.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, May 09, 2014

Nick Clegg wins an unlikely convert

It is not often nowadays that the Liberal Democrst win the vote of a major newspaper columnist but this is such a week.

Former Labour Party member and Daily Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges has written that the rather crass Labour Party Election Broadcast has persuaded him that a vote for the Liberal Democrats in the European Elections is the only course of action open to him:

He says that the key to his decision is that 'voting Labour isn’t the way to stand up to Ukip because Labour hasn’t been prepared to stand up to Ukip. In the face of the most racist, homophobic and misogynistic campaign in recent electoral history Labour’s done precisely nothing. With the notable exception of Caroline Flint, Labour’s front bench has been cravenly silent.'

He continues:

The Lib Dem leader is the only one to have the courage to take a stand against Ukip from the beginning. Yes, there’s obviously an element of political calculation behind his decision. He knows it’s good for the Lib Dem base – what’s left of it – to see him taking the fight to the anti-European Right. But moments when doing what’s right and what’s politically expedient at the same time don’t come along that often in politics. And when they do they do, those that engineered them deserve to be rewarded.

Clegg is also the only political leader who has actually been making these European elections about Europe. Farage has turned them into a referendum on immigration. Cameron has tried to turn them into an advert for the recovering economy. Miliband has tried to use them as a full-scale drill for the general election in 2015

What’s more, Clegg hasn’t just talked about Europe, he’s made the case for Europe. I’d have preferred it if he’d come up with slightly catchier sound-bite than “we’re the party of In”. And the pro-Europe camp is definitely going to have to come up with something catchier before the referendum in 2017. But it’ll do for now. And whatever mistakes the Lib Dem leader has made in the past – and I’ve unsparingly chronicled most of them – he’s the only politician to engage with the voters over Europe maturely and honestly during this campaign.

Nick Clegg has taken a stand. He deserves to have people standing with him.

So Nick Clegg's clear and unequivocal position on Europe has worked on one voter. Let us hope that other pro-Europeans see sense before 22 May as well.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?