Tag Archives: nick clegg

LibLink: Nick Clegg: Be warned, Brexiteers, I know better than most the consequences of breaking a promise

Writing for the Times Red Box, Nick Clegg has been warning Brexiteers about the dangers of not keeping promises you make to electorate. As he points out, he should know.

The Brexiteers are heading for the same stormy waters, he says:

When asked to reflect on the official Leave campaign’s shopping list of promises to the voters during the referendum campaign, Duncan Smith, one of the most vocal campaigners for Brexit, dismissively replied: “We just made a series of promises that were possibilities.”

We know that leading lights of the Leave campaign had had enough of experts; now they appear to have had enough of dictionaries.

It’s easy to see why. None of their impossible promises have been met and, as I suspect Mr Duncan Smith knows full well, never will be.

And, of course, when they can’t keep their promises, they blame others:

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A referendum on the Brexit deal is key, not growing other parties.

You know, I never understood why you gun control people don’t all join the NRA. They’ve got two million members. You bring three million to the next meeting, call a vote. All those in favour of tossing guns… bam! Move on.

It is one of the most memorable lines in every political anorak’s favourite TV show, The West Wing. Although steeped in high fantasy, the strategy from Congressman Skinner does present some food for thought – if you want to defeat your enemy, why not do it from within? It’ll be less bloody, it may even mean a quicker and more efficient way to smash your political nemesis into irrelevance.

These sentiments, in some part, were echoed by my friend and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg in the Observer. In his comment piece he states that anti-Brexit Labour-inclined voters, and their Conservative counterparts, should join their respective parties to change the direction of each organisation and, in turn, the future of the country.

These voters, argues Nick, should then lobby their MPs, leaders and change the debate at conferences to make sure that Britain’s spiral into a Brexit self-harm is stopped.

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Lib Link: Nick Clegg – You can stop Brexit by joining the Labour party – or even the Tories


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Writing in the Observer, Nick Clegg argues that the pro-Brexit agenda is being pushed by a moneyed elite, at the disadvantage of “the little people” they pretend to support. He goes on to say:

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No, Nick, you need to join the Rebel Alliance to stop Brexit, not the Imperial Stormtroopers

Nick Clegg is probably the country’s most knowledgable person on international trade, the EU and our relationship with it. Read his brilliant Brexit Challenge papers to see how true that is.

We should listen to whatever he says on Brexit because he is most often right.

However, for the former leader of a political party, he has shown a monumental amount of naivety in suggesting that people need to join Labour or the Conservatives to stop Brexit. He could not be more wrong.

You can maybe see where he gets the idea from. When he was leader of the Liberal Democrats, and, specifically, Deputy Prime Minister, the party was forever telling him in forms of motions passed by its Conference and various firestorms on the internet, that he was wrong. We sent him some pretty strong and unambiguous messages on things like the Bedroom Tax, secret courts and reforms to the social security system that disadvantaged people. Sure, we should take credit for what we stopped the Tories unleashing on the country, but we also did some stuff that we shouldn’t.

Yes, we sent him plenty messages. Sometimes he acted on what we told him, sometimes he didn’t, and sometimes he had to put a lot of effort into persuading the party to back his position.

Let’s compare and contrast with the Tories and Labour. They aren’t great about letting their members actually influence their policies. You didn’t actually see many actual votes on the issues of the day at their conferences. You didn’t see any at the Conservatives. They don’t do that sort of thing. They were shocked by the internal democracy in the Liberal Democrats and thought it very strange. Ordinary Labour members don’t get much of a chance to influence policy either. Even if they wanted to, remember that their Conference didn’t even get to discuss Brexit because they might disagree.

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WATCH: Nick Clegg in conversation at Conference Fringe

Happily, it doesn’t matter that I had to be in 3 other places at the time when Nick Clegg’s only fringe meeting appearance in Bournemouth, because those nice people at Prospect magazine have only gone and put it on You Tube.

Enjoy.

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Nick and Miriam talk publicly for the first time about their son’s successful Cancer treatment

About a year ago, I became aware that Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez were going through the worst ordeal any parent can face. Their eldest son Antonio was going through brutal treatment for a life-threatening condition. They were very much in my thoughts as my family also faced months of medical trauma. That sort of thing is scary enough when it happens to an adult, but utterly heartbreaking and terrifying beyond anything you are ever likely to face when it comes to your own child.

It was pretty much an open secret, but, thankfully, the media respected  the family’s privacy nobody published anything about what was happening.

Yesterday, Nick and Miriam talked about their son’s illness for the first time on ITV’s Lorraine programme. They wanted to raise awareness of Bloodwise, a charity dedicated to funding research into blood cancers. The aspect that Nick and Miriam focused on was that of finding a way of making the treatments less horrendous to endure. They wrote a blog for the charity, saying:

Antonio, our eldest son, was 14 when we first spotted a small, entirely painless lump in his neck.
Although he had no other symptoms, we made an appointment with our local GP.  We were lucky: our brilliant doctor quickly recognised that the lump could be something more serious. And so it was that after an ultrasound scan and a biopsy Antonio was diagnosed in September of last year with stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma in his neck and his chest.

Like all parents who have a child diagnosed with cancer, our first reaction was an overwhelming, if irrational, wish to take the cancer away from him and take it on ourselves. But of course you can’t. You have no choice but to watch your own child battle through the heavy treatment, however much all your parental instincts wish you could take their place.

The treatment he received in the NHS at the teenage cancer unit at UCLH was superb. Every single person working on the ward – from the reception desk to the expert nurses – was friendly, professional and compassionate. We were especially fortunate that Dr Stephen Daw, Antonio’s Consultant Oncologist, is a specialist in childhood and teenage lymphomas and leads research into improving treatments and outcomes.

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: Summer posturing has done little to advance Brexit

Writing in the Financial Times, Nick Clegg gives his assessment of where we are with Brexit at the moment. He is unimpressed with the Government’s Brexit papers, describing them as technocratic, insubstantial and lacking in leadership. He also sees Labour’s so called great shift on the single market as nothing more than a statement of the obvious.

The EU doesn’t escape criticism either, as he points out that they are being way too rigid on the timetable – but that, as he adds, is something that could easily have been foreseen.

There is a profound misreading among British negotiators of the psychology of their EU counterparts. This is not just the familiar difference in the political styles — the improvised repartee of Westminster versus a more formal and legalistic political culture — it relates to a deeper question: who bears responsibility? Across European capitals, there is a strongly held view that the UK has taken a decision that they wish had not happened, which they do not fully understand, and which they believe will make life harder for everyone. Some are aghast that, at a time when Europe faces US isolationism, Russian belligerence, a refugee crisis and threats from terrorism to climate change, the UK should choose to pitch everyone into an interminable navel-gazing negotiation. Not unreasonably, they believe that the overwhelming onus should be on the UK to explain what it wants from Brexit. Surely, they ask, if Brexiters have spent a lifetime campaigning to quit the EU, they should have developed answers as to how that should be achieved?

He’s not worried about the argument over money. We all knew this would happen and it’ll sort itself out. There are much bigger problems emanating from the Government’s incompetence, though.

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