing is to Labour, a 60 seat Tory majority would suggest to me losses in LibDem/Con marginals: an horrendously miserable outcome for Liberal Democrats.

    Tories would then change electoral boundaries to make it even harder to elect Lib Dem MPs; goodness knows what the fallout would be with the EU, I certainly cannot imagine how Cameron could bend the EU in his favour nor placate the Europhobes, so I would fear the worst.

  • @ Matthew Huntbach

    I actually agree with much of your criticism of Clegg in this instance. He was far too self congratulatory about what the Coalition actually meant in terms of Liberal Democrat power.

    Had he admitted up front that we had once again been grievously injured by the ridiculous first past the post system which effectively robbed us of two thirds of our votes and gave them to the other two parties, then there was a chance we could have levelled with the electorate about some of the compromises we had had to make e.g. on tuition fees.

    As it was, the whole political choreography of the Coalition has acted to put the Lib Dems, utterly unfairly, in the worst possible light, presenting us as having more power than we actually do in a situation where we only have one eleventh of the MPs in parliament.

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Jan '14 - 2:08pm

    Martin, well we were all caught up to a great extent in an emotional response to the prospect of what we thought would be a khaki election to notice two very significant polling facts:

    The Tory recovery started in December 1981 and by March 1982 (ie before the invasion and well before any calamity or any triumph aroused a patriotic response) their polling support had risen from the low twenties to the mid-thirties.

    Secondly, the Tory support levels began to fall late in 1982 as the ‘Falkland’s/patriotic effect declined). You can see it clearly ebb. I gave the figures in an earlier post, but do please check them out if you are not sure of my figures – start with ukpollingreport as a gateway. The Tory vote eventually settling to 42% at the General.

    The 1983 Tory victory was fully underpinned by relief about an improving economy and a decision that that recovery was safer with Thatcher. Our own polling performance should be a warning to UKIP, whatever their showing in the Euros.

    You personally were also defending in Labour territory following a fantastic by-election campaign (24th February 1983) and no doubt the energy of Simon himself and with a Chegwyn styled squeezing of the Labour vote.

    I am perfectly prepared to hear reasons why I am wrong, but again as I have said before I think this is a scenario that needs to be game played and a strategy prepared in case I’m right.

  • Bill le Breton 3rd Jan '14 - 2:14pm

    Jed, “it is a quad, not a 2+2. for the quad to be useful it needs to have a mutual understanding all members.”
    That attitude is exactly why we are where we are: squandering the legacy of literally hundreds of campaigners over the last 40 years.
    If you think that is how the Tories see and play it, then, you have never fought them in a Council, a Parliament or an election.
    And what might be mutually advantageous as a public profile for four years of a five year Parliament – is totally inappropriate for the last 12 months.

  • Simon Banks 3rd Jan '14 - 4:47pm

    I’m not an admirer of Nick Clegg’s leadership: I think he gave far too much ground to the Tories in the first year of the coalition, the repeated preaching about the rightness of being in the middle turns me right off, the implication that people with experience of power at local level who criticise Liberal Democrat decisions in this government are unable to cope with the realities of power is shoddy and dishonest, he lacks depth and passion and he’s sacked some of the best people in the government. On the other hand, his sincere attempts to answer awkward questions rather than answering a different, easier question are laudable, his approach to the Tories has toughened up and he has an admirable ability to think long and strategically.

    However, the party took a collective decision to go into the coalition and has collectively stuck with Nick Clegg since without a challenge. So the responsibility is collective. Personally I think there are other leaders who would do better for us, including at the polls (not the only criterion), but the time to make a change before the next election has passed. So I can’t see that the argument about the impact on voting has much point now. As for the argument that his very presence would rule out any deal with Labour, I think we’re forgetting just how rude politicians can be about one another and yet do deals if necessary. If Labour’s leaders refuse even to consider a deal with Clegg after the election, that says one of two things to me: either they don’t want a deal with us, full stop, or their rank and file don’t and they won’t take the risk of trying to sell a deal to them.

    Nick Clegg’s inclination may be more to the Tories provided Cameron survives (a big if), but he could work with Ed Milliband: of course he could. They’re both reasonable people.

  • Bill le Breton 4th Jan '14 - 12:30pm

    Simon, what leaders say now is totally unrelated to what they will say on the Friday morning after the election. In councils and Parliaments over the last 40 years we have seen how invective turns to bargaining ‘overnight’. No one wants to risk being seen as the Party that creates chaos. In 1974 the Tories abstained in the Queens Speech to make way for a minority Labour Government. Strange things happen.

    So, as my piece emphasizes: we have to maximize the number of seats in the new Parliament (but also to ensure that we are not a party of x seats won and nothing else remotely close).

    We shall not maximize either of those objectives under Clegg. Again, the piece starts from the point that he is a sincere, pragmatic person wanting to ensure that our Party influences HMG decisions post 2015. That will not be enough given the ‘brand’ that he has constructed for himself and that has been successful stuck to him by opponents.
    As Perrier water proved, you can’t come back when once the brand has sustained such a shock.

    He made some poor, naive, policy decisions and some disastrous communication decisions at the outset, which was the time (as a relatively little known figure, his image had the greatest plasticity. It is set now and very hard to remould.

    If he sincerely wants Liberal Democrats to continue having influence in Government he has to accept this, and set to working out a route to finesse a change in the central figure that communicates ‘the Party’ to the people. That will not be an easy thing to effect, but it must happen or the Party risks oblivion.

  • Bill, a year ago, partly based on some of Nick Clegg’s own comments, I thought that his standing down before the 2015 election was more than just a possibility. Now this looks unlikely; not only that Nick Clegg is cutting a more independent figure than before, but crucially because I do not believe there is anyone who can effectively replace him at present.

    Although able, Liberal and clear sighted as his is, Vince Cable’s age now counts against him. I would be surprised if he wanted to take on the role. Danny Alexander would not be seen as a significant change, most others are either too tarnished or inexperienced to qualify before the election. Prior to his conviction Chris Huhne would have been the natural replacement and could have been achieved without giving the impression that the party had decapitated itself.

    The next leader needs to have the advantage of a leadership election that takes place in full public view, so that whoever it is benefits from enhanced public awareness.

  • Another thought to throw into the pot – what is the probability of Cameron being leader of the Conservatives after 2015? Their party membership has halved under his leadership. He is flapping around like a headless chicken. One moment he want Turkey to join the EU, the next he is putting up restrictions on migrant benefits, and threatening to block Albania joining. The fox hunters are seriously unhappy with him too. Same sex marriage has caused a rift. U turns on eco friendly measures. His difficulty keeping up with Miliband.
    Looks like their party will want blood if Cameron does not win outright in 2015.
    Maybe a coalition headed by Osbourne and Cable?

  • Bill le Breton 4th Jan '14 - 9:48pm

    Martin hope all goes well with your campaigning. Best wishes for 2014. Good to meet you on line.

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