Saturday, October 20, 2007

Is Nick Clegg a Man of the Right?

Olly Kendall, Charles Kennedy's former press officer, has written another thoughtful ARTICLE for CiF on why Nick Clegg is the chosen one. He denies that Clegg is a man of the right in a way that doth protest a little too much, I feel. I remember doing an hour long interview with Nick Clegg and at the end of it said to him: "We've spent an hour talking and I can't think of hardly anything we've disagreed about. I'm not sure who should be more worried - me or you!"

There's no doubt that on economic issues he's a free marketeer. He's a libertarian on social and civil liberties issues. The only two areas I can think of where he's not on the right are immigration and Europe. He missed a major opportunity to differentiate himself from Chris Huhne yesterday by ruling out support for a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty. Bad move. I wonder if he still supports Ming's In or Out referendum.
I wonder if Chris Huhne will now grab the initiative and promise a referendum on the Treaty. Peter Spencer writes on the Boulton & Co blog...
Nick Clegg speaks very highly of Chris Huhne. And he means it. Chris Huhne speaks very highly of Nick Clegg. And he means it too. That'll be sexy then. Two deadly foes swopping lethal blows till it's the last man standing. Not. More like two girlies swopping Barbie accessories. And this saccharinathon will drag on for weeks. Not exactly a ratings challenge to the rugby.
Each candidate must take every opportunity to differentiate themselves. How about a referendum then, Chris?


Sir-C4' said...

I find it very amusing that Radio Four described Clegg's rival Chris Huhne is on the right of the party.

Anonymous said...

Wishful thinking Iain...

Anonymous said...

We were watching Sky last night and my wife and I came to the conclusion that Nick Clegg should have been a Tory - and would have made a very good one too.

Problem is he went to Westminster and then Cambridge instead of Eton and then Oxford. Shame really.

Anonymous said...

Nick's socially and economically liberal rather than the usual lib dem position of socially liberal and economically socialist (which is, to my mind, completely stupid and a total oxymoron).

There's some Tories with very similar views to Clegg - I guess Iain's one of them - but social conservatism still seems to be the mainstream in the Tories and what gives them their unique identity.

Clegg might actually shake things up a bit, I think.

Anonymous said...

"Olly Kendall, Charles Kennedy's former press officer, has written another thoughtful ARTICLE for CiF on why Nick Clegg is the chosen one. He denies that Clegg is a man of the right..."

Olly Kendall is a woman. Well she was when I was at her leaving do.

Iain Dale said...

Er, you are thinking of Olly Grender, I assume.

Anonymous said...

Olly Kendall is male; Olly Grender is female.

Anonymous said...

You are of course right. I did drink quite a bit on that night m'lud.

By the way, are there any non-Lib Dems called Olly?

Tapestry said...

The fact that not one candidate will offer a referendum on the Constitution, suggests that the Lib Dem are not operating as an independent political party.

There must be repecussions if any Lib Dem dares to oppose the EU.

Hague in the Conservatives acts as if he expects repercussios which he fears if he allows any genuine opposition to the EU within the Conservatives.

What kind of repercussions are these? Threats of a financial nature, to personal security, to blackmail or to exclusion?

Iain assumes politics is about democracy. It is more likely that our democracy has become a sham, as has our Parliament.

It is allowed to be played out to keep the public from noticing what is actually happening.

I am not sure about general elections being genuine, with postal vote fraud clearly a factor, and with recent electoral changes permitting ballot boxes to be stored overnight, and counted the next day, the possibility of ballot box tampering now as well.

I am not sure that political parties are operating as free agents either.

Brown ignores public opinion. Nothing happens except Blair becomes President of Europe. Isn't it time the blinkers fell from the eyes?

You think you watching a traditional political process, Iain. It still looks like one, but really power is coming not from the voters any more, but from somewhere else......

The media are caving in. The Mail. The Telelgraph. Belatedly Murdoch's putting up resistance, but it's all a bit late. The only hope is not from Party leaderships, but from individual MPs willing to rebel.

In the Conservatives, against Hague.
Labour against Brown.
Lib Dems against Clegg.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine both would support the party policy which is for a straight in-or-out referendum on the EU. This would be far better for two reasons, First, that is the campaign and referendum that will be had regardless of what question appears on the ballot (The Murdoch Press will see to that) and Second, if the people vote "no" to a referendum on the Treaty we will have no idea what parts the electorate don't like and want renegotiating. If people vote "out" then that is a useful and actionable instruction to the government.

On the question of should Clegg be a Tory because he supports a liberal economic policy and a liberal social policy - NO - those people who consider themselves Conservatives but agree with Nick have joined the wrong party. I didn't notice any radical reduction of the tax burden under Thatcher or Major or any move to leave personal or moral decisions up to the individual. 80's free marketism only embraced a very narrow definition of liberalisation and the Tory party doesn't seem to have moved any closer in the time since.

Anonymous said...

Say them on the Marr show this morning. I really do not see what Clegg has apart from being younger & moderately goodlooking. He was going on about attracting voters by saying he wished to "empower" people (except in EU referenda) & was against gang killings of children.

Huhne has less loquacious but similar. He did make one mention of his carer as a very successful economist which, to my mind is his "unique selling poin"

I think eurosceptics should take them up on their call for a referendum on EU membership & start going to law to force the government to officially say how much EU membership costs (estimates run between £50 & £150 billion annually) & to stop the BBC showing such contiuous political partiality.

Anonymous said...

Can we have some more photos of Olly, please? :¬)

David Lindsay said...

How about just saying no to the wretched thing, without any need for a referendum? It is a transfer of power to a secret legislature, routinely containing, and always subject (if at all) to the rubber stamp of, decidedly illiberal and undemocratic elements.

If an amendment to that effect were put down, then how would Michael Heseltine's mini-me vote and instruct his followers to vote? Merely calling for a referendum which is not going to happen is letting him and them off the hook. They should be made to vote on an amendment which does not mention a referendum, but simply rejects the Constitreaty itself on principle.

Here in Britain, we have long had two pretendedly distinct manifestations of the War Party, and the third party removed its Leader in order to make way for one who had wanted to support the Iraq War (like the previous Leader, who had cheered on the War Party's dismemberment of Yugoslavia and been rewarded with the absolute monarchy of Bosnia-Herzegovina for a time).

Now he too, has been removed, and the contest to succeed him is between two War Party stalwarts from among the economic neoliberals and, correspondingly, geopolitical neoconservatives who are the coming force among the Liberal Democrats. So that's three War Parties. Out of three?

No, because Britain does also have a Peace Party. Are you in it? If not, why not? See my blog.

Anonymous said...

"There's no doubt that on economic issues he's a free marketeer. He's a libertarian on social and civil liberties issues. The only two areas I can think of where he's not on the right are immigration and Europe."

Sounds like a dream candidate to this LibDem!