Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nick Clegg's Risky Strategy

Nick Clegg has given an interview to the Financial Times. Well, whoop-a-dee-do, I hear you exclaim. Most of it is wittering on about the euro, which he thinks we should join in order to prevent the "permanent decline" of the City of London. I won't even go there in this blogpost, as I wish to concentrate on a more positive element of the interview. Some time ago (and unfortunately I cannot find the link) I wrote about the new generation of 40-ish LibDems who were hungry to hold power and would not settle for the normal LibDem existence of sniping from the sidelines for the next twenty years. I named Clegg, Laws, and Browne as three who would fall into this category. Clegg lives up to this characterisation in the FT today when he talks about a possible coalition after the next election.

Any deal with a larger party would focus on implementing core Lib Dem policies, which Mr Clegg said he would identify over the next months. These could include cutting taxes for low and middle-income families, ambitious green policies, better childcare, further education reform, opposition to identity cards, and internationalist policies. “I’m hungry for power,” he said. “I would be delighted to have the opportunity under almost any circumstances to make sure those policies and changes occur in Britain.
Hungry for power, eh. Well that's certainly a departure from the normal LibDem language about possible hung parliaments. I have never understood the LibDem obsession at appearing to be slightly above the fray of normal politics and almost eschewing power for the sake of it. If you want to change things, being in power is the only way to do it.

Of course, the danger for Nick Clegg is that by saying he wants power "under almost any cicrumstances" he will fuel the speculation about which party he would prefer to go into coalition with. He may not be afraid of this, which would be a first for a LibDem leader. Is this another example of the Cleggmeister not being afraid to take the odd risk?


Rexel No 56 said...


Interesting, particularly as he goes on to list a series of Tory policies as being the core Lib Dem requirements to support a coalition.

God forbid that cameron will be seduced and go for his own GOAT.


Alex said...

Whether we join the Euro is irrelevant to the status of the City of London. The City grew on the back of Eurodollars and foreign currency issuance. Mr Brown discovered that 80% of NatWest's corporate loan book was to furriners so not being in th euro doesn't seem to have stopped them. The only impact in the City of joining the Euro would be to put some €/£ FX traders out of their jobs.

Anonymous said...

The reason for this interview is the LD's are on the slide - even Clegg is under threat in Sheffield Hallam. Forget the LD guff about incumbancy - the Electoral Calculus changed its methodology to allow for this and the last time i looked the LD's were down to 16 Seats!

That's after LD incumbancy is taken into account in other words rigged. The LD's are a pointless party. I f i were the Tories in a minority government situation i would not invite the LD's into the tent. Just govern as a minority and then go for a majority mandate.

The LD's are doomed - DOOMED at the next election, they have no money or support.

I do wish the Tories would get a celebrity a candidate to refuffle Clegg's feathers in Sheffield Hallam. Jeremy Clarkson or Carol Vordoman - failing that is Adam Rickett still looking for a seat?

neil craig said...

Well everybody is in favour of lower taxes but Clegg (& to be fair most Tories) don't seem to favour saying what they would cut to do so which is the hard bit. Increasing the Luddite restraints known as "environmentalism" would undeniably significantly damage the economy - even if they say it is worth doing. Don't know how much a real childcare programme would cost but probably 2 or 3 p on income tax - or a massive cut elsewhere.

The problem is that the LDs are inherently illiberal.expelling people (well me) for wanting to cut taxes before the party line changed. Their "tax cutting" is clearly merely an electoral ploy which can be ditched in negotiations & everything else, except ending ID cards, would be expensive &/or economically destructive.

Their "internationalism" would be physically destructive too if it meant more enthuisiastic support for genocide, child sex slavery & dissecting living people as it does with their support of the obscene KLA.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the LDs are inherently illiberal.

Yes, you hit the nail on the head there!

The LD's are doomed - DOOMED at the next election!

James Enfield said...

I think Clegg said in his conference speech that the Lib Dems wouldn't go into a coalition with either the Tories or Labour.

Not saying he'd stick to that but it might be worth remembering for future use...

The Lib Dems wouldn't go into a coalition with Labour, they couldn't be seen to prop up a moribund government on the way out.

The Tories might go into alliance with the Lib Dems if they were a very minority largest party, but I bet they'd go for an early election and hope to dump them afterwards.

neil craig said...

On Marr this morningb he said that the reasons to vote for them was:

"Fairness & a renewables revolution." That was it.

Since I have seen no party claiming to support unfairness that leaves us with the only reason to vote for them that they want to waste hundreds of billions on producing 10s of thousands of windmills that produce electricity at 10 times the cost of nuclear & only produce 1/4 of the time. Ehis would certainly produce massive blackouts destroy what is left of the economy.

Arguably this is a pretty good reason not to vote for the pseudo-liberals.