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.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Clegg has no choice. He and his party are nailed to the coattails of the Tory Tea Party, where they go, he goes.

    It is absurd to say that Clegg has choices - he doesn't,

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Agree whole hearted! My wish would be to slate the government as a whole, my understanding of management over 40 years has been rocked! there is so much deadwood in administration, appointed enquiries, ministers in charge of............and hey , to be fare absolutely no culpable person........its a circus!

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    I voted LD last time mainly on 50% deficit reduction over the parliament. By jumping into bed with the Cons and going too far, too fast at the cost of growth they lost my vote. Every broken promise is just another nail in the coffin and their achievements seem like a poor consolation. I could be proved wrong but i think ITS THE ECONOMY, STUPID will haunt the L Ds. I didnt vote for this Mr Clegg.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.


    Talking to the dog that messed on your lawn?

    To continue your analogy - this lot are the equivalent of you going out and covering whats left of your lawn with your own mess.

    Tories: taking labours mess, and making it worse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    @19 gc

    Trying to respond to this piece is like trying to spear a ghost. No substance to strike. I assume Nick is a little busy and trotted this out too quickly.

    Clegg said many things, and without adequate detail it's difficult for commentators -those who are interested- to respond.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    What do you mean IF it fails. It is failing and that is why Osborne will not meet his target by and long way. For some people Clegg seems to know what he is talking about - they are mostly found in what is left of the Lib Dems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    'Plan A'
    Cut services to British families while the immigrants flood in to be 'subsidised'?
    I've heard that before somewhere?
    But Cleggie Clown eurocrat will never talk about it

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    " its just playground politics "

    And exactly what other sort of politics have we got to choose from .

    the lib Dems are the victims of playground politics . Mainly because they are.not very good at it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    A brake on tory policies or the majority vote in parliament to get those same policies through parliament? Listening to the top libdems this week Vince was flat, Alexander definately showed his naive lack of any real experience in this world and Nick Clegg himself not answering any of the criticisms thrown at him let alone showing any idea of the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    we have had 2.5 years of this imitation politician, what more does Nick need to report? I heard the enthusiasm shown by a newly appointed Lib activist after his speech and thought "Bless, its just like the `Moonies` the poor woman will come to terms with her commitment and probably like most new initiates, move on! Its Play ground politics!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    The point of the LibDems at the last election was as a centre-left alternative to Labour.

    Since then, on Plan A, tuition fees and NHS they have ditched their centre-left position with barely a whimper. On electoral and Lords reform they have been an abject failure.

    What's left is barely skin and bone, hence the poll ratings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Re 7 At the next election it is possible the LibDems could again turn a minority Tory/Lab governent into a coalition majority. Labour are just politicking at the moment - the more supine the partner the better. LibDems have made a mess of standing their ground and claiming due credit for their achievements - this is considerably less nasty than a pure Tory government would have been.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Plan A , plan B

    What a handy bit of propoganda.

    plan A is whatever the coalition do .
    And is allways wrong .
    Plan B is what ed balls would do .
    And will solve all our problems.

    It is just labours way of distancing themselves from the mess they created and pretending there is some better way that only they know .

    Thanks to lazy journalism they are succeeding .

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Come on Nick; he said a whole lot more than that. Can't you add a bit more flesh to this piece? It's barely worth commenting on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    22 MINUTES AGO Amen with the dog poo!
    But hey "I`m Sorry" doesn't cut the mutarde` sometimes sorry isn't enough, The statement was a vote winner, and he played the game and lied with full understanding! Doesn't matter what he says now, If he was willing to play the game once, and we let him get away with it........he will play it again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman said the speech was "pointless rhetoric... the truth is that they have betrayed the people who voted for them and far from being a brake on the Tories, they are their accomplices".

    Sadly this is true....

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    The idiot had it one with part of his spech, he told delegates it is all about POWER and this is the problem with him and his MP's, dont get too used to it sweethearts you will be kicked out to oblivion come the election. Perhaps Ashcroft can give Nick a holiday let on his tax haven of St Helena!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    He's a man mouthing all the platitudes he thinks he HAS to say to his troops, but with he dead eyes of someone who knows the game is up. He's pincered by circumstance and his own ambition. He's toast and he knows it. We know know it. He knows we know. It's all just a pantomime until the inevitable defenestration to come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Well if 'making people angry' is a sign of LibDem success and relevance, they're rocking.

    Regarding this strategy - talking up their new 'responsibility' as a party of government not perennial opposition - I think it's the right one politically: I give them a decent shot at achieving junior-partner-in-coalition again come the election (this time with Labour).

    Clegg standing down will help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    ".....but as a party that looks and sounds like a party of power - a party that matters enough to make people angry."

    Party of power ? Not a chance !
    Party that matters ? Maybe to each other !
    Make people angry ? I think over the past 2 1/2 years you've succeeded well in achieving that.

    After the next elections, LibDem conference time really will be one man and his dog.


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