Coffee House

No sweeteners for Clegg on Lords reform

3 August 2012

6:24 PM

3 August 2012

6:24 PM

In recent weeks, Downing Street has been repeatedly told by Tory MPs that if proposals for an elected element in the House of Lords were brought back to the Commons, the next rebellion would be even bigger than the 91 who voted against second reading. Downing Street, as the Telegraph reported this morning, has now accepted that Lords reform will have to be dropped and there is talk of a formal announcement to this effect as early as Monday.

But, intriguingly, I understand that David Cameron does not intend to abandon efforts to get the boundary reforms through. This, as Isabel noted this morning, has the potential to cause a massive coalition row. One Lib Dem minister told me earlier that Cameron would be ‘killing’ Nick Clegg if he tried to force Liberal Democrat ministers not to vote against the boundary changes.

Indeed, one of the odd things about today is that there have been no sweeteners to make the loss of Lords reform more palatable to the Liberal Democrats. Those close to Clegg argue that he’ll need something to take to his party conference to show that he hasn’t simply been rolled by the Tories on this.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • David Ossitt

    Look again at the photograph, look at the eyes; he is a
    beaten unhappy man.

    And he thoroughly deserves to be.

  • rosie

    The best thing the Liberal leader can take to his conference is a record of success in the Coalition. That does not mean scuppering every sensible policy and trying to foist daft ones on the country instead.
    It means showing he has grown up and learned something in government. To be a callow student politician who doesn’t know how things work one minute, and DPM the next, is an extraordinary stroke of fortune. He should not blow it. He should remember what the Coalition was formed to do, and stick resolutely to that.
    If the Coalition achieves its object – and that does not include further vandalism to the constitution which New Labour tried to wreck – he might win the approval of the electorate, even if his fatuous party can’t work that out for itself.

  • pauldanon

    One wonders what the Liberals are for. Maybe they’re there to sabotage the Tories’ plans to rescue the economy and let Labour back in. Liberals are keen on constitutional reform in a way that the electorate isn’t. The most useful thing they could do would be to encourage freer markets and political subsidiarity (let the people of Lambeth or Chiltern decide whether you can smoke in cafés). However, the old Labour, Cablesque wing doesn’t want that. LibDems are no heirs to Gladstone; they’re just corporatists with yellow ties.

  • Gouldus

    My advice to Clegg (not that he’ll take it) is to shut up and enjoy being Deputy PM until 2015 and for his party to enjoy the kudos of being part of the government until 2015, because after that it’s all down hill for the LibDems. It’s time Cameron ignored them and got on with being a Conservative PM.

  • Noa

    You may be capturing Cameron’s position at teatime on Friday, but there’s an awful lot of weekend for him to get through, pondering, doubting, self-debating, tweeting and twittering as, golden finned, he chillaxs around and round the bowl; which rests, in turn, on the revolving record deck.
    By the time Monday morning arrives, there will be a new, refreshed and invigorated view, different…and yet the same, firm yet fair, flexible, yet determined; as, biting firmly through the lip of irresolution he clearly enunciates an accommodation, but not a change.

    And this sea change will be announced here as news and portrayed as intellect, flexibility and a negotiating genius for compromise, by young James on Monday evening.

    • Publius

      Delightful, Noa.

      Reminds me of Churchill’s, “So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be
      undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for
      fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.”

  • AdemAljo

    We all have our little squabbles about the Tory party, its leadership and its direction, but Nick Clegg, in the most eloquent prose I am capable of writing at eight minutes to midnight, is an unfathomably oafish, incandescently bizarre, utterly uncharismatic, stupendously and ironically illiberally undemocratic, fortuitously idiotic, sandal-and-sock-wearing git.

    • Nicholas

      Well said sir. The man is a menace to democracy and a pouting big girl’s blouse.

  • 2trueblue

    At last some sense. The proposed reform does not stack up.

  • ButcombeMan

    Personally I (initially) gave SOME marks to Clegg for going into coalition to deal with the Big Brown Mess.

    If Clegg feels he needs “something to take to his party conference” he should think again, show some real backbone and some proper leadership and tell the whining sandal wearers some home truths. Extracting, or trying to extract, a price, for helping in the current economic crisis, is fundamentally wrong in principle. The public will see through it as the cynical, self serving & immoral action it is.

    • Andy

      Exactly so. And that is what the public have concluded. They have watched how the LibDems have behaved and conculded they are a dishonest bunch of no hopers. The Tories have been far too ‘nice’ and have taken the blame for much that has gone wrong, whereas the blame is rightfully the LibDems. Time the Tories spelt out a few home truths not only to the LibDems but to the electorate who have been taken in by that half wit Miliband and Balls.

  • David Ossitt

    “But, intriguingly, I understand that David Cameron does not
    intend to abandon efforts to get the boundary reforms through. This, as Isabel
    noted this morning, has the potential to cause a massive coalition
    row. One Lib Dem minister told me earlier that Cameron would be ‘killing’ Nick
    Clegg if he tried to force Liberal Democrat ministers not to vote against the
    boundary changes.”

    These duplicitous bastards; asked for and were given the AV
    referenda in return for their support on boundary reforms, there was little general
    support for AV and the result of the referenda were overwhelming in rejecting
    this LibDem nonsense.

    Now that they are at it again trying to fix a system (Lords
    Wrecking) that would give them a balance of power far beyond that, that the
    voting figures would warrant, now that this will be rejected they wish to renege
    on their agreement with regard to boundary reforms.

    Janus-faced slimeballs one and all.

  • Publius

    “No sweeteners”

    Good and noted. Now let’s see.

    As for equalising the population size of consituencies, I wonder how the LibDems will oppose this without appearing grossly hypocritical. (No doubt they will find some sophistry to justify it.)

    Here’s a sweetener. If you’re going to reduce the size of the Commons, reduce the size of the government payroll vote in proportion. Or, better still, reduce it further, and thus strengthen the independence of parliament.

    Oh, and sack any LibDem ministers who vote against the boundary changes.

  • tele_machus

    Nice picture

  • Coffeehousewall

    This really is rather trivial and repetitive. I don’t mean to be rude, but can’t we have some proper political analysis, or some in depth consideration of the real issues facing our nation. All we seem to get is lots of blog posts about the same irrelevancies. Does this issue reduce immigration? Does it reduce spending? Does it reduce the influence of the EU? Does it promote English patriotism and nationalism? Does it reduce the threat of Islam to the nation? If not, and if it relates to the LibDems then is it really necessary to publish it?

    There is a world of really important matters that the MSM, including the Spectator, is deliberately and willfully ignoring. Please choose one and make a name for yourself as a true conservative. Surely one post on this issue is as much as is required. At some point the Spectator, and its staff, will need to decide which side they are on. At the moment it looks like it is the wrong one come the English Spring.

    Why not write about why boundary changes are necessary and how they are democratic rather than writing about LibDem feelings being hurt? Why not produce statistics showing how the proposed changes might have affected the results of the last election? Why not interview those who have done the serious work behind these proposals, and find out on what basis they might be rejected by Labour and the LibDems. That would be interesting and would expose the various parties real agendas.

    Just sayin’

    • alexsandr

      But the dynamics of the coalition are important as they will define what policies are taken forward. I for one would be glad to see the limp dems get a bloodied nose for they have been punching way above their weight for too long. I am glad to see the tory tail turn and assert itself, albeit too late.
      Sorry about the mixed metaphors.

    • Halcyondaze2

      Brilliant post. I’m getting so tired of reading this smug, insider drivel. I used to be a Conservative voter, but now, like every other Conservative I know, I wouldn’t vote for Cameron or his bunch of unprincipled, PR-polished shysters if you paid me. I care less than a fig for the whining, leftie windbag Clegg or his EU-focussed feelings.
      Just like the politicians they toady up to, the Spectator writers know that there are key things their readers care about: the economy, the EU, immigration, Islamisation, the Left wing infection of all our institutions, and the slow painful destruction of our country. Yet they chose to ignore these thorny subjects because they might require brave and principled analysis. Instead we get fed this claptrap by writers who are so clearly contemptuous of the values and beliefs of real conservatives.
      The only thing that keeps me coming here is the brilliant responses of commentators like the above. The harder they try to snuff us out, the more determined we will get.

      • Coffeehousewall

        Thanks for your kind comments. This is why I did start, not through a lack of affection for the Spectator, but because it seemed determined to ignore the real issues.

        • Halcyondaze2

          Thank you – I wasn’t even aware of it! I will start posting there. Keep spreading the word here though!

        • tele_machus

          Aha Vicar
          I had hitherto not put two and two together.
          Suggest you go back and clean up your blog which seems to be dedicated to FGM and UKIP.

          • Nicholas

            Suggest you go anywhere but here and clean up your tedious act which seems to be dedicated to the Growth of Absolute Balls

      • Rhoda Klapp

        Well Halcyon, you may be getting more determined, but I am not. After a few years of moaning about how this place gets more and more trivial and begging for standards to be raised, I have finally realised that the things I complain about are in fact intentional. It is not going to change without a change of regime. A spectator spring, so to speak. But the dearth of good comments and the excess of banality make me think it is no longer worth hanging around in the hope that it will get better. It’s dumbing down, and I don’t have to accept it.

        • tele_machus

          Exactly Loada
          See my post below

    • tele_machus

      “Does this issue reduce immigration? Does it reduce spending? Does it reduce the influence of the EU? Does it promote English patriotism and nationalism?”
      I think we are all agreed that the answer to these is no. THEREFORE it is an excellent post
      James Forsyth you are to be congratulated for the post and the picture-worth a thousand words

      • NIcholas

        So you support more immigration to threaten our infrastructure and future sustainability, more spending to increase our debt, more power over us by the EU and the suppression of English patriotism and nationalism.

        And you admire Stalin.

        Everything we need to know. With people like you here no wonder this country is f****ed.

      • Noa

        It really is damnably decent of you, Comrade Wubbles, to keep sticking out your left cheek for its customary and well deserved public kicking.

    • George_Arseborne

      Spot on Coffeehousewall,
      Spectator writer are lacking in substance and are always interested in useless head lines.

      Having an alternative with the real debate will be of great help to you guys.

      I pray for more in house fight within the Tory, so that they are done and dusted in 2015.

      We are govern by three brainless yobs that are leading this Great nation into an abyss.

      Fight on Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Lot Of Love (LOL)

      • Nicholas

        This great nation of whose language you can hardly string two words together. What year did New Labour import your vote?