Curious times, getting curiouser, for Nick Clegg. The Lib Dem leader might have thought
that bringing his party into government would ensure him a triumphant reception at their conference in two weeks. But, instead, he faces a number of stories that could unsettle proceedings. Today,
we hear that more Liberal Democrat councillors have resigned in what
they claim is protest at the cuts being implemented by central government. What’s more, a number of Lib Dem figures have "http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jowells-revelations-add-to-coulsons-discomfort--and-camerons-2070190.html">added their voices to the general cacophony surrounding Andy Coulson.
And that’s before we consider the underlying, but most urgent, threat to the stability of the coalition: the Lib Dems’ "http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/6246078/the-biggest-threat-to-the-coalition.thtml">spluttering poll position.
But Clegg should not be unduly concerned. Writing at Liberal Democrat Voice on the council resignations, Stephen Tall "http://www.libdemvoice.org/and-so-the-media-conference-meme-lib-dem-leadeship-faces-revolt-begins-20999.html">contextualises it all quite nicely:
"This brings to a grand total of eight councillors who have defected from the Lib Dems since the special conference in Birmingham, where activists voted by an overwhelming margin to
approve the Coalition deal. Or to put it another way, 99.8% of the 3,900 Lib Dem councillors across the UK have chosen not to defect, even though the party has embarked upon an incredibly risky
venture, one it knows may cost it votes and seats at the next election."
And, as for the conference itself, both parties of the coalition are working hard to strengthen the ties that bind. According to
"http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/conservative/7980140/David-Camerons-Tory-allies-to-attend-Lib-Dem-Conference.html">today’s Telegraph, Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude are
going to provide delicate reassurance from the fringes in Liverpool – while a Lib Dem Cabinet minister is lined up to appear at the Tory conference in Birmingham. So long as Nick Clegg pushes
the line that his party are achieving things in government – which they are – then the qualms may not swell into a storm.