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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nick Clegg comes out fighting - again?

The Daily Telegraph reports that Nick Clegg is to use the anniversary of the formation of the UK Coalition to outline all of the Tory policies he has blocked as he pledges to make the Liberal Democrats more influential within the Coalition.

He says that David Cameron has been forced to abandon pledges to cut inheritance tax, replace Trident in this Parliament, build more prisons and reform the Human Rights Act. He also claims that being in coalition has been tougher on the Conservatives with the Lib Dems “punching well above our weight”.

This is good of course but it is not the first time we have done this. The difficulty is striking a balance between being critical whilst taking collective responsibility for those decisions that are taken.

More importantly is how we can work to restore public trust in Nick Clegg himself. I have no easy answer to that and I suggest that party spin doctors in London don't either.

What is needed is a new narrative for the party which is both positive and forward looking. Acting as a brake on the Tories, valuable as that is, is not sufficient. The promotion of social mobility seems to be a good start but following a high profile launch earlier this year the subject appears to have fallen off the media agenda.

I would suggest that we should start building up a narrative around social mobility and how all our actions in Government are working to deliver it as a means of both distinguishing ourselves from the Conservatives and demonstrating how we are delivering.
Fully agree with your last comment re social mobility. Not only is it essential for a modern 21c society it also resonates positively with people across a wide range of political views. Fertile ground for a progressive party in the central ground.
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