Nick Clegg - How to avoid that brick wall?
- 29 May 2014
- From the section UK Politics
You're speeding towards an electoral brick wall but grabbing the wheel from the driver is not the right response. Or so you're told. In which case, what is?
That's the question many Lib Dem activists are asking - as I observed on air last night.
Today Nick Clegg gave us part of his answer.
He believes that the party must "stop looking in the rear view mirror" - in other words stop mourning the voters they've lost as a result of forming a coalition with the Tories.
They need instead, he argues, to look forward to the voters they can gain by proving that they are a serious party of government with responsible economic policies.
This means he is determined that the coalition stays together right until polling day. He believes that the real agenda of many of his critics has been to smash the coalition rather than to unseat him as leader.
Next he believes that the Lib Dems need to find a way to get some credit for the government's economic achievements. So, standby for Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander to try to muscle in on those good news announcements which Messrs Cameron and Osborne like to hog.
Finally, he plans to start spelling out what he calls his party's "forward offer" long before the next election.
As we speak, policy ideas drawn up by David Laws are being inspected and polished for presentation to the public.
Will any of this work? Or is Tony Blair's analysis right ? He has told Clegg that the party's problem is simply spelt out - they positioned themselves as a party well to the left of him (in favour of higher taxes, anti competition in public services, anti-war and pro-civil liberties) only to form an alliance with the "hated Tories".
PS: As I said on the radio earlier Vince Cable clearly DID know about polling being done by his friend Matthew Oakeshott in other constituencies (even if he didn't know about the polls about Clegg & Alexander which Oakeshott leaked). He surely must have known they included questions about leadership. Awkward but not necessarily evidence that he was in on the plot!