Coffee House

Nick Clegg defends his leadership and the Coalition

26 May 2014

26 May 2014

A visibly tired Nick Clegg has just done his first post-European Election TV interview. Clegg conceded that the Liberal Democrats had taken a ‘bigger hit in the ballot box’ than he expected they would when he took them into coalition. But he made clear he wasn’t quitting and that he thought it would be a massive mistake for the party to leave the Coalition now as its ‘big judgments were being vindicated’.

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Clegg attempted to explain the scale of the defeat to his party by saying that the Liberal Democrats were hit by the double-whammy of being both in government and pro-European. He tried to console them by saying that they fought for what they believed in and were the only ones to take on Ukip and its agenda.

The Lib Dem leadership is keen to stress that it is happy to talk to the party about strategy, to listen to the concerns of its MPs. But short of leaving the coalition, which Clegg has repeatedly ruled out, it is hard to see what the Lib Dems could do differently that the voters would actually notice.

The brutal truth that Liberal Democrat activists have to accept is that the 2005 coalition that Charlie Kennedy assembled for the party is gone — and it isn’t coming back. If the party tries too hard to woo them into returning, it risks endangering its relatively solid position in its Tory facing seats.

Some of the Liberal Democrats’ MPs are done for and there is nothing they can do to save them. The Clegg strategy might well result in the loss of around twenty Lib Dem MPs but there is no alternative strategy that would do better in 2015.


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Show comments
  • Golben Amduke

    The interesting question now is whether UKIP will take enough Labour votes to stop them being the largest party. I doubt there will be many LD-UKIP switchers.

    We’ll know the answer to what CCHQ thinks about this if the Tories go on the attack against Clegg and the LDs, as opposed to rescuing them as they did after the AV debacle.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Awwww bless the poor bloke (not)

    “Europe destroys, the nation protects,”

  • Kitty MLB

    Nick Clegg has proved that coalitions do not work. The largest party ends up
    babysitting the smaller one and it is one big compromise and not in the national interest. The Conservatives allowed them too much say, to dictate and they responded appallingly. Behaved treacherously and were only interested in their own party. David Cameron must no longer pander to them, they are in no position to dictate.

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Well those kind of coalitions LD + Con = New Labour!

      UKIP & Conservatives may work a bit better….

      “Europe destroys, the nation protects,”

      • rtj1211

        I’m not sure it will as Farage said that a lot of his northern voters are ex Labour who hate the Tories with a real vengeance. And can you see Farage doing a deal with the Labour Party?? Or Miliband doing it????

        You get the same conundrum with UKIP as you do with the Liberal Democrats.

        Haven’t genii like you realised that yet???

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …what are you on about now, lad?

    • 2trueblue

      Then you need to look at Germany where they do work, and very well.

      Vanity is the real problem. Clegg can, will not, and does not want to accept that the British do not want his view of the EU. In fact they do not want the EU. He thought tthat having done so well at the original debates prior to the general election he would try again. The electorate do not want to be in the EU and guess what? They voted for UKIP. Time to leg it Clegg.

    • rtj1211

      You will be required to provide the evidence to back up this slander, since I remain 100% confident that you work nowhere near Westminster and are therefore simply trotting out paid-for troll lines as you have been doing for months if not years.

      Your unsubstantiated opinion does not equal THE TRUTH.

      • Kitty MLB

        Do you not read the newspapers then. Lib Dem behaviour is hardly
        news. And If I were to come across one I am certain this little lady
        would offer them tea, unlike the media, press, blogging sites, members of the public etc.. I quite adore them actually. I know
        them very well. We all quite often wander off together as coalition
        partners do.. Oh have you heard how Kippers here describe Cameron dear…It would make the hair curl..sweetie !

  • Blindsideflanker

    Oh dear god, they have Foreign Office Hannay on R4’s PM. Here he peddles the Foreign Office delusion to the question put to him about why the rejection of the EU project. He claims it because us dumbos haven’t had it explained to us. Its becuase the ‘right wing’ press has been nasty to is. And the world will come to an end if we dare pull out.

  • pinkgunnergirl

    The unification of the Left is, for the first time in a generation, within the Labour Party’s grasp.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Correct, but the Tories haven’t yet sussed that out.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Yes, and Cameron the idiot, see his winning triangulation strategy is to fracture the right. What a berk.

    • rtj1211

      Assuming that all those UKIP voters oop north who left the Labour Party in droves return to the fold, I presume…….

  • Blindsideflanker

    They had a double failure last night. Not only has one of their core political beliefs been rejected in no uncertain terms, but their strategy to seek refuge in a rump of pro EU support also failed, for there just isn’t a pro EU rump sufficient to sustain a political party

    It is rare that a whole chunk of a political party’s identity gets rejected whole sale, and notable for that, but it is amazing that a political party managed to link its fortunes to an evolutionary dead end as the Libdems have.

    I can only presume the Libdems got themselves into this Dodoist dead end because they believed what the MSM told them, and not was building by way of evidence in the votes cast. It has become pretty common viewing to see the Libdems insulting EUsceptics and coming across all superior about the EU project, and got all the sycophantic fawning from the media as a result, but that wasn’t happening outside the Westminster bubble.

    It was only about a month ago Paddy Ashdown was on Any Questions, where he singled out English people as ‘Little Englanders’ for having the temerity for being mostly EUsceptic, and got approval from the BBC for his stance. How deluded can you have become to think it a winning strategy to go against the grain of the majority?

    • MirthaTidville

      Pompous Pantsdown just loses them votes every time he appears..Long may he continue

      • Blindsideflanker

        He looks a right chump now, not only did he not realise the strategic stupidity of running a policy that they wouldn’t buy, but he didn’t have a clue to the level of EUscepticism sweeping across Europe.

    • 2trueblue

      Vanity. Clegg still thinks that he is right. He has no comprehension of what an English household is like and that is part of his problem. He did very well raising the LibDums profile prior to the general election but since then we have seen that he is not really up to it. Still he thought that he would try it again and go up against Farage. Despite the best effort of the BBC Farage won through and Farage got his message out and we all liked is.
      The next year will be interesting.

    • rtj1211

      Well, the Greens are pro-EU and got 7%, which with the Libdems’ 7% makes 14%. Quite a lot of Labour are pro-EU and they got 27%, which gets you up to 41%. UKIP + Tories was about 52% and so if you split the rest down the middle you have a 55:45 split in favour of out.

      Not really a ‘rump’ 45% is it??

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …yes, I’d put the LibDumbs on par with the Green nutters, electorally and politically.

  • Denis_Cooper

    Clegg can console himself that the LibDems have done much better in these elections than the Pro-Euro Conservative Party did in 1999. They came out and
    flew straight in the face of strong public opposition to joining the euro and were rewarded with 1.4% of the votes.

    As far as I’m concerned the fly in the ointment is that sole surviving LibDem MEP
    in the south east, but as I said beforehand the two objectives of beating Labour and completely wiping out the LibDems were partly in conflict because those who desert the LibDems tend to switch to Labour.

    • Blindsideflanker

      As I have tried to explore above, the EU fanatics are in a state of delusion, they keep on thinking that their project is acceptable , if, if, if if. And I can only presume they have come to believe that because of group think in the Westminster village.

      • telemachus

        A stupid post
        You folks think the EU issue is simplistic
        We have moved to a world of integrated economies and withdrawal from the EU is not possible without economic collapse

        • ButcombeMan

          Ridiculous. The UK & EU could trade successfully with each other under WTO rules.
          What you and your kind never explain is why we need to be in a corrupt POLITICAL union to do that.

    • rtj1211

      I think you’ll find that politics is more complex than that friend.

      The Libdems built a coalition primarily by opposing the Iraq war and promoting localism. Like both labour and conservative they have a more left-leaning group and a more right-leaning group. It amuses me greatly reading the ignorant twits on this site and the DT saying the “libdems are a split party’, since both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have splits just as wide but the Establishment Press doesn’t destroy them over it.

      I don’t think you paint a very good picture of yourself having as your objective the wiping out of opponents. The reality of politics is that the majority of people in this country will oppose your views, whatever they are.

      • Denis_Cooper

        The question is whether the existence of the Liberal Democrat party is beneficial to the people of this country, and the answer is that it is not and wiping them out. electorally, would be greatly to the benefit of the nation.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …it’s amusing that you say the LibDumbs opposed the Iraq War, when we watched the twits go hog wild for the excellent Libyan adventure, now failing, and the excellent Syrian adventure, which UKIP thankfully removed from their silly hands.

        The LibDumbs are an incoherent menace, proven so.

  • Swiss Bob

    Any chance of a thread on the corrupt Electoral Commission or the Govt using MI5 agents to infiltrate and destroy UKIP?

    Perhaps not, that would take journalism.

    • rtj1211

      MI5 infiltrates anyone that the unaccountable ‘elite’ tell them to. Libdems, Harold Wilson, anyone.

      MI5 needs a good reform involving prison sentences for several of its most senior operatives for brazen contempt for due political process if truth be told.

      They should stick to violent jihadis, not defining socialism as ‘a threat to national security’. If the British people vote for socialism, they have the right to get it. Just as they have the right to get a Conservative government if and only if they vote for it.

      It’s not for MI5 to interfere in that sort of thing and brutal violence should be the consequences for betraying the trust given to them for doing so.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …but the LibDumbs appear to prefer the Big Brother approach.

  • bugshead

    Oooh dearie me he’s a wee bit tired and emotional like…

  • MikeBrighton

    You would need a heart of stone not to laugh …

  • manonthebus

    I suspect that Nick Clegg and one or two other LibDems have found that being in government isn’t quite so easy as being in permanent opposition. Perhaps they discovered that actually doing something wasn’t after all the same as talking about it and endlessly blaming the Tories for everything bad.

    • rtj1211

      I suspect that they didn’t negotiate the Coalition Agreement well enough – having not prioritised their ‘no negotiations’ policies against their ‘we’ll do a deal’ ones.

      The HEI fees fiasco wasn’t very clever, was it?? They had targeted student-rich constituencies assiduously and sold them down the river.

  • Swiss Bob

    Clegg’s a failure because he is dishonest and duplicitous, he lies as easily as he breaths and being in Govt it has been on display for all the country to see.

    • rtj1211

      Every Government Minister lies – Tories as well as Libdems. It’s called ‘Government Responsibility’.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and that’s why the LibDumbs are being exterminated these days… they believe such as that rot is and should be true.

  • David B

    Living proof that you need to be careful what you wish for.

    The Lib Dems wished for a coalition government, only to find out that the strategy of having a policy to fit each constituency, even if the policies were contradictory, works in opposition, but not in government.

    The heat of government has found them out and it will take them years to get back the simple purity of opposition.

    • Dicky14

      I guess if you go in for competitive promising then something’s got to give but they do seem harshly done by considering all the muppets who voted New Labour expecting socialists and my muppets who voted Cameron expecting a Tory. Guess Lib Dems are a fragile bunch.

      • rtj1211

        No, they don’t have the media organised in their favour. The DT, the Express, the Mail are all rabid far-right blogospheres. The Times is moderately Tory but basically backs which ever politicians do Rupert Murdoch’s bidding. The only support the Libdems had was from the Guardian and the furious Guardianistas hate the Libdems even more than the Tories do.

        Five years of vitriolic Libdem bashing since 2010 has taken its toll……

        • the viceroy’s gin

          UKIP has taken far more abuse than the LibDumbs.

    • telemachus

      Not long
      Ukip are a one election wonder
      After a couple of years of the Socialist 2015 administration the LibDems led by Fallon will be back to business as usual

      • David B

        Oh dear Tele, you really need to sit down in a darkened room and read your predictions for this election. You couldn’t have been any further out if you had predicted Miliband resigning to let Brown back as leader because he is more popular and less weird!

        • telemachus

          Excuse me
          I may have lambasted the racists
          But I predicted a Ukip cleanup
          Indeed begged for it to galvanise the real politicians

          • Inverted Meniscus

            I think your pants are now a raging inferno.

          • David B

            No Tele you resort to the politics of the loser, screaming racist everytime an argument comes up have no response to.

            Ukip are not inherently racist, they have said some silly things (10 people in one house is illegal) but stupid is not racist – it’s just the socialists way to stop debate

            As for Ukip you have no clue the affect they are having on you bosses in the Labour Party, with the earthquake destroying their ambitions of government!

            • telemachus

              If Miliband goes we get the charismatic one
              Socialism will prevail

              • David B

                If it wasn’t so serious that would be funny!

              • ButcombeMan

                That would be wonderful. Constant reminders during the election run up of how Balls helped create the Big Brown Mess.

    • pinkgunnergirl

      It has always amazed me that the Lib Dems have been successful in the South West, which is the most Eurosceptic part of England.

      • rtj1211

        Apart from the fact that Cornwall got huge amounts of money from the EU in Objective 1 funding when they were down and out……which no doubt the Liberal Democrats were influential in helping to arrange…….

        The Cornish hate the spanish fishermen who wiped out their livelihoods – they’d certainly welcome a change in the CFP to ban the Spaniards from fishing in their local waters……

  • In2minds

    Clegg
    still fails to understand. The idea of politics is to make yourself
    popular, not loathed and ridiculed. Clegg seems to think that despite
    being dumped by the voters he and the LD’s have a right and duty to
    be in government.

  • dado_trunking

    This could all end here, this could all end now.
    The power hungry are clutching at straws!

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Because we have fixed five year parliaments and the as long as the government commands a working majority it can function in parliament. We will have an election in May 2015 (that’s next year by the way) and the electorate, just like they did last week, will have their say. Doubtless, this is yet another attempt to demonstrate your unique sense of irony, intellectual superiority and wealth of ‘sock puppets’. It is, of course, another demonstration that you are a gibberish spouting idiot.

      • dado_trunking

        I knew it! The imbecile defending the big party state.
        You are so toast, mate … and I will have you for breakfast.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          No I am just deriding gibberish spouting idiots like you because you are a gibberish spouting idiot.

          • dado_trunking

            Break-fast!

            • Inverted Meniscus

              No you are a gibberish spouting idiot with a menagerie of sock puppets all of which spout gibberish and idiocy.

              • dado_trunking

                Toast mate, you are MY toast! Yum.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Gibberish spouting sock puppet idiots are too thock to even make breakfast.

                • dado_trunking

                  My dog will have the leftovers. Make no mistake.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Shouldn’t that be the Goat lad? Is it a gibberish spouting unintelligible idiot like you?

                • dado_trunking

                  You dare to speak again, toast?
                  You and your ilk are big establishment stooges of the first order, it is plain for all to see tonight. Be under no illusion, you are my breakfast tomorrow morning.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …do you really have to troll this site so vociferously, lad? All these sockpuppets are just sad.

                • dado_trunking

                  You faqs come here and insult everyone continuously without end and then believe you caught me ‘trolling vociferously’? Get an education, laddy. And learn some manners, will you.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Seriously, lad, it’s sad that you’re in here trolling constantly with this flock of sockpuppets. Isn’t it time you left?

                • dado_trunking

                  Seriously, lad, you need to change your record – you are baffled by the unmitigated amount of superior intelligence coming your way.

                  Look how you establishment Heinis are huffing and puffing at the fact that your power is crumbling in your very hands. Add water mate, it might stick a bit longer but run thru’ your hands it will nonetheless.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Seriously, lad, I won’t be reading through a single one of your sockpuppets’ blatherings, let alone a multiple.

                  Do you want to keep trolling in here now, seriously? It’s just so sad.

                • dado_trunking

                  There are plenty of slots left in my troll toaster – you have just secured your slot, lad.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and now that your sockpuppets can be spotted out instantaneously, it’s even more sad. Isn’t it time for you to go now?

                • dado_trunking

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tetk_ayO1x4&feature=youtu.be&t=27s

                  the only language you will understand, lad.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Heh. Did you think anybody was going to click on one of your socialist nutter links, lad? It really is time for you to go, if so.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  The only language you understand is sock puppet idiot gibberish lad. Now just go.

                • dado_trunking

                  Guess what, toast – nah, I’ll carry on watching you hoping for change, you liberal socialist defender of the status quo.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  That would be impossible because you are a gibberish spouting socialist nutter with a managerie of sockpuppets to look after.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  There is nothing daring about debunking a gibberish spouting socialist nutter particularly you and your sock puppets who epitomise gibberish spouting socialist nuttery.

                • dado_trunking

                  The toast speaks once more! If you had ever enjoyed any decent schooling you would now have the etiquette to call it a day, but you missed out there big time. I have uneducated chaps like you for breakfast all the time. You would not even make it onto the specials menu, the plain toast that you are.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …yes, you do have a smorgasbord of sockpuppets, lad.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  Nice one. He is a blathering sock puppet gibberish spouting mega idiot after all. Oh, and a socialist nutter to boot.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  It is dinner time and I am here as are your worthless threats. I can assure you that I am better educated than a thick, semi-literate sock puppet that is constantly spouting gibberish and idiocy. Oh, and I think you should learn to recognise when a breakfast analogy has run its humourless and pathetic course. Best regards to the Goat.

                • dado_trunking

                  “It is dinner time and I am here ” – oh what joy!
                  You are literally thick – some will specify ‘as Greek yoghurt’.
                  Yum, lad. I like that also, any time of the day.

                • Inverted Meniscus

                  You sad little gibberish spouting sock puppet socialist nutter.

                • dado_trunking

                  Just checking, toast – still here?
                  What a thick tub of greek yoghurt you have morphed into.

    • Kitty MLB

      I think you should learn how to walk before you can run, you are getting
      a little far ahead of yourself. An EU election for Brussels and a General
      election in Westminster are a different kettle of chips. And what we need
      and the country needs is a Conservative majority without Lib Dems.
      And we unfortunately cannot have a general election until next May, that
      is the law. The Prime Minister doesn’t have a say and unfortunately the
      sainted Nigel is in no position to demand one.

      • telemachus

        Ladybird
        You are again posting sense
        I question your spelling of the seventh word in line four
        It actually only has six letters and starts with L

      • rtj1211

        Actually, the country needs a government which will prevent large corporations organising their tax affairs to ensure they pay virtually no tax, which is the biggest reason for the Public Sector debt.

        Difficult for a Conservative Lady to admit that, but this is not party politics, it’s law-abiding societies vs wild west capitalism. It’s not socialism vs capitalism, it’s inclusive societies vs mafias.

    • rtj1211

      The deal is that when UKIP has to put in place brutally unpopular policies and its popularity drops to 12%, a General Election will be called immediately to ensure that the worst possible outcome for UKIP ensues.

      Fixed Term Parliaments are for a reason: to stop opportunists like you hijacking democracy for your own ends.

      • dado_trunking

        Yes, that is the first fair point made here – we need to keep the opportunists out, perhaps even stick to the rules and regulations at all costs, no matter where they come from.
        Now observe the ditherers implode, as always.

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