The new Liberator is out, which means a limited amount of copy from it is available on the magazine's website.
From there you can download a PDF of an article by Seth Thévoz - "A Very Nearly Successful Coup."
It tells the story of the attempt to topple Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader and argues that it came far nearer to succeeding that was generally realised at the time:
What destroyed the coup was when the second wave of MPs got ‘the wobbles’. A disciplined media grid had set out a detailed timetable of MPs who would go public in waves of two or three at a time, staggered with other parliamentarians, to build a sense of momentum.
On day one, a members’-led open letter calling on Clegg to resign was released as per the plan. (This was never a petition as claimed – it was an open letter which envisioned 20 signatures. It accidentally secured over 400.)
On day two, the first two MPs went ‘over the top’, publicly calling for Clegg’s resignation, and were joined by a third MP who wasn’t scheduled to declare until several days later, jumping the gun.
Then on day three, we were badly let down by one MP. The response of his colleagues was “If he’s not going, I’m out” – which spread like a chain reaction among MPs and peers. The activists roped in to do the MPs’ dirty work were left holding the baby.The moral is clear. If you want to know what is going on in the Liberal Democrats you should subscribe to Liberator.