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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why the so-called leadership crisis is distracting the Lib Dems from the real debate

Lord Oakshott has done the Liberal Democrats more than one disservice. His cack-handed focus on displacing Nick Clegg as leader has led to furore in the media, but more importantly it has enabled those responsible for our lame and ineffective European campaign to regroup and close ranks around the leadership. The chances of having a proper debate about that campaign so as to bring about change have diminished as a result.

I went to a well-attended local party meeting last night, who unanimously agreed to back Nick Clegg as leader. I supported that position but we also agreed that there were problems with the campaign the party fought, that we need to debate what went wrong and that we need to get out and campaign as a party from the grassroots up.

I would expect the party leadership to be leading that internal debate, and indeed to be out and about in the country telling people what we have achieved in government and what we want to do in the next one. Instead all I can see is retrenchment behind the leader in the face of a bungled hostile take-over.

Today's letter in the Times from the Social Liberal Forum falls into the same trap. The agree that the party needs to re-examine its strategy, how we deliver it, and what we will be offering the electorate at the general election in 2015 but they still insist that this debate should include who leads the party. Frankly, that moment has passed and the support of Lord Oakshott and the likes of Lembit Opik for that position undermines it further.

What we do need is a signal from Nick Clegg and those around him that he gets it and that the party will re-examine its message and the way we campaign in the lead-up to the 2015 General Election. I have every confidence it will come, but the distractions of recent days do not help.
Describing the leadership problems as a so-called crisis isn't going to make it go away. Oakshott didn't act alone and that is what is generating media interest.
Whoever he acted with, they are now isolated within the party and the only crisis is one generated by the media
Your own comment is "Clegg had taken on popularism with facts and cold logic. It was inevitable that this would fail, especially when the execution was so poor, and the party suffered as a result." If this is not a crisis of leadership then how what is it?
It was a poor performance. He is only human after all
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