Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Clegg catastrophe

The Guardian has just posted a long article under this title by Patrick Wintour and Nicholas Watt on its website.

Though the site no longer has that useful button that told you an article's publication history, I assume it will be in tomorrow's paper.

Here is a flavour of it:
Oakeshott regarded the forthcoming electoral drubbing as the last chance to remove Clegg, whom he had long seen as a political disaster for the party. “It felt like the scene in Far from the Madding Crowd when the sheep charge over the hill together,” Oakeshott recalled. “I thought ‘Oh my God, this is it’. In the face of all available evidence – in council elections, byelections and opinion polls – there was collective self-delusion, and the party was going to press ahead to disaster.”
The party, desperate for votes, then fell into a trap set by the National Union of Students. In November 2009, the NUS persuaded 400 Liberal Democrat candidates, including Clegg, to sign a pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative. To make matters worse, Clegg agreed to be filmed doing so.
Confident that his LBC training had made him an adept media performer, Clegg agreed to take part in two TV debates against Nigel Farage during the campaign. They were not generally perceived to be among Clegg’s most dazzling performances. Ed Davey, the Lib Dem energy and climate change secretary at the time of the debates, was unimpressed. “The disaster over the Farage debate was there was a Liberal Democrat leader who was representing the establishment,” he said.
I suppose we should be grateful that someone thinks our decline and fall worth documenting in such detail. Now for the fightback.

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