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A familiar recipe

Nick Robinson | 15:48 UK time, Tuesday, 18 December 2007

One vote is enough, as the old saying has it. And certainly, if Nick Clegg impresses his party and the country, that will be proved right again.

There is, though, another if - if Chris Huhne (whose campaign, let's not forget, came up with the insult 'Calamity Clegg') really does mean to work with the man who so narrowly defeated him.

Together with the newly-invigorated and popular Vince Cable, these three men could make a highly-effective troika. But the fact that 10,000 fewer Lib Dems voted in this leadership election, compared with the last one, demonstrates how much more they have to do.

Today, having first cast aside the popular Charles Kennedy, and then the experienced Menzies Campbell, the Lib Dems have somewhat tentatively picked someone unknown and inexperienced, but with bags of energy and charisma.

It's a recipe that recently worked for the Tories and, once before, for the Lib Dems - with Paddy Ashdown. The party is hoping desperately that it will work for Nick Clegg as well.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 04:08 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Charles F Hardwidge wrote:

And so we see the sands of time leaving their mark on the political landscape once again. Could this be the dawn of a new era, or rather another chapter in a lengthy tome?

Churchill said that there is nothing wrong with change as long as it is in the right direction. For me, Nick, the only change I see is that of Gordon Brown and his new visionary type of politics. The Government has a record to be proud of, and will ride out the current events. The next election is a long way off!

Who, what, where, when?

Ooooooh, the Lib Dems... are they still going?

The Liberals need to get tough and biting in their speeches and get around the television studios and newspapers with new ideas and political campaigns because I feel Britain is actually Liberal in nature.
The liberals just allow too much criticism of them and they are not hungry enough or media savy like the tories.
The Liberals also need to tighten up some of their more silly policies like been too soft on criminals and other trouble makers.
If they do this in 2008 donations will follow and election money and advertising and so on and they could actually become the second party in politics.
I know this sounds silly to most but old left and right politics is long finished and people vote on daily issues which requires flexible and accommodating policies and strong leadership and advertising.
It is also clear that the only way a leader gets popular support is if they create waves and stories and divide people. All successful leaders have done this like Thatcher, Blair, Bush, Reagan, Yeltsin and the wishy washy leaders never get elected like Kerry, IDS Gore etc.
If I were a Liberal Democrat (which I am not) I would start kicking some doors down and really step up on the tories. I mean the tories are as weak as can be with a leader who is hanging on only because noone is tearing him apart. He hasn't even made any policies after years.
The Liberals shouls start a campaign and get out in the media to ridicule the tories and and attack them and move into second place this term.
They should also create 5 clear policies that everyone can see and know and lay off been too soft on wrong doers and focus on liberal business tax cuts.
It would work no doubt but the liberals have always been so weak and ignored their actual support in Britain amoung minorities and lefties.

  • 4.
  • At 04:51 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • giannir wrote:

This election didn't make the news even on a day that had no government's blunders to report
Does anybody really care?
We are still trying to recover from the election of Cameron, clone of Tony Blair, and here we are with the clone of Cameron. If this is a change in politics ..........

  • 5.
  • At 04:57 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Ed Whitfield wrote:

You can't blame the liberals for choosing Clegg as the more substantial candidates - Cable, Huges and Kennedy had been told by the party that any candidacy was doomed and Huhne was anonomous. I hope they don't live to regret that short sightedness. Cameron may be delivering excellent poll ratings but thats more a verdict on Labour than his leadership. Clegg has a much harder job and it will take a Herculian political will and imagination to push the liberals beyond their current 64 seat tally. Just don't ape the Tories Nick - that way irrelevance lyes.

  • 6.
  • At 05:02 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

I'm no fan of the Liberal Democrats or Nick Clegg. When I needed some real political action they didn't pay attention or give a damn. As for Nick Clegg, he's just another air-headed charismatic. Passion and gladhanding is fine but no substitute for delivery. When I get the sense the Liberal Democrats have entered reality and Nick Clegg displays some integrity my view might change but until then they can remain in the political wilderness.

  • 7.
  • At 05:06 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • John Constable wrote:

"In his acceptance speech Mr Clegg said he wanted his leadership to be about "ambition and change", saying "we want to change politics and change Britain".

The Sheffield Hallam MP said he wanted to mark the "beginning of Britain's liberal future"."

So why is the above sentiment a dead duck?

Because 'political Britain' barely exists in the hearts of many English people.

The myopia of some of these professional politicians at Westminster, London, ENGLAND is breathtaking.

  • 8.
  • At 05:08 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Sean Hanrahan wrote:

Winning the Lib Dem Leadership contest must be like winning a game of musical chairs. You've won something but the prize is not worth writing home about!

  • 9.
  • At 05:16 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • George wrote:

I thought Nick Clegg made a great speech today. Medvedev at 3 is absolutely right - Britain is a liberal country. That's why David Cameron is trying to reposition his party to look more liberal. But so long as they keep their mean minded and narrow attitudes on immigration, Europe and crime, and flip-flop in civil liberties, like they did on ID cards, there's only going to be one party standing up for liberal values in Britain today - the Liberal Democrats.
Go for it Nick - you're the man to lead the Lib Dems into power.

  • 10.
  • At 05:23 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Paul Radbourne wrote:

The next election is a long way off!

And will stay that way given Brown's poll ratings.

  • 11.
  • At 05:24 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • d hull wrote:

A highly effective troika? Like the Wombles??

  • 12.
  • At 05:35 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Mark E wrote:

Medvedev I am guessing that you are a New Labour supporter - as only one who supports New Labour would seriously suggest that the Lib Dems should tackle the Tories.

Under Kennedy, they tackled the Tories and only made progress at the last election on an Anti-War platform - a war that is widely condemned.

If the Lib Dems want people to take them seriously they will need to go after the party in government and not the party in opposition. If the Lib Dems seriously want to be the second party they should attack Labour (after all they are much the easier target at the moment) - this has been working well for Cable recently, he has hit Brown where it hurts in recent PMQs.

  • 13.
  • At 05:40 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Braham Finestone wrote:

Medvedev cracked it in one... a sledgehammer to crack a nut!
The Lib Dems with their social democrat and liberalist traditional grassroots together SHOULD effectively be able to demote the wishy-washy populist Camerons Tories and this inept Brown-led government who can do nothing right; A weak team with a poor leader.
The main problem facing Nick Clegg is to get people engaged in political debate and make the youngsters interested again. Turnouts at elections are falling as people are turned off by gung-ho politics.
With Vince Cable as his deputy and chris Huhne on board shadowing Jacky Smith they should start by outlining their main policies.
My guess is they will hold the balance of power after the next election.

  • 14.
  • At 05:41 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Craig McMahon wrote:

"the Lib Dems... are they still going?"

I honestly am starting to wonder if these comments are coming from Conservative or Labour PR men (I'm sure they keep an eye on this website, even if I'm unwilling to flatter Nick to the extent of suggesting they're hanging on his every word). If they're not, then don't the people who make them realise that they embody all that's wrong with modern politics?

If you're too blinkered to remember that there's a party out there genuinely committed to making this country free and fair (including radical reform of the House of Lords and even our electoral system), one that's pro-European, internationalist (check out what their ID secretary said about the World Bank), an absolute defender of civil liberties, local control, and willing to make real sacrifices for the planet (and it's a concept we need to get used to) - I wish I could say it was just your loss, but it isn't.

Vote for who you really understand, not for hollow propaganda and flashy headlines that vaguely make you think "uh yeah, immigration/ID cards/[insert headline-grabber]! I'm for/against that!".

If "duh they'll never get in!" is a serious and persuasive political argument for you, you shouldn't be a) reading this or b) voting. Kindly abstain from both.

  • 15.
  • At 05:46 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

Nick, I don't know if you've noticed or the complaint has got through but someone is impersonating my identity in an earlier comment. I don't mind taking responsibility for comments I've made but when people pull tricks like this it becomes something else. I'm not going to speculate on the reasons or motivations but I hope you can deal with it promptly. Thanks.

  • 16.
  • At 05:52 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Bill Rees wrote:

I hope we dont end up with a Cameron clone,all PR and stunts.Please dont hug huskies and hoodies and keep playing the boring "Green Card".Please go for policies.

  • 17.
  • At 06:10 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • golfwidow wrote:

What planet is Charles F Hardwidge living on?

  • 18.
  • At 06:13 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • pat wrote:

Charles F Hardwidge wrote "The Government has a record to be proud of, and will ride out the current events" Get real: everything is worse after the last 10 years: private sector pensions, crime, education, the economy, personal debt, family life, foreign affairs.
Every single Labour 'intiative' has failed and welfare remains unreformed. Labour has ruined this country for middle class people and changed it out of all recognition.

  • 19.
  • At 06:21 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Des Hanchett wrote:

I agree with much of what Medvedev has spouted, but feel that his view of where the main mass of British votes is, is a little off beam.
Many of the 'floating voters' who voted for Thatcher, also voted for Blair. In my view Blair was only slightly less right-wing than Thatcher.
The point I'm labouring (excuse dreadful, unintended pun) to make is that the mass of the British electorate have generally been slightly to the right of centre and NOT to the left (where the Lib-Dems position themselves).
What Blair so cleverly contrived, was a right of centre government in "leftie" garb.

  • 20.
  • At 06:34 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

I'd stop short of saying it worked with the Tories. David Cameron may be having a bounce in the polls at the moment but he isn't prime minister yet and hopefully never will be.

I was reading the Wikipedia article on Nick Clegg and it seems he comes from a very interesting background, one of his forefathers having been an Attorney General in imperial Russia.

As well as being very articulate, Nick Clegg is also fluent in several languages - includding French and Russian. He also once got arrested for arson in Germany - he set fire to a cactus.

And for someone who's only been an MP for 30 months, he's had a meteoric rise in Westminster to now be crowned Lib Dem leader. Then again, I suppose it is his turn. After all, everyone else has had a go at the job so he was bound to get it eventually.

  • 21.
  • At 06:38 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Jon Richards wrote:

The big question is will a new young leader bring in votes for the Lib Dems....and if so from whom? The Conservatives or Labour? We have the Conservatives 13points ahead at present and going strong, but will the conservatives lose some points in the polls to the Lib Dems or will labour lose even more points???

  • 22.
  • At 06:53 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • David Dawes wrote:

I was a lib dem for quite a while, but like so many others, from all parties, i've become disillusioned. I still think that the liberals really have something to say, though. And that doesn't mean siding with us, the disillusioned, in an Us versus Them battle with the passionately political. It means understanding why we're disillusioned, and dealing with the root causes of that. Seeing a genuine engagement with the topics being discussed in front rooms, a willingness to try new ideas instead of tired rhetoric, and being able to believe that our votes make a difference would all help. I'm romantic enough to think that the liberals are the party to do this effectively. And i'd love to be proved right.

  • 23.
  • At 07:23 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Gordon wrote:

The Lib Dems have missed another opportunity to choose Chris Huhne as leader. He, aside from Charles Kennedy, is the only senior party member with clear, alternative ideas. Clegg is merely Cameron lite-he looks and sounds very professional but has no new policy ideas.
Alas I fear this may have been Huhne's last chance.

  • 24.
  • At 07:32 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Sam Beau wrote:

"The only change I see is that of Gordon Brown and his new visionary type of politics. The Government has a record to be proud of..." (reply #1 above)

I'll have a glass of whatever "Charles F Hardwidge" is having!

  • 25.
  • At 07:34 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Gordon wrote:

The Lib Dems have missed another opportunity to choose Chris Huhne as leader. He, aside from Charles Kennedy, is the only senior party member with clear, alternative ideas. Clegg is merely Cameron lite-he looks and sounds very professional but has no new policy ideas.
Alas I fear this may have been Huhne's last chance.

  • 26.
  • At 07:45 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Alice wrote:

Reminds me of that wonderful line in The Importance of Being Earnest where Lady Brackell asks Jack what his politics are and he replies "I have none. I am a Liberal..."

  • 27.
  • At 07:55 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Krishn Shah wrote:

I thought Clegg made a mistake from the off today when he ruled out any cooperation with the two main parties.

The Lib Dems can't afford to isolate themselves any further than they already have. I think the electorate are highly concentrated at the centre with a skew to the right at the moment.

Why else would a Labour PM be so comfortable with increasing detention limits? Why is it now so acceptable to openly (and mostly unfairly) blame immigrants for our society's ills?

  • 28.
  • At 08:37 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Richard Wells wrote:

I have grown to distrust always the Tories and now also 'New' Labour and would so love to vote FOR the Liberals rather than voting AGAINST one of the other two. So what have the Liberals done for me? They have elected as leader another Dave Cameron look-alike, sound-a-like! I give up and accept that I am now dis-enfranchised.

  • 29.
  • At 08:56 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Steve Garner wrote:

It was not obvious during the leadership campaign that Nick Clegg has "bags of energy and charisma". He seemed complacent and even lazy during the campaign and nearly succeeded in turning an unassailable starting point into a shock defeat. Further, Chris Huhne seemed as good, if not better than Clegg in debate.
The Lib Dem members appear not to be convinced since nearly 50% of them did not want him as leader! I'm reluctant to underestimate him but if his performance in the last few weeks is anything to go by we may not have seen the last of Vince as caretaker leader.

  • 30.
  • At 08:57 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

The Liberals need to go away.

  • 31.
  • At 09:39 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Neil Small wrote:

While no supporter of the Lib Dems, they have probably just missed their greatest opportunity - Vince Cable. The once little-known MP has shown just how effective he can be, probably since there was little pressure on him.

The Lib Dems still have a problem though - unrealistic, sometimes fantastical and occasionally complete idiotic policies. You only need to look at Scotland, and how Labour allowed them to screw some things up in return for the coalition.

I can't forsee any new leader "bounce" in the polls. People are sick of Labour, and realise that they have to vote for only one opposition party to remove them.

I do look forward to the naming of the new Lib Dem front bench, and hope that he appoints people of strong character and integrity. He cannot have personal weakness in his team.

  • 32.
  • At 10:37 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Giulio Napolitani wrote:

And here we go again, with more talk of "broken politics". An ironic statement, since the Lib-Dem party now appears to have become the Belgium of British politics: split down the middle, on course to tear itself apart, and of no particular interest to anyone outside its borders.


As for the de-centralisation and anti-Westminster agenda, I was reminded of the old public information film, in which a girl urges her boyfriend to go for a swim. He refuses, saying "It's just not my scene, man." Of course, as the film makes clear, "what he really meant was, he COULDN'T swim." Too cool for Parliament? I guess it's one way to excuse the lack of MPs.

What a shame nobody could work out what Charley said. Mrrleeoow!

  • 33.
  • At 10:37 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Albert wrote:

You see Nick, it was a beauty contest after all and not a choice for substance. Now the question that remains to be answered is-what will the rest (50%) of the party that voted against Clegg do when they do not agree with his views?
Have another contest? What will they be looking at next time Nick? Maybe a contest between two lovely girls, and they choose after a cat-walk! Ha ha, what a farce Nick, what a farce!
What about poor Dave, he's got competition now, as he is not the most handsome leader in parliament!
Now who said, British politics is not interesting?

  • 34.
  • At 11:16 PM on 18 Dec 2007,
  • Caroline Hett wrote:

Given the accepted (even by them, surely?) fact that they are not going to win an election. I think we need to know which party they are going to make pacts and agreements with BEFORE we vote for them. This information is crucial.

bags of energy and charisma???

Surely some mistake. Clegg may have bags of energy but he's about as charismatic as the wet paper bag the Lib Dems will have trouble punching their way out of over the next two years. Yet again, the party has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • 36.
  • At 08:46 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Romanus Renatus wrote:

1. Charles F Hardwidge
Good grief, there are two of 'em!

  • 37.
  • At 09:35 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Bryan McGrath wrote:

I am one of the missing 10,000 Lib Dem members. I left because Ming Campbell was going to support Gordon Brown via the Fife Mafia, should the next election produce a hung parliament.

I "blagged" my way into the hustling in Bristol and way impressed now Clegg managed the "Cameron Lite" questioning i.e. "my politics were formed in the 80's, like David Cameron, he supported Mrs Thatcher, I despise everything she stood for".

I still think the "flip-flop" allegation is true, but the same holds true for Cameron, Brown and defined Blair.

I hope Huhne, who I voted for 2 years ago, remains an active major figure in the Lib Dems, perhaps, I'll return. I'm just saving the shoe leather at the moment with no pavement politics

  • 38.
  • At 09:47 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • D Smyth wrote:

"they could actually become the second party in politics."

Its always nice to have a good chuckle first thing in the morning...

  • 39.
  • At 09:49 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Bryan McGrath wrote:

I am one of the missing 10,000 Lib Dem members. I left because Ming Campbell was going to support Gordon Brown via the Fife Mafia, should the next election produce a hung parliament.

I "blagged" my way into the hustling in Bristol and way impressed now Clegg managed the "Cameron Lite" questioning i.e. "my politics were formed in the 80's, like David Cameron, he supported Mrs Thatcher, I despise everything she stood for".

I still think the "flip-flop" allegation is true, but the same holds true for Cameron, Brown and defined Blair.

I hope Huhne, who I voted for 2 years ago, remains an active major figure in the Lib Dems, perhaps, I'll return. I'm just saving the shoe leather at the moment with no pavement politics

  • 40.
  • At 09:55 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Andrew Dundas wrote:

It is still true that the Lib-Dems are a repository for those who want to vote for some party but cannot decide between the two well-known ones. In each constituency Lib-Dems select whichever narrative suits that role best. So they've no real need to prepare for government - the local protest vote is good enough to win lots of seats. That enables those protests to be heard, and that's useful. Moreover, with no likely government responsibility they can come up with "ideas" that simply sound good (such as a local income tax) even if those ideas would be impossible to implement. For as long as the Lib-Dems aspire to remaining a protest and "interesting ideas" party, they will stay united and attractive.

It may have worked for the Conservatives but look how long it has taken them to be seen as a credible government-in-waiting. I think it is unwise to assume that a new leader is going to have a significant impact simply by virtue of being young and dynamic.

Cameron struggled early on with finding the right policies and the right people around him, and Clegg will surely have to deal with the same issues.

http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

It may have worked for the Conservatives but look how long it has taken them to be seen as a credible government-in-waiting. I think it is unwise to assume that a new leader is going to have a significant impact simply by virtue of being young and dynamic.

Cameron struggled early on with finding the right policies and the right people around him, and Clegg will surely have to deal with the same issues.

http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  • 43.
  • At 10:34 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • richard searby wrote:

Contrary to received wisdom on the little matter of the Lib Dem leadership result, I'd have thought the real winners of the contest are Chris Huhne, who can retire from the scene knowing that he fought a formidable campaign that almost knocked Clegg from his front-runner's perch, and Vince Cable, whose reputation for sharp wit and firm judgement is now assured despite only a brief tenure in post. Nick Clegg's narrow victory ensures he is really the loser. It now falls to him to pick up the pieces.

  • 44.
  • At 11:38 AM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

He's Dutch. It's pronounced clog.

  • 45.
  • At 12:00 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Gary Wright wrote:

I find Nick Clegg the most paper thin politician ever, even more so than Tony Blair and David Cameron. It's almost as if the Lib Dems have put together an idenikit leader who ticks all the requirememts of a modern media friendly leader, but who appears to lack any substance. This was shown last night on Newsnight, with Jeremy Paxman mauling him (especially over Clegg saying he will listen to the people, but if they tell him things he doesn't agree with, he won't support them!)
I think this is a pity as I would love to see a strong and principled Lib Dems as a real alternative, but I feel they will now try and squeeze into the already overcrowded "centre ground".

  • 46.
  • At 12:05 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Gary Wright wrote:

I find Nick Clegg the most paper thin politician ever, even more so than Tony Blair and David Cameron. It's almost as if the Lib Dems have put together an idenikit leader who ticks all the requirememts of a modern media friendly leader, but who appears to lack any substance. This was shown last night on Newsnight, with Jeremy Paxman mauling him (especially over Clegg saying he will listen to the people, but if they tell him things he doesn't agree with, he won't support them!)
I think this is a pity as I would love to see a strong and principled Lib Dems as a real alternative, but I feel they will now try and squeeze into the already overcrowded "centre ground".

  • 47.
  • At 01:23 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

If the Liberals can't massively increase their vote at the next election, they are doing something seriously wrong.

Many of us had such high hopes for the Labour government in 1997, but they really haven't lived up to those hopes, and the "Mr Bean" jibe really sums up where they are now very nicely. It will be a really sad comment on the British electorate if they continue to vote Labour in their millions.

The Tories are looking as pathetic and unelectable as they have done for many years.

The Lib Dems have their best chance now for a very long time. If they can't capitalise on it, then there is really no hope for them or the rest of us. Let's hope they've picked the right man for the job.

  • 48.
  • At 01:25 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Clegg is obviously hugely bright: Cambridge degree, 6 languages, trade negotiator, and an effective MEP and MP. Let's just hope that with the other two leaders being so limited that the media give Clegg the publicity he needs to really state his case.

  • 49.
  • At 01:39 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Edward Mason wrote:

Well, I can't say I was surprised. How many Labour and Tory spin-doctors have visited this blog for the sole purpose of dismissing the Liberal Democrats without even bothering to consider the policies? (And yes, there are policies - it's not our fault if you can't be bothered to listen when they're articulated.)

One idiot, for example, said that, "It's nice to have a good chuckle first thing in the morning", in response to the suggestion that the Lib Dems could actually get somewhere in British politics. Well really. If that's all you've got to say, you really shouldn't be saying anything. So how are those vapid self-fulfilling prophecies doing for you, anyway?

How would people react if I were to say, "Oh those Conservatives, well they're clearly never going to get into power. Surely even they must realise that"? Exactly.

And to all those people dismissing Nick Clegg as a "Cameron clone" - as a Lib Dem who voted for him, I can honestly say that I didn't even notice. Some people actually care about policies, you know - not about how pretty their politicians look. And it's funny looking at all the people saying that Clegg is "paper thin", without a shred of evidence to back this bizarre belief up. Apparently personal dislike of a politician, and unwillingness to actually consider what they're saying constitutes a rigorous political argument now.

Oh well. That's what you get for daring to be radical, in favour of liberty, justice, and being anti-establishment, I guess.

  • 50.
  • At 01:39 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

If the Liberals can't massively increase their vote at the next election, they are doing something seriously wrong.

Many of us had such high hopes for the Labour government in 1997, but they really haven't lived up to those hopes, and the "Mr Bean" jibe really sums up where they are now very nicely. It will be a really sad comment on the British electorate if they continue to vote Labour in their millions.

The Tories are looking as pathetic and unelectable as they have done for many years.

The Lib Dems have their best chance now for a very long time. If they can't capitalise on it, then there is really no hope for them or the rest of us. Let's hope they've picked the right man for the job.

  • 51.
  • At 04:11 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • jez wrote:

I would hope Nick Clegg does reverse the fortunes of the Lib Dems as we need better and more voices in Politics other than the constant rubbish from the two main parties. What still amazes and annoyes me is the Media who ignores the 3rd main UK party due to political affiliation to either Labour or the Tories. It also amazes me the level of ignorance that is displayed by us the voters because we swallow the constant line that no one other than Labour or the Tories can govern this country. All i can say is Good luck to the man...

  • 52.
  • At 05:57 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Greenman wrote:

In "The Last of the Summer Wine" TV series - Norman Clegg (Peter Sallis) is often referred to as "Norman Clegg that was" - as if he didn't exist any more.

The Liberal Democrats are very liberal with front persons. Kennedy got shot of - Campbell soup and temporary Cable laid.

The Lib Dem's new leader therefore must become Nick Clegg that is! And can it be long enough for him to merit at least 3 Christmases? Last of the Winter Whine for some time?

  • 53.
  • At 08:49 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • John Kersley wrote:


To Charles F Hardwidge...'This government has a record to be proud of'...what low expectations of government you have.

  • 54.
  • At 11:06 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Chris Gudgin wrote:

It will be interesting to see if the new leader brings much policy to the forefront, or if he's just a marketing man like Cameron.

  • 55.
  • At 04:04 AM on 20 Dec 2007,
  • Mark Maciel wrote:

Most people know that a vote for a 3rd party is a wasted vote!

I look forward to the big, grumpy, clunking fist getting thumped by 2 young vibrant good looking men!

Goodbye Great Leader!

  • 56.
  • At 09:02 AM on 20 Dec 2007,
  • The view from here wrote:

"Passion and gladhanding is fine but no substitute for delivery."(15),

Well done Mr Hedwig, (sic) those words sum up the Blair years perfectly!?!

  • 57.
  • At 10:09 AM on 20 Dec 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

At least the LibDems held an election for their new leader...more than can be said for the Labour party. During the inter regnum we were treated to the sanity and humour of Vince Cable, slightly better than the sulking of Gordon Brown as he waited for the handover during the cash for honours end to the Blair years.

Now we apparently await Gordon Brown's visionary brand of politics and delivery! He didn't show much vision when he refused to increase flood protection expediture; nor did he show vision when he sold all our gold at rock bottom prices; nor when he blew up the pension system; nor when merged the HMRC and cut spending, nor when he ignored the warnings about Northern Rock. As for delivery..he's delivered a Tripartite structure which has delivered the first run on a bank in 140 years. He's delivered the fastest collapse in support for his party and policies in living memory. He's delivered the highest levels of personal indebtedness ever.

One thing we can award the Prime Minister is the award for being the most consistent. But not in perhaps the way Charles E. Hardwidge would liek him to be remembered.

  • 58.
  • At 02:52 PM on 21 Dec 2007,
  • kronos wrote:

Er, Nick. I hear the Gordon approval rating has slipped again. Any chance that you have a comment on this?

  • 59.
  • At 01:55 PM on 22 Dec 2007,
  • Richard Morris wrote:

Nick - just seen your piece on the website speculating whether the narrowness of Nicks victory would cause a split in the Lib Dem ranks. On the contrary - it just shows that we had 2 great candidates with little to choose between them - its a strength and not a weakness. With these 2, Vince Cable and, if he can be persuaded to adopt a higher profile role, Charles Kennedy, we suddenly have a potentially fantasticc set of leaders in the party to put us back on the front foot. No wonder the Tory and Labour activists are filling your blog comments with anti Lib dem rhetoric - they are worried....

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