The Indy on Nick: ‘Clegg the Credible’

That’s the headline in today’s leader column in the Independent on Sunday. Here are 4 things especially worth picking out …

1. On Nick’s task as Lib Dem leader:

Nick Clegg has done a good job of preparing the Liberal Democrats for an election that suddenly looks likely to be the closest since 1992, and possibly since 1974. His task has not been an easy one. … Mr Clegg has to fight to be heard in this restricted space, while leading a party that, perhaps even more than Labour, harbours a deep suspicion of its leaders. And yet, somehow, Mr Clegg has kept his head and is showing a new confidence and clarity at just the right time.

2. On Nick’s hung parliament strategy:

… he has pre-empted the inevitable questions about which party the Lib Dems would prefer to work with if the election outcome is inconclusive. He can say it is up to the voters: that he is not a kingmaker; 40 million voters are the kingmakers. This allows him to move on to the next stage, of setting out the important policies for which the Lib Dems are seeking a mandate, and which they would try to secure in a hung parliament. They are: tax cuts for the low-paid and tax rises for the rich; more money for school pupils from deprived areas; a green economy; and electoral reform.

3. On the Lib Dems’ election prospects:

… by setting out the ground rules and his own party’s priorities, he has given himself as much negotiating room as is possible. His party goes into the election in good shape, holding steady at just under 20 per cent in the opinion polls, with every expectation of outperforming them, as in the past.

4. And, finally, on the strength of the Lib Dem team:

With the likes of Mr Cable, Chris Huhne and David Laws, the Lib Dem team bears comparison with those of the two larger parties. Thus from the platform in Birmingham today Mr Clegg is able to address his party and the country from a position of more credible strength than any of his predecessors since David Steel in the 1970s.

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  • “more credible strength than any of his predecessors since David Steel in the 1970s.”


    80s possibly – I don’t think the lIberal party under Steel in the 70s was credibly strong by any definition (Thorpe under investigation, LIb-Lab pact, finishing 5th in Walsall North, 4th in Ladywood, massive councillor losses in 1977 etc)

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