WATCH: Clegg – “the easiest thing in politics is just to walk away. I’m not going to do that”

A shattered-looking Nick Clegg has spoken today of the “gutting and heart breaking” European election results, but said he would not “walk away” from the leadership nor from the Coalition. You can read the full transcript of his interview with the BBC’s Vicki Young below.

VY: These are disastrous results. How can you turn this around?

NC: It is gutting. It is heartbreaking frankly to see Liberal Democrat candidates, councillors and members of the European Parliament many of whom who are old colleagues and friends of mine lose their seats in this way. It’s been a huge set back. But there are thousands of Liberal Democrats who this morning who are feeling bitterly disappointed, but also have their heads held high because they can see that there has been this very sharp turn, clearly not only here but across Europe, to the right and in some cases the far right. And that uniquely, and certainly in British politics, and compared to many countries as well, the Liberal Democrats have decided to take on UKIP, take on the argument, and argue for the things we believe in – a generous hearted, opened minded, internationalist Britain. It didn’t work. But it was right that we stood up for the values we believe in.

VY: The strategy didn’t work did it. So what does that tell you about these results. Is it really about Europe, or is about you and your party?

NC: Well clearly at the moment both being a governing party but also a party that is seeking to argue in favour of Europe, neither of those things are particularly popular at the moment. But we stood up for what we believe in and I am immensely proud that I lead the most united, resilient, toughest party in British politics and we made a big commitment to the British people in 2010 to step up to the plate, to form a government, to reform and repair the damaged British economy, to deliver policy after policy that the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning on for generations and that is what we must continue to do, we must finish the job.

VY: But its not just about Europe. Your MPs are telling me there must be a change in strategy. Do you agree with that?

NC: Look, there are some individuals who say that they want a change of leadership, they want a change of strategy or they want to pull out of the coalition altogether. And of course it’s right to have searching questions in the wake of such a bad set of election results, but if I’m honest with you, the easiest thing in politics just as in life, is that when the going gets tough is to just walk away, to wash your hands of it. But I’m not going to do that and my party is not going to do that, because we said back in 2010 that we were going to do something exceptional, which was enter into a coalition, for exceptional reasons – to deliver the economic recovery which is finally being delivered – and just at the point when our big decisions, our big judgements, are being vindicated, we’re not going to buckle, we’re not going to lose our nerve, we’re not going to walk away.

VY: You’re not getting the credit for the recovery though. How do you get more credit for the economic news?

NC: We must argue over and over again, that if it wasn’t for the Liberal Democrats taking that brave decision – yes, at considerable short term political cost – of entering into a coalition, stepping up to the plate, rescuing the deeply damaged British economy. We wouldn’t have a recovery now, and more than that you wouldn’t have kind of recovery. There’s just no way that the Conservatives left to their own devices would deliver the big changes to better pensions, better taxes, better apprenticeships, better schools, that we are delivering in government, and that of course is what we should explain over and over. We have our work cut out. I know that as much as anyone else, but we do that by being as resilient and united as we have been despite all the predictions to the contrary, and to get out there and explain, when people make their big final judgement in the general election next year, that we have done what we said we would do when we entered into government back in 2010.

VY: Many people are asking where you are getting the votes from? Are we going to see more differentiation?

NC: What we need to do is say, and show, how we have delivered on the commitment we made to the British people back in 2010, which was to take this remarkably difficult decision of entering into coalition, controversial though that clearly was, deliver a whole range of decisions which were extremely controversial as well to fix the economy, and now delivering time after time after time, policies and benefits to millions of people in this country that wouldn’t have happened without the Liberal Democrats – fairer taxes, fairer pensions, more apprenticeships, better and fairer funding for our schools, and so on. And that is what we have said we would do, that is what we have done, and that is why the vast majority of Liberal Democrats do not believe that we should lose our nerve or walk away right now.

VY: When it comes to the coalition, is there still work to be done? Can you work with the Conservatives? You are clearly going to have to show that your different, on issues such as immigration for example.

NC: The government has still got a year to run. The Liberal Democrats still have a year to run in the five year parliament we said we would deliver to the British people back in 2010, but the core mission of the Liberal Democrats in this coalition government, the core mission right now is to finish the job of delivering an economic recovery, but finishing it fairly, and that is what sets the Liberal Democrats apart from any other party in British politics. No other party in British politics can say, with our heads held high, that we have not only delivered an economic recovery but we have delivered it in a way which would benefit millions and millions of ordinary people in Great Britain. Of course we need to argue our case, explain our case, campaign on what we believe in as forcefully as we possibly can, day in day out, between now and the general election, and then people will be able to make their judgement to what the Liberal Democrats have done, in May next year.

VY: An MP told me you have a bunker mentality. Is that true, that you’re not listening to your party?

NC: No, not at all. I’m not going to put myself ahead of the Liberal Democrats, in the same way we as a party will never put ourselves ahead of the interests of the country. If I thought that anything would be really solved, any of our real dilemmas would be addressed, by changing leadership, changing strategies, changing approaches, bailing out now, changing direction, then I wouldn’t hesitate advocating it. Absolutely not. But I genuinely believe, that precisely at the time when so many of our big judgements are being vindicated – do you remember when people said the coalition wouldn’t last? It has lasted. People said that the Liberal Democrats would not remain united, we have. People said that we wouldn’t be able to deliver plan A, that we had to switch to plan B. Again, and again, and again, we have held our nerve and we have proved to make the right judgements, and that is the worst point in my view to change direction or to lose our nerve.

VY: So it hasn’t even crossed your mind to resign?

NC: No it hasn’t. And the vast majority of Liberal Democrats believe that we took the right decision four years ago, yes we have been punished in elections – and frankly we have taken a bigger hit in the ballot box than may of us could have predicted at the time – but we all knew it would be tough, we knew we had to take difficult, tough and unpopular decisions, but we’ve done it because it is the right thing for the long term fortunes of Great Britain. And I have this old fashioned view that at the end of the day what is right for the country is also right for the Liberal Democrats.

VY: Lib Dems would agree that they thought it would be tough, but that a year out from a general election, things would turn around, and it’s not a surprise that some are starting to wobble and ask for a new direction.

NC: Absolutely. I don’t begrudge anyone for raising searching questions, for asking challenging questions about strategy and about leadership, all of it. It’s the most natural thing in the world after the electoral losses of the last few very very difficult days. But the question is, is that really a shortcut to doing what the Liberal Democrats want to do for Great Britain. And I think that losing our nerve, buckling down, washing our hands of all the decisions, exactly at the point that our decisions are being proved right, would be the wrong thing to do. Never mind the Liberal Democrats, never mind me, it would be the wrong thing for Great Britain.

VY: You’ve lost thousands of councillors, you’re down to one MEP, do you think it could get worse?

NC: Look, I’ve been in politics long enough to know what goes up, goes down, and indeed what goes down goes up. This is a really difficult time for the Liberal Democrats but it’s also the time for us to, yes be – as all Liberal Democrats are – bitterly disappointed about these results, but also to hold our heads high for the case we made, the case for an open-minded, generous hearted, internationalist Britain. No-one else is making that case, we didn’t win the argument, but we’ve got to continue to stick to the values that brought me into politics and what brought so many other Liberal Democrats into politics.

VY: Nigel Farage is a phenomenon that doesn’t seem to be going away, what is your explanation?

NC: I think if you look across Europe there is clearly a Europe wide phenomenon, not just confined to UKIP in Great Britain, of a lurch towards the right, and in some cases to the far right, a lurch towards populism and to the politics of very very simple answers to very complex problems. But I respect the fact that Nigel Farage has done very well in this election. He has every right to be pleased with his performance. I just don’t think he offers the solutions to the problems that the country faces. What he needs to do over the coming weeks and months, once he has celebrated his successes, is explain how what he stands for really is an answer to the problems that we face as a country.

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45 Comments

  • jedibeeftrix 26th May '14 - 8:35pm

    good for you.

    but a little more focus on getting it right would be nice.

    the message particularly…

  • I’m afraid I don’t believe him, not in a general way but with respect to Nick Clegg personally. It seems a matter of record that Nick Clegg finds it very hard to back off and put affairs in other hands. And I think he has “lost his nerve” — that’s not just a matter of his shattered demeanour, but of his inability to rethink things or to conceive of doing anything other than more than the same. A real triumph of nerve would be to take full personal responsibility for the catastrophe, to declare that a new direction and new leadership were required, and to announce that he was prepared to step aside in favor of that leadership. If Nick Clegg could show such courage, he would be widely applauded and, in time, remembered more for his achievements than his failures. As it is, he appears not so much willing to go down with the ship as to take the ship down with him, through sheer inertia and inability to react to a changing situation — all things that mark loss of nerve in a leader.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 8:49pm

    It is all just more of the same. If he does not go then there is a crumb of comfort: when the awful crushing defeat happens in 2015 it will be his and his orange book agenda which has been rejected; he and his lot must take full responsibilty. Hopefully we can then return to being a party committed to liberalism not a tory lite outfit.

  • Steve Comer 26th May '14 - 8:54pm

    I agree wholeheartedly David-1, especially with your ‘ship’ analogy.
    Many of use have been saying for years that ‘Captain Clegg’ has to change course to avoid hitting the political iceberg. If Nick recognised that I too would applaud his courage. The trouble is Lib Dem Leaders seem to surround themselves with people on the bridge who telling them they are wonderful and the greatest Liberal leader since Gladstone etc. And Nick has never been good at listening to those who disagree with him.

    If the Captain won’t change course, we’ll have to change the Captain. the trouble is so many of our Councillors and activists are already overboard, and a few are rushing to the lifeboats!

  • John Broggio 26th May '14 - 9:05pm
  • The picture says it all, we must move on as a matter of urgency and geta new captain, this one has just been in charge of the Titanic.

  • “If I thought that anything would be really solved, any of our real dilemmas would be addressed, by changing leadership, changing strategies, changing approaches, bailing out now, changing direction, then I wouldn’t hesitate advocating it. Absolutely not. But I genuinely believe, that precisely at the time when so many of our big judgements are being vindicated … that is the worst point in my view to change direction or to lose our nerve.”

    So, essentially, not only no change of leadership, but also no change of strategy, no change of approach, no change of direction. No change at all. Just carry on doing the same thing and hope it will somehow produce different results.

  • I expected a lose or two but nothing of the magnitude that it was. I’m sorry but I’ve lost faith in his ability and he simply has to go and go soo.

  • The polling evidence mentioned in that Guardian article is remarkable:
    The polls show that if Clegg remains leader he would lose in Sheffield Hallam to Labour by 33 points to 23. He would even come behind the Conservatives. In the 2010 election, Clegg obtained 53% of the popular vote.
    Huppert would lose Cambridge to Labour by 41 points to 28. In Redcar support for Swales collapses into third place on 16 points behind Labour (46) and Ukip (20). Tessa Munt, MP in Wells, Somerset, would also lose to the Conservatives by a massive 41 points to 21.

    The surveys were conducted by ICM, normally the pollster most favourable to the Lib Dems.

  • Radical Liberal 26th May '14 - 9:33pm

    So Clegg looks set to lose his own seat. Wake up Lib Dem MP’s before its too late.

  • Nick goes on London radio every week. How did that translate into London councillors won/lost?

  • “We must make it clear that our next manifesto will correct all the right wing rubbish we have had to put up with in Government”

    Then be prepared for voters to laugh in your face and then vote for someone else. Why should anyone believe you when you didn’t stick to your promises in the last manifesto? Honestly, I’m amazed that people come up with such ludicrous ideas as though the voters can be fooled yet again. Have you been following yesterday’s events and those on Friday morning at all???

  • “Nick goes on radio every week so he knows how people are thinking”. Yes he does go on the radio every week but to claim that he therefore knows what people are thinking is a total ‘non-sequitur’. People may articulate what they feel but the man has blinkers on and tunes out any criticism of himself. He has the lowest self-awareness of any politician since Margaret Thatcher, another leader who clung on to power well past her sell by date.

  • To all the people saying Nick should go, and I respect your opinion, surely the matter is that no MP is doing the same? John Pugh and John Hemming have made reasonable and sensible points but neither came that close to calling for Nick to step down, though John Pugh was fair in saying another leader might do better in terms of poll rating.

    Our fallen MEPs have stood byNick and so have the MPs – in that situation, why would Nick go? Calling for Nick to go is one thing, but if you want Nick to go surely you should be critising the MPs for not calling on Nick to resign.

  • If resignation hasn’t crossed his mind, then I really worry about his grip on reality. He has been a failure from the start of the coalition negotiations.

    If he had stuck to his guns over PR I could forgive nearly all the bad that has happened since. Inept doesn’t even begin to describe his leadership.

  • I’m no longer a member, but make a decision based on what is best for the country as a whole and the values you claim to stand for. If you make it just based on what is good for the party and the council seats up for election in 2015 then you don’t deserve to recover as you then become a party that exists for its own reasons. This paragraph applies to people on both sides of this.

    Given that these are euro elections, why are you so sure that the problem is not the perception that you are too uncritically pro-EU? I voted in Slovakia and was able to vote for SaS, a liberal party which is often critical of the direction the EU and eurozone is taking and which joined the European parliament for the first time this time round. I am not sure I would have voted for “the party of in”, in the elections. We wouldn’t expect a party standing in Westminister elections in Scotland exclusively as “the party of in the union” without any discussion on what the MPs would do if elected to get many votes either.

  • @ATF
    If Clegg stays on, I am not sure what the plan is to restore the party. What should happen next?

  • I voted for the Liberal Democrats in 2010, intially making the assumption they would be a decent alternative to an increasingly paranoid and dare I say almost Stalinist New Labour (ID cards, obsession with terrorism and curtailing civil liberties). When Nick signed up with the Tories although I was not impressed, I assumed that the Liberal Democrats would represent a “Liberal Conservative” viewpoint, similar to that say of David Davis or Zac Goldsmith, Tories who have strong views on civil liberties and democracy. I appreciated that on matters such as the budget and cuts, that the Liberal Democrats would have to go along with the Conservatives. However some of the stuff that got through utterly disgusted me. I am not going to drag the tuition fees up again, it’s been done to death. However…

    Secret courts and the lobbying bill were profoundly illiberal policies, which are the sort of stuff I could imagine a paranoid Brownite Labour administration throwing out! Similarly voting to bomb Syria, so much for the Liberal Democrats stance on Iraq. Cuts to legal aid as well were utterly shocking, as well as NHS re-organisation.

    Finally I find out about this EU – US trade deal being discussed more or less in secret in the EU with the full backing of Clegg, which would allow multinational corporations to sue Britain again in secret courts, should legislation be passed that might affect their profits. There are many good reasons to stay in the EU, and many good reasons to have free trade with the US. But this illberal invention would give corporates the ability to overrule democracy. Whether it be a Labour government attempting to renationalise the railways, or even a UKIP government resisting privatisation of the armed forces, it gives corporates power to not only intimidate governments into persuing policies which restrict big business, via the method of law suits.

    This is why I had enough of the Liberal Democrats. I feel very very sorry for the grass roots members who work incredibly hard, and I believe the country is the worse off if the Liberal voice is smashed also in the General election, as we will have a realistic choice of the ultra right, or possibly a protectionalist socialist Labour (if they start panicing over UKIP).

  • ATF. Yes good point. It does have to be the Parliamentary who tells Nick the game us up but someone pointed out in another thread that if LD MPs are expecting to lose their seats next May then they would not want to alienate Clegg and risk their peerage or whatever. It all sounds a bit cynical to me but then again, politicians are ambitious creatures.

  • “Voter 26th May ’14 – 10:21pm
    @ATF
    If Clegg stays on, I am not sure what the plan is to restore the party. What should happen next?”

    Good question! To which we have no answer. I can tell you what I think should happen. Clegg should have a Truth and Reconcilation process with the electorate and basically admit all his broken promisesin a completely honest way, confess everything, etc and put up some sort of justification. It could start with ” I understand you find it hard to put your trust in me because I…..”

    And then set out what will happen next, that he intends to carry on til Parliament is dissolved but then a new leader will take over in the run-up to the GE.

    What will actually happen is that Clegg et al will say the same old platitudes over and over again, only louder because ‘where we work we win’ , don’t you know?! The voters meanwhile will treat him and the Party as a joke and come next May, the leaderboard will once again shown LD in 5th/last place in most of the country. Many MPs will be lost but Clegg and his acolytes will be saved and embark on another 5 year coalition with – yes really – the Tories.

  • Tony Greaves 26th May '14 - 11:32pm

    Will he still refuse to accept the truth – that he is the biggest single block to a LD recovery – after we lose our deposit in the Newark by-election? It’s not about how unfair it all is, least of all about personal stubbornness, it’s about the survival of the Liberal Democrats. Anyone who doesn’t understand this should get out a bit more and talk to people, not least in the big cities and urban areas where we have been destroyed.

    Tony

  • Peter Chegwyn 27th May '14 - 12:03am

    Tony – We’ll be told that a Newark lost deposit is the inevitable result of us now being a party of government. We’ll be told that we were never going to win there (although from a 20% base we COULD have won Newark in past parliaments). We’ll be told that we’ll do much better in seats where we are stronger and the incumbency factor comes into play etc. etc. etc.

    Heard it all before. But people in a bunker find it hard to step out and hear what’s happening in the real world. Even when our local government base has been decimated for the fourth year in a row and we’ve now lost all bar one of our Euro MPs as well.

    By his refusal to even accept that his message is wrong and that all the party needs to do is keep repeating the same failed message and shout it louder, Nick and the people round him have shown just how out of touch with reality they are.

    It looks like grass-roots pressure won’t be sufficient to force a change. It will be up to the MPs.

    If the PLP don’t wake up fast and smell the coffee, if they don’t accept that Nick is toxic with large swathes of the electorate including many once-loyal Lib. Dem. members, activists and voters, if they don’t put self-preservation before blind loyalty to the Leader, then sadly many of them too will go down in 2015 just as hundreds of decent, hard-working councillors and Euro MPs have done in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014.

    It’s tempting to say it will serve them right but much better they take the decision now to change the messenger and the message while there’s still time to repair some of the damage and save a few more skins in a year’s time.

    We’re going to have to re-build sometime. Better to start doing it now while we still have time and a reasonable base on which to re-build. Changing the Leader now won’t solve all the problems overnight, of course it won’t, but leaving the tough decisions until after yet another electoral debacle will be leaving it too late.

    Have the MPs got the guts to wield the knife? I don’t know. Best ask Ming Campbell and Charles Kennedy.

    Good Night!

  • Andrew Colman 27th May '14 - 12:14am

    3 reasons why people vote UKIP
    (a) Just hate foreigners, gays, hippies etc.
    (b) Take home pay is too low
    (c) Housing shortages

    UKIP has appealed to all 3 blaming low wages and housing shortages on the EU and immigrants. Can’t do much with those in category (a) but should easily be able to provide better solutions to (b) and (c). This is Clegg’s challenge and indeed the challenge of all civilised mainstream politician

    If Clegg can meet this challenge he can redeem himself and change party fortunes, however to meet this challenge changes are needed including
    (a) Pursuing harder the real culprits behind the credit crunch (b) Ending tax breaks, making it much harder to take advantage of tax havens (eg taxing transfer of funds to spouse if this means transferring outside UK (c) Introducing Land value tax and working hard to introduce international Tobin tax (d) total commitment to a collective NHS including spelling out how tax revenue is to be raised for increased demand due to demographic change Reject privatisation as being too costly(e) Stop the v badger cull. If these policies cannot be agreed in coalition, they should be in thr 2015 manifesto

  • Andrew Colman 27th May '14 - 12:17am

    And for housing, encourage new build to be mostly (90%) flats thus providing affordable accommodation to far more people than building 4 bed executive homes as present.

  • Andrew Coleman

    There is a fourth reason – and possibly the hardest for the other parties to fight – and that is UKIP are like a breathe of fresh air. Love them or hate them – and I didn’t vote for them – they have a much wider appeal that most people gave them credit for. They could yet surprise at the GE because Labour and the Tories aren’t offering much and the LibDems are dead and buried.

  • Julian Critchley 27th May '14 - 2:19am

    Do the LibDem MPs actually realise what’s going to happen in 2015 ? The whole parliamentary party will be able to fit in a minibus. In fact, I think it’s probable they’d be able to fit in my 7-seater people-mover.

    There’s just this shrinking rump of hardcore loyalists and orange-bookers having a circular discussion with themselves about how, somehow, if they only say the same thing one more time, a few million imaginary voters will suddenly emerge from the tiny political gap between Ed Miliband and David Cameron.

    Meanwhile, the millions of REAL voters who voted for a centre-left liberal party in 2010, will reluctantly vote Labour or Green in 2015, and all the REAL tactical Labour voters who helped LibDem MPs win in Tory areas will waste their vote on Labour again, on the grounds that there’s not much point voting LibDem when you get the most right-wing government we’ve ever seen as a result.

    Politicians love to say “we must not panic”. But sometimes, panic is a rational response, because at least it inspires some kind of action. Clegg is currently giving the impression of a coach driver heading for cliff, telling his passengers that under no circumstances must he turn the wheel.

    The party is going to be wiped out in 2015 : there’ll be hardly any councillors, 1 MEP, and a small handful of MPs. The game’s up. A tragedy, written in an orange book, and delivered by Clegg.

  • Richard Dean 27th May '14 - 2:37am

    Things are not so bad as they seem. UK turnout was something like half what it would be in a General Election. UKIP will likely have successfully turned out just about everyone who’s attracted to them, whereas other parties’ supporters may not have bothered quote as much.

    Given that UKIP has one quarter of the turned out vote in these elections, this suggests they may only have an eighth in the General Election – 13% or so of the vote then. It also suggests that the Libdem vote can then be twice what it was now, in percentage terms.

    Of course that all depends on how much UKIP can gain and how much the LibDems lose between now and then. Farage seems like the only party leader who has a “statesman-like” quality. I’m not sure what I mean by that, or how to counter it, but having politician Cameron criticise UKIP on the grounds that Farage is a politician is just farcical.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 4:04am

    Whoever tried to launch a coup without the support of any alternatives needs to be disciplined ASAP.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 4:08am

    I’m not talking about those asking questions, I’m talking about whoever launched that website and commissioned that poll. They are trying to destroy the party to spite Clegg.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 4:25am

    Even if they aren’t trying to destroy it, everyone knows what I mean and it’s not acceptable to launch a coup without an alternative.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th May '14 - 6:11am

    @ Eddie Sammon,
    Unless students turn out in large numbers, something they may be disinclined to do given the way they were deceived at the last election, I just don’t see the constituency becoming Labour. I was therefore surprise by the poll findings.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 6:21am

    Hi Jane, I think Clegg can win the students back. They aren’t spiteful and just want what is best for the future. I am not spiteful either, the problem is people are trying to undermine the party and it has to stop. Nobody should be 100% disciplined all the time, but there is a difference between a bit of indiscipline and wreaking havoc.

    I wasn’t sure of your point exactly, but if you are unsure about the future of the party those are my thoughts.

    Best wishes

  • Charles Rothwell 27th May '14 - 8:15am

    I think Clegg is finished as he has zero plausibility with voters (and (sorry to raise it yet again) has not had since tuition fees) and the Party is far too closely associated with him in many voters’ minds. I do not therefore think that just ‘circling the waggons’ and digging in for May 2015 and praying that the Party can retain 20 or so MPs (and another coalition could then be wangled from the overall results) (the strategy Miranda Green was advocating on ‘Newsnight’ last night) is going to work but would, rather, only serve to promote the feeling of an ‘out of touch political class’* ignoring the genuine feelings of the electorate they pretend to aim to serve. Like Phyllis, I think Clegg should announce that he is accepting responsibility and will be giving up as Leader. Unlike Phyllis, however, I do not think his departure before May 2015 is going to do anything but tear the party apart and leave it wide open for non-stop coaxing and bear-baiting by the media and the Kippers (with whom the media seem so deeply in love, it is frankly sickening; do the Greens get anything like proportional adequate coverage as well?), with Farage being able to claim that he is now directly influencing the affairs of the main-stream UK parties as well. Clegg should make it clear he will go immediately after the GE while a complete policy review should begin from this autumn with the aim of repositioning the Party equi-distant from both Tories and Labour. (*PS: One of the delights of watching the ‘Newsnight’ programme was listening to a diatribe against the “Westminster political class” by the Kippers’ Deputy Chairman, one NEIL HAMILTON!).

  • James Thompson 27th May '14 - 9:12am

    “I think Clegg can win the students back”

    Hahahaha. You just don’t get it. This ENTIRE issue is because of what Clegg did to students and how he courted them and looked into their eyes and said vote for me and I WILL abolish tuition fees. He promised a “new brand of politics” , no more broken promises, etc, etc. It has been debated on here many times. All this soul searching and naval gazing is pointless. The LDs are finished. I will NEVER vote LD again after being duped last time. Frankly reading the excuses on here is a joke. Do you seriously believe what you all write?? Because no one outside the LD Bubble does.

  • @Voter 26th May ’14 – 10:21pm

    “@ATF
    If Clegg stays on, I am not sure what the plan is to restore the party. What should happen next?”

    And I’m not at all sure what the plan is with a new leader – how it will happen, who it will be, whether they’ll get a fair hearing, change in policy, will the government continue etc etc. Simply saying Nick should go is one part of a strategy and not a complete one. I have still yet to see anything from LibDems4Change about what would happen in a post-Clegg party.

  • James Thompson

    I’m shocked! You are obviously one of the many million not understanding the message. How can you not understand you are much better off paying £9k a year for tuition fees rather than £3k? Unfortunately I haven’t met many other people that understand it either, but I’m sure it’s only because the LibDems are not getting their message across.

  • I’ve been a lib Dem follower, for years. I’m afraid to say, that I have lost interest in the whole thing. No disrespect to NC, but in my own opinion, I think he should have walked a long time ago, Not from the party, but from the whole coalition, I mean lets face it what have the conservatives given us in their so called promises? Did they really, give Nick, much say? , was just a way of getting in, and now they will have to do it again, with somebody else maybe????? Who will be, setting standards high, and not having any of it.
    I think if he had have gone, from the coalition, in the first place, and admitted it was a bad mistake, then he would have saved the party, and had more respect from his peers. Plus more people would have stayed, and votes would have been way higher, for standing up to this other party. Is it too late to in the day now, I wonder? Anyway, should never been a coalition in the first place. Putting somebody else in, will make no difference, unless they walk totally. Enough is enough.

  • ATF

    I agree that if a new leader came from Alexander, Laws, Cable , Brown etc they may as well stick with Clegg. For me to return to voting LibDem it would require something like a Kennedy/Farron partnership.

  • Jayne Mansfield 27th May '14 - 11:20am

    @ Eddie,
    No Eddie, I was just trying to say that I find the poll unbelievable given what I know about Sheffield Hallam. It is a very prosperous part of Sheffield and before the large number of university students who moved into the area, it was solidly conservative. I think the idea that it wold be lost to`labour incredible, that’s all.

    I agree that there are those who are using dissatisfaction with Nick Clegg as a means of undermining the party, and as a mother, I can’t help but feel sorry for the venom being directed at him by those in the media who want to further damage the party, but you must know, that there are those within the party who have been longtime critics and their criticisms are a sign of their concern for the well being of the party. It is a pity that some of those criticisms were not taken on board and it has come to this. Decent, hard working, well meaning people have been voted out of office and Nick Clegg must take he blame for it, just as he would have basked in the glory had it been otherwise.

    The ‘Party of In’ was, in my opinion, disastrous and capped off a whole series of politically disastrous leadership decisions that have alienated people like myself.

  • @Eddie
    >I think Clegg can win the students back.

    It’s comments like this that demonstrate just how out of touch some members have become.

  • Eddie Sammon 27th May '14 - 11:44am

    Thanks for clarifying, Jayne. I was interested in Clegg being held to account, but I would follow behind the likes of Davey and Alexander in any rebellion. The priority now should be to hold those to account who are clearly not genuine supporters as they have gone over Vince’s head and seem more concerned with damaging Clegg than anything else.

  • Tony Dawson 27th May '14 - 1:19pm

    Did he crib this interview from here?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj10J3WG4xA

    He starts with three issues (Leadership, strategy and Coalition) then tries to defend all three together as if they are all about Coalition. There are hundreds if not thousands of Party members who both supported and still support the Coalition who are critical of the Leadership (or lack of it) and who believe that there is no strategy. Not ‘a poor strategy’ but no strategy at all.

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