Opinion: It ain’t what you do…

I’m currently listening to the Bananarama / Fun Boy Three version of the song “It Ain’t What You Do It’s The Way That You Do It” and I can’t help but think that Nick Clegg should have this playing on repeat in his office.

Remember how well he performed in the debates? Remember how, even on difficult issues like immigration he found the example of a special care baby unit that had the equipment but didn’t have the staff to look after babies due to immigration restrictions? It was masterful explanation of policy that brought to life something about which people have strong feelings.

For someone who “got it” in terms of communicating policy during the general election he seems to have forgotten what made him so great in those debates. Communicating to people’s feelings and values takes a little bit of thought, but it’s not hard. This is why I’ve found myself close to throwing objects at the television anytime a Lib Dem spokesperson totters into a studio to speak about policy.

I didn’t agree with the tuition fees policy but what made me madder than the policy was how it ended up being expressed. Firstly, Vince said he “broadly” agreed with the conclusions of the Browne report, rather than, for example, saying “There are some awful things in this report Labour has commissioned and committed itself to. There would have to be a cap on any fees. To lift it would be disgraceful.” That would have set a very strong initial frame.

Secondly, rather than leading with the rise in fees, should we not have led by saying how much less a graduate will pay per month? I didn’t hear this figure in the broadcast media until over two weeks after the policy was announced.

Here’s another example: “We are going to life 800,000 low paid workers out of income tax altogether”. A lovely figure for the statisticians but what does it mean? “Now, if you’re on a low income, you’ll keep more of the money you work so hard for, to spend on your family and your life because you’ll be paying less tax as part of another Lib Dem promise kept”.

Good communication recognises that people make snap decisions based on gut feeling. That gut feeling is a mix of years of experience and years of evolution. It’s not just leading with “what’s in it for the voter” rather it’s about leading with “how will this affect what the voter holds dear”. That should always be the language of our headlines, our starting points and our soundbites. Only then will we have the attention of the voters, and it is only when we have their attention that we will be allowed to explain our policies properly without them shutting us out for good.

Lloydie is a Lib Dem member, broadcaster and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming. He is the author of a number of audiobooks including “Persuasion Secrets” which reached #1 in the iTunes self development chart in November 2010.

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  • I hope Nick Clegg’s office are reading this on the day that government look like a bunch of charlie’s over bankers bonuses.

  • Isn’t this slick way of communicating just spin?

  • “rather than leading with the rise in fees, should we not have led by saying how much less a graduate will pay per month?” … hmm, so you think that you should have distorted the truth by hiding the critical fact that a graduate will, typically, have to pay far more in totality over his or her lifetime. And presumably you think it unimportant to mention that a consequence of the graduate (with much larger debt) paying back less per month is that he or she will incur additional interest debt at rate that is probably greater than their repayments!

    I had hoped that we would see an end to ‘spin’ with the departure of Tony Blair et al, but apparently not – the solution to Nick Clegg’s ineptitude and failure to honour a pledge is … more political spin!

  • Dominic Curran 7th Jan '11 - 10:42am

    james, i hope clegg’s ofice get you in for a briefing.

    but i have to say, it doesn’t seem like good communication skills for a grown man to admit he’s listening to bananarama…

  • I thought I’d address the “spin” accusations. This very much is NOT spin. It’s about communicating REAL POLICY in a way that is understandable and engaging. Spin is about diversion from the fact and from the truth. Effective communication, however, is about getting facts over in a way that is clear, understandable and relevant. The best teachers, speakers, workshop leaders, broadcasters etc all use these sort of linguistic techniques. If you don’t make your message relevant to those with whom you are communicating you may as well say nothing at all.

  • James Lloyd – a thoughtful and above all accurate piece.

    Love or loathe him, everyone’s favourite communications strategist Alistair Campbell has been saying this about the Lib Dems since they formed the Coalition. There’s no coincedence that since EdM appointed a new communications team he has pretty much owned the news cycle. The management of the messaging on VAT was a masterclass in media management.

    For reasons beyond my intelligence, the Party has lost complete control over the messages it gives out – with Clegg again and again just repeating the Tory line on every single issue. To be fair to this site, it is oft repeated that the Party needs to create its onw identity again – and this begins with better, more intelligent communications.

    Clegg’s communication on every issue has been atrocious. Tuition Fees “It is the right policy”, VAT “It is the right policy” etc etc etc. There is no empathy, no debate, no understanding. It amounts to “we’re getting Lib Dem policy into government” – which contradicts the overall message of “we’re doing this in the National, not political, interest.’ No wonder people are confused and deserting the party!

    Norman Lamb seems incapable of the task. His appearance on QT a while back was appalling.

    Is it the case that Hilton + Coulson have taken over all Coalition communications? I ask not to create an argument but to genuinely enquire.

  • Angle Grinder 7th Jan '11 - 11:15am

    We are the Milwall of British politics – no one likes us but we don’t care!

  • Angle Grinder – Bring Back Broon I say!

  • @ Angle Grinder

    I was just scrolling down to right the exact same thing! brilliant!

  • *write

  • AG / Larry – lol.

    Clegg would be well advised reading “If” at the moment! http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_if.htm

  • With respect Mr Lloyd (and I do mean that), I don’t think it is quite so simple. Firstly, the debates were not much of an example of anything. What Nick said on immigration was that the system should be, ‘we know a good one when one when we see it.’ Nice debating line, but nothing else and nothing that could possibly resonate. Having been a big advocate of TV debates, the reality came as a horrible let-down.

    But what is worse, is this IS an articulate way of saying spin. This is what many, including Lib Dems, have spent years getting in a tizzy about. If Vince had said to the public on HE Fees what you have just suggested, the first question would if the Browne Report was so poor, why was he not rejecting it. If it is a Labour report (which it is not), why are the Coalition obligated to follow it (they are not)?

    Your final paragraph appears to suggest that the party does not have the attention of the voters. I can’t see that, I think it is bang in the spotlight. I’m afraid that this is another of, ‘those,’ articles that has a pretty strong undertone that opposition was a wonderfully comfortable place and that it would all be so much easier if the current opposition didn’t do its job and the public just said, ‘I agree with Nick,’ without really thinking it through.

    What would be better, to my mind, than improving the spin would be to have a debate – a politics – that didn’t mean hysterics. Something that is more detached. The ugly truth is that Lib Dems were amongst the first to drip vitriol onto Brown and other Labour ministers. There can be no complaints now. Lib Dems mocked Brown when he said abolishing the 10p tax band was progressive (true in the narrowest sense) – is anyone surprised really when Cable gets the full treatment for saying that £9k HE fees are progressive?

    Indeed, at the moment, there is a good example of the dangers of politics by vitriol. Control orders. Terrible things on every level to my mind – civil libertarian talk of thousands being locked up in gulags might have made people feel good about themselves but it was spin and hysterics. When those in favour of control orders point out that fears about them were ‘unfounded’ is there much of a come-back?

    Whilst I’d agree that all parties need to explain their policies, they need more space to do it in and fewer people spitting vitriol as a matter of standard political practice. Spin is just to treat the voters as if they can’t understand what’s going on.

    Angle Grinder – Lib Dems should care because at 7% (a freakishly low number, granted) we are well in the range where Tory MPs might well start to see a snap election and possible sole majority as preferable to being weighed down by unpopular coalition partners. If Milliband does start to make progress – and on VAT at least I thought he really got it kicked into gear – that 7% could start to look rather less freakish and the future, without Councils to fall back on, very bleak. I would hope Lib Dems care about that.

  • Hi Dara

    You make some interesting points. Firstly, the distinction I make between good communication and spin is that “good communication” starts with the point that will resonate the most with the target audience, whereas “spin” is something that deflects from the policy onto something else.

    You point out that this has the undertones of someone who prefers the comfort of opposition. Far from it. I’m a supporter, broadly, of the coalition and firmly believe that when you’ve spent decades advocating an electoral system that would most likely produce a series of coalitions, you’d better roll your sleeves up and get stuck in when the opportunity of partnership Government arises.

    You speak very nobly about having a debate. About looking at the issues. Well, here’s the thing. We’re all very interested in politics and how it works. Most voters just want to know who is going to be best for them and the ones they love. That’s not to say they don’t care about “issues”, they clearly do. However, I see no evidence that the majority of them want to turn up to a town hall meeting and debate.

    To communicate with the majority the party must present itself to them on their terms, in their language and connect with their values. I honestly believe that is how the party can connect with them in order to articulate its liberal values.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 7th Jan '11 - 12:21pm

    The third commitment in the coalition’s programme for government is to

    “bring forward detailed proposals for robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses in the financial services sector; in developing these proposals, we will ensure they are effective in reducing risk”.

    However you want to spin it – failed I’m afraid.

  • @ Lloydie

    “To communicate with the majority the party must present itself to them on their terms, in their language and connect with their values. I honestly believe that is how the party can connect with them in order to articulate its liberal values.”

    Epic fail on the part of the LD’s then… and on so many levels it must just kinda hurt if you’re a party member or supporter of the decision to go into the Coalition!

    The verdict of voters (and more worryingly for the LD’s of former long term supporters) is that the things we hold dear are NOT being catered for by your party, by its abject failure to secure a good deal within the Coalition or to exert any meaningful influence on general policy within it.

    You do have the attention of voters, but for all the wrong reasons. Look at the polls; people aren’t convinced, and it isn’t because you haven’t presented things properly, it’s because you’re on the wrong path.

  • Simon McGrath 7th Jan '11 - 1:17pm

    @toryboys – you are ignoring the new FSA Regulations on Remuneration brought in on 1 January 2011. Another lib dem committment achieved in fact
    Here is a link for you:

  • @Galen10

    I’ve no doubt some people will think the Lib Dems on “the wrong path” and what I’m not saying is that some people won’t have drifted off for individual policy reasons. I think that was always going to be the case, especially with some people, rightly or wrongly, having seen the Lib Dems as “Labour Lite”.

    However for the party to have crashed so dramatically in the polls and for the Tories to be left relatively unscathed says, to me, that there is a serious communication problem. As a professional communicator I have noticed what I believe are basic errors in the ways in which policy is communicated. I fundamentally believe these basics make a difference – and not just in politics.

  • Whilst I agree with Lloyd that many of the coalition’spolicies have been badly presented, it is also clear to me that the Lib Dems have failed to meet the aspirations of their supporters and voters. I hear Mr Clegg’s comments that as they didn’t win the electionthey could not implement all that was in the manifesto but that is no excuse for abandoning our principles. I for one joined the party because I felt it more closely matched my principles but what Mr Clegg and his colleagues are supporting in no way resembles what I thought we stood for, ‘a fairer society’ where ‘no-one shall be enlaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity’. The sad thing for many of us is that there is no alternative, neither Labour or even the Greens represent another way forward. Sadly I see our society driven further to the right where in the words of he song ‘the rich get richer and the poor get children.’

  • David Allen 7th Jan '11 - 2:23pm

    Good article. What I would add is that we are not showing the public any evidence that we can learn from our mistakes.

    I have just had an article on tuition fees turned down by LDV, with the explanation that they are being flooded out with articles on that subject and having to reject 90% of them. My own observation is that LDV published quite a lot on the fees issue before the vote, but have maintained a virtual wall of silence ever since.

    And that is wrong! People want to talk about it, Mr Voice, because we had a “train wreck”. We need to bring rescue equipment and do some heavy lifting to recover from our “train wreck”! If we just leave the wreckage littered all over the line for the next five years, along with the 10% poll ratings that followed it, we shall never restore our strength as a viable political party.

    Since I was reluctantly arguing that a policy commitment to scrap fees may no longer be credible in future elections, I would not accuse the LDV team of censoring dastardly anti-leadership comments on this occasion! Rather, it is (I think) a misunderstanding of what our priorities for debate should be. Yes, I appreciate that it is good to cover a wider range of topics for broader interest. But it shouldn’t be at the expense of stifling debate on key issues we need to work upon.

  • @matt

    And, in my opinion, the main reason people don’t recognise the party they voted for (Lib Dems) is because they have communicated their policy successes and their role in the coalition badly.

  • John Bartram 7th Jan '11 - 2:43pm

    It is all just spin and an insult to our intelligence. You can talk of lower installments, but it doesn’t change the fact that people will be paying more for an education which is worth less and less as it is hacked and burned. Already I think students barely get an education worthy of what they are paying, and the poorer students, paying back slower, accruing more interest.

    Nick Clegg didn’t come across well in the run up debates. He just hadn’t at that point had enough time to grate on our nerves as he does now. I personally cannot stand the sight of him anymore. He had a chance to give the public a new alternative which, lets face it, the public was crying out for. All he has achieved is to show Labour and Brown as having more integrity and more potential for improvement in the face of public opinion than he can provide.

    The man is one of two things. He is either incompetent or downright nasty. Either way, if the Lib Dems are to regain the respect of the British electorate then Nick Clegg needs to go. Now we have seen Ed Milliband, the Lib Dems can find a more appealing, dynamic and respectable leader, surely. If not then how about calling it a day? There is little point in flogging a dead horse. It just serves to give the country a Government which no one can get behind. I cannot stand with a party which offends me to the core in the hope that they might come good eventually. It is not going to happen, let’s face it.

  • @ Lloydie

    “And, in my opinion, the main reason people don’t recognise the party they voted for (Lib Dems) is because they have communicated their policy successes and their role in the coalition badly.”

    Although there may be an element of truth in this, to say that it is an important (still less the most important) aspect is to considerably overplay your hand. The reason Tory support has held up is that they are getting virtually everything they want, and even the carpet biters on the right know that it’s either Cameron and the Coalition, or wandering off into the long grass and joining UKIP or the BNP.

    The problem for the LD’s is definitively NOT one of presentation for a huge chunk of the support you have lost in the past 6 months. You are never going to convince people like me, who have NEVER voted anything other than LD, or Alliance before hand, that what you are doing is right.

    Before yu protest, this is not because we are knee jerk reactionaries opposed to coalition and compromise under any circumstances; it IS because you did a bad deal, and have failed to moderate the Tories once in power. No amount of spinning is going to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jan '11 - 3:41pm

    I have form on this because I argued consistently and repeatedly on LibDem Voice and elsewhere in LibDem bloggery during the time of our leadership election that I felt Clegg would be poor choice as the leader. As I kept saying then, I just could not see what others seemed to see in him. It was claimed he was such a good communicator that as soon as he got elected our poll levels would boost, but that did not happen. He always seemed to me to be very shallow, saying the things he thought he ought to say, but without showing much depth or even really that much commitment. He came across to me then – and still does – as a reasonably intelligent public schoolboy picked to do the job of “Leader of the Liberal Democrats” in the school debate, picked at random when he could have been picked for any of the other parties, and finding himself in this role doing as best as he can after a bit of mugging up.

    I know people then accused me of harbouring some sort of vindictive hatred of the man and saying what I said out of some sort of prejudice, but really, look where our party is now, was I wrong? I didn’t want to go to heavy then on Clegg being part of some right-wing conspiracy, though I think I hinted that might be the case. It seemed to me then that the way this man, with no more obvious credentials to be our leader than many others, had been pushed forward so consistently by the press – particularly the right-wing press – as somehow standing head and shoulders above the others (metaphorically, being not that tall myself I don’t like these “sizeist” metaphors), suggested something sinister was going on. Was I wrong? If Clegg himself was not party to it, was he pushed forward as being naive and manipulable?

    I’m not much of a television watcher, so I didn’t see the first TV debate after the election, but after all the “Cleggmania” fuss I watched the other two debates, and agains, I just could not see what others seemed to see in Clegg. I was throwing things at the TV when Brown and Cameron spoke, but I was throwing things at it when Clegg spoke as well – it wasn’t so much him saying things I disagreed withm it was just such a plodding performance and so many good lines missed.

    So, I very much agree with James Lloyd’s point about the way we have had consistent poor communication from our party leadership post-election, but I disagree with him on us having good communication from the top pre-election.

    The election result left us in a horrible situation. I argued almost straight after the election, and have done so ever since that we had no choice but to join a coalition with the Conservatives. I have no time for those who accuse us of “propping up the Conservative government” unless they have a workable alternative, and they never have. We have a Conservative government because that’s what the people voted for under the electoral system the Labour and Conservative parties support because it distorts the representation in favour of the largest party. That distortion – supported by the Labour Party then and now – meant a coalition with Labour was not viable because Labour did not have the numbers. If it was viable, insteaf of this “propping up” accusation, they could just offer that coalition now. They don’t because they can’t.

    Our party should have handled the communication of this situation completely differently. Instead of making out as if we were all in favour of everything the coalition was doing, and that we had some huge influence in it, it should have been honest about us being placed in an awkward position with not very much influence. As James says, again and again, those at the to pof our party are handing out all the wrong lines and so digging us deeper into a hole.

    I’m not a quitter, so unlike too many other long-term members, I’m sticking with the party. I’m just VERY angry at how badly it is being led at the moment.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jan '11 - 4:02pm

    More on this, during our leadership election, I expressed concern that both candidates came from wealthy public school backgrounds and had little experience of life as most people in this country lead it. Of course, this was shot down as the most appalling sort of prejudice, how could I claim to be a Liberal and yet be prejudiced against peopke because of their background?

    But was I wrong? Look, I didn’t say what I said our of prejudice, it was because I really felt people who come from that sort of background, however well meaning, just can’t properly get into the boots of your average man or woman on an average or below average income, and so end up saying stupid things because they just don’t know how ordinary people live and think. In my life I have seen this so many times, people coming from very privieleged and wealthy backgrounds who mean well but make a hash pf things because they lack that life experience which growing up in a more average or deprived background gives you. It gives you a toughness and a wisdom which these public schoolboys lack. I see this so much with the Cameron cabinet – I can even see what they are geting at with things like “big society”, I don’t even think they mean bad, mostly. But they JUST DON’T GET IT because they don’t know how ordinary people work, so they just can’t see how their fancy extreme free market theories will fall down in practice. It’s the “Let them eat cake” syndrome. Same applies, of course, to public schoolboys turned socialist.

    To make things worse, Clegg seems to have surrounded himself (or let himself be surrounded) by people of the same sort as himself as “advisers”. He has ignored the great resources which his own party could have supplied. What he needed was some advisers with a tough local government background who had lived through awkward balance-of-power situations. What he took on was ad-men and PR-people whose background was selling crap – like Thatcher’s Tory Party – to the gullible. And who seemed to think their job was now selling the Tory Party to us Liberal Democrat members.

    One of the first lessons to learn in this situation is “beware the love bomb”. Don’t let them suck you in with it. I’ve had the tactic used on myself in local government – they try to surround you and be nice to you and cut you off from your own party and make it seem so reasonable to go along with them and make you feel foolish if you stand your ground. There’s other lessons as well, but Clegg has failed all of them.

  • To say ‘it ain’t what you do…’ is a completely flawed argument. It implies (as an example) that Hitler’s actions were acceptable, just badly presented. It is very much what you do, and that is the Nick Clegg problem.

  • @BTN I could also argue that the reason Hitler managed to dupe so many people was that those who initially opposed him failed to make any evocative, passionate connections with the German people of that time. If you have solid, ethical policies you do them no service by presenting them so badly that people lose interest and follow a populist bandwagon that leads somewhere much less ethical.

  • David Allen 7th Jan '11 - 6:28pm

    I think, on reflection, that the Lib Dem version of (yellow?) Bananarama should be:

    “It IS what you do, AND it’s the way that you do it!”

    Better communication sure isn’t the answer to all of our many problems, and some of James Lloyd’s examples and suggestions are better than others. But at his best, I think Lloyd is saying that a better listener makes a better communicator.

    Clegg continually boasts of how much influence he has and how many great (little tiny tweaks of) policies he has got the coalition to implement. Since the public simply does not believe these massive overclaims, making them is actually counterproductive. It lets the Tory right-wingers say to themselves “Well, Clegg is obviously delighted with the crumbs we are dropping from our table, so let us give him fewer crumbs in future!”. It lets ordinary voters say to themselves “”Well, Clegg is obviously delighted with the crumbs the Tories are dropping from their table, but I’m not, so, clearly I shouldn’t be supporting the Lib Dems any more.”

    Simply claiming a lot less would impress people a lot more. Over the initial budget tax changes, for example, I fear that neither Clegg’s or Lloyd’s puff pieces would have made a good impression on people who knew very well that their tax burdens were falling, not rising. A more honest line would have been “Now look, we went with these Tories in order to get rid of Brown and tackle the deficit properly, and we knew there was a downside to doing that. You can’t expect a Tory government to be nice to the poor, it isn’t in their nature. But look, we did persuade them to raise the tax threshold, and that is going to make things a lot less bad for the poorer people in society than they would have been otherwise. Sorry, but we can’t do more than that, because we didn’t get voted more strength within this Parliament.”

    Would people have approved of that line? I think a lot of people would at least have said “Hmm, I do see where you’re coming from” rather than “you lying b*stards!”

    How about a similar piece of honesty about tuition fees, along the lines that Lloyd suggests? Well, in that case, I think we could have expected the public to say “Well, it’s all very well about reducing the monthly payment, but you guys signed a freaking pledge didn’t you!” So in that case, I think a better communicator and listener would have said “They’re not going to buy this policy of ours. We had better change it!”

  • Peter Chegwyn 7th Jan '11 - 6:37pm

    Excellent article.

    The shambolic communication by the Leader, and those around him, of Lib. Dem. actions and policies since May needs to be rectified and fast.

  • @David Allen

    I really like the points you’ve just made. A lot. You’re addressing a wider issue in some respects – the mechanics of the coalition and how the Lib Dems communicate what the party is able to influence and what it’s not. I think collective responsibility might leave our ministers unable to do what you suggest, but those outside of the government, on the back benches, should certainly be saying exactly as you’ve suggested… and very loudly, if they want to see any sort of success in forthcoming elections.

  • John Bartram 7th Jan '11 - 11:05pm

    @ Roland Hulme…. With respect Roland, the bloody students did bloody vote for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems. They presented the most appealing option to the students. The students were conned pure and simple, why else do you think they are furious? Add whatever spin you Clegg supporters want to make yourselves feel better. Clegg did a U-turn and adopted the Conservative standpoint. This is not the Lib Dem standpoint. Clegg should resign and give a better man the chance. In fact he should just join the Conservative party if he wants to stay in Govt and continue to move in the direction he is going.

  • @ Roland Hulme you’re living in cloud cuckoo land if you think the students didn’t vote for the Lib Dems, large swathes of students voted for them because of what they promised, it was an absurd U-turn.

    @James Lloyd, you’re correct in saying the Lib Dems need to talk about more of what they’re achieving but the damage has been done and it looks like near fatal damage.

  • @Roland Hume, it was a clear pleadge, they stood next to students and won their votes from them, via a pledge, they said they opposed a rise in tuition fees, it was a cornerstone of their election campaign, to turn around the way they did and not put it to the electorate was completely absurd, this isn’t about compromise, this is about barefaced bs to get votes, it doesn’t get much more barefaced than the pledge, it really doesn’t.

    The Lib Dems under Nick Clegg are up a certain creek without a paddle, the Tories know this, Labour know this, the Lib dems know this, but getting rid of Clegg now would be a mistake, wait until the election is closer, playing your hand too early really would destroy the Lib Dems.

  • Roland Hulme

    It is an irrelevance whether they won the election or not. They made the decision when they set up the coalition to renege on this point and not pursue it as a matter of principle. The fact that it was a personal pledge makes it difficult for them to explain the u-turn.

    To me though the biggest lie was their position on the cuts. Clegg has been a disgrace on this and until he goes there is no way I could ever vote for them again. Only a minority of voters supported the explicit reduction program proposed by the Tories but we have it with no discernible watering-down by the LD. In fact Clegg had already made up his mind before the election and neglected to tell anyone.

    You keep telling yourself that it does not matter – unfortunately it seems there are swathes of ex-LD voters out there who do not appear so forgiving

    Your point in a previous post about ‘if all those who said they voted LD….etc) is unmitigated patronising bollocks. Do you know how many people voted LD – 1 in 4 of the voters, behind not much more Labour and just over 1 in 3 Tories? A lot of people voted LD and there are a number of us who are absolutely incredulous at the pathetic attempt at Government that Clegg has made. The only thing we have to show is the AV referendum and that is not looking too rosy.

    Get rid of Clegg, stay in the Coalition if you want but stand up to Cameron.. Cameron doesn’t want an election at the moment so see what concessions can be squeezed out of him rather than capitulating at every step.

    Looks like control orders will be the next casualty. Nice to see Clegg focusing on libel laws – a welcome change if done but I doubt it figures high on most voters radar

  • Roy's Claret Army 8th Jan '11 - 1:26pm

    Clegg is not a great communicator. His main skill is a tireless ability to spout sanctimonious hyperbole.

    As he was fresh on the scene at the elections, the public were not aware of this. However his performances ever since have simply reinforced the valid perception of a smug rich boy who is happy to lecture his lessers. He should be kept off the TV as much as possible, a view seemingly shared by the party’s media managers who have adopted an anyone-but-Clegg approach to interviews.

  • Ed The Snapper 8th Jan '11 - 11:31pm

    I think Matthew Huntbach’s comments on Nick Clegg were very insightful. I can see how politicians from Clegg’s extremely privileged background might mean well but have trouble understanding the deep feelings of fear that the average person has about such things as “free markets” and “the Big Society”. I am sure that part of the success of Maggie Thatcher was that her “shopkeeper” upbringing gave her an instinctive feel for what the aspirational working class cared about. Modern politicians are increasingly from a very privileged background and that’s why they cannot understand the fears that subjects are provoked by the rise in tuition fees or abolition of EMA. Listen to Nick Clegg’s “Desert Island Discs” episode (probably still on BBC iPlayer) to find out just how well-meaning but elitist he is. Thanks, Matthew Huntbach.

  • John Bartram 9th Jan '11 - 7:28pm

    @ Terry Gee….Thanks for that little gem of info…

    .It all makes sense now….Mr Lloyd endevours to create his desired outcomes through semantics and rhetoric….sounds a little familiar…reality borne out of….well, spin, basically…. poilitics of words over politics of deeds….sounds very Nick Clegg to me….Maybe Mr Lloyd, you can help the public to fully realise the “truth” in Clegg’s words…maybe the public knew this all along….maybe the public are beginning to reconnect with this knowledge…maybe they are beginning to fully realised the true value in Clegg’s readjustment….let’s call it actualisation, of a better way….everyone wants better outcomes don’t they?…

  • @ Terry Gee

    Indeed, this is a trait exhibited in spades recently amongst so many LD’s who support the Coalition; opposition isn’t principled, it must result from false consciousness on the part of critics, or their mis-understanding of the message, or indeed from the fact that they are sinister Labour party stooges. If it weren’t so laughable it would be sad.

    The Tories exhibited much the same delusion in Scotland during Thatcher’s period in office; I seem to remember it didn’t work out too well for them, and it looks like the LD’s are on about the same trajectory as the Scottish Tories.

    Perhaps attachment to pseudo-science like NLP amongst the membership explains a lot about the mess the LD’s find themselves in now? 😉

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Recent Comments

  • Nonconformistradical
    @Thelma Davies I don't have a problem with your views on parental responsibility. But what do you think should be done about children whose parents are irr...
  • Alex Macfie
    @Tristan Ward: Each country has its own political party system, which has evolved because of multiple factors of which the electoral system is only one. In some...
  • Thelma Davies
    @Nonconform. I'm stating that it's my responsibility & my husband's that my children were toilet trained & had basic reading and writing skills prior to...
  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    @Simon Atkinson - I am so pleased you like our musings on Max's impact within and beyond the party. And please accept my sympathies to the whole family for the ...
  • Chris Moore
    @ExLD Leeds: that's a ludicrous reason not to vote LD. Theakes is in a vanishingly tiny minority regarding the desirability of PR, as you must well know. LDs...