Tag Archives: nicholas watt

Guardian’s coverage of Liberal Democrat General Election campaign accentuates the negative

So what does the Guardian do to cheer itself up when a poll has shown Labour support is falling? Ah yes, they just write about how rubbish life is for the Liberal Democrats. Words like perilous, doom and resigned are peppered through the piece. I’m not suggesting that our prospects are the best they’ve ever been, but so much of what’s written about us is not so much “glass half empty” but “no liquid anywhere near the glass.”

I’d like to think that when Patrick Wintour and Nick Watt were doing their research for this, they were shown the vibrant Team 2015 operation, the busy and spirited things going on across the country in our key seats and that they just chose not to write about it because it doesn’t fit in with the pessimistic narrative. There are many things about the party’s campaigning that it can take a huge amount of pride in. There are bright and talented people in HQ who are doing the best they can with the material available to them. Did Wintour and Watt get to talk to the Austin Rathes and Steve Jollys of this world? I hope so.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 54 Comments

Danny Alexander, not Vince Cable, designated Lib Dem shadow chancellor (oh, and no Lib Dem reshuffle)

speech danny alexander 6The Guardian’s Nick Watt reports today the long-trailed announcement that Danny Alexander, Lib Dem chief secretary to the treasury, will take on the role of the party’s shadow chancellor at the 2015 election:

Nick Clegg has decided that Alexander, his closest ally in the cabinet, will be the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman during the campaign and will face George Osborne and Ed Balls in any television debates on the economy. … The Lib Dems insisted that the election roles for Alexander and Cable were consistent with their cabinet roles. A Lib Dem spokesman said: “We are enormously fortunate to have two talented and well-known ministers on economic matters that are recognised and respected by the public. By the next election Danny Alexander and Vince Cable will have both served for five years as chief secretary and business secretary respectively, so they know their areas inside out. It therefore makes complete sense that they should continue in those roles during the election.”

I’ve made no secret of my view on this: there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Vince Cable should have continued in the role he held in 2010 as the party’s shadow chancellor. He is, quite simply, head and shoulders above any of his colleagues when it comes not only to understanding the British economy, but, just as crucially, explaining it in a way that is both credible and distinct from the Tories.

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Lessons must be learned from the Jo Swinson speculation

jo swinson by paul walterOn Thursday, George Eaton of the New Statesman blogged that Jo Swinson was about to replace Ed Davey in the forthcoming Cabinet reshuffle.

Today, the Guardian’s Nick Watt says that this is not the case and Jo is expected to become Secretary of State for Scotland in September after the independence referendum.

Nick Clegg, acutely conscious that the five Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers are all men, is expected to promote the business minister Jo Swinson to the cabinet. But she is expected to succeed Alistair Carmichael as Scotland secretary after September’s independence referendum in September if, as expected, the pro-Union side prevails. Carmichael would be praised for his role in the victory as Swinson took charge on introducing greater devolution to the Scottish parliament.

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Two questions journalists aren’t asking about Nick Clegg’s free schools speech

Nick Clegg’s speech on free schools – setting out the policy approved by the Lib Dem conference last March – has ruffled feathers. Apparently he and David Cameron even had lunch yesterday to discuss this ‘bombshell’ announcement (which in fact won’t be made until a speech this Thursday).

My view (as I set out here on Sunday) is that schools should have the freedom to appoint teachers who lack formal qualifications, though I’d expect these to be the exceptions not the rule in the vast majority of state-funded schools. But I don’t think it’s at all surprising that Nick …

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As economy shrinks again, Oakeshott calls for Osborne to be moved to make way for “our A team at the treasury”

Here’s how The Guardian reports the call by Lord (Matthew) Oakeshott for George Osborne to be moved from Number 11 in the wake of today’s fresh dire news on the economy:

A senior Liberal Democrat peer has called on George Osborne to be sacked as the chancellor continued to insist the government was on the right economic path, despite “disappointing” official

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We all know the Lib Dems U-turned on tuition fees, so why’s The Guardian indulging in half-truths?

The Guardian carries a sensationalist headline tonight: Revealed: Lib Dems planned before election to abandon tuition fees pledge. The truth is somewhat different from the newspaper’s anti-Lib Dem spin, however.

The story is clearly designed to make the reader believe that, even as Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems spoke out against tuition fees, it was secretly their plan to renege on the party’s manifesto pledge. Yet, if you read more carefully it becomes clear that the party was simply anticipating the likely hung parliament scenario — that faced with two parties, Labour and the Tories, committed to tuition fees …

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Just how bizarre will the Brown / Blair revelations get?

The more that comes out about how Tony Blair and Gordon Brown behaved (or perhaps more accurately, how Gordon Brown behaved towards Tony Blair) the more you wonder quite what world they were living in. Here, courtesy of The Guardian’s Nicholas Watt, is one of the latest revelations of the sort of behaviour that would get most people the sack but didn’t stop Gordon Brown getting the Premiership:

During tense negotiations over Britain’s EU budget rebate in 2005, the former prime minister became so exasperated with the Treasury that he kidnapped its man in Brussels.

Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former chief of

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Should our MPs give Clegg more support in the Commons?

Yesterday Nick Clegg stood up as Deputy Prime Minister in the House of Commons and announced there would be a referendum to reform the voting system within the next year.

If I’d suggested just a few weeks ago that I would be able to type that sentence with a straight face I imagine most folk would think I’d lost any grasp on reality. Yet it’s what happened.

True, the route to Nick becoming Deputy Prime Minister is not proving easy: coalition with the Tories is forcing uncomfortable compromises on the Lib Dems. And true, the alternative vote is not a proportional …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , and | 34 Comments
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  • User AvatarPeter Martin 16th Jul - 7:01pm
    @ Joe B, You might want to open your eyes. In the UK we use the pound. In the USA its the dollar. In Japan...
  • User AvatarHywel 16th Jul - 6:42pm
    @LIberalNeil - that's been said before though. And if it proves not to be the case is very hard to undo. "Whatever this role is,...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 16th Jul - 6:42pm
    So the Centre Forum doesn't exist in the real world but is there to give an impression of importance for your own personal views, Mr...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 16th Jul - 6:37pm
    Antony Watts, Climate Change is a very important issue and dealing with it should be part of our vision for Britain, but all the main...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 16th Jul - 6:22pm
    John Marriott. Yes of course, I immediately read the Kettle article in today's Guardian when you mentioned it, John, and I have given my answer....
  • User AvatarPeter 16th Jul - 6:14pm
    @ Andrew T Andrew, what an interesting comment. I read it slowly, several times. I have never seen so many contradicting phrases contained within four...