WATCH: Call Clegg revived: People have the right to change their mind on Brexit

Call Clegg made a comeback today. During the coalition years, Nick Clegg took questions every Thursday morning on LBC. The banter with Nick Ferrari resumed today for an election special

Watch Nick defend the proposal for a referendum on the Brexit deal. Nick Ferrari suggested that he was defying the will of the people. Nick responded:

N

o one will be defied. You can’t change a decision made by the British people, other than by another decision of the British people.

By the way, people change their minds all the time, that’s why we have an election.

Last year, we weren’t able to compare the status quo with what Brexit really means in practice, because the Brexiteers very cleverly, very cynically avoided any description of what Brexit actually means. We still don’t know what it means.

So when you have that – not second referendum – but a first referendum on the deal itself, for the first timw, we as a country will be able to compare like with like.

He was also challenged about Vince Cable’s comments – and he observed that the biggest transformation in British politics was the collusion between the Conservatives and UKIP. The Tim Farron and gay sex question came up again.

Listen to find out what happened when Nick Ferrari challenged him over constituency tabloid newspapers.

And what would he ask Theresa May?

Enjoy!

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

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36 Comments

  • Bill le Breton 9th May '17 - 7:24pm

    Actually the biggest transformation in politics in the last 30 years occurred as a result of the collusion between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats leading up to the General Election in 1997.

    Ironically, had that not happened, Nick Clegg would not have been elected to the European Parliament in was it 1998 (?).

    But he and the right wingers who came in to elected politics at that time never really understood who voted for us and why. Hence the repeated losses in seats at every election following his election as leader.

  • Mick Taylor 9th May '17 - 7:39pm

    Come off it Bill. Clegg a right winger. Good god, what does that make Mrs Mayhem. Clegg has views you disagree with. Fair enough, but surely you can do better than use the tired old cliches of left and right. Sure there were coalition things I didn’t like, but there was much we got done and many policies we had implemented that we can be proud of. And there were lots of awful Tory policies we stopped as well, though I know it shakes your narrow world view to admit it.
    Clegg is going gangbusters on Brexit and talking more sense than the combined Tory and Labour front benches. Now I know you are anti EU – though for the life of me I don’t really understand why – but what really annoys me is that you never never give Clegg any credit whatsoever for anything he does. Not really Liberal is it.

  • Stephen Hesketh 9th May '17 - 9:19pm

    @Mick Taylor
    Whatever his views on Brexit, in Lib Dem terms, NC is of the economic centre-right of the party. Perhaps we should describe Theresa May as a moderate on the basis of there being others further to the Right of her?

    Had NC, as Bill le Breton suggests, understood our core vote (or valued what had been built by others based on the previously understood core value positions), he would not have made so many mistakes in his dealings with the Tories.

    Had we not made those mistakes and muddied the previously clear divide we would now be having to put so much effort in to getting pro-EU Labour voters to vote tactically for us and for Remain.

    Few will believe that we are going to see 50-60 Lib Dem MP’s on the morning of June 9th. I would be seriously ecstatic to be proved wrong but I fear that will not be the case.

  • Peter Martin 9th May '17 - 9:55pm

    @ Mick Taylor,

    “Now I know you are anti EU – though for the life of me I don’t really understand why”

    Bill is one of the few Lib Dems who understands how currencies work. Or, don’t work in the case of the euro. I think David Owen is another. David had an intelligent argument that being against the EU, largely because of the mess it had got itself into over the euro, wasn’t the same as being anti the EC, or EEC which were its predecessors. It’s just about as big a mess as its possible to make! It really makes sense to get out sooner rather than later.

    That’s pretty much my line too. Even if you disagree yourself, is it really so hard to understand?

  • Keith Browning 9th May '17 - 10:08pm

    Confused – the £ v Euro began at 1.60 and has been as low as 1.05 – average somewhere either side of 1.20. So which is the strong currency and which is the weak..??

    The Pound has always struggled against the Euro, and always been weaker – so why do the Brits describe the Euro as a weak currency. More Brexit nonsense..!!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 9th May '17 - 10:43pm

    Mick
    We disagree sometimes, and strongly, but well said above , about Bill , who lately I sometimes agree with and here do not !

    Whether Brexit and or Clegg rage, obsession gets us nowhere.

    Some are too busy obsessing to see we are not doing well in the polls or the election itself if the coverage is much to go on !

    Nick Clegg made mistakes. He is not right wing .

    Brexit is a mistake . It is not the only issue.

  • Mick Taylor 9th May ’17 – 7:39pm….. Clegg a right winger. Good god, what does that make Mrs Mayhem. Clegg has views you disagree with. Fair enough, but surely you can do better than use the tired old cliches of left and right…

    Tired old cliches? Nick has resurrected his, “Labour crashed the economy” chestnut yet again…
    Still, at least we know who Nick regards as ‘the enemy’!

  • Andrew Tampion 10th May '17 - 7:25am

    It’s not a question of Clegg rage, when Mr Clegg became leader in 2007 we had 62 MPs in the 2010 election we lost 5 seats and in the 2015 election we loss a further 49 seats. It would be unfair to say that we don’t all share some responsibility but as leader Mr Clegg and his supporters must accept that his period as leader coincided with a catastrophic collapse in our Parliamentary representation and also accept his share of the responsibility for that.
    The assertion that the British people have the right to change their minds over Brexit is a statement of the obvious. What I don’t see from Mr Clegg, Mr Farron or anyone else is any plan as to how this change of mind is to be brought about: other than the expectation that the negotiations will fail and produce either no deal or a clearly disastrous deal. May be, but the danger of saying Brexit will be a disaster is that anything less than a complete disaster looks like a success.
    In any case if the referendum on the deal is to be meaningful the British people must be offered a clear choice: the leave deal as negotiated or return on specific terms. What if the EU are unable or unwilling to specify the terms on which we will remain in the EU? What if the EU position is that in order to remain in the EU we must join Schengen or the Euro or lose our rebate or any combination of these? What if we vote to remain on the basis that we retain our existing terms and then the EU say we have to join the Euro; does that mean yet another referendum to give the people their say on that?

  • Bill le Breton 10th May '17 - 8:41am

    Mick, I reckon right wing is a valid description of someone who in the mid 2000s as a Lib Dem MEP told the Independent he wanted to break up the NHS and privatise swathes of it.

    Who, as leader of our Party, wanted to cut taxes as we began to descend into the deepest recession since the 1930s. George W Bush economics – not right wing?

    Wanted to raise tuition fees.

    Both of which he was thankfully frustrated over by Conference.

    And, yet when free of the restrains of Conference or the need to keep the Party ‘onside’:

    a) rejected the economic policy of our 2010 Manifesto (halve the deficit in a Parliament) and accepted totally without demur the Tory policy of eliminating the deficit in the Parliament – without any effort to negotiate even a half-way house, and
    b) trebled those university fees and slapped an inflation + 3% interest rate on those loans – so that the Government is actually making money on those loans

    I do not doubt that he is socially liberal and charming – but he has always been an economic liberal, what I would call a ‘market liberal’, and, as he admitted in June 2010, there was barely a cigarette paper between him and Cameron and Osborne.

  • “Mick, I reckon right wing is a valid description of someone who in the mid 2000s as a Lib Dem MEP told the Independent he wanted to break up the NHS and privatise swathes of it.”

    In Government Clegg prioritised cutting taxes whilst increasing funding for the NHS at an historically low rate – leading to the problems of today. Had NHS funding increased at the average – or even the average under the previous Tory government – the NHS Budget would have been higher by much more than the £6bn now being promised.

  • Denis Loretto 10th May '17 - 9:27am

    Can it really be true – in the middle of a crucial election campaign a thread in LDV is taken up with reviving stale attacks on our former leader who is currently doing an excellent job as our spokesman on Europe. As to all this left and right wing stuff, why can’t we take a leaf from the book of President-elect Macron? One of his effective slogans is “neither left nor right”.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th May '17 - 9:30am

    Keith Browning 9th May ’17 – 10:08pm
    “Confused – the £ v Euro began at 1.60 and has been as low as 1.05 – average somewhere either side of 1.20. So which is the strong currency and which is the weak..??”

    I think your confusion is that you are judging the success of a currency by whether it is “strong” or “weak” and not by what its effect is on the people who have to use it. Sure, the euro is “strong” – so strong that it is throttling Greece and close to doing the same to much of southern Europe. That’s not a success in the real world.

  • Peter Martin 10th May '17 - 9:31am

    “…. why do the Brits describe the Euro as a weak currency?”

    It’s weak in the sense that it’s badly structured. There’s insufficient provision for the necessary transfer of surpluses from wealthy to not so wealthy areas that all currency zones need to operate. The mistake made by the EU was in thinking they only needed a central bank, and the strict set of rules in the so-called Stability and Growth Pact, to hold it all together.

    In a slightly different sense it is too weak for the strong economies like Germany and the Netherlands. Their exports are too cheap and their imports too expensive. That’s why they run large surpluses which don’t do themselves or their trading partners any good. On the other hand it is too strong for the weaker economies in the EZ such as Greece, Spain , Portugal, Italy, Ireland, France and Finland.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th May '17 - 12:11pm

    Mick Taylor

    Sure there were coalition things I didn’t like, but there was much we got done and many policies we had implemented that we can be proud of.

    Most of what the coalition did I didn’t like. We didn’t get much done. The coalition government reflected its composition, five times as many Tory MPs as LibDem MPs. All we could do is tip the balance towards the moderate side when the Tories themselves were evenly balanced, and put through a few very minor things when they did not contradict Tory policy.

    I think we needed to make clear from the start that the coalition was a miserable little compromise forced on us by the way people voted and the way their votes were distorted by the electoral system. I think we did the honourable thing by accepting the only viable government that could have been formed given the balance of parties, that does not mean we should give the impression it was wonderful and close to what we would have done if we had a majority.

    Clegg is a right-winger. He is one of those who were pushing the party to become more about free-market economics at just the time when it was becoming clear that free-market economics was not delivering what its fans say it does. We are seeing a society where most people are more stressed and miserable then people were in the past, due to what extreme free-market economics has done to us, and where inequality in wealth and income has grown hugely, resulting in a destruction of the freedom of so many as lack of wealth means lack of opportunity.

    Many, perhaps most, of those who voted Leave did so because they thought that was a way of saying “No” to how our society has moved in that way. I have heard this said (not always directly, but in words that imply this) by some many Leave voters. Yet membership of the EU was not the cause of what underneath was concerning them.

    We are now in the weird situation where people want a move to the economic left and think that voting for the economic right is how to achieve it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th May '17 - 12:17pm

    Denis Loretto

    As to all this left and right wing stuff, why can’t we take a leaf from the book of President-elect Macron? One of his effective slogans is “neither left nor right”.

    We have growing inequality in society, growing class division. So, surely, the basic idea of left-right in politics is becoming more relevant, not less.

    As for President-elect Macron, it seems to me that he was, in economic terms, very much the right-wing candidate in economic terms of the two in the final round, and the other one was the left-wing candidate. What he seemed to be proposing in economic terms was all things that in Britain have led us to a stressed-out and unhappy society.

    We need to work out a proper alternative to this. At one time that’s what the Liberal Party were about, and that’s why I joined them. I’ve no interest in being in a party that in economic terms says “we too” to what the Tories say.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th May '17 - 12:32pm

    Stephen Hesketh

    Perhaps we should describe Theresa May as a moderate on the basis of there being others further to the Right of her?

    Very few ordinary people are in favour of right-wing economic policies. Real support for them seems to be concentrated in a small number of wealthy elite types. Below that it is surprising how many people vote Tory despite of Tory economic policy rather than because they favour it. A big proportion of those who vote Tory do so more because they are small-c conservatives rather than economic right-wingers. Somehow the point never seems to get across to them that it’s the economic right-wing policies of the Tories that have destroyed what they are nostalgic for. Many vote Tory more because they think the political left are some sort of snobbish intellectual elite than because they support Tory economic policies.

    We need to find a way round this, and once-upon-a-time, the Liberals were able to do just that. I’m afraid that Clegg and the way he and his type have pushed the party are very much to blame for why this no longer is the case.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 10th May '17 - 1:36pm

    I genuinely do not understand , as with Denis, why those above are dwelling on the past.

    I also do not understand why those who think Nicxk Clegg is right wing rather than centrist in general centre right on economic policy and centre left on social policy , did not join the Labour party in the era , whenever they joined this one.

    There are many versions of Liberalism. Nick on economics is to the left of many Liberals of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

    What makes anyone think because he thinks a successful market economy is desirable, he likes slippery , shoddy , practices , tax havens, off shore and the like. That is the worst of modern capitalism and I d not believe he supports it.

    I am to the centre left of him on these things. I want significant investment in the public realm, especially a massive increase in health spending. But I favour a holistic approach and a range of providers , public and private and particularly the not for profit sector, involved.

    I also favour life imprisonment for pre meditated murder, with full time physical work in prisons that are prisons, not bed sits for them.

    And the release of many non violent offenders too.

    Where am I on the political spectrum?

  • Sue Sutherland 10th May '17 - 1:47pm

    We are fighting one of the most important elections in my lifetime! We have a Tory leader who is authoritarian and will be at the mercy of extreme right voters and members of her party after the election. We have a Labour Party in the clutches of the extreme left which is likely to implode after the election when Jeremy Corbyn with the support of the membership refuses to resign. Our party is the only one reflecting the decent values that used to make me proud of being British and we could easily be wiped out.
    Brexit is the strong symbol of where the UK is politically but it isn’t the major problem. The major problem is that our country could easily become a right wing authoritarian state, an elective dictatorship if not worse, because that is what May wants. We have to get out there and fight for Liberal values. I try to use Facebook to do this because I’m unable to campaign in any other way, but, please if you can, stop fighting each other and join the campaign in a target seat.

  • My forecast for the result, Labour supporters round here are going to vote, really they are the only opposition bynumbers in the eyes of 98% of the electorate.
    Con 347
    Lab 234
    Lib Dem 5 (hope I am proved horribly wrong but …….)
    Green 0
    UKIP 0
    Independant 0
    SNP/PC 46
    Others 18

  • Denis Loretto 10th May '17 - 3:22pm

    I really do not want to bother any more with the pointless debate on this thread. I am too busy doing my level best to get Simon Hughes back into parliament. I hope other posters on here are doing the equivalent in other target seats. If not come to Bermondsey & Old Southwark.

  • nvelope2003 10th May '17 - 3:30pm

    Sadly the decent values which used to make us proud to be British, if they ever really existed, have been replaced by a nasty greedy streak. Since the coalition the goodwill which there used to be for Liberals has almost entirely been lost and been replaced by contempt for anyone who tries to be fair and understand any view other than their own narrrow attitudes. I think those nasty TV shows have a lot to answer for as everyone is presented in a nasty light, even on detective shows, and no one is allowed to seem good.

  • Peter Watson 10th May '17 - 4:04pm

    @Lorenzo Cherin “I genuinely do not understand , as with Denis, why those above are dwelling on the past.”
    Because Nick Clegg has a past, and it is one that has not made him universally popular inside or outside his party.
    Neither Theresa May nor Jeremy Corbyn (nor Caroline Lucas nor Paul Nuttall) have put their predecessors front and centre of this election campaign, distracting from the present leadership and future direction. Nor have they had rumours about their predecessor sounding out colleagues for a possible return to leadership.
    If a senior figure from the Coalition years, particularly the most senior figure, steps up to speak, everything they say will be heard and questioned in that context.

  • nvelope2003 10th May '17 - 4:12pm

    Peter Watson: The party is not exactly packed with well known national figures. For all his faults Clegg is an able man whether you like him or not and ne is one of the party’s nine MPs. People do not take much notice of those they have never heard of.

  • David Allen 10th May '17 - 6:12pm

    “what really annoys me is that you never never give Clegg any credit whatsoever for anything he does. Not really Liberal is it.”

    I think it was Paul Walter who counted it up and found that I was one of (I think) 3 people who posted over 3,000 anti-Clegg posts between 2010 and 2015. Since then I have largely shut up about Clegg, and concentrated on commenting what Farron has been doing (probably around 90% favourably). Meanwhile, I have been pretty content to see Clegg as our specialist European spokesperson – that subject plays to his strengths, and he has mostly talked a lot of sense.

    However, campaigning has re-opened my eyes. Many activists fondly believe, as one of my colleagues put it, that “we have exorcised the ghost of Clegg”. Not with the public, we haven’t!

    They still don’t trust us, and that’s why we are failing to achieve lift-off. We know that Tim Farron is a totally different leader from Clegg – but the public haven’t taken that on board yet. Not surprising, when one comes to think of it. Some stains just take a very long time to wash out. The Blair Iraq stain is still very visible. The (unfair) Brown-crashed-the-world stain is only gradually fading.

    Sorry, but – Get Clegg off the radio, off the team, off everything. It’s a pity, indeed it’s rather unfair, given how hard the guy has worked on Europe – But, he is still a huge vote-loser for us. We can’t afford that!

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th May '17 - 4:03am

    Lorenzo Cherin

    Where am I on the political spectrum?

    From your blinkered unthinking support for extreme free market economics, without even an ability to question it and see why in some cases it does not give the real freedom to ordinary people that its propagandists claim, you are far-right.

  • Matthew Huntbach – You are quite wrong about Macron. Reindustrialization, import substitution (no joke, en marche website want Europe to reduce import dependency from outsiders), borrow at low interest rates for investments (well, in the UK only Corbyn committed to borrow at low rates for investments, Farron talked about “fixing the roof when the sun was shining in late 2015, but I am waiting for official Libdem policies”. Oh wait, Macron even declared to tighten foreign investment laws and protect strategic industries, while right wing economics = unfettered free market.

    For now, I hope that Farron would throw the Orange Book to the dustbin now and for good and go back to Keynesian economics or something equivalent, but the policies must be social liberal. Borrowing at historically low interest rates would be the starting point. We should NEVER allow Treasury economics to dominate our policy-making. In Canada, Trudeau has already been doing so.

  • And actually I never agree with the abolition of tuition fees. Mickey Mouse degrees never deserve this.

  • Bill le Breton 11th May '17 - 8:26am

    But do you agree that post 2011 students should be paying an interest rate of over 5% on their loans?

  • Well, hell, no

  • Lorenzo Cherin 11th May '17 - 8:15pm

    Mathew Huntbach

    You reasons a part of me dislikes party politics .How can anyone like being insulted , which is what you do in your mean statement above. Not acceptable even if accurate. Less so when completely inaccurate!!

    I was a member of the Labour party , not a far right one,when Tim Farron had a poster of Margaret Thatcher on his wall , I had one of Neil Kinnock in my window , election 1987 !

    There isn’t a single word from me in any article on any web site, and I write articles on others, nor in the commentary of this site , in favour of unfettered capitalism or laissez faire ! I am in favour of liberalism, and democracy, social liberalism, with social democracy ,that means for the economy !!!

    I also am not keen on the use of the phrase ,ordinary people, as if I am separated from others , or you are, or do not want freedom for them , it bothers me,in an economy that has not benefited me , and wherein I am functioning from an overdraft , and have been in borderline poverty at times !Who the ordinary people are when some extraordinarily able people are living in insecurity I cannot guess !

    I am one of the least blinkered people in politics it would be possible to engage with.

    I even can engage with you in a constructive way on here whether in agreement or otherwise.

    I regularly encourage a range of opinions .

    Anyone who thinks I am on the far right, must surely be reading some other commentary , or maybe themselves are on the far left , so in comparison, so be it !

    You also regularly denigrate and criticise and , now an example, yes, insult people on here.

    I think of no other word for your calling me far right , and all the things you said with that,which only proves that if it offends me this much , I am not it.

    I am in the radical and moderate centre.Some of my views are centre left. None are right wing , even on crime , I am firmly in the centre of things politically , and would be where most peoples views on those issues are often.

    I do not feel it acceptable to receive an insult as a so called retort to my question about philosophical or ideological positioning.

  • Katharine Pindar 11th May '17 - 11:28pm

    Sue Sutherland’s comment of May 10 seems to me entirely correct, on our need to fight the current danger of an increasingly authoritarian, right-wing government. In this context it does seem regrettable that accusations of right-wing economic beliefs are being banded about, even astonishingly to attack Lorenzo, whose fair-minded centrist position has been often made clear through his posts. Let us pull together as Sue requests, for there is much to be done, and many true-hearted Liberal Democrats here to give service in their various capacities.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 12th May '17 - 2:16am

    Katharine

    That is really appreciated, thank you for the contribution . You, and those who have the ability to see that differing views ,are not only possible ,but welcome ,in our party and amongst all who embrace the mainstream , keep me involved in this site and in politics without getting completely disheartened, by the voices of bitterness !

    You are correctly alluding to the merit in Sue Sutherlands post , and that she should even think for a moment that her contributions online, campaigning on facebook or anywhere, in the cause of common sense humanitarian views, unable to get about as much physically,are lesser than doing any of it ,with a leaflet, she would be wrong.

    One of the things I for some time have been saying is we must adapt. We need to get with where things are at. E democracy is the near and far distant politics, as is yet ,the television and the newspaper too, old fashioned , no, May reached more on the sofa with her husbands support, on the tv show than a thousand leaflets!

    The values of the centre and centre left must survive this election, and the onslaught from the right , and , on here or anywhere, the antagonistic left !!!

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