Home > Uncategorized > Nick Clegg apologises but is it believable?

Nick Clegg apologises but is it believable?


Most of you by now will have seen the next LibDem party political broadcast in which Nick apologises. In case you haven’t, here is the video:

I admire Nick for apologising, I really do. Neil Monnery told him to do it a year ago & Neil pointed out that he or his advisers thought that an apology would be laughed at or that questions would arise as to why did you do it in the first place.

Now whilst it was good to see a politician do something as refreshing to apologise for what everyone sees as a giant mistake and damaging to your electoral chances.

I thought the video was very badly done and it was done in a manner that made the apology not believable. I use the words that it was far too staged and scripted. What I mean by that is that the way it was staged and scripted & the way Nick delivered the script made the whole thing not believable.

Now lots of LibDems think the opposite to me and that Nick’s apology was completely honest and sincere. Yet had Ed Miliband and Ed Balls apologised for their parties mistakes, then every LibDem in the same manner. Of course their advisers would make sure the tone is right, the lighting etc. was right but we would see it for what it was, a dishonest and insincere apology.

The video, is everything the public hates about politics. Its part of why trust in politics has been eroded. The public see these videos with the nice lighting, the politician talking straight into the camera & saying this & that, whilst going and doing the opposite. The public have been trained to see everything in that video as its been staged and scripted as “oh, look my polling figures are bad, let’s do something to increase my polling figures” or “oh look, lets see how we can best persuade these suckers to vote for us, in order to screw them once we get power”.

The apology would have been much done, if it had been scripted into his conference speech so that it appeared Nick had gone off-script, in order to say what he actually believes in & to connect with us. Of course in order to convince us, a different speech would have to be leaked to the press only for him to follow it to veer away from it.

The Guardian has a story, that his advisers were against it but Nick became convinced it was the right thing to do, after the summer tour. I agree an apology was necessary, but it needed to be done better.

In the language of the video, Nick says it was wrong to commit to a policy that wasn’t affordable at the time when there was “no money” lying around. If it wasn’t affordable, why was it in “our fully-costed manifesto”? If it became unaffordable because we were in government, which it did, if it became unaffordable because we had different priorities, which we did then say that but don’t contradict something else that we said at the time of the election. That makes what we say at the 2015 election, seem like its complete lies.

Instead of rebuilding trust, he’s actually eroding it further.

The apology also shows that Nick doesn’t get that the tuition fees is a symbol of distrust, that the people who went away from us over the broken promise see other broken promises so addressing one but not the others, I believe shows that he just doesn’t get it.

Now, I believe Nick Clegg should be Prime Minister, but I feel because of his “voters will miraculously come back” strategy, which it seems he still doesn’t want to move away from, will lead us into opposition for another century. I don’t believe this “apology” helps, I believe it entrenches that distrust.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 20, 2012 at 10:40 | #1

    I disagree with most of that. Yes the apology was carefully worded, but I believe it came across as sincere. He obviously wanted to get the message right. And as the Guardian said, Nick wanted to do this ages ago but was advised it wasn’t the right time. He must have thought a lot about what he would say.

    Have a look at the video again. Look at his face at the end after he stops speaking. If that wasn’t a heart wrenching sincere look then I don’t know what is.

  2. Man on the Bus
    September 20, 2012 at 10:44 | #3

    You’re saying you think the apology would have been more believable if it had been scripted in such a way that he could pretend it was a spontaneous ad lib in his conference speech, provided a misleadingly edited text was issued in advance? And I thought I was cynical about politics!

    • September 20, 2012 at 10:50 | #4

      If he actually went off-script, it would be even better.

      Politics is about persuading people, therefore why do something like apologise in a way that the public is trained to believe you are lying. If you do so in a way that the public isn’t trained to believe your lying, then you stand a much better chance of being believed and actually persuading people.

  3. September 20, 2012 at 14:28 | #5

    On balance I would categorise it as sincere but wrong-headed. The apology should not have been for signing the pledge, or for putting forward a costed proposal to phase out tuition fees, but for having other priorities when the push came to the shove in the coalition negotiations. I’m glad to hear him reminding voters that both the other parties wanted to put fees up, which we have not said often enough. David Laws came close on the Today programme this morning to the (IMHO) right line, when he said that if the country had elected 500 LibDem MP’s (steady David! 326 would suffice) then we could have delivered it – because the decisions a government makes are all about choosing ones priorities. Our party regards education and training as a very high priority for investment especially in a time of recession, and we should stick to our guns on that.

    • September 20, 2012 at 14:43 | #6

      I agree about the priorities part. But I’m not so sure about the sincere part. The Guardian article makes me think it actually is sincere but the actual video doesn’t.

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