Sunday, 30 November 2008

Clegg puts his foot in it...

. Well you return to the blogsphere and see this and it's not exactly awe-inspiring is it?? Apparently; Nick Clegg has made a few choice comments about his shadow cabinet colleagues and even let slip he would consider a coalition 'only if the Tories lose'. There are two ways you can look at this; one is that it won't concern the public at all and the other is it might not but it's not exactly a boon for party morale. The first point I suspect would be correct though it's not exactly going to lend much weight to our claim to be a credible government is it when our leader doesn't think half the people in his leadership are up to the job; it might not matter now but expect this to come back to haunt us at election.

Now, the less than stringent denials suggest to me the reports are actually true and Clegg figured he had more to lose by denying it outright and being made to look even sillier if the Sunday Mirror journalist had tapes. Careless is the most charitable words that can be used to describe Clegg's lack of awareness of who was sitting in front of him; it is hard to see our shadow cabinet which as a team will need some foundation in trusting relationships can now function after this story. Or indeed how Clegg can now carry through the proposed reshuffle without admitting his guilt. However, he may have no choice; expect possible resignations and a stormy week ahead for us.

Several bloggers have called for an apology to be issued to the membership; so it should be but maybe Clegg should start by publicly apologising to those he criticised.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The basic question that has to be asked is: is it true? Looking at some prominent members of the LibDems in Parliament, particlaurly that idiot Lembit, I would have to say it is.

Darrell G said...

Anon,

Would that be the same Lembit who is no longer on the front bench?? That is not the basic question anon...the basic question is Clegg being stupid enough to air this in the way he did...it will corrode trust in the team and like I said; I wouldnt be surprised to see resignations...

Jim Jay said...

It feels very believable - although it's a valid question to ask whether this is the work of a mischievous journalist.

However all parties have these kinds of internal rivalries - which makes it sound oh so plausible.

Darrell G said...

Jim,

His most stringent denial has been to say it's *mostly* fiction..in other words he's admitting enough of it is true to make an outright denial impossible and it must also be the case that the 'non-fiction' must be something he cant now admit he said in public because otherwise he would be able to be much more specific...

The damage is done basically; I cant for the life of me see why he thinks Huhne lacks emotional intelligence on the enviroment either to be honest...I saw Huhne speak last night and he seems very passionate and informed about the subject..

I think the repecussions in the short-term will now depend on how other people react; namely if he manages to smooth over ruffled feathers...but its bound to come back at election time...

oranjepan said...

Sorry Darrell, but the damage is done by any LibDem getting distracted from the job at hand and taking this seriously.

Either we are all pulling together in a team effort at this crucial time, or we are pulling ourselves apart.

For me none of this idle speculation changes anything I say on the doorsteps.

So you choose carefully which side you are on.

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

Its a bit hard not to when as I have previously justified Clegg has admitted there is truth in it.

We wouldnt be pulling ourselves apart if Clegg hadnt been so 'indiscrete' and for that reason I have no problem siding with the vast majority of the rest of the Lib Dem blogsphere on this one...

Oranjepan said...

Rubbish, let him get on with his job, if he gets it wrong he'll lose our support.

This kind of gossip is irrelevant to what we do, it is only relevant to people who want to sell newspapers.

Is there nothing more important to talk about - like the erosion of our civil liberties, like the massacre of hundreds or ordinary people by terrorists, like the potential for a cholera epidemic across souther Africa... oh, before I forget, or the impending financial meltdown - will it be deflation, stagflation or hyperinflation?

Nope, he thinks she thinks he can't do the job properly because my cousin's neighbour's mother said she smells, or something like that.

I read an interview with Clegg recently (I can't remember where) in which he compared Westminster politics as a more adult version of the schoolyard, but in which real people get hurt.

I don't think Damian Green needs telling, do you?

mhuntbach said...

Clegg now has two choices - sue or resign.

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

Errr he has just got it wrong in a pretty spectacular way and to be honest from what im reading its the tone as much as the content that is rubbing people up the wrong way...

I doubt it will be irrelevant when it gets thrown back in our face...how, when our own leader doesnt think our team is up to the job, are we supposed to convince people we are??

Darrell G said...

Matthew,

Maybe but im not sure I agree this is a resigning matter; it's a 'pop your tail between your legs, come clean and beg for forgiveness' matter in my eyes....

oranjepan said...

the strength of our party is it's activist base, this news story os a blatant attempt to affect our morale, so don't be so easily influenced.

MH,
I'm not sure you can sue for hearsay, and resigning is defeatist.

oranjepan said...

before we drag this non-issue out any further, I'd like to say how much I've enjoyed spending this evening in your company. There was nothing on TV anyway.

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

You slightly contradict yourself by saying its a non-issue then say 'its blatently an attempt to affect our morale'...shall we all get together and be like Millwall fans NO ONE LIKES US AND WE DONT CARE....or shall we believe Clegg himself when he has as good as admitted there is truth in the report by what he didnt say and what he did...*alot of it is fiction* so not all of it then?

Darrell G said...

Oranjepan,

Incidentally, and I think this is a point worth making; do you remember Major and his 'bastards'? Was that irrelevant and a 'non-issue'?? Of course it wasn't...it was rather symptomatic of the wider issue of a split within the Tory Party...to me Clegg's comments are symptomatic of problems around and a frustration that we have all felt about getting the message across....

mhuntbach said...

Oranjepan,

No, resigning is not "defeatist", it is a mark of principle. It's something we call for when ministers and other senior people get things wrong, or make some silly but damaging mistake. If a minister resigns promptly for making a mistake, we regard that minister as a decent person and we welcome him or her back into office in time.

Darrell

"Clegg's comments are symptomatic of problems around and a frustration that we have all felt about getting the message across". Yes, I have felt enormous frustration at the failure of Clegg to make an impact but after he was elected I kept quiet about my feeling that he is the wrong person to be leader and that he bears a big responsibility for this failure. However, if he can't keep quiet about his personal feelings about his colleagues, why should I any longer keep quiet about my personal feelings about him?

Darrell G said...

Matthew,

I have no problem with you expressing your personal feelings - I dont happen to share your conclusion but that doesnt mean I am saying you should keep quiet does it? I'm not one of these people on LDV screaming 'trechery' because we are having the audacity to discuss this issue...

On the wider point yes I agree that given our poll ratings are not great Clegg should show more humility and like I said I think it is tone as much as content that is winding people up about this...

oranjepan said...

Matthew, on the few occassions I've got into conversation with you you've unhesitatingly favoured expansive reactionary gestures. So you'll forgive me if I disengage with you.