Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can Nick Clegg Give Straight Answers To Straight Questions?

What Now For The "Orange Tories"?

Nick Clegg: The Messiah?
If this Liberal Democrat conference is not fraught then it certainly ought to be and if it isn't then members either do not realise the seriousness of the situation their party is in, or they don't care because they are drunk on their first  sniff of power. If their leader, Nick Clegg is not taken to task, then the writing is clearly on the wall for the Liberal Democrat party.  No ordinary member of the public appears to know what being a Liberal Democrat actually stands for these days and the members themselves seem just as bemused.  Clegg arrived for the conference in a ministerial Jag, his right trouser leg rolled up looking a little "masonic" ("was that a dagger I see before thee"?) 

Addressing the party faithful inside, he told them to take a little bit of time and enjoy the experience of being in government, honestly he looked and sounded like he was talking to a load of kids, so patronising and condescending that one has to wonder if he should start "taking more water with it". He told activists this is what they had been waiting for, as they worked night after night, doorstep after doorstep, be that as it might, but the message that these members were selling on the doorsteps before the election and what is now being done in Liberal Democrat name now are polar opposites and that will not be going down too well on the doorsteps in the future, as Liberal Democrat councillors the length and breadth of this country are finding out as they lose their seats in by-elections. Clegg seems as oblivious to that as he is to the new poll on the BBC news, showing as many as 52% of voters now think that the Liberal Democrats have sold out to the Tories! Oh happy clappy days!

Nick Clegg says the Lib Dems are not "left wing" and that "there is no future future for Lib Dems as the left wing rivals to labour", if this is so, this is going to come as a huge surprise to many in his party, if not left of labour then where does the party stand? It certainly cannot claim somewhere in the middle. Since the May general election and an ongoing fraternisation with the Tories, Clegg and the other carefully selected 22 Liberal Democrats have backed all the Tory policies. Oh they have won a few minor concessions, but nothing spectacular, and now we learn that the Lib Dem *Must*  in their manifesto, "the scrapping Trident in favour of cheaper alternatives," is to be put on the back burner until after the next election"! Heralding yet another sell out.  Should we be surprised? I don't think so, a short look at the names of the MPs chosen and it quickly becomes apparent that they have been chosen not for any special talent, but because these MPs are the least likely to cause any disquiet in the government,  and 23 was the magic number for David Cameron, any less and he could have been facing a vote of no confidence and his government brought down.  The Lib Dem members of the government have signed up with no apparent resistance to all the right wing demands of their Tory task masters. Clegg's party is confused and bewildered, it does not know what it is or what it stands for any longer and that is being reflected in the opinion polls.

Activists have rallied at their conference and are looking for leadership from Clegg and they are getting precious little, plenty of being told what to do and what they must accept and being told to be quiet, reflect and enjoy the experience of being in government, yes, but actual leadership? No!  Is Clegg up to giving leadership? Is Clegg up to giving straight answers to straight questions? No, not if his performances on BBC Prime Ministers Questions are anything to go by, he has yet to answer one straight question with a straight answer!   His procrastination and  arrogance has come as a shock to many in the party. Clegg seems to have very little understanding of what it is like for Lib Dem grass roots trying to explain this sudden and very abrupt turn to the right on the doorstep. They are constantly told to ignore the polls,  polls that have consistently pointed to an abysmal showing, if there was an election tomorrow there would probably be an absolutely culling of Liberal democrat MPs, there is a distinct possibility that the Lib Dems may be left with less MPs than there is the 23 in the coalition government right now indeed since the election, in council by-elections up and down the country, both the Lib Dems and the Tories have lost out heavily to labour. Clegg seems to be in total denial, indeed he is gambling all on support recovering in five years in time for the next election, yet he admits in the Independent that this is only a "maybe". He is taking a huge gamble, thwart with so many pitfalls it is hard to see how that is going to happen, for a start he is gambling on the economy coming good, yet every indicator is that we will go into the dreaded double dip recession and this is before the cuts start taking effect and before the cuts are even announced in the autumn spending review.  He must be aware that most leading economists are trying to advise this very inexperienced chancellor that he is cutting too far and way too deep and that this coalition government is taking an "unwinnable" gamble with the UK economy and all our livelihoods and our children's futures, yet in his arrogance the chancellor, aided and abetted by Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander are totally ignoring advice from leading economists that have forgotten more about world economies than Osborne and Alexander have ever know. This is beginning to sound like some kind of "soap opera" and is is starting to resonate with people.  Meanwhile Clegg however, is convinced that this coalition is going to last the full five years. This depends heavily on Liberal democrats staying with the government when the true extent of the pain and distress of these cuts is felt, that is going to prove increasingly hard to do. Maybe it is more than hoping it will last, as Clegg along with Cameron is trying to gerrymander parliament and the boundaries in order that the coalition cannot be voted out, this is deeply undemocratic and we could end up with a lame duck government, that cannot pass any laws, but no one can actually vote out. Clegg is also pinning his hopes on winning the referendum on AV voting system and the no camp is growing gradually as people decide that they do not actually like this coalition government, he appears to be in denial about this too. So this conference  Clegg and the Liberal democrats have to make up their minds if they are going to be right wing as the Tories, it is obvious that this is where Nick Clegg is most comfortable.

Clegg made a massive "faux pas" while standing in for Cameron at prime ministers questions, when asked what he would do if they lost the referendum Clegg replied that no matter what happens the coalition government would continue, this actually takes power away from the Tory whips, now when next they have a vote, they cannot say that coalition will break and lose, because MPs will now know differently.

Liberal Democrats seem impervious to the protests and accusations that they are actually helping to hurt and cause deep concern and distress mostly to women, to the poor, the elderly, the young, the most vulnerable, the sick, the disabled and the unemployed.  What about education, university funding, the NHS? What about immigration? Clegg has gone from allowing everyone into the country to placing a cap on non EU immigration, they were warned that this would have an affect on the kind of workers companies wanted to bring in, but ahead of the temporary bill becoming permanent next month, bosses are already complaining it is restricting their companies. No other than Vince Cable said so, but it is yet to be discovered if Cable was just saying that because he is due at conference? All the things that the Liberal Democrats once stood for, now they trample on them, forgotten policies of a dwindling party. Clegg maybe blase' because he thinks that if Labour win the majority of seats at the next election, he can hold the balance of power again and carry on being deputy prime minister riding about in his ministerial Jag. Clegg also speaks about going into a coalition with the labour party if the situation arose, again he shows his appalling arrogance, it wasn't so long ago he was dictating who would be labour leader and he also said that he and Cameron would keep labour out of power for a 100 years! (I don't know how long he thinks they will live for).

So now the Lib Dem conference is underway amid much purple balloon bouncing and party poppers popping, it is hard to see where they will be one year from now, I suspect that they will be living off of their memories and be residing in the political wasteland.

"The Lib Dems are achieving "great things" in government, Nick Clegg has told party members, that is odd because up until now this government have achieved nothing, none of its policies have been put into action except for the sacking of 20.000 public sector workers and so much scaremongering that they have destroyed consumer confidence and harmed the fragile recovery!

"Protesters gathered outside the Echo Arena in Liverpool ahead of the Liberal Democrat's annual conference.
Alec McFadden, president of Merseyside's TUC, was among a number of trade unionists who said they were angry at the coalition's proposed cuts to public services.
The second protest, which will involve about 2,000 TUC members, will take place on Sunday at the Salthouse Dock."

BBC News Online: Protest at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool

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