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.

 
Andrew Neil, Presenter, The Daily Politics and Sunday Politics Article written by Andrew Neil Andrew Neil Daily and Sunday Politics

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Andrew Neil's response to criticism in a Guardian Blog and on Twitter to his Sunday Politics interview with Ed Davey.

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1.

    They all seem lost and confused the attacks on their government partners make you wonder why they did it. Speakers give off an air of desperation not statesmanship.
    Stopping the scrapping of the 50p rate doesn't balance the cut in heating allowance, tuition fees and VAT.
    Ministerial cars will come at a high electoral price.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    No mention at the Lab Dem conference on what keeps them on the margins of British politics as England's third main political party, i.e.

    Their lack of moral fortitude, intelligence & courage to attack the Labour party's unconstitutional & extremely unfair electoral advantage as being almost entirely funded by Trade Unions - with many of labour members partly also dependent on the welfare state

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 3.

    Bit of a massive generalisation isn't it 2 - nautonier?
    '- with many of labour members partly also dependent on the welfare state' rather like saying that the Tories have an unfair electorial advantage because they are supported by the rich. Both the Tories and LibDems have failed to remember that neither actually WON the election outright, despite the Tories expecting a landslide!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 4.

    If the Lib Dems do hate the Tories, then to answer Andrew's question, it is probably because they have to share a coalition with a party they normally oppose, and hate themselves for doing it. But then powe arguablyr comes before principles, when the chance of power, and perhaps the only real chance of power arises. But it still sits uncomfortably with many Lib Dems.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    I thought the LD party promoted the idea of coalitions. Seems when it comes to the actuality that many can't bring themselves to do it. Bit like a virgin & sex.

 

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