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Sunday, June 08, 2014

No new coalition at any cost

In the Guardian, Nick Clegg begins the fightback by asserting that the Liberal Democrats will not join another coalition "at any cost".

The paper says that after disastrous results in local and European elections, and a confidence-sapping sixth place in last week's Newark by-election, the Liberal Democrats leader will concede that his party has failed to convey clearly enough why it wants to be in power, allowing critics to claim it has lost its soul in government. They add that Nick Clegg will also warn the Conservatives that he will not allow them to rewrite history or "airbrush out our role in this coalition".

He starts by reasserting Liberal Democrats ownership of the pupil premium, but is a speech and a few reports in the Guardian enough?

Clegg is right to explain once more why we needed to go into coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 and the benefits the country has reaped from that arrangement, but we also need a vision of where we want to go from here.

I am looking to the party leadership to get out into the country and talk to local media and local people about our ambitions, our successes and our failures. There is still time. More of the same is not good enough.
Spot on.

Coalition had notable aims, but with the benefit of hindsight we should have simply abstained from the commons vote allowing the Tories (as the largest party) to form a minority government.

Coalition has meant that the Tories get the benefit of any positive news, while the Lib Dems are blamed for every word of the negative news. We've been nothing but whipping boys.

No more coalitions, and to remedy the current mess we need to focus locally, not nationally. That means everyone continuing to work their backsides off to promote local issues in their communities. I firmly believe that Lib Dem counsellors, and Lib Dem councils lead to Lib Dem MP's.

Clegg I feel sorry for. He's a good leader and principled idealist that epitomises the Lib Dem ethos (compared to the self interest and status quo of the other parties), but he has been undeservedly destroyed by the media and now the public have turned against him. You can't fix that, and therefore we should not go into an election with either him or Vince Cable at the front. Both are now symbols of all the unpopular aspects of the coalition and will lead to more of a hammering than if they weren't there. Not either of their faults of course, but at this point it's just reality.

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