Video: Nick Clegg’s interview on LBC

Nick Clegg was interviewed on LBC this morning. Some highlights:

  • He had no idea what was coming. He thought that 20 seats would have been a bad result:
  • He was blindsided by the exit poll and first thing he did was have a cigarette
  • He doesn’t regret for one millisecond going into government
  • Labour in Sheffield laughed and cheered when Vince Cable lost his seat
  • He’s immensely proud at stats showing narrowing of attainment gap because of pupil premium
  • He put defeat solely down to Tory scaremongering about SNP and SNP surge in Scotland
  • Public have been “really generous” to him since election result
  • Predictably, he didn’t back anyone for leader, saying we have two brilliant candidates
  • He wants to serve his constituents and support the new leader
  • There was a horrible phone call from someone asking about his personal security and insinuating he didn’t look after Charles Kennedy enough. Nick gave him really short shrift, quite deservedly.
  • A call from a new member, who had actually voted Tory as a tactical vote and was horrified at the result so joined Lib Dems 2 days later
  • He said make-up of Parliament was “dotty” but Labour and Tories would block any attempt to reform it unless they were forced into it
  • He wants to speak out on civil liberties (and will be opposing Snoopers’ Charter in Commons today), EU and mental health

Here’s the video. Enjoy.

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44 Comments

  • I opposed Nick’s leadership for a while, on grounds of his party management, policies he chose to pursue (and those he chose to not fight for), and because I felt the public had stopped listening to him.

    But I did so in sorrow rather than anger.

    The fact is that I like the man. He has always struck me as a generous, decent, caring human being, and ultimately I can’t think of a higher accolade. I cannot think of another party leader in my life who I would rather ‘hang out’ with – and that includes my political hero, Charles Kennedy. I also can’t think of someone in politics I would rather ‘interrogate’ – I’d love to pick his brain on so many things, given his obvious passion and intelligence.

  • “He wants to serve his constituents and support the new leader”

    If he wanted to support the new leader he would keep quiet so the electorate come to associate the Lib Dems with someone else. If he wanted to serve his constituents then why is he taking time out from his job to talk to a London radio station?

  • Steve – He served in government for the last five years, has a lot of inside knowledge and you don’t want to hear what he knows? Labour would be clawing at the door to know what he knows.

  • “hear what he knows”

    From a man that has spent the best part of the last five years with his head buried firmly in the sand? From a man that destroyed his own party? No thanks. I’ll pass on listening to his wisdom, especially when it’s along the lines of: “He put defeat solely down to Tory scaremongering about SNP and SNP surge in Scotland”. He’s still got his head in the same position.

  • “He had no idea what was coming. He thought that 20 seats would have been a bad result”

    That statement alone explains why he should have resigned much earlier. When the party had all but been wiped out in the euro’s, stood at between 6-9% in the polls for a very long time, how could he be surprised when they got around 8% of the vote in the GE. It’s a shame, but he really needs to find a new career.

  • Peter Watson 25th Jun '15 - 12:14pm

    “He put defeat solely down to Tory scaremongering about SNP and SNP surge in Scotland”
    At the time he seemed happy enough to join in that scaremongering.

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Jun '15 - 12:28pm

    @ Peter Watson,
    Yes, and for some of us it was the final straw.

    It seems that no ‘lessons have been learnt”.

  • Nick Clegg’s interview handily takes over the news agenda and drowns out the hard truths from the Guardian.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33267657

    Clegg, and the Cleggites, still believe they can call all the shots in the Party. They may be right.

  • The fact that he fails to endorse his own chief supporter and former PPS (parliamentary assistant), Norman Lamb, seems rather odd. perhaps he feels it would harm him?

  • “He had no idea what was coming. He thought that 20 seats would have been a bad result”

    Obviously NC has not been reading LDV.   
    A quick glance at the comments here  from May 2011 onwards would have given him an idea of what was coming.

    Less time on LBC and more time on LDV and he would have been better informed.

    In case he has no idea what is coming if he carries on smoking cigarettes he should go to -https://quitnow.smokefree.nhs.uk/

  • Ben Jephcott 25th Jun '15 - 12:56pm

    Nick made some mistakes – mostly at the start of the coalition – but he did a huge amount to change the script of politics in this country as well as real reform in government. The extent will become clearer as the Tory administration gets into it’s rightwing stride.

    Liberalism needs Nick Clegg to carry on at the heart of our politics, there are few with his talents and none with his experience.

    I hope after a decent holiday he will find a second wind as a fire-starter with our new Leader. When the sky starts falling in under Cameron and especially as Cameron departs, by his own hand, later in this Parliament, Nick Clegg will be an immensely powerful weapon.

  • Mark Blackburn 25th Jun '15 - 1:05pm

    You omit the call from the 19 year old LD voter in 2010 who felt completely let down and would never vote for us again. He wasn’t particularly pleasant or balanced about it, but as we stood on a centre-left manifesto and used the coalition as an excuse to move the party to the right, you can’t blame him. Or millions of others. And Nick Clegg’s implication during the interview that the inner sanctum was himself, Danny Alexander and David Laws makes this lurch right hardly an accident.

  • Peter Watson 25th Jun ’15 – 12:14pm ……………….“He put defeat solely down to Tory scaremongering about SNP and SNP surge in Scotland”….At the time he seemed happy enough to join in that scaremongering……

    I agree that the Tories ‘won’ because of their scaremongering about Labour and the SNP but to add ” and you could see lot s of people that would traditionally have voted for the Liberal Democrats playing it safe and saying the best guarantee [against] that was to vote Conservative”???????

    Where were these ‘people’ when, for almost 5 years, they were asked in the polls, the Local/Euro elections?

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Jun '15 - 1:19pm

    I don’t think Nick Clegg is a bad person. But he think he illustrates sharply two problems that come from people with a super-elite background as he does:

    1) Their ability tends to be grossly over-estimated. Because of the general obsequiousness we have in this country to anyone with a posh accent and demeanour, and because of the confidence that gives in social interaction, when they come out with banalities and triteness, it tends to be treated as far more insightful and intelligent than it would be if the same came from someone with a less elite background.

    2) They tend to view the world largely in terms of people like themselves. Of course they are dimly aware of others, but mostly those they directly mix with and have two-way conversations with are people like themselves. They tend to think that sort of person is the standard, and not to realise that they’re a small and unrepresentative minority.

    On 1), well I’m sorry, but right from the start I could never see what others saw in Nick Clegg. So that’s the only reason I can think of for why he was so enthusiastically pushed forward as “obviously the best person to be Leader”. Even when he’s saying things I agree with, I’ve never seen anything from him which makes me sit up and think or gives me a particular insight which I hadn’t had before. All he ever seemed to do was utter commonplace truisms, repeat opinions that are widespread, never anything very original.

    On 2), well, he did seem to rely very much on a narrow range of advisers who come from a similar background to himself, and do and say things as if everyone was like that. He did seem to have a snobbish dismissal of ordinary party members, too ready to write them off with the usual “silly beards and sandals” way of thinking we get from the Westminster Bubble which never, ever got to really understand our party, what motivates its members, how we won votes.

  • Purely down to SNP? Really? If the SNP did not exist we still would have been smashed. I had some momentary respect for Clegg on reading this morning that he identified in 2014 that he should step down, but reading this I realise his general judgement is still lacking.

  • ’19 year old LD voter in 2010 who felt completely let down and would never vote for us again’…..sadly too many thought a coalition with a small amount of Lib Dem MP’s would mean a Lib Dem Government. A coalition with the Tories I think made them electable……… as many people I speak to (under 35) cant remember the last Tory Government, and tell me ‘but they weren’t too bad over the 5 years’, ignoring any ‘brake’ the Lib Dems put on ……… I wonder if they will change their minds by 2020???

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Jun '15 - 1:34pm

    Mark Blackburn

    He wasn’t particularly pleasant or balanced about it, but as we stood on a centre-left manifesto and used the coalition as an excuse to move the party to the right, you can’t blame him. Or millions of others.

    Yes, this was a big problem. I’ve always defended what was done in the Coalition and I believe that actually the Liberal Democrats did achieve about as much as was possible under the circumstances. I believe that those who attacked the Liberal Democrats for “rolling over and giving in to the Tories” were mostly being unrealistic. A small party (in terms of MPs) in coalition with a much larger party just cannot dominate and make the larger party jump to its demands. It can swing things a little, and stop the more extreme aspects of the larger party so long as there are some in that party with doubts about them, and that’s all. This is especially so if there’s no alternative coalition, and (as is usually going to happen) the main opposition party is more keen on seeing the junior coalition party destroyed than on giving it external support to strengthen its case within the coalition.

    However, Clegg and those surrounding him and advising him most definitely DID use the fact of the Coalition to try and push the Liberal Democrats permanently to the right. Instead of being a leader who worked hard to keep the party united, Clegg often indulged in factional remarks dismissive of those to the left in the party, and showed a strong bias to the right in those he picked to perform various important roles. As a consequence, the defence of the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition was undermined. This made the line that the compromises made were not necessary under the circumstances but instead what the party secretly wanted to do in the first place much easier to push – and that was always the line that was going to be used against us.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Jun '15 - 1:37pm

    Alistair

    Purely down to SNP?

    It ought to have been very obvious that joining in with the Tory line that a party of at most 59 MPs holding the balance of power could run the show and get what it wanted was not a sensible line to be put by the leader of a party of 57 MPs holding the balance who needed to defend why they were able to achieve so little under that situation.

  • How sad that even after he cost 49 of his Westminster colleagues their jobs he lacks either the political understanding to grasp what he’s done or the moral fortitude to accept his part of the blame. How unfair that while the likes of Julian Huppert paid with their seats he clung on to his.

    Until the Lib Dems recognise what a truly bad leader Clegg was, they will stand little chance of recovering and winning back former supporters.

  • Yes, and who was his Parliamentary assistant? Norman Lamb…

  • “Labour in Sheffield laughed and cheered when Vince Cable lost his seat”

    I think that was inevitable really, certainly I had a moment of cheer when Ed Balls lost his……
    Clegg spent 5 years making Labour the main enemy and no one I knew felt he was truly equidistant, he shouldn’t therefore be surprised that that “enemy” cheered his party losing MP’s. I’m afraid I never lost the feeling that Clegg’s view of pluralism meant he would work enthusiastically with the Tories and never with Labour.

  • Sammy O'Neill 25th Jun '15 - 3:26pm

    @ GPPurnell

    It’s not at all odd that Clegg hasn’t endorsed anyone. I would expect the previous leader to keep quiet and maintain neutrality on such an issue.

    Plus if your man Farron is so fantastic, why was he urging Clegg to stay during this mess? Why was he not speaking out as the party crashed towards disaster?

  • He also said that new members were joining because of the Lib Dems in government. Whilst this might be true for some I’ve been corrected in comments (quite rightly) that many old hands have re-joined now he’s gone!

  • @Steve Way “Clegg spent 5 years making Labour the main enemy”

    Whilst Labour have spent the last 112 years making us the main enemy.

  • D McKay 25th Jun ’15 – 3:48pm
    “He also said that new members were joining because of the Lib Dems in government. Whilst this might be true for some I’ve been corrected in comments (quite rightly) that many old hands have re-joined now he’s gone!”

    Totally new (ie never before members) outnumber the rejoined by 4 to 1.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th Jun '15 - 3:55pm

    To those who think the leadership contest has “two brilliant” candidates, can they tell me how they think they can re-build the party on the left whilst being open minded to another coalition with the Conservatives? Non starter.

  • @TCO
    You kind of make my point for me…..
    In our adversarial system don’t be surprised if your adversary cheers your losses. Like I openly admitted, I cheered when Balls lost…

  • TCO 25th Jun ’15 – 3:50pm

    Thank you for the numbers. I imagine that the majority of that 80% liked the Lib Dems in government (some might have liked the party not the leadership etc.). That said 20% is not an insignificant number and it’s a shame that these are not acknowledged now (just as their advice/experience/warnings never were)!

  • I also would think that Labour have kept the Tories as the main enemy, in fact I was surprised how little they attacked Clegg during the GE. I was expecting lots more on integrity and tuition fees, it’s not that they didn’t do it rather that it wasn’t their main approach..

  • Eddie Sammon 25th Jun '15 - 4:48pm

    PS, Tim, or someone on his team, has replied to my query saying he disagrees with the left-right axis and this is his plan:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tcFd8wu94Y

    Social media engagement matters. I don’t care if it is not them responding themselves, or if it is, but it is important to have team members on social media. Rapid rebuttal.

  • Jane Ann Liston 25th Jun '15 - 5:00pm

    @Matthew Huntbach ‘…anyone with a posh accent and demeanour…’

    Posh accent? Clegg? Nonsense!

    As for a posh demeanour, he wasn’t even wearing a tie!

  • John Tilley 25th Jun '15 - 5:21pm

    Jane Ann Liston 25th Jun ’15
    “…As for a posh demeanour, he wasn’t even wearing a tie!”

    Jane Ann Liston,
    Style has moved on a bit down here in the Capital City of The Empire: it is quite the fashion nowadays for a young posh chap to appear without a tie (even his old school tie).

    You provincials in North Britain really need to catch up with the latest trends in posh men’s fashion.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Jun '15 - 5:23pm

    Jane Ann Liston

    Posh accent? Clegg? Nonsense!

    As for a posh demeanour, he wasn’t even wearing a tie!

    You prove my point very well.

  • Andrew Tennant 25th Jun '15 - 9:42pm

    The woman who voted Tory at the election hoping to avoid Ed Miliband and to see continuation of the 2010-15 coalition, deciding to join the Lib Dems after the results were clear – I don’t think this to be a unique case. Many people thought the government in which we served to be a largely positive and benevolent one, and saw the country to be largely on the right track. If the Conservatives abandon that track then there will be a lot of people looking for how they can get it back.

  • Stephen Campbell 26th Jun '15 - 12:15am

    @Andrew Tennant: “Many people thought the government in which we served to be a largely positive and benevolent one, and saw the country to be largely on the right track. ”

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/24/benefit-related-deaths-david-cameron-dwp

  • Andrew Tennant 26th Jun '15 - 6:16am

    Stephen Campbell – I’m sure you’ll be back to comment further when the official figure is confirmed as zero…

  • Stephen Campbell 26th Jun '15 - 10:26am

    @Andrew Tennant: “I’m sure you’ll be back to comment further when the official figure is confirmed as zero…”

    I wish the figure would be zero, but there are already several confirmed deaths and suicides from people who wrongly had their support removed:

    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/benefit-sanctions-have-driven-people-to-suicide-110

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mps-report-benefits-cuts-driving-5388705

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/more-80-suicide-cases-directly-5634404

    The coalition government (and now the Tory government) have, for years, flat out refused to release statistics showing the number of people who died or committed suicide after wrongly being found fit for work or sanctioned. The government even spent millions of pounds fighting the order from the Information Commissioner to release the stats. They’ve now been ordered to do so by a court (IDS claimed in the Commons they do not hold these statistics; two days later Cameron confirmed in the Commons they did) yet are still dragging their heels.

    So what was that about the coalition being a “benign” government?

  • I’m a Labour member in Sheffield Hallam and was deeply upset to see Vince Cable lose – because of the injustice that those Lib Dems who were, while flawed politicians, essentially decent people, were the ones losing their seats.

    But what upset me more was sitting in front of my television at 5AM, watching Nick Clegg thanking Oliver Coppard for a vigorous campaign days after the leaflets flung through the doors of Tories in Whirlow, calling for tactical votes to keep out “Ed Miliband’s Unknown Candidate”. It wasn’t a vigorous campaign from the Lib Dems, it was foul.

    Rumour I heard is that the Lib Dems spent £700,000, 30% of their entire war chest, on defending Hallam. Rather than telling off Labour for cheering Cable losing, he should think about how many seats were lost due to all their resources being poured into saving Clegg’s skin.

  • Robin,
    I am one of the 20% who rejoined once Nick Clegg resigned, so I hold no candle for him, but if that is the worst you can come up with as a “foul” campaign, perhaps you should have a look at the Labour campaign in Leeds NW, where leaflets had to be retracted twice because of lies firstly about Greg Mulhollands voting record and secondly the political views of a local resident featured in a leaflet. And I got the impression that the Labour campaign in Hallam was based primarily on how very WELL-KNOWN Nick Clegg was (and hated for it), so complaining about Coppard being “unknown” is just complaining about the true relative status of the candidates…
    I wonder how much effort Labour wasted in Hallam and whether they might have won some of the LAB-CON marginals in Yorkshire that gave Cameron his majority otherwise? (well, actually, I doubt it… Both Labour and the Lib Dems proved to be useless at campaigning compared to the Tories this time, and more of the same would have made little difference…)

  • Richard Underhill 26th Jun '15 - 3:31pm

    A Labour supporter bet me in 2013 that they would take Sheffield Hallam, £20 at evens.
    The money will go to a foodbank in the borough of Tunbridge Wells.

  • @Stephen Campbell what is the demonstrable causal link between those two events? There could have been any number of other factors involved; without having a detailed case history of each individual and all the factors how can you claim that was the critical factor?

  • Tony Dawson 27th Jun '15 - 7:44am

    “He had no idea what was coming.”

    I could shorten that sentence by almost half.

    Nick Clegg clearly still has no idea. He is clearly in total denial of his complete ineffectualness as a Party Leader for the Lib Dems (as opposed to government role where performance was more mixed) and the damage which he personally has inflicted upon the Party. He has, however, worked incredibly hard. He needs to go and take a long (and I mean months, not weeks) holiday.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Jun '15 - 8:30am

    Andrew

    I am one of the 20% who rejoined once Nick Clegg resigned, so I hold no candle for him

    Well, I am glad you said that, as there have been some who have been trying to persuade us that all those people who joined us after the general election were people inspired by Nick Clegg and the image of the party he built up.

  • As another old radical who returned post May 2015 – it’s instructive to look at the figures in Sheffield Hallam

    Clegg got in because enough Tory voters switched to him to save his bacon to keep Labour out – just like he saved their bacon in 2010.

    The Tory share of the total vote in Hallam dropped by almost 10% – it was going up everywhere else – and Clegg’s majority is just 4%. He he has the lowest share of the Liberal vote in Hallam since the party gained the seat in 1997. ….. this, despite all the resources chucked in to help him keep it.

    On a human level it would have been humiliating for him to lose it – and on a human level I would have been sorry for him. But as Clem Attlee said to Harold Laski in 1945 – “there is widespread resentment in the Party at your activities and a period of silence on your part would be most welcome”. Sadly, same goes to Paddy, a tad bit more humility from you in the next few years would be most welcome.

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