Saturday, 16 May 2009

Why the Lib Dems should avoid this honey-coated trap

. Charlotte Gore, writing on Liberal Vision, openly wonders why The Spectator is urging Nick Clegg to take the lead in deposing the Speaker. The answer seems painfully obvious to me; it is an easy win but would be a totally phyrric victory for Nick and the party. I hate to break this to the blogsphere but nobody in the general populace actually cares that the Speaker is so obviously incompetent. If they do then I am still waiting to see the popular outpourings of anger against him; anger, which I highly suspect is confined to the Westminster Village and the commetariat.

I suspect most people don't even know what he does or even who he is; seen in this light the origins of the 'Speccie's' motives become painfully clear (a publication, it should be noted, not exactly naturally inclined to hand us an 'easy win'). While Mr Cameron is talking to the nation about what they actually do really care about, reform on the expenses issue, Nick Clegg is the back room boy, clearing up the mess in the House of Commons. Worse than this being an irrelevant issue to the general populace my gut feeling is that if Mr Martin is deposed he will actually garner some public sympathy as people popularly perceive it as MP's 'kicking the cat' instead of getting their own houses in order over expenses. Instead of looking like a leader, Clegg will look desperately out of touch with the country while Mr Cameron hums his popularist ditty.

No doubt MP's would be glad to get their own necks out of the newsroom noose for a day or two but that seems scant reason to me to actually do this and/or make it the main thrust of our campaign to 'clean-up'. Nobody doubts the failures as Speaker and I am certainly not going to argue that he has been anything less than incompetent but for us to think that spearing a move to depose him is somehow going to reflect positively on us or be seen as us 'cleaning-up' is frankly naive in the extreme. The Speaker should go but not like this and we certainly should not waste valuable energy on a campaign which will win us little popular credit and is at heart a Kamikaze diversionary run.


Bernard Salmon said...

Your argument seems to be that Mr Speaker is incompetent and should go, but we shouldn't say so publicly. I agree this isn't of great significance to most people, but it is still important to the proper working of Parliament. And I'm certainly delighted that we're not willing to go along with such incompetence in public office as The Speaker has displayed.

Darrell G said...


My argument is more this is not an issue Clegg should concern himself with. I have no problem with back benchers doing it but to make it the main thrust of our leadership over this issue would simply be mistaken in my eyes.

I've been very dissappointed with Clegg's response over this; compared to Cameron's especially and to say 'the main think I am going to do as leader of the Lib Dems is oust the Speaker and thats my contribution' is plain wrong. My gripe is more with Clegg personally associating himself with this....

Bill Quango MP said...

Seems Mr Clegg doesn't agree with you.

Man in a Shed said...

Gorbals Mick staying in post plays very badly for Labour, and hence very well for the Conservatives.

It reminds voters how they have been run a Labour government dominated by Scots who have bludgeoned their way into power and now can't handle their good offices.

This issue moves people away from Labour to the best anti_Labour option, which is the Conservative party.

I would think the Lib Dems would want Mr Speaker out of the way, just for this.

But of course the trap is to call for his removal and then for it not to happen, making Clegg look both opportunistic and impotent at the same time.

Looks more like a no win scenario from the Lib Dem point of view.

Mark Littlewood said...

Great shout!!! :-)

I'm amazed you're not on the LibDem advisory team. :-)

When do you think the pro-Michael Martin backlash will kick in?

This week? This month? This year?

Any chance at all that you may have called this badly?

If so, no worries, I have made thousands of bad calls myself.

The important thing is learn from mistakes.

Think you have learnt anything - or not?

If you have learnt something, what is it?

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