Nick must stay!

The inevitable letter to the papers calling for Nick to go was bound to happen. It always does when things get tough – and they don’t get tougher than the elections we have just been through.

But that is why Nick must stay. He is brave and capable – and taking us into government has achieved remarkable progress. I won’t rehearse all our achievements here – but even if you just take turning round the economy – which would not have happened without the Liberal Democrats – for that alone he should be applauded. Putting the country’s interests before party interests is the right thing to do.

Nick has taken so much flak from the moment he became Deputy Prime Minister – and borne it bravely. He is always focused and has a phenomenal strategic understanding. And right now when people are saying that he shouldn’t have given Farage exposure in the debate – I say well done Nick. Standing up for what you believe in is something the cowardly leader of the Labour party is incapable of and something we need politicians from all parties to do more of. Staying silent simply lets evil prosper.

Thank goodness there are still more progressive MEPs elected in Europe from other countries to hopefully hold it safe. I find UKIP and the rise of the right a terrifying prospect. Sending a message to government is one thing – but sending MEPs to Europe who want its destruction is quite another.

However – the country has spoken and we will see what happens next.

 

24 thoughts on “Nick must stay!

  1. Pingback: The Backbencher Earthquake Politics: UKIP dominate in EU elections - The Backbencher

  2. You are correct, from a Lib Dem point of view, a poor set of election results, BUT, I feel some voters wanted to make their generally unhappiness felt.
    To improve the workings of the European Union requires that the UK FULLY participates, contribute our undoubted talents as a country, sadly I think many of the UKIP MEP’s elected will not do this, they will not represent the interests of the people of this country, just take the money and be destructive.
    In the same way, the voting for Haringey Council, IF voters had based their decision on how they wanted to see Haringey as a Borough being run …. but again national issues and wanting to give the national Government a kick prevailed, so no change.
    I hope now that the voters feel they have given vent to any unhappiness and will now look to the ‘real’ issues running up to next May and UK Government elections, just the reality of the situation the country was in back in 2010, the progress that has been made and who they want to carry on this progress.
    I travel a lot, when I see the situation in other countries, we have much to be happy about 🙂

  3. Do Leaders make a large difference the way the public views/perceive political parties?
    If the answer is yes …then Nick must go… not just for the sake of the Party .but country – as you say there are some nasty/dangerous views around. A Liberal voice must be heard – but the public wont listen as long as Clegg is still there – sad but true.

  4. The part of the public which will not listen solely because it is Nick speaking is the part of the public which will not listen to the Liberal Democrat message in any case.

    The Labour Party and its supporters have spent the last four years directing a continuous stream of poison at Nick for having the courage to lead the Lib Dems in a new direction, rather than waiting forever for the Labour Party to offer more than lip service to democracy and inter-party cooperation.

    For goodness sake, let’s not be drawn into playing the game of our political opponents.

    Let’s keep our nerve and keep fighting to get across the Lib Dem message to those who will listen.

  5. Actually, I am now “part of the public which will not listen solely because it is Nick speaking…” 4 years ago I was “with Nick”. For 20 years I voted for the various incarnations of Lib Dems. However, what Nick did over tuition fees is one of the worst actions by any politician in recent years. I do not say this lightly. As a voter, all we have to go on is a politician’s word during election. When they do the complete opposite of their promise once in office, how can they ever be trusted again? An apology is not enough. Nick and the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition should have said, “Ok, we’ve looked at the books and they are worse than we thought, so we need to take more drastic action. We cannot honour our pledges.” They should then have called a snap election in October 2010 in order to get that mandate. As it stands, Nick Clegg cannot be trusted as a man of his word. Why should anyone vote for him? It is very frightening watching Farage clean up with the media but all who support Mr Clegg are complicit in Farage’s success. Get rid of Clegg and you might have a chance of lessening the damage done.

  6. A brief summary of the historical facts.

    Student fees were recommended in the Dearing Report set up in 1996 by the Conservatives.

    Student fees were instated in 1998 by the Labour Party.

    Student fees were increased in 2003-2004 by the Labour Party, despite the fact that in the 2001 General Election their manifesto stated that Labour “will not introduce top-up fees and has legislated against them.”

    Further increases in student fees were recommended (in 2010) by the Browne Report set up in 2009 by the Labour Party.

    Adherence to the findings of the Browne Report was a Conservative stipulation within the joint Coalition Policy agreement which was established in May 2010.

    In short, student fees are a combined Labour and Conservative policy.

    Yes, we should have made student fees a red-line issue in the Coalition agreement, and yes, our argument since then has been poorly made.

    That doesn’t justify ill-informed assessments and self-destructive conclusions.

    Your conclusions would misguided even if you had the facts right.

    Have you noticed nothing positive which the Lib Dems have achieved in the last four years?

  7. Your justification seems to imply that because other parties have gone against their manifesto that makes it okay for you. At no point have I said that Labour or the Conservatives were innocent. I remember very well, Blair introducing tuition fees. Personally, I never trusted him so was not disappointed. However, I do think he ( Blair) has a lot to answer for in regard to the current apathy towards politicians. Thank you for the history lesson though.

    This conversation is about Nick Clegg. Nick Clegg set himself up admirably as the alternative, capable political leader during the 2010 debates. I thought he was excellent. Unfortunately, he very quickly showed that he’s just the same as the rest. Once you have our vote then you can do what you like.
    As for noticing what the Lib Dems have achieved in the last four years, of course I have. No government is all bad or all good. However, my point is related to voting Lib Dem while Clegg is leader. He has come to represent dashed hope and as such is damaging the party. At best, your party would be in Coalition. The question is with which partner? As no-one knows who that would be how can we judge which way you/he will go? Therefore what is the point of voting Lib Dem? At least with the other parties we have an idea of what we’re getting into – good or bad. The results your party have been facing recently show that I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s up to you whether you choose to listen or not. PS I am a constituent of Lynne Featherstone. The Lib Dems were the only main party who didn’t doorstep us. Not sure if that was complacency or embarrassment.

  8. You are welcome, even though you have missed the point of it.

    The point, as stated, is that student fees are a combined Labour and Conservative policy, consistently over the last two decades.

    Yet they are being used as a stick with which to beat the Lib Dems in general and Nick Clegg in particular.

    But I suspect that you already know this, and are being less than frank about your own political allegiances.

  9. It is you who is missing the point. Perhaps wilfully. Thanks for your patronising tone. I reached out to try to explain what people like myself are feeling.
    I have already explained earlier my political allegiances, or rather disillusions.
    Had Mr Clegg been leading a company, he’d have been removed a long time ago. I would rather see a different person lead the Lib Dems and re-inspire hope. You however, seem to be choosing to go down with the ship. Good luck in your campaign. I’m out.

  10. Nick Clegg remains the poster boy for the Lib Dems. However the legend liar is now so indelibly branded on his image that he has become an electoral liability. Let’s not rake over the coals of the student tuition fees fiasco. What the Lib Dems did was morally wrong and politically naïve. The idea that it would be all forgotten by the time of the next election has proved to be a delusion.

    There is a real danger the county might end up with a far right Conservative Government in coalition with UKIP and that Scotland, revolted by the prospect, will vote for Independence. There is far more at stake than any misplaced loyalty to Clegg. Clegg owes it to the country to do the decent thing. GO. If he won’t go you and your colleagues owe it all us to do the decent thing and get rid.

    Oh and by the way you’re not in 5th place, you’re 6th behind the Greens and the SNP. If the Ed Sheeran Fan Club had put up a load of candidates, you’d be 7th.

  11. Those supporting Nick must stay appear mostly from the Westminster bubble or ultra loyal members. Please speak to Joe public…….listen to them……. I think its the Nick problem which is making a bad situation worst……. for the good of the Party he must see this?? Or is he so out of touch???? Ming had the balls to see it & do the right thing.

  12. Nick will evaluate his position and that of the party, I’m sure. On balance, I tend to agree with Lynne. No party, apart from ukip got a message across about Europe and why we should be there. Everyone was busy reacting to outrageous ukip candidates and the things they said. Hence they got more column inches and more airtime. Ukip don’t want to be there. They don’t want to reform Europe. They have no policy other than they don’t give a s…monkeys. where was the lib dem message? If we all run naked down Whitehall the press will make lots of it but we still need to keep repeating our message. Focuses are fine but they don’t get people talking. We need people talking about us, not about some lush ex-banker. Let’s talk about who we are and what we represent and why people should vote for us. Who leads is a distraction.

  13. It’s pretty clear that all the showings in the last few days cannot be about the Leaders.

    I’ve heard ‘Nick lied’ about this, he shouldn’t have done, he hasn’t done that. If political honesty and integrity is an issue, then why did the voters vote for a man who didn’t even know what his manifesto said in the 2010 general election? A man who had all the political honesty, integrity, and conviction to lead a party without even knowing what his promises were.

    People are now pledging to vote for that very man in the General Election. He is leading a party that hasn’t written their Economic policy, and for which Steve Crowther, the party chairman, admitted on Friday night they had no idea what they were going to do with the NHS.

    Votes over this weekend were clearly not lost on the leadership or policy, and the political parties are in danger of making the same mistakes the whole world made after the economic collapse. Execute all the measures previously used to manage the economy only to find out that none of them were working, because this collapse was nothing like recessions we’d had before. Making sharp swings in policy or putting a new face on the party is not going to make a significant impact on the political landscape.

    The voter turn out over has been dwindling, the raise of support in a new party seems to have come from a raise in external efficacy. Their supporters believe that it will give them a change in the establishment, and want it so much, they don’t seem to be worried about the details.

    An establishment party is not going to be able to tap into that with a rebrand, but the party should consider how it can raise internal efficacy amongst the electorate. In doing so they could generate a momentum of their own.

    It could certainly help the public understand that politicians are more human than they are perceived today, and actually help improve how both politicians and the electorate interact with each other.

    The clue is in the line “People feel disenfranchised”. They haven’t been, and it’s up the political establishment to educate them on why that isn’t the case. (Whilst at the same time listening to them to ensure it doesn’t happen again).

  14. i was talking to a woman the other night who said she was attracted to the lib dems but couldn’t vote for nick clegg. a politicians job is to get elected. nick clegg is unelectable. he should acknowledge this truth and stand aside. he won’t because he loves the power. shame.

  15. If a political party stands on an electoral pledge, assumes a position of power and then immediately reneges on that pledge then those who voted for them might claim , with some justification, to be disenfranchised. This is the lesson the electors are teaching the Liberal Democrats. This is likely to be Nick Clegg’s one legacy: a warning to future politicians not to attempt the same stunt.

    Could somebody in your party also have a quiet word with Shirley Williams and point out how inappropriate it is for someone of the generation who either ignored or protected Cyril Smith to be leaping to the defence of an office sex pest. Different scale of things of course but same principal. Never too late to learn about principles. Voters clearly like them.

  16. Roger,

    Perhaps you haven’t noticed but, in mature democracies all across the world political parties after General Elections negotiate compromises in order to form coalitions based on an agreed joint policy platform.

    That is how coalitions work.

    And that is how the UK also would be governed if we ever introduced representative democracy here.

  17. Yo Glen, if you’re in the Brighton area this autumn swing by the museum where I’m putting together this exhibition on Italian press photography in the 70s. It’ contains a warning from history of the dangers of perpetual Coalition Government.

    I can see why political hacks might love coalition. It’s a recipe for politics for politics sake, under the table dealings and plenty of bunga-bunga, although not even Berlusconi could have dared to dream up the scam Vince Cable pulled off in re-distributing 2 billion pounds of taxpayer’s money to private hedge funds via the Royal Mail sell off. The Independent described it as a “Masonic Cabal’. Still I’m sure they’ll be a place for him on the board once the politics gig goes tits up. Isn’t that what usually happens?

    The effect of perpetual coalition in Italy was to so disenfranchise the electorate it gave rise to opposing extremes and a new form of gnostic terrorism. Odd that after just one taste of Coalition we’re got the rise of UKIP.

    Anyway, back on topic…in the electorate’s mind Clegg has gone and there’s no coming back. Put him and yourselves out of your collective misery.

  18. o Glen, if you’re in the Brighton area this autumn swing by the museum where I’m putting together this exhibition on Italian press photography in the 70s. It’ contains a warning from history of the dangers of perpetual Coalition Government.

    I can see why political hacks might love coalition. It’s a recipe for politics for politics sake, under the table dealings and plenty of bunga-bunga, although not even Berlusconi could have dared to dream up the scam Vince Cable pulled off in re-distributing 2 billion pounds of taxpayer’s money to private hedge funds via the Royal Mail sell off. The Independent described it as a “Masonic Cabal’. Still I’m sure they’ll be a place for him on the board once the politics gig goes tits up. Isn’t that what usually happens?

    The effect of perpetual coalition in Italy was to so disenfranchise the electorate it gave rise to opposing extremes and a new form of gnostic terrorism. Odd that after just one taste of Coalition we’re got the rise of UKIP.

    Anyway, back on topic…in the electorate’s mind Clegg has gone and there’s no coming back. Put him and yourselves out of your collective misery.

  19. Roger, you would come onto Lynn Featherstone’s blog and suggest her party put themselves out of their misery?

    I’m sorry, were you an orphan?

  20. Lynne,

    The difficulty here is not Nick Clegg specifically, but a deeper mistrust of your party that will not be easily resolved with a comedy Youtube apology vid.

    The party presented a Social Democratic front at the last election. Indeed, on many issues you presented yourselves as left of Labour. However, when the dust settled it became clear that the Orange book order had taken over and had conveniently avoided to let the voters know about the party’s change of heart. It is not that the party is being perceived as being too weak to stand up to the Tories in government, rather that you are perceived as having no desire to stand up to them. You have revealed your true orange colours, as soon as the red votes with which you were elected were counted. This is the deception that is at the heart of the contempt in which you are held. You misled the electorate. You presented principles which you clearly did not sincerely hold.

    Removing Nick Clegg will not help unless you have a way to resolve this issue.

  21. Michael – I don’t support your simplistic view – left/ right/ orange etc etc. Political parties are much more complex than that – and most people understand that. As a great man once said (almost 100 years ago) to the question ‘are the Liberal party left are right?’…… ‘neither, we are a forward party’.

    A better measure these days would be ‘liberal’ or illiberal’ – the old days of left & right, don’t make any sense any more IMO.

  22. Greenfield.

    I’m not sure I like the Right/Left shorthand very much either, but, on writing my argument out in longhand, I find it still stands.

    The party promised to stand up for the nation and its ordinary people against the interests of the bankers, the wealthiest, the corporates, the capital that does not respect national boundaries and the corrupt tax-dodging army. This would have been progress in a progressive sense.

    It turns out that these promises were empty. They were presented to win votes in the tradition of the Social Democrats. However, it was a different sort of progress that was envisaged by the leadership. They wholeheartedly joined a coalition who have cut taxes for the rich, further deconstructed the nation’s infrastructure in favour of big business and shafted ordinary people.

    The issue at the next election is not that the Libdems have insufficiently tempered the Tories in coalition. It is that they have been enthusiastically committed to a regressive agenda, that can by no means be described as progress. It seems clearer and clearer, that they were already committed to this agenda, despite making promises of a very different kind before the last election.

    Liberal/illiberal has even less meaning than left/right in a society that is so unequal. One man’s liberty in such a society is another’s poverty.

  23. Roger Hargreaves,

    I’ll assume from your childish ad hominem approach to debate that you are a Labour supporter.

    Your primary logical fallacy is to assume that a single adverse outcome, the effect of Coalition politics on Italy at most times in the past, is accurately representative of the outcome of all Coalition politics in all countries at all times.

    Self-evidently such a strained generalisation is misguided.

    In anything resembling a democracy in the UK, Coalition politics would be the norm rather than the exception, and parties would always openly negotiate their contributions to the joint policy platforms of whichever complexion of Coalition government the electoral arithmetic directed.

    The rise of UK which you cite has nothing to do with Coalition and everything to do with a popular disillusionment with politics in general, and EU politics in particular.

    And it is FPTP which makes UKIP the genuine political danger which they are.

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