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, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    If Maurice Reeves is supposed to be a symbol he's not a very good one. Reeves have always had 2 shops opposite each other, let's call them plan A and plan B. Plan A remains demolished since the riots, Plan B has always remained open.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Clegg's speech was full of straw men that he knocked down and lots of false an which the Lib Dems voted. He comes across as excited to be in Government but having no principles and no policies that can be implemented. No mention of the disastrous NHS reforms that the Lib Dems voted for and, by the way, raising tax allowances benefits the rich. A right wing leader who may as well join the Tories

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    They court unpopularity through being in government, and no longer catch the protest vote. Their u-turns are more perceptible than their influence on coalition policies.

    They are dangerously close to oblivion with no obvious exit strategy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    When so many of our politicians have been taught the same ideas all we are getting is variations on a theme rather than real original ideas.

    They all follow the same (flawed) economic model, once thats set, those wanting to be different find options limited. They're also writing the model into law & (EU) treaty so future Govts have to follow it even if they don't agree with it

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    nick is the biggest snake oil retailer of the last 50 years hail to the retailer of mass fakery a good one he managed to con almost the whole university student class of elector in one foul swoop with his charms and snake oil cure alls yet he was a Tory charmer destined to life in Europe when hes unelectable and rejected by the student vote in two years time once charmed with snake oil never twice

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    didnt nick make paddy pants down SBS the new leader or did i miss somthing

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    80 Unfortunately someone pawned the Red book and they cannot afford to redeem it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Nah. Blair was the problem. The weird solutions simply arose from this basic fact. That's the problem with politicians. They have to be 'doing things' when history clearly shows that this will be their downfall. Can't imagine a politician going to a Barber's and asking for 'a trim with a little off the length'. They're dedicated followers of fashion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    There really is an over reliance on the Orange Book.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    73. meninwhitecoats - taught the same ideas

    Sounds like the England football team.

    Perhaps we should learn from the Premier League. Raise MPs salaries to ridiculous levels to attract the best 'talent' from all around the world.

    Get rid of the current amoral rabble - throw them onto the scrapheap.

    Let's have some slick movers & shakers to sort out the economy and clean up the city.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.


    I thought Cameron's speech at the UN was reminscent of Blair, though without any solutions.

    Mind you Blair's "solutions" were part of the problem - so maybe we are safer with rhetoric.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Clegg is one of the worse scam artists around because he has sold his moral fibre for what he believes is being five minutes in charge. The Lib Dems have NEVER been in charge, but they are afraid of losing their jobs. Tough luck, boys and girls, in the next election you are going to be wiped off the political map. You ought to face Cameron down and go now, why wait?

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    'When so many of our politicians have been taught the same ideas all we are getting is variations on a theme rather than real original ideas.'
    The theme (song) being 'Things can only get better'?
    Seems familiar. New Labour may have got it wrong but now they all want to be like Tony. Probably a mistake from our point of view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    re#29 & #34
    The Government (of various colours & periods) has been good at making us unhappy in the past.

    Why should they not have a go at undoing the damage for once?

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    29. AndyC555

    Are you trying to incite a riot?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.


    There are two ways of winning an election, the lazy way is to keep stumn and hope to be the least worse option - the more difficult way is to inspire with new ideas.

    When so many of our politicians have been taught the same ideas all we are getting is variations on a theme rather than real original ideas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    'A Party to make people angry'. Well yes after shameless and dishonest complicity in the tuition fees hike; NHS 'reforms'; and a predictably useless economic recovery strategy. A Party to make people happy though as well; when it's wiped off the political map at the next Election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    IDBI 67

    Yes, big scam, all that stuff. Just transfers a ton of money from the government to whatever private firm manages to nail the contract.

    Prime candidate for the chop, I'd have thought, if we're truly interested in 'efficiency savings'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    All his instincts are Tory,his barmy army think he`s social democrat

    He's swallowed the neo-liberal economic story, hook line & sinker, Neo-liberals who like to be seen as "Progressive", like Dave, pay lip-service to social democracy whilst implementing economic policies that kill it, "we'd love to but the big wooden chest in the treasury is empty" Clegg actually believes it exists

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    To use an American term Nick Clegg has "sold out". Bet you we see him join the Tories after 2015 election.


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