Andrew Allison

Archive for the ‘Nick Clegg’ Category

Nick Clegg

In LibDems, Nick Clegg on December 19, 2007 at 1:08 pm

After a bitter election campaign, the Liberal Democrats have elected their leader. It would be churlish of me not to congratulate Nick Clegg, however, to say he has an uphill task ahead of him is an understatement.

Anyone who is interested in politics will know what a divided party they are. Clegg’s narrow margin of victory will publicise this to the electorate, although I don’t think there are many who are interested who the LibDem leader is.

Compare his narrow victory to the convincing margin David Cameron achieved two years ago. He has only got this far because the Conservative Party were willing to get behind a leader. I don’t see this happening to the LibDems.

They are a party who is always willing to deal in untruths and backstabbing in local politics, so it does not surprise me that they have let their facade down and have revealed their true colours on the national stage.

Unless Clegg can do something about his own personal image – hardly anyone knows who he is – the Conservatives and Labour will continue to squeeze his party further.

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A two-horse race

In Chris Huhne, LibDems, Nick Clegg on October 31, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Nominations are about to close for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, and no-one else has thrown their hat in to the ring.

It is vital for the Lib Dems that they choose the right leader this time around and Gordon Brown and David Cameron will be watching closely as to what ‘bounce’ they get in the polls. Politics in the UK is very volatile at the moment and although a general election is an event far in the future, it is essential that all parties perform well in the polls now. This is how New Labour did it in the 1990s. They were consistently ahead in the polls for years.

From the Conservative perspective, Cameron knows he is in the driving seat at the moment. It is essential he stays there.

What does the future hold for Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems?

In Blair, Brown, Cameron, Chris Huhne, Conservatives, labour, LibDems, Ming Campbell, Nick Clegg on October 16, 2007 at 4:39 pm

The past two and a half weeks have been the most politically volatile anyone can remember for a long time. The opinion polls are not to be trusted. They are jumping everywhere and yesterday we saw the first casualty of Brown’s ‘non-election.’

Now is a good time to pause and think. This is what the Lib Dems will have to do to make sure their new leader is the right one, and this will give them a problem.

When John Major became Foreign Secretary after the departure of Geoffrey Howe, the country said, ‘John who?’ He was in the cabinet, but the post of Chief Secretary to the Treasury is not a prominent job, but by the time he became Chancellor of the Exchequer a few months later he was a household political name. This gave him the springboard he needed to go for the leadership after Thatcher was pushed out.

Tony Blair was a leading light in the Labour Party long before he became leader. He had made quite a name for himself as Shadow Home Secretary. The electorate – at least those even with a passing interest in politics – knew who he was.

The same can also be said for Ming Campbell. We should not forget his performances in the House of Commons as Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesman. He has a fine grasp of world affairs and he made a name for himself before, during and after the invasion of Iraq.

When it comes to Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg, the same cannot be said of them. They are known to people who are actively involved in politics; but not to the public at large. If you are not well known, you have to be a natural leader, good at getting your point of view across. You have to be able to command a stage. David Cameron wasn’t really known when he became leader of the Conservative Party, but he is proving himself to be strong, cool under fire and has built a very strong team around him who look and sound like ministers; not shadows.

The future of the Liberal Democrats relies on either Huhne or Clegg doing a Cameron. From what I have seen, I don’t think they have it in them. They are both ambitious – which is not a sin – but they don’t stand out from the crowd. For the first time in over ten years the government has real opposition from the Conservative Party. Gordon Brown is right to be worried. What goes through his mind when he looks at his ministers and how they perform, and then looks across at the opposition front bench? Brown has to shoulder the responsibility though.

If he had allowed his ministers more than a few minutes to speak at the party conference, instead of pouring all the attention on his very dull speech, one or two of them may have shone. He didn’t and they didn’t which gave George Osborne, Liam Fox, David Davis, et al, a head start. And they took advantage of this with devastating effect. It was a coming of age for many of the Conservative front bench team and the public can also see that David Cameron isn’t threatened by the talent he has around him; unlike Gordon Brown, who would rather be surrounded by ‘yes’ men. You can see this by his choice of Chancellor of the Exchequer and how he performed last week. We know who is in charge at the Treasury and his name isn’t Alistair Darling.

When all the dust settles and the Lib Dems have their new leader, we will see three party leaders who will lead their respective parties into a general election. David Cameron and his team are the strongest now and I can’t envisage that changing. Gordon Brown’s dithering has cost him dearly and judging by his body language of late, he knows it better than anyone.