Some quick questions for LibDems4Change

In the interests of transparency, a key Liberal Democrat value, it would be good if a representative of LibDems4Change could answer the following questions about their campaign:

1. Who registered for and paid for the domain name and website?

The website was registered either late on Thursday evening/early Friday morning, but who set it up and who financed it?

2. Where did you get the email addresses from? Which email lists did you use and what are the Data Protection implications of this?

In 2012, I signed up to the No to Secret Courts campaign. I expected to receive correspondence on that campaign, not an invitation to ditch the party leader.

libdems4change secret courts

 

3. Why does the Liberal Democrat HQ address appear at the bottom of the email to signatories? And have you made arrangements for any mail received there to be passed on to you?

libdems4change address

Note the recruitment strategy. We certainly want people who have left the party in the last few years to rejoin, I guess, but it’s not usual to join a party specifically to campaign against the leader. This is what it says:

If you know people who have left the Party in recent years, but who would be receptive to the letter if they were still a member, you can ask them to rejoin today (http://www.libdems.org.uk/joining) so as to be able to sign. Their old membership number will be reinstated to them once they rejoin. As over 40% of the party’s membership has resigned in the last four years, this is a sizeable group.

4. How are you verifying that people who sign the petition are members of the party?

Here at LDV, if you want to join our members’ forum, we check you out first to make sure you are a member. Unless you have access to the membership database, you can’t possibly know who is a member and who isn’t?

5. Why aren’t you using the constitutional mechanism for removing the leader?

Article 10

Article 10.2 (f) states a leadership election will be called  if 75 local parties pass a motion requesting a range of leader. Surely as a grassroots organisation, you would support grassroots involvement in such a big decision. Surely it’s the only way to be sure that the removal of the leader is what the party wants. It hasn’t always been in the past.

If a representative of LibDems4change wants to do a quick article with the answers to these questions, we would be happy to publish it.

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

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151 Comments

  • what a bunch of jokers

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 1:46pm

    That’s right, try and turn the story into anything by Clegg and his huge failings. Unbelievable.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 1:48pm

    These are reasonable questions which should be quickly and easily answered. This is simple process stuff and you can hardly accuse us of not devoting any space to the substantive issues.

  • Andrew Emmerson 26th May '14 - 1:49pm

    Excellent work Caron

  • Nick T Nick Thornsby 26th May '14 - 1:50pm

    The sign-up page for the anti secret courts campaign is still live here http://www.libdemsagainstsecretcourts.org.uk/petition/

    No suggestion that email addresses would be used for anything other than things related to that campaign.

  • Come on, Caron. Address the main issue, not “blame the messenger” tactics.

  • Personally I don’t have a dog in this fight having moved to another party 4 years ago. However this seems an extremely heavy-handed approach by the uber-loyalists to those remaining Lib Dems with a dissenting opinion. To be honest it comes across as a little desperate.

  • Now I know the establishment is getting desperate.
    Caron it is the future of the party that is at stake. We should not try and sidestep that. This is a key moment in our history.

  • Clegg is apparently finally about to surface on sky news. Probably too much to hope he is going to resign given the line from Paddy Ashdown.

  • Richard Church 26th May '14 - 2:00pm

    Reasonable questions. Good answers would ensure the focus was on the main issue.

  • Caron’s questions are important for several reasons:

    1) If – and I stress if – this was a pre-planned plot to push a certain candidate to be leader, those signatories who signed a petition/letter in good faith should have been told. Knowing who kicked it all off is common courtesy and could quash that rumour if it isn’t true

    2) Breach of Data Protection is a very serious issue. If mailing lists have been used without permission, or member’s data is accessed by someone not meant to have it, we have a major problem – not just in the law sense, but when it comes to trust of officers in important positions

    3) Is someone from HQ behind this? Personally I doubt it, but it would be odd to use the party address without asking them – especially as that could mean a lot of mail not passed on to the campaign group as they had not asked/given a forwarding address

  • Question 6 – where can we send donations?

  • I am somewhat taken aback by those who are asking legitimate questions about how why and what means those wishing for a change of Leader are told its not important or trying to change the story. Excuse me as a Liberal I always thought we had a sense of fair play and we hold civil liberties including data protection issues as very important. So the 4 changers manta seems to be any means any how forget the rules and damn data protection. Neither very Liberal or a sense of fair play.

  • Nick Barlow 26th May '14 - 2:08pm

    I’m pretty sure I’m signed up to the No To Secret Courts campaign, but I haven’t received any emails from Libdems4change, so are you sure that list is the source of your address, Caron?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 2:11pm

    Alistair, 8-10 Great George Street, if you believe the mail:-).

    This is very, quick, boring process stuff that can be answered in seconds. And, like I say, you can hardly accuse us of not addressing the substantive issues.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 2:11pm

    WHERE’S CLEGG? WHERE’S VINCE?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 2:12pm

    Yes, cos it has the No to Secret Courts header and its addressed No to Secret Courts campaigner, Nick. I found mine in my junk.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 2:12pm

    Rl, Vince is in China. No idea where Nick is.

  • Mike Simpson 26th May '14 - 2:13pm

    Desperate attempt by Clegg loyalists to deflect from dreadful leadership failure. Generals at the Somme is spot on. Mike Simpson Lib Dem 2010 election candidate against Jeremy Hunt

  • Philip Rolle 26th May '14 - 2:14pm

    These questions seem to be part of the process of denial. The reality is that “the party of in” was the shortest suicide note in political history, coming as it did on top of the breaches of trust in the last four years.

    Even so, it isn’t obvious that a change of leader would make an immediate difference if the party is to remain in coalition for the next twelve months.

  • I don’t recall ever signing up to a secret courts mailing list, yet I received the ‘change’ email from mailchimp on Friday. I unsubscribed myself because it was anonymous and therefore not open and transparent.

  • well, this all seems pretty desperate. Nothing like fighting on the issues is there?

    1. Why do you care? Knocking out a website like this costs pennies. The names of the people on the petition are surely more important.

    2. This seems pretty straight-forward attack the messenger stuff.

    3. Why is this important?

    4. Does it matter? It’s easy enough for Clegg, Farron or anyone with a solid position in the party to verify if they feel its an important factor.

    5. This seems deeply disingenuous. The point of LibDems4Change is to build a movement that can then remove Clegg through Article 10.2(f); it’s a movement to build support not a attempt to avoid the mechanism.

  • Andrew Suffield 26th May '14 - 2:25pm

    1. Why do you care?

    I care because if it’s organised by an MP who puts their name forward as a candidate then this looks very different, and if it’s organised by Labour then we’ve been had.

  • Ruth Bright 26th May '14 - 2:28pm

    LDV – Leadership in Denial Vehicle?

  • John Broggio 26th May '14 - 2:30pm

    @ Andrew Suffield.

    You’ve been had? Welcome to how most of your 2010 voters feel.

  • just watched Clegg – thought he was really good – gave me a lot of heart after a terrible few days – we must now pull together – i certainly havnt given up hope – he looked knackered – but came across really well.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 2:33pm

    David – all he said was ‘we need to shout louder’. He either does not get it or just does not care but it does not matter what he says or how he says it. The fact that HE is saying it means no one is listening. To many of our past voters he is Judas.

  • The data protection question is fair enough, although given the publicity to this letter all over the place many that sign it wont have been on the original mailing list. The other questions seem rather lame. We are now in the situation that all of our MEPs can now travel to Brussels on a single unicycle. Quibbling over who paid for a website is rather like rearranging the deckchairs.

  • Caron, This is not worthy of you. You have let yourself and your friends down.

    Please change the name from ‘Liberal Democrat Voice’ to ‘Fan Club for Clegg’ immediately.
    Or someone might start asking you difficult questions about the Trades Description Act.

  • Phillip Rolle is spot on when he says:

    “Even so, it isn’t obvious that a change of leader would make an immediate difference if the party is to remain in coalition for the next twelve months.”

    Changing the leader doesn’t address the problem – the problem is being cuddled up next to the Cons when the majority of people believed voting LD meant they were voting for a left-of-centre party who would never countenance doing stuff like signing off on secret courts.

  • Gary Fuller 26th May '14 - 2:36pm

    I suspect the answer to question four is Connect quick lookup. Mailing list wise, I’ve received plenty of unsolicited mail from within the party and most of the time there is a caveat saying any other communications on the sign up. Questions one and three are difficult to find out and baffling respectively. Question five is a little disingenuous as the letter calls for Nick to go voluntarily and thus could be seen as giving him the option to bow out gracefully before any attempt to use the constitutional push. Either way though, the important question is where do we go from here? If I come up with an answer to that one I will let you know.

  • Andrew Suffield
    ” if it’s organised by Labour”

    Oh for goodness sake – the reds are not hiding under your bed !

    Are those LD councillors that have signed it ? Doesn’t this worry you that elected members feel so alarmed that they sign a petition demanding change ? What about the LD MP’s ?

    Blame your own party performances – don’t try spinning it as being organised by Labour or anybody else.

  • Edward Reach 26th May '14 - 2:42pm

    Some very reasonable questions, Caron. What have the people/person behind libdems4change got to lose by being transparent about who they actually are? After all, they’re asking Clegg to be courageous and resign, whilst apparently not being willing to put their heads above the parapet themselves.

  • Ugh it’s a McCarthyite witch hunt !! Lib Dems have really lost their way!

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 2:49pm

    Phyllis – I feel the same, I wonder if Caron is noting down every members name who has signed the petition? She has misjudged this one badly.

  • Very reasonable questions, Caron. And LDV has given very wide and deep covereage to the views of libdems4change.

    I do think the whole campaign has an air of “vultures circling”.

    A period of reflection would have been more seemly.

  • I have to admit that “4. How are you verifying that people who sign the petition are members of the party?” concerned me and i was going to mention it on the other thread.

    I am not a member of any party. I am a floating voter and I strongly believe that the only people who should be able to sign this petition are genuine Liberal Democrat members.

    It would be extremely crass and undemocratic if anyone could sign the petition and the proper checks where not made.

    That’s my penny worth over and done with lol

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 2:54pm

    “Ugh it’s a McCarthyite witch hunt !! Lib Dems have really lost their way!”

    Makes a change from the Gender Neutral Putsch.

    All i’m sayin’…

  • We’ve seen how the Party treats its members – saying people who criticise the leader are ‘insignificant, that ‘cake’ joke, telling hard-working councillors and activists that they lost wards and seats because they didn’t ‘work hard’ enough .

    Is it any wonder that LibDems4Change want to stay anonymous? The party leadership and grandees are really showing their true colours now.

  • Jedi What is “Gender Neutral Putsch.” ???

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '14 - 2:59pm

    Paul, I signed.
    I agree with you when you write, “A period of reflection would have been more seemly” and actually the letter does call for reflection.
    But how, then, do you react to the leader saying minutes ago, “It has not crossed my mind to resign”?

  • I had a quick look at the registration for http://libdems4change.org/, which does at least exist. As you probably know, it was privately registered using contactprivacy.com on 22 May. No preplanning, but anonymous.

  • “A period of reflection would have been more seemly.”

    We’ve had four years of reflection. When the Party is fifth/bottom in region after region after region, that is the time for intervention.

  • As I remarked on an earlier thread, there has not exactly been a tidal wave of signatories of the LibDems4change letter. They still only number 326, as of a minute or two ago, and of those 190 or so were signatories on the first day, so there is no obvious ongoing ground swell of supportive signatories. What we do now need to know is how widely the views expressed in the letter are shared by non-signatories, and it is not enough for prolific anti-Clegg posters on this site to endlessly repeat their own personal conviction that Nick is rubbish.

  • @Andrew Suffield

    “I care because if it’s organised by an MP who puts their name forward as a candidate then this looks very different, and if it’s organised by Labour then we’ve been had.”

    I can see a desire to know who is behind the petition, but why care who put up the website itself? That’s just ignoring the issue and going after the people.

    As for the idea that it’s been put up by Labour: Labour would like nothing more than for Clegg to still be leader in 2015. His toxicity continues to drive voters into their arms.

  • The Party is annihilated and the leader does not consider his position? Honour is indeed dead in the Lib Dems.

  • Peter Reisdorf 26th May '14 - 3:01pm

    On point 2 I signed up to the No to Secret Courts campaign as well, but I only heard about the petition from a posting in the Social Liberal Forum Facebook group from Seth Thevoz. Nobody sent me an e-mail personally. I’ve sent e-mails about it to other members because I thought there was a problem with circulating the information. Who actually sent you the e-mail? On point 3, there are people who have left the Party specifically because of what Nick Clegg has done (our local parties membership has gone down by a third since 2010). As they’ve been forced out by Cleggism, why shouldn’t they rejoin to force out Nick Clegg? I did think it was strange that the address was the Party HQ, strange in a funny way as any mail that was received would probably be filed in the round filing tray on the floor! On point 5, that is very difficult to organise, possibly deliberately. I’ve heard rumours that some local parties have started that process over the last two or three years, but have never been able to link up with them as I couldn’t find out who they were. That was why I circulated details about the petition myself as I was worried about it withering because not enough people found out about it. I’m still fascinated that you were on a mailing list and I wasn’t!!!

  • I image there is a very good reason that the constitutional mechanism isn’t being used. The process is very slow because more than 75 local parties’ members would have to be contacted and their secretaries written to, requesting general meetings and then the meeting needs to be called. If secretaries couldn’t get the agreement of the Officers then 20 members would have to write to the secretary requesting the general meeting and even then the secretary has 28 days to call the meeting in. This would take longer than a month to organise. It would be best for the party if Nick Clegg resigned in the next few days and so an online petition is the best way of expressing that desire.

    If the online petition doesn’t work then whoever is behind it will have to try to use the constitutional mechanism.

  • I am not an apologist for Clegg by any means but I think Caron raises some reasonable questions? 4 and 5 seem self evident as the site asks for membership number (although how this is to be verified is curious – does this tie back to someone at George Street. 5) is clear that a movement could of course move to the formal process or act in concert with others to bring pressure to bear on Clegg to go of his own free will. I am curious to know why this has the Great George Street address and for that reason alone I would like the answer to 1) and 3).

    The question of the data protection act is also important as we are supposed to be a party that believes in due process and the law although of late perhaps our commitment to such things as fair play seems to have slipped somewhat

  • Peter Reisdorf 26th May '14 - 3:08pm

    In fact it would be very useful if the mailing list from this petition was used to co-ordinate for 75 local parties to call for a leadership contest.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 3:09pm

    Ok, so it asks for membership numbers, but how is it verified that that’s a valid number for that person and that their subs are up to date?

  • @Paul Walter
    “A period of reflection would have been more seemly”

    To what end? If you are happy with what Clegg has done, why even reflect?

  • Edward Reach 26th May '14 - 3:16pm

    Is there anything to stop someone signing several times? I spotted 2 signatories where the only difference is an abbreviated first name. Could be a different person I suppose, but how robust are the checks?

  • Hands up all those who have never received LibDem e-mails on subjects other than those they expressly requested?

  • This sort of thread really does make me wonder why belong to this Party
    I signed the Letter
    I have been an elected Lib Dem Councillor for 32 years ( I and my local collegues didn’t mention this on our signature)and a party ,Member for 40 years
    I haven’t got a clue how the petition was organised but I need to try ad make my voice heard
    I used to like being in this Party….a the moment I hate it
    PS I am certainly not a red under the bed

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 26th May '14 - 3:29pm

    John, I don’t see how it lets anybody down to ask for a bit of transparency. Why doesn’t someone just do as a quick post to answer the questions and it’s all sorted. As liberals we believe in openness. I actually don’t see what the problem is.

  • Mike Simpson 26th May '14 - 3:29pm

    I would sign Libdems4change but I can’t bring myself to sign the letter as it contains these words ‘ the first Liberal Leader in a peacetime government at Westminster for almost 80 years, and we owe you a debt of gratitude for that.’ In my view the whole coalition was established with flawed terms. This meant surrendering on our public promise to young people that we would vote against any increase in tuition fees for example. Clegg has not been a strong leader or he would have made tuition fees a red line issue in the agreement. His supposed leadership qualities were found to be spectacularly lacking when he personally oversaw the failed attempts at electoral reform – a squandered opportunity of epic proportions. He now appears to want the whole party to go down with him as he steers determinedly towards the rocks. Some might see this as courage. I see it as utterly selfish and frankly a little mad. It’s time to have real courage Nick and step aside, so someone else can take the helm.

  • THE Christopher ecclestone?

  • Steve Comer 26th May '14 - 3:42pm

    Looks like we are witnessing the premeditated movement of the wagons into a circle to protect the leader and his immediate circle! And classic ‘play the man not the ball’ tactics in attacking those who have the temerity to be dissenters in an attempt to defl;ect peolle form the main issue.

    I’m sure everyone is aware of the constitutional mechanics referred to in point 5, but do you REALLY want that route used . A series of votes at local party level would take about two months, and it would be in the press every time a local party debated such a motion (whatever the result). Do Captain Clegg’s apologists really want to damage the party that much? Far better he goes quickly as party leader and lets us bring someone else in by Party Conference, but if he wants to do a Gordon Brown and cling on it’ll be a disaster.

    An as for the ‘party of in’ it wasn’t that message that was the problem, people know that about us. It was (as John Tilley said in another thread) the fact that there was a relentless presentation of Lib Dems as the “party of Clegg” – and all that did was remind many voters why they didn’t trust us in the first place! As the Moody Blues said 50 years ago – “Go Now – before you see me cry!”

  • Caron, maybe you should try it using an agreed name & number so we can all verify that the name & number you give here does indeed sign the petition or not.

    You could try Caron Not-Lindsay & member number 00000000 (I have no idea how LD membership numbers are comprised usually)

    If you did & your signature appeared, you would have reason to declare the number of sigs unreliable.

  • A quick question to Caron and all at LDV. Why are you afraid of this letter?

    Dear Nick,

    You made a tough decision to lead the Liberal Democrats into coalition in 2010. It was the right decision for the country. You have since served as our Deputy Prime Minister; the first Liberal Leader in a peacetime government at Westminster for almost 80 years, and we owe you a debt of gratitude for that.

    You haven’t been alone in those achievements, but have led a Party that has delivered many of the things we sought office for, not least starting a tax revolution, taking millions of people out of income tax altogether; giving children in England a fairer start in life via the pupil premium; transforming pension provision; making society more tolerant and inclusive, for instance by defending the Human Rights Act and introducing same-sex marriage.

    However, this week the electorate has delivered another stark message about the Party’s performance and direction. This week we have lost hundreds of brilliant councillors across the country and in some areas we have lost every seat we were defending. We consider it vital that at the 2015 General Election the Party should be led by someone who will receive a fair hearing about our achievements and ambitions for the future. It is clear to us that this person is not you, as the loss of so many of our hard working Councillors highlights.

    You have fulfilled a range of objectives in Government, but we now believe that progress will be best achieved under a new leader. We therefore ask that you stand down, allowing the membership to select your successor this summer.

    Yours sincerely,

  • Andrew Suffield – “I care because if it’s organised by an MP who puts their name forward as a candidate then this looks very different, and if it’s organised by Labour then we’ve been had.”

    Your party’s just suffered another embarrassing culling at the local council elections and it’s worst ever European results and your 1st instinct when confronted by a leadership challenge is to try to find some way to blame Labour.

    For the past 4 years the ConDem mantra has been blame Labour for everything. Stop. Just stop now. You didn’t lose 1000s of council seats in the last 4 years because of Labour. You didn’t see your MEPs reduced to 1 because of Labour. Your popularity and voting share is not woeful because of Labour. Everything that is happening to the LibDems is because too many of your MPs forgot what ideals and principles are, but the electorate have not.

  • @voter

    Reflection is always useful, especially when very tired after working hard.

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 4:01pm

    @ Phyllis – “Jedi What is “Gender Neutral Putsch.” ???”

    Just a little humour along the lines of the beards and sandals predilections of the lib-dem’s. 🙂

  • Possibly they have access to membership verification.

    Possibly they don’t, and are taking peoples submissions- together with a membership number- on good faith; it doesn’ seem likely it is going to (or indeed, given the numbers, is) attracting a large number of astroturfers. I’m sure if the Cleggites think this is the case they can quite easily have someone check the names themselves.

    Are the people raising this issue seriously suggesting that members without access to the membership database should never run an internal petition? That only those who already have the keys to the castle should be able to participate in internal democracy?

    Thats the only logical conclusion of such an approach and it is frankly laughable and illiberal. What a desperate argument to reach for- against a group which only has a handful of councillors on board anyway (sadly).

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '14 - 4:04pm

    An ex-spad just called me a mischief maker. I would take this badly if I had any respect for his political nous, but he kept on saying that the decision to debate Farage had no impact on our eventual vote share (and none on UKIP’s)

    Well before the debates our poll rating was bumbling along at 11% so that means that the decision to debate and for Clegg to front the campaign cost us 36% of our support.

    On a rough calculation that would have been the difference between 1 and eight MEPs last night, and I dare say it cost over 100 councillors their seats on Thursday.

    And it is naive in the extreme not to see that the tactic gave Farage and UKIP a timely cylinder or two of oxygen. Of course those of us who used to watch in horror as Labour did the same with the same result against the BNP and the NF.

    Of course it was also this type of political brain who helped devise and convince the leader of the Reeves strategy , that is the abandonment of the strategy from 1990 to 2005 in the pursuit of a new core vote.

    He also said that ‘they’ always knew this was going to be the toughest test before the General Election. But again, that does not fit with the confidence expressed by reeves and et al when they claimed they would by this stage of the Parliament have unearthed the new core based on our conversion to grown up politics, tough decision taking and economic prowess.

  • Richard Dean 26th May '14 - 4:08pm

    Excellent questions, Caron. Whatever we might think of Clegg, we need to know these answers. If there is a possibility of data theft or misuse, we might even need to get the police involved.

    As for suspects, I have no qualms looking at the bottom of the pile. UKIP are as much a creation of the Press as of their own skills – and really their only asset is Nigel. And he’s good for the Press.

  • I think we should all calm down a bit. The libdems4change campaign has an unseemly air of vultures circling. It is all very hasty. I resent being sent a second email. OK we rceuve emails from HQ. But they are always signed, so you know who to respond to.

    Why has no one got the guts to sign these emails?

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '14 - 4:10pm

    Tabamn, THE Christopher Ecclestone is alive and well and a member in Winchester. He is very active on the members’ forum. I think you’d like him.

  • In reply to my old friend Alex Wilcock, I am happy to admit that there is a lot in the LibDems4Change letter that I would have left out. To my mind it is far too polite, but I guess that’s a matter of style and I was happy to sign it because it contains the all important words — “we therefore ask you to stand down…”

    I would have included the list of seven years of disastrous election results since Clegg became leader, the rot set in our party’s ability to win elections started after Clegg became leader but long before the Coalition.

    I would also have listed his significant personal failures as DPM. Many people supported coalition in 2010 but did so on the assumption that the leader of our party would be at least competent in carrying through the Coalition Agreement.
    His significant personal failures as DPM first became clear when the NHS top down sell-off arrangements were announced in the summer of 2010.
    Tuition Fees, failure to reform The House of Lords, The AV Referendum, The Bedroom Tax , New Nuclear Power, Fracking, Badger Culls, Secret Courts, War on Syria, were not signed up to by the party when we signed up to the Coalition Agreement. These are just some of the failures of Clegg not mentioned in the letter.

  • Bill le Bretton – in which case, I think we may be able to say

    DEFENESTRATE! DEFENESTRATE!

    Well … you’ve got to take your humour where you can!

  • David Allen 26th May '14 - 4:35pm

    “I don’t see how it lets anybody down to ask for a bit of transparency.”

    While we are critically examining the mote in LibDems4Change’s eyes, perhaps we could bear in mind the beam in the eyes of the other side. Those who organised the rise and rise of Nick Clegg in the first place, and exulted over his capture of the leadership by promising steady-as-she-goes and then delivering a Blair-like policy transformation, happily called it the “Clegg Coup”.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1908096098/?tag=libdemvoice-21

    Risking that one or two lapsed members might manage to sign the LibDems4Change petition does seem to be rather a trivial offence by comparison!

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '14 - 4:38pm

    Tabman – you see, I was sure you’d like his sense of humour too, but it’s more classical than doctoral.

  • A Voter in UK 26th May '14 - 4:44pm

    Question

    Have you asked any of these individual’s if they have signed the list?

    This could be the press or from inside your own party and just be genuine..

    Blaming Labour for this is just desperate, Labour would want Clegg to stay put. Frankly that idea is just crazy.

  • @Paul – Compare and contrast – an email from Annette Brooke that she didnt actually write, with a letter with hundreds of names attached. Which one is more reliable?

  • When we run campaigns we put printed published and promoted by so that no one is misled.

  • Andrew Suffield 26th May '14 - 4:49pm

    There’s an outside chance that it’s from Labour, but a very high chance that it’s coming from one of our MPs who wants to be leader. I want that person’s name, because it will be an important factor in who I vote for in the next leadership election, whenever that occurs.

    I notice that a lot of people are trying to draw attention away from this.

  • Nick Clegg has appeared weak since 2010 promise on tuition fees broken pledge , the continual appearances in the media to act as a buffer for the tories whenever there is bad news and the latest mauling he got from UKIP leader on debate In/Out . The other facts are that the people on the door steps just do not trust him and that he appears weak against Cameron unfortunately with the General Election less than a year away he must either:-
    walk away from the coalition during the next 6 months or :-
    leave as leader now to give a stronger candidate a better chance
    OR BOTH

  • Bill le Breton 26th May '14 - 5:06pm

    Having read a Gruaniad typescript of the Sky interview, I have further fears.

    Yes, it is as I thought. Nick has been talking overnight to Chauncey Gardiner.

    “What goes up, comes down. What comes down, goes up. This is a difficult time.”

    “Of course it is right to have searching questions. But the easiest thing is sometimes just to walk away. I’m not going to do that.”

    “We must explain that we did what we said we would do.”

    “If anything would be improved by standing down, I would not hesitate.”

    “There has been a lurch to the right. I will not lurch. I am standing up.”

    So saying Clegg stood up. Straightened a pine sapling that had fallen down and walked off across the surface of a small lake.

  • Martin Land 26th May '14 - 5:27pm

    You’ll have to do better than this, Caron.

  • Adam Robertson 26th May '14 - 5:59pm

    I support Nick Clegg’s leadership because I think he has been bold and brave to ensure that the, Liberal Democrats, became a party of government than a party of protest. This is why I joined the party, yes hard decisions have been made and have cost us electorally but I believe history will say, that we were right to join a coalition. I believe we are seeing a lag time from the electorate, in the essence, that politics is moving away from the traditional two old party politics to potentiallly five-party politics in the United Kingdom (as well, as SNP in Scotland and Plaid Cymru in Wales).

    Although, the Alternative Vote referendum, was lost – it has sparked debate on how our politics has been conducted. Paradoxically, the rise of UKIP and to a lesser point, the Greens, have seen questioned raised on electoral systems to the House of Commons. I’m a traditionalist and actually voted NO to AV but I would like to see Mixed Member Proportional System used for the House of Commons – retaining a link between an MP and their Constituencies but also allowing for party vote to be addressed – as used in Germany, for example.

    This has happened because of the fact that it was Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats who raised this. However, this does not mean we should belittle members who want to see Nick Clegg to resign as leader. They have the democratic right to have their voices heard and for the liberal hierarchy, to dismiss them as trouble-makers, shows a lack of listening skills on their part. One thing, I have found in certain parts of the party, is that the party is good in sending e-mails and telling us to canvass as ‘cannon fodder’ but it has inability to listen, when the membership wants to say something. We are meant to be a Liberal Democrat party – in where everyone has the same standing as each other in the party, so please let us listen to each other with respect and courtesy, as we would expect to ourselves.

  • edna murphy 26th May '14 - 6:05pm

    The party’s not a fan club it’s a democracy and there are some really important issues to discuss – like how we are going to survive. We will be wiped out unless we have a new approach, one that actually is believed by voters. We can avert disaster but only if everyone engages, as John Pugh has suggested, and the party does not turn in on itself, as Tim has said.

  • Irony – Having your concerns dismissed by a group of people who are angry that the party leadership is dismissing their concerns.

    And before I’m dismissed as some sort of pro Clegg, tool of the leadership, traitor I fully support the right to challange the leader even if I’m unsure I want to support this call myself.

    Frankly from what I’ve seen nether side have covered themselves in glory over this.

  • @Alistair “Compare and contrast – an email from Annette Brooke that she didnt actually write, with a letter with hundreds of names attached. Which one is more reliable?”

    It is not too much that someone has the guts to put their name to the bottom of the email going out. Why the mystery? Who is organising all this?

  • @ Alex Wilcox – “Nick. I’m also pragmatic enough to know how unpopular he is, so this is the right time to consider if he should stay as leader. If I was convinced his going would lead to an instant and lasting leap in the polls I would be tempted to sign up to the words of the petition”

    Alex if you know how unpopular Nick Clegg is, do you understand that most voters don’t trust him and don’t listen to him? One of the arguments for him to resign is that with a new leader those who don’t listen to him might listen to the new leader and they might trust a new leader more. There are no guarantees, but if Nick stays there is no chance of anything changing.

    However you are correct there can’t be a purge, but there needs to be a recognition of what mistakes we made in government with promises to reverse them either now if we can get Conservative agreement or in the next Parliament if we can get others to agree.

  • Sorry, it should have been “@ Alex Wilcock”.

  • Well said, Alex Wilcock. Calling everyone at Lib Dem HQ ‘kids’ and all those that do not want ‘Nick’s head’ on a pike oppressors and orange bookers is not a debate. If there is a fraction of the party who want a debate, they need to come out and have a rational, reasoned debate (openly naming themselves would help) – otherwise we become no better than any other political group, constantly fighting amongst ourselves over who is the ‘true believer’ and who has ‘the true path of righteousness’!

    This issue is all too mirroring of things happening in the wider society and political world – and is only going to further alienate the average voter from us as we look even more like a group of Mandarins in an Othello parody.

  • Cllr Steve Radford 26th May '14 - 7:18pm

    Am not and never have been a Lib em but what a ridiculous and illiberal attack on members expressing a valid view. The only shocking thing they have left it too long to ask about the Leadership

    Even more so its the policies of the coalition that is wiping out Lib Dem support

    In Liverpool every Lib Dem seat taken on 22nd whilst those of us remained Liberals held Tuebrook with 60% of vote

  • They’re a bunch of disgruntled Lib Dems feeling sorry for themselves chucking their toys out the pram. So childish.

    Rather than organise some ridiculous petition they should come out and have a clear, transparent, sensible debate. But no, they hide behind it, plotting against the leadership and setting up a website when hundreds of Lib Dems were doing all the work knocking on doors rather than sat bitching about the leadership.

    Yes there are issues. The leadership has been sucked too far into the Westminster bubble and needs to break free. This was born out by the Farage debates which were approached like PMQs from some Parliamentary briefing. Also, our messages of what we have done in government and what we have stopped the Tories doing aren’t getting out there. What exactly has Ryan Coetzee been doing apart from inventing the ‘Stronger Economy, Fairer Society’ slogan, I’ve seen no evidence of his work.

    There are issues to be addressed but a knee jerk reaction calling for the leader to resign is NOT the right way to go about it.

  • There are over 360 members so far who have signed the LibDems4Change letter, including over 20 councillors and several candidates for parliamentary seats. These people aren’t hiding, over the coming days and weeks I’m sure many more will sign. This is not a secretive witch hunt against Clegg, it’s just members who think it’s time for him to go. I’m amazed that anyone with the best interests of the party wants him to stay. Under Nick Cleggs leadership nearly half the council seats have been lost and the Party has 1 MEP. Why do people think it will be any different at the GE when the only thing the leadership says is we must work harder to get the message across. The voters get the message and they aren’t impressed. “The no more broken promises” and the “tuition fee pledge” destroyed Clegg and the voting public have been punishing the LibDems for it ever since. Since 2010 it has got worse and worse every year, how bad does it have to get before he does the right thing?

  • I must say that LDV worries me sometimes in being rather loyalist. Now, it does lack the outright evangelist zeal and blind faith that characterises, say, LabourList, alternative views do appear. But criticism comes relatively rarely and is usually mild as milk and drowned out by more and more enthusiastic pro-leadership cheerleading and calls to keep calm and carry on.

    I had thought that this issue, after years of neglect (let’s face it, the talk’s never really gone away since it began) was being covered very equitably. The letter got mentioned, pro and anti had their threads. But now I worry. You see, this seems like an attack on whoever wrote this letter for daring to write a pretty tame and in my view overly courteous letter expressing a view that has been widely held for some time.

    That, to me, seems illiberal and hardly engaging with the content of the letter. I would have preferred to have seen a response as to why you may think Clegg still is the man for the job rather than criticising the letter or saying it’s the wrong time (a common view was 2014 was the right time back in 2012…) or belittling their concerns, which the otherwise admirable Paddy Ashdown has been doing. instead we have five questions, three of which are trite and meaningless. The answer to Q1 is “if they don’t want to say you’ve no right to know”, the answer to Q3 is “presumably someone big backs this, but unless you’re still upset at what happened to Kennedy and Campbell that’s not really a big deal, is it?” and the answer to Q5 is “why should they be obliged to go down that route?”. Whoever said playing the man, not the ball, hit the nail on the head. These are not important questions and not very robust criticisms.

    Q2 is much more serious. However, from other replies it sounds like it’s also a misunderstanding on your part. These things happen. Q4 is more interesting, and I’d thank you for pointing that one out, but it does ask for membership number. There’s no (legal) way of them verifying but i’d imagine party HQ would be tearing it to shreads if they cross-referenced and found a lot of non-members on there. It means take the figure with a pinch of salt, if the answer is that they don’t verify the numbers. If they do, then someone high up wants Nick’s head, which is interesting but hardly surprising. Again, nothing to get het up about unless you’ve somehow been living under a rock and missed Mr. Kennedy’s knifing (which personally I think of as a massive own goal, but not objectionable).

    So, yeah. Must try harder, and a little concerning that this has thrown the fine balance on a controversial topic off kilter.

    As for the people blaming Labour. If they win it’s on the backs of 2010 LD switchers. They want Clegg where he is, unless and until there’s a hung parliament. He’s not doing the LDs any favours and I hope no-one’s naive enough to think otherwise, he’s an electoral lead weight at the moment. Whether axeing him improves LD fortunes is more up for debate, but I doubt Labour wants to take that risk.

  • @dm it’s not an attack. Those are reasonable questions which could be answered in a brief post. But no one from libdems4change apparently has the guts to write such a post. The whole campaign seems very underhand to me.

  • @Tracey – given the list contains cllrs and PPCs under their real names I’m going to call your statement out as rubbish 🙂 moreover this has insisted an admittedly shrill debate on the topic that is long overdue. The LDs have little ground to lose thorough disunity so they’ve done a good deed in my view.

  • Thanks, Alex . Interested in your thoughts, as always.
    You and I both have similar views about monarchy so I wonder if like me you did a double-take today when Clegg spoke to the cameras to say that he would not “abdicate” ?

    I am as guilty as most people in LDV discussions of indulging in vitriolic statements. When I was a civil servant we used to joke that we can write less if only we are given more time. The same is true with writing politely. The same is true of writing other than in an angry way. But I cannot adequately express the anger I feel about Clegg and his failures, repeated as they have been year after year.

    The anger and frustration comes from watching brilliant, committed, loyal Liberals losing at the polls through no fault of their own, because of the incompetence of one person. Leadership comes with responsibility and Nick Clegg should admit his responsibility and stand down. He has had seven years and amazing opportunities and he has failed time after time.

    Getting rid of Clegg will not make everything right. But it just might stop things getting worse. We are in a hole and cheerfully getting a spade to help Clegg dig deeper is not going to get us out.

    You will know that here in London there are now 18 London Boroughs without any Liberal Democrat councillor at all.
    There are 6 boroughs with just one councillor. We only have a majority in one borough, and even there the MEP vote was won by UKIP. The dangers for next year are obvious.

    We are wiped out in Manchester. We are down to just 3 councillors in Liverpool where the group leader has time to prepare for his wife to be mayor and write missives for LDV describing critics of Clegg as “numpties” just after an election for which he did not have time to find a full slate of candidates . We have just lost every MEP except one. Yet we are told that Clegg is in Danny Alexander’s words “a fantastic leader” who has “fought a brilliant campaign”. Fantastic ? Brilliant ? Well thank goodness Clegg did not have an off day and just achieve a moderately good campaign. Because short of having the first born of every Liberal Democrat taken out and pilloried in the street it is difficult to imagine how it the fantastic leader’s brilliant campaign could have been any worse than it was.

    I am not one of those who has been calling for Clegg’s head on a spike for years. You will not find any public statement from me before the attempt to railroad the party into supporting the bombing of Syria, last year.

    The responsibility of leadership is not something that everyone can cope with. The best leaders know when it is time to go. I do not think Nick Clegg is the best of leaders, but it is certainly time for him to go.

  • Liberal Al 26th May ’14 – 6:36pm
    ……….they need to come out and have a rational, reasoned debate (openly naming themselves would help) –

    Erm ….. Excuse me for asking but is “Liberal Al” the name that appears on your birth certificate ?

    Or do you only require others to openly name themselves ?

  • Eddie Sammon 26th May '14 - 9:12pm

    Do we still not know who made the website!? They should have the courage to use their name.

  • Paul Walter, kindly explain what I have done that is “underhand”.

    I have signed a public letter along with a few hundred other party members asking the leader to stand down.
    All the signatures are there for anyone to see. I posted the contents of the letter in an earlier comment in this thread. I hope more party members will sign the letter when they get to know about it. Most of the party membership do not sit glued to their computers reading LDV so I guess it will take a while for everyone to have an opportunity to sign it.
    All this has been done openly and honestly.

    So what have I done that is “underhand” ?

  • “JohnTilley 26th May ’14 – 8:57pm
    Liberal Al 26th May ’14 – 6:36pm
    ……….they need to come out and have a rational, reasoned debate (openly naming themselves would help) –

    Erm ….. Excuse me for asking but is “Liberal Al” the name that appears on your birth certificate ?

    Or do you only require others to openly name themselves ?”

    Haga! Own goal there by Liberal Al!!

  • John Tilley

    You are absolutely right in everything you say.

  • Please calm down John.

    I wasn’t referring to people who signed the petition. I thought that was pretty obvious. But those who set up the website and sent emails to party members.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th May '14 - 6:15am

    Tracy

    Rather than organise some ridiculous petition they should come out and have a clear, transparent, sensible debate. But no, they hide behind it, plotting against the leadership and setting up a website when hundreds of Lib Dems were doing all the work knocking on doors rather than sat bitching about the leadership.

    The letter was very politely written. I had some doubts about signing it, because it involved signing up to a lot of praise for Clegg which I wasn’t too keen on, but I can see the point. Look Tracy, be honest – if it’s not done this way, how else is it to be done? How else can we say to someone who is in a leadership position “Look, maybe you’re not the best person to be there, maybe you should step down”? You ask for a ” a clear, transparent, sensible debate”, but how else is it to be done? If you call this politely written letter “plotting” and “bitching”, I think it’s pretty clear you’d use similar pejorative terms for any other initiative to try and open discussion.

    I really think we ought to save ourselves from all this by making it clear we are a democratic party under the control of its members, so having a regular choice of new leader, shuffling about who is at the top, is nothing remarkable, is not “plotting”, “back stabbing” or whatever, it’s just how a liberal democratic party should work. Whoever is leader should think it a matter of course that there is a regular election for that post where someone else might stand and win, not make some big drama out of it.

  • These questions amount to bullying. It is not important who paid for the domain name. This kind of behavior is one reason why the party is in decline. It is time to start listening and to stop blaming others.

  • Paul Walter
    Not sure why you think I am not calm.
    Or we’re you trying an impression of David Cameron ? If so should you not have said – “Calm down, Dear! ” in your most patronising tone?

    But I suggest if anyone is not feeling calm after our party has come “equal sixth” in a UK-wide election polling all of 7% they should go to –
    http://www.libdems4change.org/

  • Ian Hurdley 27th May '14 - 7:53am

    An implied attitude of “It doesn’t matter who we are” does not inspire my confidence. Nor does the flood of responses to Caron’s questions that, “It doesn’t matter who they are, the important thing is to get rid of Clegg.” one of the important things that I value about our party is the fair and open manner in which it operates. This thread would be more at home as part of a Face Book rant.

  • Bill le Breton 27th May '14 - 8:29am

    Alex, I’ll be very interested in your reflections.

    I have thought Nick Clegg dangerous for our Party for over five years, so you may think my witness unreliable. I hope not.

    Politics is a trade that deals in images. We try to build them, our opponents try to distort them. People outside the ‘trade’ gain impressions, which affect their political behaviour. It is how power is allocated or reallocated. As the image consolidates the images become as real (and as hard to shift) as one of those concrete lamp posts.

    The image that a huge section of the public has formed of the Liberal Democrats as a Party (as opposed to those they have of their local Liberal Democrats) is at present one of ‘smug opportunists’. That may be unfair, undeserved … whatever. But those are the values people see in us. And that impression is largely the result of actions by Nick Clegg.

    At the start of the campaign Voter Intentions for ‘now’ rather than for the General Election placed us at about 11%. Five or six weeks later after a campaign that featured Nick Clegg prominently – after two debates that were seen by many and widely reported – that figure had fallen to 7%. 11% would have seen many excellent MEPs returned. 7% resulted in just one.

    That image has to be changed – and it will take time, but it has to change from now. That cannot be done under Clegg’s leadership. He has become the personification of our image. To me that is a political fact, it is as concrete as a lamp post. It has a very real impact on the distribution of power in our society.

    Of course, I also think that the policy promoted by this leadership is wrong: for the all the reasons that John helpfully lists. That the political tactics laid down by Reeves (now of exaggerated differentiation that comes across in the crass sight of Laws and Grove squabbling like school boys) are also naïve. That the lack of campaigning, the incomprehension of such things as integrated campaigning, that the abandonment of Liberal Democrat activists across swathes of the country … are wrong too.

    But they all go to making that lamp post more and more concrete, more and more real in the eyes of more and more people.

    It is a pity that the Leader did not stop to reflect on the enormity of the damage he has done to a vital constituent of the progress forces in our county. But then, it all looks so smug and so opportunistic. That lamp post again.

  • Sarah Ludford 27th May '14 - 8:48am

    I want to know not only who’s behind #libdems4change and the answers to Caron’s questions but who – presumably the same person(s) – inspired these Guardian stories, the first – helpfully- on polling day http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/21/lib-dems-braced-for-wipeout-in-european-poll and the second today http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/26/nick-clegg-and-lib-dems-face-battle-for-survival

    Whatever they think they are doing to Clegg, they are certainly stabbing the rest of us in the back . The cowards need to own up. Incidentally, can everyone who posts here say if they are a LibDem party member?

  • David Bertram 27th May '14 - 8:53am

    Party Member in Twickenham here.

    Very instructive that 18 hours and 115 posts on, the brave crusading souls behind this stolen-list-based round-robin haven’t answered what seem very simple questions.

  • Ditto Sarah Ludford…

  • Sarah Ludford “The cowards need to own up. Incidentally, can everyone who posts here say if they are a LibDem party member?”

    Why should anyone do that?

  • Matthew, John and Bill L-B

    You all talk a lot of sense and people should listen to what you are saying instead of talking about ‘cowards’ and ‘bitching’ . The quality of the discourse speaks for itself.

  • Ian Hurdley

    Since one of the Party grandees said he would ” cut off the balls” of anyone dissenting against Clegg, how can anyone call for a change of Leader except anonymously? I dread to think what will happen to that poor person if their identity is revealed. And now we are told we have to declare our membership or otherwise – we may as well carry identity cards !

    Seriously Lib Dems take a good look at what you are turning into.

  • David Bertram 27th May '14 - 9:54am

    Mike Smithson on his Political Betting site has his own ideas about who commissioned the polling.

  • Radical Liberal 27th May '14 - 9:55am

    Ludford – no wonder you lost.

  • “The cowards need to own up. Incidentally, can everyone who posts here say if they are a LibDem party member?”

    As you’re a new poster, you may not realise that the site does offer a way of people indicating that they are members if they wish to. Of course, there is the member’s forum for those who wish to talk only to fellow members, but the public part of the site allows comments from people of all parties and none.

    As for your comment about “cowards”, can I suggest that name-calling is probably not the best way forward in the party’s present circumstances?

  • Phyllis

    If this is anything other than a toe in the water, whoever it is will have to identify themselves eventually so why not now, so that we can know who/what we are or are not supporting. I’m all in favour of secret ballots, but not secret candidates.

    You are not being told to declare whether you are a member or not , you were simply asked by one person to do so; you are perfectly at liberty to say ‘no’.

  • Ian – it may be one person but that person is an ex-MEP so a person of some standing in the Party and a seasoned Lib Dem. I think she should have known better and should retract.

  • Ian “If this is anything other than a toe in the water, whoever it is will have to identify themselves eventually so why not now, ”

    Well my guess is they are hoping to build up enough support to have an army of people between him (her) and Paddy Ashdown. This is what happens when senior people make threats and those threats are publicised on here. People become afraid to declare themselves. It has a chilling effect and of course, that was the aim. No wonder so few people signed. Honestly Lib Dems are turning into the things you hate!

  • I’ve been a Liberal for 40 years. I pride myself on being open honest and fighting for a set of principles which I believe are in best interests for the Country (and thus best for future of my family).
    Those behind LibDems4change need to be upfront and honest about who they are – come out of the shadows. They need to explain who they want to replace Clegg and most importantly why they think the Tory/UKIP press will be any more receptive to that person than they were to Nick Clegg? We need to fight the myth still being spread about there being an option in 2010 for us to join with Labour rather than Tories, Whatever we might have wanted there was only one mathematical outcome that would give us stable Government vital to sort out the huge mess we faced.THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH LABOUR MPS ELECTED. It saddens me that so many – including many disillusioned LibDems – are unable to accept/ live with this simple fact .
    Nick expressed my views on EU – it is no point trying to blame him, we need to get behind him! It is pointless trying to “win back” people who’ve gone to UKIP as most have never supported, and never will support, LibDems values. we need to stop the infighting and concentrate on getting the 66% of those who did feel not enthused enough by any party – even magical UKIP – to go out and vote (this includes a lot of ex LibDems). This group is the one we need to explain ourselves and seek to make aware of the benefits we have made to their lives with our input in coalition (tax cuts, school premium, pensions, climate and energy, NHS, etc etc). This has to be the way forward and we go towards 2015 election.

  • Tom Papworth 27th May '14 - 10:52am

    Am I missing something?

    Caron Lindsay asks some questions of libdems4change and she gets branded as a Cleggite insider.

    Forgive me, but if Caron is a Cleggite insider she’s been in deep cover for a very long time!

    These are perfectly legitimate questions and I am surprised that supporters of libdems4change and critics of the leadership don’t feel Caron is right to ask them, or that they should be answered. Qs 2 and 3 concern a possible breach of data protection which (if I’m not mistaken) might be criminal!

    And it’s not as though this is stifling debate into Clegg’s leadership, which is raging elsewhere – and, indeed, here.

  • Phyllis 27th May ’14 – 9:48am
    Sarah Ludford “The cowards need to own up. Incidentally, can everyone who posts here say if they are a LibDem party member?”

    Why should anyone do that?

    The reasons are simple:

    = this is a big call that these people are asking for, which could affect the future of our whole country (yes, that is how big a change of leader could be),

    = different people do different things for different reasons – I would like to know who these people are, so I can understand fully their reasons for doing it. (As has been said previously, if this is an MP, then that is completely different to if this is a normal party member. If it is Sarah Teather planning a comeback coup, then I might even sign it as she is the MP I have wanted to lead us from day one. (this was in jest, mostly))

    = it is hard to trust the intentions of someone who does not trust you enough to let you know who they are.

    (Party member)

  • Sarah Ludford
    “Incidentally, can everyone who posts here say if they are a LibDem party member?”

    Well I’m not & not likely to be but seeing as the site also welcomes comment from everyone as long as they are polite, on topic & to be who they say they are then I don’t see what you’re getting at unless you think only LD members, should have an opinion – how very illiberal.

  • Happy as I am to have members express their opinions and concerns, I do think Leslie identified the key problems with ‘LD4C’. Personally I don’t think changing our leader will do much, if anything; voters who dislike him dislike us.

    For me, the challenge to us should be about re-engaging with those electors who chose not to use their votes, a sizable number locally, nationally, and across the EU.

  • Oops… thinking about one thing, typing another, should have typed ‘Caron’

  • Liberal Al,

    Sorry but I don’t see why people posting their views on here need to declare themselves as one thing or another, any more than we should have to carry ID cards in our everyday lives. The people who signed the petition are there for everyone to see. As for the instigator being anonymous, I refer you to my comment at 10:30am.

    My own feeling us that the LD higher ups suspected who was behind it and this is all a ‘get Oakeshott’ manoeuvre . If it IS him the I can see why he wants to remain anonymous since Paddy threatened him. The image of Paddy Ashdown getting someone in a headlock and whispering in their ear is pretty sinister! Honestly who does he think he is? The Godfather?!

  • Sue Doughty 27th May '14 - 3:15pm

    Caron’s questions are reasonable and Liberal. There is no assumption that Nick has to be defended at all costs, but given we are a party which calls for openness making personal attacks in contrary to our very ethos in this matter. We might agree or not with the way Nick leads the party, but Eastleigh has shown us that the grass roots can perfectly well take charge of their own destiny. We signed up to the coalition but as I have said elsewhere, no one gave us a campaigning rule book. I would much prefer to spend my time campaigning for some great council and general election candidates, and listening to our electors and their concerns than fighting friends and colleagues over whether Nick should stay or go. That debate is one for after the General Election. Changing leader now cannot help us for next year.We have got through too many leaders in recent years and also had a near miss in the case of Chris Huhne. Would you trust a party which continues to take more interest in internal battles than the real problems of our voters?

  • Martin Land 27th May '14 - 4:26pm

    Interesting. Sarah Ludford and other members of the House of Lords join Ashdown in rushing to Nick Clegg’s defence. Fine by me. But they aren’t up for re-election are they? It’s easy to say stick with it Paddy, when you have a job for life.

  • Sue Doughty.

    “Would you trust a party which continues to take more interest in internal battles than the real problems of our voters?”

    Perhaps if Clegg resigned the internal battles would end. However, after 4 years of dreadful election results I very much doubt they will end if he doesn’t.

  • Philip Ternouth 27th May '14 - 5:12pm

    ” Would you trust a party which continues to take more interest in internal battles than the real problems of our voters?” Well said indeed. We are behaving just like the other parties. I joined the liberal party in 1970 because I thought we did care. Now I am not so sure. And I supported the coalition because I thought that was the best way of doing just that in the circumstances after the election. The most intelligent comment I have heard on the European election results was from Kenneth Clarke.

  • Sue D “Would you trust a party which continues to take more interest in internal battles than the real problems of our voters?”

    As a voter I am very disappointed that the Lib Dem membership allows its MPs to ignore the votes at Conference and official Party policy and allows it’s leadership to support policies which are diametrically opposite to liberal values. The country is waiting for the Lib Dem members to live up to their name.

  • Caron, I can answer your question about whether the names are legitimate party members.

    I ‘signed’ the poll despite not being a party member & used a made up name & for membership number put a 0. I got an email with which I had to confirm my ‘signature’ which I did but

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    my name has not appeared on the petition !

    That rather suggests that the names are genuine. Of course you could just ask those you know if they did indeed sign it – sometimes the simplest methods are the best.

  • Answers time, since no one seems to have given many.

    Q 2 and 3 are partly answered by Martin Tod (Fed Exec member) on the Lib Dems against Secret Courts website here:

    http://www.libdemsagainstsecretcourts.org.uk/2014/05/23/lib-dems-against-secret-courts-letter-to-nick-clegg/
    http://www.libdemsagainstsecretcourts.org.uk/2014/05/26/data-protection-policy/

    They seem to have decided as a Committee to use their mailing list for a different purpose after judging that the circumstances were exceptional. That would be why there were standard footers etc.

    Not a party member but I’d call that a serious error of judgement. Apology needed imo.

  • Chris Randall 27th May '14 - 6:45pm

    I haven’t signed the letter not because I don’t think that Nick Clegg shouldn’t go but because it has turned out as I suspected the person who started this off is a non elected member of the House of Lords. Who in any other country would have been stood against a wall or taken to see Madame Guillotine. The sooner we have a real democracy with two elected Houses and non of these ungrateful over allowanced twits are made redundant the better.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 27th May '14 - 6:51pm

    I’m wondering why some people posting here believe we should read their views as significant in influencing LD policies and leadership. We support that all are welcome to post views on behalf of any party or none – as all views are informative in some way. We give all posters respect but can then make up our own minds, as party members, about the selection of our leaders and internal party principles and policies. It helps if posters are clear about their membership but if the latter is not revealed we cannot give their views much credibility, however interesting they may be. Therefore, particularly in this thread, anonymous members and petitions cannot have great impact on what we decide as a party.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks

    The people who signed the letter are all members, they have added their names, membership numbers, region etc. there are 400 signatories. If 400 members all posted hereI think the site would crash. But clearly their views are significant. And the number will likely grow.

  • Tony Rowan-Wicks 27th May '14 - 7:04pm

    I should add that I agree with many of the posters, including non-members, who point out that in recent years some issues have not been formulated nor promoted within the agreed LD principles and policies of the membership. That is not only regrettable but should not happen again as it is the cause of much anguish to the members and the voters.

  • Tony “That is not only regrettable but should not happen again as it is the cause of much anguish to the members and the voters.”

    How do you propose to stop them?

  • 390 Phyllis, at the moment. And it hardly went up at all for most of today. And this site gets 20,000 hits on days like these.

  • “Phyllis 27th May ’14 – 1:42pm
    Liberal Al,

    Sorry but I don’t see why people posting their views on here need to declare themselves as one thing or another, any more than we should have to carry ID cards in our everyday lives. The people who signed the petition are there for everyone to see. As for the instigator being anonymous, I refer you to my comment at 10:30am.

    My own feeling us that the LD higher ups suspected who was behind it and this is all a ‘get Oakeshott’ manoeuvre . If it IS him the I can see why he wants to remain anonymous since Paddy threatened him. The image of Paddy Ashdown getting someone in a headlock and whispering in their ear is pretty sinister! Honestly who does he think he is? The Godfather?!”

    So Lord Oakeshott organises this to undermine the leadership and that is a conspiracy by the leadership? Wow, I have hear 9-11 conspiracies more logical than this!

    Anyway, I am not defending Ashdown’s rather uncouth behaviour, but there is a difference between being forced to carry ID cards during your everyday lives and actively trying to get the DPM removed from his office.

    If you wish to see what backroom politics end in, just look at countries such as Thailand, where many of my friends cannot even leave their homes right now due to coups by shadowy figures in the Judiciary and Military.

  • Kevin Colwill 28th May '14 - 12:25am

    Question 6… why have you taken this long to “act”.
    Sadly, this all looks like a lot too little, way too late. Those of us who never bought the “putting country before party” narrative when you got into bed with the Tories stopped listening to the excuses four years ago. We ain’t going to start again any time soon.
    Trying to tell someone you’ve kicked in a sensitive area that they’re actually very lucky because your mate wanted to kick them harder – and with steel toecaps on – isn’t a great plan.

  • Mike Simpson 28th May '14 - 2:05pm

    Question for Paul Walter. In one of your posts above you say ‘It is not too much that someone has the guts to put their name to the bottom of the email going out. Why the mystery? Who is organising all this?’
    Are you the same Paul Walter who wrote scores of letters to the Newbury Weekly News supporting the Lib Dems or criticising the opposition but got other people to sign them so that they got published? Just wondered.

  • You lot can’t even organise a proper leadership coup… 🙂

  • Stephen Hesketh 29th May '14 - 7:50pm

    @Simon – You are of course right. Probably something to do with our lack of practice. It is the one area where the Tories and Labour can teach us a thing or two.

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