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 148.


    Typical lefty. Cant respond to the policy so has to play the man instead. Nothing new. If you want to know the answer to that, ask Farage himself. I dont speak for him. Unlike you, I dont feel the need for power or to belong to anything, or feel weak and unfulfilled because I think my life opportunities have been stolen by the rich, which is why I'm not an activist and you claim you are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    I've checked and I'm right.

    I have a dozen BNP bods locked in my cellar and I've just popped down and asked them why they vote that way. What's the USP? It's nothing to do with improving the train service, as it turns out, it's to do with fear and mistrust of foreigners.

    Then I went next door (yes, I have two cellars) and asked my UKIP bunch the same thing. And guess what? ... same answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    134. steve
    Well for a start it would be nice to know why UKIP, the party who wants out of Europe, BUT at the same time applies for huge amounts of funding from Europe in order run the party. That must be the definition of Hypocrisy. It would also be interesting to know why Mr Farage is the only Member of the European Parliament in the South East who has not published his full allowances.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.


    Oh I dont know, Gordon actively espoused two of their policies when he thought it would win votes. Firstly, the hostels/safehouses for under-age pregnant girls to teach them how to bond and raise infants rather than how to dash down the benefits office toute de suite on being discharged from Maternity... and also his "British Jobs For British Workers" outburst as well. Both BNP policies...

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    143 - "Doubt if you'll get much support in trying to label the BNP a far left party."

    Tend to agree. I expect the confusion arises because BNP support is at its strongest in working-class Labour areas. Many voters thinking nothing of voting Labour nationally and BNP locally.

    Labour-lovies hate that sort of truth and try their hardest to ignore it. Don't you, Saga.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    #129 Steve

    Jeez Fubes, someone touch a nerve there.

    Doubt if you'll get much support in trying to label the BNP a far left party.
    Despite his best efforts, it's like calling Tom Jones a blues singer. Bless him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Nick Clegg is sticking with the 'it's all Labour's fault' line then? Along with 'the Tory's are good for the country'? That's the end of Lib Dem centre-left support for a good many years then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.


    What has the Socialist Workers Party got to do with the battle of Cable Street? The former was formed in the 1960s, the latter happened in 1936.

    For that matter, what have the well-meaning if niave left-wingers of the 1930s got to do with the rag-tag drop outs inhabiting the sad outer fringes of socialism today?

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    No136 The Takely Socialist,
    Do you think that if the decent German people in the 30's had turned out on the streets to sweep away the BNP/EDS style Nazi thugs it may have prevented the mass murder of millions and prevented unprecedented destruction?

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    The BNP are a party of the far right.

    They may well want to nationalise the trains but you'd have to be white to get a seat on one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    RE 119. Good try but no. Lunch is over
    Re 131. It's quite subversive, not in-your-face, I'll give you that. eg, no HYS thread on Cameron's proposed speech, interviewing Mandelson as an 'independent EU expert' and giving him an easy ride, versus interviewing anti- Europeans who are new to the media, the fawning and deference to Barroso and van Rumpy, the political sympathies of the staff etc

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    No134 Steve_M - H.

    Was Mr Brown right to 'nationalise' certain banks and what would have been the consequences of not doing so?

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Yes Steve that's why it's the socialist Workers Party that turn out on the streets against Right Wing Fascists while pathetic Keyboard Tory/UKIP Warriors are on here, playing with semantics and trying to turn History on it's head.
    I suggest you look up the Battle of Cable Street, before you embark on this facile campaign.

  • Comment number 135.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.


    Yup, far left. Nothing disingenious about it. Look at their manifesto, look at what they hoped to achieve, particularly around nationalisation, esp the railways. You lot on the left WANT to portray them as right wing, because the thought of a) that such a party only prospers when a Labour govt is in and b) that the left does indeed have a dark underbelly are things you dont want reminding of

  • Comment number 133.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    No122 Jon
    ' Only 2015 can save us'
    'socially useless bankers', a corrupt and rotten national and international financial system, a judicial, economic and political structure serving the interests of the spivs and speculators, a 'City' cesspool with strong links to the drug lords.
    Is Ed ready to take them on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    118.ichabod - ".......Or do you think the pro-Europe biased BBC just wants to stifle the debate and so keep their prejudices from analysis?"

    Go on then, show us your "analysis" of the factual evidence of any BBC bised towards anything, let alone towards all things European...???

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    I don't think the Lib Dems will do ok at the next General Election.Because unless they are forced to state who they would and who they would not form a coalition with, then you would have to assume that they would continue a coalition with the Conservatives.
    You cannot just say that you should facilitate the biggest party because that's just as unethical and un democratic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.


    I'd put some sort of anti inflammatory on that knee of yours if I were you. If your knee keeps on jerking in that kind of fashion, you'll be needing surgery on it within a year. Adding the far left BNP (Labour with added racism) into your post just proves a staggering level of political ignorance on your part. Even Dan Hodges' analysis of Cleggs speech has more perception.


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