Nick Clegg: Should He Stay or Should He Go?
As a result of last week local elections, there has been lots of talk within the party and outside the party as to the future of Nick Clegg as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
I’ll outline the reasons to Stay and to Go then point out what Nick or any replacement would have to do to revive the party.
- Brand Clegg is outpolling Brand Miliband. As can be seen here – http://www.libdemvoice.org/nick-clegg-poll-ratings-ed-miliband-28315.html Nick Clegg still has better approval ratings than Miliband so come a general election campaign when voters are voting for party and leader this will only help us and hinder Labour.
- Clegg is the ONLY leader to have passed the blink test. This is a critically important test as first impressions matter. When the country first caught a glimpse of Cameron, we laughed at the idea of making this guy PM. When Ed M was elected we decided that Labour had picked the wrong brother. When we first realised who Nick Clegg was i.e. in the Leader debates, we fell in love with him. That matters. See here - http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2011/09/behavioural-economics-0
- TV Debates. Like it or not Nick Clegg is an asset when it comes to the TV debates in 2015. Ed Miliband will look dorky, out of touch and un prime ministerial. David Cameron will again look like a rich posh boy who thinks he’s born to rule and that he & his Bullingdon class mates are out of touch. Nick can but only shine.
- Damage Limitation. If we dump Clegg and get a new leader and stay in the coalition, we risk tainting the whole party if it isn’t already with the Tories. If we leave, people will wonder why at the Special Conference we voted to join the coalition. What was it for?
- Replacement? With 57MPs who do we see as the next leader? Jo Swinson, Vince Cable, Ed Davey, Norman Lamb, Danny Alexander, David Laws, Tim Farron?
- Bad Public Perception. Its true Nick isn’t very popular at the moment. People LOVE to HATE him.
- Bad Election Results Since ’10 True. That doesn’t mean #itsallnickcleggsfault
- Replacement after 2015? If we do suffer at the GE in 2015 like people are predicting then we’ll have even less of a talent pool to select a leader from.
- Pull out/Stay In? Will be the next question and whatever we do we’ll be stained by the Tories & difficult decisions that we have to make. We may as well make sure that by 2015 we have the most liberal Britain we can achieve whilst being in coalition with the Tories.
Personally, I think Nick should stay until after the General Election in 2015.
This is what I think Nick & his staff need to do between now & the General Election.
- Acknowledge not necessarily apologise but acknowledge why people feel betrayed, why people felt let down by this government and provide solutions that are radical.
- Stop with the evolutionary change to the various departments. We voted for change. If we wanted evolution, we would have voted for Labour in 2010 but we didn’t.
- Show Clegg taking on Cameron & the Tory right-wing. I know its hard coz we’re in government but still we need to show that we can take them on and win preferably with something that the electorate are passionate about. We need to show we’re not going native. Lets show that at least we, the Liberal Democrats aren’t the Jim Hackers of Whitehall.
- To paraphrase the West Wing: Let Clegg be Clegg. I know we’re in coalition with the Tories but we’ve got to show that we’re not them. We have to take Cameron & the Tories on. Clegg has got far too uptight and worried about what everybody thinks including the opinion polls and what his coalition partners care about. Let Clegg be himself, stop worrying about re-election, stop worrying about the Tories & Labour.
- Last but not least. Stop being passive and get aggressive. To quote Winston Churchill “History will be kind to me for I will write it” Lets go and write it rather than letting other people write it for us.