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
    +2

    Comment number 17.

    "Only 24% in a new poll find the Lib Dems 'credible' in government." My gast is well and truly flabbered, are you sure the decimal point hasn't been moved at least one place to the right?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 16.

    The sad fact is the “Bash a Tory” tactic will work. The public is dumb enough to believe LibDem pleading that the negative aspects of the coalition have nothing to do with them.
    Given political history, I'm surprised, that the Tories ever thought joining them was ever a good idea. I cannot understand why they gave these jokers a free ride; it will surely damage Tory chances in the future.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    there is no need to "bash"a tory,they have, by collusion, given them enough rope to hang themselfs with,let us hope that after this latest attempt at thatcherism (yes we all know how much you worshiped her)we will as a nation realise it does not work and attempt to find a more humane and compassionate way to practise politics in this fantastic country.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 14.

    The LibDems have been exposed for behaviour they have got away for years in local politics. They’ve always pretended to be all things to all men, made promises & rarely kept them, because this was not on the national stage nobody paid attention. - I blame journalists , journalist don't take local politics seriously enough, they ignore things which at the national level they would scream about.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    2. nautonier

    The Lib Dems maybe only on the "margins of British politics", but they're also in government and form the foundation of the coalition. There is an ongoing, somewhat delusional belief among many Tories, that they are somehow the true heirs to government. May I point out, the Tories were not elected as a Tory government because the country did not vote Tory at the last election.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 12.

    #2 and #9
    For your information money paid to political parties by Trade Unions comes from their political funds which members have voted for. This vote has to be renewed every 10 years.
    Most of the people in this country receive some state funding - benefits - millions relying on retirement pension, child benefit, child tax credit. If they were all Labour voters we would have a labour government

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 11.

    People do not like the LibDems, neither do they really like the Tories nor Labour. Polls meaure relative popularity not absolute popularity. Come the next election it could be that the electorate will decide that although they quite like the general direction of the Tories or Labour (if they get a credible leader) they will still want the LibDems to moderate the excesses of either major party.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 10.

    9 nautonier
    Don't say that ! Andrew's is the only blog open for us to verbally
    abuse politicians and the views of others - sorry, I meant discuss.

    I guess that reaction to Nick was expected and unless Charles Kennedy wants to stage a comeback there is no one else to challenge him.

    P.S. Is Diane ever going to return or is she still recovering from the disappointment that was Gordon ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    3.CimarronStar
    3 Hours ago
    Bit of a massive generalisation isn't it 2 - nautonier?
    >
    Yes - but true & correct for many of the + or - 9 million Labour voters

    If I'm guilty of writing a generalisation as something wrong - then the BBC had better shut down all of its blogs & all of its Newsdesks

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 8.

    Lets not forget that the alternative of forming a coalition with Gordon Brown would not have been well received across the country as a whole, who wanted Gordon gone. We could further speculate, given what we now know about Gordon's leadership style, that a Lab-Lib coalition would have been utterly disastrous for Cleggy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 7.

    I think it came as a suprise to people in general and the LibDem faithful in particular that Newlabour were shunned in favour of the Conservatives, especially considering that politically they had more in common with the former. Was it a good move? Well the LibDems and others will debate that one for quite a while, however, trading power for reputation seems a steep price to pay.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    As much as i hate Camerons politics you at least know you`re going to have everything privatised and see a massive transference of wealth from the poor to the rich. That you can fight. When it comes to Cleggs politics it`s less about principles and more about opportunism. He will support anything that gives him power and status and because of that he is untrustworthy as a political partner.

  • 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.

  • 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
    -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
    +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
    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.

 

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