Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So Clegg it is.

It was a damn close run thing in the end. Just 511 votes in a low turnout of about 40,000 (about 65% of members). There's a fair chance that if the Lib Dem leadership contest had dragged on for another week, Nick Clegg, the runaway favourite at the start of the race, would have been beaten by Chris Huhne, the rank outsider. Not much doubt that Huhne won the campaign, and has earned the right to a top job in Clegg's team. The contest hasn't had much impact in Montgomeryshire. I was at a local Conservative Christmas lunch at 2.37, when I mentioned the result that was being declared at that precise moment - and no-one knew what I was referring to. And no-one knew anything about Clegg and Huhne, except that they had rather an unpleasant row on television one Sunday morning. So there is a big challenge before Nick Clegg to make an impact - and I don't suppose it being Xmas will help either. Not much interest in politics during the festive season.

But I think it is interesting. But I admit that I also enjoy watching the Eurovision Song Contest results coming in! I 've listened to several interviews by leading Lib Dems commenting on the result, and finished up as unenlightened as Peter Allen on 5 Live's Drive. All these people saying what Nick Clegg stands for (usual stuff around the words 'change' and 'new') and I felt not a bit wiser at the end of it. I also did not here a word that I wouldn't have been happy to sign up to myself. Mike German in Wales told us Clegg was new in that he was for fairness, greenness and for helping people to help themselves. It must have come as something of a surprise to Ming Campbell and Vince Cable that these values were new. I was expecting to hear something about swinging new 'green' taxes, greater European integration, and higher taxes for the rich. But No. Nothing to take issue with. Its all left me scratching my head. How can I attack someone who agrees with everything I do. Even Caroline Spelman, our Party Chairman has issued a very nice welcoming message.

No wonder David Cameron has been talking about a 'progressive alliance' between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. And there is something a bit odd about this. For as long as I can remember, its been the Lib Dems who have been banging on about coalitions, fair votes etc. etc.. But when it comes to the real thing its the Lib Dems who dive under the desk. They did it is Wales last May (and sank the real prospect of a non-Labour coalition) and they are doing it again today, when the opinion polls are showing a strong possibility of them being faced with a share of power. I just hope that Clegg can instill in the Lib Dems a sense of responsibility and grown-upness - and that it spills over Offa's dyke.


frankie said...

Glyn - take a look at the BBC website - 'Have your Say' to see what the great British public think of the LibDems and the non event of the leadership contest. If I was Nick Clegg, I'd be REALLY worried!

Gareth said...

I would say it says more about Montgomeryshire's attitudes to Politics in general Glyn, if your blue rinse ladies didn't know about a leadership election at your lunch. Most properly still think the Lib Dems are called the Liberals and that the Conservatives are in power. How much of that Christmas lunch conversation would have included politics had it been a Conservative leadership yesterday?

Glyn Davies said...

frankie - I to thought it was a non event, with Clegg gaining almost no momentum from his victory. Thats not ot say he won't do well of course - but he has got a mountain to climb.

gareth - The reason I thought the lack of awarenessto be noteworthy was that I think there would have been a lot of discussion if it had been a Labour or Conservative contest.
As it happens, a lot of the local Lib Dems still refer to themselves as 'Liberals' - sometimes deliberately because it is a more appealing name in Montgomeryshire.

Savonarola said...

Chris Huhne was not given a chance at begining of campaign. He used Donorgate as a campaign platform. Very impressive - articulate, no waffle and not intimidated by Snow and others. No messing with Huhne. Rather good news for Cameron that Huhne lost since he would certainly have given LibDems a cutting edge.
Spotted Kennedy, he does not look as if he is restricting his intake to H2O.
Perhaps six months hence some who voted for Clegg may regret their decision.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

The Lib-Dems will blow it if there is a hung Parliament much like they blew it with Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservative Party.

It is always the same with dish-wipes, when the going gets tough the dish-wipe falls apart.

The only thing the Lib-Dems are 'good for' is promoting the other kind of PC (political correctness).

PC is destroying the British way of life.

The Lib-Dems are half way to turning the UK into a version of George Orwell's 1984. Damned if you say anything, damned if you don't and God damn you if you even think about saying anything that is not regarded by the new religious zealots as being "PC".

This from a party that pretends it is for individual rights - "beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing". PC is slowly but surely killing this once great country.

Just look at how the Lib-Dems are ignoring the people in Cardiff against the planned building on green space at/around Eastern Leisure Centre. The locals don't want it, but when they confront the Lib-Dems they quickly find out that they are talking to 'the hand' or wall.

Radyr High School is a great school, but it does not 'fit' with the hidden agenda secretly promoted by hard core Lib-Dem members, so it must close. Welcome to George Orwell's big country cocktail with a Lib-Dem PC twist.

Anonymous said...
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Glyn Davies said...

Savarola - I agree with your assessment that Huhne has been the more inpressive - but people who know Clegg do speak well of him. Simon Heffer in today's Telgraph is a good example. Just because he seems to have under-performed in the leadership contest does not mean that he won't do well now that he's elected.

christopher - Clegg's biggest problem will be deciding what to do in a hung parliament situation. He will not want to answer this question - but he will be under a lot of pressure. I cannot see Clegg wanting to do a deal with Labour (especially with Cameron being nice to him) - and I cannot imagine the Lib Dem activists being happy with him doing a deal with us. So promlem ahead.

anon - I had to delete your comment because one of your accusations was probebly actionable! But most people I talk to agree with your general drift.