Sunday, September 19, 2010

Clegg tells left he doesn't want their vote

If you still need proof that the Lib Dems have moved wildly to the right then I don't know where you've been living. But for those who've been slow to catch up Nick Clegg has told the Lib Dem conference in the clearest possible terms that he does not lead a left wing party.

For example, in today's Observer, he paints a vivid picture of how influential he is in the coalition, and is responsible for all the core policies. "All the big decisions are jointly taken by David Cameron and myself … that is why I didn't want to have a department, why I am a hop and a skip from his office."

The image of Clegg skipping joyously to meet Cameron to discuss the decimation of public services is positively stomach churning. However it is where he lays out those who have voted Lib Dem from the left that the interview is most revealing.

"Clearly there is a chunk of people who, I totally understand, turned to the Liberal Democrats at the height of Blair's authoritarianism and his fascination with [George] Bush and [Dick] Cheney," Clegg says. "They said, 'Aha! These Liberal Democrats, they are the leftwing party I want. They are the leftwing conscience of the Labour party that I want.

"That was always going to unwind at some point, particularly when Labour went back into opposition and started sloganeering leftwards. Because the vocation of Liberalism is not to be a leftwing ghetto for people disaffected by the Labour party."

But while Clegg is busy making nice with the Tories and basically telling lefties to eff off the Labour Party have begun firing their smart missiles at the yellow peril. The Labour leadership candidates seem to be going out of their way to tell disillusioned Lib Dem voters that they are the party for them. It's extremely curious that Clegg does not seem in the least bit concerned that he may be giving those voters the vital push they need to dessert his party.

Whether those voters turn to Labour, the Greens, the SNP or where ever is yet to be seen, although I suspect a combination of the lot.

Certainly the trade union demonstrators wont need telling that the Lib Dems are not the party for them, which is just as well as they have been banned from approaching the conference centre at all.


Peter Cranie said...

I think that Clegg is now looking to get the pain out of the way early by showing the door to left leaning Liberals. I've expressed my own thoughts about where (English) Lib Dems will go, and you are right to point out that the SNP and Plaid Cymru are also potential destinations.

We may see some more defection headlines. There has been a bit of a "twitter" about a few Stockport Lib Dems jumping ship to Labour, but nothing confirmed as yet.

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