Liberal Democrat conference: Nick Clegg 'in relatively good shape'

Nick Clegg Only 24% in a new poll find the Lib Dems 'credible' in government

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In aftermath of the Lib Dems terrible local election results and the spectacular loss of the AV referendum (remember that?) in May, the party's annual conference, which has just opened in Birmingham, could have had the makings of a lynch mob for Nick Clegg.

But matters did not go from bad to worse for him during the summer and he has arrived here in relatively good shape. His position, for now, is secure.

But his poll ratings are dire. Only 24% in a new poll find the Lib Dems 'credible' in government. Only one in five think Mr Clegg a good leader.

The great concern in Birmingham is that the the Lib Dems have been irretrievably tainted by association with the Tories.

So the plan is to distance themselves. Hence bash a Tory is the conference's most popular sport.

Whether it reestablishes the Lib Dems is another matter. Voters might wonder why, if you hate the Tories that much, you're in coalition with them.

'Never prepared'

At heart, the Lib Dem activists simply don't like being in alliance with the Tories.

They might buy, reluctantly, that they had to form a coalition in the national interest.

But at conferences in years gone by the party leadership never prepared the the party for ever being in bed with the Tories.

Indeed, they regularly placed the party to the left of New Leader, making any arrangement with the Tories incredible.

But it's happened and as a result, despite the consolations of power, this conference is not a very happy place.

Andrew Neil is presenting the Politics Show and Daily Politics , plus The Andrew Neil Interview and Today at Conference from the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    56 Justin
    So after 10 years of independence can you say what this
    almighty policy change would be ?
    Since "rejoining" the UK is NOT an option,
    is it:
    Adopting Highland dancing as an olympic sport ?
    Allowing the north of England to join Scotland ?
    Providing political santuary for LibDem ministers ?
    Or what ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    As far as Scottish independence goes that is a matter for the Scots alone. If they vote to become independent then the fair share of national debt should be based on proportion of UK population. Either their economic policies will work or they will not - all down to Scots and their parliament.

    I give them 10 years of independence before they have to make an almighty policy change

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    53 comments and nobody has drawn attention to this sentence:
    "Indeed, they regularly placed the party to the left of New Leader, making any arrangement with the Tories incredible."

    Prediction or just a freudian slip, Andrew?

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    53 Leuctrid
    I believe you are incorrect.
    In February 1974, Ted Heath's Conservative Government was replaced by Harold Wilson with a minority Labour Government:
    Labour 301
    Conservative 296
    Liberal 14
    Others 23

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    51 - no cos with no party having an outright majority the sitting party stays in control in a minority government - that should have been Labour. It was labour who did not need a coalition. But Cleggy phoned Cam instead, even though nd rate parties not good enough for him he says, excluding his own 3rd rate party obviously, otherwise he'd be a hipocrit of the highest order.


Comments 5 of 57



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