Nick Clegg's sticking to Plan A

Nick Clegg at the Lib Dem conference Nick Clegg says the coalition faces a gargantuan task

If you think you know what Lib Dems look like, Nick Clegg wants you to think again.

He wants you to see them not as a party of nice, worthy, unthreatening people who "want to stop the world and get off" but as a party that looks and sounds like a party of power - a party that matters enough to make people angry.

The Liberal Democrats came to this conference fearing that Clegg's alliance with David Cameron could doom them to electoral disaster.

He came to tell them that they - and the country - were on a journey to a better place "from the comforts of opposition to the hard realities of government, from the sacrifices of austerity to the rewards of shared prosperity".

The coalition, he said, faced a gargantuan task of building a new economy from the rubble of the old.

There, as a symbol it could be done, was 81-year-old Maurice Reeves, the man whose family furniture shop was reduced to ashes in last Summer's riots and who this year re-opened it.

After days of highlighting the Liberal Democrats' differences with the Conservatives, the deputy prime minister highlighted that they were in lock-step on the economy - backing a Plan A which he insisted was more flexible, more pro-growth than its critics accepted.

In other words politically, as well as economically, he's sticking to Plan A. If it fails he's in trouble. So's his party. And so is everybody else.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Crooning with the LibDems ? I'll bet it was more Shirley Williams than Andy Williams (RIP).

    A similar song based on the "12 Days of Xmas" could be done about the coalition itself eg VAT, tuition fees, human rights act, second homes, EU For those of us outside the Westmintser bubble on the receiving end of all this, I doubt many would find it funny.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    How are the libdems going to forge a partnership with labour when all the anger and lack of popularity that they are having to endure is because of labours toxic legacy? The coalition doesn't WANT austerity and cuts. It's a painful, dirty job. But someone has to do it.

    If I had to clean up dog mess on my lawn one day, I wouldn't chat gladly the next day with the owner of the dog that did it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    The Lib-Dems are showing that they can be a viable alternative to the two main parties, but they need to take responsibility. If you`re in coalition you can`t act as opposition as well.
    Some Lib Dems would rather carp from the sidelines forever. Being in power means making tough decisions that make you unpopular- they have to live with that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    What will Clegg say after the elections in May 2013 when there will be no doubt a slaughter of Lib Dems?

    Ashdown will be of no use, after all he didn't do any good when he was running the show.


  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Clegg,like Cameron, used the global economic meltdown, understandably, to get into power, while blaming Labour for it all. Now, in power, as he sees how difficult it is to recover from this once in 2 generations economic crash, he wants it to provide him with cover for all his and the Torylition failings.

    Cake and eat it politics which will consign LibDems to a nightmare at next election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    He's in trouble. So's his party. And so is everybody else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Let's be realistic.

    Unless things change ...

    .... the LibDems will cease to exist as a parliamentary party in 2015.


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