Coffee House

For a group of Lib Dem MPs, the war is already over

29 May 2014

3:02 PM

29 May 2014

3:02 PM

The anti-Clegg Liberal Democrats are fond of World War One analogies, likening their leader to a general sending wave after wave of troops over the top to their deaths. But a more fitting military analogy would be that around a third of Liberal Democrat MPs are cut off behind enemy lines and there is nothing that can be done to save them that wouldn’t endanger the rest of the army.

The stark reality is, as I argue in the column this week, if you are a Lib Dem MP in heavily Labour territory you are going to lose your seat. This is a hard thing for any MP to accept but particularly hard for a Liberal Democrat. The party has always believed that there is no problem that simply working harder, doing more case work and delivering more leaflets can’t solve. But now that the Liberal Democrats are a party of government this simply isn’t true anymore.


Now, some of Clegg’s critics argue that a new leader or the even more dramatic step of pulling out of the coalition might change this. But doing either of these things would put Lib Dem MPs in Tory facing seats, who currently have a good chance of survival, at risk.

The last few days have shown that the only person who can remove Clegg is Clegg himself. There might be a sizeable number of Lib Dems who are ambivalent about Clegg’s leadership but they are not prepared to put the party through a long, divisive and bloody leadership with no guarantee of success.

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Show comments
  • David Booth.

    The fact that Clegg says Cable wasn’t involved with the failed (so far) plot to oust him says it all about Clegg’s judgement.
    In the words of Dad’s Army’s Captain Mainwaring
    “Stupid Boy”

    • ButcombeMan

      With respect, I think you are just not getting it.

      Clegg /knows/ Cable was involved, at the very least through using his Nelsonian Eye. But Cable has come out with supportive noises and Clegg has been forced to come out with saying that Cable was not involved.

      These are political games.

      Cable waits, supportive hand extended, the other behind his back, with fingers crossed no doubt. That or a dagger.

      • David Booth.

        The dog’s on the street know that Cable was behind it all that’s why I say of Clegg “Stupid Boy”

  • Baron

    He must go for he’s damaged goods, he can no longer pull the troops together. If he doesn’t quit, the poll in his constituency was right, he will lose his seat, the party will be buried next year.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      He should go, as should Dave, but it seems neither will go on their own. It’s probably for the best that they both stay, then. They’ll weigh each other down, and make it easier for the electorate to get rid of both.

  • andagain

    The anti-Clegg Liberal Democrats are fond of World War One analogies,

    Perhaps someone ought to remind them that we won that war…

  • Peter Stroud

    Unfortunately the rank and file LibDems are so useless that they might, just might ditch Clegg. But it will not matter, they are a busted flush anyway.

  • foto2021

    To those LibDems who want to lose Clegg … who is your alternative leader? You have lost Huhne and now Cable because of their duplicity. Farron’s electoral appeal is sub-zero. There really isn’t anyone who will win back voters and loyal party members, except perhaps one person. The nuclear option. Charles Kennedy.

    • Wessex Man

      or hopefully the perty will dade away just fade awayafter the next election!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • dado_trunking

        Oh look there – I told you waht to say and now you are saying it.
        You are not ready.

      • HookesLaw

        Who will their voters turn to?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …I’ll give you a hint, lad. It won’t be your Camerluvvie pals.

    • telemachus

      Simon Hughes

      • global city

        He’s tooooooo ‘umble for ordinary people to respect!

    • global city

      ahhh, Farron, a comedy character from Coronation St?